II. What the Catholic Bible Teaches About the Virgin Mary
A Sermon From a Catholic Bible
by Evangelist John R. Rice
I hold in my hand the new Confraternity edition of the New Testament which is translated from the Latin Vulgate by Catholic authorities. It has on the title page the following:
The NEW TESTAMENT
of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Translated from the Latin Vulgate. A Revision of the Challoner-Rheims Version
Edited by Catholic Scholars
Under the Patronage of
THE EPISCOPAL COMMITTEE
CONFRATERNITY OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE
St. Anthony Guild Press, Paterson, New Jersey, 1941
It is copyrighted by the "Confraternity of Christian Doctrine." It has "Nihil obstat" (nothing against it) by Rt. Rev. Msgr. Henry J. Grimmelsman, Rev. John F. McConnell, and Rev. Joseph J. Tennant and the Imprimatur of Most Rev. Thomas H. McLaughlin, Bishop of Paterson, New Jersey. It is the official Catholic translation. Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (the Catholic Cardinal) has his letter of approval in it.
I will read a little from the foreword, an introduction, to this Catholic translation under the heading, "On the Reading of Holy Scripture." I want you to see what Catholic authorities say about reading the Bible. Now our Catholic friends do not always do what their Bible says, just as we Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians and Lutherans and Episcopalians and Pentecostal people and others do not always do what our Bible says. But it would be well for you to know what Catholic authorities say about reading the Bible. Then we will show what the Catholic Bible says about many, many very interesting subjects.
"On the Reading of Holy Scripture" this is from the Encyclical Letter, the "Spiritus Paraclitus," which is the Catholic Encyclical designated by those first two Latin words.
" 'Since the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, had bestowed the Scriptures on the human race for their instruction in Divine things, He also raised up in successive ages saintly and learned men whose task it should be to develop that treasure and so provide for the faithful plenteous "consolation afforded by the Scriptures" (Rom. 15:4)" '
Then he goes on to say, " 'The responsibility of our Apostolic office impels us to set before you his wonderful example [that is, of St. Jerome] and so promote the study of Holy Scripture in accordance with the teachings of our predecessors, Leo XIII and Pius X.' "
" 'And none can fail to see what profit and sweet tranquility must result in well-disposed souls from such devout reading of the Bible. Whoever comes to it in piety, faith and humility, and with a determination to make progress in it, will assuredly find therein and will eat the "bread that comes down from heaven" (John 6:50).' "
A little further down the same passage continues, " 'We confidently hope that his example will fire both clergy and laity with enthusiasm for the study of the Bible. [The Catholic clergy and Catholic laity, he is saying, ought to be inspired to a study of the Bible] . . . So convinced indeed was Jerome that familiarity with the Bible was the royal road to the knowledge and love of Christ that he did not hesitate to say. "Ignorance of the Bible means ignorance of Christ." ' '' And then is given the reference for that statement from Jerome.
Then further, " 'Our one desire for all the Church's children [the children of the Catholic church] is that, being saturated with the Bible, they may arrive at the all-surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ.' "
"Pope Leo XIII granted to the faithful who shall read for at least a quarter of an hour the books of the Sacred Scripture with the veneration due to the Divine Word and as spiritual reading, an indulgence of 300 days."
That is the introduction that our Catholic friends have to their new Confraternity edition of the New Testament, a Catholic Bible.
There is a further preface which I will not take time to read.
Tonight I want it to be understood that I will not preach about Catholics, nor attack them. I have many Catholic friends, and as far as that is concerned, I love Catholic friends as I love others. I think I ought to say also that I have found a good many Catholics whom I believe to be very earnest and sincere, born-again Christians. I do not say that every Catholic is a born-again Christian. I could not say that every Protestant is a born-again Christian. No, no! Only those who have personally come to trust in Jesus as Savior are Christians. Membership in a church, a Protestant church, does not make you a Christian. Membership in a Catholic church does not make you a Christian. Neither does it prevent your being a Christian.
