The RCC [Roman Catholic Church] holds that church tradition has equal authority with the Bible.
At the Council of Trent (1545-1563) Pope Pius IV placed tradition (the unwritten word) on an equal level with the Scriptures. During this time, the bishops and high ranking officials of the Catholic Church "officially" cataloged the books they thought should be included in the Bible.
FOURTH SESSION of the Council of Trent: "If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts [the 66 books of the Bible plus 12 apocryphal books, being two of Paralipomenon, two of Esdras, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Sophonias, two of Macabees], as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema."
At the II Vatican Council (1962 through 1965), the same position was held--that all legitimate revelations about God and Christ come from two distinct sources. Both sacred tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence
What is the RCC adding to the Bible?
They add the Apocrypha (officially canonized at the Council of Trent in 1546 A.D.), the books that are not contained in the Jewish account of the books of the O.T. [Old Testament], and that were not received by the believers in the earliest days of the church.
Although we sometimes hear that the Protestant Bible is "incomplete," meaning that it does not have the apocryphal books found in the Catholic Bible, there are many doctrinal, historical and other errors in these books. Here are just three reasons why the Apocryphal should not be accepted as canonical or inspired:
(1) The Jews did not include them in their O.T. Bible.
(2) Our Lord and the Apostles never quoted from these books.
(3) These books contain internal evidence of their non-inspiration; e.g., in 2 Maccabees we see how the soldiers practiced idolatry.
They add the acts and decisions of the RCC, embracing at least eight folio volumes of the Popes' bulls.
They add at least ten folio volumes of decretals from the Pope.
They add at least thirty-one folio volumes of the acts of councils.
They add at least fifty-one folio volumes of the Acta Sanctorum, or the doings and sayings of the saints.
To the above is added at least thirty-five volumes of the Greek and Latin fathers.
It would be an impossible task for anyone to know, or be able by their private interpretation, to master these one hundred and thirty five volumes, so as to know their rule of faith. So what the RCC is doing (in declaring officially that it is not the Bible alone that is the basis of authority) is adding her tradition, and this is much worse than the tradition of the Pharisees, which were nothing in size compared to the traditions of the RCC.
The RCC claims to accept the authority of the Bible but then goes back to its traditions to try and justify things that totally negate the Word of God in the Bible. The Catholic Church has elevated tradition to the position of the Scripture and even above it.
The Lord Jesus Christ was harsh with the Pharisees in Matthew 15 and Mark 7, because they foisted on people man-made precepts that conflict with the Word of God.
"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).
"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered and many such like things do ye" (Mark 7:13).
Jesus rebuked them for elevating the teaching of the Rabbis to the same level of authority as God's holy Scriptures. He could not obey the traditions of the elders without disobeying the written Word of God, and He chose to obey God rather than men.
In support of tradition, the Catholic will go to 2 Peter 1:20:
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation"
They will say that you may study but not privately interpret the Word of God. However, that is twisting the Scripture. This text simply means that the Bible is not of human invention or human impulse.
They also take John 20:30:
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:"
But they don't look at the next verse which reads:
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
The Bible reveals that it is the final authority, and that it is a sufficient revelation from cover to cover. Every Word of God is inspired.
The Bible itself rejects the Bible "plus" anything. In both the Old and New Testament, it is forbidden to add to or take from the content of God's written revelation.
"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" (Proverbs 30:5-6).
"What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it" (Deut. 12:32).
Every Word of God is pure, and He has magnified his Word above His name:
"...for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name" (Psalm 138:2)
The New Testament describes Christianity as the faith that was delivered once and for all through Christ and the Apostles. But Catholicism has continued to add new doctrines to the Catholic faith from the traditions of men, traditions that nullify and obscure what the Bible teaches, and that are elevated to the position of the Scripture and even above it. Rome's theology has been mixed with philosophy and vain deceit after the traditions of men:
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8).
What guarantee do we have that what has been passed down by tradition was ever taught by our Lord and the apostles?
Can we really know if the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God? The RCC says that we know the Bible is the Word of God because the RCC made the Bible, and the Church is infallible and at the head of the Church is the infallible Pope.
But the church is made up of finite people; the Pope is a man. To base our confidence in the Bible on the statement of the RCC is to build our faith upon the weak foundation of mere human authority. It is to say that the Bible is the Word of God because we say so. True Bible believers believe in the Bible as the Word of God, all on the authority of God, instead of man. God claims to be its author. He provides the evidence that the Bible is the Word of God.
In their seminaries, Catholic priests are taught that the Bible is inspired, infallible and inerrant, but they are also taught that the Bible is not enough. The RCC says that tradition is more safe, more clear and more reliable than the Word of God.
Catholics use the following arguments:
Argument #1: "Christ never wrote a book. The N.T. [New Testament] was by accident, and the disciples didn't go around with a Bible."
The Bible says:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." ( 2 Timothy 3:16).
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness..." (2 Peter 1:3)
The Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos said that Christ commanded him to write to the seven churches.
In Leviticus, in practically every chapter, it says that "the Lord spoke unto Moses."
Argument #2: "The Bible is a very difficult book to understand (2 Peter 3:16), and every individual should not try to understand it for himself. Come to the priest and he can give you the proper interpretation." (Note: In the past, Catholics couldn't even own a Bible. In fact the Bible was forbidden to laymen and placed in the index of forbidden books by the Council of Valencia in 1229 A.D.)
The Bible says:
"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16).
Peter is referring to the words of Paul; it doesn't say that everything is difficult to understand. Those who are "unlearned and unstable" refers to those that are not born again and are in rebellion against God's Word. This text doesn't discourage us from studying the Word of God.
The RCC promoted this lie that the Bible is a difficult book, hence the individual should not try to interpret it for themselves. The idea was that the laity couldn't be trusted with the Bible and had to come to the RCC to understand the Scriptures. However:
(1) The Scriptures must have been in circulation among the people; otherwise, they could not have been "wrested" as St. Peter said in his epistle.
(2) While many things in the Bible are hard to understand, the great foundational facts and the way of salvation are perfectly clear. Who cannot understand John 3:16 and Acts 4:12?
(3) Peter did not suggest, as a remedy, that the interpretation of the RCC or the Pope should be sought. Rome has never produced an infallible interpretation of a single line in the Bible.
(4) Peter recommends the reading of the Scriptures when he says "we also have a more sure word of prophecy" (2 Peter 1:19).
(5) True, the Scriptures can be wrested but not if one grows in grace and in the of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)
Jesus says, "Search the scriptures" (John 5:39).
The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). They compared the oral teaching and judged it by the written word, and in the process they used their private judgment.
Timothy was taught the Scriptures from his youth and was made wise. (2 Tim. 3:15) If this can be true of a little boy who was taught the Bible, how can the Bible be a misleading or difficult book to comprehend?
Whenever one comes to the Bible humbly and prayerfully, while allowing the Bible to interpret the Bible, relying not on human wisdom, or learning, logic or grammar, but solely upon the Holy Spirit, then his eyes are enlightened. (See Psalm 19:8)
Argument #3: "The Church came before the Bible. The RCC gave you the Bible."
The Bible says:
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).
The original Greek is "Thou art Petros [a little piece of rock], and upon this petra [bedrock] I will build my church." Simon Peter's own explanation is in 1 Peter 2:4, referring to Christ as the stone:
"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious."
1 Peter 2:6 (quoting from Isaiah 28:16) shows the Rock is Christ:
"...Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded."
The church is built upon Christ; He is the foundation:
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3:11).
The RCC cannot clearly and easily show its history before 320 A.D. when the Roman Emperor Constantine professed conversion, and declared himself to be the head or pontiff of the church. The Catholic system, as it is today, goes back to about 605 A.D. The early Christian church never had many of the doctrines the RCC now has.
The church of Jesus Christ was founded on our Savior, not on fallible Peter.
Several fallacies to Rome's line of reasoning:
(1) The ancient, early church in no way resembled the Roman Church of today.
(2) The early church was born with a Bible in its hands (the Old Testament), so we can say without contradiction that the Word came before the church.
(3) It was through the preaching of the Word on the day of Pentecost that thousands were converted.
The Hebrew people gave us the O.T and the early Bible believers gave us the N.T. The RCC maintains that the books in the N. T. Canon were determined at the Council of Carthage in 397 A.D. This is not true. The church council simply endorsed what had already been accepted by God's holy people.
What is the criterion by which we judge all things? What is the basis of truth? The RCC says the basis of truth is not just the Bible but also tradition, plus what is proposed as divinely revealed by the RCC. Yet God says:
"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" (Proverbs 30:5-6).
In the official post Vatican Council II Roman Catholic source, the Code of Canon Law, promulgated by the authority of Pope John Paul II in 1983 in Canon 750 it is declared:
"All that is contained in the written word of God, or in tradition, that is in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and also proposed as divinely revealed, either by the solemn magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal magisterium, must be believed with divine and Catholic faith."
"And also proposed as divinely revealed, what the Roman Church itself proposes." (Ibid)
The RCC teaches that the Bible's truthfulness in many areas is to be questioned, but it is so brilliantly clear that Scripture is the basis of truth:
"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). knowledge
"Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" (Proverbs 30:5-6).
