Roman Catholicism and the Bible

 

How do the doctrines, worship, ideologies and practices of the Roman Catholic Church differ from that of the Bible (the Word of God)? Below is a list of issues which will be discussed and will reflect the Roman Catholic view as apposed to the view of the Bible.

 


1.            The authority of the Bible

2.            The role of the Pope.

3.            The role of the Church.

4.            The role of the Priesthood.

5.            The role of the Sacraments.

6.            The role of Purgatory.

7.            The role of Worship.

8.            The role of Ecumenism.

 

Note: In this article the abbreviation RCC is used for the Roman Catholic Church.

 

1.       The Authority of the Bible

 

The RCC discourages normal church members from reading the Bible, claiming that they can err by misinterpreting it. They must rather rely on priestly guidance, as the RCC alone has the ability to interpret Scripture correctly. Church tradition is regarded as important and is considered to have the same authority as the written Word.

 

The Bible teaches the exact opposite. Believers are instructed to read and study the Bible to avoid error.  In Acts 17:11 the Bereans were commended for testing what they heard against the Scriptures.  Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15:  “Study to show yourself approved by God rightly dividing/interpreting the Word of Truth”. We are instructed to rely on the teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit, not that of a man or organization (John 14:26; 16:13-15 and 1 John 2:27).

 

Regarding Church tradition, Jesus Himself commented as follows: “These people honour Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me. They Worship Me in vain teaching as doctrines of God the precepts/traditions of men” (Matthew 15:8+9 also read Colossians 2:8). The entire Bible, Old and New Testaments, is divinely inspired literature (2 Timothy 3:16).


 

The Bible can be divided into eight categories: 

 

Old Testament

 

(1)     Genesis - Deuteronomy:  The Law

(2)     Joshua - Esther:  The history of God's people, Israel (their history actually begins with Abraham from Genesis 12. These books are important because they were written down for our instruction - Romans 15:4; Corinthians 10:11).

(3)     Job - the Song of Solomon:  The Wisdom literature.

(4)     Isaiah - Malachi:  The Prophets (Some of the Psalms also contain prophecy)

New Testament

(5)     Matthew - John:  The Gospel of Jesus Christ

(6)     The Acts of the Apostles:  The formation of the church of

          Jesus Christ

(7)     Romans - Judas:  The Epistles (letters) of the Apostles (All Church life, practices and doctrine are based on the epistles. We are to read and study the rest of Scripture through the prism of these writings, because

(a)     Jesus gave the apostles the Spiritual keys with which to  

                   determine doctrine. That which they regarded as doctrine, is allowed / binding (luo in Greek) in heaven and on earth, and that which they did not regard as doctrine, is forbidden / loosed (dao in Greek) in heaven and on earth (Matthew 16:19; 18:18; John 20:23).  An example in Scripture where they made use of these keys is in Acts 15:28 & 29 when they, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit decided which Commandments of the Law of Moses would be binding for the gentile believers.

          (b)     Their writings and teachings are the foundation of the Church, with Jesus Christ as the Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20-22).

          (c)     Jesus personally chose them to establish His Church here on earth (1 Corinthians 2:9 & 10; 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:19 & 20).

          (d)     Jesus instructed and taught them personally - also Paul      (Luke 24:44 & 45; Galatians 1:1, 11&12).

(8)     Revelation - Prophecy on the last days (end times).

 

Note: If you know the Bible, but do not regard it as the final authority in your life, you might as well stop reading right now.  If you don’t know the Bible because you were never given the opportunity to read it for yourself but are interested to find out what it says, you might want to continue reading and be enlightened and liberated by the truth of God’s Wonderful Word.

 

2.       The Role of the Pope

 

The RCC Claims the following of the pope:

 

     (a)     that he is the vicar, which means in place of Christ here on earth

     (b)     that he is the heir of Peter

     (c)     that he is infallible

     (d)     that his titles are ( among others )
Most holy father; Pontifex maximus; Supreme Teacher

 


a)       The Vicar of Christ

 

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit fulfils this role here on earth. He is here in place of Christ, Who now sits at the right hand of the Father until He returns to earth (John 14:16 & 17; 16:7; Acts 2:33; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 10:12 + 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). Furthermore, the pope lives in a palace and wears silk robes, while Jesus, Whom he claims that he represents said: “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of man has no where to lay His head.” (LUKE 9:58).

