The One True Church?

Introduction

Through the ages, many people have come to believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the church that Jesus Christ founded during his earthly ministry. I never really questioned that belief until my early teenage years because I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and attended Roman Catholic elementary and high schools. However, I did not know where to turn to find the truth about the matter so I never tried to extinguish my doubts. There did come a day though, thank God, that I did find the truth – or rather, the truth found me. The truth is what I want to share with you because as Jesus tells us in John 14:6:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Since Jesus is the truth, when we find the truth, we find Jesus. The goal of every person should be to find the truth.

The Roman Catholic Church uses scripture and Sacred Tradition as the basis for its doctrines and teachings. We will first determine what the final authority for all Christianity truly is and then use that authority to examine the Roman Catholic teachings about the church, Peter, Mary, signs and apparitions, statues, images, and pictures, the priesthood, sacrifices for atonement of sin, the Eucharist, prayer, baptism, purgatory, repentance, righteousness, salvation, and lastly, worship.


Truth

Before we begin our study of the Roman Catholic Church to see if it really is the church that Jesus Christ founded, we should look at the importance of knowing the truth. When studying truth, we need to see three things: what kind of people deny the truth, what we gain by accepting the truth, and where we should look to find the truth.

Who Denies The Truth?

The first thing at which we should look is what types of people deny the truth (thus denying Jesus Christ). In 2 Timothy 3:8-9, we see the types of people that resist the truth:

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, we see to what people turn when they turn away from the truth:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

What Happens If We Accept The Truth?

Knowing what types of people reject the truth, let us find out what happens if we accept the truth. John 3:14-21 shows that when we find the truth, we have come to the light:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 8:31-32 shows that the truth will set us free – free from the bondage of sin:

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

How Do We Find The Truth?

To be able to accept the truth, we must first find it. John 1:14-17 tells us from where truth comes:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells us that God’s word is truth in John 17:14-17:

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

John 16:12-15 tells us that the Holy Spirit guides believers into the truth about all things:

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.

As you can see, knowing, accepting, and living the truth are good things and we should diligently pursue the truth. The truth comes from God alone. If any man tells us something, we should not blindly accept that as truth. We should turn to God’s word (as the Bereans were commended for doing in Acts 17:10-11) and we will find all truth.


Final Authority

A Christian should set themselves apart from the world by living a true Christian life. Where do we find the authority to guide us in a true Christian life? As 2 Timothy 3:14-17 tells us, the scriptures give us everything we need to do all good works (lead a true Christian life), so let us look at God’s word – The Bible – to see what it teaches us about the authority for a true Christian life.

What Does The Roman Catholic Church Say Is The Final Authority?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Church guided by scripture and Sacred Tradition is the final authority for Christians. It maintains that scripture does not contradict Sacred Tradition and Sacred Tradition does not contradict scripture. The Catholic doctrines that are not explicitly explained in The Bible are based on Sacred Tradition and cover such topics as the sinlessness of Mary.

Should We Keep The Traditions & Teachings Of Men?

When talking about traditions and teachings of men, The Bible is referring to those rituals and ceremonies that originated with men and the varied interpretations by men of the law given to Moses. The Pharisees had lost sight of the meaning of the Mosaic laws. They held equal the law and interpretations passed on by oral tradition as seen here in Mark 7:1-13 (see also Matthew 15:1-11):

Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

1 Timothy 4:1-5 gives examples of some false teachings that depart from true Christian life:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Titus 1:10-14 equates Jewish fables and commandments of men to turning from the truth:

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

We saw earlier what happens when we turn from the truth.

As these passages show, we should not follow the traditions and commandments of men because these things turn us from the truth. When we turn from the truth, we turn away from God.

Is The Mosaic Law Our Final Authority?

Since the law was given to Moses directly from God, it would seem that the law must be a source of authority for Christians. But in Acts 15:23-24, the apostles were not teaching that Christians should follow the law given to Moses:

And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

As Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:,” the apostles certainly would have taught Christians to keep the Mosaic laws if that is what Jesus had commanded.

Colossians 2:13-23 shows us that we are not subject to ordinances because we are dead to the world with Christ:

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

The law is holy, and just, and good, and we would do well to keep as much of the law as we can, but the sole reason for the Mosaic laws was to open our eyes to our sinfulness. Once we have believed and accepted the message of the Gospel, the law no longer has dominion over us.

What Is The Purpose Of The Law?

Romans 3:19-20 tells us the real purpose of the law given to Moses – to make evident our sins:

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

And Galatians 3:23-25 calls the law our "schoolmaster":

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The law opens our eyes to our sinful nature so we can see ourselves as sinners so that we might repent and seek God’s grace and mercy.

Should We Follow The Early Church Leaders?

The Roman Catholic Church likes to quote writings of early church leaders to show that the Roman Catholic teachings were present in the first century. The Roman Catholic Church assumes that people so close to the time of Jesus (some were the disciples of the apostles) would all be teaching the truth. But as we see in 2 Corinthians 2:17, Paul warns the Corinthians about those who corrupt the word of God:

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.

