Sharing the True Jesus Christ with Roman
Eucharist - The False Jesus of Catholicism
The Mystery Religions 1 Sharing Jesus with Catholics A Woman Rides the Beast 1 Catholic Doctrines 1
The Mystery Religions 2 The Catholic Mary A Woman Rides the Beast 2 Catholic Doctrines 2
Babylonian Mystery Religion - Woodrow The Catholic Christ A History of the Papacy True Worship
Catholicism Today Purgatory The Mass Penance The Apocrypha The Virgin Mary
The False Cult of Rome The Council of Trent The Catholic Salvation Plan The Muslim Mary
Dangers of Catholicism Transubstantiation Mysteries of Romanism Indulgences
The Infallible Pope The Other Gospel of Rome Apostolic Succession The Catholic Crucifixions - Eucharist
Revelation 18:4 "Come out of her, my people, so that you may have no part in her sins and punishments".
Test Catholicism Queen of All A Woman Rides the Beast Gospel of Rome
The Forbidden Book Crisis of Faith Roman Catholics Catholic Bible
UFO's, Aliens and Angels
Worldwide Mary Apparitions
Prophecies about Jesus
Messages and Miracles from Marian Manifestations
Testing the messages
Claims to be Queen of Heaven
Bible prophecies on the Queen of Heaven
Good News Concerns Articles Issues Answers Help
Catholicism: Crisis of Faith
NEWSREEL NARRATOR The historic Ecumenical Council, Vatican II, comes to a close amid colorful pomp and pageantry. Considered one of the most important councils in Catholic Church history, Vatican II produced 16 documents designed to modernize the role of the Church in world affairs.
The final blessing is for the assembled throng and for the world: "Etae in Pace. Go in Peace."
NARRATOR With those words, Pope Paul VI closed the Second Vatican Council. Little did anyone realize what lay ahead.
The decades since Vatican II have been turbulent. Its history spans centuries, but its future is uncertain. The Roman Catholic Church is a church in crisis.
Evidence of the present crisis is widespread. Catholics are dissatisfied.
Attendance at Mass has plummeted.
The confessional has suffered an even greater decline.
Finances are critical. Deficit spending has become a way of life. Church closures are commonplace.
Priests are in short supply. One thousand U.S. parishes are already without a priest. A 40% decline is projected by the turn of the century,and the Mass, which cannot be performed without a priest, is threatened.
Internal disputes are shaking the Church. Theologians, priests, and even bishops are becoming increasingly outspoken.
A full page ad recently ran in The New York Times calling for reform in the Catholic Church. It was signed and paid for by 4,500 Catholic clergy and laity.
The Pope has risen to the challenge serving notice: either stop public dissension or face disciplinary measures.
One in seven Americans born Catholic has left the Church. One hundred thousand Hispanics alone are leaving the Church every year, many to join more personal churches.
What is the cause of the present crisis? Some feel that the Second Vatican Council went too far and destabilized the Church. Others blame Rome for resisting modernization and trying to live in the past.
Yet another cause often cited is Humanae Vitae: the most controversial papal document of modern times which forbids the use of any artificial means of birth control. Widely ignored, Humanae Vitae weakened the Church's credibility and has led Catholics to begin questioning other teachings.
Certainly these concerns are valid, but is it possible that the real problem lies deeply imbedded in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic faith itself?
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST This is St. Ignatius Church. It is adjacent to the University of San Francisco. I studied here during my years of seminary training.
My name is Bob Bush. I was ordained here in 1966. Twenty-one years later, I submitted my letter of resignation.
MARY KRAUS - FORMER FRANCISCAN SISTER I'm Mary Kraus. After 22 years as a Franciscan Sister, I had, to some extent, the same experience as our founder, Francis of Assisi; I found myself out of step with my own order. But God showed me that my path should be only the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
WILMA SULLIVAN - FORMER SISTER OF MERCY My name is Sister Wilma Marie. At least that is what I was called as a Sister of Mercy. My faith crisis began at Communion. The priest held the Host in front of me and said, "The body of Christ." Before I could say the expected response of "Amen," a thought went through my mind for the first time: "Is it really?" This began a series of events which led to my personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
FRANK EBERHARDT - FORMER SEMINARIAN My name is Frank Eberhardt, and I studied here at the St. Joseph's Seminary in Kingston, New Jersey, for preparing for the priesthood. While I was here and making preparation, a parishioner came and asked me a question: How many Masses needed to be said for her husband that he could enter into heaven?