"Thy word is true from the beginning and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever" (Psalm 119:160).
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
"The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6).
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).
"Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89).
The Bible is complete, and the Bible is supreme. It is the handbook of life that God gave us to enable us to make it through this life and into the eternal life that awaits us.
"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
"His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).
Will we follow man who can make mistakes or God who cannot lie?
Affirmed in 1439 A.D.
Catholics believe the sacraments are channels of "divine grace" by which the fruits of redemption are applied to individual souls. They believe salvation is through the sacraments, which are administered by the RCC.
Vatican II documents say:
"In that body the life of Christ is communicated to those who believe and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his passion and glorification." (p. 327)
The seven sacraments were defined at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274. These were formally affirmed by the Council of Florence in 1439. In 1547 the Council of Trent defined, as a matter of faith, the number and names of the sacraments, and that they produced grace.
"No one can doubt that the sacraments are among the means of attaining righteousness and salvation." (Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests, p. 146) [emp. ours]
"If anyone says the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, or that there are more or less than seven, namely, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, order and matrimony, or that any one of these seven is not truly and intrinsically a sacrament, let him be anathema." (Council of Trent 1547, Session VII, Canon 1)
These sacraments are based on good works, and the Bible says our good works cannot save us.
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight..." (Romans 3:20).
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6).
Catholics believe that baptism, administered by the pouring of water over the head by the priest, cleanses all traces of original and personal sin, and brings rebirth into the life of grace.
They are taught that infants are to be baptized as soon as possible after birth in spite of the fact that no infants are shown being baptized in the Bible. Faith always preceded baptism. The practice of infant baptism (370 A.D.) is simply another tradition of the RCC.
Catholics are taught that the Christian life "begins at baptism," operating through the RCC. This baptism is said to bring "rebirth" into the life of grace.
The RCC will refer to John 3, but this chapter has nothing to do with water baptism. It has to do with the necessity of being born again, but we are not born again by means of water baptism or infant baptism. The word baptism is not even mentioned in John 3.
They will also refer to 1 Peter 3:21: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doeth also now save us...by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." The baptism referred to here is not water baptism but the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is real baptism. Water baptism is ritual baptism, a religious work. It does not save anyone.
Ephesians 2:9 says:
"Not by works, lest any man should boast."
It is through faith that we are saved and not of ourselves:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:30-31)."
It is the blood of Jesus, not baptism, that cleanses us from all sin:
"...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1:7)
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7).
Confirmation is said to grant special strength from the Holy Spirit to avoid temptation, and to defend the Catholic faith. Laying on of hands, and confession of all known sins to a Roman Catholic priest, is involved in this sacrament.
Laying on of hands is used to set men apart in a ministry. It indicates partnership and has nothing whatsoever to do with conferring the Holy Spirit.
The word "confirmation" was first used sacramentally at the Council of Riez in 439 A.D. The administration of this sacrament requires the laying on of hands and anointing with chrism (one of three "holy oils" used by the RCC).
Confirmation is said to place Catholics more firmly into Christ. The Word of God teaches no such doctrine.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
3. Penance and reconciliation
Roman Catholicism incorrectly translates "repentance" (metanoeo = to turn, to think differently, reconsider) in Ezek. 18:30, Luke 13:5 and Acts 2:28 as "penance."
Catholics believe the priest grants absolution (remission of sins), but the temporal punishment of sins remains; therefore, they must do something to appease the wrath of God regarding the temporal punishment. The priest determines what is sufficient to satisfy God in this matter. Penance may consist of repeating prayers ("Hail Mary"), the rosary, offerings, works of mercy, service to neighbor, voluntary self-denial or sacrifices.
"The sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn." (New Catholic Catechism, p. 255 #980) [emp. ours]
"Therefore, the Church announces the good tidings of salvation to those who do not believe, so that all men may know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, and may be converted from their ways, doing penance." (Vatican Council II, p. 6) [emp. ours]
The sacrament of penance stands in utter contradiction with the Biblical truth of justification by faith in Jesus Christ. Good works can never make amends for our sins.
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ... for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16).
"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18).
The RCC teaches that the Eucharist (Mass) is a real sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary (an unbloody sacrifice), and the priest has the power to change bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ.
Jesus cleanses his people from their sins, not the Eucharist.
"...but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" 1 Corinthians 6:11).
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness...Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Revelation 1:5).
This sacrament is to provide the grace necessary for a holy and happy marriage.
6. Holy Orders
The priest receives the power to absolve (forgive) sins, celebrate the Mass, and perform other functions.
The RCC and her priests cannot forgive sins.
"Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?" (Mark 2:7).
We are to come straight to God for forgiveness.
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16)
"For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee" (Psalm 86:5)
7. Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick)
This sacrament was formerly known as "Last Rites," but was changed to "Anointing of the Sick" during Vatican II and can only be performed by the Roman Catholic priests.
The condition of the soul at the moment of death is said to determine the eternal destiny of the Catholic. Those who die out of grace will spend eternity in hell. While those who die in a state of grace will eventually go to heaven, most must first suffer in purgatory.
Extreme Unction was unheard of until the 6th century. It is not taught in the Bible and, as a final good work, it is useless.
"...that I may win Christ. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:8-9).
Rome needs a sacramental system
By promoting seven sacraments Rome is able to retain its structure of world power. Without a sacramental system, the RCC would lose both its religious and secular power. She condemns to eternal punishment in hell all those who deny that the seven sacraments were instituted by Christ. Yet Christ says:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).
We are to go to the Savior.
There are 52 paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church devoted to the sacraments. It says, "The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments."
The RCC is actually making the grace of Christ inaccessible to people by having them go through the church and through Mary to receive it.
The sacraments are works, yet the Scripture plainly says:
"If it be by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works. then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:6).
The sacraments did not come from God, they came from traditions of man.
The RCC is denying the truth of the Gospel by adding sacraments as additional requirements for forgiveness of sin and for eternal life.
The central focus of the RCC is the Mass or Holy Eucharist. It was officially defined and canonized as a dogma by Pope Innocent III in 1215 A.D. A dogma is a teaching or doctrine that can never be reversed or repealed. It is equal in authority to the Bible.
Their teachings say that:
"the holy Mass is the highest form of worship. It is the sacrifice of Calvary renewed. One Mass gives God more praise and thanksgiving, makes more atonement for sin, and pleases more eloquently than does the combined and eternal worship of all the souls in heaven, on earth, and in purgatory."
The whole of Roman teaching and belief is founded upon the premise of the continual sacrifice of Christ for sin. The Mass is the very essence of the RCC. It is the heart of their worship. If there were no Mass, there could be no Catholic Church.
"For it is the liturgy through which, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, the work of our redemption is accomplished." (Vatican Council II, p. 1)
The Catholic priest cannot really explain how that the finished work of Christ on the cross is continued today in the Mass. They say it is a "mystical act" of transubstantiation and that God is continually, through Christ, reconciling the universe to Himself, and they are being reconciled again and again.
"It is through the Mass, as well as through the other Sacraments, that the effects of Christ's salvation are applied to the souls of men." (This is the Catholic Church, pp. 24-25)
They believe that the Eucharist is a real sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, not just an reenactment of what took place in the past.
"The Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice on the cross, because in the Mass the victim is the same, and the principal Priest is the same, Jesus Christ." (My Catholic Faith, p. 286) [emp. ours]
"The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ. ... The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the cross." (Roman Catholic Catechism II) [emp. ours]
"Sacrifice is the very essence of religion, and it is only through sacrifice that union with the Creator can be perfectly acquired. It was through sacrifice that Christ himself was able to achieve this for man. It is only through the perpetuation of that sacrifice that this union may be maintained. What makes the Mass the most exalted of all sacrifices is the nature of the victim, Christ himself . For the Mass is the continuation of Christ's sacrifice which he offered through his life and death. Jesus then is the priest, the author of the sacrifice, but Christ was not only the Priest of the sacrifice, but he is also the victim, the very object itself of this sacrifice. The Mass is thus the same as the sacrifice of the cross, no matter how many times it's offered, nor in how many places, all at one time, it is the same sacrifice of Christ. Christ is forever offering himself in the Mass." (This is the Catholic Church, published by the Catholic Information Service, Knights of Columbus) [emp. ours]
In the 2nd Vatican Council II documents, volume one, p. 103 it says,
"For in the sacrifice of the Mass our Lord is immolated."
"remembering that the work of redemption is continually accomplished in the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice."
Yet the Bible says:
"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:10).
The dogma of transubstantiation was decreed in 1215 A.D. by Pope Innocent III.
The RCC teaches that the bread (host) and wine in the Mass actually turns into the body and blood of Jesus after the priest blesses it in the ceremony. When the priest raises the wafer above his head, Catholics believe that Christ voluntarily comes from heaven. Then He voluntarily again becomes a sacrifice. There is nothing in Scripture that says that Christ would ever dream of doing this. It took one offering to save us from sin.
"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14).
Catholic doctrine teaches that this wafer, which is no longer bread, but is now the actual body of Jesus Christ, is to be worshipped and adored as divine. When the bread has supposedly been changed literally into Christ by the priest, it is placed in a holder and the Catholic must bow before this and worship the wafer as God. Sometimes they have processions where they solemnly march, as the congregation bows and offers praise and worship to this wafer.
The RCC bases transubstantiation upon the teachings of Aristotle. His 3 B.C. concept of matter viewed everything as consisting of two parts: accidents and substance. Accidents are described as the outward appearance of matter, substance is the inner essence. Even though this idea has long since been discarded by modern science, the Catholic Church not only clings to it but takes it one step further, claiming the inner essence can change while the outward appearance remains the same. What before was bread and wine is now the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
This practice of teaching that their priests have the power to change bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ was adopted around the 13th century and was unheard of in the early N.T. church. This is absurdity to think that the word of the priest can turn dough into flesh and wine into blood. This pagan idea was introduced into Italy by the Goths, the Lombards and the Franks early in the 6th century when they occupied the country for over 200 years. This became entrenched in the medieval church. Pope Gregory VIII endorsed it in the 11th century. Pope Innocent III made the belief in transubstantiation compulsory around 1215. The adoration of the wafer or host was decreed in 1220 A.D. Pope Julius III made it a dogma in the 16th century. Only the superstitious accept this pagan, false teaching.
Catholics are told that their sins are forgiven indirectly whenever they participate in the Mass, that they are spiritually nourished and actually feast on His body.
The Lord's Supper was never intended to be a sacrifice; it was intended only to commemorate the finished work of Calvary. The RCC teaches that in the Mass Christ is offered as a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead. You will not find this teaching in the Bible.
"Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:25-26).
To adore the bread as if it were substantially the Lord Himself is gross idolatry.
Scriptures the RCC uses for transubstantiation:
The Biblical text used for the dogma of the transubstantiation is taken from Luke 22:19: "...This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." A literal interpretation of this text is unwarranted. All through the N.T. there are grammatical metaphors describing His relationship with people. Jesus referred to Himself as the Door, the Vine, the Root, the Rock, the Bright and Morning Star, as well as the Bread. It is plain to any observant reader that the Lord Supper was intended primarily as a Memorial, and in no sense a literal sacrifice. "...this do in remembrance of me" (Luke.22:19).
The RCC also uses John 6:54-55 to try and show that Jesus taught transubstantiation. But by studying the entire passage it is clear that Jesus was talking about spiritual, not physical food and drink. Jesus is speaking of the spiritual hunger in man for righteousness and salvation. Verse 35:
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
Therefore, to come to him is to eat:
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6).
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
"In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (John 4:31-34).
And to believe on Him is to drink:
"Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13-14).
John 6:54-55 is not saying that Jesus is establishing the literal drinking and eating of his flesh and blood. In verse 63 he says:
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
Jesus makes clear what we should be eating and drinking to have eternal life.
"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).
Jesus is talking about entering into vital spiritual union with Him to have life.
The other verse they use is Matthew 26:26-28: "...This is my body...this is my blood of the new testament..." By looking closer at Jesus' words this can be seen to be figurative language. Jesus did not say that this "has become, or this is turned into," but the Greek means "signifies, represents or stands for."
It is obvious that Jesus' meaning was not literal but symbolic, and He wasn't the first man in the Bible to claim figuratively that a glass of liquid was really blood. 2 Samuels 23:16-17 reads:
"And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines; and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless, he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. And he said, Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this, is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it.."
Transubstantiation is official teaching in RCC
In RCC dogma anyone who does not hold to this belief in the most explicit detail is accursed and damned forever. At the Council of Trent this doctrine was formed and remains today as the standard of Catholic doctrine. As the 2nd Vatican Council commenced in 1963, Pope John XXIII declared, "I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent."
Canon 1: "If anyone shall deny that the body and blood together, with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore entire Christ, are truly, really and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, and shall say that he is only in it as a sign or a figure, let him be accursed."
Canon 2: "If anyone shall say that the substance of the bread and wine remains in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed."
Canon 6: "If anyone shall say that Christ, the only Begotten Son of God, is not to be adored in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, even with the open worship of latria, and therefore not to be venerated with any particular festival celebrity, nor to be solemnly carried about in processions according to the praiseworthy and universal rights and customs of the holy Church, and that he is not to be set publicly before the people to be adored, and that his adorers are idolaters, let him be accursed."
Jesus said, "It is finished."
The RCC teaches that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice which appeases the wrath of God and does indeed take away sin. This goes directly against Scripture, because in Hebrews 10:18 it says:
"Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin."
In John 19:30 Jesus said:
"It is finished."
His suffering was finally over. He had submitted willingly because it was the will of His Father to offer Him as the satisfaction of the penalty for all the sin in the world, past, present and future.
Have you ever wondered why in every Catholic Church they still have Jesus up on the cross? They have Jesus still dying for the sins of the world, but that is a lie. The Bible repeatedly affirms in the clearest and most positive terms that Christ's sacrifice was complete in that one offering, and that it was never, ever to be repeated. This is set forth explicitly in Hebrews 7, 9 and 10.
"But this man [Jesus], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; .. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. .. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:12,14).
"..there is no more offering for sin" (Hebrews 10:18).
"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him" (Romans 6:9).
The RCC's teaching on the Mass debases Christ's finished and complete offering of Himself on Calvary's cross.
There is no perpetual sacrifice today
All the sophisticated, philosophical, theological arguments of Rome to justify the Mass are unconvincing before the arguments from the letter to the Hebrews. There is no perpetual sacrifice today. Calvary cannot be repeated. The word "once" or "once for all" is found in Hebrews seven times. That word speaks of the finality, the efficacy, the sufficiency of our Lord's work on the cross. His work is complete, adequate; a final atonement for man's sins.
"Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's; for this he did once, when he offered up himself" (Hebrews 7:27).
"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12).
"Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place ever year with blood of others. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. ... So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:25-26, 28).
The RCC claims that there is no conflict, and no problem, but the infallible dogmas of the RCC have thwarted, contradicted and changed the Word of God. The Catholic Mass is a very attractive ritual, but what Rome teaches is diametrically opposite to what is declared so clearly in God's Word. Either the sacrifice of Christ on the cross was complete and perfect and final, or it was not. You cannot have Calvary and the Mass both. To accept the Mass is to say that the cross was not enough. It impugns the character of Jesus Christ. We should reject the traditions and practices of a system that is not only unbiblical; it has actually stepped into mysticism, bordering dangerously on the occult.
Any pretense of a continuous offering for sin is worse than vain; it is blasphemy.
Prior to 300 A.D. there were no prayers offered to Mary. Special prayers to Mary were formulated in the 1050's A.D.
Catholics are sometimes told that there are two ladders reaching up to heaven, one red and the other white. A person climbing the red ladder, which had Christ Jesus at the top of it, could not get up, but going by the white ladder the Virgin Mary would reach down and draw you up.
They falsely portray Jesus as being angry with people, and Mary is falsely portrayed by being merciful and able to pacify Jesus' supposed anger. Nowhere does the Bible say Jesus is angry with his children.
"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).
No matter where you go in the world of Roman Catholicism it can be truthfully said that Jesus Christ is not preeminent. He lives in virtual banishment, while Mary and the saints of Rome are said to be more available and more human than the Christ of the Bible. The theory seems to be that Mary is more approachable than Jesus Christ Himself. If Mary and the saints receive prayer requests first, then they believe Christ will receive them favorably.
Seventy-five percent of the churches in Rome are dedicated to Mary. Mary is a goddess in the RCC. They will deny that they worship her, but if you pay attention to some of the prayers you will see that they do worship Mary and the saints. Some of the prayers to Mary go like this:
"Most loving virgin, refuge of sinners in this stormy sea of this world, all look to you as a star which guides to port. You are the hope of all in trouble, the loving object of all hearts. No one, oh blessed virgin Mary, can hope for salvation except through your rays. It is a sign of salvation to have your name, oh Mary, continually upon one's lips." (Bart Brewer, former Marian priest)
Idol worship is as common in Roman Catholic countries as in China, India or Bangladesh. Mary and the saints have been, for centuries, objects of worship by all Roman Catholics, especially Mary.
Catholics believe that Mary had a part in redemption because of her cooperation in the incarnation. For all practical purposes Mary is "omnipotent and omnipresent." The same can be said of the Roman saints.
The beginning of the exaltation of Mary, and the first use of the term "mother of God," was in 431 A.D. at the Council of Ephesus. While worship of Mary took centuries to develop, Mary worship is worse now than it was in the 9th and 12th century. Now we have the dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary and the dogma of her assumption, which they didn't have then. These dogmas are not only contrary to God's Word but an insult to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Her alleged assumption rivals Jesus' ascension. And the immaculate conception means it is the responsibility of all Catholics to put Mary in the same category as Jesus. It means Mary is sinless. But the Bible says that Christ alone is sinless.
Pope Pius XII (the pope during WWII) in a special letter gave Mary the following titles:
"lily among thorns," ""immaculate," "always blessed," "free from all contagion of sin," "unfading tree," "fountain ever clear," "the one and only daughter, not of death, but of life," "offspring, not of wrath, but of grace," "unimpaired and ever unimpaired," "holy and stranger to all stain of sin," "more comely than comeliness itself," "more holy than sanctity," "holy, who accepting God is higher than all, by nature more beautiful, more graceful and more holy than the cherubim and seraphim themselves and the holy hosts of angels."