 

b)       Peter’s heir

 

The RCC says that Peter was the first pope and that by uninterrupted succession, the authority given to him was passed down to the Popes of the RCC. The authority given to Peter includes the power to open the door of heaven as he was given the keys and also the power of his role as the Rock upon which the Church is built.

 

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Peter was the first pope. If it were true, how come James presided at the first Church Council in Acts 15 and not Peter?  The “keys to heaven” are held by Jesus, for only He “opens and no one shuts and He shuts and no-one opens.” (Revelation 3:7). The keys that were given to the Apostles, not only to Peter, were spiritual keys of knowledge by which doctrine was to be determined, as discussed earlier. 

 

Both Testaments of the Bible say that Jesus Christ is the Rock upon which the Church is built (Psalm 144:1; Isaiah 30:29; 1 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4-8). Peter’s name in Greek is “Petros” which means chip of stone or pebble, while the word for Rock in Greek is “Petra”.  God could hardly built His Church on a pebble?  No, He built it on the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Head of His Body, the Church and not the Pope or anyone else (Ephesians 1:10+22; 4:15 + 5:23; Colossians 1:18 and 2:19).

 

c)       Papal infallibility

 

The RCC says that when the Pope speaks ex-cathedra from the chair of Peter, he cannot make a mistake and whatever he then decrees cannot be changed.

 

The Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only infallible and sinless man who ever lived. “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21 also read Hebrews 4:15; 7:26 and 1 Peter 2:22 + 3:18). Of all other human beings the Bible says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

 

d)       His various titles

 

Holy Father: The Bible teaches that we should not call anyone “Father, for One is your Father, He who is in Heaven” (Matthew 23:9).

 

Pontifex Maximus: which means “Chief Bridge Builder”. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only Way/Bridge by whom man can reach God (John 14:6). 

 

Supreme Teacher: The Bible teaches: “Do not be called Rabbi or teacher, for One is your teacher, He who is in heaven and you are all brothers” (Matthew 23:8). The Holy Spirit also performs this task (1 John 2:27).

 

Conclusion: It is clear that the role of the Pope in the RCC is totally unbiblical, because it is not what the Bible teaches about leadership in the true Church, the Body of Christ.

 

3.       The Role of the Church

 

The RCC teaches that it is the one and only true church and that a person can only be saved through it.

 

The Bible teaches that a person can only be saved and justified by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8 Also read Acts 4:12; Romans 3:24; 5:1+9-11). “Church” is a collective name for the universal body of true believers all over the world (Ephesians 2:13-22; 4:3-6; 1 Corinthians 12:12+13). This Church, the Body of Christ, was founded by God Himself two thousand years ago in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). As we have seen, the teachings of the Apostles form the foundation and Jesus Christ Himself the “Chief Corner Stone”. This is the one and only true Church on earth and it is made up of all saved, born-again believers all over the World, who are united in the Spirit and in their faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:3-6,13,15 and 16). 

 

4.       The Role of the Priesthood

 

In the RCC the clergy are in a separate class to that of the layman/normal church member, as it was in Old Testament Tabernacle and Temple Worship. These men are specially ordained for their ministry, are never to marry and are expected to lead celibate lives.

 

The New Testament does not teach that the “clergy is a separate priesthood”. Instead, the Bible teaches that all believers are brothers and that Jesus is their Leader (Matthew 23: 8-10). All believers are priests, bringing spiritual sacrifices to God (1 Peter 2: 5). Spiritual sacrifices such as:

-        service and worship                   –        Romans 12:1

-        a contrite and repentant heart         –    Psalm 51:17

-        thanksgiving and praise              –        Hebrews 13:15

-        obedience to God                      –        1 Samuel 15:22

-        prayers                                     –        Revelation 5:8 + 8:3

 

(The text in Revelation does not refer to literal incense as is practiced in the RCC.  The alter of incense found it’s fulfilment in Jesus Christ’s role as High Priest, where He is making intercession for us in the presence of God (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 5:5+10; 6:20; 7:16+17, 24+25; 8:1+2). There is also no need for a separate priesthood any longer because of Jesus Christ’s eternal High Priestly role).

