Two excellent series by Dr. Jordan Cooper, a Lutheran minister. As a committed Protestant, Evangelical, Reformed Baptist, I agree with him on these issues. Excellent analaysis. I am making my own comments here and there, but please listen to Dr. Cooper’s arguments.
5 Reasons I am Not Roman Catholic
- Papacy – totally unBiblical and does not stand up exegetically or theologically or in early church history
2. The Saints – praying to dead saints and all the piety revolved around that – statues, graves, trafficking in relics, (same goes for icons in EO). Praying to the dead, even though they are alive in heaven with God, is a form of worship, therefore idolatry, therefore sin and wrong.
3. The Sacrifice of the Mass – besides what Dr. Cooper argues, the Scriptures are clear that the historical event of the cross was a “once for all sacrifice” (see the many times this is taught in Hebrews chapters 7-10; Romans 6:10; 1 Peter 3:18)
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:10-14
4. The Inconsistency of the Roman Catholic Church – claims to be same from beginning yet has morphed and changed a lot, especially after 500s to the Council of Trent (1545-1563), then post Trent, to 1870 and to 1958, then pre-Vatican 2 vs. Vatican 2 (1963-1968) and post Vatican 2 – a real change and inconsistency and contradiction to its own claims.
5. Justification – the biggest reason. Scripture trumps the Roman Catholic Church on this issue. Romans, Galatians, the Gospel of John, Acts, Philippians 3:9; Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 John and 1 Peter – the Roman Catholic view does not stand up to exegesis of Scripture and consistent theology.
Cooper could not resist to also name a 6th reason at the end:
6. The Marian Dogmas
I would also add Transubstantiation, Purgatory, Indulgences, treasury of merit, ex opere operato priestly powers and probably some other things also.
- The Apophatic Method – this is a key understanding of the entire spirit of Eastern Orthodoxy and how mysterious it seems to be because it can only emphasize what is not, rather than what is.
- Neo-Platonic Theosis – a friend of mine recently converted to EO and his emphasis is staring at an icon and repeating the “Jesus Prayer” (Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner) over and over and he said that is part of the process of theosis.
- Justification – the Eastern Orthodox Church rejects the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, so a lot of the same issues on this come up in dealing with Roman Catholicism.
- Augustinianism – The EO rejects that aspect of Original Sin that understands that mankind is both sinner in a corrupted nature and legal guilt from birth.
- The Role of Images (icons)
I would add that Eastern Orthodoxy just seems to go over-board on the external rituals, ceremonies (smells and bells) trying to create religious feelings.
This comes across really clear by this video below made by an Eastern Orthodox who goes by “Orthodox Shahada” – Shahada = “testimony” in Arabic. He made this after Anthony Rogers began criticizing Sam Shamoun and Sam’s recent apostasy of rejecting essentials of Protestant Biblical Faith (Sola Fide, Sola Gratia (thinking a person is not dead in sin and unable to come to Christ – Total Depravity; and that one can choose Christ out of their own free will is denial of Sola Gratia) Romans 9:16 – “It does not depend on the man who wills or runs, but on God who has mercy”; Sola Christus (adding Mary as a mediator is a violation), Sola Scriptura (adding many man-made traditions – Mark 7:1-23), Soli Deo Gloria – works and external rituals take away from God’s glory) – Sam started praying to Mary and saying formulistic prayers of repetition and in a mantra like way, and making the sign of the cross – thus violating Matthew 6. Anthony was correct.
The EO and Roman Catholics and other ritualistic groups got offended and accused Anthony of actually mocking the Cross of Christ itself.
Orthodox Shahada’s only answer is to show a really ritualistic, externalistic EO ceremony with Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church (who really seems to agree with Vladimir Putin and his unjust and evil war on Ukraine.)
Anthony Rogers was obviously not speaking against the Cross of Christ – he was not speaking against the reality of the historical event of Christ’s crucifixion and the power and theology of the cross – Jesus’ death on the cross which was an effective atonement for sins.
He was saying that just doing the physical ritual of the hand motions does not have Spiritual power in itself. Shamoun’s sinful anger and name calling and reviling and abusive language and bravado and over the top macho-ism discredits him. That is not a proper way to win Muslims, (or Jews or other Unitarians) even though a lot of his articles had good content when he sticks to the texts of the Bible and Qur’an and Hadith and makes intellectual and reasonable arguments.
The emphasis of the video of the E. Orthodox ceremony seems to be on ritual and ceremony and physical things, not on Spiritual truths. “the flesh profits nothing, the words I speak are spirit and life” John 6:63 Isaiah and Amos rebuked the Jews of his day for their empty rituals. (Isaiah 1:10-17; Amos 5:18-24)
An Eastern Orthodox in the com-box accused me of being Docetic and Gnostic. Nuts!
No; since I reject both Docetism and Gnosticism. I fully believe in the incarnation of Christ and His historical real physical death on the cross and bodily resurrection. I am not rejecting all matter. Creation is good, created by God for us – bodies, food, marriage, rest, green pastures, oxygen, trees, bread, wine, meat, etc. 1 Tim. 4:3-4 and 1 Tim. 6:17 ” . . . God, who provides us with everything to enjoy”. The Protest was right against the Roman Catholic Church and Papalism, that had perverted the gospel. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox, Tyndale, and Jan Hus and John Wycliffe before were right vs. dead rituals and sacramentalism, and false doctrines. Over-exalting Mary in icons and statues (RCC) and praying to her is idolatry. I commend the Eastern Orthodox on it’s stance vs. the Papacy and the RCC requirements for all priests to be celibate. It is good that EO does not believe in purgatory and does not make Marian dogmas of 1854 and 1950 to dogma.
2 Kings 18:3-4 Even a good thing originally commanded by God (Numbers 21, the bronze serpent), can become a mere physical object of worship that is turned into idolatry.
The EO guy accussed me of Gnosticism again. No, we believing Protestants agree that Gnosticism is wrong and a terrible heresy and Irenaeus was right. It is actually you who are making a false dichotomy and not dealing with the reality of the meaning of Isaiah 1:10-17; Amos 5:18-24; John 6:63 and John 3:6-8. the flesh profits nothing – John 6:63 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
There are many things I appreciate about EO and some of their areas that we would agree on. I appreciate Arch-priest Josiah Trenham’s videos and have learned a lot about EO from them.
See more here. – I have a long article on agreements and disagreements with Josiah Trenham.
Although I disagree with many issues, he is understandable. I read his book, Rock and Sand and listened to several of his videos; especially the one on critiquing the Roman Catholic Church – you guys (EO) were unjustly slaughtered at the 1204 fourth Crusade. What a shame and scandal on the RCC! The EO is right vs. Roman Catholicism on the Papacy and Purgatory, and clerical celibacy – they are all wrong!
Josiah Trenham recently made a great video on “What is a woman?” – in reference to the Democrat party nominee for Supreme Court Ketanji Brown Jackson and that she could not define what a woman is. I will probably do a separate blog post on that. (She also said she did not know when life begins.)
Also, I think Jay Dyer did a great job in his debate vs. the Muslim debater, Shabir Ally.
I never said the actions of the body don’t matter – obviously fleshly bodily sins are wrong and sin and God condemns – drunkenness, gluttony, fornication, adultery, stealing, murder. Roots of sin are internal. Mark 7:20-23; Matthew 5:21-30 But external sins are also sins and worse for consequences.
I am pretty sure that the The clip from Anthony Rogers that Orthodox Shahada made, comes from this for fuller context: