Thursday, November 10, 2011

Overview of Roman Catholicism

Few religions are more confused with true Christianity than Roman Catholicism.  The reason for that?  Well originally, the word Catholic referred to the Christian church in general.  The word Catholic actually just means “universal”.  It was derived from the Greek word, katholikos, and the meaning of it was to identify the true church.  The universal body of Christ. 

In other words, the 1st century Christians would have been Catholic simply because the term was meant to identify all those who were truly born again.

The Nicene Creed, written in the 4th century to lay out essential doctrines of the church uses the phrase “one holy catholic church”.  What the authors means was that there is only one God, one saving faith, one Christ, and those who are joined truly to the Biblical Jesus are a part of the true church.

Now, at this time Catholicism in part was still a fairly sound religion.  It wasn’t until the 3rd century or so that it began to drift away into legalism and tradition.  By the 4th century the Roman Emperor Constantine began to succumb to the desires of pagan influences and attempted to force the unification and acceptance of all religions into Christianity.

He declared himself to be the Vicar of Christ.  These newly accepted pagans were given positions of authority… they brought their pagan practices in with them and in time as they would ordain church councils to settle matters of doctrine and practice these councils began to elevate traditions over the plain truth of Scripture.

They would condemn anyone who opposed them and deem them heretics and in that day they usually had them burned at the stake.  Many devout men were persecuted and even martyred for defending Scripture. 

By the 12th century the Roman Catholic Church had become the world’s most powerful groups, using its power to control governments.  By this time it had effectively added works to salvation and elevated tradition over Scriptural truth. In addition, they had adopted a myriad of heresies which disqualified them as Christianity.

Throughout the history of the true church, many men spoke out against the heresies of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church and they left the Roman Catholic church in protest over what they determined were essential differences.

Those who left the Roman Catholic Church were commonly called Protestants.  A Protestant was someone who protested against not just Roman Catholicism, but against anyone who asserted their interpretation and beliefs over the authority of Scripture.

In that respect, we ought to consider ourselves Protestants as well.  In the early 1500’s, through the study of Scripture God began to work in a young German Monk named… Martin Luther.

You see, Martin became disturbed at the Roman Catholic teachings of justification by grace + works.  And so he wrote a list, now known as the ’95 Theses’ and nailed them to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.

It was his public challenge to the Roman Catholic church for a debate about these things.  A challenge against the papacy.  Ultimately it caused him to be excommunicated from the church BUT what he suffered birthed what we call, the Protestant Reformation.

In fact, October 31 is known as Reformation Day because it was on that day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his theses to that door which ushered in a time of revival for the true church as more and more believers pulled out of the deceptive Roman Catholic Church.
One of these days we’ll get around to studying the effects of the Reformation and what not, but that’s not the main focus tonight… incidentally though, Reformation Day is a nationally observed holiday still in Germany.

The Roman Catholic Church claims it was birthed in the 1st century and that Peter was the 1st Pope.  Where do they get that?  Well, they get it from a gross misunderstanding of Matthew 16.

Matthew16:13-20 - Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Now, they say that what Christ meant was that Peter was the rock that Jesus would build His church on.  However, that doesn’t fit when we look at the context.  Christ has just asked them to declare who He was.  Peter declares emphatically that Jesus is the Christ, in other words, Peter declares the Divinity and Authenticity of Jesus as fully God and the promised Messiah.

Christ responds to Peter by saying “you are Peter”.  In Greek, the word for Peter is petras.  It means stone, we get the word petrified from there.  Jesus affirms Peter’s statement saying ‘you are correct! And your doctrine is sound, it is like stone. 

So, “on this rock” on this truth… rather on Himself Christ, will the church of Christ be built.  Peter never saw himself as some sort of Pope.  In fact, he affirmed that he fully understood Christ’s words in his 1st epistle.

1 Peter 2:6-8 - For it stands in Scripture:   “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious,   and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,   “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and   “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”

Who is the cornerstone upon whom those who believe won’t be put to shame?  Well, it is Jesus Christ!  Not Peter!  He was just a man!

A.) The Bible

Roman Catholics use the same Bible we do with the addition of what is known as the Apocrypha.  Their Bible is based on a translation known as the Greek-Septuagint, which included the Apocryphal books.