Mary is also called:
"the Queen of heaven," "the Queen of angels," "the Queen of patriarchs," "the Queen of Apostles," and "the Queen of saints."
She is also called:
"Mother of Divine Grace," "Morning Star," "Way of Salvation," "Daughter of God the Father," "Mother of God the Son," "Spouse of God the Holy Spirit," "Advocate," "Helper," "Benefactress," and "Mediatrix."
And Pope Paul VI proclaimed she was the "Mother of the Church" in 1965.
"The way of salvation is open to none otherwise than through Mary. Whoever expects to obtain graces otherwise than through Mary endeavors to fly without wings. Go to Mary, for God has decreed that He will grant no grace otherwise than by the hands of Mary. All power is granted to thee in heaven and in earth and nothing is impossible to thee. You, oh holy virgin, has over God the authority of a mother, and hence can obtain pardon for the most obdurate of sinners." The Glory to Mary (written over a hundred or more years ago and still in print). [emp. ours; Note: The Bible speaks of "grace," but never "graces."]
John Paul II said:
"the history of Christian piety teaches that Mary is the path that leads to Christ, and that filial devotion to her does not at all diminish intimacy with Jesus, but rather it increases it and leads it to very high levels of perfection." [emp. ours]
He concluded by asking all Christians:
"to make room (for Mary) in their daily lives, acknowledging her providential role in the path of salvation." (Vatican Information Service, May 7, 1997) [emp. ours]
Our present Pope even has these words in Latin "Totus Tuus" (All Yours) on his religious garb, designating his "abandonment to Mary." (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by Pope Paul John II, p. 215)
Mary is in a prominent place and held up as ever virgin and sinless, even as Jesus Christ Himself was. The RCC gives Mary the titles, roles, and status of God. How does this kind of blasphemous teaching fit in with God's holy Word?
Mary was the mother of Christ's humanity but not of His divinity.
Mary was declared to have perpetual virginity at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
Matthew 1:18 shows that Mary did not remain a virgin after Jesus was born:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost"
The reference "before they came together" is to sexual relations, not co-habitation.
There are several verses that show Jesus had literal blood brothers through Mary:
"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?" (Matthew 13:55-56).
"Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him" (Mark 6:3).
"After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days" (John 2:12).
"His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him" (John 7:3-5).
"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren" (Acts 1:14).
"But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother" (Galatians 1:19).
"Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" (1 Cor. 9:5).
These were not Jesus' disciples. They were his half-brothers and sisters. His brothers' names are given in the first two verses above.
During our Lord's ministry, he paid no special attention to Mary. Jesus wanted the world to know that all mothers, all sisters and all brothers were as much to Him as were the woman who gave him birth and the brethren born of the same womb.
"While he [Jesus] yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Matthew 12:46-50). Also see Mark 3:32-35.
(1) There was no woman worship among the Jews.
(2) Throughout the old testament women are treated as inferior to men.
(3) Neither Christ nor His disciples paid any special attention to His mother.
(4) Mary had no part in Christ's ministry.
(5) When Mary and his brethren went to visit Christ, asking that He come out to them, He simply refused.
(6) Christ rejected the idea that His mother and brethren were any more to Him than were the people in the house wherein He was teaching.
(7) Even when Christ's discourse was over, He did not go to his mother and brethren, but He went out of the house and sat down by the seaside. (Matt. 13:1)
The Bible teaches against the adoration of Mary. Luke 11:27-28 says:
"And it came to pass, as he [Jesus] spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps [breasts] which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."
A hundred years preceding the 2nd Vatican Council have been called the Marion century. During this period the RCC developed many new doctrines concerning Mary. Most significant was Pope Pius IX's proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, issued in 1854.
Many Catholics do not understand the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and even fewer realize that it contradicts Scripture. It has nothing to do with the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. It means that Mary, when she was conceived in her mother's womb, did not have the stain of original sin, that she was sinless. That is not what Scripture says. Only Jesus was without sin. All others have sinned:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: ... For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:10,23).
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12).
Mary herself said she was a sinner in Luke 1:46-47:
"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
Only a sinner needs a Saviour.
Mary also offered the sacrifices necessary for a sinner in the Old Testament:
"And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:21-24).
The Biblical accounts of Mary present her as a humble, faithful servant of God, but Catholic tradition has confused her position with that of Christ Himself. Mary has appeared to many in the uncharacteristic role of promoting herself.
Apparitions or appearances of Mary started in Europe around 1531 and spread all over the world. In 1917 she appeared at Fatima to three shepherd children. She told them to repeat the rosary daily. There she announced:
"God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my immaculate heart. My immaculate heart will be your refuge and the way to lead you to God." This shrine to the immaculate heart of Mary was erected to promote devotion to Mary's "immaculate heart."
Catholics feel that if they pray to Mary about a problem, she would be more sympathetic and understanding than Jesus or God. Yet Hebrews 2:18 says this of Christ:
"For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."
Catholics believe that Mary balances and gives a feminine dimension to God that is missing in biblical Christianity.
The RCC declares that Mary is "the mediator of all grace." The Baltimore Catechism shows Mary as "the final dispenser of all grace" in Roman Catholicism. The Bible never mentions Mary interceding for us. The thief on the cross appealed to Christ, not Mary.
"No man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
Assumption of Mary
The concept of the assumption of Mary was introduced to the Council of Chalcedon by Juvenal of Jerusalem in 451 A.D. It was declared dogma in 1950 A.D. by Pius XII.
"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but ... the Son of man ..."
Ascended in the Greek means "go up of one's own power," not taken up as was Elijah or Enoch (John 3:13).
Veneration of Mary
Declared in 431 A.D. The word "venerable" is derived from the Latin word venerare which means "to worship."
God tells us that only He is to be worshipped.
"Thou shalt shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3).
"And Jesus answered... Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shall thou serve" (Luke 4:8).
Throughout the world, particularly in South America, the Philippines and the West Indies, people are getting into all types of ecstasies and religious worship and adulation and veneration to Mary and to the saints, in exact contradiction to God's Word in the Bible.
God's Word is abundantly clear that we are to adore God, and Him alone, and that is to be done in spirit and in truth. (Also see Rom. 1:25 and John 4:24)
The Mary of Rome is not the Mary of the New Testament.
The first Pope is generally regarded by historians as Gregory I (590A.D.)
The title of Pope, or universal bishop, was first given by the emperor Phocas in 610 A.D.
Kissing of the Pope's feet began in 709 A.D. (This had been a pagan custom to kiss the feet of emperors.)
Temporal power of the Popes began in 750 A.D.
Papal infallibility (meaning: "cannot err") was decreed in 1870 A.D.
"I thank God that I do not think for myself, religiously or morally. The Pope does my thinking." (Taken from one of Cardinal Manning's sermons) [emp. ours]
"I alone, despite my unworthiness, am the successor of the apostles, the Vicar of Jesus Christ…I am the way, the truth, and the life." (Pope Pius IX, quoted in the encyclical "Haec Quippe") [emp. ours]
In its official source the Code of Canon Law, published 1983 by Pope Paul II, and in Canon, 749 it is declared:
"The supreme pontiff in virtue of his office, possesses infallible, teaching authority when as supreme pastor, and teacher of all the faithful, he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to held as such." [emp. ours]
In Canon 333, Section three, it is declared:
"There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or degree of the Roman pontiff."
In the first Vatican Council in 1870 the RCC declared the teaching of the Pope to be infallible.
"In this sheepfold of Jesus Christ, no one can enter if not under the guidance of the supreme pontiff, and men can be certain to achieve salvation only if they are united to him, since the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and represents His Person on earth." (Pope John XXIII - Vatican II - when being crowned at his "coronation," 1958. The World of the Vatican, by Robert Neville, 1962, p. 119)
This declaration is audacity brought to the extreme in utter contradiction to the Word of God that is infallible, true, eternal and from God.
The Pope is called "Holy Father." This is a name reserved for God the Father and Him alone:
"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee, Holy Father..." (John 17:11).
"And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9).
The above verse is not referring to our parents, as it is in the context of Christ's teaching concerning religious leaders; e.g., you are not to call men "Rabbi" or "Master" either. (See Matthew 23:8 and 10.) The title 'Pope," is derived from the Latin "Papa" and means "father." The Pope is commonly called 'The Holy Father." This title is in contradiction to the words of Christ.
Cardinal Manning in 1869 personifying the Pope said:
"I say I am liberated from all civil subjection, that my Lord made the subject of no one on earth, king or otherwise, that in his right I am sovereign. I acknowledge no civil superior, I am the subject of no prince, and I claim more than this. I claim to be the supreme judge on earth and the director of the consciences of men. ... I am the sole judge of what is right and wrong."
This is still Rome's policy. John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II never repudiated this arrogant claim.
"The Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth. He is the true vicar of Christ, God himself on earth." (The New York Catechism)
"The Pope holds upon this earth the place of God Almighty." (Pope Leo XIII)
"All the names, which in the Scriptures are applied to Christ, by virtue of which it is established that he is over the church, all the same names are applied to the Pope." (Robert Bellarmine, canonized Roman Catholic saint, famous cardinal Jesuit, in a 16th century writing on the authority of council.)
