Catholicism and the Bible

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This is a transcript of my sharing earlier with our cell group. Most of its content were taken from the book “Roman Catholicism” by the late Dr. Loraine Boettner. The pictures included were lifted off the internet. Verses were quoted using the NIV.

Most Filipinos claim to be Roman Catholics even when they barely understand their doctrine. When I was a baby Christian, I often wondered, are they really different from us? Are they considered as “unbelievers” even if they believe in the Bible and believe in the Trinity? In what ways are they different from us?

This led me to a book called “Roman Catholicism” by the late Loraine Boettner

According to him, these are the marks of a true church:

  1. True preaching of the Word of God
  2. Right administration of sacraments (baptism and communion)
  3. Faithful exercise of discipline (with regards to sin)

In the Bible, church pertains to a local congregation, or is used to identify believers. Currently, there are different Christian denominations and “churches” but we are all united in spirit and in truth. The differences among denominations are superficial and non-essential, and in reality, we are very united. As members of a church, we go to church because we want to (Out of our own free will).We follow some traditions (such as celebrating Easter Sunday, Christmas, and other things), but these are subordinate to what the Bible says. All of us are encouraged to read the Bible with the Holy Spirit as our guide.

The word Catholic simply means universal. In fact, all Christians who accept Christ as savior, regardless of denominations have the right to be called Catholic Christians. So for this purpose, I would like to also refer to the Roman Catholic Church as the Roman Church or RC for short.

Record shows that early Christian churches were completely faithful for 300 years. Those were the golden age, where a lot of martyrs and saints were persecuted by Pagan Rome. After Emperor Constantine’s conversion, Christianity was declared as a State Religion, and multitudes of pagans were admitted to the church. All these corrupted the primitive faith, and the church became “romanized” and “paganized”.

Some Roman Catholic Inventions

Item

Year (A.D.)

Prayers for the dead

300

Making the sign of the cross

300

Wax candles

320

Veneration of angels and dead saints, use of images

375

The Mass, as a daily celebration

394

Beginning of the exaltation of Mary, the term “mother of God” first applied to her

431

Priests began to dress differently from laymen

500

Extreme Unction

526

Doctrine of Purgatory, established by Gregory I

593

Latin language used in prayer and worship imposed by Gregory I

600

Prayers directed to Mary, dead saints and angels

600

Title of Pope given to Boniface III

607

Kissing the pope’s foot began with pope Constantine

709

Temporal power of the popes

750

Worship of the cross, images and relics

786

Holy water, mixed with salt and blessed by a priest

850

Worship of st. Joseph

890

College of cardinals was established

927

Baptism of bells

965

Canonization of dead saints

995

Fasting on Fridays and during lent

998

The mass, developed gradually as a sacrifice, attendance made obligatory

11th century

Celibacy of priesthood

1079

The rosary, mechanical praying with beads

1090

The inquisition

1184

Sale of indulgences

1190

Transubstantiation

1215

Auricular Confession of sins to a priest instead of to God

1215

Adoration of wafer (host)

1220

Bible forbidden to laymen

1229

The scapular

1251

Cup forbidden to the people at communion

1414

Purgatory proclaimed as a dogma

1439

Doctrine of seven sacraments

1439

Ave maria

1508

Jesuit order

1534

Tradition declared equal authority with the bible

1545

Apocrypal books added to the bible

1546

Creed of pope Pius IV imposed as the official creed

1560

Immaculate conception of the virgin mary

1854

Syllabus of error (condemned freedom of religion, conscience, speech, press, and scientific discoveries which are disapproved by the Roman church; asserted the pope’s temporal authority over all civil rulers)

1864

Infallibility of the pope in matters of faith and morals

1870

Public schools condemned

1930

Assumption of the virgin mary (bodily ascension into heaven shortly after her death)

1950

Mary proclaimed the mother of the church

1965

Add to these are monks, nuns, monasteries, convents, forty days lent, holy week, palm Sunday, ash Wednesday, all saints day, simbang gabi, holy oil, fiestas, novenas, etc.

From this list, you can see the steady departure from the simplicity of the gospel. Their religion as now practiced is an outgrowth of centuries of error. To further understand our differences, I will be touching on several points tonight.

A. Priests

The COUNCIL of TRENT, whose decrees must be accepted by all RCs, indicates that “the priest is the man of God, minister of God. He that despiseth the priest despiseth God. He that hears him, hears God. The priest remits sins as God.”

In the Old Testament times, priests are the mediator between man and God. However, in the New Testament times and even up to now, Christ is the high priest. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil inside the temple was torn. That indicates that thru His blood, we can now approach God directly. But today, Roman priests have again patched up that veil.

1 Tim 2:5: For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus

Heb 7:17 For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”[a

Heb 7:24-27: 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely[a] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Heb 10:14 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

B. Traditions

In 1546, the COUNCIL of TRENT declared that the Word of God is contained both in Bible and in tradition, and that they are of equal authority. Soon, they added Apocrypha to the Bible, which is closer to the OT than to the NT.

