By Michael Leppert
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." If there is one phrase in the bible that should make us love God, it would be
this one. The weight of it, given birth by its predecessor, "John 1, - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Someone once said, "if any adult person cares not that God became a man, He or she is worse than a devil". If we love God, let us honor Jesus. He is not to be separated from his Word for He is the Word.
In this report, we will look at seven doctrines of the Catholic Church and determine how well they coincide with the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. After all, our God has every right to command worship, and every right to command us how to come before him. Let it also be said here that it is unwise and dangerous that the responsibility of knowing God be taken lightly and be dependent upon the inclinations of men. Can the Spirit of God be seen through any filter designed by men?
But first, let us lay some ground work by saying, "The bible is reliable because..." Mostly, the biggest reason we believe the bible should be the ultimate authority for faith and practice is because it doesn't benefit any people group. It doesn't make anyone look good. It doesn't make Jews look good and it doesn't make Christians look good, "for we are counted as sheep for the slaughter" (Romans 8:36). The declaration of said bible is this, "man in his best state is altogether vanity" (psalms 39:5). Inadequacies abound in every race, every people group, and every effort to make ourselves acceptable to a perfectly holy God. If the bible is false, what motive did men have in writing it? Man wouldn't have written the bible if he could have and couldn't have written it if he would have. So what was the motive? The Lords light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive,"(proverbs 20:27)
Another reason is the exceptional content; "Love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you", and "turn the other cheek". These do not appear to be the inspirations of men. Also among the texts are extraordinary prophecies that prove God's knowledge of the future, and his ordaining of it.
And thirdly, no body of literature predates the scripture? If we consider the desire of men to communicate, to write, to tabulate, to record events and history, it is quite remarkable how very little creative writing of artistic or historiological value is available other than scripture. In fact, the RCC makes their own claim concerning the importance of honoring the scripture in the catechism of the Catholic Church, article 2-81, "Sacred scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit". Well said! In my experience, that catholic people generally don't study the bible. It is my hope that some would. Peter said, "Desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby," and in another place! "We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the father,... saying, This is my beloved Son, who brings me great joy." And although Peter saw the Lord in great glory, heard Him speak, saw Him perform miracles, Peter's message to us is this, "We have also a MORE SURE word of prophecy; ...ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place..." (KJV) Peter understood the need for a written word because he learned that miracles aren't enough for the human heart. Miracles, answered prayers, and heavenly visions all lose their clarity. We need a written word that declares God's love for us, a word that doesn't change.
The first doctrine we will examine is the worship of Mary. Although Mary did pray one of the most awesome prayers in the bible, we are not instructed to pray to her, or ask her for anything. The RCC claims that she was a sinless virgin her entire life and never actually died. They claim she ascended into heaven, much like Jesus did. Wow, this is quite a stretch compared to the information we have in the Catholic bible NABRE. Mark 3:31-32 "His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, 'your mother and your brothers [and your sisters] are outside asking for you." Many places in scripture refer to Jesus's brothers, and there appears to be 6 siblings. Confronted with this difficult problem, the RCC wants to say the brothers and sisters mean cousins, but this argument does not hold water when you read the New Testament without a pre-existing bias. For instance, There is something very interesting about The story of Jesus getting left behind in the temple: Luke 2:41-46. "Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, and when he was 12 years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astonished at his understanding and his answers," (NABRE) Now, let us weigh this for a moment. Would a mother who had an only child leave that youngster a whole day's journey not knowing where he was? Well, maybe a bad mother; what makes more sense is that Jesus was the oldest child, not the only child.
Next, let's consider the claim that she was sinless. Luke 1:46-47, "And Mary said, 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior". These verse show that Mary had a need for a savior. Only sinners need a savior. With the RCC's teachings about Mary, we can only guess that these are inventions, not biblically sound, and may be quite dangerous to spiritual wellness. Not only does the RCC teach that she was sinless, but they also claim her to be a sort of co-savior. The Vatican 2 consiliatory documents say that she is an advocate, benefactress, and mediatrix (62). We found this quote on Catholicstraightanswers.com "examining the references to our blessed mother in the sacred scriptures, we find this role of 'mediator". Obviously, what they are talking about is a mediator between God and man for the purpose of forgiveness and reconciliation. I challenge the reader to search the scriptures because this assertion is no where to be found. Consequently, we find this, "For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself..." Catholic bible NABRE 1st Tim 2:5 Regardless of why the RCC adopted these teachings about Mary, they are simply not biblical and contradict what is written in the text. The majority of Catholics pray more to Mary than they do to God, and rarely, if ever, pray to Jesus.