However, I should like for you to see tonight what the Roman Catholic Bible, the newest and best translation of the Catholic Bible, has to say on several important doctrines. And, by the way, I would like to say that this is an interesting translation and it is true to the originals. You would be safe in reading it. I would not be embarrassed nor afraid at all for Protestants to have this Bible and read it. Though some of the notes in it I would not agree to, the translation itself is an honest and good translation. And the surprising and happy thing about it is that this, coming through the translation of the Latin Vulgate which was translated by St. Jerome, and our King James translation which came from the original Hebrew and Greek and copied manuscripts, come out almost word for word the same. There are a few words different, but there is no special difference in meaning when there is a slight difference in the English wording. You can put it down now that all good translations of the Bible come out alike and teach the same doctrines exactly. And a Catholic Bible can be relied upon to teach the truth, and so, of course, can the King James Version or the American Standard Version.
I. The Bible Is the Only Inspired and Infallible Authority
First, what does the Catholic Bible say about the Bible? What does the Catholic Bible say about the authority of the Word of God? There are some Protestants who do not believe in the authority of the Word of God. There are modernists, there are unbelievers in the churches, there are blind leaders of the blind, there are wolves in sheep's clothing in Protestant churches who do not believe the Bible, who do not believe it is the authority of God. There are some Catholics who do not accept the Bible very much and who do not follow it; but I want to remind you that the Catholic Bible has a clear teaching about its own authority.1. Traditions of men not authoritative.
Some of our Catholic friends would tell you that we are to go by the traditions of the church. Suppose we read in this Catholic translation of the Bible the words of Jesus Christ on that matter. I turn to Mark, chapter 7, and from this Catholic Bible, translated by Catholic scholars only five years ago, I read the words of Jesus Christ. "Jesus and the Pharisees" is the heading here. I begin with verse 5:
"So the Pharisees and Scribes asked him, 'Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of the ancients [ In our translation it says, 'the elders.' You see, there is not much difference], instead of eating bread with defiled hands?' But answering he said to them, 'Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, " 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; And in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines precepts of men.' "
Now in this Catholic Bible Jesus quotes Isaiah, and say's that some people in vain worship God because they teach the precepts of men for doctrines instead of teaching the Bible.
I read on in this Catholic Bible about whether the Bible is the only authority, or whether one can accept the traditions of the church. Jesus goes on speaking in St. Mark 7:8:
"For, letting go the commandment of God, you hold fast the tradition of men, the washing of pots and of cups; and many other things you do like to these."
And now verses 12,13:
"And you do not allow him to do anything further for his father or mother. You make void the commandment of God by your tradition, which you have handed down; and many suchlike things you do."
This Catholic Bible, quoting Jesus Christ, says that it is wrong to go by handed-down traditions, and that, instead, everybody ought to go by the Bible itself. You see, the Catholic Bible says exactly what we would say in our churches and what your Protestant Bible says. It is the Word of God that is the authority - not the church, not preachers, not priests, not popes, not Baptist seminaries, not denominational headquarters. No! No! Not traditions of men, but the Word of God is the only authority on earth that tells us what God would have us do.
2. May the Church Add to or Take From the Bible?
Now let us see what this Catholic version says about adding to and taking from the Word of God. Some people say, "Brother Rice, don't you think it is all right to change things if we find it does not fit for this age?" Some people say, "Well, never mind what they did in Bible times. Let's change it to fit our plans today." And some of our Catholic friends in practice have changed. For instance, there was a time when the Catholic people had what they call the mass, the Eucharist, what we call the Lord's Supper, in "two kinds," which means that they originally gave both bread and wine, or grape juice, to all the worshipers who took part, as we do. But they changed that and now the priest drinks the wine and gives the bread to the people. I am not criticizing. I just want to show you the danger here. What does the Bible say about adding to or taking from or changing the Word of God?
