Matt Slick and Richard Akins debate on Roman Catholicism

by Matt Slick


On Dec. 22, 2018, I had a Google Hangout discussion with two Roman Catholics.  The majority of the time was spent talking to Richard Akins, a very devout Catholic.  The link to the discussion is here:

In my opinion, Richard Aikins did poorly in our discussion. Of course, he will say the same about me. So, I urge you to listen to the video to decide for yourself. Nevertheless, I had a great deal of difficulty getting him to answer basic questions. He was very evasive and would often answer questions with questions. I had to frequently repeat myself by asking the same thing over and over again in order to get a direct response. Our conversation took many different turns and unfortunately, a few of them led to me becoming upset with him a few times. But this is not because of my impatience. It was because of the repeated difficulty that he constantly presented by not answering basic questions. Instead, he would constantly answer questions with questions. I tried hard to answer his questions and then get him back on track. It was a constant problem with him. In fact, during our discussion, many people in the text chat were asking him to actually answer questions and stop dodging.

I would like to note that he refused to enter the voice part of our conversation for what was probably an hour and 1/2 or so. He would only type in the room even though I asked him repeatedly to come in and have a voice discussion with me. Finally, he did. It was frustrating, to say the least. But, because he was typing so many things and because I have a speech program that allows me to type by speaking, I was able to not only talk but also produce written text.

Well into our discussion, I forgot exactly how long it was, I started to copy a lot of the text into my notes in preparation for this article. So, a lot of what Richard Akins said is exactly as he typed it in.

Remember, these are my notes that are the result of his typing and my commenting via voice and then later his voice participation.  I've added comments to make them more coherent and cleaned up the punctuation.




Matt Slick: So are you saying that if you break the commandments you lose your salvation? And when you repent you get it back? Are you obligated to keep all of the moral commandments in order to stay a Christian; that is, to stay saved, to stay in a state of sins being forgiven?

Questions Akins failed to answer. Avoided them.

Comment: I asked Richard Akins numerous times. The two questions that are listed above here. He repeatedly ignored the questions and would ask me questions instead. He kept asking me what happens to the soul when we sin. Well, I did not know what he meant by that. So I asked for clarification. I asked what he meant by "what happens to the soul?" Was he saying there was a physical affect, a spiritual effect, an emotional affect, or a relational effect regarding God - or what? He would not clarify even though I asked him repeatedly what he meant by it.  

Matt Slick: What do you mean by what happens to the soul?

Matt Slick: I asked you to clarify what you meant by asking me if keeping the moral law is optional? I asked in what sense and you mean it is optional.  You ignored my question and changed the topic.

Matt Slick: Regarding John 14 he brought up vines being cut off. I asked him what that is meant by "being cut off." He jumped to the three soils without answering the question then he went to Gal. 5...

Matt Slick: I repeatedly asked for clarification on things that he's brought up he ignored clarifying them and he jumps around.  So, this is a problem.

Rick Akins: He said, "I just answered one of your points, you have not answered any of mine."

Matt Slick:  Question.  You are asking me whether or not obeying the moral law is required. So, I'm asking you to clarify. What you mean by "required?" I'm asking you. Required for what? Are you asking about justification? Or are you asking about sanctification?

Rick Akins: No, we are justified (forgiven) of our sins at baptism and when we repent. This is not the same as salvation since we can still fall. Jesus and Paul write multiple times to believers they can fall.

Rick Akins:  Read what I wrote, we are forgiven. That does not mean 'saved' past tense, for we can still fall from grace.

Rick Akins: Jesus gave the Our Father, where we are to ask daily for the forgiveness of our sins. If we die forgiven we are saved, but we still can deny Christ or disobey the commands we are required to obey.

Matt Slick: My question to Akins is what are the things you can do or not do that can result in you losing your salvation?

Matt Slick: I posted this in the chat room. His very next replay was...

Rick Akins: Saying 'you will not do these sins if you were regenerate' is simply saying anyone living in a state of grace is saved. That is Catholic doctrine.

Matt Slick: I told him that I said it was regarding those who abide in sin, not just commit any sin.

Matt Slick: I then posted the same question in the room again. "My question to Akins is what are the things you can do or not do that can result in you losing your salvation?"

Matt Slick: He did not answer the question. He avoided it again. So I re-pasted it in the room.

Matt Slick: I asked Aiken for three things you can't do, and three things you must do in order to retain your salvation. It was like pulling teeth trying to get him to answer. Nevertheless, I kept working at it. It took several minutes of persistant asking to get him to respond.

Rick Akins: Can't murder. Can't commit adultery. Cannot deny Christ.