Also, the churches in Revelation are rebuked for departing from the truth. Even Peter did not always walk uprightly according to the gospel as we are told in Galatians 2:11-14. The devil was furious when Jesus arose from the dead and did not sit around waiting to attack God’s word; he attacked immediately. If you study the Greek manuscripts for The Bible, you will see that some of the oldest manuscripts are the most perverted. So the writings of the early church leaders that teach things that are not in The Bible only prove that perversion of the truth was prevalent in the first century, just as God’s word says.

Does Our Final Authority Include Sacred Tradition?

Before we go any further, we should take a look at what the Roman Catholic Church calls Sacred Tradition. The Roman Catholic Church believes that not everything Jesus taught and intended us to follow was put into The Bible. They teach that some things were passed on from Jesus to the apostles and from the apostles to their successors by word of mouth. These things are called Sacred Tradition and cover such topics as rituals and ceremonies as well as some doctrines. The Roman Catholic Church maintains that anything that is an official teaching, doctrine, or dogma not supported in The Bible is supported by Sacred Tradition. The Roman Catholic Church also maintains that The Bible and Sacred Tradition do not contradict each other. If this is true, we can look at The Bible to see what God’s word says about Sacred Tradition. In 2 Timothy 3:14-17, we can see what The Bible says we need to be complete in our faith and to do all good works:

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 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. 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, throughly furnished unto all good works.

In verse 15, The Bible tells us that the holy scriptures are able to make us "wise unto salvation." Further analysis requires that we look up three words – perfect, throughly, and furnished – in the dictionary. If we look up the word "perfect," we find it means : "lacking nothing essential to the whole, complete of its nature or kind, being without defect or blemish, thoroughly skilled or talented in a certain field or area, proficient, completely suited for a particular purpose or situation, completely corresponding to a description, standard, or type, accurately reproducing an original, complete, thorough, utter, pure, undiluted, unmixed, excellent and delightful in all respects." If we look in the thesaurus we find "perfect" is equivalent to : "complete, total, pure, absolute, thorough, unqualified, unbounded, conforming to an ultimate form of perfection or excellence, supreme, ideal, exemplary, free from extraneous elements, pure, absolute, lacking nothing essential or normal, whole, full, entire." "Throughly" means : "completely, fully, wholly." With "furnished," we find it means : "to equip with what is needed, to supply, give." Equivalents are : "provide, to supply what is needed for some activity or purpose, equip, outfit." Now if we apply some of these definitions and synonyms to verse 17, which tells us why God gave us scripture, we see that scripture was given so that the man of God may be lacking nothing essential, without defect, thoroughly skilled, completely suited, pure, absolute, unbounded, conforming to an ultimate form of perfection or excellence, supreme and that the man of God would be completely equipped, supplied, outfitted unto all good works. Therefore, we can conclude that scripture alone makes us complete, perfect, able to do all good works. Sacred Tradition can add nothing else to help us in our Christian life..

Is The Bible Our Final Authority?

We have seen we are not to follow traditions, customs, Sacred Tradition, the writings of the early church leaders, or the Mosaic laws. Let us now look at The Bible to see if there is any Christian authority other than The Bible.

Deuteronomy 4:1-9 makes it extremely clear that we are not to add to or take away from anything in The Bible for fear that God will destroy us if we do:

Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day. Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

We see a similar decree in Deuteronomy 12:28-32:

Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

And in Revelation 22:17-19 we find God’s punishment to those who add to or take away from His word:

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

God also tells us in Matthew 4:4 that we are to live by every word that proceeds out of his mouth:

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.

What are the words that proceeded out of God’s mouth? The Bible is; therefore, we are to live by The Bible. In Acts 20:32, we see that God’s word builds us up:

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:22-23 that the word of God is the means whereby we are born again:

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

As Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, we cannot enter Heaven unless we are born again:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

These passages and many others show us that The Bible – God’s word – is what we are to use as our final authority. God’s words are the words of life: we can not be born again without God’s word and we can not enter Heaven without being born again. If you have something else which you use as your authority, either in part or in whole, you are not obeying and following God.

Who Is Your Master?

Having shown that The Bible is the only source to use as our final authority, we need to see what The Bible says about the authority that we follow. Matthew 6:24 tells us that man can not serve two masters. Man either follows God or goes against God:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Also, in Matthew 12:30 (see also Luke 11:23), Jesus Christ tells us that if we are not with him, we are against him:

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

We find in 2 John 9-11 that if we do not abide in Christ’s doctrine, we do not have God in our life:

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

The Bible is the only source God allows us to use to find everything we need to help us live as He wants us to live. Everything else tries to add to or take away from the commandments that God has given us.

Jesus As An Example

Since a Christian would do well to pattern his or her life after the manner in which Jesus lived, we should look at what Jesus did in his life here on earth. In Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus overcame the devil’s temptation by quoting scripture:

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 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. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Jesus said in every case “it is written” not “it is passed on by word of mouth.” Scripture alone is our final authority.


The New Testament Church

What Is A Church?

The word church, in all cases in The Bible except for one, comes from the Greek word meaning “called out assembly.” The only time in The Bible that the word church comes from another Greek word is when referring to a pagan church. So the Christian church is a called out assembly. The Christian church has two attributes: one, it is called out – called out from the world – and two, it is assembled. There are no Christian churches that do not have these two attributes: they must be called out from the world and they must be assembled.

