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              DISCUSSION GUIDE












                    Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.

                Church of the Lutheran Confession

                        22 N. State Street

                     New Ulm, MN  56073-1834

               507-354-1089; faith@ic.new-ulm.mn.us













               Copyright, 1995, Gregory L. Jackson



     Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant began as a study for Lutherans marrying Roman Catholics, so that couples could discuss differences and similarities in doctrine.  Realizing that few people have access to Catholic, Lutheran, and Protestant theological libraries, I expanded the scope of the book to include as much resource material as possible.  As a result, many people suggested that a study book be prepared so that pastors could teach a class based upon the book.  Those who want to study doctrine on their own may also use this guide as a way of building up their knowledge without becoming lost. 

     To paraphrase Coach Vince Lombardi, "Doctrine is not the main thing.  It is the only thing."  When we speak about "doctrine," we are discussing what God teaches in His Scriptures.  The purpose of the Bible is to show us that:

     1) we are sinners in need of a Savior,

     2) God has provided a Savior for us, His only Son Jesus,

     3) through His death on the cross, Jesus has conquered sin, death, and the devil.

People may say that the Bible is a wonderful book, full of exciting stories and beautiful poetry, but they have not grasped what the Holy Spirit teaches if they neglect the saving message of the Gospel.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is our comfort, our hope, our light in the midst of darkness, and medicine for our soul as we face pain, suffering, and death.  The Gospel is a great treasure given to us for free, yet won for us at a great price.  How can we neglect, misuse, or reject it?


                    Start with the Best Books

     Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant is designed to lead people to the Scriptures, the Confessions, and the great books of Lutheran orthodoxy.  Below is a short list of books to use when studying doctrine.  Except for the set by Father Baker, they can be ordered from Christian News or Concordia Publishing House.


The Holy Bible (King James Version, New King James Version, or God's Word to the Nations/New Evangelical Translation).  The Scriptures are the verbally inspired, inerrant Word of God.


R. C. H. Lenski's New Testament Commentaries, Augsburg/Fortress Press.  Lenski is not only good for understanding the Greek text, but also for his discussion of the doctrinal history of the Biblical passage. 


The Book of Concord (Tappert edition, Augsburg/Fortress, or Concordia Triglotta, Concordia Publishing House).  The Tappert edition is used for CLP. The Concordia Triglotta has an outstanding historical introduction.  The best way to study the Book of Concord is either to read one section at a time, or to study doctrinal themes, using the Concordance to the Book of Concord from Northwestern Publishing House. 


What Luther Says, ed. Ewald Plass, Concordia Publishing House.  No one has a better collection of Luther's writings, arranged by topic, with concise explanatory introductions and footnotes.


C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, Concordia Publishing House.  Walther's Luther lectures help the reader understand the Scriptures and Luther's theology.  Law/Gospel confusions are common among Protestants and Roman Catholics.


Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, 4 vols., Concordia Publishing House.  The size of Chemnitz' classic may seem daunting, but each doctrinal topic from the Council of Trent, which codified Medieval Roman Catholicism, is discussed in light of the Scriptures and the church fathers.  Chemnitz' writing is as clear and humorous as Luther's.


Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols.  Pieper began by writing the second volume, on Christology, which is a classic by itself.  Pieper is the best summary of Christian doctrine available in English.  Pastors and laity will benefit by re-reading the relevant sections.


Father Kenneth Baker, S.J., Fundamentals of Catholicism, 3 vols., San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 1983.  Baker wrote this conservative book because of his dismay over the lack of doctrinal knowledge of young Roman Catholics.  The clear writing, topical arrangement, and faithfulness to official Roman Catholic teaching

make this a useful volume to use in confirmation, adult class, and sermon preparation.  It is better to quote a Roman Catholic source than a polemical tract against Roman Catholicism.  The phone order number is 1-800-322-1531.


                         Structure of CLP

     Some people will argue that Christianity has many more divisions than the three named in the book's title.  However, I agree with F. E. Mayer that the essential divisions are three, with all variations relating to the main confessions.  CLP has three parts:

1)  Areas of agreement, (the Scriptures, the Trinity, the Two Natures of Christ, natural law);

2)  Areas of partial agreement (the Sacraments);

3)  Complete disagreement (justification, Purgatory, papal infallibility, doctrines of Mary, Luther vs. the papacy). 

     The purpose of this arrangement is to build upon areas of common agreement before getting into areas of controversy.  Many people are no longer taught the inerrancy of God's Word, the Biblical passages revealing the Trinity, the divine and human natures of Christ, or the foundation for determining right and wrong (natural law).  Also, all three groups need to see the relationship between the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds, and the church fathers (Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose).  If a Lutheran tries to critique Purgatory on the basis of the silence of the Scriptures, the Roman Catholic will be unimpressed.  The German Lutheran and Swiss Protestant Reformation paid far more attention to the church fathers than we do today.  Chemnitz great advantage was his encyclopedic knowledge of patristics (church fathers).  Therefore, we need to follow him in studying the false application of church fathers' writings in defending erroneous doctrines.

     Starting with agreement also assumes a family atmosphere.  Most people can say with me that the book title describes their extended family, if not their brothers and sisters.  We want to be able to discuss doctrine without severing family relationships.  To do this, we need to know their doctrine better than they do, and be able to discuss the Word of God with confidence in the work of the Holy Spirit.  At the very worst, our family members will challenge us to remain sharp about the doctrine we claim to treasure so greatly.  We will not be effective, but the Word of God will accomplish God's purpose (Isaiah 55).

