Far from Rome, Near to God

 Here’s a book that shows the darkness of the Roman Catholic Church: Far from Rome, Near to God.  In it, you’ll find fifty stories about modern day Roman Catholic priests who came out of Rome because of her unbiblical and gospel-distorting teachings.  Here are a few excerpts.  The first has to do with Rome’s doctrine of justification.

“I performed all my monastic duties to the last rule.  I whipped myself every Wednesday and Friday evening till at times my back bled; in penance I often kissed the floor; often I ate my meager meal kneeling down on the floor, or completely deprived myself of food.  I did many forms of penances, for I was truly seeking salvation.  I was taught that I could eventually merit heaven.  I did not know that the Word of God says, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast’ (Eph. 2:8-9)” (p. 70).

Here’s another quote that has to do with Rome’s view that tradition and Scripture are equal.

“From childhood to age forty-four, seventeen years as a Roman priest (1955-1972), the Roman Catholic Church had been the pillar of truth to me, and my infallible guide to God.  This pillar of truth was not constructed solely of the infallible Scriptures, but also constructed of man’s traditions apart from Scripture, which were held to be revelations from God, but which in fact contradicted, and were in opposition to the plain teachings of Scripture.  [Later] the Scriptures became very real to me.  …The Roman Catholic church lost credibility for me, as it had taught as truth what was clearly contrary to the Scriptures.  I then chose the Scriptures as my standard of truth, no longer accepting the magisterium, or teaching authority of the Catholic Church as my standard. …the Holy Spirit led me to judge Roman Catholic theology by the standard of the Bible.  Before, I had always judged the Bible by Catholic doctrine and theology.  It was a reversal of authority in my life” (taken from chapter 8).

I could go on!  This book is a great “real-life” resource on what the solas of the Reformation mean – specifically sola gratia, solo Christo, sola fide, and sola Scriptura.  It is amazing how often these priests came to reject the Mass because of the teaching of Hebrews, reject Rome’s authority and tradition because they contradicted Scripture, and reject Rome’s semi-pelagian salvation “system” because of texts like Ephesians 2:8-9.  Again, this is pretty much a story-like study of the solas.

If I had to recommend three books for studies on Roman Catholicism, along with Rome’s own catechism I would recommend Sproul’s Are We Together?, and this one quoted above: Far from Rome, Near to God ed. Richard Bennett and Martin Buckingham (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2009). 

shane lems