Well, this began for me an investigation into the Doctrine of Purgatory. Upon that investigation, I found it didn't match the Scripture, and so I had to delve more deeply into Scripture. And I found the Doctrine of Eternal Security: how that a person is supposed to know they have eternal life when they die. Well, I completed four years of study here, and upon that graduation I decided not to pursue ordination into the Order of St. Vincent de Paul.
NARRATOR These and thousands more like them are re-examining their Roman Catholic faith: the Mass, the commandments, the role of Mary, even the way to heaven. How do the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church compare with the teachings of Sacred Scriptures?
NARRATOR The Mass is the center of Catholic experience, and all Catholics are required to attend each week.
Jesus Christ instructed his followers to take bread and wine as a remembrance of him. But unlike most Christian denominations, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the bread and wine are more than symbolic: the priest actually transforms the bread into the body of Christ. A miraculous change is about to take place.
PRIEST Take this all of you and eat. This is my body which will be given up for you.
NARRATOR Catholic doctrine teaches that the wafer is no longer bread, but is now the actual body of Jesus Christ, and is to be worshiped and adored as divine.
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST I always kind of wondered about that, because as a priest you lean over the bread and you say, "This is my body." And you're trained to believe that [it] became the body of Jesus. And you lift it up for people to..., to adore, whatever. You do that with the chalice too.
But in my mind, I always thought, I can't see any change, and do I really have the power to do this?
It smells like bread. It looks like bread. It tastes like bread. But the substance is really the body of Jesus.
NARRATOR How can the Church maintain a change takes place despite all external evidence to the contrary?
It uses a theory called transubstantiation.
Catholic theologian, Father John Boyle of the Jesuit School of Theology:
FATHER JOHN BOYLE, S.J. - CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN Transubstantiation simply means that what before was bread and wine, down deep now is the body and blood of Christ. And we take that physically, because we're physical, and it's the physicality of life.
NARRATOR The Church bases transubstantiation upon the teachings of Aristotle. His third century B.C. concept of matter viewed everything as consisting of two parts: accidents and substance.
Accidents are described as the outward appearance of matter. Substance is the inner essence.
Even though this idea has long since been discarded by modern science, the Catholic Church not only clings to it, but takes it one step further claiming the inner essence can change while the outward appearance remains the same.
Transubstantiation is the foundation upon which the Mass rests. Catholics are taught that the priest must change the bread, so that Christ can be offered as a real sacrifice, an offering for the sins of the living and the dead.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET It is the actual sacrifice of the Mass. That the body and blood of Christ is actually being sacrificed right there on the altar rather than just a re-enactment of something that happened many thousands of years ago.
PRIEST This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, happy are those who are called to this table.
PEOPLE Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. But only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.
FATHER RICHARD CHILSON, C.S.P. - CATHOLIC PRIEST Is the Eucharist a real sacrifice?
A Catholic would say that the Eucharist is a real sacrifice in that the Eucharist is the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. That this is not a different sacrifice from the one Jesus made on Calvary. It is the same sacrifice.
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST Now that goes directly against Scripture, because in Hebrews 10:18, it says that "with the forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin." There is no more offering.
NARRATOR Catholic priest Father Richard Chilson is the author of eight books on the Catholic faith including Catholic Christianity and An Introduction to the Faith of Catholics.
We asked him why the Catholic Church seeks to continue the sacrifice of Jesus at the Mass.
FATHER RICHARD CHILSON, C.S.P. - CATHOLIC PRIEST The Eucharist for a Catholic is ultimately a mystical understanding. That there is what we call real time, and then there is what John calls "the hour." And the hour is present in every moment, if we can..., if we can open our eyes to that..., that reality. And so the Eucharist, by..., by making present that sacrifice throughout history, hopes..., helps to..., helps us to open our eyes to what is really going on, continually.
That God is continually, through Jesus Christ, reconciling the universe to himself. It allows us to personally come into that, that moment and be reconciled with God, again, and again, and again.