When Was It Founded?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus started the church upon Peter in Matthew 16. But in Matthew 10, we see Jesus calling the twelve apostles to himself – calling them out of the world and assembling them together – and sending them forth to preach repentance and the kingdom of heaven. That is exactly what we see the churches doing later in the gospels and in Acts. We can conclude then, that the church was started sometime before Matthew 16 and that Peter is not the foundation of the church.

What Is The Structure Of A Church?

In Revelation, God deals with individual churches; he does not deal with one head over all the churches. In Acts 20:27-28, the church is referred to as a flock:

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

God uses the illustration of flocks many times to refer to his people. A flock is a group of sheep that are gathered together in the same field. The sheep do not belong to a universal flock; they belong to individual flocks and the shepherd of each flock takes care of his sheep only. Look at 1 Peter 5:1-3 where Peter instructs the elders to feed the flock among them – not on the other side of the world:

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

In Luke 22:24-27 (see also Mark 10:42-45), Jesus tells us that the organization of his disciples will not be like the organization of nations:

And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

The organization of the Roman Catholic Church is similar to the structure of many governments and does not follow the biblical pattern.

Is There A Universal Church?

Knowing that a Christian church is a called out assembly, there is no universal (catholic means universal) Christian church. All believers have been called out of the world but all believers have not yet assembled. There can be no Christian church without being called out and without being assembled. One day all believers will be assembled and that is when there will be one universal church; but until that day, there is no universal church.


Peter

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Peter was the chief apostle and Christ started His church with Peter. The Roman Catholic Church asserts that Peter is the rock or foundation of the church.

Was He The Rock?

Let us see what The Bible – the sole authority for Christianity – says about the rock. In Deuteronomy 32:1-4 we see that the Lord is the Rock – not a rock but the Rock:

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

In 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, we see that the only foundation is Christ:

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Again in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, The Bible tells us that Christ is the Rock:

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

The Roman Catholic Church often quotes Matthew 16:13-18 to show that Peter is indeed the rock or head of the church that Christ founded. It reads:

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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.

In the Greek text, two words are used for Peter and rock. This would indicate that Peter is not the rock to which Jesus Christ is referring. However, the Roman Catholics maintain that in the tongue that Jesus spoke the same word is used in both places, thus indicating that Peter is the rock. But there is still an argument against that. God says that he will preserve his word forever. Therefore, the difference in the words in both the Greek and English could simply be God preserving his word. He could be preserving a difference that the ancient Hebrew speaking person understood that we cannot detect in the Hebrew today. Therefore, Christ is referring to the profession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God as the rock; that is how the church is built. Also, in Matthew 18:1, which is later in time than this passage, the apostles do not think of Peter as having a higher position than any of them. They ask Jesus who is the greatest. Jesus does not say Peter is. Look at 1 Peter 2:1-8 to see how Peter confirms that Jesus Christ is the rock:

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 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. 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.

Did He Have Authority Over The Rest Of The Believers?

In Galatians 2:11-14, Peter acted out of fear for other early church leaders. If he was the head of the church, he had no reason to fear these other men:

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

And in John 21:19-22, Jesus told Peter that what the others are doing is none of his business:

This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

If Peter was in authority, it would be Peter’s business what the others are doing.

Is Peter Heaven’s Gatekeeper?

The Roman Catholic Church quotes Matthew 16 as the basis for the teaching that Peter is Heaven’s gatekeeper. Jesus did give to Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. What exactly are these keys? Peter was the first of the apostles to preach to the Jews and the first to preach to the Gentiles, so he was “unlocking” the kingdom of heaven by preaching the gospel. The gospel is the key to heaven.

Should We Kiss The Foot Of His Statue?

Roman Catholics have a tradition of kissing the foot of a statue of Peter in Rome. Even though this is not an official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, we should see if this tradition is acceptable for a true Christian life. Peter tells Cornelius not to bow down to him in Acts 10:22-26:

And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

Peter knew it was wrong for men to bow down to him; the only one we should be bowing down to is God. If the pope truly is Peter’s successor, the pope would tell the people who bow down to him and kiss his ring to stand up.

Was Peter Infallible?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the pope is infallible when speaking about faith and morals. Since the Church claims that Peter was the first pope, let us look at The Bible to see if Peter was ever corrected in matters of faith or morals. In Galatians 2:1-14, Paul corrected Peter about Christians being circumcised:

Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Peter knew he was wrong and did not rebuke Paul or claim a higher authority.

In Mark 8:31-33, Jesus rebukes Peter and calls him Satan:

And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Roman Catholics like to use Luke 22:31-32 to show that Peter had some special place that the other apostles did not have:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

In this passage we see Jesus praying for Peter’s faith. It would seem that Peter would then have unshakable faith, but we see towards the end of the same chapter how Peter denied Jesus Christ three times. I am certain that Peter had more faith than I do but just because Jesus prayed for Peter does not mean that he had faith that never failed or that his faith was any stronger than any one else’s faith.