 

Regarding the ordination of priests, the RCC says that a divine unction is imparted to the recipient by virtue of ordination, which means that a ordained priest can effectively fulfil his ministry regardless of his moral fitness. No personal sin can make him unfit for his duties as priest because of the divine unction.

 

In the Bible the “ordination” of elders or leaders is an acceptable practice, whereby capable men are set apart for ministry in the Church (Mark 3:14; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 2:7 and 4:14). Unlike the RCC, leaders in the true Church of Christ:

 

(a)     must comply with certain requirements (1 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Timothy 2:2+24; Titus 1:6-9; 2:7).

(b)     Their conduct must be open for scrutiny like any other member of the Church (1 Timothy 5:19+20) (An example of this occurs in Galatians 2:11-14 when Peter was openly rebuked by Paul because of his hypocritical behaviour in Antioch).

(c)     They are expected to set an example to the flock of God (1 Peter 5:3)

 

Regarding celibacy, the RCC makes it compulsory for priests to stay single and be celibate.

 

The Bible does not forbid preachers or church leaders to marry – most of the Apostles were married (Matthew 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Hebrews 13:4).  Marriage is a holy institution ordained by God and not once in the Bible is it thought that celibacy is a higher spiritual state than marriage. Instead, Paul uses the institution of marriage as a type to describe the relationship between Christ and His Bride/the Church (Ephesians 5:25-28) and he calls the forbidding of marriage, “a doctrine of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

 

When someone decides to stay single for the sake of ministry, God will grant them the grace to be celibate, but there is no compulsion. The immorality among the RCC priesthood, which resulted from the prohibition of the natural state of marriage is a matter of history. In their case the term “celibacy” has not been synonymous with “chastity”.

 

Conclusion: It is clear that the role of the priesthood in the RCC is totally unscriptural, because it is the exact opposite of what the New Testament teaches about Church leadership and “priests”.

 

5.       The Role of the Sacraments

 

The RCC believes that the sacraments are essential for salvation. They are not mere symbols, but are actually instruments through which salvation is obtained.

 

The Bible teaches that “We are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 see also Colossians 1:13+14).

 

 The seven sacraments, also called the “doors to salvation” are:

 

(a)     Baptism

(b)     Confirmation

(c)     Holy Communion (the Eucharist + Mass ) 

(d)     Confession and penance

(e)     Anointing the sick

(f)      Holy orders and works of merit

(g)     Matrimony

 

(a)          Baptism

 

The RCC teaches that baptism (sprinkling of an infant) washes away original sin; it regenerates a person and makes him a child of God and a member of the Church – namely the RCC.

 

The Bible teaches that the blood of Christ cleanses of all sin (John 1:29; 1 John 1:7+9) and that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that a believer is regenerated (born again), becomes a child of God and a member of the Body of Christ/the true Church (John 3:3-8; John 1:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26+27; Ephesians 1:5). Biblical Baptism comes after salvation and it is an outward sign of an inward “cleansing” which has already taken place with re-birth (Titus 3:5).  It is also an act by which a believer identifies himself with Christ in His death and resurrection (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:1-4; Colossians 2:12+13; 3:1-4).

 

(b)          Confirmation

 

The RCC teaches that the grace received at baptism is completed at confirmation, when the Bishop bestows the Holy Spirit on the recipient.  It also introduces the person to the privilege and duty of Christian discipleship.

 

The Bible teaches that a person receives the Holy Spirit after repentance and with re-birth.  Peter says in Acts 2:38: “Repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 

The Bible also teaches that discipleship was commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Before He ascended into heaven He said: “make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19). Discipleship is simply the instructing, teaching, strengthening and encouraging of those who have already been saved (Also read Acts 14:21+22; 2 Timothy 3:16; 4:2).     

 

(c)          Confession and penance

 

The RCC teaches that mortal sins, those committed after baptism, can be absolved by a priest after confession and the performance of certain prescribed penances.

