The issue which is often brought out amongst Protestants and Catholics is whether Roman Catholics are Christians and does Catholic theology agree with the Bible? It is the sincere belief of this writer that Catholic doctrine cannot be considered biblically accurate and is therefore incompatible with the written word of God. In this study we will present ten arguments proving that Catholic teaching and Biblical Christianity cannot agree, thus nullifying the idea that Catholicism represents true Christianity.
The 1994 Catholic Catechism will be used as the main source of information in regards to Catholic doctrine, contrasting it with the Bible's view on the same issues presented.
1. Mary, Co-Mediatrix and Queen of Heaven.
"Therefore the blessed Virgin is invoked in the church under the titles Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix." p.252, # 969
" 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." p. 252, # 966
The Biblical Position:
"It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:34; cf. Hebrews 7:25)
“if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” 1 John 2:1
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1Timothy 2:5
"And for the this cause, He (Christ) is the mediator of a new testament...” Hebrews 9:15
"Behold God is mine helper...” Psalm 54:4
"And I will pray the Father and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth..."John 14:16,17
Queen of Heaven
"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” Jeremiah 7:18
"But we will burn incense unto the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and ours princes...” Jeremiah 44:17
Mary is given titles, which are exclusively God's. The Bible states that there is but one who mediates on mankind’s behalf, Christ, yet Catholicism contradicts this basic fact by assigning a second person to mediatorial duties.
Mary is also given a pagan title, Queen of Heaven, something which God totally abhors, for there is no queen who reigns alongside God. There is but one Christ Jesus who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev. 17:14, 19:16).
The veneration of Mary is not only foreign to the Bible, but condemned altogether by the Lord himself, noting that he repeatedly denied any special distinction and uniqueness in regards to his mother’s status:
“Then His mother and brothers come to Him and could not approach Him because of the crowd. And it was told Him by some, who said, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.’
“But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.’” (Lk. 8:19-21 N.K.J.V)
“While he was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed: He replied, ‘Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Lk. 11:27-28)
2. The Immaculate Conception and Bodily Assumption of Mary
"By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long." p.124, # 493
"Mary is the most excellent fruit of redemption. From the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life." p.128, # 508
"Finally the Immaculate Virgin... was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory..." p.252,#966
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23
"As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one.” Rom 3:10
"...the soul that sins it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4
(Mary speaking): "... and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Luke 1:47
Note- If Mary is without sin, she has no need for a savior.
The Vatican promotes the idea that Mary was immaculately conceived i.e., born without sin and because she was free from impurities she did not die, but ascended into heaven.
Yet the Bible clearly rejects this and declares that none have been born free from sin with the exception of Jesus Christ, the Lord. The Bible also states that the sinner must die and this includes Mary, making it impossible for her to ascend to heaven without dying.
Some Catholic apologists counter the idea that all are sinners by suggesting that there are certain exceptions to this, such as stillborn and aborted infants who have never sinned. This would make it possible for Catholics to assert that Mary also was an exception to this general rule.
Unfortunately for this argument, the Bible does not make any exception, apart from Christ, since infants themselves are included in the list:
“Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Ps. 51:5 N.K.J.V.
Although infants are conceived in sin, they are not held accountable for sin until they knowingly act in disobedience. The verse basically affirms that all are born with a sinful nature, making it natural for us to desire sin over righteousness. This is commonly referred to as the doctrine of original sin, that all inherit the first man’s sinful nature (c.f. Rom. 5:12) The Catholic church itself upholds the view that infants are conceived with a sinful nature, making it necessary for them to be baptized in order to be restored to purity. (See #9)
Another attempt to justify Mary’s sinlessness is the Catholic appeal to Luke 1:28 and 1:42:
“And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, Full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among woman... And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among woman, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” Doay-Rheims
The term “full of grace” is the Greek kecharitomene, from the root charitoo, meaning “favored one.” Hence, for Mary to be filled with grace would imply her sinlessness. Furthermore, the term “blessed,” eulogeo, is used of both Mary and Christ, “the fruit of thy womb.” This would again imply Mary’s sinlessness, since she is equated with Christ, her sinless son.
If these assertions are true, this would imply that Christians are sinless since they are also blessed, being filled with grace:
“to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He bestowed grace (favor, i.e., charitoo) upon us in the Beloved.” Eph. 1:6
“Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed (Gr. eulogeo) of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Mt. 25:34 Doay-Rheims
These passages make it quite obvious that trying to find biblical support for Mary’s immaculate conception is clearly impossible.
To justify Mary’s bodily assumption, Catholics refer to Revelation 12:1-6 as implicitly alluding to the doctrine:
“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars... And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.”
It is obvious that the Child refers to Christ (c.f. Rev. 19:15; Ps. 2:9) This in effect would make Mary the woman who is clothed with heavenly splendor, supporting the Catholic doctrine.
A careful examination of Scripture soundly refutes this unfortunately unsound exegesis, establishing the woman’s identity as Israel:
“Then he (Joseph) dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.’
“So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?’” Gen. 37:9-10 N.K.J.V.
(Note - The reason why Joseph saw eleven stars instead of twelve, is due to the fact that he himself was the twelfth.)