Is There Such A Thing As Apostolic Succession?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the popes are successors to Peter. It teaches that the popes hold the same position as Peter. For someone to hold the same position as someone else and to succeed that person in the position, the new person must have the same powers and authority that go with the position. The new person must also have the same qualifications to hold the position. If the popes are successors to Peter through apostolic succession, they must have the same qualifications to be an apostle as Peter did. The qualifications to be an apostle are explained in Acts 1:21-26:

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

As we see, the qualifications to be an apostle are simple: the person must have witnessed the baptism of Jesus by John and his ascension into Heaven. Therefore, no one living on earth today can be an apostle and cannot be a successor to the apostles.


Mary

The Roman Catholic Church exalts Mary to a position second only to God. They teach that she was born without the sinful nature of man, that she never sinned during her life, and that we can have prayers answered more effectively if we pray to her and let her take our requests to God because God will not refuse her.

Did She Sin?

Let us first examine what The Bible tells us about Mary to determine if she did lead a sinless life. Leviticus 12 describes how childbirth made a woman unclean and what a woman must do to purify herself before God. Compare this to what Mary did in Luke 2:21-24 after the birth of Jesus to see if Mary considered herself unclean:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

Compare that to Luke 2:21-24:

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.

Mary fulfilled the law for an unclean woman. If Mary had been born sinless and remained sinless all her life, she would not have been considered unclean. But God’s word tells us the only sinless one is Jesus Christ.

Mary admits her need for a Saviour in Luke 1:46 – something a sinless person would not do:

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

And in Romans 3:9-23, The Bible – God’s word – tells us that no one is righteous and everyone has sinned:

What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,

No exceptions are listed. The perpetual sinless state of Mary is one of the Roman Catholic Church’s Sacred Traditions that contradict God’s word. As we have already seen, The Bible is our final authority so we must believe that Mary was a sinner.

Should She Be Exalted?

In Mark 3:31-35, Jesus gives equal position to anyone that does the will of God:

There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Again in Luke 11:27-28, we see that Jesus did not exalt Mary. He gave to her the same position as anyone who hears God’s word and keeps it:

And it came to pass, as he 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 which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

The Roman Catholic Church gives Mary a position second only to Jesus. According to The Bible – the Christians’ final authority – Mary has no authority in the church based on 1 Timothy 2:11-12:

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

We have seen that The Bible says that everyone has sinned, no exceptions. We also see that Jesus did not exalt Mary above others. Mary certainly was a great woman, but no greater than any other person that does the will of God.

What about her titles like “Mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven”?

The Roman Catholic Church has bestowed on Mary the titles Queen of Heaven and Mother of God. In Jeremiah 7:17-24, another woman also was given the title Queen of Heaven:

Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

Here we see the peoples’ actions provoking God to anger. We have already seen that Jesus did not exalt Mary above others that do the will of God and later on we will see that we are wrong when we give titles to people to elevate them. Jesus tells us we are to lift him up, not Mary (John 12:32).


Signs & Apparitions

There have been many reported appearances of Mary in various parts of the world to many people. The Roman Catholic Church has declared some of these to be real and some to be false. Some are still being studied. How do we know if these apparitions are real? Let us turn to The Bible – the Christian’s final authority – to find the truth.

Did God Say He Would Give Any Signs?

In Mark 16:17-20, Jesus tells us that signs will be seen, but for the purpose of confirming the gospel which the disciples preached:

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Now that the gospel has been confirmed and gathered into what we know as The Bible, there no longer is a need for signs. Any signs that are now seen are not for the purpose which Jesus established, and therefore, not of God.

In Matthew 12:38-41 (see also Matthew 16:1-4, Mark 8:10-13, Luke 11:27-30), we see who it is that seeks a sign. We also see that Jesus said no sign would be given except for one:

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

The sign of the prophet Jonas is a picture of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Jonas was in the belly of a whale for three days and three nights, so was Jesus in the tomb. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:23-26 that the sources of any other signs and wonders are false prophets:

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

God has given us everything we need in The Bible. The signs are not from God and serve no purpose to the Christian.

Should We Believe Any Signs?

Now that we know the source of signs, the answer to this question is no. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 tells us what we should do when we encounter a sign:

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

Who Is Responsible For These Signs?

We saw in Matthew 24:24 that false prophets and antichrists can produce signs and wonders. Satan also has great power to deceive as we see in 2 Corinthians 11:1-15:

Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 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. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been thoroughly made manifest among you in all things. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

The signs and wonders that are seen today are no more than Satan trying to lead people away from God. Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and shows people some fantastic “miracles” like the appearance of Mary or the changing of ordinary metals into gold in order to deceive the people and to get them to believe a lie.

For what should we be looking?

According to Titus 2:11-14, the only thing for which we should be looking is the coming of Jesus Christ to take the children of God home to heaven:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.


Statues, Images, & Pictures

The Roman Catholic Church has thousands of statues and pictures in all its buildings. On the surface, this appears to show devotion to God. But does it really?

Should We Have Any Statues, Images, Or Pictures Of Jesus, Mary, Or The Saints?

In Exodus 20:1-5 (see also Deuteronomy 4:8-25,5:1-10), in the Ten Commandments, we are told not to make any image or likeness of anything in heaven above:

And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 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: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

Once again in Leviticus 26:1, God tells us not to make any images:

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.