 

The Bible teaches that the blood of Christ cleanses us of all sin and unrighteousness, and it is only through Him that a person can be delivered from the punishment of sin (Romans 6:23; 1 John 1:9; 2:1+2). “He was delivered up because of our transgression and raised up for our righteousness.” (Romans 4:25 – also read Acts 5:29-32; 13:38+39;

 John 1:29).

 

Confession of sin is made to God and not to a man and to do penance for sin is to deny the finished work of Christ on the cross. We are forgiven, justified and reconciled to God only through the Lord Jesus Christ and absolution for sin is an authority vested in Him alone (Matthew 9:6; Romans 5:1+2; 8:1+2; Colossians 1:13+14).

 

 

 

d)       Salvation by Works

 

The RCC teaches that salvation can be earned by works, which must also include obedience to the teachings of the Church and partaking of the sacraments. Works of merit can be material or spiritual and can benefit the giver or the recipient or both.  If sufficient, they can give complete deliverance from the pains of purgatory. 

 

The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-10). Salvation is a gift and cannot be earned. The believer does good works because he is saved and not to get saved (James 2:17). All that works can do is determine a believers rewards in heaven, not his salvation (1 Corinthians 3:14). Good works is a fruit of the Spirit that becomes inherent in the new born-again nature of the believer (Galatians 5:22 & 23) and no amount of these works can ever count for a persons salvation. 

 

(e)     Matrimony

 

The RCC has made marriage a sacrament which means that the Church has jurisdiction over its members in this regard. They say that this sacrament is only acceptable to God when administrated by a priest. 

 

Nowhere in the Bible is marriage described as a sacrament. It was instituted by God from the beginning of human history (Genesis 2:24) and thus regarded as a holy union or institution. As such it is used to compare Christ’s relationship with His Bride “the Church” and also God's relationship with His people Israel (Isaiah 54:5+6; Ephesians 5:31+32).

 

(f)      Anointing the sick

 

In the RCC, the last rites are performed by a priest to prepare the dying for death and for his transition into purgatory. Through this sacrament the person will also obtain forgiveness of sin and escape the fires of hell. 

 

In the Bible prayers and the anointing of the sick are performed with the purpose of restoring health (James 5:14 & 15). If a believer is dying, his preparation for his transition into Paradise is done by God and as a pledge of this, God has given the believer his Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30). Forgiveness of sin and escaping the fires of hell can only be obtained through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not through rites performed by a priest (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1).

 

 

(g)     Holy Communion

 

The RCC teaches that the sacrament of the Eucharist is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ which together with his soul and divinity is hidden in bread and wine. Transubstantiation (the actual changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ) takes place when the words of consecration are pronounced by a priest at Holy Mass. The RCC bases this false doctrine on John 6:48 - 58 where Jesus refers to the “eating” of his flesh and the “drinking” of his blood.  If these verses are read in context, it is clear that Jesus was using figurative language. He is saying that He is the Bread of life, the Living bread, meaning the one through whom we receive eternal life. If this statement were to be taken literally, (as the RCC does) then the ritual of worshiping the wafer and then eating it, boils down to idolatry and cannibalism. (The Eucharist wafer originates from the ancient Egyptian worship of the sun god Osiris and is also where the idea of transubstantiation was adopted from)

 

Both Testaments in the Bible forbid blood being consumed by God’s people. (Deuteronomy 12:16; Acts 15:20) No, the Lord Jesus is not present in the Eucharist, because He sits at the right hand of God as stated earlier. 

 

The emblems of bread and wine are only symbols, reminders of what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross. The Lord’s supper is a feast of remembrance, just as the “Passover” meal is.  (Exodus 12:17; Matthew 26:26-30, Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26)

                            

The RCC also teaches that the “Sacrifice of the Mass” is identical to the Sacrifice of the cross and that it is replayed and repeated every time a mass is said at the altar.