RCs encourage people to simply trust their priest and church. Reading can cause more harm than good. But if needed, you can read the Roman Catholic Bible version. However, it is also reiterated that the Bible is a very mysterious book and you won’t be able to understand it.

RCs have three authorities: Bible, Traditions, Church. Theoretically, RCs accept the bible but in practice, she doesn’t leave her members free to follow it.

Matt 7:8,9 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

Matt 15:3,6,9 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’[a]

deut 4:2 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

col 2:8 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.

Rev 22: 18-19 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

C. Papacy

RC claim that Pope is the vice-regent of Christ.

Comparison of Pope and Christ

Pope

Christ

Wears a jewel-laden, extremely expensive crown as a symbol of authority

No earthly crown at all, except a crown of thorns which he wore on our behalf

Carried in a portable chair on the shoulders of twelve men during solemn ceremonies

Walked wherever he needed to go

Adored with genuflections (a bowing of the knee in reverence), preceded by papal cross and two large fans of peacock feathers, elaborate and costly

Lives in luxury with many servants in a huge palace in Vatican city

Had nowhere to lay His head

Many were grossly immoral

Perfect in holiness

Temporal ruler, just like a little king with 100 men as bodyguard, claims political power

Kingdom is not of this world, refused to exercise temporal authority

Authoritarian in the affairs of the church

Affairs of the church were at the hands of people, with the Bible and prayers as guide

The fact is, the early church had no head on earth. Christ was their head and they were all brothers. They did have an organization (Acts 15) but when they encounter problems, they meet together in a democratic way and considered things carefully with prayer and scripture study. There was no supremacy of Peter or of anyone else.

Matt 23:9: 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven

D. Mary

Matt 13:54-56 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”

John 19: 26-27 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[a] here is your son,”27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

In those verses, Mary is presented as a humble servant of God. The Bible called Mary as the mother of Jesus, RCs elevated her to the Mother of God. They claim that Christ came to us thru Mary and we must go to Him thru her. Who would go to the child for salvation when his mother seems easier to access and more responsive?

Comparison of Roman Church’s Mary with the Mary described in the Bible

Roman Catholic Church

(from the Glories of Mary)

The Word of God

She is truly a mediatress of peace between sinners and God

Jesus said: I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except thru me (John 14:6; 1 Tim 2:5)

Many things are asked from God, and are not granted, they are asked from Mary and obtained.

There is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 3:6, 4:2)

Mary is called the gate of heaven because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing thru her

John 10:1,7,9 I am the door, by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved

Mary is also the advocate of the whole human race for she can do what she wills with God

But if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ.. (1 John 2:1,2)

We obtain more quickly what we ask by calling on the name of Mary than by invoking that of Jesus

Ask and you shall receive…for whosoever ask according to His will… (John 16:23-24)

The concept of Immaculate Conception is not about Jesus but about Mary – that Mary was born without sin, and lived a sinless life. But what does the bible say in Luke 1:46-47? “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

E. Mass

Unlike our Sunday worship service, Mass is the sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, really present in the altar, under the appearance of bread and wine, offered to God for the living and the dead. During mass, they call the bread the HOST – because it is literally the body of Jesus! (John 6:54) – this is literal and not figurative.

For us Christians though, our communion is more like a memorial service. “Do this in remembrance of me.”

For some Lay RCs, they know what they are eating, and they know what the pope requires them to believe, but they cannot contradict the church or else they will be eternally condemned. They know it as false, but they are accepting if as true – and that is part of their Faith.

RCs who take their church membership seriously find it hard to leave RC church because in the protestant churches, they find no mass, and they fear that without it salvation can be lost.

Mass is also a big money earner for the church ie requiem or nuptial mass, and indulgences — more mass – more chances to get out of the purgatory. But according to Acts 8:20– you cannot buy God with money

(NT only has 2 sacraments: baptism and Lord’s supper (Luke 22:19 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” and Matt 28:19 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,))

RCs have Seven:

Seven Sacraments of the Roman Church

Baptism Automatic forgiveness of past sin and an absolute necessary to salvationThey even have prenatal baptism and invented limbus infantum (where babies who were not baptized go here – they are excluded from heaven but receive no pain)
Confirmation Conveying to him the Holy Spirit (by the priest)Some protestants also practice this, but only as an ordinance
Eucharist Mass
Penance Sins committed after baptism are forgiven by means of the absolution of the priest. Priests give penance after confession that we may satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to our sins.The Bible says “repent” not “punishment” –penance is the work of man on his body, whereas true repentance is the work of God in the soul. (read Joel 2:13, acts 16:30-31, 1 John 1:9)
Extreme Unction Anointing by priests of those in danger of death (holy oil to eyes, ears, nose, hands, feet and Latin prayer to offset the sin), but still no assurance of heaven, only to purgatoryOur belief: John 5: 24 24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
Orders Hierarchy: totalitarian and autocratic rule: headed by the 1. Pope, 2. Cardinal, 3. Archbishop, 4. Bishop (vows allegiance to the pope), 5. Priests (allegiance to the bishop), 6. Lay people.No one is to question the authority of the priest. The finances of the church are in the authority of the priest or bishop to who he reports, to avoid making public financial reports.