Romans 1:18-25 tells us that by making an image, we are taking away from the glory of God:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

God does not want us to have any images or statues, not even of Jesus Christ. God wants us to worship him in spirit, not in physical things.

(As a side note about saints, The Bible refers to all living believers as saints, not just those who have died after leading exemplary lives and have been canonized as such. See Acts 9:32, Romans 8:27.)


Priesthood

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that its priests are representations of God here on earth and have certain powers of God. The Roman Catholic Church believes its priesthood has the power to forgive sins. They also forbid the priests to marry. (Technically, the priest willingly makes a vow of celibacy, but he can not be ordained unless he makes that vow – which in effect is forbidding priests to marry). These are just a few of the Roman Catholic beliefs about its priesthood.

Should A Priest Be Celibate?

We need to look at The Bible to see if it tells us that priests are to be celibate. In Ezekiel 44:21-22 (see also Leviticus 21:10-13), we are told the priest is to have a wife:

Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court. Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before.

The New Testament in 1 Timothy 3:1-5 tells us a bishop is to have a wife:

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

According to God’s word in 1 Timothy 4:1-5, forbidding to marry is a doctrine of the devil:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Should A Priest Drink Wine?

This not only applies to drinking of the wine during the Roman Catholic Mass, but also outside of services. Leviticus 10:8-11 tells us wine is not to be consumed when the priest is in the tabernacle of the congregation:

And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 20:1 that wine mocks us:

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Titus 1:7-9 says bishops are not to be given to wine:

For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Should A Priest Be Called “Father”?

The Roman Catholic Church gives the title of “Father” to its priests. The support given is that in the New Testament there are many references to calling people father. However, the only references to someone being called father are either biological or Abraham and Isaac. We are children of Abraham after the flesh and children of Isaac after the promise. Matthew 23:1-13 tells us that we are not to call anyone “Father” because we have one Father – God:

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Any title to elevate one man over another is contrary to The Bible.

Can A Priest Exorcise Demonic Spirits?

In Matthew 10:1, Jesus gave power to the apostles to cast out unclean spirits:

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Jesus only gave this power to the twelve apostles and seventy other disciples in Luke 10. He did not give them the power or authority to pass this power on to others. Also, we have already seen that the signs that the disciples performed were to confirm the word of God (Mark 16:17-20) and now that the word of God has been confirmed, signs are no longer necessary. Therefore the Roman Catholic priests nor anyone else has the power to remove demonic spirits from a person.

Can A Priest Absolve Us From Our Sins?

The Roman Catholic Church believes that Jesus gave the apostles the power to forgive and to bind sins and that this power was passed on to the apostles’ successors. The Bible in Mark 11:22-26 tells us that our Father in heaven forgives our sins:

And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Again in Ephesians 4:32 we see that God forgives our sins:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

We have one mediator for us according to 1 Timothy 2:5:

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Colossians 1:12-14 tells us that we have forgiveness through the blood of Jesus:

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Hebrews 1:3 says Jesus by himself has purged our sins:

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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

God is the one who forgives our sins if we confess them according to 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Roman Catholics quote John 20:23 as the authority by which priests have the power to forgive sins:

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

If the priest has the power to forgive sins, by this verse, he also has the power to retain sins. That contradicts 1 John 1:9. God says our sins are forgiven when we confess them, not when the priest says they are forgiven. Also, Jesus was speaking to all the disciples in John 20:23. That would mean that all disciples are priests or at least have this priestly power. A priest, therefore, has no power to absolve us from our sins nor does he have power to bind our sins as the Roman Catholic Church believes.

What About The Ministry Of Reconciliation?

The Bible does say that God has given to us the ministry of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20:

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Reconciliation is not confession and it is not forgiving someone’s sins in God’s place. Reconciliation is bringing together two parties that are at odds with one another. An unsaved person is at odds with God (Romans 8:7) and by taking the gospel to that person, we can reconcile that person to God if that person accepts Jesus Christ as Saviour.

Is There A Separate Priesthood?

In 1 Peter 2:5-10, we see that all believers are part of the holy priesthood:

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. 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. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

The priests in the Old Testament were the only ones that had access to God in the holiest of holies. When Jesus died, God ripped the veil that separated the holiest of holies from the people signifying that the people had access to God (Matthew 27:51). Therefore, there no longer is a need for priests since every believer has free access to God.

Is The Monk Life Biblical?

The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:14-16 that we are to let our light shine before men, not to hide it in a monastery:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We are also commanded to go places to preach the gospel, not to devote our life to prayer and study. Praying and studying are good. The Bible tells us to do these things, but it also tells us to take the gospel to a lost and dying world. The life of a monk is not biblical and is detrimental to the cause of Jesus Christ.


Sacrifices

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the ceremony of Mass is a bloodless sacrifice where the body and blood of Jesus are offered up during each Mass as a sacrifice for sins.

Do We Need To Make Sacrifices For Forgiveness?

In Hebrews 7:25-28, The Bible says that Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice:

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. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 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. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

According to Hebrews 9:22-28, Christ was made a sacrifice one time for our sins and that is the only sacrifice that ever needs to be made:

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 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. 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; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Hebrews 10:14-26 says that we need not make any more sacrifices:

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.


The Eucharist

Does the Bread and Wine Become the Actual Body of Christ?

The Roman Catholic Church claims that the bread and wine are changed into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. The basis for this teaching is John 6 and writings of early church leaders. As we have seen earlier, we can disregard the early church writings. Let us look at John 6:51-58 to see what it says:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

As we see here, Jesus apparently is telling us to eat his body. But if we do not take this passage out of context and look a little further into the chapter in verse 63, we see that Jesus is speaking in spiritual terms:

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 tells us the flesh profits nothing. Paul also confirms that Jesus is spiritual meat and spiritual drink in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

The Lord’s supper is only a picture of Christ, not his actual body and blood.

Should Fermented Wine Be Used To Picture the Blood of Christ?

In The Bible, there are two types of wine: old wine and new wine. Old wine is the wine that has fermented and contains alcohol; new wine is grape juice. The fermentation of old wine is a picture of sin just as leaven in bread is a picture of sin. Jesus’ body is pictured by unleavened bread and his blood is pictured by unfermented wine because Jesus was sinless. It is wrong to use fermented wine to picture the blood of Jesus, just as it is wrong to use leavened bread to picture the body of Jesus.


Prayer

Every Christian should have a prayer life. We need to turn to The Bible to learn how to build an effective prayer life.

Should We Use Memorized Prayers?

The Roman Catholic Church has developed some prayers that its members repeat over and over and over again. For some Roman Catholics, these are the only prayers ever prayed. Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:1-8 not to pray repetitiously saying the same words over and over again until the prayer has lost its meaning:

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye 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.

Should We Pray To Mary Or The Saints In Heaven?

We see the disciples prayed with Mary, not to her in Acts 1:13-14:

And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

To Whom Should We Pray?

Jesus instructs us in Matthew 11:28-30 to go unconditionally to him with our burdens:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

In fact in John 14:5-6, Jesus tells us that we can not reach our Father in Heaven except through Him:

Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Sometimes you will hear Mary referred to as a “mediatrix” by Roman Catholics. Here in 1 Timothy 2:5, we see Jesus Christ is the only mediator:

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

The Bible is very clear. We are to pray to God and God alone. We are not supposed to pray to saints or to Mary.


Baptism

The Roman Catholic Church baptizes infants shortly after being born. “Godparents” stand in for the infant and make baptismal promises in the infant’s place.

Should We Be Baptized Before Or After We Have Believed The Gospel?

We need to look in The Bible to see if God gave us a definite plan about baptism. Mark 16:14-16 makes it clear that we are to baptize people: “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them,

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

In Acts 2:36-42 (see also Acts 8:9-13, 10:43-48), we see people being baptized after believing the gospel:

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

In Acts 8:26-38, the eunuch is told if he believes with all his heart, he may be baptized:

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

To be Biblically correct concerning baptism, we should be baptized only after we have believed the gospel, repented of our sins, and have trusted in Jesus Christ as our Saviour.

Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that baptism cleanses us from original sin and thus is necessary if we are to be saved. In John 3:18, we see the only requirement to escape condemnation:

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The thief on the cross was never baptized, yet Jesus told him that he would be in paradise.

Luke 23:39-43 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

In Mark 1:9, The Bible tells us that Jesus was baptized:

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

The Bible also says that Jesus was sinless. Therefore, baptism does not cleanse us from original sin and is not necessary for salvation.

What Is The Form Of Baptism?

In every case of baptism recorded in The Bible, all are performed by immersion and all are performed on believers. Here is Acts 8:36-39 as an example:

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Those who “baptize” by sprinkling or who “baptize” infants are not following the pattern established in The Bible.


Purgatory

Does It Exist?

Proverbs 12:21 says that the just will not experience evil:

There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.

Only the justified get to go to Heaven and the determination if a man is just or not is made before death. Having to suffer in Purgatory is evil and therefore can not happen to a justified man. Romans 8:1 tells us if we are part of God’s family, we are not condemned:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

According to Jesus in John 14:6, we have to go through Jesus to get to Heaven, not Purgatory:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

According to the Roman Catholic Church, Purgatory is used to purge us from our sins, but we have already been purged if we accept Christ as our Saviour according to Hebrews 1:1-3:

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; 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Colossians 1:21-22 tells us that Christ has already made us acceptable by His death:

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Also see 2 Maccabees 12 in the Catholic Bible where people are told to pray for those who have committed a mortal sin (as the Roman Catholic Church teaches) and have died in the state of mortal sin. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that people in a state of mortal sin go directly to hell upon dying. Using this passage to support the existence of Purgatory is therefore ridiculous.

In 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, The Bible shows that when we are absent from the body – i.e. dead -, we are present with the Lord. If we are present with the Lord, we must not be in Purgatory. We are in Heaven because that is where the Lord is:

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

To believe that a person needs to spend time in Purgatory is to believe that the death of Jesus Christ did not pay the full penalty for our sins. As Christ said while he was hanging on the cross in John 19:30 It is finished:

Doesn’t The Bible Say That Nothing Defiled Shall Enter Heaven?