 

In the Bible, the New Testament makes no reference of an altar in the Church. The cross of Calvary was the equivalent of the brazen altar at the temple, which Jesus fulfilled when He offered Himself on the cross, and on the cross He said: “It is finished” (John 19:30). This sacrifice was made once - not to be repeated again. (Hebrews 7:26 & 27; 9:12, 25, 26 & 28; 10:10, 12, 14 & 18; 1 Peter 3:18) The penalty for sin had been paid in full.  (Colossians 2:13 & 14)

 

Other falsehoods and superstitions that are not biblical surrounding the Mass are:

 

(a)     People are told to fast before they take communion - according to the Bible Jesus and his disciples were having the Passover meal when He instituted communion - Matthew 26:26-30 (Various other seasonal fasts and days of observance are introduced by the RCC as part of their religious life and also as a deed of merit.  In the New Testament fasting is only mentioned together with prayer in times of special need. It was never ordained as a religious practice that is to be observed. An example where prayer is to be accompanied by fasting is in Matthew 17:15-21, when prayers are offered for some-one who is demon-possessed. Paul calls these observances “doctrines of men” and “a yoke of bondage” (Colossians 2:20-23; Galatians 5:1 & 4). 

 

(b)     Only the celebrating priest drinks of the wine on behalf of the rest of the congregation. According to the Bible when Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper He held up the cup and said: “Drink ye all of it” (Matthew 26:27).

 

(c)     The recipients are not to Touch the bread with their hands or bite into it. The priest must place the wafer into their mouths where it must be dissolved on the tongue. When Jesus broke the bread He passed it on and said: “Take it and Eat it”. (Matthew 26:26 read again Colossians 2:20-23)

 

Conclusion 

 

According to the New Testament, the Lord Jesus only instituted two ordinances for believers and they are Baptism, once a person is saved and born again, and the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, to proclaim / remember the Lord’s death until He comes. 

 

There is no saving grace in sacraments, rituals, symbols or elements, but only in the Person whom they represent namely the Lord Jesus Christ.  “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which men must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

 

6.       The Role of Purgatory

 

The RCC teaches that purgatory is a place where a person goes to atone for his own sin until he is good enough to go to heaven. There are also many ways to try and shorten a soul’s time in purgatory. For instance:

 

-         prayers repeated over and over as opposed to the Bible’s teaching that we are not to use meaningless repetitions when we pray (Matthew 6:7).

-         payment to a priest to say a stipulated number of masses

-         almsgiving

-         indulgences etc. 

 

The Bible makes no reference to such a place at all. (Its origin is in Buddhism, which also teaches the idea of temporary punishment). Instead, the Bible teaches that the blood of Christ cleanses and purifies from all sin and unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 1:3, 9:12; Romans 1:17; 4:23-25; 8:1; Collossians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 5:21) Atonement for sin was made for everyone, but it is only a reality for those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.  There are no second chances for man beyond the grave.  “It is appointed for man once to die and after that the judgement”.  (Hebrews 9:27) The believer who goes to sleep, is immediately present with the Lord in paradise.  (2 Corinthians 5:8 and Luke 23:43)

 

7.       The Role of Worship

 

The RCC worships (or venerates as they like to call it) a wide range of objects apart from the triune God, for instance: 

 

-        Christ in the Eucharist wafer and sacrifice of the Mass.

-        the Virgin Mary

-        the Apostles, specially Peter

-        relics, such as the Rosary and Scapula

-        statues and images, which represent persons or deities.

-        departed saints etc. 

 

They bow down in worship before these objects, while the Bible clearly teaches that worship must be offered to God and to God alone, otherwise it constitutes idolatry (Exodus 20:4 & 5; Deuteronomy 4:15-19).

 

Let us examine the objects of worship which have not been discussed yet more closely and also look at the different forms of worship. The objects in question are: The worship of Mary, the Saints, the Rosary and the Scapula. 

 

1.       The worship of Mary

 

Mary, the mother of Jesus cannot be held responsible for the status and place of honour the RCC has given her.  In the Bible she is portrayed as a humble God fearing Jewish girl by the name of Miriam, who was chosen by God to give birth to the Messiah of Israel (Chapters 1 & 2 of Matthew and Luke). The last time in the Bible we read about her, is in Acts 1:14, where she was one of the believers praying and waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus before His ascension (Acts 1:8). 

