Monday, September 25, 2006

Roman Catholic Doctrine vs The Bible Part 2

In the previous posting we looked at how the Roman Catholic Church has made changes to the Lord’s Commandments and how Mary is viewed in an unbiblical manner. In this posting we’re going to look at other Catholic doctrines that have no basis in the Bible. As I’ve mentioned before, this is not a personal attack on Catholics – it is simply a comparison of Catholic doctrine to the Bible. This applies to all forms of religion – if you believe something about God and His ways that are not mentioned in His Word, then you are following man-made religious traditions – plain and simple. Keep in mind Isaiah 29:13-14: "The Lord says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish." Since we are living in the last days, it is of the utmost importance that we all take a step back and truly look at what we believe and why we believe it. Do we believe because we are following God’s Word and coming closer to Him or are we simply following religious doctrine that people have told us is correct without checking it against the Lord’s Word ourselves? Our spiritual enemy is deceiving billions of people around the world – don’t be one of them. If you know about Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven, but don’t know them – now is the time to come home. Are you following God’s plan for your life or are you going your own way? Do you seek God’s guidance on the decisions in your life or do you make decisions and then pray about the results later on? If you know God, then you are communicating with Him everyday. You ask Him for guidance, wisdom and knowledge and He answers. Most of all, you know that the Lord is watching over you and you know that He loves you – more than you’ll ever be able to comprehend. You are truly set free from this world – regardless of what happens in it.

The following Catholic doctrines have no basis or mention in the Bible. As such, they are nothing more than religious traditions created by men. God has had no part in these things nor does He approve of such things. If He did, then we would read about them in His Word. If you want to read about what God thinks about man-made religious traditions and rituals, spend some time reading what Jesus had to say to the Pharisees of His day. Throughout His gospels, He consistently rebuked them. They were masters at memorizing and adhering to religious rituals and customs, but they did not know God. Some of them were so far from God that they did not even live according to the words they preached. ‘Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy’ (Luke 12:1). Jesus made it very clear that true believers are concerned with relationship, not rituals. Time and again Jesus made it clear that it is a man’s heart that the Lord desires, not his traditions or rituals. I have heard from many people (friends included) who told me that if Jesus were alive today and asked them to give up everything to follow Him, they would do so. The truth is that Jesus is alive today and His words to Peter and Andrew call out to us from two thousand years ago. ‘As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him’ (Mathew 4:18-20). Will we drop our nets and follow Jesus? Are we willing to give up everything to follow Him? Ultimately, this is the question we all must ask ourselves. If you begin to wonder what others will say if you do, keep this verse in mind: ‘Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ’ (Galatians 1:10). Paul makes it clear – if you are trying to please men, you are not serving Jesus Christ. We must overcome this world and its pressures. Pressure that draws us away from Jesus Christ and His plan for us. Do you think Peter and Andrew had friends and relatives working alongside them? Do you think that a few words were probably said to them that ridiculed their decision? In an instant, they heard the call of God and immediately left their nice, safe profession to follow Christ. Jesus saw their hearts and called to them. They responded. We must do the same today.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the current Catholic doctrines that have no basis in the Bible. I encourage each of you, Catholic or not, to research these things on your own. Most importantly, you must pray to God for wisdom and the truth. Remember, each of us will be judged individually by God. We cannot say at that time that we were misled by our church. We have the Lord’s Word to guide us and correct us.