     In the second part, the Sacraments focus on the unique approach of Lutheran doctrine in maintaining the close relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Word.  The Holy Spirit never works apart from the Word, and the Word never works apart from the Holy Spirit, as Adolph Hoenecke taught.  Therefore, Lutherans must disagree with Protestants and Roman Catholics about the nature of the Sacraments, since they are the visible Word.  All three groups use the terminology of "Word and Sacraments," or at least "Word and ordinances," but only the Lutherans unite the work of the Word with that of the Spirit, whether the Word is taught and studied or made visible in the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.  Three areas of conflict in this chapter are:  efficacy of the Word, infant baptism and infant faith, the Real Presence of Christ's body and blood in Holy Communion, and the Roman Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation.

     The third part emphasizes the areas of greatest disagreement with Roman Catholicism, from the viewpoint of Lutherans and Protestants.  Each topic has a different chapter, to allow for the history of the doctrine and extensive discussion.  These chapters will create the most discussion and interest, allowing the teacher to bring together the main theme of the book - salvation through the merits of Christ alone.   In the final chapter, it is absolutely necessary to deal with the Roman Catholic attack on Luther, since the attack is consistently personal and based upon factual error.  Lutherans find themselves upset and alarmed when confronted with the twisted rhetoric of Cochlaeus, recently served fresh by the editor of Fidelity magazine.  Most Lutherans do not know that Roman Catholic scholars have rejected the old slander, which is still in print and selling well.  Considering how important the Gospel is, then, Lutherans must also insist that the office of the papacy fits the Biblical portrait of the anti-Christ, assuming god-like infallibility while teaching against the inerrant Word of God.


                       PART I:  CHAPTER ONE

                         AREAS OF AGREEMENT


     The first part of CLP may be discussed in one class session, or, if more basic instruction is desired, in 2-4 sessions.  The first objective is to define the true Church.  Is it visible, identified with a particular denomination, or invisible, made up of all those who believe in Christ alone as Savior and Redeemer?

Second, what is the foundation for all Christian doctrine and practice?  Third, what is commonly taught about the Trinity?  Fourth, how do discuss right and wrong?  Note that page numbers for CLP are given for each answer.  The number of the note is given, to help people find the right citation.  Study material is listed for each section, to encourage more reading of Luther, Walther, Chemnitz, and the Book of Concord.


                            The Church


Study:  What Luther Says, "Church."  Augsburg Confession, Articles VI and VII.


1.  Is the true Church visible (a denomination), or invisible, comprised of all those who trust in the merits of Christ alone?

(p. 12)






2.  Which Biblical passage tells us that divisions in Christianity help us test and define what is true?  (p. 12)






3.  Why does it matter whether we associate with orthodox pastors and laity?  (p. 13)









4.  List statements which Catholic, Lutherans, and Protestants can agree upon.  (p. 13)








5.  In what ways do Lutherans and Catholics agree?  (p. 13f.)









6.  Name areas of Lutheran and Protestant agreement.  (p. 14)







                        The Measuring Rod


Study:  Pieper, I, pp. 193-359.


7.  List some Biblical passages which tell us that God's Word is inspired by the Holy Spirit, without error, clear, and effective in teaching us about salvation.  (p. 15)








8.  Name some of the great church fathers and paraphrase what they said about the authority of the Scriptures in the early Church.  (pp. 18-21)








9.  Are the Scriptures clear?  Give examples from church fathers. (p. 20)





10.  Does the Bible contain everything we need to know about salvation?  Name two church fathers who said it does (p. 20f.)








11.  Has the rationalistic approach to the Bible found a place in "conservative" Protestant seminaries like Fuller and in Roman Catholicism?  What is the rationalistic study of the Bible called?

(p. 22)







                           The Trinity


Study:  What Luther Says, "Trinity."  Pieper, I, pp. 371-466.


12.  The term "Trinity" is not found in the Bible.  Where is the doctrine revealed?  Discuss some Trinitarian passages in the Old Testament.  (p. 23-25)








13.  Do liberal theologians, scoffers, cults (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses) and non-Christian religions accept the doctrine of the Trinity?  (p. 23)








14.  Name the three Ecumenical Creeds.  Why are they important when we already have the Bible?  (p. 26-28)







15.  Do we have creeds in the Bible?  List some credal passages    (p. 29-30)











16.  Can certain hymns be considered creeds?  Name several which declare a doctrinal viewpoint because they were written during a time of conflict.  (p. 30)







17.  How does worship reflect our confession of faith?  Name a Church Growth model congregation which avoids the cross.  (p. 31)









                      Two Natures of Christ


Study:  Pieper, II, pp. 55-279.   What Luther Says, "Christ."  Formula of Concord, VIII, "Person of Christ." John Schaller, Biblical Christology.  Chemnitz, The Two Natures of Christ.


18.  What are the two natures of Christ?  Are they mixed together?

(p. 33)







19.  List some passages which reveal the human nature of Christ.

(p. 34)










20.  Where in the Bible do we find it revealed that Christ is equal to God?  (p. 35f.)












21.  Where is the Virgin Birth of Christ predicted?  How did God use the phony piety of Ahaz to reveal the miraculous birth of Christ?  (p. 36f.)








                           Natural Law


Study:  What Luther Says, "Law of God."  Pieper, III, pp. 222-252.


22.  How is the doctrine of Creation related to judging between right and wrong?  (p. 39)







23.  Where does the Declaration of Independence use the concept of natural law, relating justice to Creation?  (p. 40)









24.  How were the unborn protected against abortion, using the concept of natural law?  (p. 41)









25.  What does natural law have to say about family values?        (p. 42)





                             PART II 

                   CHAPTER SIX:  THE SACRAMENTS



     Most of this chapter is directed against Protestant confusion about how we receive God's grace.  When Lutherans abandon a clear stance about the Holy Spirit working only through the Means of Grace, people become anxious about salvation.  Rationalism and emotionalism step in to grant false assurance in place of uncertainty.  Because Protestants do not unite the work of the Holy Spirit with the Means of Grace, they fall into such errors as: denying baptismal regeneration and infant faith; rejecting the Real Presence of Christ; insisting upon a "born-again experience" or speaking in tongues; praying for faith; and turning the Sacraments into ordinances.