Before we examine the doctrine of transubstantiation it is needful to point out that the RCC correctly teaches the deity of Christ, or that Christ was fully God and co-equal to the Father; subordinate, but equal.
Now then, explained simply, transubstantiation is the transforming of the communion bread and wine into the body and blood of God. No kidding? Surely you must be mistaken. No, not at all. Behold the RCC's story on it. The Counsel of Trent cannon 1 "if anyone sayeth, that in the mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God; or, that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat: let him be anathema" (cursed). Basically, the priest turns the wafer into Christ, and let a curse be on you, if you don't believe it. Again with Trent, "by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance into the substance of the body of Christ, and the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood." Consider what is said about the mass because the doctrine of transubstantiation hinges on the RCC's teaching that the mass is a sacrifice to God; a sacrifice of Christ. Is this needful? Why is it so difficult to say that the one sacrifice Christ offered to God is sufficient for salvation and includes anyone who believes and repents, especially, especially, when the bible says it so clearly. Observe these verses; "He that believes on me has everlasting life, and does not come into judgement, but has passed from death into life." (John 5:24), "But our high priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time" (Hebrews 10:12) "and when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer anymore sacrifices." (Hebrews 10:18) NLT. "So now there is no condemnation to those who belong to Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) If we consider the number of Christological doctrines that are involved in the doctrine of transubstantiation, it is staggering. The overall consensus of the RCC's lore concerning Christ is this, Christ's work on the cross was insufficient for the forgiveness of sins and He must be continually and perpetually sacrificed to His Father. Inso-doing, Christ is continually and perpetually shamed and dishonored. Nowhere in the bible does God ask the church to do this. In fact, the scripture declares that Jesus despised the shame of the cross. Hebrews 12:2 says, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." No man has ever been able to adequately summarize the sufferings of Christ, what He went through, the emotional and physical turmoil involved. Oh, the bitter cup of sin the Lord drank down in all of its fullness, né'er a cup was ever so venomous. Many a man has scratched the surface of this mystery, none doing it justice. Like the American Black Skimmer bird that flys along skimming the surface of the water for fish and bugs but never plunges into its depths; so it is with every teacher or preacher, priest or author who endeavors to explain this divine subject. In considering transubstantiation, we must remember that the sacrifice Christ offered to God was associated with a torturous crucifixion. We hold the heartfelt conviction that by denying the finished work of Christ on our behalf these doctrines that teach a resacrifice are doing what the bible warns against in Hebrews 6:6; "by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame." NLT
In fairness to the RCC, let us consider the bible verses used to justify transubstantiation. 1st Cor:11-24, ..."the Lord Jesus, the same night He was betrayed, took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me." And also, "this cup is the New Testament in my blood; this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." If we should take these texts concerning the Lords supper literally instead of figuratively, it still does not warrant the offering of Christ's body as a sacrifice. We will endeavor to prove that it makes perfect sense to interpret these verses as symbolic; but before we do, observe John 6:54-55. "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed." What is extremely important to consider is that in both cases Jesus spoke these words during the time of the Passover. The Passover is a Jewish feast celebrating the favor of God on the Jewish people liberating them from slavery under Egyptian rule. It was a celebration of a new beginning during the first part of the new year in the month of Abib, or sometimes called Nisan. The first Passover was also the last plague that God ministered to Egypt. That dark and dreadful night would hear the wailing screams of many a family who did not take God seriously. God would kill their firstborn son. Obeying The Lord's command given by the hand of Moses allowed each household to be spared the targeted firstborn. The command involved the preparing of a lamb, roasting it in a fire, eating it, and smearing some of its blood on the doorposts and headers of their dwellings. We would encourage every reader to study Exodus 12 for themselves so that they could understand the atmosphere in Jerusalem at the time Jesus spoke about communion. For them, the picture of salvation, of freedom, of deliverance, of a new beginning with God was all wrapped up in the Jewish communion, which was the Passover.