 

Let us look at some of the RCC doctrines about Mary as opposed to what is found in the Bible

 

(a)     The RCC calls her “the blessed virgin”, while the Bible clearly shows that Mary did not remain a virgin after the birth of Jesus, but that she had other children as well (Matthew1:25; 13:55 & 56; Mark 6:3; John 2:12; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 1:19). These people were not His cousins as the RCC suggests, but His brother and sisters, His siblings. 

 

(b)     The RCC calls Mary “Co-Redeemer”, without whom no man can come to the Lord Jesus. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer of men (Acts 4:12; 1 John 4:14). The believer has direct access to Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and not through Mary (1 John 3:24; 4:13). 

 

(c)     The RCC says that Mary is our “Co-Mediatrix”.  The Bible says there is only One Mediator between God and man, and that is        the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5 and Hebrews 8:6; 9:15). He is the propitiation of our sin and our Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1 & 2; Romans 3:25 & 26; 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24). 

 

(d)     The RCC claims that Mary is our “Intercessor” and that grace comes through her because of her intercession for us. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is our Intercessor with the Father, and that grace is a gift of God which comes to us only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 2:8).

 

(e)     The RCC calls Mary the “Mother of God”. The Bible calls her the mother of Jesus / the Messiah. Although it is true that Jesus is God (John 1:1), Mary’s only role in God’s plan was to physically give birth to the Messiah, Who was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18 & 20). There is no reference in the entire Bible as to her being the mother of God.

 

(f)      The RCC calls Mary the “gate to heaven”. The Bible tells us that there is no other way to come to the Father/God but by Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Jesus said: “I am the Door / Gate. If anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved” (John 10:9). Jesus is the only One who holds the keys to heaven (Revelation 3:7; Isaiah 22:22). 

 

(g)     The RCC says that Mary is “our salvation”; our life; our hope and our helper”. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is: 

 

          -        our Salvation          -        1 John 4:14

          -        our Life and           -        Colossians 3:4

our Eternal Life                -        John 20:31 & 1 John 1:1&2;

                                                1 John 5:11 - 13

          -        our Hope                         -        Colossians 1:27

          -        our Helper                       -        Hebrews 13:6

 

(Most of the time the RCC attributes the characteristics of the Lord Jesus to Mary).

 

(h)     The RCC says that Mary was “immaculately conceived” which means that she was conceived without original sin and without the consequences of the fall. The Bible says that the only person who was immaculately conceived and who was sinless and righteous, was the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 2:22). Of everyone else, the Bible says: “all have sinned - there is no one righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10 & 23; 5:12). In Luke 1:46 & 47 Mary herself says: “My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. With this statement Mary acknowledged that she was a sinner who needed a Saviour like every other human being born of Adam. 

 

(I)      Another of teachings of the RCC is of Mary’s “assumption into heaven”. They claim that her body did not taste corruption or decay and that she was caught up into heaven 3 days after her death. The Bible teaches of only one Person who died and whose body did not suffer decay or corruption and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was resurrected on the third day, His body glorified and forty days later ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:2-20; Luke 24:1-9 & 51; John 20:1-18; Acts 1:9-11). The Lord Himself said in John 3:13: “No one has ascended into heaven but He who has descended from heaven, even the Son of man”.  (Also read 1 Corinthians 15:45-47; Ephesians 4:9 & 10).

 

(j)       The RCC calls Mary the “Queen of heaven”. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is King forever - in heaven and on earth. “His kingdom will have no end.” - “He is King of kings and Lord of lords”, the ever existing God who became a man and the One who has “all authority in heaven and on earth”.  (Luke 1:32&33; Hebrews 1:8&9; Revelation 17:14; 19:16; Matthew 28:18; Philippians 2:9-11 and Colossians 1:18) 

 

The title “Queen of heaven” is held by many a female pagan deity such as: Dianna, Ishtar, Asterod, Athena, Sophia, Astarte, Isis, etc. With the formation of the Catholic Church during the 4th Century AD, it simply became “Mary”. 