In contrast, our churches are autonomous, but we are all tied by doctrinal purity. We have elders and deacons to administer to the church, and the finances of the church is very transparent.

Matrimony Divine ordinance. Marriage must only be by priests and was in dissoluble.Christian Churches – no claims that clergy alone could perform marriage, and there is a right to divorce on scriptural grounds.

F. Confessional

Confession is described as obtaining forgiveness by saying your sin to authorized priests. The priest doesn’t have to ask God to forgive your sins. The priest himself has the power to do so in Christ’s name, as if they are Christ. But, priests forgive the guilt but can’t remit the penalty. So sinners must atone for them by performing good works (prayers, etc.). Confessions should be done at least once a year. Priests say “I absolve thee, go in peace”

Scripture said: only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:7)The Lord Jesus Christ has this power because He is God. 1 John 1:9 (9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.)

G. Purgatory

RC church has developed a doctrine that says all who die at peace with the church, but who are not perfect, must suffer in an intermediate realm known as purgatory. The suffering in purgatory will purify him and only when he’s pure shall he be allowed to enter heaven. Justice needs to be satisfied, but, people here on earth can alleviate their suffering. How? – Thru indulgences. These indulgences were usually used for beautiful church buildings (i.e. St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome).

Luke 23:43 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

John 19:30 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Romans 8: 1 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

H. Ritualism

The regal attire, parade and processions, mystifying symbolism, music and chant, sing-song intonation of the priests, candles, bells, etc – these were all designed to impress the sense and the emotions of the lay people. This is the most important factor that account for the power and influence of the RC Church. (These were not written in the Bible)

Notice how magnificent RC churches are, regardless of how poor the people are. How could they afford to construct these? One answer is slave labor. i.e. Philippines and Mexico (Indians)

Other rituals: Hail Mary, Fasting during Lent, Self torture during lent, Relics, Crosses, Prayers for the Dead, Rosary (Matt6:7-8), Idols (These Idols were first justified to use to instruct masses who cannot read- year 787).

1 Peter 3:3 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.

I. Celibacy

One of the Requirements of the RC Church is that its priests, monks, and nuns cannot marry. It is not to be confused with the vow of chastity, which means abstinence from sexual relations.

The vow of celibacy is broken if the priest marries, but not if he engages in sexual relations. Pardon for the latter can be had easily at any time by confession.

RC holds celibacy as superior to marriage. They taught those who enter monastery and convent that romantic desires are sinful, something to be ashamed of. They were also taught that to have true spirituality, you should be away from the world (monastic system). (Gen 2:8 18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”)

With regards to birth control – it is really absurd that they are strongly opposed to it because they know nothing about marriage except that sex is involved and lots of little Catholics are its desired results. (1 Tim 4:3 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.)

Reasons:

  1. Gives the pope a higher degree of control over the priests and nuns, so that they are more responsive to the orders, can be transferred more readily from one parish to another
  2. Property of the priests, which in some cases is quite considerable, will automatically be left to the church when he die, rather than go to his wife or child.

the wedding cake

Nuns are the true victims. The church taps to their maternal instincts and even calls them the “bride of Christ.” Their very uncomfortable and distinctive garb is designed to keep them constantly aware of the fact that they are committed totally to the service of the church, and it places a wide gap between them and the world. Nuns are absolute slave who works in hospitals, schools, orphanages, helps in the day to day activities of the church (cooking, cleaning, washing, etc), and they are happy because they think they are doing it for the Lord.

Conclusion:

The basic conclusion we can get is that Romanism denies the sufficiency of Christ as Savior. What Jesus did on Calvary must be repeated in the mass and supplemented thru the works of penance, and this made priests and sacraments necessary. They are promoting salvation on installment plan – from cradle (baptism) to the grave (extreme unction), and even beyond (mass for the dead).

Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Galatians 2:21 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”[a

Acts 16:31 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

RCs often attempt to represent that the Christian or Protestant faith is fairly new, originating in the 16th Century. But the basic principles and teachings go back to the New Testament and the first Christian Churches:

a. Supremacy of the Bible in all matters of faith and practice

b. Saved by faith, not by works, although works have their necessary and logical place as the fruits and proof of true faith

c. The right of the individual to go directly to God in prayer, apart from human intermediary

d. Individual freedom of conscience and worship, within the authority of the Bible

Acts 17: 11-12 11Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. .

We ought to follow the Bereans, because they thoroughly examined the scripture to see if what Paul and Silas taught them was correct. The Bereans were willing to put them to a test, and Paul and Silas were glad for it, because the scriptures call all to study the Bible and to test what we read. Peter also said in 1 Peter 3:15: “Always be prepared to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

So Christians are called to study and to know their Bibles, not only to know the Bible stories and essential teachings but also to be able to challenge false teachers and to effectively explain the reason for their beliefs.

After this night, you may ask, who is the true church? The true church of Christ is invisible, made up of people accepts Christ in their hearts, and are to be found in all visible churches; and the visible churches are there to train these “Christians” for the kingdom of Christ.

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