Roman Catholicism

Roman Catholicism

     The Roman Catholic Church is the single largest denomination in the world. It has about 1.2 billion members worldwide. Half of the “Christians” in the world are Roman Catholics. 25 percent of Americans are Roman Catholic. Roman Catholicism is generally thought of as a Christian denomination that happens to have its roots in Europe almost 2000 years ago.
What are its roots? The Roman Catholic will claim that it’s foundation goes all the way back to the Apostle Peter. In Matthew 16:17-19 where Peter makes his confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus responds by saying that on this rock he will build his church. Did he imply that Peter has the authority of a modern day Pope? Most likely, the rock that Jesus is referring to is the profession of faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said “you are Peter (Petra- small rock), and on this big rock (Petros) I will build my church.” It is certainly a stretch to think that Jesus was giving Peter authority over all people and the spread of Christianity in the statement. It’s also unlikely that Peter was the first Roman Catholic pope because there is no reliable evidence historically that Peter was ever a church leader in Rome. Rome was the Apostle Paul’s location. Historically, the first pope was Gregory in 440 AD.
One other key factor in the Roman Catholic Church being what it is today came around 318 A.D. Constantine embraced Christianity and made it the state religion of the Roman Empire. He gave church leaders governmental leadership. From that time until the time of the printing press the lay people had to rely on the Bishop’s and priests to explain to them what the Bible says. Anytime simple man is relied on the system tends toward corruption. It was no different with the Roman Catholic Church. Instead of relying on the Bible to be the final authority, the Roman Catholic Church established the church as the final authority. They were able to lord over people by promising them favor with God if they did what the church leader asked of them.

     Though corrupt and even apostate , the Roman Catholic Church has always held to many of the main teachings of the Bible. They believe in trinitarian monotheism; that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the one God. They believe Jesus Christ literally gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins and bodily rose from the dead. If you ask me, the Roman Catholic Church is the only religion that holds to these truths yet is still not presenting the Christian gospel accurately. There are 3 areas of key disagreement that I want to address in this blog. The Eucharist, the mediators between man and God, and Justification.

     First, the Eucharist: the Eucharist is the partaking of communion, ingesting the bread and the wine. It is “celebrated” every time the catholics gather for mass, and is the heart of the mass. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is instrumental in their salvation and sanctification. They believe it’s the most important practice a believer can participate in. Saint Thomas Aquinas said “The celebration of the Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross”. How can I believe that this ritual is that important? They believe that Jesus Christ descends into the hands of the holy priest and it is offered up again as a sacrifice for sins. The bread and the wine are thought to literally become the body and blood of Jesus, thus fulfilling what Jesus said at the Last Supper- “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no part with me”. For some reason Roman Catholics want to interpret this as literally as possible, even though Jesus was known to always speak in parables. They say it’s the body and blood of Jesus, but you’d be hard pressed to find a Roman Catholic willing to have the wafer and wine DNA tested.
     Furthermore, the recrucifying of Jesus is completely unbiblical. The catholic says that Jesus needs to be offered as a sacrifice for sins thousands of times. I will let Hebrews 9:24-26 make my case for me: “for the Messiah did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true 1) but into heaven itself, that he might now appear in the presence of God for us. He did not do this to offer himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. Otherwise, He would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Verse 28, the Messiah has been offered once for sins. Chapter 10:10, “By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.” The Eucharist is an insult to the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

     The priest of a Catholic Church parish has the authority to bring Christ down out of heaven and present him to the people. The priest is the mediator to Jesus Christ on behalf of people. Thomas Aquinas said that “the power of the priest… is equal to that of Jesus Christ.” He even said that, during the Eucharist, Christ “bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s command”.
     The priest is also the one that has the authority to interpret the Bible for the people. The catholic lay person has historically been discouraged from interpreting the bible for themself. The priest is also the person that has the authority to declare sins forgiven. One could easily see how this could get corrupted.
      The pope shares a similar role, but on a much larger scale. The pope has the authority to speak infallibly on behalf of God and for all believers. To the Catholic, if the Pope said it, then that settles it. Since the church has authority over the Bible instead of the Bible having authority over the church, the Pope has the right to have his word supercede Scripture. The New York Catechism says “The Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth… the head of the entire church… he is the infallible ruler… God himself on earth.” The title “Pope” is taken from a root word meaning “father”, Catholics also call priests “Father”. Jesus says in Matthew 23:9 to call no man father because we have one Father who is in heaven. There is no New Testament requirement to have a person as the religious authority over you-  except to look to Jesus Christ.

     Finally, justification: in Roman Catholicism you are taught not to believe that our justification was fully earned by Christ and is enacted through faith in Him alone. In the Council of Trent, Canon 8 it says “If any one saith, that by the said sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred trough the act performed, but that faith alone in the divine promise suffices for the obtaining of grace; let him be anathema.” In other words, if you believe Salvation is by faith alone, you are cursed by the Catholic Church. Roman Catholicism teaches that grace is earned after following ordinances and rituals of the church. Council of Trent, Catechism 2068 says: “Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to obtain eternal life.
     I realize that James Chapter 2 talks about faith and works, but what does the Bible in its entirety teach? First off, James is talking about the evidence of true faith (see Faith vs. Works blog). There are plenty of other verses to substantiate the claim that justification is by grace through faith alone. 9 times in the book of John Jesus says that eternal life is given to those that believe in him. He says that the work of God is to believe on Him who He has sent (John 6:29). Acts 13:39 says “everyone who believes in Him is justified from everything, which you could not be justified from to the law of Moses”. Romans 3:28 says “we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Galatians 2:16 says “we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 2:8, 9: by grace you are saved through faith… Not from works”. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is as plain as day in the Bible. Galatians 5:4 concludes this disagreement between biblical Christianity and Roman Catholic tradition when it says, “You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace!

