ROMAN CATHOLICISM

        Sometimes true Christians are led to think that  Roman Catholicism is a bona fide Christian religion.  Recent changes in Catholic dogma have  made this religious system even more acceptable to protestants. Yet Catholicism is one of Satan's most clever masquerades.

         The Christian Church began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Bible [Acts:2].Eventually Christianity spread beyond Jerusalem into other areas of the Roman Empire. But wherever it spread , Christians were always persecuted. Then in A.D.313 the Roman Emperor Constantine claimed to see a blazing cross in the sky and the words "In this sign, conquer." As a result he converted to Christianity, and he made Christianity the state religion. Christians were no longer persecuted .Because of many unsaved people entered the Church, bringing with them their pagon Roman practices. The result was a mixture of paganism and Christianity.

      In addition Constantine gave Church leaders religious and political power. Power struggles ensured ,particularly in Rome. Ambitious men were attracted to power.Leo he declared himself to be Peter's heir to the "keys of the kingdom", and he became the first pope in A.D.440. Since that time, the Roman Catholic Church has had many popes, each of whom claimed to trace his position back to peter. In A.D.1054 a schism occurred that resulted in the Eastern [Orthodox] and the western [Roman Catholic]Churches.

     Throughout the Dark and middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church became more and more entrenched as the state religion. The word of God was kept away from the majority of the common people. Amid the darkness of these centuries, God did not leave Himself without a witness. In every period of history there have always been a few who have been Faithfull to God and His word. And God raised up men who boldly objected to the teachings and practices of the Roman Church.

   In fourteenth-century England, John Wycliffe was such a witness. He claimed that there was no need for professional priesthood or the papacy. In Bohemia God raised up John Huss[1370-1415], who delivered  passionate sermons against the condition of Romanism. In the sixteenth century Martin Luther challenged the Roman Catholic practice of granting indulgences. As a result of his study of the book of Romans, Luther was convinced that salvation was by faith alone. His bold proclamation of these truths led to the Protestant Reformation.

    Most of the major Protestant denominations are offspring's of the Reformation, However, the heritage of Bible-believing "Born Again" does not go back just to the Reformation. The Church that has held to New Testament doctrine and practice, through in the minority through the centuries, is the heritage of 'Born Agains'.

 

      DOCTRINES

 

 a] The Bible

 

The Roman Catholic Church does believe the Bible is the word of God. However, it also believes in the authority of the Church. The traditions of the church ,the pronouncements of the pope and the Bible are all considered authorities. When the Bible and tradition disagree, the faithful Catholic follows church tradition. The ultimate authority is the pope. The Roman Catholic Bible Includes the fourteen books known as the Apocrypha. They are interspersed among the other books , where they would belong historically. This gives the appearance that these books are part of the inspired Word of God. These books were not considered part of the inspired Canon by the early Church; nor were they accepted by Christ in His day.

     Throughout most of Roman Catholic history ,the Bible has been kept from the people. But Catholics are no longer discouraged from reading the Bible; However , their church leaders tell them they cannot interpret the Bible for themselves. For that, they need the Church.

    Roman Catholics have their own translations of the Bible. The two most common versions are the Douay Version and the Confraternity Version. Thought the wording is somewhat different from the wording in your Bible, the plan of Salvation is clearly there .

 

 b] Apostolic succession

 

Apostolic succession is the teaching that Peter was the first pope and that all popes since them are descended -however remotely -from Peter. This teaching is based on Mathew16:18.

Consider the context of this verse. Jesus had asked His disciples who the people thought He was. Then when Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was,Peter made his classic confession:"Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God"[V.16].In response to the confession, Jesus said to Peter," Thou art Peter ,and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"{v:18}.

   Notice several things about this passage. First of all, the Church was still future; Christ said ,"I will build my Church". Also notice that Christ would do the building, and it was to be His Church:"I will build my Church". Christ also said He would build the  Church upon Himself. This is not readily evident in the English translations, but in the Greek there is an interesting play onwards ."Thou art Peter [peteros-peter-"little rock"],an upon these rock [Petra-Christ-he Rock"] I will build my Church."That peter understood what Christ meant is confirmed by Peter's own statement in 1peter2:4-9, where he referred to Christ as the stone.

 

c] Salvation

 

  Multitudes of sincere Roman Catholic people are trying to work their way to Heaven. The word "Sacrament", as used by the Roman Catholic Church ,denotes "means of grace". Romanism recognizes seven sacraments that form the ladder from earth to Heaven.

 

d] Baptism

 

Baptism places a person into the Church. It also procures the forgiveness of all past sins. No one is saved without being baptized; therefore, babies are baptized. We reject such teaching, believing that baptism is an ordinance to be observed only by those who have already believed.

 

e] Confirmation

 

This is the point at which a baptized person is actually accepted into the faith. The priest lays hands on him to convey to him the Holy spirit.

 

f] Holy Eucharist

 

This sacrament deals with the Mass. Catholic theology teaches that the Bread and Wine used in the observance of the Lord's supper become the literal body and blood of Christ. In effect, Christ is crucified again every time the Mass is observed.Hebrews9:28 and 10:14 show the error of such a practice;"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many......" "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

 

g] Confession

 

This sacrament is supposed to secure forgiveness for sins a person commits after he is baptized. When confession is made to the priest, he absolves or forgives that sin. Such teaching contradicts the Bible's clear statements that forgiveness of sin comes from God alone.[Luke5:21-24,1John1:9]We come to God through Jesus Christ, not a human intermediary[1Tim2:5]

Sins considered by Catholics to be in one of two categories; Mortal or Venial. Mortal sins [eg: missing Mass without cause ,getting drunk ,theft]can lead to loss of Salvation and must therefore be confessed to a priest. The less serious, Venial sins can be taken care of by the individual. James 2:10 refutes this erroneous teaching.

 

h] Extreme

 

 This sacrament is reserved for the dying. Anointment by the priest assures forgiveness of Mortal and Venial sins, according to Catholic dogma.

 

i]Holy orders

When a man receives the sacrament of Holy orders, he can function as a priest. This means he can perform the Mass and other sacraments and has the power to forgive sins.

 

j] Matrimony

 

Marriage, too, is considered a sacrament.

Catholics also believe that at death a person goes first to purgatory to be purged of his sins. The goodness of his life, the masses that are said for him after his death and other factors will determine the length of his stay in purgatory. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches that our sins were purged by the death of Christ[Heb9:14]and that a believer who dies is immediately in the presence of Christ.[2Cori5:6-8]

 

k] Mary

 

The Roman Catholic Church believes that Mary, the mother of Jesus, has a part in Salvation and forgiveness. Part of a prayer to Mary says, "Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us now and on the day of our death."Catholics believe that Mary was conceived without sin ["Immaculate Conception"]and was sinless in her life. They also believe She was taken up into Heaven without dying["The Assumption"]

          First John2:1,as well as 1Thimothy 2:5, clearly refute the idea that Mary is our advocate or mediator before God. This is the position of Christ alone. That Mary herself was a sinner and in need of a savior is seen in her own words."My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit has rejoiced in my God my Saviour" [Luke1:46-47]

         One reason Satan is a master of masquerade is that he leads people to believe they can do something to achieve their salvation. Make sure you present God's gift of Salvation clearly and simply. Remember ;the gospel is spelled out in the Catholic Bible too.