Now listen very carefully. Suppose the Bible says preachers should marry. Should the church change that? Would a church have the right to say that priests ought not to marry and change what the Bible said if the Bible commanded them to marry? We will read in the Apocalypse 22:18,19. If you have a Protestant Bible it is the book of Revelation. If you have a Catholic Bible the same portion of Scripture is called Apocalypse. In Revelation, chapter 22, or the Apocalypse, chapter 22, I read to you, beginning with verse 18:
"I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone shall add to them, God will add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his portion from the tree of life, and from the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book."
Oh, may we then with a holy reverence handle this Word of God, for if we add to the Word of God we add to ourselves the plagues written in the book! If we take from the Word of God by our traditions, then the Scripture says that God will take away from us our part from the tree of life and from the holy city and from the things that are written therein. So you see, then, that the Catholic Bible says about the Bible - that we are not to go by any tradition handed down from the ancients or elders, but that we are to go by the Word of God itself, by the Bible, and that anyone who adds to the Bible or takes from the Bible is under a terrible curse from God!
Oh, then, to reverence this Bible, the Holy Bible! That is the teaching of the Catholic Bible, everywhere accepted among Catholics. And of course it is the teaching of the Protestant Bible, too. All of us alike, then, Catholics and Protestants, should have a holy reverence for the authority of the Word of God and follow that and not what any man's tradition or church's tradition may say.
Here is another interesting question. What about the Virgin Mary? There are modernists who are infidels in the churches, as well as infidels and atheists on the outside of the churches, who make fun of the virgin birth of Christ. I make bold to say now that our Catholic friends have done a real service in insisting on the virgin birth of our Savior. I join them in that insistence. Mary was a virgin when the Savior was conceived. She was still a virgin when He was born. Jesus had no human father. I join my Catholic friends in doing honor to her as the virgin mother of our Savior.
1. The Virgin Birth of Christ
But now then, I say, the infidel does not believe in the
virgin birth. Now let us see what the Catholic Bible say's about it. I am
glad to say that I believe what the Catholic Bible says, and I know you will
be greatly impressed and interested in it, as I am. In St. Luke, chapter 1,
begin with verse 30. An angel came to Mary to announce the birth of the
"And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.'
"But Mary said to the angel, 'How shall this happen, since I do not know man?'
"And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God.' "
Thank God, the Catholic Bible teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin and is therefore the very Son of God! On that we can agree, certainly. All true believers, all true Christians, must acknowledge that Jesus was born of a virgin as no one else was ever born, just as the Bible - the Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible alike - teaches.
2. Was Mary Sinless?
3. Jesus Said All Who Do the Will of His Father Are as Good as Mary.
Here is another thing about Mary in which you will be interested, I know.
Let us read in Mark, chapter 3, and see further what this Catholic translation
says about Mary, whether we can go to her in prayer, whether she will get God
to do things, whether she will get Christ to do things. Can we pray to her
better than to Jesus? Listen now to Mark, chapter 3, beginning with verse 31.
"Jesus and His Brethren" is the heading here.
"And his mother and his brethren came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him. Now a crowd was sitting about him, and they said to him, 'Behold, thy mother and thy brethren are outside, seeking thee.' And he answered and said to them, 'Who are my mother and my brethren? And looking round on those who were sitting about him, he said, 'Behold my mother and my brethren. For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.' "
What is that He is saying? He says, 'Anybody who does the will of God is as good as my mother or as good as my brothers or as good as my sisters.' Of course the brothers He had in mind there are His half brothers born of Joseph and Mary, but the point here is that according to this Catholic Bible it is clearly taught, as it is in all good translations, of course, that Mary was no different in the sight of Christ from others who do the will of God.
She said, 'Tell Jesus I want to see Him. Tell Him we are out here waiting.'
They said, 'Master, Your mother and Your brethren are outside.'
He said, 'Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? These are my mother and brothers and sisters. Whoever does the will of God is my mother and brother and sister.' Oh, don't you see that you could not get any more by going to Mary than you could by getting any other good Christian to pray for you? That is what the Catholic Bible teaches. Some false ideas have gotten abroad. They did not start in the Catholic Bible. Let us remember that. This is a good Bible and all good Catholics ought to read it, and Protestants would do well to read it, too, or your own Bible, because there would be no essential difference in it at all. Jesus said, "Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother." Remember these words of Jesus Christ in Mark 3:35.
