republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:
Mark Driscoll, founder of the infamous Acts 29 church planting network and the pastor who resigned from Mars Hill church amid accusations of staff abuse and misconduct, is now back into full-time ministry. In a video posted on his website, he answers a question from a follower, “whose interpretation of the Bible is right, Protestants’ or Catholics'”?
In this video, he talks about being raised in the Catholic church. “There are some Catholics that know and love Jesus. I wasn’t one of them growing up. It wasn’t the church’s fault, it was mine,” he says. Now, you might be thinking, “or course it’s his own fault, the wages of sin is death, right?” But what he fails to mention is that the Roman Catholic Church does not teach you how to “know and love Jesus.” In fact, it strictly forbids you from believing the true gospel.
As Protestants, we believe that salvation is, in short, by grace alone through faith alone. The Roman Catholic church, regardless of the “order” of which the presiding priests of the local parish are brought up in, is accountable to authoritative councils of the church. In these councils, the true biblical faith is explicitly denied and forbidden. Specifically, Canon 9 of the Council of Trent, which is still the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church today, states,
If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining 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.Driscoll continues, stating,
There are some Catholics that absolutely love Jesus. It’s important to remember that when it comes to Catholicism, They believe in one God, three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, the Trinity. They believe in the virgin birth, the sinless life, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. So, a lot of the things that I would call the closed-handed big issues, yeah, we agree as Protestants with the Catholics.He “he didn’t have time” to get into the other minor issues he “disagreed with them on.” However, he had time to make it clear that he doesn’t believe Roman Catholicism to be a “cult or another religion.”
While he does appear to have the gospel right in this video, he fails to recognize that the Roman Catholic Church has it wrong. The Roman Catholic Church denies the essential doctrines of grace alone through faith alone and affirms a works righteousness–a false gospel refuted by Paul known as the Galatian Heresy. Roman Catholicism denies the doctrine of the penal substitutionery atonement, that is that Christ stood as a substitute for man, bearing the punishment of God’s wrath that we deserved on the cross, imputing our sin to Him so that His righteousness can be imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Instead, the affirm a false doctrine of infused righteousness which, in essence, teaches that through good works, penance, and sacraments, Christ’s righteousness is imparted to us more and more over time. While it is certainly true that the virgin birth, the sinless life, and the physical death, burial, and resurrection are essential, without a proper understanding of these doctrines and how they apply to the gospel the Roman Catholic’s belief is simply in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).
Mark Driscoll, while offending God in an effort to please man, has taken a soft stance on Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholics hold to a false gospel and confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church depends on a confession of this false gospel. Not that Mark Driscoll was ever a qualified Bible teacher, but this is more evidence of the ecumenical trajectory of evangelicalism. The Roman Catholic Church is a whore. It practices idolatry, teaches a false gospel, and denies Christ on every level. Instead of affirming sinners who are caught up in this false church, we should be calling them out of it and calling them to Christ.