     Roman Catholics use the term "Means of Grace," but they have a different concept.  One must remember the specter of Purgatory and the promise that the Roman Catholic sacraments will reduce the

time of torture and pain in Purgatory through these means.  The Roman Catholic mass, where the priests offers a "bloodless sacrifice" to atone for sins is central to this understanding. 

     This section should be taught in at least two sessions.  The first should emphasize the Means of Grace:  how the Holy Spirit works through the Word and Sacraments to give us forgiveness, peace, joy, and the assurance of eternal life.  The second session should concentrate on the Roman Catholic sacraments, especially the "bloodless sacrifice" of the Mass.  Note that the Protestant position and the Roman Catholic position are both called Enthusiasm in the Smalcald Articles, because both separate the work of the Holy Spirit from the Word and Sacraments.


                          Means of Grace


Study:  What Luther Says, "Means of Grace."  Pieper, III, pp. 104-221. 


1.  How did Luther's Reformation differ from Zwingli's and Calvin's?  (p. 46)






2.  What is the "peculiar glory of the Lutheran church," according to J. T. Mueller?  What does it guard against?  (p. 47)






3.  Rationalism and Pietism in the Lutheran church led to the neglect of the ___________________.  (p. 48)



4.  What are the marks of the Church, if they are not external peace, prosperity, and large parking lots?  (p. 49)






5.  What do we receive from the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments?  (p. 49)






6.  Explain the passage in Isaiah 55:10-11, to show how God always works through the Word.  (p. 51)






7.  List some passages which show the divine power of the Word.  (p. 52f.)




                Holy Spirit and the Means of Grace


Study:  What Luther Says, "Holy Ghost."  Concordance to the Book of Concord, "Enthusiasm."  Book of Concord, Smalcald Articles, VIII.


8.  What is Enthusiasm?  (p. 54)






9.  In spite of many individual differences, do all Protestants teach the work of the Holy Spirit independent from the Means of Grace?  (p. 54)






10.  According to the Smalcald Articles, anything attributed to the Spirit apart from the Word and Sacraments is of.......  (p. 54)








11.  Paraphrase what Zwingli said about the Sacraments.  (p. 55)







                    The Word Active in Baptism


Study:  Augsburg Confession, Article IX, "Baptism."  What Luther Says, "Baptism."  Pieper, III, pp. 253-289.




12.  What are the Protestant objections to baptism?  (p. 58)





13.  What is the power in baptism, according to Luther?  How does he compare the Word to the glowing heat in a fiery iron?  (p. 58f.)








14.  How does Matthias Loy compare the Means of Grace to the way we obtain bread?  (p. 59)







15.  What Biblical passages show us that infants have faith and that their faith is something we should emulate?  (p. 62)







17.  How is infant dedication a sign that Protestants desire the blessings of infant baptism?  (p. 67)










                        The Lord's Supper


Study:  What Luther Says, "Lord's Supper."  Lenski, Corinthians, p. 407.  Formula of Concord, Article VII, "Lord's Supper."


18.  What are the 3 Protestant objections to the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper?  (p. 68)







19.  If the finite cannot contain the Infinite, as Calvin claimed about the Lord's Supper, then what does that say about God becoming man?  Note:  Protestant problems about the Lord's Supper are directly related to their confusion about the Two Natures of Christ.  (p. 69)







20.  What do we receive from Holy Communion, according to Luther, Bernard, and Ignatius?  (p. 73)







               The Sacraments in Roman Catholicism


Study:  What Luther Says, "Mass."  Chemnitz, Examination, II, pp. 21-336.


21.  According to the Council of Trent, how many sacraments must we accept or be damned to hell?  Name them.  (p. 76)







22.  According to Pope Leo XIII, the true Church is visible and headquartered in Rome.  What are the three bonds of unity in the quotation (note #52).  (p. 76f.)







23.  List the five errors of the Roman Catholic Church concerning Holy Communion.  (p. 78f.)








24.  What are some of the reactions against the Roman doctrine of Transubstantiation and reservation of the Host?  (p. 79-80)







25.  How does the concept of the "bloodless sacrifice" distort the nature of Holy Communion?  (p. 80f.)







26.  Explain the practice of paying for a mass for the souls in Purgatory.  Who benefits?  (p. 83f.)




                     PART III:  CHAPTER THREE



     The Church stands or falls on article IV of the Augsburg Confession, "Justification."  Forgiveness of sin, accomplished through Christ's death on the cross, is either a gift or something earned.  Therefore, this chapter is central to CLP.  All doctrines relate directly to being declared righteous by God through the merits of Christ.  Roman Catholics and Protestants have great difficulties in leaving alone the simple, clear teaching of Scripture.  Roman Catholics add works to faith and make salvation uncertain through Purgatory.  Protestants expect a "decision," a

"born-again" experience, or "baptism in the Holy Spirit."  In addition, one must often prove to be worthy, living the sanctified life, in order to deserve justification. 

     The teacher should relate this chapter to the previous one on the Sacraments and point out how future chapters will rest upon the correct understanding of justification:  Purgatory, papal infallibility, doctrines of Mary, and the anti-Christ.   The purpose is to have each person trust in Christ alone, to see the comfort of the Gospel in John 3:16.  Many people, including Lutherans, still trust in their works to earn them salvation. 


Study:  Augsburg Confession, IV, "Justification," the Apology to the Augsburg Confession, IV, "Justification."  Formula of Concord, III, "Righteousness."  What Luther Says, "Justification."


1.  Judging from the O'Hare quotation, how does the Roman Catholic Church differ from Luther on justification?  (p. 93)







2.  How important is the doctrine of justification by faith to the Christian Church, according to the quotations?  (notes 3 and 4, p.  93f.)