Let me also read from this Catholic New Testament on "The Praise of Mary" from Luke 11:27, 28:
"Now it came to pass as he was saying these things, that a certain woman lifted up her voice from the crowd, and said to him. 'Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the breasts that nursed thee.' But he said, 'Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it,' "
It is more blessed for a woman to put her trust in Jesus, be saved, read the Word and follow it, than it would be to be even the mother of Jesus Christ!
III. Is the Catholic Pope Infallible?
Here is another thing. Somebody now says, "Well, the pope infallible." Let
us see what the Catholic Bible says about it.
We do not want to go by what some man says. Let us see what the Catholic authority, the real Catholic authority and the authority of all other true Christians, says. Turn to Galatians, chapter 2, and begin with verse 11. The heading in this Catholic Bible is, "Paul Reproves Peter."
"But when Cephas came to Antioch, I with stood him to his face, because he was deserving of blame. For before certain persons came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and to separate himself, fearing the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews dissembled [that means they deceived or played the hypocrite] along with him, so that Barnabas also was led away by them into that dissimulation. But when I saw that they were not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all: If thou, though a Jew, livest like the Gentiles, and not like the Jews, how is it that thou dost compel the Gentiles to live like the Jews?"
Paul says. "I withstood him to his face." The heading in this Catholic Bible is, "Paul Reproves Peter." And Peter dissembled, that is, he made out like he would not have anything to do with Gentile converts; he was too good a Jew. Then Paul rebuked him and said right to his face, 'You are wrong.'
Was Peter, then, infallible? Was he infallible in doctrine? Was he infallible in life? Was he infallible in leadership? No, not according to the Bible. Not according to the Protestant Bible nor the Catholic Bible. Peter was a good man; he was saved; he loved the Lord, but he was a little hot-headed and he made mistakes. Popes are human beings. Some of them have been very good human beings; some of them have been pretty sorry. We could say the same thing for some Protestant preachers, of course. No, there was no inherent righteousness or authority in a Catholic pope, nor in a Protestant bishop - both of them are human beings; both need to be saved by the blood like anybody else. Incidentally, that is the reason that the Pope at Rome in the Vatican has a private father confessor to whom he may confess his sins. That is not a joke, All good Catholic leaders know that. What I am saying is, then, that this is the Catholic Bible's teaching about papal infallibility.
IV. What Does Catholic Bible Teach About Priests' Marrying?
Next, should preachers marry, or priests marry? That is an interesting question. Suppose we turn to the case of Peter. Our Catholic friends say that Peter was the first pope. You must not be angry with them. You probably misunderstood what our Catholic friends mean. All they really mean, I should think, is that Peter was the first of the twelve apostles. And they think there we differ with them - that these twelve apostles were the starting of a human organization that was handed down, becoming, they say, the Roman Church. In that sense they say that Peter was the first pope. That is generally what Catholic scholars mean when they talk about it.
1. Was Peter Married?
Now, let us see about Peter. Was Peter married? That would he interesting, wouldn't it? What would you think about a Catholic pope that was married? Well, let us see about Simon Peter. Turn to Mark, chapter 1, verse 29 and following:
And as soon as they came out of the synagogue, they, with James and John, came to the house of Simon [that is another name for Peter, you know] and Andrew. Now Simon's mother-in-law [in our Bible it says, 'Simon's wife's mother' This is a little neater, don't you think?] was keeping her bed sick with a fever, and they immediately told him about her. And drawing near, he took her by the hand and raised her up; and the fever left her at once, and she began to wait on them."
Isn't that interesting? Simon Peter was married. His mother-in-law lived with them. She was sick and Jesus healed her. Simon Peter, then, was married, wasn't he?
