A REFUTATION OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM
By Dr. Robert A. Morey
Let us state at the outset that throughout this two part series
that it is not our intent to offend those Roman Catholics who trust
in Jesus Christ alone and rest their hope of salvation on God's
grace alone. We gladly embrace them as fellow Christians.
But there are those Roman Catholics who trust in their own good
to get them into heaven. They openly venerate Mary and pray to the
saints. And, when they do these things, they are actually following
the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church!
It is our intent to refute a visible earthly organization called
the "ROMAN Catholic Church" whose headquaters is at Vatican City in
Rome and whose earthly "head" is the Pope, considered the "Vicar of
Please not that we are NOT attacking Catholics as people or their
motives. We are dealing with those historic issues which caused the
We did not invent these issues and we are quite aware of the fact
that we will not solve them either. But we feel the time has come to
clarify once again what exactly those issues are and why we are still
"protesting" against the Roman system.
the first issue concerns the heart of the Gospel: Justification by
faith apart from works. If Romanism is in error on justification, then
it is preaching another gospel and cannot be described as a true Chris-
THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION
I. The Greek verb dikaiow in Roman Law and society meant "to declare
not guilty" or "to declare innocent of all charges" as a legal vedication
in court. It was the opposite of a verdict or declaration of "guilty as
II. When it is used in a non-technical sense, it simply meant "to be
vindicated" before others. O.T.: Gen.44:16; Job 33:2,32; Isa. 43:9.
N.T.: Matt. 13:37; Luke 10:29, 16:15.
III. But when it is used in its technical or theological sense in the
Old and New Testaments, this word has the same legal or forensic
declaratory meaning as in Roman Law. O.T.: Deut. 25:1; Isa. 5:23;
Micah 6:11. N.T.: Romans 8:33-34.
IV. It is clearly in this sense that both the Father and the Son are
said to be "justified." This can ONLY mean that God is "declared
innocent," "declared not guilty" or "vindicated from all charges."
O.T.: Psa. 51:4. N.T.: Luke 7:29; Romans 3:4
I Timothy 3:16 Rotherham translation says, "declared righteous"
and the Twentieth Century "pronounced righteous".
V. The Greek verb "to justify" is used in opposition to the word
"to condemn" i.e., "to pronounce a verdict of guilty as charged."
O.T.: Deut. 25:1; Job 40:8; I Kings. 8:32. N.T.: Romans 8:33-34.
VI. Just as "to condemn" someone does not MAKE them wicked, neither
does "to justify" someone MAKE them righteous.
VII. The equivalent words and phrases which are used as literary
parallels to the word "to justify" mean "to declare innocent" and
"to treat as not guilty." None of them means to MAKE someone righ-
O.T.: Psa. 32:2 "transgression is forgiven" "sin covered" "does
not impute iniquity"
N.T.: Rom. 4:3 "reckoned to him as righteous" 4:4 "reckoned"
4:5 "reckoned as righteous" 4:6 "reckons righteousness"
4:7 "forgiven" 4:7 "sins covered" 4:8 "will not take into account
(sin)" 4:9 "reckoned as righteousness" 4:10 "reckoned" 4:22 "reckoned
as righteousness" 4:23 "reckoned" 4:24 "reckoned" 5:10 "reconciled"
(cf. vs. 9 & 10).
VIII. Man's justification before God is always based on God's grace
through Christ's life, death, resurrection. O.T.: Isa. 53:11.
N.T.: Rom. 3:4,24,28; 4:25; 5:9; II Cor. 5:21; Titus 3:7.
IX. Thus justification is a free gift and not something merited
by works. N.T.: Rom. 3:20-30; 4:1-12; 5:15-17; 6:23; Gal. 2:16-21.
X. The instumental means of justification is FAITH apart from
such works as baptism. N.T.: Rom. 3:22,26-30; 4:1-12,16; 5:1;
XI. The Protestant view of justification is the doctrine of the
early church while ®the Romanist doctrine cannot be found anywhere
in the early church¯. (® ¯ denotes bold emphasis)
THE BIBLE vs ROMANISM
How Romanist Try to Refute The Reformers
I. Romanist usually misrepresent the Reformers. They often claim
that the Reformers taught that sinners are justified "by faith alone"
in order to contrast this statement with James 2:24 "not by faith alone."
But this is not what they taught.
The Reformers taught the ungodly are justified "solely," (i.e.
"only") through faith. They did not say that we are justified "by
faith that is alone." They were careful to make the disticntion
between "only" and "alone."
They stated that the faith that justifies is "not alone" but is
always accompanied by all the other virtues such as love, obdience,
etc. Hence, it is "not alone."
But what they did say was that the Bible makes it abundantly clear
that THE SOLE INSTRUMENTAL MEANS by which one receives salvation is
FAITH viewed as set apart from the other virtues such as obedience.
Why? FAITH is the only "empty" virtue which has no merit in and
of itself. Faith is not to be viewed as being the meritorious basis
of salvation. ®Christ's work not ours - is the meritorious basis of
salvation¯. (® ¯ denotes bold emphasis)
Thus while salvation is "through" faith as its sole means of
reception, it is accompanied by all the other VIRTUES.
II. Objection: What about James vs Paul?
A. James uses the word "justify" in its non-technical sense of
a personal "vindication" before man of one's profession of faith.
He emphasizes that you should validate your faith before others by
the kind of life that you live.
B. Thus James is emphasizing the DEMONSTRATING of justification
and not how to achieve it.
C. Nowhere does James use the word "justify" to mean to MAKE
III. Questions which Romanist must answer:
A. Can you produce a single verse in the Bible where the concept
of grace as a "substance" is taught?
B. Can you show us a single verse where justification is described
as "infusion righteousness?"
C. Is not the concept of "grace as a divine substance infused into
the soul" a Medieval idea?
D. On what basis do you ignore the legal, cultural and exegetical
meaning of the word dikaiow?
E. Is there a single passage in the Bible which links baptism with
justification as the means of its reception?
F. Can you produce a single citation from the Apostolic Fathers
where they taught the concept of "infused righteousness?"
Dr. Robert A. Morey, is the Executive Director of The Research &
Education Foundation. Dr. Morey has earned degrees in theology,
philosophy, and apologetics and has received personal training
from Dr. Walter Martin, Francis Schaeffer, Gordon Clark and
Cornelius Van Til. He has authored over 20 books. Some of which
have been listed in Christianity Today's annual "best Books of
the Year" and the Christian Booksellers Association's "The Best
of the Good Books."
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This article was originally published in "The Researcher," a
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Copyright 1993 The Research & Education Foundation
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