The Apocrypha is a group of 15 late-Jewish writings composed between 400 BC and the time of Christ.  They are:
- 1 & 2 Esdras
- Tobit
- Judith
- the Rest of Esther
- The Wisdom of Solomon
- Sirach (aka Ecclesiasticus)
- Baruch
- The Letter of Jeremiah
- Song of the Three Young Men
- Susanna
- Bel and the Dragon
- Additions to Daniel
- The Prayer of Manasseh
- 1 & 2 Maccabees

Though most of these books are Jewish writings, they are written in Greek, except for Ecclesiasticus.  They do contain factual historical data at times, but they are not Scripture.  The Apocryphal books were always known about, they weren’t “new” information, Jesus would have had knowledge of these writing, as would the Disciples yet they NEVER quote them whatsoever.

In fact, no where in all of Scripture are any of these books referred to. 

1.) Protestants and Jews both reject all these books as inspired Scripture, however, in 1546 the Roman Catholic Church officially declared 7 of those books to be a part of the Canon of Scripture.  The Apocrypha was declared Scripture by the Roman Catholics at the Council of Trent. 

Up until that time they had knowledge of those extra books but they were never considered to be of the same weight and authority as Scripture.  They were only introduced into the canon of Scripture by the Papacy as a response to the Protestant Reformation which was taking off very quickly.

You see, one of the things that the Reformers protested was against the notion that Scripture should not be taught in the language of the people.  Rome taught that Scripture should only be read and taught by the Pope and the Monks and the Priests… While men like Martin Luther and many many others held that people should have access to the scriptures in their own language.

So as the Reformers are teaching right doctrine and the Bible begins to be translated to other languages, Rome’s response was to add the Apocryphal books in as Scripture to try and reclaim their dominance over the people.

To that time, Apocryphal books were used for devotional purposes at times, but they were not considered to be inspired Scripture.  Here we are 400 years later and yet the Pope still upholds this decision.  They still hold that these extra books are scripture.  Therefore they are adding to the Bible by embracing these uninspired books as Scripture.

Why is that such a problem?  How do we know these books aren’t inspired?  WELL, to begin with, The Apocrypha contains false teachings that contradict the accepted canon of Scripture.

It:

- Condones the use of Magic

Tobit 6:5-7 - 5 The angel said to him, “Cut open the fish and remove its gallbladder, heart, and liver and keep them with you, and throw away the guts. Its gallbladder, heart, and liver are useful medicines.” 6 So Tobias cut open the fish and gathered up the gallbladder, heart, and liver. He cooked the fish and ate it; and the remaining part of it, which he salted, he put aside. Then they both journeyed together until they approached Media. 7 Tobias asked the angel, “Brother Azariah, what medicine is there in the fish’s heart, liver, and gallbladder?” 8 And the angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them."

Is it true that smoke from a burning fish’s heart drives away evil spirits?  Of course not!  This is superstitious divination folks, what does the Bible say about divination?

It says that it is an abomination, Deuteronomy 18:10-12 - There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

Further, it says that it is connected with idolatry.  Idolatry because it sets that thing up, in this case the fish’s heart, as being worthy of a form of trust against something that is evil.

2 Chronicles 33:5-6 - And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.

Acts 19 records that the pagan converts who were involved in this practice were quick to burn all the sorcery and divination books upon conversion.

Acts 19:19 - And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.

In addition, it contains some historical inaccuracies. 

Judith 1:5 states that Nebuchadnezzar was King of the Assyrians, when the Bible makes it clear that he was the King of the Babylonians.  And possibly the most damning error that it contains is the teaching that…

- Forgiveness of sins is by human effort

Otherwise known as salvation by works.  Among other things they teach that the book of James supports their works based faith system.  The Apocrypha then teaches

Tobit 12:9 - Giving to the poor saves from death, and it washes away every sin.

We know that Scripture refutes this, in fact, the Bible teaches that only the Blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin!

1 John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

The Apocrypha teaches that money is an offering for the sins of the dead.

2 Maccabees 12:43-46 - 43 After taking a collection from each man, he sent the sum of two thousand silver drachmen to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. He was acting honorably and appropriately, thinking about the resurrection. 44 If he hadn’t been looking forward to the resurrection of the dead, then it would have been unnecessary and frivolous to pray for them. 45 He was looking, however, to that best reward laid up for those who die in godliness, and so this was a pious and holy thought. Thus he made an offering of reconciliation so that the dead would be forgiven of their sin.