The first assertion to be made against a literal interpretation is that the Lord was occupying his body when he spoke, making it impossible for his hearers to immediately obey. This is an important argument because God allows us an opportunity to be obedient. We also have no reason to doubt the resurrection account in the gospels where he was in his body. Basically, the best way to interpret his meaning at the Lords supper is to say, "I am your new Passover, I am your new covenant, out with the old and in with the new." I am your new beginning with God; I am your deliverance." Note also what was said, "do this in remembrance of me," not, "do this as a sacrifice to my Father," if anyone would have had the authority to offer Christ as a sacrifice, it would have been the apostles, yet we have no such instruction from Peter, Paul, John, or any of the twelve. The ordinance of communion is designed by God for the purpose of self evaluation and a genuine opportunity for the Christian to be reminded that he or she ought to live for God and be thankful for Christ their savior. It was an opportunity to review and renew your spiritual condition!
Another argument on behalf of a symbolic interpretation is our Lords habit of speaking analytically, and with picture stories.
Just a few of these are the parables, the prodigal son, the Good Samaritan and also the unjust steward. Typologies abound in the bible. Our God teaches his people with many symbolic types. In fact, the Passover itself is a type, a picture of the salvation to come.
When the Lord said, "my flesh is food indeed," then how was he to be served? The Passover lamb was to be roasted in a fire. Apart from cooking, how then are we to separate flesh from blood? I know these questions are gross and morbid, but they are natural enquiries of someone earnestly seeking truth. Consequently, there are no serving instructions given by the apostles to validate a literal interpretation of these texts. The golden rule of biblical interpretation is to take the text literally if you can. If it doesn't lend itself to the literal, then it must mean something else. When studying the Passover in exodus 12, we see how specific God is with the manner in which the meal was to be served. How much more would he specify concerning his only son? Stir this pot for a moment; a person returning home from mass comes down with some sort of stomach bug and vomits up the body and blood of Christ in the backyard, (it happens). Later that night an animal comes along and eats it. What should be done? I'm just saying, let us put the doctrine of transubstantiation on a chopping block, lop off its head and chuck the whole lot overboard.
The mass and transubstantiation are so closely linked together we have tied them together as one here. Consider the words of the writer of Hebrews in chap. 9: "For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter to offer himself again and again, ... If that had been necessary, Christ would have to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgement, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people."
Next, let us examine the erroneous doctrine of infant baptism. First of all, Carefully researching the scripture does not reveal even one case of a baby being baptized. There is not one command from the Lord or any of the apostles to justify infants being baptized. The RCC seeks to validate their position by using such verses like, "Suffer the children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of heaven" and other verses involving children, but there is a very big difference between children and infants. On the contrary, we see a pattern throughout the New Testament of people believing first and then being baptized. "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, 'see, what hinders me from being baptized." Then Phillip said, "if you believe with all your heart, you may." (Acts 8:37) There is much disagreement about baptism in the New Testament churches, but one thing remains clear. The spiritual renewal of faith in Jesus Christ happened first and was followed by baptism. The catechism so perverts the doctrine of the new birth that it is difficult to write about it, basically saying that infant baptism, "Is the new birth." Catechism, article 12-50, "Born with a fallen human nature and tainted with original sin, children also have the need of the new birth in baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the freedom of the power of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitous of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant baptism. The church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer baptism shortly after birth." The RCC also acknowledges no reference to infant baptism in scripture with article 1252 of the catechism. "...it is quite possible that from the beginning of the apostolic teaching, when whole "households" received baptism, infants may have also been baptized." Wow! "It's possible?, and,"may have been baptized?" Let us recap for a moment and consider this grievous tripe before we proceed. There is no biblical evidence of infants being baptized, nor is there any command given to baptize babies yet we as parents are denying the new birth to our children and their opportunity to be a child of God if we don't follow this tradition. Listen reader, basing salvation on something that may or may not have happened is a risky business indeed and God is not asking us to do this. For most well-meaning Catholics infant baptism is a ceremony designed to give people hope that their children will not grow up godless heathens; This is understandable. Call it a consecration, a benediction if you want to or a dedication, because it is not baptism or a new birth. So