3.  How early in the Bible was a Savior promised?  Give an example in Genesis of the future substitution of Christ for us.  (p. 94)









4.  Explain the Biblical passages which clearly show how we are declared righteous.  (p. 96)







5.  According to the Council of Trent, which is upheld by Vatican I and II, all those who believe they are justified by faith alone are_______________________.  (p. 98)







6.  How does the word "anathema" relate to Paul's letter to the Galatians 1:8?  Is the "other gospel" Luther's or Rome's?  (p. 98)







7.  What is the difference between objective justification and subjective justification?  (p. 99)







8.  What does a Roman Catholic mean when he writes about reparation?  (p. 103)







                       Faith and Good Works


Lenski, Hebrews, James commentary, introduction to James;  note especially p. 587.  Formula of Concord, IV, "Good Works."  What Luther Says, "Works."


9.  What does false doctrine do to the glory of God?  (p. 104)







10.  What does "infused grace" do, according to the Roman Catholic Church.  What is wrong with this concept?  (note 15, p. 105)







11.  Does a person deserve his reward, according to Father Baker, in his discussion of "condign merit?"  (note 16, p. 106)






12.  What is the "monster of uncertainty," according to Pieper, and how is it revealed in the article in Twin Circle?  (notes 20 and 21, p. 107f.)







13.  What do Lutherans say about good works?  (p. 109)







                       Protestant Problems


Study:  Luther's Small Catechism, explanation of the second and third articles of the Creed.  C. F. W. Walther, Law and Gospel.


14.  What does TULIP stand for among the Calvinists?  (p. 113)







15.  What are some of the Protestant beliefs which come from a lack of confessions and the rejection of the Means of Grace?  (p. 115)










                          Law and Gospel


Study:  Walther's Law and Gospel.  Formula of Concord, V, "Law and Gospel."  What Luther Says, "Law and Gospel."  Leppien/Smith, What's Going on Among the Lutherans, "Pietism," pp. 250-268.


16.  How is Roman Catholic sanctification similar to Protestant sanctification?  (p. 119)







17.  Why is America a Pietistic country?  What is Pietism and how does it affect future generations?  (p. 120)







18.  What are the three uses of the Law and how do they relate to the Christian and non-Christian?  (p. 116f.)








19.  What happens when the Law is mixed with the Gospel? (p. 119)







20.  Paraphrase Luther's preface to his Commentary on Romans.

(note 31, p. 120)





                     CHAPTER FOUR:  PURGATORY


     A Roman Catholic priest read CLP and denied that Purgatory is central to all Roman Catholic doctrines.  The evidence suggests otherwise, since Purgatory is a necessary consequence of adding works to faith.  Papal infallibility and the Roman doctrines concerning Mary are directly linked to Purgatory.  One must carefully contrast the hellish pain of Purgatory with the comfort of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When a Roman Catholic loses a family member, it is common to pay for masses to be said for the soul in torment in Purgatory.  The monster of uncertainty created by Roman doctrines is fed with indulgences, masses, rosary prayers, the scapular, and memberships in confraternities, and yet it never is satisfied.

     Rather than attack Purgatory as unbiblical, which may have little force or meaning for a Roman Catholic, start with the atoning death of Christ and what it means for sinners.  Those who have been raised on strong doses of the Law with little clear Gospel may need to hear again and again, as we all do, that God is merciful and does not desire the death of a single sinner. 

     Purgatory can be handled in one session, but class interest will probably extend the discussion.  Explaining the historical origins can be useful, but the teacher must also emphasize that Purgatory is the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, even at Vatican II, with an extensive network of support groups which teach about Purgatory and how to avoid it.  The main objective is to show how Purgatory is directly related to the Roman concept of justification.




Study:  Chemnitz, Examination, III, "Purgatory," p. 223-352.  What Luther Says, "Death."


1.  Does the Roman Catholic Church still ask for prayers for those

who are suffering in Purgatory?  (p. 124)






2.  According to the head of Notre Dame's theology department, when has Purgatory been reaffirmed by the papacy?  (p. 125)






3.  What did the Dogmatic Constitution of the Second Vatican Council say about Purgatory?  (note 4, p. 125f.)






                      The Biblical Passages


Study:  Lenski, Corinthians, on 1 Cor. 3:10-15.


4.  What does the 2 Maccabees passage tell us about whether there is a Purgatory?  (p. 127f.)








5.  Is the 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 about Purgatorial flames or about the importance of sound doctrine?  How can we tell?  (p. 129-130)







                     History of the Doctrine


Study:  Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XXI, Invocation of the Saints, The Book of Concord.


6.  Which pope first taught Purgatory and when did he live?  (p.  132)






7.  Which pagan author is the source of Purgatory, according to Father Martin Jugie?  (p. 132)







8.  How did St. Augustine advance the doctrine of Purgatory, even though he did not want any of his writings used which were contrary to Scripture?  (notes 24, 27, 28, p. 134f.)











9.  How does Chemnitz answer the clearest passages in St.

Augustine's writings in support of Purgatory?  (note 31, p. 135f.)








10.  How are Paul Y. Cho's occult visions and prayers like the apparitions which support the doctrine of Purgatory?  (note 36, p.  138f.  Note the section on Pope Gregory the Great, p. 137.)







