October 31 isn't just Halloween, it's also "Reformation Day" and my Facebook feed always has some Happy Reformation Day posts. I think the Reformation is the saddest event since the fall in the garden. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg, October 31, 1517, the Catholic Church was in a terribly corrupt state and desperately in need of reform. How I wish Martin Luther had stayed in the Catholic church and humbly fought for reform there. Several Catholic reformers did and they made a powerful difference. Jesus prayed that we would be one as he and the Father are one. But now, thanks to Martin Luther and the reformation, we have over 30,000 denominations – anything but unity. No one denies the church needed reforming, but we didn’t need a new church. We needed a purified church. Thankfully, God raised up saints who fought for purity and reform in the Church. Martin Luther, on the other hand, threw out the baby with the bathwater.
Catholics believe that Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (Apostolic teaching) constitute the full deposit of faith. Chronologically, Tradition came first as the early church didn’t have the New Testament. The New Testament wasn’t canonized until four centuries after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus left us a Church, not a Bible. Apostolic teaching (Tradition) propagated the spread of the gospel before the Bible was available. If “Scripture alone” is valid, how did the early church survive? Thankfully, they weren’t reliant on Scripture alone or they would have starved to death.The "Happy Reformation Day" posts often include something about, "Scripture alone. Faith alone. Christ alone." Regarding Scripture alone, I want to ask: Where might that verse be found? "Scripture alone" is a self-refuting argument since it’s not in the Bible. When I was a protestant, I cited 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as proof, ("All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be equipped, prepared for every good work.”), but really those verses confirm the value, inspiration, and inerrancy of the Word, not the teaching of Scripture alone.
Regarding faith alone, isn’t the flip side of faith faithfulness? Can one have faith without being faithful? Romans 1:5 and 16:25-26 speaks of the obedience of faith. If faith is simply believing, what is the “obedience of faith” that Paul speaks of? The Catholic church is accused of teaching that we can earn our salvation, but the Church teaches no such thing. We believe in faith and works. I cannot earn my way to heaven by good works. But once God gives me the grace of conversion, (His work, not mine), for love of Him, I will “work out my salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12 “For faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” James 2:18
Glory to God alone!! That Catholics worship anyone other than the Holy Trinity is untrue. To worship anyone else is heresy and idolatry. We honor and esteem the saints who’ve gone before us, Mary above the others, but in no way do we worship them.
I am head-over-heels in love with my glorious Catholic faith and badly want to come to its defense when I see the Reformation Day posts. But that would be futile, and I'm anything but a debater. But I know my experience well and it is this: when I came into the Catholic church, I didn’t give up anything, but I gained a richness, depth, and beauty in my relationship with Jesus that I never dreamed possible. I have never been more in love with Jesus. I have never had more powerful prayer. I have never been more aware of my sin and His mercy. I have never been more whole. Jesus, through the Catholic Church, has changed everything.