what is the purpose God intended for baptism? I think we have all the information we need to show that it was intended to be a public display of ones desire to be obedient to God, to show their personal desire to follow Christ and his Word; In other words, "I believe and I want everybody to know it." What a blessing for other Christians in the church, knowing that others have come to the saving knowledge of Christ. For the person being baptized, it was "...an answer of a clean conscience before God" (1st Peter 3) The believers conscience saying, "I believe my sins are forgiven by the death of Christ on my behalf, and by his resurrection I have been given eternal life". God certainly did not intend for the church to trust in baptism for salvation, if baptism is a requirement, then salvation would not be by faith alone. "For by grace are you saved through faith, and this is not from you, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) "...therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Romans 3) and, Galatians 3:3-5, "How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? ....I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ." You may ask, what does Paul mean when he says, "law?" The law spoken of as it pertains to salvation in the New Testament means any good works or human effort, any sort of well doing, church attendance, tithing or loving God and neighbor. It means obeying your own convictions of right and wrong and conscience. Listen to what Paul writes in Romans 11, "a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God's grace-his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's grace would not be what it really is-free and undeserved." Baptism is also a type, representing the death, burial and resurrection. Going under water represents death, being under water represents the burial, and coming up out of the water represents the resurrection. This type or picture of salvation is not seen when the party being baptized is only sprinkled; no believer in the bible was ever clearly sprinkled.
The new birth does not belong exclusively to evangelicals or Protestants, or fundamentalists,in fact, many who claim to be born again have never experienced the new birth. Consequently, many New Testament churches challenge their flock on a regular basis. The catechism is wrong in teaching what the new birth is, but right when it says the new birth makes you a child of God. Peter's message on the new birth is such: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith...in this you greatly rejoice." Notice here that Peter speaks of what the new birth does in the life of a believer. It gives us reservations in heaven, a promise that our inheritance will not be trifled with by any means. It also gives us the assurance that God keeps these promises himself. This is a stark contrast to all the rituals and sacraments the RCC claims are needed for salvation. The formalism the RCC offers is just not enough for the soul and is quite simply unbiblical. Here is what the bible says about how the new birth is obtained: (Romans 4:3-6) "For what does the scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." ...when one does not work, yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. So also David declares the blessedness of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not record." Notice here in these verses that the righteousness that is credited allows us to serve God out of thankfulness rather than fear. Our sins are forgiven, covered and not recorded.
I was sinking deep in sin, far from that peaceful shore
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more
But the master of the sea, heard my despairing cry
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I
The gospel is not about ceremonies, rituals and keeping a long list of sacraments and penances. The gospel is about believing and trusting in the finished work of Christ. When a child reaches out for Christ, if faith is for real, he or she shall not walk away empty handed. At this juncture, the responsibility of the parent comes into play helping and guiding the child to make a decision to be baptized. Truly wise parents need not show a blast of hurry here. After all, we don't want our children trusting in anything save in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the children, after growing up a bit, feel like their faith was never genuine or they want to reaffirm it, certainly they can be baptized again. Baptism should never be a stumbling block of self effort, but a podium for the redeemed to obediently step up on to.
Which leads us into the next doctrine to be analyzed. The common use of statues in the church. Regardless of what the RCC claims. People do pray to statues that adorn most Catholic Churches. I know this to be true. What young boy wouldn't pray to a statue of mother Mary especially when he is kneeling beneath her all religious in appearance and furnished with burning candles. My childhood experience in the Catholic Church was a normal one. Pray to the statue for what it represents. There's no harm in it.
I'm not sure if my parents knew what I was doing or not. I don't remember them telling me not to do this. God knows the propensity for we humans to worship statues of religious things, therefore he gave commandment in Exodus 4 which was said to be written with "the finger of God", "Thou shalt not MAKE UNTO THEE a graven image, nor any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under thee earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them or serve them." Notice the commandment here is first, not to make them, secondly, not to worship them. Here again, God knows our bent towards idol worship so he commands these things to be left unmade.
