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What does Romanism say?
In November of 1544, in the northern Italian community of Trent, the Roman Catholic Church convened its 19th ecumenical council. The Council of Trent officially lasted from December of 1545 through December of 1563. During that time the Church intensified its ongoing affront on Protestantism by codifying Catholic dogma in unprecedented fashion, in matters ranging from the strategic place of the sacraments to the doctrines of transubstantiation, purgatory, indulgences, the veneration of the Virgin Mary and the saints, and the efficacy of relics. Tradition was declared coequal to Scripture as a basis for authority.
Perhaps most significant was the Roman Catholic Church’s claim that salvation and justification were the result of works as well as faith.
Canon 9 of the Council of Trent states categorically,
"If any one saith that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to the obtaining [of] the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."Canon 14 states:
"If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema."
What does the Bible say?
But the Council of Trent met a long time ago. Hasn’t Rome since modified its position?
"Has Rome’s position changed? In fact it has not. The Vatican II documents as well as the new Catechism of the Catholic Church reinvoke the theological position of the Council of Trent, condemning the gospel of justification by an imputed righteousness" (Michael Horton, Founder & President of Christians United for Reformation, 1995).
What about James 2:24?
D. James Kennedy, in “Irreconcilable Differences”, a roundtable discussion and television broadcast on Catholicism (Ft. Lauderdale FL, 1995):
What did Martin Luther say?
Luther called justification by faith alone (sola fide) "the article upon which the Church stands or falls."
Are There Other Problems?
Try reconciling I Timothy 2:5—"For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"—with the longstanding Catholic tradition of praying to Mary, illustrated by the following Prayer to the Blessed Virgin ("Never Known to Fail"), typical of those published in many local newspapers:
FOR FURTHER READING
Author: Daryl E. Witmer of AIIA Institute.
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