Analysis of Dissent According to the Bible

By Bruce Sabalaskey
Copyright 2000. All Rights Reserved.


This article is a companion to the article titled Analysis of Dissent According to the Church.

Some dissenters claim that dissent is good for the Church[1]. Some say that dissent is not only good but the duty and responsibility of good Catholics[2] [3]. Nothing could be further from the Truth. The Bible teaches that:

Remember that the Bible is inerrant and is to be interpreted by only the teaching authority of the Church, as Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum explains. 

#11: "... Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings [5] for the sake of salvation. Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind" (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text)."

#12: " ... For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is subject finally to the judgment of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the word of God." [6]

Therefore, dissenters who interpret Scripture according to their own desires, or even worse, try and twist its meaning to support their sinful behavior do not follow Vatican II teachings that they so proclaim.[4]

This short analysis will expose the deceitfulness of dissenters who claim that dissent is proper to a good Catholic. A companion article highlighting the Church teachings with regard to dissent, highlighting Vatican II, will also be available in the future.

 The real Truth is that obedience to God's Law as received, promulgated and defended by the Church's teaching authority, is a virtue which leads a soul to eternal life. Obedience is a word rarely heard from the mouths of dissenters, except perhaps to denigrate it and those who live that virtue.

The Bible Condemns the Evils of Dissent

The Bible very clearly condemns dissent, as will be shown in many Scriptural passages. Dissent is labeled as evil and a work of the flesh, which is to refuse salvation and follow the path to hell. Not only is the act of dissent an evil work of the flesh, but so is foolish contention. The dictionary defines contention as a dispute or argument which is argumentative or controversial. If one analyzes the claims of dissenters, one quickly realizes that it is they who are argumentative and want to eradicate God's teaching only to replace it with their own opinion. Of course, this is all under the disguised and deceitful banner of "renewing" the Church or "modernizing" it to be up to date with the times.

Galatians 5:19-21  "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."

Titus 3:8-9  "It is a faithful saying: and these things I will have thee affirm constantly: that they, who believe in God, may be careful to excel in good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law. For they are unprofitable and vain."

1 Corinthians 12:20  "For I fear lest perhaps when I come I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found by you such as you would not. Lest perhaps contentions, envyings, animosities, dissensions, detractions, whisperings, swellings, seditions, be among you."

1 Corinthians 14:33  "For God is not the God of dissension, but of peace: as also I teach in all the churches of the saints."

1 Corinthians 1:10-13  "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment. For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"

Furthermore, the faithful are warned not to associate with such dissenters. In today's terms, that means to avoid participating in or being a member of such notorious heretical organizations such as Call to Action. Why should we avoid such heretics? As St. Paul says so plainly, because they are "proud, knowing nothing ... corrupted in mind." And remember the true source of those words; God Himself! (Dei Verbum #11 above)

Romans 16:17-18  "Now I beseech you, brethren, to mark them who make dissensions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. For they that are such, serve not Christ our Lord, but their own belly; and by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent."

1 Timothy 6:3-5  "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness."

Acts chapter 15:  A full analysis on the dissent regarding circumcision follows below.

Notice also that those who do associate with heretical dissenters leave themselves open to grave sins, some of those being envy (a capital vice), blasphemy, suspicion, and conflict.

Now that we have seen the Bible condemn dissent, let's obtain understanding on how the Bible praises obedience, that is believing and living a Christian life according to God's Law of Love.

The Bible Praises the Good of Obedience

In contrast to dissent, which promotes disobedience to the teaching of the Church, the virtue of obedience is highly praised in Scripture. Obedience leads to the sanctification of the soul via love, which leads to salvation. Wicked are those who are not obedient.

1 Peter 1:2  "According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and peace be multiplied."

1 Peter 1:22  "Purifying your souls in the obedience of charity, with a brotherly love, from a sincere heart love one another earnestly:"

Romans 1:5  "By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, in all nations, for his name;"

Romans 16:25-26  "Now to him that is able to establish you, according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret from eternity, (Which now is made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the precept of the eternal God, for the obedience of faith,) known among all nations; To God the only wise, through Jesus Christ, to whom be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Proverbs 15:28 "The mind of the just studieth obedience: the mouth of the wicked over floweth with evils."