That is just flat out unbiblical!  Hebrews 9:27 says that after death comes judgment… but according to the Roman Catholic Church you can be judged and then later forgiven if someone pays enough money to purchase your forgiveness.  That isn’t a JUST God, but one who is fickle and prone to go against His Word by accepting a bribe.

Lastly, the Apocrypha contains no prophetic characteristics.

There are no shared characteristics between the Apocryphal writings and the accepted Canon of Scripture.  No predictive prophecy as we find fulfilled in the Bible.  In the Bible we find prophecies in the Old Testament that come to pass mostly in the New Testament and sometimes later on in Old Testament history.  The Apocrypha contains no such prophecies.  Further there is NO supernatural confirmation of the authors of these books. 
In addition to the Apocrypha, the Roman Catholic Church uses a document that is released by the Pope known as the Roman Catholic Catechism.  The RC Catechism is a series of documents that are written by the Papacy and taught by the Priests as though they hold equal authority with Scripture.

In their Catechism they do not affirm all 10 commandments as written in Scripture.  In fact, they omit commandment number 2 altogether from their catechism.

Someone, tell me what the 2nd commandment is in the Bible?  Well according to the Catholic Catechism it isn’t that we should have no idols.

From the current Vatican Website:
1.) No strange Gods before me
2.) Don’t take the Lord’s Name in Vain
3.) Keep the Sabbath Holy
4.) Honor your Father and Mother
5.) Do not kill
6.) Do not commit adultery
7.) Do not steal
8.) Do not bear false witness
9.) Do not covet your neighbor’s wife
10.) Do not covet your neighbor’s goods.

That omission is not in their Bible, but rather in their church traditions and writings that gets taught as Scripture.  You see a Roman Catholic views the Apocrypha and Church Tradition as all having equal authority.  Scripture, for them, is A source but not THE source of the knowledge of God necessary for faith and practice.

Catechism of the Catholic church, paragraph 82 states:

"Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit." "And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching." 82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

You’ll find the 2nd Commandment in their Bible, but NOT in their Catechistic teachings.  The catechistic teachings are what is used to train their adherents.  In fact, the commandment against idolatry is repeated 7 times in the Old Testament and 3 times in the New Testament, yet the Pope refuses to recognize the error. 

Now that omission is important as we will see next week as we move into some of the traditions that they hold to.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that you must follow the Bishops the same way… that you follow Jesus. 

Catholic Catechism –
p.862 - "Just as the office which the Lord confided to Peter alone, as first of the apostles, destined to be transmitted to his successors, is a permanent one, so also endures the office, which the apostles received, of shepherding the Church, a charge destined to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops." Hence the Church teaches that "the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church, in such wise that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ."

p.883 - "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff."

p.896 - The Good Shepherd ought to be the model and "form" of the bishop's pastoral office. Conscious of his own weaknesses, "the bishop . . . can have compassion for those who are ignorant and erring. He should not refuse to listen to his subjects whose welfare he promotes as of his very own children. . . . The faithful . . . should be closely attached to the bishop as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father":

    Let all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the college of presbyters as the apostles; respect the deacons as you do God's law. Let no one do anything concerning the Church in separation from the bishop.

p.939 - Helped by the priests, their co-workers, and by the deacons, the bishops have the duty of authentically teaching the faith, celebrating divine worship, above all the Eucharist, and guiding their Churches as true pastors. Their responsibility also includes concern for all the Churches, with and under the Pope.

Furthermore, the Council of Trent declared that no one can interpret Scripture in a way that is contrary to that of the Roman Catholic Church.  (Council of Trent, Session 4, “Decree Concerning the Edition and the Use of the Sacred Books.)

In Catholicism, you are not allowed to hold a view that differs from the Pope on anything, period.  That places MAN in the driver’s seat.  The Bible teaches the authority of Scripture.  That we look to Scripture, not man’s interpretation of Scripture.

As I said, the Bible says what it says.  One interpretation.  It may have several applications, but it has one interpretation only.

Acts 17:11 indicates that ALL believers, not just the Pope and his priests, are to search out the truth of Scripture.

The salvation by works that they wrongly take from the book of James, is reinforced in their Catechism. 

p.2010 - Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.

p.2068 - The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: "The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments."