“As a woman with child is in pain and cries out in her pangs, when she draws near to the time of her delivery’
“so have we (i.e., Israel), been in your sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have, as it were, brought forth wind...” Is. 26:17-18a N.K.J.V. (c.f. Hosea 2:1-23)
The final evidence establishing the woman’s identity as Israel comes from Revelation 12:6:
“Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”
Contrast this with the Lord’s own words to his Jewish followers:
“Therefore when you see the ’ abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those in Judea flee to the mountains.” Mt. 24:15-16 N.K.J.V.
Hence, Mary at no time ever ran to the wilderness fleeing from the Devil (symbolized here by the Dragon), and yet this is precisely what shall happen to the Jews during Antichrist’s seven year tribulational reign.
(Note - Some see this passage as referring to the arrival of the Roman Army, which besieged Jerusalem, destroying the Temple in A.D. 70; leading Jewish Christian believers to flee to the small town of Pella, near the Sea of Galilee.)
Furthermore, the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967, vol. VII, pp. 378-381) admits that the origin of this belief finds no Scriptural support:
“...the Immaculate Conception is not taught explicitly in Scripture... The earliest Church Fathers regarded Mary as holy but not as absolutely sinless... It is impossible to give a precise date when the belief was held as a matter of Faith, but by the 8th or 9th century it seems to have been generally admitted... [In 1854 Pope Pius IX defined the dogma] ‘which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin in the first instant of her conception.’”
According to church historian J.N.D. Kelly, church Fathers such as Ireneaus, Tertullian, and Origen all felt that Mary had sinned and had even doubted Christ. (Early Christian Doctrines, p.493)
Even Catholic scholar Ludwig Ott admits, “Neither Greek nor Latin Fathers explicitly teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary.” (Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 1960, p.201)
A list of just some of the many who opposed the Immaculate Conception include: Augustine, Chrysostom, Eusebius, Ambrose, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Cardinal Cajetan and Popes Gregory the Great and Innocent III.
Ott also indicates, “The idea of the bodily assumption of Mary is first expressed in transitus-narratives of the fifth-sixth centuries. Even though these are apocryphal they bear witness to the Faith of the generation in which they were written despite their legendary clothing.” (Ibid., pp.209-210)
Yet, Ott conveniently forgets to mention to his readers that these narratives were deemed heretical by the church of the day and anathematized by Gelasius, the very bishop of Rome!
Finally, not all Catholic theologians believed that Mary ascended without dying, but that she “suffered a temporal death,” much like other mortals. (Ibid., p.207)
In fact, the idea of Mary ascending to heaven without dying was not made an official doctrine of the Catholic Faith until 1950 by Pope Pius XII, nearly twenty centuries after Christ!
3. The Perpetual Virgin
The belief that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus is altogether denied throughout the Holy Scriptures. In Matthew 1:25 we read that Joseph “knew her not until she (Mary) had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.” R.S.V.
The Greek term for until, eos ou, refers to a point in time where the action of the main verb comes to an end, changes to some other kind of action or is simply reversed.
Two examples from the Gospels illustrate this rule more clearly:
“And as they were descending from the mountain Jesus commanded them, saying: ‘Tell the vision to no one until (eos ou) the Son of Man is raised up from the dead.” Mt. 17:3
The Lord forbade Peter, James and John from sharing what had just transpired before their eyes, namely his transfiguration. (vv. 1-8) And yet, after his ascension in glory, they were free to tell anyone whom they chose (c.f. 2 Peter 1:16-18)
“And behold! I am sending forth upon you that which is promised by my Father. You, therefore, abide in the city until (eos ou) you become clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:4a
After they had received God’s promise of the Holy Spirit, the disciples did not remain in the city, i.e., Jerusalem but went forth from there throughout Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (c.f. Acts 1:8)
Naturally, the term eos ou clearly implies that the situation eventually changes or reverses itself and does not remain the same.
Hence, the fact in Matthew 1:25 strongly suggests that Joseph had sexual relations with Mary after she gave birth to Christ as a virgin.
Furthermore, Luke 2:6 states that upon arriving in Bethlehem, “she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn son...” (R.S.V.) That Mary had a firstborn son strongly suggests that other children followed, since if Christ were her only child the text would have stated “only son”.
In fact, the Bible even mentions the names of Jesus’ siblings:
“...’Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers [Gr. adelphoi] James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? His sisters [Gr. adelphai] too, are they not all here with us?’” Mt. 13:55-56
“After this, he and his mother, [his] brothers, and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there only a few days.” Jn. 2:12 N.A.B.
“So his brothers said to him ... For his brothers did not believe in him.” Jn. 7:3,5 (c.f. Jn. 7:10) N.A.B.
“Do we have no right to take on a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers
of the Lord, and Cephas?” 1.Cor. 9:5
“But I did not see any other of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.” Gal. 1:19 N.A.B.