Some Catholics with whom I have corresponded use Revelation 21:27 to support their belief in Purgatory:

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

I wholeheartedly agree that nothing that defileth shall enter heaven. That is why the saved person’s flesh remains here on earth – it is the flesh that defiles. The part that God saves – the soul and the spirit – does not sin according to 1 John 3:9:

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Before you tell others that I believe saved people do not sin, I do not believe that. (Read chapter 17 on salvation for more on this.) The saved person still has his or her flesh that sins – but the spirit which is born of God does not sin.

Notice also that the verse says “any thing that defileth…” That is an action, not a state. I’ve been told that Purgatory is for the purpose of cleansing people from their sins – it doesn’t say anything about changing their behavior. To keep any thing that defileth out of heaven would mean the behavior would have to be changed – not the state or appearance of the person.


Repentance & Penance

What Is True Repentance?

Repentance is not saying ten “Our Father’s” and ten “Hail Mary’s.” That is penance. Repentance is not a work; it is a willingness to change from something but it is not the act of changing.

Did Jesus Command Us To Repent?

From the time Jesus began preaching, He preached repentance:

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

(Mark 1:14-15) Jesus tells us in Luke 13:2-5 that we will perish unless we repent:

And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Do We Need To Repent?

The apostles also preached repentance because that is what Jesus preached. Here in Acts 3:19, we see that repentance is necessary for forgiveness:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Does True Repentance Change Us?

We must be sorry for our actions, not sorry that we were caught. There must be evidence of our repentance. True repentance is described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11:

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.


Righteousness & Justification

Against What Is Our Righteousness Measured?

We can not use our own measure; we have to use God’s as we are told in 2 Corinthians 10:12-18:

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.

In Matthew 5:20, we are told that we must be more righteous than the Pharisees and scribes:

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 2:16 tells us our righteousness is measured against the righteousness of Jesus Christ:

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Can We Be Justified By Keeping The Law?

We are not saved by keeping the law according to Titus 3:5-7:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The law cannot justify us according to Acts 13:38-39 (see also Romans 6:12-14, 7:4-13, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Galatians 2:16-21, Hebrews 7:19):

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Romans 9:26-33 says that by following the law, we can not attain the righteousness which is of God:

And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

We are told in Galatians 5:1-7 that if we are justified by the law, we have fallen from grace:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

No one can be justified by keeping the law of Moses according to Romans 3:19-28:

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Can A Man Justify Himself Before God?

It is impossible for man to save himself according to Matthew 19:23-26 (see also Mark 10:24-27):

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

How Is A Man Justified Before God?

In Luke 16:15-17, we see that the law and prophets are for past times:

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

(see also Romans 4, Luke 18:9-14, Romans 13:1-8, 1 Corinthians 11:31-32, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, Colossians 1:21-22) We are justified by faith according to Luke 7:50:

And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

(see also Luke 18:42)

Romans 10:1-13 says if we try to establish our own righteousness, we are not submitting to God:

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says faith saves, not works:

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.

Philippians 3:9 tells us what type of righteousness we need:

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:

The sacrifice of Christ on the cross sanctifies us according to Hebrews 10:8-10:

Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


Salvation

Is Salvation A Reward Or A Gift?

There is a difference between a gift and a reward. A reward is given to us because we have accomplished something; a gift is unmerited favor. If salvation is a reward, then we must work to earn that reward, but if it is a gift, we can not do anything to earn it. The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 that salvation is a gift:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are told salvation is a gift again 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, lest any man should boast.

Is Salvation Something We Possess In This World?

Notice here in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that The Bible says “us which are saved” which is past tense:

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Once again the past tense is used in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

And again in 2 Corinthians 2:15:

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

Once again according to Colossians 1:12-14, we have been delivered in the past:

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

We have been reconciled according to Colossians 1:21-22:

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

The past tense is used again in 2 Timothy 1:8-9:

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Titus 3:5-7 again uses the past tense:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Did Jesus Die For Just An Elect Few?

According to Hebrews 2:9, Jesus tasted death for every man:

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Do Saved People Sin?

Many people have the misconceptions that saved people think that they do not sin or that saved people can do whatever they desire after they are saved. Neither one is true. The Bible makes it very clear that everybody sins (Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8,10) and in Hebrews 12:6, we are told that God deals with his children that disobey him:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Some examples from The Bible of saved people who sin are David & Peter. In many of the Psalms we can see David repenting of his sins of adultery and murder and asking God to restore the joy of his salvation. David did not ask God to save him, because he was already saved; he asked to receive back the joy of being saved. In John 13:8-10, we see that Peter was already washed (saved):

Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Washing the feet just pictures how we need to clean ourselves from the dirt we accumulate as we walk in this world so that we may have fellowship with Jesus. As we have seen already, Peter did not live perfectly after this event so we know that he sinned after he was saved.

Can We Lose Our Salvation?

Nothing can separate us from God according to Romans 8:35-39:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, we are told about losing the fruit of our work, not our salvation:

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

We are made perfect forever according to Hebrews 10:14:

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.


Worship of God

How Do We Worship God?

To worship God, we must do it in the way he wants us to worship him. The Bible tells us in John 4:23-24 how we are to worship him:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

As we see in John 17:14-17, God’s word is truth:

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Any type of worship must include the word of God because it is truth and that is how God wants us to worship him.