However, here is just a small refutation of that from the New Testament.  Romans 3:28-30 - For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

Romans 4:3 - For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

Romans 5:1 - Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 11:6 - But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Galatians 2:16 - yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

C.) God and Jesus Christ

So what to they teach about God the Father and Jesus Christ?  Both Christianity and Roman Catholicism agree on who they are.  The main difference here lies in the result of Christ’s work.

Catholicism teaches that Jesus died, for our sin and upon salvation was are infused with His righteousness.  You get a portion of His righteousness BUT then, you must observe the commandments and be good, in order to supplement that righteousness with your works if you want to get to Heaven.

Christianity:
Justification is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins.  The because of Christ, God clears the sinner of His legal obligation to pay for his sins.

Isaiah 64:6 - We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.   We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Even our best efforts are like filthy rags… how then would they merit ANY grace from God?  They can’t.

Council of Trent
- CANON 9:  "If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."

CANON 14: "If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema."

Moreover, you must do works to get saved BUT you must also do works to maintain your salvation.  Catholic Catechism – p.1446 - Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as "the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace."

Did you catch that?  You can lose your salvation if you sin too much, but if you do something, you can re-cover your sin.  Folks, who does that make you dependent upon for the salvation of your soul?  YOU.

But Jesus said in John 19:30 that “It is finished.”  Paid in full!

John 10:27-29 - My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Romans 8:28-30 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

My repentance is not a work that recovers me with grace nor does it uphold my justification.  Repentance is the vessel by which God works in His children to continually convict them of sin, assure them of forgiveness, and sanctify them more unto Himself.

To perform these acts of penance in the Catholic Church you may be told to do various things.  These acts are supposedly empowered to re-cover you with the needed amount of grace so that you don’t lose your salvation forever.

Some examples…
- praying (to certain Patron Saints)
     Now they would say that they don’t pray to the Saints, but rather that they ask the Saints to pray with them and for them.  In other words, they are asking the Patron Saints who have gone before (Mary, Peter, so on) to pray to God for them.  Do we have any indication in Scripture that the saints in Heaven pray for us?  Nope, absolutely none.  And if I am kneeling to ask a dead Saint a question, I’m not praying with them, but to them.  And there is a myriad of saints that you might pray to for different reasons… most common though is praying to Mary for intercession and forgiveness of sins.

- saying a set amount of Hail Mary’s.  The Catholic Church added the word Hail to Luke 1:28 to give Mary a significant position in the work of redemption and dispensing of grace.

- you might be told to read the Scripture

- do a set amount of good works

- fast

Where they are confused is in the difference between relationship and ritual.  We are joined in a relationship to God by His free grace.  We are upheld by that same free grace.  But God desires fellowship with His people which is why we pray, read the Bibles, live a life of repentance, serve, and so on.
1 Corinthians 1:9 - God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We do those things… works and prayer and Scripture reading… to KNOW the God who has saved us, not so that He continues to save us.

D.) Idols abounding! 

Remember I told you that the omission of the 2nd Commandment from their Catechism was important.  Well, that commandment deals with idols.  The Roman Catholic Church would have a hard time teaching against idols considering they hold a NUMBER of idols in their religion.

1.) Indulgences – An indulgence, according to the Catholic Church, is a means of remission of the temporal punishment for sins which have already been forgiven but are due to the Christian in this life and or purgatory.

An indulgence removes time needed to be spent in purgatory.  So there are 2 types of indulgences:  Partial and Plenary.  A partial indulgence removes part of the punishment of sins.  A plenary indulgence removes all the punishments of sins.

Granting an indulgence is done in measurement of days, weeks, years, etc.  It removes the amount of time you must spend in purgatory.

In 1969, a prayer was published by the RCC that said in the foreword that it was worth 5 years.  In other words, if you said that prayer every day for a month, you removed five years time in purgatory.

The same document taught that if you studied or taught the Catholic Catechism for 20 minutes, twice a month, then you could remove an additional three years of time in purgatory.

CCC p.1476 & 1477

We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church's treasury, which is "not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the 'treasury of the Church' is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ's merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their efficacy."

"This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission in the unity of the Mystical Body."

You see what this is?  It is their means by which they keep their people bound by a yoke of sacraments and legalism… idolatry. 