And so, "Truth," and "Life, "the Way," "the Bread of Life," the Water of Life," "Lily of the Valley, "Good Shepherd," "Rose of Sharon," --all these apply not only to Jesus, according to the RCC, but they also apply to the Pope. How blasphemous!
Rome's words about the Pope attack the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
Confession of sins to a priest, at least once a year, was instituted by Pope Innocent III in 1215 A.D.
Celibacy was decreed for priests in 1079 A.D. by Pope Hildebrand, Boniface VII.
Vatican Council II documents, Volume one, p. 893 states:
"For these reasons, based on the mystery of Christ and His mission, celibacy which at first was recommended to priests was afterwards in the Latin Church imposed by law, and all were to be promoted to holy orders. This sacred council approves and confirms this legislation."
If one wishes to remain celibate, it is permissible, but it is never to be commanded. Jesus and the apostles imposed no such rule. Peter was married (Matt. 8:14), and Paul said bishops were to have a wife and children. (I Tim. 3:2)
Priest as father
While it is not uncommon to find priests today that allow the laity to call them by their first names, many allow others to call them "father." The Bible forbids us to address religious leaders as "father."
"And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9).
To call someone "father" in spiritual matters is to put him in the place of God as the one who gives spiritual life and is blasphemous. Only God the Father gives spiritual life.
When the Bible calls Abraham the "father of us all" (Romans 4:16) this refers to a standard pattern of faith and a standing precedent of justification by faith.
Roman Catholics are educated to look to the priest in all matters. He is their shepherd; they rely upon him for guidance, for knowledge of the gospel, for the forgiveness of their sins, for their soul's salvation.
Priest as mediator
Roman Catholicism teaches that the Apostles were ordained by Jesus at the Last Supper to perpetuate the coming sacrifice He would make on the cross, and that this ordination has been handed down through the centuries to the current generation of priests. Therefore, Rome teaches that her priests actually operate and discharge the priesthood of Jesus Christ, and that they are called other "Christs."
Priests are led to believe that in the confessional they are the delegate and the instrument of Christ, and that by their ordination they are qualified to judge another man's sins. They believe they are the bridge between God and man.
Jesus is the only Priest. He not only became the perfect sacrifice for sin, but after being accepted by God as having totally fulfilled the requirements of the old covenant, He became the mediator of a better covenant. (See Heb. 8:6) This means that Jesus is the High Priest of every true believer.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
Vatican Council II documents, Volume 2, p. 74 declare:
"The priest offers the holy sacrifice in persona Christi. This means more than offering in the name of, or in the place of Christ. In persona means in specific sacramental identification with the eternal High Priest."
Yet the priesthood of Jesus Christ is unique, and it cannot be transferred to another. (See Hebrews 7:17-24)
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. ... And he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (Colossians 1:15, 17)
"..We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Hebrews 8:1).
All believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are called priests. We offer spiritual sacrifices, and we all have access to God.
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5).
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people [a people of His own]; that ye should shew forth praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
We must take the totality of God's Word to see that there is one Mediator and one Advocate with the Father (Jesus Christ), and that no individual has the biblical or juridical power to absolve anyone from sin. Rome does not directly deny that there is one Mediator (I Tim. 2:5), but she adds to it; e.g., saying that Mary is a secondary mediator.
"Bless me Father..."? (showing why there is no Priesthood in the N.T.)
There is no support whatsoever in the Bible for a sacramental priesthood in the church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ. The priesthood was done away with and completed and fulfilled in Christ at the cross.
The Roman priesthood is just another example of Rome's many human inventions.
Auricular confession was instituted by Pope Innocent III in the Lateran Council in the 12th century. ("Auricular" means confession heard into the ear of the priest.)
“Obey your confessor blindly, that is, without asking reasons. Be careful, then, never to examine the directions of your confessor...In a word, keep before your eyes this great rule, that in obeying your confessor, you obey God. Force yourself then to obey him in spite of all fears. And be persuaded that if you are not obedient to him it will be impossible for you to go on well; but if you obey him you are secure.” (True Spouse of Christ, by St. Alphonso Liguori, p. 352).
Catholics say the priest only asks God to forgive sins, yet their documents reveal they teach otherwise:
"Its minister purifies souls from sin by an act of absolution, and as the Council of Trent defined, this absolution is not a mere declaration of what has taken place as effect of other causes, but a real efficacious judicial sentence actually freeing the sinner from guilt." (Legislation on the Sacraments, p. 190).
Code of Canon Law, Canon 978, Section one:
"In hearing confessions, the priest is to remember that he acts as a judge as well as a healer."
The Bible says:
"...And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).
In all pre-Christian religions, Judaism included, there was the element of the human priesthood. The pagan converts of the ancient near East religions (as their Jewish forerunners) still felt the need of a cultic priesthood. It is found in the Mormon Church, the Episcopal Church and the RCC.
The priest was formerly trained to ask questions and probe the consciences of men and women concerning all sins of thought, word or deed. There is abundant proof that young, celibate priests were required to study the disgusting details of the vilest sins known to fallen man, and that they be prepared to question closely on the subject of marital relationships.
The Council of Trent in the 16th century had a curse for anyone who disagrees with Rome's interpretation about confessing sins to a priest:
"Whosoever shall affirm that the words of the Lord our Savior, receive ye the Holy Ghost, whose sins ye shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins ye shall retain they are retained, are not to be understood of the power of forgiving and retaining sins in the sacrament of Penance, as the Catholic Church has always, from the very first, understood them, but shall restrict them to the authority of preaching the gospel in opposition to the institution of the sacrament, let him be accursed." - Canon 3 from the Council of Trent.
"If anyone denieth, either that sacramental confession was instituted, or is necessary to salvation, of divine right; or saith, that the manner of confessing secretly to a priest alone, which the Church hath ever observed from the beginning, and doth observe, is alien from the institution and command of Christ, and is a human invention, let him be anathema." - Canon 6, session 14, Council of Trent.
This curse has not been retracted.
The Catholic priests use the verses in John 20:22-23. This text has no reference whatsoever to Rome's sacrament of confession. The right to hear confessions and the power to forgive and retain sins was never claimed or exercised by any of the apostles. This was God's prerogative alone.
"...Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" (Luke 5:21).
The hearing of confession, and the granting of absolution, is not once spoken of in the epistles as part of the duty of the pastor or minister.
The blessed provision God makes for man, conscious of his sinfulness, is not to kneel down before a fellow sinner and confess his sins to one who may be guilty of the same sins himself but rather:
"...if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:" (1 John 2:1).
The apostles preached the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, which when believed and accepted resulted in the forgiveness of sins. (See Acts 13:38-39). This is the word of reconciliation. No man on earth can remit or forgive sin.
"...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
The RCC has created a stumbling block, and placed a barrier in the way of someone who is saved and now wants to reconcile with God in the question of personal sin.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
"...I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin" (Psalm 32:5).
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
A priest can't forgive your sins, it is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayers for the dead were adopted by the RCC in 300 A.D.
However, all of our prayers for the dead avails nothing and cannot alter their condition:
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..." (Hebrews 9:27).
The sale of indulgences began in 1190 A.D.
The Pope claimed to have the power to lessen or remit one's sufferings in purgatory. Papal indulgences were exceedingly profitable in the past and were even sold for money. However, only the blood of Christ can pay for our sins, not indulgences:
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold .. but with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18, 19)
In the 9-22-99 Ecumenical News International it stated that the RCC issued a new 100-page edition of the Manual of Indulgences. One way to gain an indulgence was to make a pilgrimage to Rome in the year 2000 and visit various historic Catholic sites. Other ways to gain indulgences was to "be pleasant to immigrants, pray at work, and give up alcohol and cigarettes."
Expiation of sins
The RCC teaches that we can expiate for our sins by our suffering, or trials, and above all by our death, and that we can be cleansed from sin, or sin can be expiated by our good works and our good deeds.
Vatican Council II documents, Volume one, p. 68 states:
"From the most ancient times in the church, good works were also offered to God for the salvation of sinners, particularly the works which human weakness finds hard."
Vatican Council II documents, Volume one, p. 63 states:
"The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life, and above all through death."
"The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even when the guilt of sin has been taken away punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed." (Ibid; p. 64)
Rome condemns those who oppose indulgences:
[The RCC] "teaches and commands that the usage of indulgences -- a usage most beneficial to Christians and approved by the authority of the Sacred Councils -- should be kept in the Church; and it condemns with anathema those who say that indulgences are useless or that the Church does not have the power to grant them." (Vatican Council II, p. 71)
Indulgences keep people in bondage to the Catholic church. The explicitly clear teaching of God's Word in the Bible is that Christ Jesus has expiated for our sins completely and fully:
"I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21).
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:14).
The RCC doctrine of demanding works of expiation in people's lives is totally contrary to the Bible.
Purgatory was first proclaimed and established in 593 A.D. by Gregory the Great.
It became dogma at the Council of Florence 1439 A.D.