11.  What does the Book of Concord say about Purgatory?  (note 38A, p. 140)







                      Doctrines of Purgatory


12.  According to Father Jugie, Purgatory is a reasonable doctrine.  How is God portrayed in the relationship between Baptism and Penance?  (note 45, p. 143)







13.  Who is supposed to aid the suffering souls in Purgatory?      (p. 144)








14.  What is a scapular and how does it help people reduce their time in Purgatory?  How many popes have supported scapular devotion? (note 54, p. 145)







15.  What does the Apology to the Augsburg Confession say about Mary and Purgatory?  (note 57, p. 146)








16.  How does the Mass relate to the souls in Purgatory?  (note 60, p. 147)









17.  Who benefits from giving money for a Mass?  (note 62, p. 148)







18.  What are the ways to avoid Purgatory, according to Father Jugie?  (note 64, p. 148f.)









19.  What did Chrysostom write about our understanding of Scripture and eternal life?  (note 68, p. 150)







20.  Can we harmonize John 3:16 with the doctrine of Purgatory?



     The Roman Catholic Church tries to deny its doctrine of papal infallibility by claiming that this divine attribute has only been invoked once, when the Assumption of Mary was declared by Pope Pius XII to be the dogma of the church.  That would be bad enough by itself, but the chapter proves that this claim is dishonest and deceptive, since infallibility has been expanded and extended ever since Vatican I.  Every priest is infallible when he agrees with the pope, and the pope is infallible whenever he teaches.

     The purpose of this chapter is to show:

     1) The doctrine of infallibility is a) recent; b) anti-Scriptural; and c) the result of heavy-handed politicking by Pope Pius IX.

     2) Infallibility has been invoked by a number of popes on many occasions, supported by Vatican II documents, and applied to the priesthood as well.

The teacher should study as much as possible about Vatican I (1870) and help the class see how papal infallibility is essential for maintaining the close connection between works-righteousness, Purgatory, and Mary as the Queen of Purgatory.  Scriptural problems with these doctrines are irrelevant if the pope is infallible. 

     If the class gives any attention to historical detail, two sessions should be devoted to the papacy.  One can titillate the class with soft-core anecdotes about various popes, especially the Borgia popes, but the Lutherans have their Borgia pastors and district presidents as well.  The worst sins are not sins of the flesh, as Luther points out, but sins against the First Table, against the doctrine God has given us, since souls are converted and sustained by sound doctrine, but murdered by false doctrine.

The gross sins of ministers and church officials show us how far the visible church has fallen in this age of apostasy.


                 Infallibility and Related Issues


Study:  Documents of Vatican II.  James H. Nichols, History of Christianity, 1650-1950.  August Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible.  Hans Kung, Infallible?  An Inquiry.  The Book of Concord, Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.


1.  Does it seem odd that a violent thunderstorm raged while the Roman Catholic Church declared officially for the first time that its leader was infallible?  Why was it necessary to bring a candle to the pope to read the declaration? (note 1, p. 157)











2.  Is it necessary to be subject to the pope to be saved, according to Pope Boniface VIII in Unam Sanctam?  (note 4, p. 158)








                            The Bible


Study:  Lenski, Acts.


3.  Peter had a definite leadership role at the Council of Jerusalem, Acts 15.  Was he the pope or one of several apostolic leaders?  (p. 159f.)







4.  What did Roman Catholic Bishop Strossmayer say at Vatican I about Peter's role in the Bible?  (note 8, p. 161)







5.  Was Peter infallible, according to Paul?  (Gal. 2:11, p. 162)







6.  Does the Bible provide us with a specific church order or system of government?  What is primary in organizing the church, according to Rom. 16:17 and Mt. 7:15?  Study the other Biblical passages which emphasize correct teaching and refutation of false teaching.  Is the success of false teachers significant, according to 2 Tim. 4:3-4? (p. 163f.)












7.  How does the papacy misuse and distort Mt. 16:18-19 to support the primacy of the pope?  What is the rock (petra)?  (p. 164f.)










8.  To whom are the keys given?  Singular or plural?  (p. 165)








9.  Does the John 21 passage support the papacy, according to the Book of Concord?  (note 12, p. 166)







                     History of Infallibility


10.  When was papal infallibility first supported within the Roman Catholic Church?  Which pope opposed it and why?  (p. 167)






                           Pope Pius IX


11.  Why is papal infallibility closely connected with Purgatory, according to Father Jugie?  (note 19, p. 169)







12.  What does Ultramontane mean, in terms of geography and papal power?  Is it significant that Fidelity magazine, which attacked Luther personally, is printed by the Ultramontane Press? (p. 169)







13.  Summarize the four Gallican articles.  (note 20, p. 169f.)







14.  List some titles given to Pope Pius IX by his Ultramontane followers.  (notes 23 and 24, p. 170)







15.  How did the declaration of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (1854) prepare the way for doctrine of papal infallibility (1870)?

(note 27, p. 171)







16.  Compare the fates of John Bosco and Alphonsus de Liguori with Gregor Yussef.  (note 33, p. 172)









17.  Which son of the pope opposed infallibility?  (note 34, p. 172)








18.  Which popes taught error, according to Bishop Strossmayer?  (note 39, p. 173)











               Infallibility Explained and Expanded


19.  Read the declaration of infallibility from Vatican I and respond to these points:

a)  Is the pope the teacher of all Christians?

b)  Does he have apostolic authority?

c)  Has Christ given him special power through Peter?

d)  Can anyone modify a papal pronouncement?

e)  Is the pope's power derived from consent from the cardinals, bishops or theologians of the church?  (note 49, p. 175)






20.  How many popes have supported or invoked papal infallibility?

(note 50, p. 176)








21.  According to Vatican I (and Vatican II), we are damned to hell if we deny that______________________________. (note 59, p. 178)







                        Doctrinal Answers


22.  Is the true Church visible or invisible?  (p. 180)







23.  How did Vatican II define the Church so that all other churches are considered part of Roman Catholicism inasmuch as they agree with Rome?  (note 68, p. 184)











24.  What are the marks of the Church, according to the Augsburg Confession?  (note 74, p. 186)









25.  "Can a Catholic theologian who criticizes infallibility remain a Catholic?"  (note 76, p. 187)










                        CHAPTER SIX:  MARY


     This section can be more troublesome for Lutherans, since Luther and the Reformers were closer to the Medieval view than we are.   Doctrines concerning the Virgin Mary were not the center of conflict during the Reformation, so certain differences were resolved later in Lutheranism and Protestantism.  Although Luther rejected the magical legends about the Holy Family in his Christmas sermons, he retained much of the Marian piety which was so important in the Medieval church.