Certain Catholics have attempted to change brothers and sisters into relatives i.e., that these were Jesus’ cousins. Yet, the New Catholic Encyclopedia admits that the Greek words adelphoi and adelphai “have the meaning of full blood brother and sister in the Greek-speaking world of the Evangelist’s time and would naturally be taken by his Greek reader in this sense. Toward the end of the 4th century (c. 380) Helvidius in a work now lost pressed this fact in order to attribute to Mary other children besides Jesus so as to make her a model for mothers of larger families. St. Jerome, motivated by the Church’s traditional faith in Mary’s perpetual virginity, wrote a tract against Helvidius (A.D. 383) in which he developed an explanation ... that is still in vogue among Catholic scholars.” (Vol. IX, p.337)
However, if it were relatives that were being spoken of, a different Greek word (syggenon) could have been used as in the case of Luke 21:16
Furthermore, the famous Jewish historian Flavious Josephus affirms that Christ had at least one brother who was obviously well known:
He (Ananus) converted the council of judges and brought before it the brother of Jesus - the one called “Christ” - whose name was James, and certain others. Accusing them of transgressing the Law he delivered them up for stoning. But those of the city considered to be the most fair-minded and strict concerning the laws were offended at this and sent to the king urging him to order Ananus to take such actions no longer. Antiquities, 20. 9-1, pp. 200-201
Amazingly, this is still not even enough to convince Catholic apologists of the fact that Mary did not remain a virgin after the birth of the Lord and that she did indeed conceive other children after him. Their proof to refute the evidence lies in the fact that these siblings are never called the children of Mary nor is she called their mother, and by necessity would either mean that they were in fact Jesus’ cousins or Joseph’s children from a previous marriage.
If this logic is valid then it must also be denied that Joseph was the Father of Jesus’ siblings since they are never referred to as Joseph’s children nor is he ever called their father. This exposes the logical fallacy in Catholic thinking since their argumentation is clearly non-sequitor and does not flow into the conclusions which they arrive at.
"All who die in God's grace and friendship, because 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." p.2658 #1030
"The church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect..." p. 268-29, #1031
The Bible teaches that God's gift is eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. This means that those who receive this free gift of life will not be put to any type of purification, since the blood of Christ cleanses all. Furthermore, this is an insult to the finished work of Christ since the necessity of purgatory implies that Christ’s death is an insufficient payment for sin.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom 5:18
"...by the righteousness of one (Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Rom 5:18
"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Rom 5:9
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Rom 8:1
“When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:11-12
“But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God...because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Heb. 10:12,14
“... and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 Jn. 1:7
The Catholics go on to make the following statement:
“If anyone says that after the grace of justification has been received, the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out for any repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be paid, either in this world or in the other, in purgatory, before access can be opened to the kingdom of heaven, anathema sit (i.e., may he be eternally condemned).” General Council of Trent, Decree on Justification, A.D. 1547, Canon 30.
Hence to say that God’s grace is sufficient for the salvation and the preservation of the believer is considered to be heretical in the eyes of the Catholic Church! (See no. 7)
Not only is there no Biblical support for purgatory, the fact of the matter is that this was incorporated by the Greek Church Fathers who in turn received it from Greek paganism. The following quotations on the origins of purgatory taken from Dictionary of the Christian Church, pp. 797, 814, will illustrate this point:
Tertullian (A.D. 160-220) Was the earliest Father to pray for the dead. He admitted there is no direct biblical basis for praying for the dead.
Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-220) Speaks of sanctification of deathbed patients by purifying fire in the next life. In the early third century church there was much debate over the consequences of post-baptismal sin. A suggested solution was the idea of a purgatorial discipline after death. This concept was discussed at Alexandria, Egypt, at the time of
Augustine (A.D. 354-430) Taught purification through suffering in the afterlife. The concept of purgatory spread to the West that is, Italy and West Africa through the powerful influence of Augustine and Gregory the Great.
Gregory the Great (A.D. 540-604) Was bishop of Rome and therefore Pope from 590-604. He popularized and developed the doctrine of purgatory, aiding his spread to the West.
Plato (427-347 B.C.) spoke of Orphic teachers, “who flock to the rich man’s door, and try to persuade him that they have a power at their command, which they procure from heaven and which enables them by sacrifices and incantation...to amends for any crime committed by the individual himself or his ancestors... Their mysteries deliver us from the torments of the other world, while the neglect of them is punished by an awful doom.” Man and His Gods, p.127
The New Catholic Encyclopedia declares: “In the final analysis, the Catholic doctrine on purgatory is based on tradition, not Sacred Scripture.” (Vol. XI, p.1034)
“The Church has relied on tradition to support a middle ground between heaven and hell.” (U.S. Catholic, March, 1981, p.7)
"Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented." p.307,#1192
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, Thou shall not bow down thyself to them...” Exodus 20:4,5
"Neither shall thou set thee up any image which the LORD thy God hateth.” Deuteronomy 16:22
"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater... with such an one do not eat.” 1 Corinthians 5:11
“Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.” 1 Cor. 10:19-20
"For this ye know, that no whore monger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Ephesians 5:5
Idolatry is demonology in God's eyes, plain and simple. Yet, some Catholics suggest that God himself allowed images of cherubim to be placed at the ark of the covenant and the solomonic temple without this being considered idolatry. (c.f. Ex. 25:1-22; 1 Kg. 6:23-38) Unfortunately for those who expound such arguments, whereas God commissioned both Moses and Solomon to make such images, God has never commissioned the church to design any image whatsoever. Furthermore, unlike the Catholic church, the Jews never bowed down in homage to these images.