Here are four of the more prominent doctrines that contradict the Bible:

1. The Rosary – The Rosary, in its current form, was created in 1214 A.D. It was supposedly given to St. Dominic by Mary in a vision. It is a Catholic ritual with no Biblical basis. In addition to the fact that Mary cannot hear our prayers (being a human being as we are), this ritual directly contradicts what Jesus tells us in Mathew 6:6-7 ‘But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.’ In order to pray the Rosary, Catholics are taught to first make the sign of the cross (you will not find this ritual in the Bible) and then recite the Apostles’ Creed. The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the Apostles. It was created sometime around the 5th century A.D. While I believe it is fine to use this creed to tell others about your faith, I don’t believe it should be used in prayers. Why? It’s repetitious as described in Mathew 6:7. Merely saying repetitive words is not how the Bible teaches us to pray. The next prayer of the Rosary is the ‘Our Father’ or Lord’s Prayer. This is the prayer Jesus taught us in Mathew 6:9-13. Jesus taught us this prayer, so it is certainly fine to pray this to our Father in heaven. The question is - should we pray this while clutching rosary beads which are not biblical? By doing so, the Lord ’s Prayer (biblical) is being incorporated into something decidedly unbiblical. Does the Bible say it’s fine to incorporate into our worship something that is biblical with something unbiblical? No. We are warned time and again to stay true to God’s word….completely true. 'Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.' (Ezekiel 22:26) The next prayer of the Rosary is the ‘Hail Mary’. Here are the words: ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.’ Based on Scripture, should we pray to Mary? No. Is Mary the mother of God? No. Can Mary pray for us now or at the time of our death? No. If you believe that you’re not actually praying to Mary, but simply asking Mary to pray with you – are we supposed to try and communicate with the dead according to Scripture? No. According to Scripture, Mary was honored by God to be the human mother of Jesus the man, but nothing more. The next prayer of the Rosary is the ‘Glory Be’. Like the Lord ’s Prayer, there is nothing wrong with the words to this prayer – as long as you pray them from your heart to our Father and are not simply saying these words simply because you’ve been told to do so. After the prayers of the Rosary are finished, the following is recited: ‘Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.’ Is Mary a queen? No. Is Mary our hope? No. We place our hope in Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven: ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope….’ (2 Thessalonians 2:16). Mary cannot pray for us or mediate for us. We pray to God and Jesus Christ is our only mediator. ‘For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 2:5). We violate the first Commandment if we pray to anyone or anything other than God. ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3). We don’t talk through prayer. If you pray to someone or something, you are saying this person or thing is a god worthy of prayer. Only God is worthy of our prayers. The final piece of this is the beads used in praying the Rosary. Are beads mentioned anywhere in Scripture? No. Where did this practice of using beads in prayer originate? It was, and still is, a tallying device known in Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. The transfer of the name rosary from prayer form to the physical object took place sometime around the 16th century. Regardless of the history, these beads are simply a tallying device used to count the number of prayers recited – prayers that are continually repeated which contradict Mathew 6:7. If the Bible never mentions the counting of our prayers with beads (or anything else), why should we believe that this is acceptable to God?

2. Confession – Catholic doctrine tells us that Roman Catholic priests have the power to pardon sins based on what Jesus told His disciples before His ascension in John 20:23 ‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” They believe that Jesus granted his apostles the power to pardon sin and this power was then passed down to their successors – the Catholic Church. This interpretation of John 20:23 cannot be true since God alone can pardon our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is a difficult verse to interpret, nonetheless, the Catholic interpretation of it directly contradicts other verses within the Bible. We should only ask God, through prayer, to forgive our sins as stated in Psalm 103:2-3; Psalm 130:3-4; Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:18; Acts 8:22; Mathew 9:2; Mathew 9:6. This verse (John 20:23) most likely relates to Ephesians 4:32 ‘And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you’ and Mathew 6:14-15 ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’. We should forgive those that commit sins against us. We do not have the power or authority to pardon another’s sins against God – God alone has this authority. You will not find one example in the New Testament of Christ’s apostles themselves forgiving anyone’s sins. They simply spoke of the need to repent of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. ‘Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:37-38).

