Defending Reformed Truths at a Ecumenical College

Not open for further replies.


Puritan Board Freshman
I go to Wheaton College. Last month a Roman Catholic student posted up an article on the student forum wall (in the fellowship area) stating that she feels unwelcome at an evangelical school for her Roman Catholic beliefs. She stated that we should all be open arms for each other regardless of being Protestant or Roman Catholic.
I posted up my own article in response to that on the wall, and it got lots of attention! Here’s what I posted:

Why the Reformation should continue to be celebrated at Wheaton, and Rome’s teachings rejected

Wheaton College was founded as a Protestant institution, with very rich tradition rooted in Reformed convictions. As the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation rolls its way to us this October, I find it behooves me to write my 3 theses for Wheaton College.

1. I believe that the rejection of any of the 5 Solae of the Reformation (Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria) to be a rejection of the very nature of the Gospel itself.

2. I believe that though Rome (the Roman Catholic Church) has solid teachings in areas such as the Trinity and the doctrines of God, they have many teachings that are contrary to the nature of the Gospel. These teachings include, but are not limited to: transubstantiation, purgatory, the veneration and intercession of the saints and Mary, Marian dogmas such as her assumption, immaculate conception, et-cetera, papal primacy, the sacrificial nature of the mass, and works-based salvation.

3. I believe that though the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox religion as institutions have cut themselves off from the visible Church (and are thus apostate), I affirm there does remain in them faithful Christians who are saved despite of their traditions’ official teachings.

These theses by no means are intended to demonize or marginalize those of the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox traditions (because all should be welcomed here), but are instead intended to exhort Wheaton College’s student body to take a firm stand with what the Reformation stood for and to not be afraid of these critical doctrinal issues. These are matters of Gospel truth.

Note: I am aware that there are different opinions that exist between those in the Roman Catholic tradition. I am here answering their official teachings which can be found in the Council of Trent and their catechism.

I write this in the spirit of love and truth. I feel we need to understand again the full truth that the Reformation brought and appreciate the many martyrs that died for these truths.

I, Matthew G. Bianco, take full responsibility for what I have written. I encourage those with questions and concerns to email me at [email protected] (9/17/17)”

As expected, many people wrote comments all over it!

My article was mentioned in the student newspaper:

I was asked by someone who works for the Wheaton Record to write a response, she asked my why I wrote it and what I thought after writing it. Nothing I wrote back to her in email was published, so I posted it on my Facebook linking the article.

Here’s what I wrote in response:

“I believe Wheaton College has been going the wrong direction in its attempts to harmonize Biblical and Reformed doctrine with the errors of Roman Catholicism. By responding to what I did on the forum wall I was hoping to spark more conversation and let people know that there is another side in the midst of this seemingly blind and ultimately harmful ecumenicalism.

The question that should be asked here is this: does Rome (the Roman Catholic Church) have a gospel that can save? To that I say if their teachings (which contain many major problems) are fully adhered, it’ll cause a major stumbling block and major hindrance to one’s salvation. As much as Roman Catholics have wanted me to think otherwise, their church does not have a finished work (thus their mass and purgatory). They do not have a gospel that can bring full assurance of salvation to anyone because of their man made traditions centered around their particular sacramentalism (which, as their catechism says, is *necessary* to partake in for salvation). Rome’s misunderstanding of the relationship between monergistic justification (by imputed - not infused - righteousness) - which cannot be lost - and sanctification is an error that perverts the Gospel to a substantial degree. Many so-called Protestants as well err in these important doctrines, I will admit, but they seem to come chiefly from Rome.

I am not saying that no Roman Catholic can be saved. I am rather saying that those in that tradition who are saved are saved in spite of their tradition’s teachings. But those who truly believe and follow the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, I say, do not understand the Gospel. A gospel that does not teach a finished work, but instead teaches one which is powerless to save unless our will and action be added to it is no gospel at all. A gospel that teaches we cooperate in our justification which is forever to be improved by meritorious works and sacraments is no gospel at all. There is much more to be said about this.

We as evangelical Christians cannot fall into the error of making Biblical Christianity that of the lowest common denominator. A tradition that has the right theological answers concerning the Trinity, virgin birth, death and resurrection, and divinity of Christ, but rejects what’s at the very heart of the Gospel message I cannot say is a truly Christian tradition. (Paul seemed to make a bigger deal about those who teach a false gospel than about those who have their theology on the Godhead wrong). The only real difference I see between the Galatian Judaizers and Rome is the Judaizers only thought of one work to add to the finished work of salvation which is received by faith alone. I say this out of strong conviction, not out of slander. My conscience is bound to these truths revealed in Scripture.

What does this mean for Roman Catholics at Wheaton? Very simple. Those who believe they contribute anything to their salvation need to be lovingly evangelized. They are in a system with a deficient gospel. They need to hear the truth that their tradition or church cannot save them. Only Christ can, only grace can, through faith alone. Nothing added. No sacraments or works add merit toward final salvation, only Christ’s merit does. Good works are only evidence of salvation. Does that mean we should be mistreating them? Absolutely not.

Many will say that my message is unloving, but I argue that there’s nothing more loving than to share the Gospel to those trapped in a false religious system. I am more than happy to further respond to the inevitable criticism that’ll say I have misrepresented them.

Though the Roman Catholic Church be a chameleon, it’s skeleton is just the same, and it’s central dogmas the past 500 years concerning salvation has not much changed.”

How should I respond differently to such dangerous ecumenicalism at my school?


  • 37090179-DDEF-4E56-AE32-FB23B23C3450.jpeg
    262.5 KB · Views: 3
Last edited:
And mention to her how the anathemas of Trent make you feel.

Exactly! All of them say "The Catholic Church of 1517 isn't the same as the Catholic Church of 2017!" To that I always have to respond: "Yeah... But they still hold to the council of Trent. They still teach many of the same anti-Gospel doctrinal errors..."
Matthew -

Remind her of how the free market works. This isn't like 16th century France where Roman Catholics forced people to go.

And mention to her how the anathemas of Trent make you feel.

Ditto to what Jacob wrote. And if she wants to follow the tenets of the free market, she can easily go to a number of quality Catholic schools. There's a really big name one just a couple hours away from you, it's called Notre Dame and they even have an amazing football team and everything.
DA Carson quoting an article at First things
To Summarize in even similar terms: Duke Jewish Faculty and Students and Jewish institutions at Duke object to Jewish students participating in a service where Duke offers a gift of a Bible that contains their own Jewish Bible and also the New Testament; where any participant is free not to take that Bible; at a service that is entirely voluntary; in a university that is private and affiliated with a the Methodist church. One of the best words to describe this is actually a Hebrew/Yiddish one—chutzpah
The Intolerance of Tolerance, 85.
Sounds like what your fellow student is objecting to.
Matthew, keep in mind that colleges and seminaries are businesses they may profess to be a ministry but they are there to make money (BTW I do have some insight on this topic as a good friend of mine is a VP at a conservative Christian college). Your position is correct. 2kings ch 23 may be an encouraging word for you.

I would get a copy of all of your transcripts first thing tomorrow.
Not open for further replies.