Sunday, March 11, 2007
The actual origins of Roman Catholicism date back to around the fourth century A.D. Over the course of many centuries since then, numerous rituals and traditions have been added thus causing it to gradually become the worldwide religion that it is today. Each of these man-made traditions themselves, have "morphed" from their original ideas over many hundreds of years. We will briefly review several Roman Catholic traditions, and compare them to God's Holy Word, The Bible.
The Mass and Transubstantiation
Roman Catholic Tradition: The Mass is the core belief of Roman Catholics. During the Mass, Christ is mistakenly "offered up for sacrifice" over and over, which is in direct contradiction to God's Word. This is summed up in the idea of Transubstantiation: the belief that the wafer and the wine used in communion, are somehow mystically transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ during every Mass, thus attempting to renew His sacrifice as often as a Mass is performed.
God's Biblical Truth: Jesus was only sacrificed ONCE for all eternity! "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God..." (Hebrews 10:12)
"Nor yet that he should offer himself often... For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Hebrews 9:25-26)
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..." (Hebrews 9:28) "...we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10)
"Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself." (Hebrews 7:27)
Salvation Through Good Works
Roman Catholic Tradition: Belief that doing good deeds automatically gets one into Heaven.
God's Biblical Truth: We cannot do anything on our own strength to rid ourselves of sins. It is only trusting in the blood of Jesus Christ (shed ONCE for all time on Calvary), that can make us free from sin. "...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
The Lord says that our works by themselves, are dead. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14)
Furthermore, Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Veneration (Worship) of Mary
Roman Catholic Tradition: Roman Catholics regard Mary as the 'Queen of Heaven'. She is considered by them to be divine like the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), and is venerated and prayed to for intercession and salvation.
God's Biblical Truth: It is ONLY Jesus Christ who makes intercession for us! "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
It is ONLY Jesus Christ who can save us! "...Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead... Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:10-12)
The Lord Himself says we need to look ONLY to Him for salvation! "...there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45:21-22)
Finally, Jesus said, "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) Without Him, there isn't any access to the Father!
Prayers to Deceased "Saints"
Roman Catholic Tradition: Prayers are made to innumerable dead "Saints" for certain things. For example, 'Pray to "Saint" Anthony when you lose something, to "Saint" Jude for dire needs, etc'.
God's Biblical Truth: We are to pray to our Heavenly Father in Jesus' name. "...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." (John 16:23)
Praying to anyone besides the Lord is idolatry. "I am the LORD thy God... Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:2-3)
Confession of Sins to a Man
Roman Catholic Tradition: People go before a priest and confess their sins, so they will supposedly be forgiven. The priest is claimed to be the mediator between sinful humans and a righteous God.
God's Biblical Truth: Jesus Christ is the ONLY mediator. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all..." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
ONLY Jesus Christ can take our sins away. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation (atonement, appeasement) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:1-2)
Roman Catholic Tradition: The Rosary is a series of rote prayers done in homage to Mary and is believed to 'pardon' one's sins and to help get dead people out of 'Purgatory'.
God's Biblical Truth: Prayer beads, including the Rosary, are a product of paganism. (Muslims and Hindus also use prayer beads.) Jesus taught, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them..." (Matthew 6:7-8)
Statues, Icons, and Images
Roman Catholic Tradition: Statues or images of Jesus, Mary, angels, etc. are considered sacred and are often kissed, touched, or knelt in front of.
God's Biblical Truth: All of the above, including statues of 'Jesus', is idolatry. "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 26:1)
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them..." (Exodus 20:4-5)
Roman Catholic Tradition: Unbiblical belief that a dead person's soul needs further purging of sins before being allowed into Heaven. Roman Catholics believe that the soul is purified in fire to remove the effects of sin. Through the prayers of the living and the ceremony of the Mass, the deceased is supposed to reach Heaven over the course of time. The Council of Trent "officially" defined this tradition in the 16th century.
God's Biblical Truth: This false teaching literally has damnable effects, for it suggests that people can eventually get into Heaven without having first repented of their sins and turned their lives over to the Savior. If the idea of Purgatory were true, then Jesus Christ's one-time sacrifice on Calvary would be both pointless and unnecessary, since we would be able to reach Heaven without Him. Jesus however, taught that the only way to the Father was through Him (John 14:6). He also instructed us that not everyone goes to Heaven, "...Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) and "...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
The tradition of Purgatory also suggests that Jesus' death on the cross is insufficient in freeing us from the effects of our sins after we die. The Bible however, states that, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) and "...their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 10:17) This means free of all of our sins and their effects for all eternity!
Furthermore, Jesus only spoke of Heaven and Hell when He taught, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:28-29) The Bible teaches that those who have been born-again will have their names written in the Book of Life and will be in Heaven. Likewise, those who are not in the Book of Life, will be cast into Hell. It's either one or the other; there isn't any other destination.
These are just a few of the MANY unbiblical traditions of Roman Catholicism. Jesus Christ had a strong opinion about religious traditions created by men. He proclaimed, "...Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, THIS PEOPLE HONOURETH ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. HOWBEIT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:6-9) Jesus also spoke about the truth of God's Word and our need to apply it to our lives. He said, "He that is of God heareth God's words..." (John 8:47) and "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) God's truths don't evolve over centuries. His Gospel is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (See Heb. 13:8) Don't be deceived. There are a lot of nice, church-going religious people who have missed Heaven and ended up in Hell because they stubbornly held on to their man-made traditions, instead of God's truth as revealed in The Bible. You don't have to be one of these unfortunate people. We respectfully and sincerely urge you to repent of your sins and surrender your life to Jesus Christ today...