 

Conclusion

 

From the aforesaid, it is clear that the Mary of the RCC is not the Miriam of the Bible. Despite the fact that she, as the mother of Jesus, is referred to as “Blessed among women” (Luke 1:42) we are never told to pray to or worship Mary. To do so would be futile as well as blasphemous. Like any other believer in Christ who dies faithful to God, she is in Paradise right at this very moment, and nowhere in the Bible are we told that those in Paradise have any knowledge of what is going on, on earth. And thus Mary has no more power, supernatural or other, than that of any other departed mortal. 

 

2.       The Worship of Saints

 

The RCC regards saints as a special class of Christian, who has attained a heroic condition of holiness. They are the aristocracy in heaven enrolled in a special catalogue by Papal Authority. They believe that their intercession on our behalf has special power because they are closer to God. 

 

In the New Testament “holiness” simply means “set apart for God / separated from the world unto God (2 Corinthians 1:21; 6:17; 1 Peter 2:9-11) and the word “saints” simply refers to ordinary believers, who are saved, born again and justified by Jesus Christ (example Philippians 1:1). To pray to the dead is not only futile, it is also a grave sin (Deuteronomy 18:10 & 11; Isaiah 8:19). It is a sin, because the believer in Christ is instructed to pray to God in the name of His Son Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit (Jude 20; John 16:23; Romans 8:26). It is futile, because those who have departed from earth no longer have any recollection of what is going on here. (Also read Ecclesiastes 9:5 & 6

 

3.       The Rosary (Prayer beads)

 

The RCC’s concept of prayer calls for endless repetition of a few set prayers, addressed partly to God, but mainly to the “Virgin Mary”. The Rosary beads are to assist in counting a set of such prayers. It is believed that the Rosary was given to Saint Dominic by Mary and that when it is blessed it is effective in securing many an indulgence. (In fact various pagan cults, Buddhist and Muslims use beads to recite their many prayers and that is where the RCC adopted the practice from.) 

 

The Bible teaches that the believer's prayers to God must be in the Spirit, not mechanical; that their prayers must not consist of a vain repetition of words (like a mantra) and that they must pray according to the will of God  (Matthew 6:7 & 8; 1 John 5:14; Jude 20). The believer is assisted in his prayer life by the Holy Spirit and not by counting beads (Romans 8:26 & 27; Jude 20). 


 

4.       The Scapula

 

In the RCC, the scapula is a charm or medal worn on the body to ward off evil influences and to secure salvation of the souls of those who wear it.

 

According to the Bible our salvation is only secured in Jesus Christ, because we are saved by grace through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8) and justified by grace through the redemption which is in Him (Romans 3:24; 5:1; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

 

 

 

Jesus Christ is the Head of all principality and Power. “He is at the right hand of the Father having gone into heaven after angels, authorities and powers had been subjected to Him” (Colossians 2:10+15; 1 Peter 3:22). The Spiritual armour that God provides for His children to withstand the forces of darkness are: 

 

Truth; righteousness; the Gospel of peace; faith; love; hope; salvation; the Word of God and prayer (Ephesians 6:12-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:8).

 

5.       Forms of worship

 

The RCC makes much of large and magnificent places and forms of worship, which have no place in Biblical, Christian worship, for instance: elaborate vestments for each particular office; Old Testament rituals (which were all fulfilled in Christ) such as the lighting of lamps and candles, the use of incense and holy water, making the sign of the cross, processions, pilgrimages, shrines, Latin prayers and litanies etc. Many of these objects and forms of worship were introduced into the Church as substitutes for pagan worship current in the 4th and 5th Centuries AD. 

 

The RCC also bears witness too many miracles that they claim authenticates many of their relics, places of pilgrimages and shrines, like the apparitions (visions) of Mary for instance, or to lend support to their many unbiblical doctrines. 

 

In the Old Testament God used many miracles to deal with His people the Israelites, but in the New Testament, miracles, signs and wonders can be used by the Holy Spirit to confirm or authenticate the Truth of the Gospel, and if they occur, they will always follow the preaching of the Word, not replace or precede it (Mark 16:20; Acts 14:3). Jesus says in Matthew 16:4 “An adulterous and evil generation seeks a sign (miracle)”. Paul confirms this statement by saying in 2 Corinthians 5:7 “The believer, walks by faith not by sight.” 