Finally, at one point Roman tradition itself was against idols or image worship. At the Council of Frankfurt we read,
“It is not to be found in any of the patriarchs, and prophets or fathers, to worship images, but the pictures cry out to worship God, and Him alone to adore and glorify, and the Fathers of the primitive church did forbid the worshipping of images as it appears by Epiphanius and Augustine, who reckon the worshippers of images amongst Sidonians and Carcration heretics.”
6. Confessing Sins to a Priest
"Confession to a priest is an essential part of the Sacrament of Penance” p. 365, # 1456
"One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience." p 374, # 1493
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my
transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5
".... who can forgive sins but God only?" Mark 2:7
The Bible, in contradiction with catholic doctrine declares that God alone forgives sins and to him alone do we confess our transgressions. Catholic apologists attempt to refute this assertion by quoting John 20:22-23:
“And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’”
It is presumed that this passage affirms the authority of the Catholic Church in forgiving sins noting that the Papacy is founded upon the Apostle Peter, the Rock of Matthew 16:18-19.
First, it is purely wishful thinking to suppose that the Pope is the Apostle Peter’s successor (see #8 for details). Secondly, the proclaiming of forgiveness of sins was not to be an arbitrary decision on the part of the Apostles, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit in preaching the Gospel of Salvation. This is apparent for two reasons:
The literal Greek construction of the passage establishes the point that forgiveness would be a decision already made by God and revealed to the evangelists by the Spirit indwelling them:
“Those whose sins you forgive have already been forgiven; those whose sins you do not forgive have not been forgiven.”
Note the past tense, establishing the point that the decision has already been made in heaven even before the Apostles’ proclamation of it. This, as we noted, would occur by virtue of the fact that it would be God’s Holy Spirit who would speak, not them:
“For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Mt. 10:20 N.K.J.V.
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Cor. 2:13 N.K.J.V.
One cursory reading of the book of Acts leaves not doubt that forgiveness of sins came from a person’s acceptance of the Apostolic witness to the Gospel; and refusing to accept would mean that one remained in their sins:
“Peter answered, ‘Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts
This is very dissimilar to the Catholic system, since the Apostles never had anyone come to them and ask them to forgive their sins. Nor did they ever say to someone that their sins were forgiven in the same way the Lord often did while on earth. (c.f. Mark 2:2-12; Luke 7:36-50)
7. Salvation through Works
"The church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." p 292, # 1129
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. “ Eph 2:8-9
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved
us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3:5
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Rom 3:23
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16
Man is incapable of doing enough good deeds to merit salvation, since man's transgressions out- number his righteous works. It is because of this that Christ Jesus came on earth to die on the cross, so that by his perfect sacrifice he was able to pay the full debt of sin that was needed to be paid in order that man might be justified before a holy God. This is a gift that God has paid for in full and has been given freely for all who accept it by faith.
At the same time, faith is never alone since true saving faith results in righteous deeds and holy living:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14 N.K.J.V.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.” Rom. 12:1 N.I.V.
“See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone... For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” James 2:25, 26 N.A.B.
Hence, a truly regenerated person accompanies his faith with works. In other words, we are not saved by works, but rather our works are an indication that we truly do have saving faith.
(Note - In fairness to Catholic teachings, Rome affirms that the primary ground of justification is achieved by the unmerited grace of God which is infused into a person enabling him to do the works pleasing to God. This infusion is brought about by baptism and makes a person just before God, cleansing him from the stain of original sin. Yet, the Vatican also declares that one can lose this justification if one commits a mortal sin. Chapter 15 of Trent’s sixth session declares:
“That, by every mortal sin, grace is lost, but not faith. In opposition also to the subtle wits of certain men, who, by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent, it is to be maintained, that the received grace of Justification is lost, not only by infidelity whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin whatever though faith be not lost; thus defending the doctrine of the divine law, which excludes from the kingdom of God not only unbelieving, but the faithful also (who are) fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liars with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins; from which, with the help of divine grace, they can refrain, and on account of which they are separated from the grace of Christ.”
Thus, grace is viewed as God’s method of empowering believers to do the works which lead to and maintain salvation, never assuring it.)
8. The Pope: Vicar of Christ
“For the Roman Pontiff by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as Pastor of the entire church has full, supreme and universal power over the whole church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.” p.234,#882
"The Roman Pontiff... as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful...." p.235, # 891
In fact, the 14th century Pope Boniface in his Papal Bull Unam Sanctum would go as far as to say,
“Consequently we declare, state, define and pronounce that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff.”
The Spirit is the Teacher:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall
teach you all things...” John 14:26
"How be it when he, the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth...” John 16:
"And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever" John 14:16
"For what man knoweth the things of man save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Cor 2:11
It is the Spirit, not the Pope, that dwells in every true believer's heart, who guides, teaches and abides with the church forever. For only the Spirit reveals the infinite wisdom of God and it is he who has given the church the written word of God, the Holy Bible, to sanctify the church until Christ’s return.