The argument of course that the RCC employs is that they don't worship them. They simply venerate them. But when we read the history of statues and how they were used by different people for religious purposes this argument crumbles like so much petrified wood. Most builders did not always form their statues to be worshipped as God, but were simply images of their Gods. In other words, "God is not here that we can see him, so let us make an image to remind ourselves of what he or she looks like." This is clearly displeasing to God. Israel did make statues and worship them. But the commandment clearly says not to make them, period. As Charles Hodge has said, "Idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship of the true God by images."
The New Testament commandment against statues and religious symbolism is found in acts 17: 29-30. "Being then the offspring of God, we ought not think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and the device of man. The times of this ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent." There you have it; religious art does not impress God, in fact he despises it and commands us to repent and turn to him as to a living God who does not dwell in temples and buildings made with men's hands. (read whole chapter) God is everywhere and sees everything, we can never make a statue of such a being, we can only worship him in spirit and in truth. We cannot successfully manufacture our own ways of worshipping God, especially when they are forbidden, this is sin, and he does not receive it.
20th century Christianity has shown a monumental and blatant disregard for the doctrines of the bible and sought to create its own humanistic and man centered religion. No statue or picture should ever be an object of devotion. There's no end to the imaginations and silly ideas of men when it comes to the things of God. One such silly idea was perpetrated by The Cathedral of St John the Divine when they erected a statue of a fully formed female Christ in a crucifixion posture complete with hips and breasts.
The RCC does violate the commandment by making many statues of a crucified Jesus. But also dishonors Christ by displaying these in every place of worship. Please remember, the cross was a place of dishonor, a place of shame, and it was our sin that put him there. We should be ashamed of ourselves in this regard. Christ now resides in his glorified, resurrected body, his situation is vastly different from what you see in church that depicts him as crucified. Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18) Also, "My father judges no one, but has committed all judgement unto the son." (Matt 11:27) Jesus is God in every way, and He is in charge. Jesus owns the so called "God particle" that scientists can't quite figure out and only He can look inside the human heart. Colossians 3:14-17 is the clearest passage concerning the gospel of God: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. Who is the image of the invisible God. The firstborn of every creature. For by him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, wether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created by him and for him, and he is before all things and by him all things consist."
Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church that states this, "in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error," Wikipedia.org). Tell me, what sort of man would want to be the pope knowing that all of his teachings concerning faith and morality, everything he held to be true, and all of his ecclesiastical positions were soon to be declared infallible? With so many perplexing mysteries, enigmas, and inscrutable obscurities, who would want the burden of responsibility this carries? The bible gives us a model of who the person of God is, it gives us a picture of his attributes. We take from its pages and build a model of what we believe about him, yet we are warned to move forward with much humility. Remember, "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." Simply put, our God is incomprehensible. Romans 12:16 says, "Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion." Isaiah 5:21 has it this way, "woe unto them who are wise in their own eyes, and intelligent in their own esteem." Some Catholics have taken this infallibility teaching to a whole new level, like Bill Oreilly on Fox News. He probably wouldn't admit it, but by his hyperbole, seems to believe that the RCC validates the holy bible, in other words, "if it's not certified as truly historical by the RCC, it's not trustworthy. But we argue that it should be the other way around. The bible is the everlasting creed that all other so-called authorities should be judged by. Surely common sense tells us that the RCC has a motive of self preservation. It has a motive to be valid and needful. It also has a history of violence and death for those who disagree with its self proclaimed role of spiritual supremacy.
We will look at an excerpt from the Vatican II which is the most authoritative of Catholic documents and then dissect it to see wether it is biblically based: this statement was chosen because it is perhaps the most disputed of these alleged infallible doctrines.
"Basing itself on scripture and tradition, the counsel teaches that the church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity for faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed the necessity of the church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it". (Quoted by Tim Staples) "Lumen Gentium,"14 Wow! Could this precept of man be any farther from the truth? The very first phrase should read, "Basing itself solely on tradition,..." Because what follows is certainly nowhere to be found in the bible. Notice the false humility in the first sentence that drives so many people away from Christianity; we are hit with a mortar blast that says that the church is necessary for salvation, then the RCC seeks to minimize this attack by shrouding it in a veil, saying, "we are only pilgrims". This is a slippery deceptive strategy put to use in much of the phraseology found in the Vatican II and the catechism. In one fell swoop, she publishes herself to be indispensable by using the word, "necessary" or "necessity" four times as it pertains to our eternal destiny. No place in scripture does it say that the church provides salvation to God's people. This is a false gospel. The Trent counsel goes on to say that Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation but then perverts this truth by saying, "he is present to us in his body the church". This sly manipulation does a formidable job of institutionalizing Christ and is basically saying, "the church is Christ." Moving along with our analysis leads us to the next sentence which presumes that the institution of the RCC is needful for baptism and thus needful for salvation. Even if you take the stance that baptism is needful for salvation, where does it say in the bible that you have to be baptized in a church? John baptized in the river Jordan, Jesus baptized in a river, Phillip baptized in what was probably a pond or a creek. We don't want to illegitimize the usefulness of God's true church here, but argue that Jesus Christ himself is the only sure fire way to escape hell. The bible teaches that faith in anything else is misplaced and in vein. We can have misguided faith in anything, and the RCC is asking us to have faith in Mary, in baptism, in communion, in the papal infallibility, and in a host of sacraments and penances that they prescribe. Lastly, in the above statement, the Vatican II states that eternal life cannot be enjoyed by any person that refuses to enter the RCC or refuses to abide in it. So apparently, all the martyrs who were put to death by the Catholic Church, the ones who preferred the word of God over a religious system, are in hell right now. Of course some Catholics would object to this and say that it was a mistake and they don't practice burning heretics at the stake anymore. We say the popes who were in leadership at the time and allowed (and sometimes ordered) these many atrocities therefore could not be infallible.
The next doctrine we will embark upon is Catholic annulment. Annulment is a Catholic ceremony whereby a marriage is declared to be invalid, and never was a true marriage, therefore allowing both parties to be remarried with the blessing of the RCC. Consequently, what they are basically saying is that the couple was never really married. First, we will look at a couple cases of actual annulments and then add some commentary.
-Vatican overturns Kennedy wife's annulment after a 10 year battle-
Few would have backed her to win, against the might of the Kennedy clan and the American Roman Catholic Church. But after a decade of legal wrangling, Sheila Rauch Kennedy finally emerged victorious. The Vatican has agreed to overturn the annulment of her 12 year marriage to Bobby Kennedy's son Joe... It came despite the couple having two boys together - and effectively made them illegitimate in the eyes of the church.... "The annulment totally overlooked the fact that we had a very strong marriage in the beginning, we had two wonderful children and it lasted. I was certainly happy in the beginning ....things unraveled, but that doesn't mean you didn't have a marriage." (Daily News.com jun 2007)
Apparently Joe Kennedy and his wife went thru a divorce in 1991 after their relationship broke down. But in 1993 he moved to have it declared invalid without consulting her. The former US congressman wanted to remarry, but he had a big problem because the RCC does not allow divorced people to take communion, get married or take part in any of the sacraments.
"The first that Mrs. Rauch Kennedy ...., knew about the move was when a letter bearing the seal of the Roman Catholic Church arrived at her home. It declared that her ex-husband was preparing to appear before a church court to swear that theirs had never been a true marriage" She was outraged, declaring in an interview: I have no problem with divorce. What I cannot condone is a process that will declare my children to be the offspring of a marriage that never existed." (Daily news.com jun 2007)
Consequently, the former Mrs Kennedy, a Protestant, learned that the American Catholic Church grants 60.000 annulments a year. She then wrote a book titled, "Shattered Faith," where she outlined her experience as well as the struggles of five other women.
The following is an excerpt from singlemomsmiling.com. "My ex had filed for an annulment, but the process takes a very long time... How did my desires fit into my receiving communion? Was I still married? If I was married, but my husband was not, what did that mean? Was that even possible? Was I committing adultery by wanting to have another relationship. My ex-husband filed for an annulment almost immediately after our divorce was finalized. [she was pregnant with four children] In what seemed to be the blink of an eye, I had gone from thinking my family was near perfect to wondering if anything in my life had ever been what I thought....The man who meant the most to me was suddenly the man who wanted to hurt me the most. I didn't understand any of it and the annulment process only accentuated the confusion and pain. I hadn't had a chance to catch my breath before being thrust headlong into the annulment process and was caught off guard by the letter addressed to my maiden name informing me of the action. The use of my maiden name felt as though the case had already been decided and the marriage that I fought so hard for, that I so believed in, had already been found nonexistent.... To make matters worse, cutbacks prevented me from obtaining an advocate [lawyer]. I had no understanding of the process and no help in figuring out what to do next. Local offices had closed, and meetings with diocesan officials were two and a half hours away which meant another hardship in time, money, and daycare. Perhaps the hardest part was the cruelty I encountered in my tribunal judge. It still hurts to write that, but his questioning was far from compassionate as he cast accusations at me. I left feeling beyond worthless and sobbed the entire two and a half hour ride home."
I ask you, is this the way that the Roman Church loves the brethren? What an absolute outrage perpetrated on these women. In my study of this annulment doctrine, it became migrainfully clear that these kind of appalling scandals are mostly executed on women. The question must fly through their heads; "was I behaving like a tramp when I had sex with this man that wasn't really my husband?" Are my children illegitimate? What do I tell my children about all of this? What will their grandparents think about my failure? If we might add a word of encouragement to the victims of these crimes it would be this. This hoax that is lodged against you has nothing whatsoever to to with Christianity. In fact, it is contradictory to Jesus' commands every place that marriage is spoken of in the scripture.
"Husbands, love your own wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it,... So ought men also to love their own wives as their own bodies,... But ye also, every one of you, let each so love his own wife as himself." Ephesians 5:22-33 (Darby)
Of course, the first argument we make against annulment is that the RCC gives the husband freedom to mentally and emotionally abuse the wife of his youth. Note this passage in Malachi 2: "... An abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the holy institution which he [God] loves: ... You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and crying; so he does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did he not make them one, having a remnant of the spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring." By granting annulments, the RCC allows the annuller to disregard the covenant made with a holy God. Annulment makes divorce a viable option for a man who wants to divorce his wife and marry another, in the meantime, he knows that he will continue to take part in the ritualistic ceremonies that are his remedy for guilt and wrongdoing. Brethren, this is man made religion.
Matthew 19:3: "The Pharisees also came to him, testing him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" And he answered and said to them, "Have you not read that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, "for this reason shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. " They said to him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another , commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." Let us keep in mind; marriage is a God -ordained institution, it was given to us as an act of his mercy and is said to be "undefiled." The RCC borders on blasphemy with the annulment doctrine because it supersedes God's law. God's law declares that if one is married again, it's adultery. Without reservation the RCC sets aside the commandment of God with another crafty innovation.
Catholic men who utilize this loophole are quite similar to the Jewish Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked. They pluck up a young woman in the flower of her youth, make promises to love and cherish her forever, exploit her in the prime of her life, and then discard according to their own convenience whenever they get bored with her. Does the word, "oppression" ring a bell here? Some might say. "I can assure you that my intentions were good at first, no one is perfect." Listen, God calls us to be men of character, men who make promises and keep them, men who don't operate according to every last whim or emotion. God calls us to be men of faith; this means that we will see greater riches in staying the course and doing the right thing, looking for a greater reward in him than the passing pleasures of sin. Recently, a wonderful elderly couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. When asked, " how did you make it work so long"? They replied, "we grew up in a time where, if something is broken, you don't throw it away, you fix it."
The last of the seven doctrines is perhaps the worst catastrophe ever perpetrated on Christianity.