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 3:1 "The sons of wisdom are the church of the just: and their generation, obedience and love."

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 4:11 "And thou shalt be as the obedient son of the most High, and he will have mercy on thee more than a mother."

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, also obeyed. Jesus obeyed God His Father, Mary His Mother, and St. Joseph His foster father and guardian on earth. He did so to give us the perfect example. Why do dissenters want to disobey when God Himself obeyed completely?

Hebrews 5:8-9  "And whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered: And being consummated, he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation."

Romans 5:19 "For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just."

Luke 2:51 "And he [Jesus] went down with them [Mary and Joseph], and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart."

Luke 22:42 "Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done."

John 6:38 "Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me."

We are further told to obey the hierarchical authority of the Church. However, we must remember that we never need obey a disobedient command from any of the Hierarchy in the Church, those being dissident priests, Bishops and Cardinals. For example, if a priest tells you that you can use artificial contraception, you are not to obey him since that violates the teaching of the Church, which is God's Law. This simply means that we are always to obey God's Law. Jesus had similar problems with the hypocritical Pharisees in His time, and gave the new Christians the proper advice.

Hebrews 13:17  "Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief. For this is not expedient for you."

Romans 6:16  "Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death, or of obedience unto justice."

Matthew 23:3 "All things therefore whatsoever they [Pharisees] shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not."

Obedience is pleasing to God since it glorifies Him. The Apostle St. Paul also praises the faithful who are obedient.

2 Corinthians 9:13  "By the proof of this ministry, glorifying God for the obedience of your confession unto the gospel of Christ, and for the simplicity of your communicating unto them, and unto all."

Romans 16:19  "For your obedience is published in every place. I rejoice therefore in you. But I would have you to be wise in good, and simple in evil."

2 Corinthians 2:9  "For to this end also did I write, that I may know the experiment of you, whether you be obedient in all things."

2 Corinthians 7:15  "And his bowels are more abundantly towards you; remembering the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you have received him."

2 Corinthians 10:5-6  "And every height that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ; And having in readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be fulfilled."

Philemon 1:21  "Trusting in thy obedience, I have written to thee: knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say."

Philippians 2:12  "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation."

Very clearly then, obedience is required to the teachings of Jesus Christ as passed down in His Church.

The Bible Warns of Disobedience

Disobedience is defined as violation of a command which has been given by someone having lawful authority over us. As can be seen above, God tells us quite directly to obey His Commandments and Church. There are nasty consequences for disobedience. The largest disobedience was that of Adam and Eve, who caused the whole human race to fall into sin, thus requiring Our Lord Jesus to come to earth and die on the Cross. Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. The relevant Scriptures are listed below.

Genesis 2:17, 3:17-19 "But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. for in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death. ... And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work; with labor and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou eat the herbs of the earth. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return."

Genesis 19:17,26 "And they brought him forth, and set him without the city: and there they spoke to him, saying : Save thy life : look not back, neither stay thou in all the country about: but save thyself in the mountain, lest thou be also consumed. ...  And his wife looking behind her, was turned into a statue of salt."

The Bible Warns of Deceitfulness

We have seen how the Bible condemns dissent and praises obedience. Now let's analyze what the Bible says about the deceivers, often times today wolves in sheep's clothing (e.g. various priests, Bishops and Cardinals). The Douay Rheims Bible uses some not-so-common words today; dissembling and dissimulation. According to the Oxford dictionary, dissembling and dissimulation means to talk or act hypocritically, with synonyms being deceit, duplicity, double-dealing, misrepresent, and fake, among others. That pretty well sums up the behavior of dissenters. Deceitful people are described as wicked, and obviously the unrepentant wicked will not enter the Kingdom of God.