Jesus Christ Holds Supreme Authority:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ ” Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus Christ is the one who holds all authority on earth and has never ceased from having this power. The Bible nowhere states that Christ has given his authority to another, whether persons or organizations.
To try to justify the Pope’s right as head over the flock of Christ (i.e., the Church), many Catholics use Apostolic authority and succession i.e., that the Pope is the successor to Simon Peter, the Lord’s Apostle who was the first Roman Pontiff. Attempts are even made to present a list of successive Popes (or Bishops) from the time of Peter until the present day, thus trying to prove Papal supremacy.
Yet, this assertion is problematic for the following reasons:
1. Peter’s mission was to the Jews with Paul being the one sent to the Gentiles. (cf. Galatians 2:7-8). This is not to suggest that Peter did not preach and convert non-Jews since he certainly did witness to Gentiles (cf. Acts 8:14-17, 10:9-48), but that his mission was mainly geared towards the Israelite nation.
2. The idea that Peter’s first letter was written in Rome does not hold weight, since the letter was written at Babylon (i.e., Mesopotamia [1 Peter 5:13]). According to Encyclopedia Judaica, in its discussion on the Babylonian Talmud’s production, there were still “great academies of Babylon” in existence during the first century A.D. It would thus be natural for Peter to go and preach there, since his calling, as noted, was to all the tribes of Israel. Those who try to make “Babylon” read into a cryptic code used by Peter for Rome have no evidence supporting such a claim.
3. Jesuit John Mckenzie, former professor of theology at Notre Dame, wrote: “Historical evidence does not exist for the entire chain of succession of church authority.” (The Roman Catholic Church [New York, 1969], p.4)
The New Catholic Encyclopedia, declares:
“...the scarcity of documents leaves much that is obscure about the early development of the episcopate...” (Vol. I, p.696 )
4. Popes are not allowed the right of marriage, forcing them to remain celibate. This fact makes it highly unlikely for Peter to be Rome’s first Pope since Peter was married:
“Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever...” Mark 1:30 R.S.V.
5. Although early church history records Peter’s crucifixion taking place in Rome, he is never credited with establishing the church there. It is also interesting to note that Peter is never mentioned in the list of persons to whom Paul sends his greetings at the church of Rome. (c.f. Romans 16:3-16) An interesting omission had Peter indeed been the head of the Roman church.
6. The Bible indicates that Peter, alongside James and John, was one of the pillars of the Jerusalem church, never Rome (c.f. Acts 15:4-29; Galatians 1:9)
7. Furthermore, the early church never held to the belief in the Roman Bishop’s universal authority over the flock, since they believed in the individual church’s rights to retain their self-governing privileges. This is clearly seen in the Council of Nicea’s sixth cannon:
Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise, in Antioch and the other provinces, let the churches retain their privileges. (A.D. 325)
Eighty years later, at the Council of Carthage, Cyprian would state:
For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience, since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another.
The 35th Apostolic Cannon (dated from the 2nd to 5th century) states:
The bishops of every country ought to know who is the chief among them and to esteem him as their head, and not to do any great thing without his consent; but everyone manage only the affairs that belong to his own parish, and the places subject to it. But let him not do anything without the consent of all; for it is by this means there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified by Christ, in the Holy Spirit.
8. When the disciples argued amongst themselves over John and James’ desire to be seated at Jesus’ right and left, the Lord emphasized servanthood as a requirement for greatness. Had Peter been the head of the group and the first pope, Christ should have clearly stated this. Yet, he never even hinted at the possibility that Peter held a greater position from the rest, something odd had Peter indeed been the rock of Mt. 16:18 (c.f. Mt. 20:20-28)
9. Most importantly, Peter never addressed himself as the head of God’s flock but as, “a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ...” (c.f. 1 Peter 5:1)
10. Finally, the idea of Peter being the first Bishop or “Pope” did not arise until the 2nd and 3rd centuries. J.N.D. Kelly notes:
In the late 2nd or 3rd century the tradition identified Peter as the first bishop of Rome. This was a natural development. Once the monarchial episcopate, i.e., government of the local church by a single bishop as distinct from a group of presbyter-bishops, finally emerged in Rome in the mid-2nd cent. (The Concise Dictionary of Christianity [Liturgical Press, 1992], p.6)
All this evidence tends to strongly indicate the weakness behind the so-called “Apostolic Succession” theory.
9. Infant Baptism
"Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm for the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant baptism. The church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth." p.319 #1250
"The practice of infant baptism is an immemorial tradition of the church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century..." p. 319, # 1252
"And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” Acts 18:8
"...they that gladly received his word were baptized...” Acts 2:41
"But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12
"... repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Act 2:38
As the Catholic Catechism itself admits, infant baptism was not incorporated into the church until the second century. According to one Church historian, “During the first three centuries, congregations all over the East subsisted in separate independent bodies, unsupported by government and consequently without any secular power over one another. All this time they were baptized churches and though all the Fathers of the first four ages, down to Jerome (A.D. 370), were of Greece, Syria, and Africa, and though they give great numbers of histories of the baptism of adults, yet there is not one of the baptism of a child till the year 370.” (Shackelford’s Compendium of Baptist History, p.43 as cited by J. M. Carroll in his book, The Trail of Blood, p.13)
The Bible is clear that baptism followed repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior for forgiveness of sins. Surely, this excludes the notion of infants being baptized since babes are incapable of making a declaration of faith.