3. Purgatory – According to page 291 of the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church: ‘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. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.’ Is there a Purgatory or a place where we will go to ‘undergo purification’? According to Scripture, the answer is no. There is no mention of a Purgatory in either the Old or New Testament. After we die in this world, the Bible speaks of only two places – those who know Jesus Christ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, those who do not know Jesus Christ will enter Hell for eternity. A few of the verses that speak of our entry into Heaven: Mathew 5:20; Mathew 7:21; Mathew 18:3; Mathew 19:23; Mathew 23:13; Hebrews 9:24-25. A few verses that speak of Hell: Mathew 5:22; Mathew 5:29; Mathew 10:28; Mathew 23:15; Mathew 23:33; 2 Peter 2:4.

4. Transubstantiation – Pope Innocent III declared the doctrine of transubstantiation in 1215 A.D. This doctrine states that Roman Catholic Priests have the power to change the wafer into the body of Jesus Christ for all Catholics to receive as communion. In 1220 A.D. Pope Honorius sanctioned the adoration of the wafer as doctrine. Essentially, the Roman Catholic Church is saying that it has the power to change bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. They believe that the host (Eucharist) is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and worthy of worship and adoration. Does the Bible say that we are given this power? No. If you are a Catholic, you may say that you don’t really believe this, that you are taking Communion as any Protestant would do. This is not the official doctrine of the Catholic church: "If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist (communion wafer) are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as a sign, or figure or force, let him be anathema." (An exhausted definition of "Anathema" = to be damned and put to death) p.79, Canon 1. You are probably thinking that this is very strong language from the Catholic Church and would never be put into practice….but you’d be wrong. This church put to death millions during the Dark Ages of Europe and has never asked for forgiveness (This has been documented by both Catholic and non-Catholic historians – I urge you to spend some time researching this topic. If you doubt this, why would various written decrees of the Catholic Church punish heresy with death?). Would Jesus Christ ever force someone to take Communion? Never. God does not force us to do anything. We must willingly accept His offer of Salvation. Remember, all of the Roman Catholic doctrine that allowed the church to persecute people in the Middle Ages still exists today: "The church may by Divine right confiscate the property of heretics, imprison their persons, and condemn them to the flames." (Vatican II). ‘Divine right’? Does this sound at all Biblical? Can you imagine Jesus Christ saying something like this? Absolutely not. The reason is that this doctrine is not coming from Jesus Christ.

Obviously, I’ve only touched on this subject. The purpose of this posting is not to attack anyone, but to show how Catholic doctrine contradicts God’s Word. If a doctrine doesn’t exist in God’s Holy Word, it doesn’t matter who says it’s from God – a pope, a priest, a pastor – it’s not from God. The Lord gave us His Word so that we would know the truth. Always remember that our spiritual enemy is highly intelligent and very deceiving. God gave us His Word so that we would be able to detect deceptions and correct those that have gone astray. Paul even corrected Peter at one point. ‘When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong’ (Galatians 2:11).

Why have I been led to write about the doctrines of the Catholic Church? It’s a good question. I believe that the Lord is revealing the truth to us. The world is presently full of deception and it’s getting worse. We’re nearing the end of this age when things are rapidly going to deteriorate. We’re going to face the ‘beasts’ of Revelation 13 and the Mark. We’re going to face our spiritual enemy at every turn. His tentacles are spreading into a worldwide political and religious system that will oppose God and His saints. It is imperative that we are all prepared. As for the papal system, it goes even deeper. Why? Because I firmly believe that the Roman Catholic Church faces the Lord’s judgment for its unbiblical doctrines. I believe that this is revealed to us in Revelation 17 and 18. In the next few postings we’re going to study Revelation 17 & 18 and how they relate to Revelation 13 and the Roman Catholic Church. Always remember, the Lord wants you to know Him. He desires your heart, not your religion. If you want to learn more about the history of the Catholic Church and its beliefs, I highly recommend you visit Mary Ann Collins' website . Mary Ann is a former Catholic Nun who is now a Protestant. She does a great job of clearly explaining Catholic doctrine and why she left the church.

No comments: