What They Believe 6

13 Jun

 the Roman Catholic Church

Taken from:

  1. Where Catholics disagree with sound Biblical Teaching

    A.  The Doctrine of Revelation

    The subject of this important doctrine is how God reveals Himself and His will to men.  The RCC affirms
    that God reveals Himself through the Bible and that it is fully inspired by God.  This is good as far as it
    goes, but it is at this juncture that major disagreements emerge.  The Reformers reaffirmed that
    you can have only one final authority, and that this was the 66 books of the Bible (sola scriptura).  The
    RCC has added to the authority of Scripture in a number of ways:

    1.   The Apocrypha.  It consists of 15 additional books which the RCCs add to the Bible.  They are bound
    between the Old and the New Testaments and are considered part of the OT.  Together they are about
    80% the size of the NT.  They were not considered part of the canon until the Council of Trent in
    1546.  Prior to this, several “infallible” popes declared them non-canonical (Gregory and Leo X).
    They were declared canonical largely because of the dispute about purgatory.  The Catholic bishops
    thought they found support for this teaching in one of the Apocryphal books (II Maccabees 12:40-45).
    The NT quotes the OT approximately 260 times and alludes to it about 370 times and although the NT
    writers and Jesus undoubtedly knew of these books they are never quoted or alluded to in the NT.  The
    Apocrypha is full of historical inaccuracies, fantasies, and teachings contrary to Scripture.

    2.   Tradition.  The RCC classifies the tradition of the Church as “the Word of God.”  Vatican II affirmed
    that Scripture and tradition “form one sacred deposit of the word of God.”  When tradition is
    elevated to infallibility several problems arise: (1) The sheer volume of data becomes a major
    difficulty; just papal bulls alone comprise about 40 volumes.  (2) Contradictions among the many
    traditions and the interpretation of traditions are too numerous to mention.  Note:  we are not saying
    that tradition is not helpful or useful in interpreting Scripture.

    3.   The Pope.  The RCC believes in apostolic succession, i.e. the Pope inherits the same
    authority as the apostles.  They believe that when the Pope speaks “ex cathedra” (from his chair of
    authority) that he speaks without error.  This doctrine of papal infallibility arose rather
    recently in 1870 at the First Vatican Council. According to Scripture only those who had witnessed
    the resurrection had apostolic authority (See Acts1:22; I Cor. 9:1)

    4.   The Bishops, i.e. the Church.  When they are in  council they are seen as infallible interpreters of
    Scripture.  Here truth is apparently the result of a majority vote.  The edicts of the Council of
    Trent were not unanimous.  Can we really look at church history and conclude that the church has
    always infallibly interpreted Scripture?  (Ask Galileo!).

    B.  The Doctrine of Redemption.  It is our opinion that the most serious breach of orthodoxy in the RCC is its
    doctrine of redemption.  In Galatians Paul argued that if anyone adds to the gospel of grace alone he should
    be condemned (Gal. 1:8).  Strong words?  Yes.  It was the teaching of this Epistle that convinced Luther to
    go against the RCC.  Salvation according to RCC teaching is an intricate system of works involving the
    sacramental system.  “Grace” is seen as a commodity or substance that can be gained by various means.  It is
    never known when one accumulates enough grace to actually meet God’s demands, therefore, a Catholic can
    never have full assurance of salvation.  The process of accumulating “grace” even continues in purgatory.  Mary
    is said to be “full of Grace.” Catholics, therefore, pray to Mary to receive Grace from her.  Grace is not
    the disposition of a holy God toward sinners as a result of the work of Christ, but rather an asset that
    can be dispensed or infused in the sinner.

    C.  The Veneration of Mary.  Many protestants view the teachings of the RCC about Mary as being nothing short
    of cultic.  Most of these false beliefs were only canonized by the RCC in 1943 as a result of the
    encyclical of Pius XII.  The major protestant objections are:

    1.   Her perpetual virginity.  They readily affirm the virgin birth of Jesus, however, they maintain that
    Mary remained a virgin throughout her life in apparent contradiction to the Scriptures.  In three
    passages siblings are mentioned, indeed in Mark 6:3, four of Jesus’s half-brothers are mentioned by
    name.  Jude and James later wrote the Epistles named for them.

    2.   Sinlessness.  The RCC teaches that Mary is “full of grace” therefore free of original and actual sin.
    (Was she too born of a virgin?).  In Luke 1:47 she jubilantly calls the coming Messiah her savior.

    3.   Co-mediatrix and Co-redemptrix.  This is perhaps the most blatant heretical departure since it
    ascribes deity to Mary despite RCC objections.  The two words mean co-mediator, and co-redeemer.  This
    is blasphemy to ascribe these divine works to a mortal.  Catholics are encouraged to pray to Mary.
    In order for Mary to hear the prayers of saints around the world would require attributes of deity.

    4.   The Assumption of Mary.  The RCC believes Mary escaped death (because she had no sin) and was
    assumed into heaven where she now reigns with Christ.  This is nowhere taught in Scripture.

    D.  The Sacraments.  One cannot understand Catholic theology or its complex view of redemption without
    understanding the sacraments for they are the heart of Catholic teaching.  There are seven sacraments:
    baptism, confirmation, penance, Holy Eucharist, marriage, anointing the sick, and holy orders.  “The
    Sacraments are the means appointed by God for attainment of eternal salvation.  Three of them are in
    the ordinary way of salvation so necessary that without their use salvation cannot be attained (i.e. baptism,
    penance, holy orders)”  Ludwig Ott.

    E.  Purgatory.  The doctrine of purgatory was officially proclaimed as dogma in 1438, however, it has ancient
    origins.  The problem is that its teaching is nowhere to be found in Scripture.  It largely comes from the
    Apocrypha and from spiritism, i.e. apparitions who affirm it.  It is a place of torment where all saints
    go to be finally purged of their sins.  The length of one’s stay in purgatory is dependent on several
    factors:  (1) your good works on earth, and they are specific, such as saying the rosary, (2) the prayers of
    the living, (3) and indulgences paid on behalf of the suffering.

    F.  The Priesthood.  There is no NT authority for an order of human priests in the NT church.  According to the
    teaching of the Epistle of Hebrews we have only one priest, Jesus Christ, our High Priest.  In the RCC
    priests are highly respected and authoritarian figures. According to their own words salvation can come to no
    one except through the ministrations of the priest. This teaching is actually very ancient dating back to
    the 3rd Century (Cyprian).  The priest in the RCC has the authority to mediate between God and man (in the
    confessional), forgive sins, and by pronouncement change the elements of communion into the actual Body
    and Blood of Christ.  Note what the Council of Trent says about the priest:  “The priest remits sins as God,
    and that which he calls his body at the altar is adored as God by himself and by the congregation….It is
    clear that their function is such that none greater can be conceived.  Wherefore they are justly called not
    only angels, but also God, holding as they do among us the power and authority of the immortal God.”   (Note:
    some churches:  Anglican, Episcopal, and the Eastern churches call their ministers, priests, but their roles
    are more like the protestants.)

    G.  The Church.  Protestants emphasize that there are two aspects to the Church of Jesus Christ:  the universal
    and local.  The universal church consists of all believers of all time regardless of denomination or
    minor differences of belief; it is the mystical Body of Christ.  The Local aspect is the visible congregation
    which meets together at a geographical location.  In the RCC the stress lies mainly in the outward world-
    wide structure which it believes is the one true church and the one founded by Jesus Christ Himself.  In short
    it sees the church more as an institution rather than  living organism.

    V.  Conclusion

    1.  The RCC consistently denies the sufficiency and completeness of the atoning work of Christ and many
    other orthodox teachings.

    2.  Its final authority is ultimately church tradition  rather than Scripture alone.

    3.  There are those who are genuinely saved in the Catholic church but it is in spite of the church and its teachings.

    4.  Those in the Catholic church who are genuinely trusting in Christ alone for their salvation should be encouraged
    to worship where the communion is Biblically administered and where the Scriptures are correctly expounded.

    5.  Believers need to pray for the Catholic church that the Holy Spirit will visit it with a genuine spirit of revival and reform.

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Posted by on June 13, 2017 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, education, faith, leadership, theology


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