Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, and the Biblical Gospel


Over against these wholesale assaults on the biblical economy of salvation from two fronts, Roman Catholicism and Mormonism, stand the clear biblical affirmations of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

There can be no rapprochement on the points here that are drawn directly from the official doctrine of each belief system. Sacerdotalism raises earnest questions about whether a person who is not a member of the system can be saved outside of it. Any institution that claims that salvation is attained through sacraments and then claims to have the sole authority to administer those sacraments, is in a most prodigious dilemma: Is our sacerdotal authority necessary for salvation, or not? If the system of Roman priests or Mormon elders is needed, then the reasonable conclusion is that those organizations must acknowledge their adherents as the only people who will be eternally saved. If these systems are not exclusive in salvation, then salvation can be attained outside of them, therefore the conclusion is that these systems must at the very least be reformed or at the most, be completely demolished.

The problems with Roman Catholic theology and Mormon theology, as diverse as they are, can be distilled down to one basic issue: Is Christ sufficient? If the plain meaning of the Bible can be trusted, then is salvation truly gained by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone?

On this matter, Roman Catholicism and Mormonism have painted themselves into their own respective corners. They’ve patented their own particular views on the same basic error that a person must earn for himself righteousness unto salvation. The Bible teaches us that a person cannot possibly appropriate righteousness within himself to meet God’s standard, and therefore must claim and cling to the external righteousness of Christ. False systems such as Roman Catholicism and Mormonism have negotiated this crucial gospel truth by demanding that a person become inherently righteous. That’s not “good news” at all. That’s very bad news, a ghastly burden that leaves us with no hope for the life to come.

Thankfully, there is hope. The truly Good News is that we not only can but absolutely must, claim the perfectly good righteousness of Christ; and union with him is not something achieved through obeying commandments or complying with religious systems, but by placing our full trust in the person of Christ.

“For it must necessarily follow
that either all that is required for our salvation
is not in Christ or,
if all is in him,
then those who have Christ by faith
have his salvation entirely.

to say that Christ is not enough
but that something else is needed as well
is a most enormous blasphemy against God —
for it then would follow
that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior.

And therefore we justly say with Paul
that we are justified ‘by faith alone’
or ‘by faith apart from works.'”

— The Belgic Confession, Article 22

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apologetics, church history, justification, Reformation, systematic theology