     To summarize Roman Catholicism: Roman Catholics believe in the same God that the Bible teaches, the same God that lines up with logic and evidence. They accept the Trinity, the deity of Jesus Christ, and his literal resurrection. It disagrees with the Bible on important matters such as church leadership, the final authority, the person of Mary and other “saints”, transubstantiation, and justification through following rituals and good works. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is our only mediator between man and God. His sacrifice on the cross was a one-time, all sufficient, “it is finished”, sacrifice. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness and faith in him is the only route of benefiting from his grace. If a person is seeking a church that will lead them to Jesus and encourage growth in their walk with God, they should find a church that teaches these biblical truths.


One thought on “Roman Catholicism

  1. Thank you for your post.
    It is good to read researched facts. I learn most of my knowledge first hand interacting.Which varies person to person leading me to analyze my different encounters and come to my own conclusion on matters.

    I must say that I have come upon Catholics who I truly believe are born again. And then I have encountered others that I grieve are deceived by outlandish and twisted doctrines and holding man in authority over God. Sadly not holding the Word of God as authority to check to see if they are following truth or lie.

    in the process of me getting saved a well meaning Catholic woman piped in on me. She gave me rosaries told me I had to memorize the Hail Mary and Our Father. So I could recite these as prayers daily which is a must for a good catholic. I was informed the quote in quote facts about Mary and why I should pray to her and the other Saints (Saints can only be deemed saints by the Roman Catholic Church we can not be saints according to them which is contrary to scripture)

    I was conflicted about what I was being told so I read my bible ( We should always check the scriptures to see if what we are told lines up) called her up and caused all kinds of trouble with her being very mad at me and not being able to show me any other scriptures to refute my findings that were contrary to what she had been trying to teach me as truth.I could not hold her Catholic teachings as truth she was unable to show me in the Word they were biblically sound. ( I do not fight or yell or get rude with others the only one flipping out was her. Always stay calm when discussing matters that may be controversial)

    Part of the uproar I recall was I told her Mary was not a continual virgin. (It was told to me as an important factor to show her Holiness which contributes to my understanding of why worship of her is validated. Although they would deny she is worshiped using some crazy verbiage to make it sound like something else but essentially it is worship.)

    The scripture refers to Joesph not knowing her (intercourse) until after Jesus birth.

    Mathew 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

    Mathew 1:18 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. (notice it says before they came together)

    Also the reference to Jesus having siblings supports that Mary was not a continual virgin as well.

    Mathew 12:47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.

    Lets not forget the epistle written by his half brother James.
    Galatians 1;19 But I saw none of the other apostles, except James the Lord’s brother.

    I told her that I could not pray to Mary or any other Saint as that was making them into false Gods and taking the place of God. I did not understand why the making of Mary or other Saints as huge Holy pinnacles of the church was important and why I would need to go through them and not directly to God.

    The bowing on your knee before going down a pew to sit and doing some hand motion with your shoulders and head to a statue at the front of the room. That just seemed like worshiping a figurine and not what they called giving the respect and honor due to Christ.

    Then I find myself reading over and over about not having graven images or bowing down to them such as-
    Leviticus 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

    I was approached in tears over the fact I would not have my child sprinkled with water. Why? If he were to die he would not go to heaven.
    What? Does this not go against scripture as well? If this were so wouldn’t we all be saved by taking a shower? No according to them it has to be holy water and some mumbo jumbo I don’t recall. Last time I checked in order to be saved.These certain factors and understandings had to take place. How can an infant/toddler come to that understanding I see no scripture that pertains to being saved from hells flames by the running of Holy water over a persons head.
    You can read 1 Corinthians !5:1-5, Acts 2:36-39, Romans 10:9-13

    Another thing that blew my mind was ….
    I had a friend dealing with her father she was very emotionally upset and had many people praying for her Dad. She had experienced a very broken and rough life do to the fact her Dad had been heavily involved in organized crime. She kept presenting the gospel to Him even on his death bed. He repeatedly told her she did not understand he had a piece of paper that said he could not be forgiven. The paper he had was from the Catholic Church. He believed he could not be forgiven of his sins because he was given a piece of paper that said so. (Man can not pick and choose who Christ died on the cross for. He came so that none should perish.)

    2 Peter 3:9 The LORD is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

    This verse is in a passage referring to the last days. I looked up the word slack and slackness the definitions that came from Strong’s was tarry and tardiness. Which leads me to conclude the LORD is not late. He is waiting patiently long suffering so that all that are willing can come to repentance. He does not desire that any perish. I notice the word “ALL” it doesn’t say only the ones who didn’t register this high on the scale of sinner hood can come to Christ. He is not willing that any should perish.

    So How can a church intercede and say that an individual does not have the ability to repent and be reconciled unto God? How can a church Damn a persons eternal state? It is contrary to the WORD.

    This factor tells me that the true gospel is not held up.

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