Mortal sins and venial sins
Roman Catholics are taught that they remain in the life of grace unless they commit a mortal sin. If they die with a mortal sin on their soul, they go to hell. Mortal sins include: immorality, drunkenness, murder, lust, failing to attend Mass at least once a year and excessive gambling. These sins are considered punishable by eternal separation from God unless confessed to a priest.
Venial sins are considered less serious. They are sins like minor lying, being disrespectful, cheating, failure to pray daily, being angry with God, and giving in to depression. If they die with venial sins, they believe they go to purgatory.
Catholics believe purgatory is a purifying fire, "the final purification," similar to hell where they suffer just as much, except it is a temporal form of punishment (due to a lack of complete cleansing of sin). They pay for past confessed sins as well as unrepented, venial sins. This burden is carried by the entire family as they realize they can shorten the time of their deceased loved one in purgatory by offering up their own good works and sufferings, the Mass being a particularly "effective" offering.
"All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven." (1994 Catechism, p. 268, #1030) [emp. ours]
They are taught to pray for the deceased Catholic souls in purgatory. If the soul is in heaven, then all those prayers go into the "spiritual treasury" of the church, and those who are in purgatory and have no one to pray for them, draw out of this "spiritual treasury" and appropriate the prayers of others to themselves.
When Catholics have a Mass said for their deceased relatives, they come into a parish and give money. But when you search through the Scriptures, you won't find any purgatory in there. The Scriptures no where say that we can pay for our own sins. We are given a full payment by Jesus Christ.
"...when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).
Purgatory was said to be found in the book of Maccabees where a "sin offering" is offered for dead soldiers who had committed the sin of idolatry. However, to say that 2 Maccabees supports purgatory is contrary to the overall context of God's Word. It says nothing about hell fire in 2 Maccabees, nor souls being tormented therein. Furthermore, according to Catholic dogma, idolatry is a mortal sin that would confine a person to hell, not purgatory.
Though a mandatory belief for Catholics today, purgatory is still an official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.
"The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed. They often are. In fact, in purgatory the souls of those 'who died in the charity of God and truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions, are cleansed after death with punishment designed to purge away their debt." (Vatican Council II, p. 64)
The problem with purgatory is that it implies Christ was not able to pay the full penalty for our sins. Yet the Scriptures say in the one- time death of Christ He paid the full ransom for our sins.
"Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:6)
Jesus came to save us from our sins:
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21)
"What do you have to do in order to get to heaven?"
The above question was posed to a random sample of Catholics. Here is how each answered:
"By trying to live a clean and decent life."
"Just by being a good Catholic, and being nice to one another, and doing my best."
"You obey the Ten Commandments, and you've got a pretty good chance."
"By following my conscience, believing in God and doing well."
"By treating people properly and being fair to everyone."
"Going through Christ is going through Mary, so you have to follow Mary's way to Christ."
"Just behave myself."
"Do good, go to confession and go to church."
In the book, A Catechism for Adults, the question is asked, "What is Necessary to be Saved?" The answer is eight requirements:
3. Church membership
4. Obedience to the commandments
5. The sacraments
7. Good works
8. Remaining in grace until death
The Scripture never speaks of anything like this. Paul stated to the Philippian jailer:
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
The Roman Catholic gospel is a gospel of works. If salvation is by works, how much work do you have to do? The average Catholic can only hope that he will make it to heaven. This is a hopeless religion, because Catholics do not know where they will go when they die. But the apostle Paul declared:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Philippians1:23).
Catholics have no assurance of salvation. Yet the Scriptures state that we can know that we have eternal life now.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
The Bible is clear that when we come to the end of this life we can have assurance that there is a better life beyond the grave.
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28.
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:13)
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).
Purgatory denies true salvation in Christ and certainty of eternal life, forcing one to work for their salvation.
Saints, Images, Relics & Statutes
Prayers directed to Mary and dead saints 600 A.D.
Canonization of dead saints first declared by Pope Paul the XV in 995 A.D.
Scapulars (a piece of brown cloth with the picture of the Virgin Mary which is superstitiously worn over the shoulders next to the skin for the purpose of protecting the wearer from evil and danger) were introduced by an English monk in 1287 A.D.
Veneration of the cross, signing of the cross, images and relics was authorized in 788 A.D. (Relics can be skin, clothing, bone or instruments connected to a martyr.)
Relics in the RCC have consisted of:
Jesus' Crown of Thorns; water-pots used by Jesus in the miracle at Cana, plus some of the wine; the crib of Jesus (was exhibited for veneration every Christmas Eve at St. Mary Major's in Rome), Jesus' baby clothes; Joseph's carpenter tools, bones of the donkey on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the cup used at the Last Supper, the empty purse of Judas, Jesus' coat of purple; the sponge lifted to Jesus; nails from the cross; hair of Mary, Mary's skirts, slippers, veil and a bottle of milk that Jesus was supposed to have suckled from. (The Other Side of Rome, by John P. Wilder:, 1959)
Attributing supernatural power to such relics is simply another form of idolatry condemned by the Word of God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reinforces the doctrine of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of Nicea (A.D. 787) on images:
"Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church … we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving figure of the cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, on houses and on streets."
Catechism of the Council of Trent:
"It is lawful to have images in the church and to give honour and worship unto them. Images are put in churches that they may be worshipped." [emp. ours
While most everything is holy to a Catholic in his church: pictures, pews, altar, cloth, candles, etc., a unique aspect of Catholic devotion is the veneration of saints and the use of sacred objects, such as statues. There are saints who are said to be much holier than we are, who are in heaven and who can pray for us. Catholics have a list of saints that they use for various situations; e.g., if they lose something, they pray to St. Anthony; if they have a hopeless case in their family, they pray to St. Jude; they pray to St. Joseph for foster fathers and they used to pray to St. Christopher for traveling.
Yet the Scriptures, in many places, state that all Christians are saints:
"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (1 Cor. 1:2).
"...he [the Spirit] maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:27
"To the saints which are at Ephesus" (Ephesians 1:1).
"To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi" (Philippians 1:1).
There is no mention in the Bible of the disciples praying to those that had departed. Praying to dead saints undermines Christ's role as sole mediator and makes these saints into gods who can hear thousands of prayers.
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).
"...It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (Romans 8:34).
The 2nd Commandment
The Catholic Church regularly omits the 2nd commandment from Catechisms that says:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" (Exodus 10:4-5).
Yet Catholics still come up with Ten Commandments because they take the last one on "not to covet" and divided it into two. Nine is now "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife" and ten is "Thou should not covet thy neighbor's house, etc." Some former priests have said that they dropped this 2nd commandment, because there is a lot of business in making statutes.
The kind of images forbidden in this commandment are obviously those with a religious significance, a person or object believed to have the potential of putting one in touch with the spiritual realm. In regard to praying to dead saints, Catholics are taught that they are to:
". . . . suppliantly invoke them and have recourse to their prayers, their power and help in obtaining benefits from God through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is our sole Redeemer and Savior." (Vatican II, "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church," Art. 50, citing the Council of Trent, Session 25)
The "rosary" or prayer beads were introduced by a man called Peter the hermit which he copied from the Hindus and Mohammedans in the year 1090 A.D. (but not officially sanctioned until the 16th century). It was later popularized by St. Dominic.
"It is difficult to determine just how this special form of repeated prayer began. We know that. . . repeated prayer is common in many religions. That is what we would expect since it is natural to human beings." (Sacramentals, Catholic Information Center, p.21)
"Repetition in prayer is a very ancient custom. It would seem natural for man to recite his prayers over and over. The Buddhist has his long string of beads which he uses to measure his eternal repetitions of the praises of Buddha." (Externals of the Catholic Church, Msgr. Sullivan
The rosary has ten times as many prayers addressed to Mary (150), as are addressed to God the Father (15), with none addressed to Christ.
What does the Bible say?
"But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him" (Matthew 6:7-8).
Statutes and shrines are treated as sacred
Since the Council of Nice in 787 A.D. images have been adored. It was the Council of Trent which commanded this form of idolatry.
"The images of Christ, of the virgin Mary and of other saints, shall be had, consecrated, retrained and duly worshiped by kissing them, and with uncovered head bowing down before them and their relics."
The Bible forbids us to make such images or to bow down to them. This is done in many parts of the world; e.g., Peter's toe has almost been kissed away in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
"Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female..." (Deut. 4:15-16).
There are two statues at the French Papal Palace of Avignon, one of Jesus about 20 meters above ground level, and the other an enormous statue of Mary, much larger, grander and higher up than that of Jesus. This gives the greater honor to Mary rather than Jesus. In some places there are a multitude of images quite similar to what you would see in a pagan temple or a Buddhist shrine.
Religious shrines are visited by millions of people each year, looking for special blessings and favor. According to the Marian Library, about 80% of Catholic shrines are dedicated to Mary. Author Wilson Ewin (who has researched Catholicism; read the major portion of his book online: Today's Evangelicals Embracing the World's Deadliest Cult) has stated that he only knew of one Roman Catholic Church in the world that was named for Jesus Christ. All others are named for Mary or other saints.
Right through the Old Testament and into the N.T. this custom of making idols and graven images was thoroughly detestable before God. In Leviticus 19:4 God says:
"Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God."