Proverbs 29:5-6  "A man that speaketh to his friend with flattering and dissembling words, spreadeth a net for his feet. A snare shall entangle the wicked man when he sinneth: and the just shall praise and rejoice."

Proverbs 11:9  "The dissembler with his mouth deceiveth his friend: but the just shall be delivered by knowledge."

Job 36:13-14  "Dissemblers and crafty men prove the wrath of God, neither shall they cry when they are bound. Their soul shall die in a storm, and their life among the effeminate."

James 3:17  "But the wisdom, that is from above, first indeed is chaste, then peaceable, modest, easy to be persuaded, consenting to the good, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, without dissimulation."

1 Peter 2:1-2  "Wherefore laying away all malice, and all guile, and dissimulations, and envies, and all detractions, as newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation:"

Wisdom 14:24-26  "So that now they neither keep life, nor marriage undefiled, but one killeth another through envy, or grieveth him by adultery: And all things are mingled together, blood, murder, theft and dissimulation, corruption and unfaithfulness, tumults and perjury, disquieting of the good, forgetfulness of God, defiling of souls, changing of nature, disorder in marriage, and the irregularity of adultery and uncleanness."

Daniel 11:32  "And such as deal wickedly against the covenant shall deceitfully dissemble: but the people that know their God shall prevail and succeed."

Ecclesiasticus 23:12  "A man that sweareth much, shall be filled with iniquity, and a scourge shall not depart from his house. And if he make it void, his sin shall be upon him: and if he dissemble it, he offendeth double:"

Romans 1:28-32  "And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them."

Such disobedient, subversive dissenters must be exposed and reproved.

Titus 1:10-11  "For there are also many disobedient, vain talkers, and seducers: especially they who are of the circumcision: Who must be reproved, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."

Analysis of the Passage in Acts Regarding "Dissent" on Circumcision

A commonly used Biblical passage to "prove that dissent is good" is the passage in the Acts of the Apostles regarding circumcision. The background of this passage is that some converted Jewish Catholics demanded that the converted Gentile (non-Jewish) Catholics be circumcised according to the Jewish Law. Recall that God spoke to Abraham the Prophet long ago in Old Testament times the Jewish covenant was to have all males circumcised (Genesis 17:10-12).

The Acts of the Apostles passage is as follows: (NOTE: the Douay Rheims online Bible is used)