     The Roman doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary should be taught carefully, since it is often confused with the virgin birth.  We can distinguish between honoring Mary as the mother of our Lord and attributing to her the work and qualities which belong solely to the Savior.  When we teach Roman Catholics we should not be polemical about Marian doctrines, since so much emotion and sentiment is tied up with the mother of Christ.  A better approach would be to stress the Biblical view of the centrality of Christ.  Luther's commentary on the Magnificat is a fine essay in this regard, revealing some of his Medieval habits (praying to Mary), yet completely Evangelical in its message.  Many Roman Catholic leaders have praised it.

     Marian doctrines affect Roman Catholic views on marriage and connect directly with Purgatory, justification, and papal infallibility.  At least two class sessions should be spent on this chapter, more if the class wants to pursue the distinctions in greater detail.  They may want to know more about the perpetual virginity of Mary and how Lutherans view this.  The two main goals are: 

     1)  To describe the Marian doctrines and their historical origin.

     2)  To show how the work and attributes of Christ were transferred to Mary during the Medieval era.


                        Biblical Portrait

Study:  Lenski's commentaries, Matthew, Luke, John.  Martin Luther, The Magnificat. 


1.  What portrait of Mary do we have from Matthew and Luke? (p. 193-194)







2.  In the Gospel of John, Jesus called His mother "Woman" at the miracle at Cana and at the cross?  Why didn't He call her "Mother?"

(See Lenski, John.)







3.  In the early Church, according to Richard McBrien, where do we find support for Marian devotion and where is it lacking?  (notes 2 and 3, pp. 195-196)


               Roman Catholic Doctrines about Mary

                      Immaculate Conception



4.  Describe the Immaculate Conception doctrine.  According to this doctrine, did Mary ever sin?  (p. 197)







5.  What did Chemnitz write about Augustine's often used statement about Mary?  (notes 11 and 12, p. 198f.)







6.  Which church fathers did not write about the Immaculate Conception of Mary?  (p. 199)







7.  When was the Immaculate Conception defined as dogma by the Roman Catholic Church?  How is St. Bernadette of Lourdes connected with this doctrine?  Which church groups opposed the definition?  (note 22, p. 201)


                    History of the Assumption



8.  When did the movement to have the Assumption of Mary defined as dogma begin in recent times?  (note 23, p. 202)













9.  What did Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph Strossmayer say about Marian doctrines and papal infallibility?  (note 24, p. 202)








10.  What are some of the un-Scriptural details found in the Transitus Mariae?  (note 26, p. 203)







                   Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix


Study:  Chemnitz, Examination, III, pp. 374ff.


11.  How did Pope Benedict XV describe Mary, comparing her to a priest offering the "sacrifice of the Mass."  (note 36, p. 205f.)







12.  According to Roman Catholics, "no grace is imparted to mankind without the intercession of________" (note 44, p. 207)







                         Marian Devotion


Study:  Chemnitz, Examination, III, pp. 391ff.


13.  Which Roman Catholic celebration days are also observed by Lutherans because of their Biblical origin?  (p. 210)















14.  How is the rosary connected with Purgatory?  What does the story about the suicide and Marian devotion illustrate about the Gospel?  (note 51, p. 212)






                        Scapular Devotion


Order:  Scapular from The Scapular Guild, P.O. Box 4651, Philadelphia, PA, 19127 ($1).  Study the materials enclosed with the scapular. 


15.  If a person fulfills certain obligations and dies while wearing the scapular, how long will he spend in Purgatory, according to nine different popes?  (note 55, p. 213)







16.  How is the First Gospel (Genesis 3:15) mistranslated to apply the work of Christ to Mary?  (notes 56 and 57, pp. 213-214)







17.  Are Roman Catholics aware of how Genesis 3:15 is mistranslated to support Marian piety?  Which famous Roman Catholic author and saint discussed the matter?  (note 58, p. 214f.)





















Study:  Chemnitz, Examination, III, pp. 374 ff. for examples of Marian devotional material produced by various authors.


18.  Discuss how a religious order, a confraternity, and a sodality support Marian devotion.  (pp. 215-217)








                  Development of Marian Doctrine


19.  How is the Roman Catholic view of doctrine different from the Lutheran and Protestant view?  (notes 64 and 65, p. 218)







                         Luther and Mary


Study:  Lenski, Matthew, p. 55f.  Martin Luther, The Magnificat.


20.  Luther praying through Mary may give us pause (note 69), but what does he say about Mary's role in The Magnificat? (note 70, p.  220)







21.  Luther taught the Immaculate Conception of Mary at first, but did he continue to teach this doctrine?  (note 75, p. 221)







             Lutherans and the Immaculate Conception


22.  What is said in the Book of Concord about Marian devotion?  (note 78, p. 222f.)







23.  Chemnitz denied the Immaculate Conception and cited which authorities in the Church?  (note 81, p. 223)








                           John Calvin


24.  Calvin devoted a great deal of time to the Virgin Mary in his writings.  What did he say about the perpetual virginity of Mary and the Immaculate Conception?  (note 84, p. 224)







25.  What is the danger of excessive devotion to Mary, including the "scapular promises" and the doctrines of Purgatory?  (p. 224 )

















                          CHAPTER SEVEN



     Many people would rather not deal with these two issues, but both questions are directly related to a correct understanding of the Gospel.  Lutherans and Protestants have agreed that the papacy is the fulfillment of the Biblical warnings about the anti-Christ, the "man of lawlessness."  In this present age of ecumenism, doctrinal indifference, and rank apostasy, this issue is often kept in the background, if acknowledged at all. 