A passage often cited as Scriptural evidence for infantal baptism is Acts 16:31-34 where Paul and Silas tells the Roman jailer to, " Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household... and he was baptized at once and with all his family."
It is presumed that "his family" would include infants as being part of those who were baptized. This is an argument from silence and is faulty.
The verse clearly states that they had to believe in order for baptism to take place, and verse 34 declares: “... he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God.”
Obviously infants are not capable of rejoicing in this manner, making it clear that those in his household were old enough to discern the message for themselves.
(To be fair to the Catholics, the fact that the second century church did baptize infants lends strong support for infant baptism, since it is quite inconceivable to believe that the church would make such a grievous error so soon after the apostles. Furthermore, it can be argued that the reason why the New Testament only records confessing believers as being baptized, is due to the fact that they were all first generation converts from Judaism and paganism. As such, it was necessary for them to receive baptism. This makes it quite possible that since the New Testament deals with adult conversions, later on these believers could possibly have had infants born into their households who were then baptized as a sign of consecration. In fact, the first recorded reference to parents refusing to have their infants baptized dates to A.D. 327. This would seem to also contradict Shackelford’s statement that no infants were recorded as being baptized until A.D. 370. Hence, the issue of infant baptism is debatable and cannot be dogmatically argued for or against. What can be dogmatically stated is that baptism does not cause regeneration or purification from Original Sin).
To find justification for the necessity of infant baptism, Catholic theologians further quote certain New Testament passages which seem to infer the necessity of baptism in the process of regeneration:
“In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again...’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’” John 3:3,5
Christ mandates water (i.e., baptism) for receiving the Spirit who regenerates the sinner into becoming a child of God.
Our response to this argument is twofold:
1) In the immediate context, water refers to ones natural conception, being conceived in the water of the womb, as v.6 affirms: “That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.” Hence, this entire passage is contrasting the natural birth with the supernatural.
2) In its larger biblical context water refers to the regenerative cleansing effect of the Word of God as the following quotations demonstrate:
“...he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” John 15:3
“Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:25-26
Hence, we are made clean by our acceptance of the word of God, an acceptance made possible by the spiritual regenerative cleansing (i.e., washing) that is bestowed upon us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Paul himself testified that he was glad that he had not baptized many believers since his mission was to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 1:14-17; Rom. 10:9-10, 13-15, 17). This would be strange for Paul to say if baptism was indeed necessary for the new birth.
“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...” Acts 2:38
Once again, it is alleged that the necessity of baptism is affirmed to obtain forgiveness of sins. We must consider the context of this passage to truly understand what Peter actually means. He was addressing the Jews who had been responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus under the Roman authorities having publicly denied Christ by mocking and ridiculing him while on the cross. Thus, it was necessary for them to not only repent of their sin, but to also publicly acknowledge their acceptance of Jesus by being baptized into his name. Hence, just as they had publicly denied the Lord, they must now also give a public acknowledgement of their confession of faith. This purpose was to be accomplished through baptism. (cf. Acts 2:23-24,36-37)
“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” Acts 22:16
Once more we are confronted with a passage that seems to indicate the necessity of baptism for salvation. Again it must be emphasized that baptism is not what produces salvation but the calling on his name as both this passage and Romans 10:13 indicate:
“... for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Baptism also symbolizes being immersed in Christ, since the term itself means to dip, to immerse, or to plunge. Thus we are saved due to the Holy Spirit immersing us into the body of Christ. (cf. 1 Cor. 12:29)
Hence, baptism is nothing more than the outward indication that one has called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins, symbolizing our dying to sin and living a new life in Christ.
“... and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ...” 1 Peter 3:21
Again Peter seems to be indicating the primary role which baptism has in a person’s salvation. The importance of reading in context cannot be overlooked since the entire passage ties in Noah’s Flood with baptism i.e., that Noah and his family entering safely through the flood waters in the ark pre-figured the baptizing of believers in that the waters stood as a symbol for what was yet to come. Peter is dealing with the symbolization of baptism which according to Romans 6:3-4, stood for the death and resurrection of Christ. Thus, Peter is basically restating the importance of the death and resurrection of Christ for the payment of our sins and eternal life as stated in this very book:
“It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ...” (cf. 1 Peter 2:24)
A final refutation of the Catholic view of infant baptism comes from the story of David the king of Israel. As recorded in the Bible, David sinned against the Lord by taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite, committing adultery and impregnating her. He proceeded from there to have Uriah killed in order to hide his transgression. David was eventually forgiven by the Lord,
repenting of his sin. Yet, in spite of being forgiven, the child would die:
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12:13,14)
Even though the Bible indicates that the child was conceived in sin and died, the infant did not suffer eternal damnation:
He (David) answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22,23)
In this passage David declares that one day he will be reunited with his son. As indicated above, David was forgiven of his sins and was saved from eternal damnation. Thus, we can safely conclude that his child will also be in paradise since David is going to be where his son is.