A dissension about circumcision. The decision and letter of the council of Jerusalem.
  1. AND some coming down from Judea, taught the brethren: That except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved.
  2. And when Paul and Barnabas had no small contest with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of the other side, should go up to the apostles and priests to Jerusalem about this question.
  3. They therefore being brought on their way by the church, passed through Phenice, and Samaria, relating the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren.
  4. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church, and by the apostles and ancients, declaring how great things God had done with them.
  5. But there arose some of the sect of the Pharisees that believed, saying: They must be circumcised, and be commanded to observe the law of Moses.
  6. And the apostles and ancients assembled to consider of this matter.
  7. And when there had been much disputing, Peter, rising up, said to them: Men, brethren, you know, that in former days God made choice among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
  8. And God, who knoweth the hearts, gave testimony, giving unto them the Holy Ghost, as well as to us;
  9. And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
  10. Now therefore, why tempt you God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
  11. But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, in like manner as they also.
  12. And all the multitude held their peace; and they heard Barnabas and Paul telling what great signs and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
  13. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying: Men, brethren, hear me.
  14. Simon hath related how God first visited to take of the Gentiles a people to his name.
  15. And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written:
  16. After these things I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and the ruins thereof I will rebuild, and I will set it up:
  17. That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all nations upon whom my name is invoked, saith the Lord, who doth these things.
  18. To the Lord was his own work known from the beginning of the world.
  19. For which cause I judge that they, who from among the Gentiles are converted to God, are not to be disquieted.
  20. But that we write unto them, that they refrain themselves from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
  21. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him in the synagogues, where he is read every sabbath.
  22. Then it pleased the apostles and ancients, with the whole church, to choose men of their own company, and to send to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas, who was surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren.
  23. Writing by their hands: The apostles and ancients, brethren, to the brethren of the Gentiles that are at Antioch, and in Syria and Cilicia, greeting.
  24. Forasmuch as we have heard, that some going out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment:
  25. It hath seemed good to us, being assembled together, to choose out men, and to send them unto you, with our well beloved Barnabas and Paul:
  26. Men that have given their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  27. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also will, by word of mouth, tell you the same things.
  28. For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things:
  29. That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which things keeping yourselves, you shall do well. Fare ye well.
  30. They therefore being dismissed, went down to Antioch; and gathering together the multitude, delivered the epistle.
  31. Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.
  32. But Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, with many words comforted the brethren, and confirmed them.
  33. And after they had spent some time there, they were let go with peace by the brethren, unto them that had sent them.
  34. But it seemed good unto Silas to remain there; and Judas alone departed to Jerusalem.
  35. And Paul and Barnabas continued at Antioch, teaching and preaching, with many others, the word of the Lord.
  36. And after some days, Paul said to Barnabas: Let us return and visit our brethren in all the cities wherein we have preached the word of the Lord, to see how they do.
  37. And Barnabas would have taken with them John also, that was surnamed Mark;
  38. But Paul desired that he (as having departed from them out of Pamphylia, and not gone with them to the work) might not be received.
  39. And there arose a dissension, so that they departed one from another; and Barnabas indeed taking Mark, sailed to Cyprus.
  40. But Paul choosing Silas, departed, being delivered by the brethren to the grace of God.
  41. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches, commanding them to keep the precepts of the apostles and the ancients.

Several observations are relevant to the applicability of dissent in this case.

It is clear that the matter is settled and then proclaimed throughout the Church. There is no longer dissension on the issue of circumcision. However, today the heretical dissenters keep attacking the teachings of the Church even when rulings have been made, including, for example, infallible rulings for the impossibility of "women priests." The dissenters in the Apostolic times at least swallowed their pride and accepted the teaching of the Pope and Church. Unfortunately, dissenters today are much more wicked as illustrated by the Scriptures. They will stop at nothing to tear down the Catholic Church established by Jesus Christ and build their own idol of self-created precepts instead, all under the guise of freedom of conscience.


It has been clearly shown that dissenters ignore and suppress Biblical teaching, and even worse, try and twist the Truth towards their own wicked ends. For souls of good will, it is a duty to attempt to correct the dissenters, and at least pray for their souls.

For any of those who might reject this analysis as just a misinterpretation opinion of Scripture, please refer to the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church (Lumen Gentium) #25 from Vatican II. The Church teaches obedience to Her doctrine which have been Divinely revealed to Her by Jesus Christ Himself. Since dissenters reject the teachings of the Church, they also reject God Himself. Remember dissenters, your soul is at grave risk of eternal hellfire.


Proposed Constitution of the Catholic Church by the dissenter group Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC).
"When wrong turns out to be right: the value of faithful dissent," Robert McClory, U.S. Catholic magazine, May 1999.
Homosexual activists commonly twist Scripture for the example God gives with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, saying that the cities were leveled for a "lack of hospitality." Read Genesis 19:1-29 to realize that the intruders in Lot's house refused his daughters and wanted to sodomize the Angels. (where do you think we get the word "sodomize" from?)
cf. St. Augustine, "Gen. ad Litt." 2, 9, 20:PL 34, 270-271; Epistle 82, 3: PL 33, 277: CSEL 34, 2, p. 354. St. Thomas, "On Truth," Q. 12, A. 2, C.Council of Trent, session IV, Scriptural Canons: Denzinger 783 (1501). Leo XIII, encyclical "Providentissimus Deus:" EB 121, 124, 126-127. Pius XII, encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu:" EB 539..
cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chapter 2, "On Revelation:" Denziger 1788 (3007).

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