You can also get indulgences on behalf of deceased loved ones.  In 1517, a monk named Johan Tetzel wanted to raise more funds so that the re-construction of St. Peter’s Basilica could be completed and so he went about selling indulgences.  He coined a phrase, (anyone know it?), “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.”

Preying on the fear of people and purgatory.  What does the Bible teach about the need for indulgences?  It doesn’t. 

Isaiah 53:4-6 - Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;   yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.  5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;   upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.  6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;   and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

2.) Mary

They consider Mary the Mother of God, they offer prayers to Mary, they believe she was sinless and proclaim her the mother of the church… they also teach that she remained a virgin even after Christ’s birth, so Jesus had no siblings by her…

Mary’s prayers for us
CCC p.966 - "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

    In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.

Vatican Council II p.420 – Mary’s prayers “draw the faithful to her Son when she is preached about.

Handbook for Today’s Catholics – She is preparing your eternal home for you.

Now, Mary was definitely a unique and blessed figure.  But NOT because of all that they attribute to her, most of which are untrue by the way.

Luke 1:47 indicated that Mary DID need a Savior and so she wasn’t sinless.  Matthew 1:25 says that she was a virgin until Christ’s birth but it does not say that she was after.

In the book of James, James identifies himself as the brother of Jesus.  Which would mean Mary and Joseph had children after Christ’s both.

Mark 3:31035 implies that Jesus had multiple half brothers in fact.  Pertaining to Mary’s role after death.  She is not divine.  She does not pray for us and we should not pray to her.  When she died, she died the same way as we do.

The Bible says that there is ONE GOD and ONE MEDIATOR.  1 Timothy 2:5-6 - For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

What draws a person’s soul to Jesus Christ?  Is it Mary?  John 12:32 - And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

Romans 2:4 - Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

And what does the Scripture say about who is preparing your eternal home?  John 14:1-3 - “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Mary, in the Roman Catholic Church, is an idol.  We’ve already shown how the Papacy and Church traditions is an idol. 

E.) Heaven and Hell

According to Roman Catholicism, after death every person will begin eternal life.  After being judged by Christ each individual will gain “entrance into the happiness of Heaven, immediately after an appropriate purification, of they will enter into the damnation of Hell.

Heaven, to them, is the place of “supreme happiness” where those there will have no need for purification” and are “gathered around Jesus and Mary, the angels and the saints.”

Those who die in mortal sin go to Hell.

Purgatory is taught and it is a holding place where Catholics go before entering Heaven to be purified for entry to Heaven.

CCC 1030 - All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

You can’t go to Heaven until sins that you didn’t pay for on earth are dealt with.  The length of time is unknown and varies so you’d better do all the works you can to hopefully reduce your time there now.

Nowhere is this taught in Scripture.  It implies that the righteousness of Christ was not sufficient to atone for all our sin.  It implies that there is something we must do to earn justification.

But Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that when we are absent from the body (Christians that is) that we are present with the Lord immediately… no purgatory.

Again, Jesus’ own words, John 19:30 “It is finished.”.  Telestai, paid in full.  The debt has been paid in full, the work needed to atone for sins has been done by Christ!  Purgatory is unbiblical and unnecessary.

Things like Purgatory are threats to keep people scared into service.  Yoked into obedience.  Purgatory makes the cross insufficient by requiring you to undergo suffering in order to be made worthy.

But the Bible teaches that Christ became sin who knew no sin, so that I could become His righteousness!  We need to take the Gospel to the Roman Catholics.  We need to use the Law to bring knowledge of sin, but also to show them the futility of trying to live a life where our good deeds outweigh our sin. It isn’t an offsetting scale.

It would take even more posts to delve into confessing to a priest fully or their beliefs on the Eucharist and transubstantiation... but again this is meant as a good overview, not an indepth handling.  It should, however, be enough to show that Roman Catholicism is NOT a Christian religion.  I don't say that to be cruel, I say that because it should concern us for the salvation of our Roman Catholic friends...

Either Catholicism is true and the Bible is false, or the Bible is true and Catholicism is false… but they aren’t both correct because they believe differently and therefore they are not the same.

They need to know that Christ died to free them from the curse of the law, not just to bring obedience and make it possible.

They need to see that Jesus fully paid for ALL their sin, not just some… they need only to turn from sin and self and trust in the finished and sufficient righteousness of Jesus Christ!

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