A true story was once told of a former Catholic priest who confronted a pagan in Cuba with the question of how he could believe that a plaster idol could help him. The pagan replied that the idol was not expected to help him; "it only represented the power in heaven which could." The startling thing about the reply was that it was almost word-for-word the explanation Roman Catholics give for rendering honour to their statues of saints.
These things de-emphasize the work of Jesus Christ for Catholic people. We are to worship God in spirit and truth
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).
Praying to saints turns people away from developing a close fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy water, mixed with a pinch of salt, and blessed by a priest was authorized in 850 A.D.
Wax candles introduced 320 A.D.
"The precise significance to be attached to this rite [lighting candles], which harks back to ancient modes for keeping evil spirits in check by fire, is that 'in whatsoever place these candles are lit or placed, the powers of darkness may depart in trembling and flee in terror.' " (Biblical Demonology, Merrill F. Unger, 1953)
Rituals in the RCC consist of such things as bowing down to statues, praying Catholic prayers (these are memorized prayers), lighting candles, kissing crucifixes, masses, rosaries, making the sign of the cross, sprinkling holy water, burning incense, and adoring images or icons of a Madonna.
Sacred oils, gorgeous vestments, priests arrayed in jewels and apparel, chalices, candlesticks, incense with pungent smells, symbolism, music, artistic taste, colorful processions and pomp and pageantry of the RCC is all very captivating, but it is fraught with mysticism and esoteric symbology which is not only unnecessary, but is contrary to the purity and simplicity that Christ demonstrated.
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof... " (2 Timothy 3:5).
Catholics are taught to go to Jesus through the sacraments, through the saints, through the priest. As a Christian we can personally go to Christ. He has paid the penalty that we could never pay.
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16).
We cannot save ourselves. No matter what we do, we are going to fall far short of the perfection that God would expect, but Christ was perfect, so we need to trust in Him and lean entirely on Him alone.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us..." (Titus 3:5).
The true loving nature of God is hidden in the RCC and lost behind church dogma and mysteries of the faith, ceremony, empty rituals and prayers that are vain repetition. Catholics don't understand the true Person and work of Jesus Christ. He is our personal Lord and Savior. As a result, there is a vacuum, and the Catholic Church tries to tell its people that this vacuum can be satisfied by participating in the seven sacraments. So instead of a dynamic walk and talk with the Lord Jesus Christ, it's ritual and ceremony.
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Hebrews 10:19).
We come to God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, not empty rituals.
Rome as the One True Church
At the Council of Trent (1545-1563) Rome pronounced 125 anathemas (curses) damning those who do not strictly believe the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.
“I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent.” (Pope John XXIII, Second Vatican Council) [emp. ours]
In the past, if a Catholic went to another church outside the RCC and participated (i.e., bowing the head during the prayer, singing, etc.) in that service, it was considered a mortal sin. They couldn't even bring Protestant literature into the home, as they believed it would bring a curse onto the family.
Catholics take the word "church" to mean "supreme, teaching authority in all matters of faith and morals" (the magisterium), but the church means "fellowship." We can accept as supreme authority Christ Jesus in the authority of His Word.
Rome's understanding of Christ appears Biblical; e.g., they teach that Jesus of Nazareth was the eternal Son of God, that He was virgin born; they promote His miracles, His substitutionary work on the cross; they teach His resurrection, His ascension and second coming. But Rome has many faces and is able to appear as an angel of light. What Rome holds about the person and work of Jesus Christ looks good, but under the surface Catholicism teaches that she is the extension of Christ on earth, and that to submit to the RCC is to submit to Christ. To leave the RCC is to leave God and to forsake Christ. Yet Jesus said to come to me and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Peter appointed as head of the church?
During the fifth century, Pope Leo I began to use Matthew 16:18: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" to say that Peter was appointed by Christ to be the head of the church. The whole structure of the RCC has been built on this assumption. Nevertheless, this verse doesn't have anything to do with the nature of the church; it has to do with the nature of Jesus Christ. Peter sees Christ and acknowledges Him to be God in the flesh (vs. 16).
It is interesting to note that while RCC likes to quote the above verse to say that the RCC is founded on St. Peter, in the very same chapter our Lord said to Peter:
"Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men" (Matthew 16:23).
If Jesus had already designated Peter as head of the church, the disciples would not have disputed in Mark 9:33-35 as to who should be the greatest.
At the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:13-29, it is the advice of James, not Peter, that is sought and followed.
In Matthew 16:18, the Greek word "Peter" is "Petros," masculine, a small piece of rock. The Greek word "rock" is "petra," which refers to bedrock, a mass of immovable rock. It refers to Christ's deity.
It was Peter who revealed that Christ is the Stone:
"Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed" (1 Peter 2:6-8).
Christ is the Rock.
"He is the Rock, His word is perfect.." (Deut. 32:4).
"...they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ: (1 Cor. 10:4).
The one and only foundation is Christ:
"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11).
"Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).
Only church for salvation
The RCC believes that they are the only church where Jesus Christ physically resides and the only church founded by Jesus:
"This is the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peterâs pastoral care. ... This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, chap. 1, 8, p. 329). [emp. ours]
"For it is through Christâs Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fulness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God" (Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism, chap. 1, 3, p. 415). [emp. ours]
" We must always remember the unity of the mystical body, without which there an be no salvation, is open to no one outside the Catholic Church." (Pope Paul VI) [emp. ours]
"For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fulness of the means of salvation can be obtained." (Vatican II) [emp. ours]
The oath which all converts to the Roman Catholic Church must take:
"I (name), having before my eyes the Holy Gospels, which I touch with my hand, and knowing that no one can be saved without that faith which the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church holds, believes and teaches: against which I grieve that I have greatly erred, inasmuch as I have held and believed doctrines opposed to her teaching;
I now, by the help of God's grace, profess that I believe the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church, to be the only true Church established on earth by Jesus Christ, to which I submit myself with my whole heart. I firmly believe all the articles which she proposes to my belief, and I reject and condemn all that she rejects and condemns, and I am ready to observe all that she commands me." [emp. ours]
Signs or characteristics of a religious cult
A group with any one or a combination of the following marks may be properly called a cult:
o The dishonest handling of the Bible
o Extra-biblical revelation
o Salvation by works
o Distorted Christology
o Deification of a church
o Deification of a leader
o Sexual perversion
o Political subversion
o Financial exploitation
o Mind control
o Truth manipulation
o The minimizing of sin
o Double talk
J. Oswald Sanders in his book, Cults and Isms, said:
"We place Roman Catholicism at the head of the list of heresies, since it is the largest and most influential of them all…The Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches…stand for totally, fundamentally, irreconcilably different religions which lead to goals as far separated as hell is from heaven" (p. 20). [emp. ours]
All cults have a counterfeit and false Jesus--the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, Unity, Herbert W. Armstrong's churches. Their concept and understanding of Christ is warped and twisted. These people are experts in falsely interpreting the Scriptures. Thus they deal in half-truths and are masters of deceit and specialize in subtle fallacies concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. They all have a different Jesus, a different gospel, and a different spirit. (2 Cor. 11:4)
The basic of a cult is to deny even directly, or indirectly, the sufficiency of our Lord's person and work. Every cult, without exception, subjects the Bible to gross, false interpretations of Scripture. The Roman Catholic system has been twisting the Scriptures for centuries.
"For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ" (2 Cor. 2:17)
In catechism classes it has been common not to ask questions but to accept what one is taught. The Church of Rome suppresses the people and controls the minds of the people. It is a religion of fear, superstition and ignorance.
Roman Catholicism has more than one God. God really is not worshipped in the RCC. It is the saints, along with Mary. The RCC is worshipped and becomes a very subtle idol. Christ does not have the preeminence.
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18).
Every cult represents a satanic force against which the Christian is in a spiritual battle. Those who live a consecrated, separated life, empowered by the Holy Spirit, given to prayer and diligent study of the Scriptures, are qualified to test the spirits of spiritual counterfeit groups.
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose, convict] them" (Ephesians 5:11).
Roman Catholicism is the most feared and neglected mission field today. They have another Christ and another spirit, because they have another gospel.
There is an appalling ignorance of the RCC which has seduced people with a false gospel. Teachings and practices must come under the search light of God's Word, the Bible. If you carefully examine Roman Catholic teaching and dogma in the light of Scripture, you see easily that this ancient church is an ancient cult.
Church, falsely so-called
Why is it so few Christian organizations and books, magazines and films and tracts fail to identify this church, falsely so-called? Why do so few Bible colleges and seminaries seldom if ever offer a course on this religion? Why are there so few pastors and evangelists teaching the true nature of this religious institution?
Many today believe that Roman Catholicism has certain cardinal doctrines characteristic of historical Christianity and, therefore, cannot be called a cult. According to them Romanism is a mere aberrant Christian group. Others feel it has slid from its original biblical position. Some teach that it is a branch of historic Christianity. Some take the position that it is a Christian body with extreme, unique unorthodox practices and peripheral aspects of doctrine. These are Christian experts on the cults saying these things. Why this tolerance? Here are three reasons:
1. There is an openness to alternative belief systems.
2. There is a wanton love of unity.
3. There is a non-judgmental philosophy which says, "I don't want to offend anyone."
Many Catholics have been indoctrinated with a spurious gospel, and it takes time to undo the false teachings of religious bondage. This is a church that seduces and mesmerizes people because of her wealth, power and longevity. Romanism is more than a religion; it is a political, psychological system. Its universal government seeks to enslave its members through the technique of slow, deliberate "brainwashing." It is geared to promote a religion that does not resemble Biblical Christianity. Its religious practices were not known in the early church but chiefly come from the Roman pagans.