     The Roman Catholic attack upon Luther continues as before, based upon personal invective and false information originally printed in Seven-Headed Luther, by Cochlaeus.  Many Roman Catholic scholars know better, but the heart of traditional Roman Catholic opinion about Luther remains a variation upon Cochlaeus' distortions.  The foundation of this invective is ultimately doctrinal, since Roman Catholicism cannot be harmonized with the Scriptures or the early church fathers.

     If the teacher is using What Luther Says throughout the course, he will have a better grasp of Luther's doctrine contrasted with the Enthusiasm of the Romanists and the Protestants.  Most people have a passing knowledge of Luther and the Reformation, but they lack a sound knowledge of Lutheran doctrine.  By returning to the Gospel and the Means of Grace, the teacher will be able to show the class how all other doctrines relate to justification by faith alone, apart from the works of the Law. 

     The purpose of this section is to teach the class the greatest source of tension between Lutherans and Roman Catholics:

     1)  The erroneous basis for the Roman Catholic attack on Luther and how it continues today;

     2)  The Biblical doctrine of the anti-Christ and how the papacy fulfills the Scriptural warnings.

The first part can be taught over many sessions, depending on the knowledge and resources of the teacher.  Lutheran pastors and teachers should not rely on their foggy memories of Reformation 101 in college, but introduce Luther's doctrine with depth, passion, and conviction.  Faithful Lutherans can run into Roman Catholic polemics about Luther and become deeply disturbed, so they should be well instructed in the form of the attack and the factual answers.  The second part can be taught in one session, with a concluding session to draw the entire course together and answer questions. 

     The video, "Pilgrim's Progress," available from Christian News, is a fine supplement to the course.  The Luther film is also worth viewing.




Study:  Fidelity, May, 1991 (South Bend, Ind).  Ewald Plass, This Is Luther.  What Luther Says, "Luther."  Msgr. Patrick O'Hare, The Facts about Luther (Tan Publishers, Rockford, Illinois).




1.  How recent is the personal attack against Luther by traditional Roman Catholics?  (note 1, p. 230)








2.  Who is the original author of personal attacks against Luther and when did he write?  Which traditionalist Roman Catholic scholars have used his scurrilous writings?  (notes 3 and 4, p. 231.  Note the relationship to O'Hare's popular work.)











3.  List some of the charges of Cochlaeus against Luther.  Was Seven-Headed Luther called a "masterpiece of distortion,

misrepresentation, and also stupidity."?  (notes 10 and 4, p. 231, 233)









4.  What are the charges against Luther about sexual immorality and how can they be answered?  (p. 234)



















5.  Was Philip Melanchthon opposed to Luther's wedding?  How do we know?  (p. 235)







                        Luther Quotations


Study:  What Luther Says.  Sig Becker, The Foolishness of God.


6.  What was Luther's attitude about the importance of correct doctrine?  (notes 23 and 24, p. 237)








7.  Did Luther consider it unloving to place doctrine first?  What happens to love when the doctrine of the Bible is abandoned?  (note 25 and 26, p. 237f.)







8.  Is man's will active or passive during conversion?  Do works or any kind of merit play a role?  (notes 27-29, p. 238)







9.  How does sorrow or contrition for sin come about?  (note 31, p.  239)







10.  What did Luther write about evangelism?  (note 36, p. 240)








11.  Why is infant baptism the surest sign of God at work through the Word?  (note 38,  p. 241)










12.  How does the image of the peacock fit the false teachers of today?  (note 40, p. 241f.)















13.  What divine purpose is served when believers suffer trials because of the faith?  (notes 46-48, p. 244)












14.  Why is sadness and depression an aid for Satan?  What is the remedy?  (note 49, p. 245. Compare note 42, about human reason seducing us into misery.)













                         The Anti-Christ


Study:  Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, III, pp. 462-469.

What Luther Says, "Antichrist," (also "Pope" and "Papacy.)

The Book of Concord, Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.


15.  Which church leaders of various denominations have identified the papacy as the anti-Christ?  (note 53, p. 246f.)








16.  What are the characteristics of the anti-Christ?  What can't Hitler or a cult leader be the anti-Christ?  (p. 247)








17.  What is apostasy?  Why must apostasy come from the church?  Is it a sign of the end-times?  (p. 248.  Study "Apostasy" in What Luther Says.)









18.  How does the office of the papacy fulfill the prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2 about the son of iniquity?  (p. 249)









19.  How has the papacy made itself godlike in the last 150 years?  What happens to the infallibility of the Scriptures when the pope is infallible? (p. 250f.)







20.  Pope John Paul II is an appealing figure who stood up against Marxist aggression and found himself almost killed for his courage.

Why must we still insist that his office is that of the anti-Christ?  (notes 61 and 62, p. 251f.)







21.  Lutherans view the Smalcald Articles (The Book of Concord) as their norm of faith, ruled by Scripture.  What do Lutherans confess about the anti-Christ in the words written by Luther?  (note 64, p.  253)







                         Warning and Hope


22.  Why should Lutherans stop thanking God that they are not as bad as the rest of the church? (p. 254)









                    A Final Word - the Gospel


Study:  John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress.  The animated version is available from Christian News.  Martin Luther, Commentary of Peter and Jude, a perfect companion to Pilgrim's Progress.


23.  How would you summarize the message of the Bible for an unbeliever?  Why is the Gospel message of forgiveness central to all Biblical doctrines? (p. 254f.)







                       BIBLE STUDY OUTLINE


     The following outline is provided so that a class may be taught using the Scriptures as the primary source, with Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant as the doctrinal guide.  The outline will also help readers see the Biblical structure behind each chapter.  Lutherans should not make the mistake of separating Biblical study and doctrinal study.  The orthodox fathers keep us from falling into errors of the past.  Laity and pastors who do not know The Book of Concord, Luther, Chemnitz, Walther, Hoenecke, and Krauth are stumbling in the dark.