The Bible further illustrates this point in the life of the Lord Jesus when recording the event of the disciples’ attempt to prevent children from approaching the Lord. Jesus rebuked his disciples and commanded them to allow the children to come to him, noting that the kingdom of God belongs to such. Considering the fact that none of the children had a regenerative baptism, this statement is profound.
The indication would be that although conceived in original sin, God’s provision of grace was imputed to these particular children in a special way, saving them from eternal damnation. This is not the normative manner in which Scripture teaches that God provides his saving grace, since often we see that God’s grace is poured out upon those who are capable of making a profession of faith. This profession is caused solely by the work of the Holy Spirit in regenerating the person beforehand. This enables the individual to profess Christ as Lord, since apart from God’s Spirit a person can never receive Christ in their lives. (cf. 1 Cor. 12:3)
Hence, we see from the Scriptures that baptism is unnecessary for salvation and eternal life. (cf. Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Psalm 51:5)
"All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate for the sake of the kingdom of heaven... Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the reign of God." p. 395, #1579
"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife...." 1 Tim. 3:2
"Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” 1 Tim. 3:12
"Marriage is honorable in all...” Heb. 13:4
Although the Bible does state that celibacy is something that a man can choose for himself as a sacrifice for God, it does not make it mandatory. Therefore, it is wrong to force clergymen to take upon themselves a vow of celibacy, and it is also wrong for the Vatican to use Catholic Apostolic succession as a means of justifying this mandate of celibacy when, as was noted earlier, the Bible declares that Peter was married.
God in his perfect foreknowledge told the Apostles beforehand of such false doctrines, warning them to shun such teachings:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” 1 Tim. 4:1-3
Before concluding, we will now explore the origins of the worship of the Queen of Heaven to see how thoroughly pagan this practice really is. Many important quotations have been provided to demonstrate the link between the modern Catholic view of Mary and the rites of mother goddess worship in ancient religions:
Confirmation of the pagan roots of calling Mary Queen of Heaven, Queen over all things comes from Will Durant's book, The Story of Civilization, where he quotes a benediction addressed to Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess:
" I beseech thee, Lady of ladies, Goddess of goddesses, Ishtar, Queen of all cities, leaders of all men. Thou art the light of the world thou art the light of heaven.” (Vol. 1:235)
In fact, the very words used of Mary in catholic liturgies were also used of Ishtar in pre-Christian civilizations (Babylon), i.e.,"The virgin," " The holy virgin, " " The virgin mother.” (Ibid.,:235)
The fact that these titles are pagan in origin is even admitted by Catholic Priest Andrew Greenley:
“Mary is one of the most powerful religious symbols in the history of the Western world... The Mary symbol links Christianity directly to the ancient religions of mother goddesses.” The Making of The Popes, 1978 (U.S.A. 1979, p.227)
By the same token, the place where Mary was officially given the title Theotokos, “God-bearer” or “Mother of God”, was at Ephesus, a place infamous for its mother-goddess worship:
“The council of Ephesus assembled in the basilica of the Theotokos in 431. There, if anywhere, in the city so notorious for its devotion to Artemis, or Diana as the Romans called her, where her image was said to have fallen from heaven, under the shadow of the great temple dedicated to Magna Mater since 330 B.C. and containing, according to tradition a temporary residence of Mary, the title ‘God-bearer’ hardly could fail to be upheld.” (E.O. James, The Cult of The Mother Goddess, p.207)
Valerie Abrahamson writes: “Non-Christian sources are instructive in tracing parallels to the cult of Mary. Virgin Birth stories (e.g., Hera, Rhea, Silvia, Brigid) were circulated in other cultures, as were tales of mothers mourning lost and deceased children (e.g., Demeter and Persephone; Isis and Horus). Iconographically, just as Mary was often portrayed holding or nursing the infant Jesus, so too was the Egyptian goddess Isis depicted suckling her infant son, Horus. Even as Mary was called Queen of Heaven and sometimes depicted surrounded by the zodiac and other symbols, so too were the deities Isis, Magna Mater, and Artemis.
“Such parallels show that Mary’s cult had roots in the cults of the female deities of the Greco-Roman pantheon, cults ultimately eradicated by Christianity. While Mary in some ways represents qualities impossible for human beings, especially women, to emulate- ever-virgin yet motherly; always gentle and obedient to God’s will- her attributes nevertheless represent for many devotees important female properties not provided by the traditional all-male Trinity. For many, the adoration of a female figure is a vital psychological supplement to their Faith.” (The Oxford Companion to The Bible [1993, ed. Bruce M. Metzger, Michael D. Coogan] p.500)
(Note- The virgin-birth of Christ is unlike the pagan myths, since in the latter the gods would have intercourse with the women, impregnating them.)
Andrew Greenley further elaborates on Christianity’s adoption of paganistic customs:
“As one pours over the history books of the early church, it is not really clear how Mary emerged as the new symbol of the feminine component of God. However, it is clear that by the early second century, Christian writers were speaking of her as the new Eve; by the late second or early third century, drawings of her appeared in the catacombs, and by the middle or early fourth century, direct and explicit devotion to her was well under way... the feminine goddesses were integrated, rehabilitated, and transformed into Mary. Whatever was good in the worship of the goddesses was already Christian and ought to be saved... Did there seem to be some similarity between Mary and Diana or Juno or Athene or Aphrodite? The early Christian shrugged his shoulders. So what?