The Church of Rome is not a Christian church.
Rome and Ecumenicalism
The RCC still claims to be the original church. Some of her greatest theologians or authorities have, in the past, said that outside of her there is no salvation. Present day Catholic authorities play down this pronouncement, for it would prove to be a hindrance to uniting all other churches with the Church of Rome, her ultimate ambition. For example, after the 2nd Vatican Council she has been calling Protestants "separated brethren" instead of schismatic. However, unless all churches acquiesce to this movement toward "unity," they remain outside the graces of the Church. Unity means surrender to the "Mother church."
"Bishops should show affectionate consideration in their relations with the separated brethren and should urge the faithful also to exercise all kindness and charity in their regard, encouraging ecumenism as it is understood by the Church." (Vatican Council II, p. 573) [emp. ours]
The 2nd Vatican Council changed the position of the church in relationship to non-Christian religions in 1965. It affirmed that people of all religions form one community, and that the church respects the spiritual, moral and cultural values of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Catholic publishers have produced numerous books designed to enrich Catholic spirituality with Eastern religions.
"We must adopt the stance...which does not reject anything found in other religions that is true and holy." (Roman Catholic Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity)
This concept arising in Christendom today that God has revealed Himself in many different ways to different peoples leads to the conclusion that there are "many roads to God." This is nothing but compromise and tolerance. It also contradicts the Scriptures which say that God revealed Himself in only one person, His Son.
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Catholics have always believed that Mary has appeared in various apparitions in the world with a message. Beginning in 1981, apparitions of Mary started appearing at Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. In one message she is to have said: "God is not looking for great believers but simply for those who respect their faith and live peacefully. Peace is more important than conversion, fasting, penance or prayer."
The RCC uses John 17:20-22 to say all churches need to be in unity (with the RCC):
"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:"
These verses have nothing to do with ecumenical unity. This prayer of Christ has already been answered. Believers are one in Christ since the church is one body. When we trust Christ, we are put into that body.
Christian Leaders Uniting With Roman Catholicism - tape (covers their doctrines, plus the ECT [Evangelicals and Catholics Together] document)
Today Rome's great ecumenical propaganda machine is paying off as dead Protestantism allows itself to be seduced by Roman advances.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Peter 2:1).
Truth is the basis for unity, not experience. If you truly love the Christ of the Bible you will not sit under liberal teaching, whether it be Catholic or Protestant. You will avoid the ecumenical and Charismatic churches which emphasize unity at the expense of Biblical truth. You will separate from every form of religious apostasy.
"If any man teach otherwise and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; ... from such withdraw thyself" (1 Timothy 6:3,5).
Rome is pushing for ecumenical unity at the expense of God's Word.
Has Rome Changed?
Many are expressing hope that the RCC is turning toward a scriptural Christianity. Catholics say they have changed because "We read our Bibles now." Modern Catholics have chosen to ignore certain doctrines of the church, which they consider to be out of date. They point to the ever widening Charismatic renewal. In fact, Vatican Radio has reported that the Charismatic Movement embraces at least 80 million Catholics worldwide.
Many of the things that the RCC used to consider a sin are no longer a sin. Who changed the definition of sin? If it was a sin before, why isn't it a sin now? Or was it ever a sin? After all, isn't it God who decides what is sin? How can anyone or anything change what God has decided? It is no longer a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sundays (now you can go on Saturdays and it will count for Sunday). The Mass was changed from Latin to English and turned the altar around and allow the lay people to come up to the altar and assist in the ritual, even allowing them to handle the "sacred host" (the Eucharist).
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8).
A common misconception is that the 2nd Vatican Council changed many of her dogmas; however, Vatican II made no doctrinal changes. There was a change of image but no change of substance. Most fail to realize that these changes are only superficial, for Rome could never reject the sacrifice of the Mass but only streamlined it enough to keep the truth of its meaning hidden.
Pope John XXIII made it clear that his church is bound to all the teachings of the church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the act of the Council of Trent and first Vatican Council. This same ecumenical Pope put Vatican II under the "protection of Mary, the immaculate queen of the church and the mother of unity." He also said, "It is through Mary that we come to Jesus. To love Christ means to love Mary, His mother, and in the light of redemption, our universal mother."
Pope John Paul II’s latest encyclical is renewing a call for Roman Catholic Bishops to reject "Scripture only" as the means of God’s revelation to man
"Not one doctrine of the core of Rome has changed in terms of sacramental salvation. The Roman Catholic religion of the 1990's is the same doctrinally as that of the 16th and 17th century. They have added some things, but the heart of the matter remains the same." (Romanism, The Relentless Roman Catholic Assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Chapter 18, by Robert M. Zins [emp. ours]
"For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God" (Vatican Council II, p. 456). [emp. ours]
The constitution of the RCC makes it abundantly clear that Rome has no intention of revising any of her basic doctrines but only of updating her methods and techniques for more effective administration, and to present a more attractive appearance. This is designed to make it easier for the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches to return to the RCC's fold. Her purpose is not union but absorption.
Rome promotes the principle Semper eadem, "always the same." Her basic dogmatic teachings can never change. There has been re-definition and restructuring of Catholic theology, but there has been no radical change of Catholic dogma because that would destroy Roman Catholicism. The Vatican Council II declarations and the New Catholic Catechism of the 1990s reaffirmed the Council of Trent unequivocally.
The RCC has never changed a dogma of faith once it has been declared.
Catholics are taught they have to work for their salvation; i.e., keep the Ten Commandments, pray a rosary, go to Mass every Sunday, fast, and use a lot of holy water. They are taught it is a grievous sin to doubt church teachings.
The official post Vatican Council II Roman Catholic source, the Code of Canon Law, promulgated by the authority of Pope John Paul II in 1983 in Canon 849 says:
"Baptism, the gate to the sacraments, necessary for salvation in fact or at least in intention, by which men and women are freed from their sins, are reborn as children of God and configured to Christ." [emp. ours]
A Catechism for Adults, p. 50, asks the question: "What is necessary to be saved?" The answer given is:
"You have to be brought into spiritual contact with that saving death of Jesus by faith and baptism and loyal membership in his Church; by love of God and neighbor, proved by obedience to his commandments; by the other sacraments, especially holy communion; by prayer and good works and by final perseverance, that is preserving God's friendship and grace until death."
We are not saved by works but for works. We cannot mix law and grace. Salvation by works is not of God, because it is clearly absent from the Bible.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8, 10).
Being born again has nothing to do with good works like getting baptized, joining a church or speaking in tongues:
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16).
Catholics like to use the verses in James 2:14-26 to say we are saved by works; however, when we understand how the definition of faith is used by Paul and James in the context of their writings, we see that they are in perfect harmony and are discussing the same subject from different viewpoints. Paul tells us that we are not saved by works of the Law. (Rom. 3:28; Gal. 2:16) James is saying that the faith which saves you will produce works of faith. When Paul speaks of works, it is works of the Law.
The Law is a mirror, but it cannot save you. Man cannot be saved by perfect obedience, for he cannot render it and he cannot be saved by imperfect obedience, because God will not accept it. The only solution to this dilemma is the redemption found in Christ Jesus and both Paul and James emphasize that.
When James speaks of works, he is talking about works of faith, not the works of law. Paul also wrote about works of faith. ("faith which worketh by love" Gal. 5:6.) Saving faith is alive; professing faith is dead. If you have a living faith, there is going to be fruit in our life. So when we understand how Paul and James use the words faith and works, we see that they are in total agreement on their teaching. (Paraphrased from the edited messages on James 2:14-26 by the late J. Vernon McGee) [emp. ours]
Works are not a requirement for salvation, they are a result of salvation.
"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. .." (Romans 11:6).
"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21).
Salvation is a finished work of Christ, completed, and we need to trust what He did for us, not trust what we are doing for Him.
"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10).
The form of godliness that the RCC has makes it difficult for a Roman Catholic to see where the real problem is, but each person must determine that the truth is known only by the authority of God's Word. The RCC demands obedience to what they declare or determine. But we are obliged to obey not man but God. The Bible is the supreme authority by which truth is known. The whole salvation message is summarized in one verse:
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor. 5:21).
The Roman Church is not the means by which one is saved, rather it is grace itself, through faith, as expressed in Ephesians 2:8-9:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, let any man should boast."
The Catholic way of salvation is a false hope, for it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ found in the N.T. God warns us of those that would come and teach another Jesus, a different spirit and a different gospel.
"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Cor. 11:4)
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel" Galatians 1:6).
Salvation is a result of trusting in Jesus and His finished work on the cross. When He cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30), He was proclaiming that He had made an end of our sins and guilt. He fulfilled all the requirements of God's Law and He fulfilled all the O.T. prophecies concerning His life and resurrection. The work the Father gave Him was finished. Our redemption was paid in full.
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4).
Salvation is found only in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.