                        Part I, Agreement

      Chapter One:  Bible, Trinity, Two Natures, Natural Law


I.   The authority of the Word.

     A.  Biblical testimonies (p. 15)

     B.  The Trinity

          1.  Great Commission, Mt. 28:19-20

          2.  The Baptism of Jesus, (Mt, Mk, Lk)

          3.  Aaronic benediction (Nm 6:24-6)

          4.  Holy, holy, holy (Is 6:3)

          5.  Depth of the riches (Rm 11:33-6)

          6.  One Church (Eph 4:4-6)

          7.  Eph 1:17; 2 Cor 13:14; Jn 15:26.

     C.  Creeds

          1.  Kenosis, Phil 2:6-11

          2.  Appeared, vindicated, seen, 1 Tim 3:16

     D.  Two Natures of Christ

          1.  Rm 1:1-5

          2.  Humanity of Jesus (p. 34)

          3.  Divine nature (Ps 2, Ps 110)

          4.  Rectilinear prophecy, Virgin Birth (Is 7)

     E.  Natural Law

          1.  Ten Commandments (Ex 20)


                   Part Two, Some Disagreement

                   Chapter Two:  The Sacraments


II.  The Means of Grace

     A.  Holy Spirit and the Word (Is 55)

          1.  Faith comes by hearing (Rm 10:17)

          2.  The Word is life (Jn 6:63)

          3.  Gospel as power (Rm 1:16)

          4.  The Word at work (1 Th 2:13)

     B.  Holy Spirit and the Means of Grace

          1.  God does it (1 Cor 2:14)

     C.  The Word active in Baptism

          1.  Baptism as washing (Acts 22:16)

          2.  Washing, regeneration, justification (Titus 3:4-7, 1           Cor 6:11, Eph 5:25-7)

     D.  Infant Faith

          1.  You made me trust in you (Ps 22:9-10)

          2.  Children's faith (Mk 10:14, 16; Mk 9:37)

          3.  Children and infants praise God (Mt 21:16)

          4.  Households baptized (Acts 16:15, 33; 18:8)

     E.  Infant Baptism

          1.  Baptism now saves you (1 Pt 3:21)

     F.  The Lord's Supper

          1.  This is My body (Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22; Lk 22:19)

          2.  St. Paul (1 Cor 11:23-7)

          3.  Bread and wine, body and blood (1 Cor 10:16)


          4.  Risen body, locked room (Jn 20:19-30, Mt 28:2-5)

          5.  Feeding of the 5,000 (Mk 6:30ff.)


                Part Three, Complete Disagreement

              Chapter Three:  Justification by Faith


III. Justification

     A.  Salvation (Rm 10:12-15)

     B.  Repentance (Mt 3:8)

     C.  Righteous live by faith (Rm 1:17)

     D.  First Gospel (Gn 3:15)

     E.  Suffering Servant (Is 53)

     F.  How we are justified (p. 96)

     G.  Faith and good works (Jn 6:28; Jn 3:16; Eph 2:8)

          1.  Abraham (Rm 4:1-8)

          2.  Not by works (Rm 11:5-6; Galatians)

          3.  James (2:26)

          4.  Jn 15:1-8

     H.  Protestant Problems

          1.  Against limited atonement (Rm 5:6)

          2.  Died for all (2 Cor 5:14-15; 1 Pt 3:18)


IV.  Purgatory

     A.  Passages used by Roman Catholics

          1.  Prayers for dead (2 Maccabees 12:39-46)

          2.  Escaping the flames (1 Cor 3:10-15)

     B.  Paul's address to Ephesus elders (Acts 20:29-30)

     C.  Paul's words already distorted (2 Pt 3:15-18)

     D.  Only one mediator - Christ (1 Tim 2:5)


V.   Papal Infallibility

     A.  Council of Jerusalem (15:1-29)

     B.  False teachers

          1.  Must be divisions (1 Cor 11:18-19)

          2.  Beware of false teachers (Mt 7:15ff.)

          3.  Mark and avoid (Rm 16:17)

          4.  Pastoral warnings (1 Tim 6:3-4)

          5.  Sound doctrine (2 Tim 1:13-14)

          6.  Endtimes and apostasy (2 Tim 4:3-4)

     C.  Petrine passage (Mt 16:18-19)

          1.  Petros and petra

          2.  Petra (1 Cor 10:3-4)

          3.  Keys given to you, plural (Jn 20:22-23)

     D.  Feed My sheep (Jn 21:15-18)

     E.  What is the Church?

          1.  Sanctified in Christ (1 Cor 1:2)

          2.  One true, invisible Church (Eph 4:4-6)

          3.  Test the spirits (1 Jn 4:1)

          4.  True disciples (Jn 8:31)

          5.  Contend for the faith (Jude 3-4)


VI.  Doctrines concerning Mary

     A.  Birth of Christ (Mt 1:18ff., Lk 2)

     B.  In the Temple (Lk 2:48)

     C.  Scandalized by Jesus (Mt 13:55)

     D.  John and Mary (Jn 19:25-26)

          1.  Note use of "woman."

          2.  Compare "woman" at Cana wedding.

     E.  Apostolic church (Acts 1:14)

     F.  Ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:8-11)

          1.  Compare with Assumption of Mary

     G.  Mistranslation of Gen 3:15

          1.  "her heel"

          2.  "She shall crush thy head"


VII. The Anti-Christ

     A.  Term anti-Christ (1 Jn 2:18 singular and plural;

     2:22; 4:3; 2 Jn 7)

     B.  Son of perdition (2 Thess 2:1-11)

          1.  Compare Judas in Jn 17:12

     C.  Peter "completely wrong" (Gal 2:11)

     D.  Book of Revelation

          1.  Rev 13:11-18