This article is difficult to write.
No, That’s not true.
This article is painful to write, and not because the person I’m going to write about is someone I had a personal relationship with.
It’s because the person I’m going to write about is someone I consider to be among the Christian leaders I admire.
Someone akin to Ravi Zacharias, whose works I devoured like a happy toddler.
But this person didn’t do the same crimes as Ravi, even though they were equally serious.
While some may argue that what he did was not a crime in some ways, those on my side of the fence (or his former side of the fence) would consider what he did to be a step short of saying that everything we or he believed had been a lie and that his reason is so much higher than ours that not choosing to believe what he now believes would be tantamount to being a non-Christian. (Or, at least, that is the underlying assumption underlying his proclamations.)
Cameron Bertuzzi is the person I’m referring to.
Cameron recently converted to Roman Catholicism (RC), and while he is not the only protestant who eventually converted to Roman Catholicism, his decision sent shockwaves throughout the Christian apologetics world.
And I believe I know why, but first let me clarify that I have nothing against Roman Catholics; my wife is a Roman Catholic, and 90% of my friends are Roman Catholics, so I want to distinguish between the Roman Catholic church and its laity.
However, as a former Roman Catholic who formally studied its history in 1992, I have VALID reasons to believe that its teachings deviated from what the Bible teaches, to the point where one could not deny the existence of embellishment that came dangerously close to ridiculing its protagonist, Jesus Christ.
The unfortunate thing is that not every Catholic is aware of this, and even if they are, most do not know how to explain why.
The first thing that bothered me about Roman Catholicism was how much it removed from or added to the Bible, as if the Bible were merely a supplementary text whose sole purpose was to serve the Roman Catholic Church.
Consider the Ten Commandments.
I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
Remember to keep holy the LORD’S Day.
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
You shall have no other gods but me.
You shall not make unto you any graven images
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
Honor your mother and father
You shall not murder
You shall not commit adultery
You shall not steal
You shall not bear false witness
You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor
Do not have any other gods.
Do not make or worship idols.
Do not disrespect or misuse God’s name.
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Honour your mother and father.
Do not commit murder.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not steal.
Do not tell lies
Do not be envious of others.
20 Then God gave the people all these instructions[a]:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
3 “You must not have any other god but me.
4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those[b] who love me and obey my commands.
7 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You must not murder.
14 “You must not commit adultery.
15 “You must not steal.
16 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
17 “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
Things you should notice:
- Did you notice how the Roman Catholic Ten Commandments changed the entire message by removing a large portion of the ten commandments?
- Back then, I wondered who gave the Roman Catholic Church the authority to remove that part of the Ten Commandments.
- What is the purpose of removing that portion?
- Was that part of the Ten Commandments omitted or changed?
- If changes were made, who made them and why?
- Who stands to gain from these changes?
- Were the Israelites dismissive of that portion of the Ten Commandments?
- Did Moses not think it was important or necessary to include it in all ten commandments?
- What happened when the Israelites violated this portion of the Ten Commandments?
- If the Roman Catholic church is correct in removing that portion of the Ten Commandments, does this mean that the Bible is incorrect in including it?
- Why did the Roman Catholic Church remove that section from its own list of the Ten Commandments?
- If the Roman Catholic Church is willing to bend scripture to its will, what else do we think they will be willing to bend in the future in order to have complete control over what the Bible says?
- To what extent is it acceptable to change or modify any part of the Bible?
In retrospect, either the RCC is telling the truth and both Jews and Protestants are lying, or the opposite is true, or all of us are wrong, but we can never all be right.
These are just a few of the questions I had for that particular deviation of the Roman Catholic Church from the Bible, and you can only imagine what else is in store after learning about the myriad of doctrinal changes the Roman Catholic Church made in complete opposition to classical Christianity in the last hundred years they were in power (Mary, indulgences, and papalism), not to mention the number of deaths accumulated under its belt, all done in the name of God and what they coerced others into doing.
Cameron was persuaded to become a Roman Catholic by his rational conclusion, based on his “objective study” of Roman Catholicism and its critics, that the Pope is the true representative of Jesus Christ on earth. (I’ll return to this later.)
With all due respect to Cameron, I completely disagree with his conclusion, because if it were true, he would have had to affirm everything that the Roman Catholic Church has formulated regarding the Bible, as well as the example I provided above and any future ones.
It also follows that either Protestantism is false and Roman Catholicism is true, in which case the Bible is bound to how the Roman Catholic Church interprets it, superseding the rational mind God gave us, or anyone reading the Bible and understanding it must first be approved by the Roman Catholic Church.