For a Catholic, it continues before the sacrifice of Calvary. But if the sacrifice of Calvary does not begin at that point, it begins really at the foundation of the world. It goes forward in history, and it goes backward in history as well.
NARRATOR Other Christian denominations celebrate that the sacrifice is finished. We asked Father Chilson why the Catholic Church chooses to focus on it continuing. Why not leave it finished?
FATHER RICHARD CHILSON, C.S.P. - CATHOLIC PRIEST I don't know if I can answer that. I am sorry. I know that's..., that's a real issue between Protestants and Catholics, but I don't know if I can answer it in any better way than I've already kind of stumbled on.
FRANK EBERHARDT - FORMER SEMINARIAN The Catholic priest cannot really explain how that the finished work of Christ on the cross is continued today in the Mass. The phrasing is that it is a mystical act of transubstantiation that takes place, in which Christ voluntarily comes from heaven at the beck and call of the priest when he raises the wafer above his head, then he voluntarily again becomes a sacrifice.
There's nothing in Scripture that says Christ would ever, ever dream of doing this. Scripture says that Christ has perfected by one offering them that are sanctified. And it only took one offering to save us from sin.
BART BREWER - FORMER DISCALCED CARMELITE PRIEST The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice, which means that it appeases the wrath of God. That indeed it does take away sin.
However, the Scripture is very clear about the fact that there is only one propitiatory sacrifice, namely what our Savior did on the cross. That's why in John 19:30 Christ said, "It is finished." And when something is finished, it's finished. When something is done, it is done.
NARRATOR A unique aspect of Catholic devotion is the veneration of saints and the use of sacred objects such as statues.
Former Sister of Christian Charity, Doreen D'Antonio.
DOREEN D'ANTONIO - FORMER SISTER OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY In the convent, we had a whole list of saints that we used for various situations.
If we lost something, we would pray to St. Anthony.
If we had a hopeless case in our family, maybe a relative that was a drunk or something, we would pray to St. Jude. That being a hopeless case.
We would pray to St. Gerard if there was a pregnant woman in our family that needed assistance. St. Blaise if we had a sore throat.
We would pray to St. Christopher, that they don't use any more, for traveling. Of course, we remember that one.
And in elevators. In the convent, we had an elevator for the older nuns, and in that elevator was this humongous medal of St. Christopher.
It was amazing. We would have little statues of Mary and Joseph. St. Joseph for foster fathers.
We would have the little statue right on the window sill, hoping and praying that statue would prevent it from raining on a particular day.
VICTOR AFFONSO - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST "You shall not make for yourselves an idol," or a statue, or a picture, "in the form of anything in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters below."
NARRATOR Victor Affonso served as a Jesuit priest for twenty-one years.
VICTOR AFFONSO - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST "You shall not bow down to them" or worship them. It's the same word.
NARRATOR Though part of the Ten Commandments in the Catholic Bible, the Catholic Church regularly omits this command from catechisms. Yet it still comes up with ten.
VICTOR AFFONSO - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST And how come they still got ten? They took the last one which is "Thou shall not covet your neighbor's wife; you shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house, or land, manservant, maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." They divided this into two. They made nine: "Man shall not covet his neighbor's wife," and ten: "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's goods." So they had the Ten Commandments.
Now this is crookery. This is trickery. You've changed the commandments.
But why did you drop the second commandment? Because there is a lot of business in making statues.
NARRATOR Though the Scriptures were clear, the traditions of the Church were followed.
PRIEST Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
PEOPLE Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
NARRATOR The hundred years preceding the Second Vatican Council have been called the Marian Century. During this period, the Catholic Church developed many new doctrines concerning Mary. Never in Catholic history has anything been seen like it.
Most significant was Pope Pius IX's proclamation of the Immaculate Conception issued in 1854.
Many Catholics do not understand the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Even fewer realize that it contradicts Scripture.
CATHOLIC MAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET That is the doctrine that says basically that the Blessed Virgin Mary became with child, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Ghost.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET The fact that God impregnated Mary to have Jesus without having carnal sex, carnal intercourse.
VICTOR AFFONSO - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST Most people, even Catholics, do not understand this doctrine. It has nothing to do with the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. All Catholics believe, all Christians believe that it was a virgin birth. Jesus' father was not a man.