2. A Priest Should Be "Married but Once," "Keeping His Children Under Control"
Should preachers marry? We found that Peter had a mother-in-law. He had a family. Now preachers or priests today - should they marry or not? In I Timothy, chapter 3, we read in the Catholic translation, under the heading, "Qualities of a Bishop":
"This saying is true: If anyone is eager for the office of bishop he desires a good work. A bishop then, must be blameless, married but once, reserved, prudent, of good conduct, hospitable, a teacher, not a drinker or a brawler, but moderate, not quarrelsome, not avaricious. He should rule well his own household, keeping his children under control and perfectly respectful. For if a man cannot rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?"
Notice that this Bible says that a bishop should be married (should have but one wife at a time). He should be married, he should have children, he should make them obey him respectfully, the Scripture says.
Now here is a note at the bottom of the page in the Catholic Bible which says:
"Bishop: represents a Greek word meaning 'overseer,' and 'presbyter' another Greek word meaning 'elder.' In St. Paul 'bishop' and 'presbyter' seem to be used convertibly, and probably priests are here included under the term 'bishops.'
"Married but once: priestly celibacy as a law is of later ecclesiastical institution."
What do the Catholic translators mean? They mean that it was not found in the Bible. "Ecclesiastical" means "of the church." It was an institution the church founded later, to have priests be celibate, that is, they are not to marry. In other words, that is a human tradition. But the Bible plainly says that priests are to marry. Or bishops are to marry, if you want to call them that in that case. " A bishop then, must be blameless, married but once." The bishop or priest, says this Catholic Bible, "should rule well his own household, keeping his children under control."
V. Is the Sacrifice of the Mass Right and Scriptural?
Our Catholic friends would be interested, and everybody else is who makes a
study of comparative religions, and comparison of Catholicism and Protestantism,
in the question of the mass. Our Catholic friends are reverent, and may I say
now, I want to thank God that our Catholic friends have made much of the
bleeding wounds of Christ. I thank God they believe in the blood. On some things
I differ with them, but I want to give honor to whom honor is due. A Catholic
priest, or a Catholic teacher, for example, who honors the blood of Christ, and
believes the blood of Jesus was poured out to pay for sin, I honor far more than
a modernist in a Protestant pulpit who does not believe in the blood.
Now let us see what the Catholic Bible says. Our Catholic friends in the mass 'elevate the host.' That means, as I understand them, that the priest elevates the bread and wine. After the prayer of the priest and the consecration, this bread actually becomes the body of the Lord Jesus and this wine actually becomes the blood of the Lord Jesus, they say, and then they offer it as a sacrifice again. Every time the mass is said, there is a new sacrifice made of the body and blood of Christ. If I understand my Catholic friends correctly, and I think I do, that is just about their position, that this is actually converting the bread into the body of Jesus and the wine into His blood, and whether one can tell the difference in the taste or not, or by chemical analysis or not, in God's sight, and for its practical efficacy, they say, it actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus, and it is offered anew every time the mass is said.
Now what does this Catholic Bible say about it? Is there a need for more sacrifices day by day? If someone dies, shall we have masses said for his soul? Shall we have more masses said as a new sacrifice for sin? What about that? I turn in this Catholic Bible to Hebrew's chapter l0, verses l0 to 14.
"It is in this 'will' that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
How many times? "Once for all," this Catholic Bible says. Now listen:
"And every priest indeed stands daily ministering, and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but Jesus, having offered one sacrifice for sins, has taken his seat forever at the right hand of God, waiting thenceforth until his enemies be made the footstool under his feet. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified."
Let us read verse 18:
"Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin."
What does the Catholic Bible say about a need for new mass or new sacrifice? "That we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." And again, that "Jesus, having offered one sacrifice for sins, has taken his seat forever at the right hand of God." And again, "For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified." And again it says, "Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin."
What is the teaching of the Catholic Bible, then? That when Jesus died, there was no more need for a priest and sacrifices.