If that is the case, the Bible is a useless document because its interpretation is limited to the Roman Catholic Church.
In much simpler terms, imagine you are a member of a church, and the pastor has just created a ritual that he claims is biblical. You look into the Bible and discover that it isn’t, that it doesn’t even exist, and that it should not even be considered biblical.
So you confronted the pastor about it, but he said that he and his junior pastors are the only ones who can interpret scripture.
Then he comes up with a slew of other rituals that he claims are biblical, and no one can say otherwise or be labeled a heretic and an enemy of God.
Anyone who has read Animal Farm knows that this kind of behavior is dishonest and self-serving, no matter what your philosophy is, and that it only leads to a complete hold on power and control over rational thought.
Shouldn’t the Bible be open to criticism and challenges if it claims to be God’s word and is clear and understandable in what it purports to represent?
Can only a few people interpret and understand the Bible?
Is the Bible so contradictory that there is no objective way to regard each of its contents as true and explainable in and of itself?
C. S. Lewis wrote in Christian Reunion:
“The real reason, I take it, why you cannot be in communion with us is not your disagreement with this or that particular Protestant doctrine, so much as the absence of any real “Doctrine”, in your sense of the word, at all. It is, you feel, like asking a man to say he agrees not with a speaker but with a debating society.
And the real reason why I cannot be in communion with you is not my disagreement with this or that Roman doctrine, but that to accept your Church means, not to accept a given body of doctrine, but to accept in advance any doctrine your Church hereafter produces. It is like being asked to agree not only to what a man has said but to what he’s going to say.
To you the real vice of Protestantism is the formless drift which seems unable to retain the Catholic truths, which loses them one by one and ends in a “modernism” which cannot be classified as Christian by any tolerable stretch of the word. To us the terrible thing about Rome is the recklessness (as we hold) with which she has added to the depositum fidei – the tropical fertility, the proliferation, of credenda. You see in Protestantism the Faith dying out in a desert: we see in Rome the Faith smothered in a jungle.
I know no way of bridging this gulf.”
There are a lot of Protestants who convert to Roman Catholicism, but being sure about your faith also means being sure about what is objectively true. As Christians, what is true and what is expected of us in the face of reality is to focus on the person of Jesus Christ.
But when objectivity goes against personal biases, people are drawn to what they think is comfortable, because focusing only on Jesus Christ is not enough.
So, does faith in Christ and Christianity rest solely on what either side of the fence believes to be true, or does truth require a foundation? If so, what foundation? The Bible or the Roman Catholic Church?
As a member of Cameron’s Patreon Facebook group, I saw a number of Christians leave, stating that they could not continue to support his work in good faith because Cameron’s religious philosophy contradicted theirs.
But I suppose there is more to it than what they are saying, and this is brought on by Cameron’s explanation for how he came to convert to Roman Catholicism, and I believe that this is the root of the problem, which his remaining protestant supporters in the group failed to see.
Because it is not so much Cameron’s intellectual humility and the way he showed his vulnerability by looking for and defending the rationality of Christianity, but the fact that he made money off a belief system only to go against it in the end by ignoring the Roman Catholic Church’s logical inconsistencies against the Bible that makes the entire exercise of Christian apologetics a joke.
This is an insult to the reformation, Christianity as a whole, and the Christians who died trying to make the world a better place. (See: William Tyndale)
- So, should protestants be unaffected by Cameron’s actions and simply accept this?
- Is it wrong to call Cameron out and point out the stark differences between what the Bible teaches and what his newfound faith promotes?
- Should Christians allow what the Bible says is false to be considered true?
- Is it more important to unite the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and other Christian churches than to tell the truth about the Bible?
- Should protestants support Cameron’s conversion to Roman Catholicism while focusing on the work of converting unbelievers and proving the truth of God’s existence and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s redemptive work?
- Should protestants ignore the contradictions in the RCC and work with Cameron based on the ideas in C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” to help God’s kingdom grow?
- Isn’t it too hypocritical to teach unbelievers when in fact Cameron’s own faith system undermines biblical truths?
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5 NLT
Given the preceding verse, wouldn’t it make sense to first correct one’s theology and biblical understanding before Cameron makes it his problem to convert unbelievers or even defend God’s word?
Is the Christian faith based on “what feels right” rather than what is objectively true?
Finally, what is the point of defending the Christian faith when the religion you practice contradicts its teachings?