Here again, we find another Catholic dogma that is completely absent from scripture. Purgatory is a useful exhibition of how the RCC creates a doctrine out of thin air and then looks for a bible passage to substantiate it. Mathew 5:24-25
Here is a typical Catholic summary written by Dwight Longenecker, a catholic priest: "Despite the hardships endured by the faithful as they climb their way through purgatory toward heaven, it is actually a joyful place. After all, the souls sent there know that they have escaped the pain and suffering of hell, as purgatory isn't a place where human beings spend eternity. In fact, anyone who passes through will at some point end up in heaven"
Before we go on with this subject, lets remember something the Apostle John said in 2nd John 1:9, "Anyone who is so progressive as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the father and the son." NABRE
"Despite the hardships endured by the faithful?" Why is it that Catholic people are always enduring hardships and "climbing" through difficulties in order to attain salvation? The answer to that question is pretty simple. It's because doctrines like these are not inspired by the Holy Spirit, but are the doctrines and commandments of men. Furthermore, all of these inventions or doctrines are designed by men for a purpose. The purpose of course is that Catholic people stay in the RCC. When Longenecker the priest says, "the hardships endured by the faithful", what does he mean by faithful? Does he mean men and women who were faithful to Christ and his gospel? Does he mean people who were faithful to the Word of God? Does he mean Christian missionaries who risked their lives to evangelize unreached people groups all over the world? Or does he mean those who were faithful to the Catholic Church and its teachings? Furthermore, purgatory trivializes the sense of urgency to know God and seek truth. "There is no need to repent in this life. There's plenty of time for that later, I will perfect what is lacking in my spiritual life later when I don't have all of these needs to contend with." This backwash of spiritual complacency is a natural consequence we believe to be unintended by the RCC, but is a tapestry skillfully and strategically woven by the enemy.
Let us remember the Catechism's above quote, "sacred scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit". Here are some verses in scripture concerning our place after death: Phil 1:23 better to depart and be with Christ, which is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. Hebrews 9:27 For it is appointed for all men to die once, and then cometh judgement." Jesus told the thief on the cross, "Today, you shall be with me in paradise." Hebrews 10:17 speaks of God fulfilling his covenant with living individuals and then says, "Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more."
Any person with reading comprehension skills would interpret Psalms 103 as a picture of how a Holy God deals with his people here on earth. Behold Psalms 103:10-15 "He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is his mercy toward those who fear him; so great is his mercy toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our iniquities from us. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone." This is a very clear passage that speaks of man's existence while on earth and God's great mercy and forgiveness towards sinners while they still have their earthly lives in hand. Away with this bane called purgatory. A blind dog wouldn't eat this bologna sandwich.
"But God demonstrates his own love towards us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 What need do we have to be fully purged from sin in purgatory when Christ did it for us? Hebrews 1:3. "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high."
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light
And the burden of my heart rolled away.
It was there by faith I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day
The purpose of this report has not been to condemn, but to build up the readers faith in the right thing: the Word of God. It was written in order to take a stand against the ecumenical Christian movement which seeks to appease all faiths into some utopian form of coexistence. The RCC wants to be the biggest player in this movement; but it is not Christian at all.
Jesus will not, and cannot be separated from his Word. Roman Catholics can make movies, do good works, and be heard all over the world, but it will never have the authority to change the doctrine of God. The most troubling of the RCC's dogma is a complete denial of the efficiency and the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice. This they do, and at the same time endeavor to uphold a disingenuous image of biblical obedience. In our experience, Catholic brethren, upon reading reports such as this often go to their priests for answers. And instead of those priests offering up encouragement to read and believe the bible, they do the exact opposite. They more often than not, smear the bible with many questions and doubtful disputations.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many shall say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name? And then I will declare to them, depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you." (Matt 7). The catechism says, "Sacred scripture and sacred tradition flow from the same divine wellspring." At first glance, this statement looks good and sounds good, but I ask you, "what gets kicked to the curb when scripture and tradition collide?" We should remember, these traditions were not always traditions but inventions. They started somewhere. What the catechism is really saying is this: "Sacred scripture and sacred inventions that have become tradition flow from the same divine wellspring." We would not hesitate to say that sacred scripture flows from a divine wellspring, while at the same time unbiblical inventions that become tradition flow from the unregenerate heart and should be assigned a spot in hell's museum of false religion. Jesus teaches us in Mark 7 concerning tradition; "Well did Isaiah prophecy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men-..." He said to them, "All to well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition..."
In conclusion, the answer to the above question titled,"Does the RCC honor God?" must be an unambiguous "no".
We have examined only 7 spurious doctrines from a pyramid of irresponsible and defunct interpretations. The obvious fact is clear for someone who is earnestly seeking truth. The Roman Catholic account of what Christianity should be is not reliable in operation or effect and although the Catholic hierarchy have turned a blind eye, the cock continues to crow.
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