Rick Akins: 1) Must believe in Christ, 2) must repent of our sins, 3) we must obey the Lord.

Rick Akins: I asked him to obey what? Let's see if he answers.

Matt Slick:So I asked him, for summary's sake, if to obey the Lord means to obey the first and second commandments; namely, love God and love your neighbor.

Matt Slick: Would you agree Akins that keeping the command to love God and love your neighbor are requirements in order for you to stay saved?

Matt Slick: Since you said that in order to be saved. You can't murder, commit adultery, deny Christ, and that you must beliee in Christ, repent of your sins and you must love God and love your neighbor, then I'm asking you. Are you doing all of it?

Matt Slick: Are you keeping the Law sufficiently to keep yourself saved? James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." AND Galatians 3:10, "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”"

Matt Slick: I asked him repeatedly to answer the question. But he kept saying that I wasn't answering his questions. But the truth is I was answering his questions repeatedly. Problem is that I have to ask him the same thing several times in order to get him to answer. So, I kept trying to get him to answer based on what it was. He proclaimed what is necessary for salvation. I wanted to know if he is doing what he says is necessary in light of the word of God.

Matt Slick: He said the call is not perfection.

Matt Slick: I told him that it was per Gal. 3:10 previously mentioned.

Matt Slick: He said I wasn't answering his questions. So, I challenged him. I said asked me one question I'll answer it. Then I'll ask you a question and you answer it.

Rick Akins: Answer please. If a Christian commits murder and does not repent are they saved?

Matt Slick: I responded with Rom. 5:13; 7:4 and 1 John 3:9, "No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

Matt Slick: Are you doing everything that is required of you for you to keep yourself saved? ​Since you said that in order to be saved you can't murder, commit adultery, deny Christ, and that you must believe in Christ, repent of your sins and you must love God and love your neighbor, then I'm asking you. Are you doing all of it according to the standard of the Word of God found in James 2:10 and Gal. 3:10?

Rick Akins: Yes, I am repenting of my sins. Just as Christ my Lord commanded 'forgive us our traspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". (Jesus didn't say 'thank you for already forgiving my sins')

Matt Slick: Notice he didn't address my question.  I pressured him and answered another question that he gave. Even though, he didn't answer my question. He asked if I was keeping the law perfectly and I said of course not. And I expanded on that. Then he actually said this

Rick Akins: ​Yes, Matt, for the third time, I am doing enough because I am repenting when I sin.

Matt Slick: He called me a liar....

Rick Akins: ​​Yes - Matt. I said I'm doing enough by repenting of my sins! And no, repenting is not 'keeping the law', it is asking forgiveness.

Comment: He is incorrect. To repent means to have a change of mind and attitude towards sin and seek to stop doing it. Asking forgiveness is different than repentance.

Matt Slick: I asked him if he were to commit a sin that he had already repented of, does his former sin come back on him?

Matt Slick: He repeatedly failed to answer the question. Even though I repeatedly pasted it in there. It's a simple yes or no question, and apparently he didn't want to answer it.

Comment:  I was setting him up. I'm glad to say that he did not declare that if you sin the same sin you repented of before, that all your previous sins come back upon you. I asked about this because I wanted to see if he would agree with Mormon theology which says Doctrine and Covenants 82:7, And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any asin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.

Matt Slick: What he did say was "I answered this above - Matt - you know this. Catholic/historical/biblical Christianity is that God truly forgives us when we repent and ask for repentance, the guilt of forgiven sins is gone."

Matt Slick: Of course, that isn't answering the question.

Matt Slick: It took like five minutes for him to say "no" to my quesiton.

Matt Slick: He went to baptism.  we then had a dialogue on Acts 2:38 which he said proves that baptism was necessary for salvation.  I addressed the context and mentioned that the word faith is not there. Therefore it is not a formula for salvation. Besides in Acts 10:44-48 the gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit before they were baptized?


If I remember correctly, at this point, or soon thereafter, he came into the participation area where we could talk via voice. Therefore, this was the end of my notes.



Mr. Akins was very difficult to work with. He had his guard up at every turn, which is normal.  But, it was difficult to get him to answer almost any question. His persistence in answering questions with questions was a means to avoid the difficult issues. But, I kept on him about this and repeatedly tried to get him to answer direct questions. It's unfortunate that he holds to Roman Catholic theology regarding salvation and works righteousness. He believes that baptism is necessary for salvation and that keeping the law is also necessary.  This means he still under the law and not free in Christ.

Leave it to you, if you watch the video to draw your own conclusions.





About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.