For some strange reason, a Roman Catholic apologist (for Romanism) invited me to his blog to read his confused interpretation of Romans 4. The blog was not only unnecessary (seeing as his private interpretation is not infallible and, therefore, not binding upon me as a Christian), it was also very confused. Of course, the confusion was attributed to me. I was then informed of several other equally disorientingly long – and no doubt equally as confused – blog posts that I would have to read to clear up my confusion. This kind of thing, if you have tried to deal squarely with what Rome teaches and how she is in error, is not abnormal. Most Roman Catholic apologists do this once they have been cornered into having to answer the claims of Scripture.
For the sake of clarity, then, let us look at one of the more foundational beliefs of the Roman Catholic religion, viz. Whether or not God demands perfect obedience to his Law. In an attempt to establish their own righteousness, Rome teaches that a distinction is to be made between absolute perfection, on the one hand, and relative perfection, on the other hand. This teaching is meant to alleviate the responsibility man has to fulfill the law perfectly. The distinction, however, does not eliminate the contradiction that Rome teaches when she says that God commands x and yet accepts ~x as being equal to x. For if God says do x and you will live; then it follows necessarily that my performance of x is necessary to my reception of life. And it follows, therefore, that there must be an identity between what God commands, what I perform, and what God accepts as fulfilling what he has commanded.
If God commands x, and I perform ~x, then I have not done x and, therefore, will not receive life. At least, this is what the laws of logic necessitate. For if we all agree on anything it is this: God will judge men on whether or not they have fulfilled the law. If God’s requirements take into consideration differences between persons, as Rome holds, then it still follows that God demands absolute perfection to that which he has deemed within the capacity of the creature. That is to say: Absolute perfection is nothing more than the fact that God demands x, promises life upon the performance of x, and accepts only the performance of x when he judges men. God is not irrational. He does not say that x and ~x are identical.
Consider the matter in this way: If God requires imperfect obedience as the basis of man’s acceptance with God, then he is drawing an absolute distinction between imperfect obedience and no obedience at all. So either one imperfectly obeys or he does not. There is no getting around the fact that God requires absolute perfection of obedience to at least some portion of the whole law or some portion of some portion of the whole law. In order for God to accept x (i.e. my imperfect obedience) it must be equivalent to x (i.e. the imperfect obedience required of man by God).
Thus, God only accepts my imperfect obedience if it is identical to the imperfect obedience he requires of me. In other words, God requires perfect obedience to the standard of imperfect obedience set for each putatively Christian believer in the system of Romanism. So even if the Romanist says “God accepts imperfect obedience to his law,” he is still admitting that there is a standard which God identifies as having been fulfilled by the sinner or not. And, therefore, even in the Roman Catholic religion there is an absolute standard to which God holds men accountable for either (a.)having perfectly fulfilled or (b.)having not fulfilled at all. Consider the following syllogism:
Sinners are promised life on their imperfect performance of x.
John, however, does not perform x at all.
Therefore, John will not receive life.
See the problem? Unless John perfectly obeys the laws that constitute the absolute standard of morality differentiating imperfect obedience from complete non-obedience, he cannot be saved, according to Rome.
The watering down of what God requires in his law, ironically, only further establishes the inescapable conclusion that God always demands perfect obedience from all who would be justified by works.