 

The Bible clearly states that God wants to be worshipped in “Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:23&24). Unbiblical worship will eventually lead to false worship and when the Lord returns to earth in power and glory, He will utterly destroy not only pagan/heathen idols, but also those in the Church, wherever they are found! 

 

 

8.       The Role of Ecumenism

 

The initial aim of the Ecumenical movement, headed by the RCC, was to unite all so called Christian groups under one universal Body, the World Council of Churches which was formed in 1948. The ultimate aim of this Body is to form a One World Religion headed by the Pope of Rome. What they have succeeded in doing so far, is to bring most denominations back to Rome. Many Protestants, Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics and even Evangelicals are now joining the Ecumenical Movement. 

 

Since the Second Vatican Council held in 1963, the Ecumenical dialogue has extended to non-christian groups such as Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindu’s, Witchdoctor’s, etc. The aim now is to draw all religions into a Global One World Religion under the leadership of the Pope. (It is no wonder that the RCC feels at home with these groups as many of their customs, relics, images and rituals are the same. The origin of all of them is the same namely “Babylon” the mother of all false religions - Revelation 17:5).

 

True Bible believing, evangelical Christians, who oppose this false unity and who refuse to compromise the Gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more acceptable and non-offensive to all faiths, are called fundamentalist cults or sects. These believers will undoubtedly be earmarked for persecution in the future, just as it was during the dark Ages, when the Bible was on the list of forbidden literature. Despite the torture chambers of the Jesuits and the blood baths of the Crusades and Inquisitions, when anyone who was not Roman Catholic was tortured and killed, Rome is especially guilty of the blood of the saints. These are the true believers in Christ who do not deny His Name and do not compromise the Truth of His Word!  (Revelation 17:6) 

 

True Biblical Unity refers to the unity of the Spirit of Truth and the unity of true faith in and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:3-6; 13; 15 & 16). This is not a man made religious structure brought about by humanitarian and social ends. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers for what partnership have righteousness with unrighteousness and what fellowship has light with darkness...what has a believer in common with an unbeliever and what agreement has the temple of God with idols”? In James 4:4 we read: “Do you not know that friendship with the World is hostility towards God? Who-ever wishes to be a friend of the World makes himself an enemy of God”. Everyone who rejects the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible, is an enemy of God. 

 

True believers have no place in dialogue with unbelievers on an equal spiritual level other than to witness to them, so that they also can come to the knowledge of the Truth and salvation in Jesus Christ (Ezekiel 18:23; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).

 

9.       Conclusion

 

It is clear from the teachings and practices of Roman Catholicism that the RCC is not Christian institution, but that its origins are in paganism and the occult. It masquerades as a Christian institution by dressing up its pagan doctrines in Biblical terminology and by giving Christian names to its pagan gods and images. When they do use the Bible as a basis for doctrine, they use it out of context and in a distorted and twisted manner to fit their false ideology (an example of this is the doctrine of the Eucharist taken from John 6, as explained earlier). 

 

The Bible is very clear in this regard: “Do not exceed what is written ...” (1 Corinthians 4:6) and “Do not teach as doctrines of God the precepts (traditions) of men” (Matthew 15:9). Also read (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

 

One cannot believe the Bible and Roman Catholicism at the same time, as their teachings differ radically from each other. One should reject Catholicism and only believe the Bible, as the Bible is the Word of God and not the words of man (2 Timothy 3:16) and also because “God alone is found to be true and every man a liar!” (Romans 3:4). If a person prefers to put his trust in the doctrines and traditions of men and not in Word of God then such a person is not a child of God (John 8:47).

 

A person who is not of God does not have his name written in the “Book of Life” and those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will spend eternity in the “lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). 

 

Please examine for yourself what the RCC and other false churches teach, and make sure of your salvation. There are libraries full of information regarding this subject. If you are caught up in this false church but your heart is right with God, then the Lord Jesus has a special message for you.  “Come out of her My people so that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).