Conclusion

We have examined many teachings of the Roman Catholic Church using The Bible as our guide. On the surface, many of the teachings appear to be truly Christian in nature; however, these teachings can not stand under the scrutiny of The Bible. As we have already seen in 2 John 9-11, the one who abides not in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are not the doctrines of Christ; therefore, whoever abides in the Roman Catholic Church does not have God. As 1 John 5:12 tells us:

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

I am not trying to be mean and nasty; my only desire is to share the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ with you. I do not want to win an argument; I want to win your soul to Jesus Christ. You can have the peace of God if you repent and believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, born of a virgin, died on the cross for all your sins, and arose from the dead, and ask him to save you. Do not wait! Jesus Christ is the only one who can fill that void in your life. May you allow the riches of God’s mercy to reach your soul. Amen.

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6 Responses to “The One True Church?”


  1. Brother, this is excellent – clear presentation of the truth of salvation, and the errors of the Catholic church.

    I am glad I found this blog (was following a link from another blog). I am adding you to my blog links today. May the Lord continue to bless you and this ministry here!

  2. Geoff Hammerle says:

    I know you say that you were taught in your Catholic upbringing that every other denomination was wrong, I never experienced that and I had the same upbringing (we lived in the same household). Why do you go out of your way to tear apart the Catholic faith, the faith that is centered around Jesus Christ, the faith that you were so blessed to grow up in? Why are you doing the same to other denominations of Christianity that you said Catholics do? It makes no sense to tear down faiths that are centered around CHRIST.

  3. Geoff do you remember Mr. Mitchell? He was a Catholic and married a non-Catholic (Presbyterian I think). I remember Mom saying he was going to Hell because he quit going to Sunday Mass and went to church with Mrs. Mitchell. If you read the council of Trent, you will see that what I believe about justification is condemned by the Catholic church and all those who believe the way I believe are condemned. Today, the Catholic church is more ecumenical and has softened its stance, and has become more politically correct, but it has never reversed what it said at the council of Trent. Truth is truth – there cannot be two versions. There cannot be contradictions. I believe different than the official Catholic position which means either I am wrong, the Catholic church is wrong, or we are both wrong. You say the Catholic church is centered around Jesus Christ – the apostles wrote and warned about different Christs being preached and different gospels. We need to make sure we have learned about the Christ of the scriptures. I would love to sit down with you anytime and discuss the scriptures. I love my family. I am not ashamed of being part of this family. I wish everyone had a family as wonderful as ours. I have been blessed with a wonderful father and mother who taught me so many good things and by wonderful siblings who I’ve enjoyed knowing and growing up with.

  4. Geoff Hammerle says:

    I have never heard any of my parents say anyone is going to hell. Nor of all the 20+ years I attended church, heard Scripture, attended Catholic grade school and high school did anyone, included any priests condemn other denominations. Maybe that is the difference in our age and how times had changed. If you don’t think Catholicisim is not centered around the Christ of the scriptures then maybe you were not really open to Christ all those times you heard scripture at Catholic mass (at least passages per mass from KJV) as well as all those times in Catholic school, at home, and other settings. I know when we are younger we don’t fully understand and are aware of what we are listening to as well as fully believe it and I think that comes with age. Though it is disturbing to me that other denominations of Christianity tear each other down when we should be uniting around our same beliefs/faith. I just don’t think anyone denomination has right to say they understand the truth 100% as taught by the scripture because that denies our own fallibility as humans. Last time I looked, I’m not Jesus nor the Holy Spirit. We can pray, read the scripture, pray some more, read the scripture some more, pray some more, we might know 99% of the truth but hopefully we will know 100% of it here or in eternal life. I love you and am blessed to call you my brother but I just don’t want our denominations to be divisive when we believe in the same Truth. In fact, I think I am denominationless, as I am a CHRISTian.

  5. Geoff, is anyone going to Hell?

  6. I do not come from a Catholic background but my mom did, and i have studied about the Catholic church and its history. I’m by no means a expert but i can tell you the Catholic church is not a based around are true Savior and Lord or his words. Since the time of the Bible’s completion and even before that men have changed, left out, and added to the word of God, but that a different topic all together. The Catholic church has taken Gods word and commands and twisted it for there own profit. They even incorporated pagan rituals!! So how can Catholics claim to be Christians when they don’t follow or practice God’s commands but man’s? That goes for any denomination that doesn’t follow and adhere to God’s perfect word!!
    Unfortunately not all Independent Fundamental Baptist Church’s do teach God’s word (KJV 1611) and follow and adhere to it.(Thank God for men that he allowed to Translate His Perfect Word to the English language)

    Does your religion or denomination secure or condemn you soul? NO!! Neither does trying to live how you thank God would want you.
    What does is accepting and confessing that you a sinner and that there is a punishment and that is death, but here is the cool thing. Around 2000 years ago God in all his Love sent his Only Son, not just to teach us but to take on the entirety of our sins and take our punishment. Then three days later he arose. Once we accept this we are from that point and forever the children of God and nothing we do can ever remove us from being his children, now we can fall to the wayside but God in all his infinite Love is there waiting for us to turn from our sin and back to him.
    Now for my two cent’s isn’t it amazing that Christ didn’t die neither did he arise by mans hands or mans power but his own.


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