“We know very little of the history of the transformation of the pagan Queen of Heaven into a Christian Queen of Heaven... the popularity of the Queen of Heaven was such that she surely was going to emerge in Christian dress... One need only compare the art inspired by Mary with that inspired by her predecessors to see both the similarities.
“It would be wrong to think that there was no anticipation in the pagan worship of the Queen of Heaven to the Christianization of that cult in the honoring of Mary. On the contrary, despite the sexual excesses and the persistence of human sacrifices beyond the boundaries of the empire, there were strains in the pagan cult of the Queen of Heaven which almost seem to demand transformation. One can almost go so far as to say that if Mary had not come along, the pagans might have had to invent her.” (Greenley, The Mary Myth, On the Femininity of God as cited in Unveiling Satan - Her True Identity Reveled, pp.192-193 [emphasis ours]).
The final quotation we will cite to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the titles ascribed to the Biblical Mary such as, “Mother of God,” “Perpetual Virgin” etc. stem from ancient fertility religions comes from Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion, Ancient and Modern, pp.13-19:
“One of the most outstanding examples of how Babylonian paganism has continued to our day may be seen in the way the Romish Church invented Mary worship to replace ancient worship of the mother goddess.
“The story of the mother and child was widely known in ancient Babylon and developed into an established worship. Numerous monuments show the goddess mother Semiramis with her child Tammuz in her arms... When the people of Babylon were scattered to the various parts of the earth, they carried the worship of the divine mother and her child with them. This explains why many nations worshiped a mother and child- in one form or another- centuries before the Savior was born into this world.
“... In the various countries where this worship spread, the mother and child were called by different names... By the Druids, she was worshiped as Virgo-Patitura. By the Greeks, she was worshiped as Aphrodite-Ceres. By the Israelites she was worshiped as Ashtaroth (the Queen of Heaven). In Ephesus, she was worshiped as Diana. By the Romans, she was worshiped as Venus-Fortuna and her son was Jupiter. In Asia she was worshiped as Cybele and her son was Deoius. In India, she was worshiped as Indrani who was also represented with son in arms. The mother and son were also known and worshiped by the names Devaki and Crishna. In Egypt she was worshiped as Isis and her son was Horus. One writer said, ‘Regardless of her name or place, she was the wife of Baal, the virgin Queen of Heaven, who bore fruit although she never conceived.’
“... Inscriptions prove that the two (the mother and child) received divine honors... not only in Italy and especially at Rome, but also in the provinces, particularly in Africa Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Bulgaria... many pagans had been drawn to Christianity but so strong was their adoration for the mother goddess, they did not want to forsake her. Compromising church leaders saw that if they could find similarity in Christianity with the worship of the mother goddess, they could greatly increase their numbers. But who could replace the great mother of paganism? Of course, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the most logical person for them to choose...
“... Mary worship was not only condoned by what is known today as the Catholic Church it became an official doctrine at the Council of Ephesus 431... It was in this city that Diana had been worshiped as the goddess of virginity and motherhood from primitive time...”
The ten arguments presented should convince any open-minded Catholic or Protestant that Biblical Christianity and Catholic teaching do not agree. It is therefore necessary for one to either accept the written word of God completely, or reject its authority by holding on to the Catholic belief. One cannot be both a Bible-believing Christian and an observant Catholic at the same time. The Lord Jesus warned those who would accept the traditions of men over the Word of God:
"How be it 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...” Mark 7:7-8
To those who would enforce such traditions Christ warned them by saying:
"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Mat 23:3
When asked by the Pharisees as to why Christ’s disciples transgressed the traditions of the elders, he replied:
"Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your traditions?” Mat 15:3
The Bible states:
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8
It is my belief that there are many Catholics in the world today who sincerely do love the Lord Jesus and are trying to worship him in spirit and truth. Christ tells us the way we are to accomplish this:
“... If a man love me, he will keep my words and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him; He that loveth me not keepeth not my word...” John 14:23-24
These words are contained within the pages of the Holy Bible, sealed for all eternity by the Lord Jesus Himself:
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matt. 24:35
It is up to the readers to decide for themselves to either choose to follow the Lord or the teachings of men. Yet one thing remains for certain, there is but one way to heaven and no other path can get men there; this path is Jesus Christ the Lord:
"Jesus said to him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6
In conclusion, we must affirm that we are not against church traditions but against any tradition which seeks to undermine or supersede clear biblical teaching and doctrine.
Although we agree with the Catholic Church in many essential Christian doctrines, we clearly believe that certain Catholic teachings do indeed attempt to supersede or undermine biblical authority. As such, we must make our stand on the side of clear biblical teaching by bringing these differences in doctrine to the fore. We urge our beloved readers to examine the Scriptures very carefully, and to prayerfully ask the Lord Jesus to grant them the discernment to differentiate God’s truth from man-made traditions.
©2003 Faith Defenders