My friends, some here will not quite understand why I am called a preacher, and if it were a Catholic man at the head of his church, he would be called a priest. Now what is the difference? This is it: that I come and take my stand on this Catholic Bible or on all Bibles, for it is the Word of God the same, and I take my stand that when Jesus died, you do not need any more priests. Jesus Christ is the one Priest who settled everything. What I mean is this: the only sacrifice, the only official sacrifice that is ever needed to pay for sin has now already been offered. Now we need preachers to proclaim it. We do not need priests to make sacrifices. That is the point of the Catholic Bible here. I am not saying anything unkind; I am saying what the Roman Catholic translation of the Bible clearly teaches, that Jesus Christ is the only hope, and when He pays the price, it is all paid for ever. And one ought to trust in Jesus Christ and have it settled on His blood that paid the whole debt for mankind forever when he died on the cross. Do you see what I mean, and what the Catholic Bible teaches here? The death of Christ ended all sacrifices for sin. There is room for the Lord's Supper as a memorial, an object lesson, but it should not be made as a sacrifice for sins.
VI. What Mediator Can a Sinner Have? Mary? the Saints? the Priest?
Let us see another thing that will be of interest. To whom shall we go for
pardon? We come close to the plan of salvation, and that is the most important
matter for a Catholic. It is the most important matter for a Protestant. How may
I be saved? A Catholic friend who has a rosary - some beads on a string - does
not mean that rosary to be idolatry. No, that is not the point. These beads are
only a convenient reminder to say a prayer for this, that or the other, a
particular kind of prayer, to say so many prayers. We are not discussing the use
of beads. That is not the point. The point is: to whom shall I pray? Shall I
pray to Mary the virgin? Or shall I pray to the saints? Or shall I go and
confess to a priest? Who can be a mediator? Can the priest go into the matter
and offer some mass for me, or say some prayers for me? Shall I pray to the
saints? Or shall I pray to the Virgin Mary? Or there are some good people who
are called saints, who have been canonized. They have done a superabundance of
good works and they have some credit left, it may be thought-should I go and
pray to them? Our Catholic friends think so. Now what does the Catholic Bible
say about to whom I should pray, and how I should come to God?
Now this is interesting. Aren't you finding the Catholic Bible wonderfully interesting? Aren't you enjoying the Word of God in this Catholic Bible? I do. Bless God for it! The Word of God is sweet anywhere. And I would have you come to the point where, when it is the Word of God, it is sweet to you. What if it does come from a Catholic printing house? What if they were Catholic priests who translated it? Just so they reverently bring to us the very Word of God, then we should so regard it and should live by it, shouldn't we?
I turn to I Timothy, chapter 2 and begin with verse 5:
"For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, bearing witness in his own time."
Now let me give it to you in the King James Version from which I usually preach, and you will find a difference in only a word or two:
"For there is one God [exactly the same], and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus [The Catholic translation says: 'himself man, Christ Jesus.']; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." The Catholic translation says: "Who gave himself a ransom for all, bearing witness in his own time."
It is exactly the same. How do I come to God, then? "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Or "there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, bearing witness in his own time."
I was in Washington, D. C., and preached in the Non-sectarian Tabernacle one morning on "Ye Must Be Born Again." I could have preached it from a Catholic Bible, but I didn't. I will read it to you in a moment. I remember that in the service a number of people were saved. One woman who seemed deeply concerned whispered to her friend. This friend came up to see me and she said, "Brother Rice, the lady with me wonders if you would be willing to talk to her after the service."
"Surely I would," I said.
When the service was dismissed, she came forward and we sat to one side. She said, "Dr. Rice, I have two things I want to say. The first one is an apology. I owe you and everybody here an apology."
"I didn't see anything wrong," I said. "What have you done?"
She said, "I didn't believe God was in this place. I had never been to a Protestant service and I did not believe God would be in it. But He is. God is here this morning. And you are God's man. And these are good people here. God is here for He talked to my heart. I know God is in this place and I want to apologize that I ever felt God would not be in a Protestant service, that God would not talk through a Protestant preacher." She said, "I know I was wrong, and I am sorry."
"Well," I said, "that is all right. I am glad you felt that God was here and that He spoke to your heart. Now what is the other thing?"
She said, "The other thing is, what do you mean about being born again? I have never been born again. I pray. I go to confession. I go to mass. I do whatever they tell me. I say my prayers. But," she said, "I have never been born again. I did not know that you had to be born again. How would you go about getting born again?"
I said, "I will tell you. There is a verse I think you would like." I turned to this one I have just read to you in the Catholic Bible and read it. I said, "Now you look on with me," and she did. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all." I said, "Now I will tell you what to do: you look at that verse. You want to know really what it takes to come to God?"
"All right. You look at that verse, and I will ask you a Bible question."
She said, "But I don't know much about the Bible."
I said, "You don't need to. You just look on and see, and answer from the Bible. Don't try to make up your own answer. How many gods are there?"
She smiled. That was easy. "There is just one God."
I said, "I know there is, but I want you to look on, and read it in the words of the Bible."
So she read it: "For there is one God."
That was easy. I said, "Now here is another Bible question. You look on the verse, I Timothy 2:5. How many mediators are there between God and men?"
She began to knit her brows. I said, "Never mind. I don't want you to think about it and decide for yourself. Look and see what God said." So she read it. "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men."
"Just one Mediator?"
"Yes," she said. "just one."
"All right. Now listen. Here is another question, and this one is very important. There is just one Mediator. Who is that? Is that a preacher? Is that a preacher like I am, a minister?"
She was a little puzzled, but she looked at the Scripture. She said. "No, it is not a preacher."
I said, "Is it a priest?"
"No, it isn't a priest."
I said, "Is it the saints?"
She said, "No."
She was getting a little uneasy. I said, "Is it the Virgin Mary? Is she the one Mediator?"
She said, "No, no, it is not the Virgin Mary."
By this time her lips were quivering. I said, "Well, who is it?" She read it from the Bible. " 'The man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all.' He is the only Mediator."
I said, "Do you see what I mean about how to come to God? A preacher cannot do it for you. A priest cannot do it for you. The saints cannot do it for you. The Virgin Mary cannot do it for you. There is just one go-between, just one Conciliator, there is just one Priest, or Lawyer, or Mediator. Who is that one?"
She said, "The man, Christ Jesus."
By this time it was all very plain. "Don't you see? You know that He died for sinners?"
"And He is ready to go to God for you. You do not have to go to the priest to get him to do it. You do not have to come to me to get me to do it for you. You do not have to go to the Virgin Mary. You just go to Jesus Christ. He died for you. He loves you. He will forgive you."
She was all ready then. We bowed our heads and asked Jesus Christ to come in and forgive her and to be her Mediator, her Redeemer, to be her Peacemaker with God; to be her Advocate with the Father; to be her High Priest. And she let Jesus come into her heart. We had a good time! She had her handkerchief drying her tears. She said to me, "You know, I would never have believed that if you had not shown it to me in the Bible."
Well, I am showing it to you in the Catholic Bible. Do you want to know how to get to God? I would not say one word against the Virgin Mary. Bless God, she was the most blessed among women because she was the mother of our Lord! But she called Him "Savior."
I will read you again what St. Augustine said. It is copied here in the footnote in this Catholic Bible, page 100. Thank God for St. Augustine, that great doctor of Hippo, a real earnest man he was, a father in the Roman church. If you have read St. Augustine's Confessions, you have found that they are very sweet and good. Now listen: "St. Augustine says that Mary was more blessed in that she believed in Christ than in that she had given Him birth ('De virginibus' III)." Mary trusted in Christ as her Savior, and so must you, if you would be saved.
VII. How to Be Saved, According to the Catholic Bible
How can a person be saved according to the Catholic Bible? Let us turn to the first Chapter of the Gospel of John, verses 11, 12 and 13:
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But to as many as received him he gave the power of becoming sons of God, to those who believe in his name; Who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
What does the Catholic Bible say? "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But to as many as received him he gave the power of becoming sons of God." Everybody who would receive Jesus, He would make sons of God, even to those who believe in His name. And they were born, He said, of God.
Now turn to the third chapter of John. In our Bible the first verses say: "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."
The Catholic translation reads:
"Now there was a certain man among the Pharisees, Nicodemus by name, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus at night, and said to him, 'Rabbi, we know that thou hast come a teacher from God, for no one can work these signs that thou workest unless God be with him.' Jesus answered and said to him. 'Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' "
The Catholic Bible says that unless you get born again, you can never see the kingdom of God. You must have a new heart, you must be born from Heaven. You must be born of the Spirit of God or you cannot get to Heaven. I read on:
"Nicodemus said to him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born again?'
"Jesus answered, 'Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' "
There is a note here that the Clementine Vulgate says: "The word 'Holy' is added to Spirit." "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit [that is the marginal reading here in this Catholic Bible] he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not wonder that I said to thee, 'You must be born again.' "
Listen to me: Is there a Protestant here who is not converted? You may be a member of a church - that is not enough. You must be born again.
Is there a Catholic friend here not converted? You say, "Well, I go to church, I go to confession, I go to mass." Never mind. Let me ask you this: Have you been born again? This Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible - suppose we quit saying Catholic Bible and the Protestant Bible - this Word of God says, "You must be born again." "Do not wonder that I said to thee, 'You must be born again.' " "Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." That is what Jesus said in the Holy Bible. That is what He has said in the Catholic translation, in the King James translation, and in all the other translations.
Now I would like to read you the sweetest verse in the Bible. I suppose it is that. More people love it, more people have been led to Heaven by it, maybe, than any other. Here it is as we have it in this lovely Catholic translation:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that those who believe in him [whosoever in ours] may not perish, but may have life everlasting" (John 3:10).
You say it on the King James Version: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Oh, may God make these words clear on how to be saved! Whether Protestant or Catholic - don't you see the church will not do it? Don't you see a Baptist church will not do it? A Methodist church will not make you a Christian. An Episcopal church will not make you a Christian. A Lutheran church cannot save your soul. A Catholic church cannot save your soul. Christ must do it. How does He do it? "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." That is the way to be saved.
Do you want to be saved? God loves you. Isn't that good news? I like for anybody to love me. I am glad I have some friends who love me and pray for me every day. But thanks be to God, He loves me and He gave His Son for me. He gave His only-begotten Son for you, too, "that whosoever," or that "those that believe in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting."
Do you want to have that life in your heart, a new heart, be born again? Do you want to be God's own child? Don't you see we preachers and priests cannot make that? Don't you see that Protestant churches cannot do that, and Catholic churches cannot do it? Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and men, has to do that. He will change your heart tonight and give you peace and set a song ringing in your heart, and you can go home happy in Jesus. Don't you want that tonight?
Let me ask you a question. I am not asking what church you belong to; I am asking how many will say, "Brother Rice, one time I saw I was a sinner, and I came to God and confessed it. I saw I was a sinner, and I believed that Jesus died for me on the cross and I trusted Him to save me and He did save me. I know in my heart I believed in Jesus as the Catholic Bible says we must do, and I have this everlasting life. I put my trust in Jesus as I would in a doctor when I am sick, as one would risk a bank with his money. I have put my trust in Jesus and so I was born again and got a new heart." How many can say, "Thank God I have been converted or born again, or I have personally trusted Jesus to be my Savior to take my sins away?" How many can say, "I thank God I know I have been"? (Many raise hands). Isn't that good? Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, and all just so you honestly have come to Jesus and trusted Him, you are saved. Thank you. God bless you.
Have I not been kindly and fair tonight?
This Word of God is sweet, Lord, and I believe it. I know I have trusted You and that You have made me Your child. Here many others held their hands high who have trusted You fully, Lord. Some could not say that. There are some here, whether Protestant or Catholic, who ought to let You come in. Lord, we are not asking what church they will join. We are just asking if they will let You, Lord Jesus, come into their hearts and save their souls and be their own dear Savior. Will You help people to say, "Yes, I will." Help people say, "I know I am a sinner. I will trust Jesus. I will risk Him. I will depend on Him. I will give Him my heart. I will take Him as my Savior." Help people to do it, Lord. Amen.
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