But the Immaculate Conception is that Mary, when she was young, when she was conceived in her mother's womb, did not have the stain of original sin. That means that she was saved already, before she was at the point of conception, so she never had sin. She was sinless.
That's not what Scripture says. Only Jesus was without sin. "And everyone has sinned and comes short of the glory of God."
WILMA SULLIVAN - FORMER SISTER OF MERCY Mary was a sinner. Mary herself said she was a sinner in Luke, the first chapter, in her Magnificat where she stated, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior."
Mary herself said she needed a savior.
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST "All have sinned, and all have fallen short of the glory of God." All have fallen. Yet the Catholic Church defined that Mary was conceived without sin.
NARRATOR The Pope's proclamation that Mary never sinned raised other questions. If, as the Bible says, "the wages of sin is death," and Mary never sinned, did she ever die? If she died, did her body decay in the grave?
Everyone wanted to know, but both the Scriptures and Catholic tradition were silent. Four hundred bishops and eighty thousand priests and members of religious orders sent Rome requests for an answer. Eight million lay Catholics also signed petitions. Finally, in 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed that God took Mary bodily into heaven. This doctrine is known as the Assumption of Mary.
Bart Brewer was a Carmelite priest, an order devoted to Mary.
BART BREWER - FORMER DISCALCED CARMELITE PRIEST The Perpetual Virginity of Mary, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Assumption of Mary, and so on, and so forth. These are mandatory teachings. These are said to be of divine law. The Catholic people may not reject those teachings. If they do, there's what they call an anathema. There's a curse for any Roman Catholic who would reject an official dogma regarding Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Catholic priests will be honest in telling us that indeed this teaching has no foundation in Scripture.
NARRATOR And what is the source of the doctrine of Mary's Assumption?
FATHER JOHN BOYLE, S.J. - CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THEOLOGIAN You don't see anything definitive in Scripture on that. But you find a kind of basis. But I would say the doctrine of the Assumption has its origin in the piety of the people down through the centuries.
NARRATOR When the religious practices of the people become the source of doctrine, popular sentiment is elevated to divine revelation. Distortion of truth now becomes inevitable. The Biblical accounts of Mary present her as a humble, faithful servant of God.
But Catholic tradition has confused her position with that of Christ himself. Mary has allegedly appeared to many in the uncharacteristic role of promoting herself.
In 1917, she appeared at Fatima. There she announced, "God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my immaculate heart. My immaculate heart will be your refuge and the way to lead you to God."
This shrine to the immaculate heart of Mary recently was erected in Santa Clara, California, to promote devotion to Mary's immaculate heart.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I feel, whenever I have a problem that I am praying, I feel that if I talk to Mary, she would have more sympathy with me.
And she can understand my motives if I feel I have done something wrong, better than Jesus could or God. You know, she is kind of like the mediator for me.
NARRATOR This ad is from the Catholic Standard and Times. "He hasn't said no to her in 2000 years. What would you have her ask him?"
FATHER RICHARD CHILSON, C.S.P. - CATHOLIC PRIEST Now, if you will allow me to get a little personal here, I believe one of the, as I've spoken, one of the problems of the Western..., of world culture is the problem of patriarchy. Christianity and Judaism are heavily patriarchal religions.
One of the beauties of Catholicism is in her wisdom she has allowed the figure of Mary to balance the male hierarchy of God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit, which has also been made male in the Christian tradition.
And I believe that in some mysterious way, the figure of Mary who comes out of the New Testament, who comes out of the Old Testament wisdom literature, which is part of the Catholic Scriptures, but not necessarily part of the Protestant Bible, balances and gives a feminine dimension to God that is missing in a purely Biblical Christianity.
NARRATOR The Catholic Church declares that Mary is the mediator of all grace.
FRANK EBERHARDT - FORMER SEMINARIAN This is the Baltimore Catechism, a basic teaching unit in the Catholic Church. One that I learned from and we taught from in seminary.
The picture shows Christ on the cross, as head of the Church. And from his side is flowing blood.
This blood is flowing to the primary sacrament called the Eucharist. And from the Eucharist is dispensed forgiveness of sin, the reception of Jesus Christ personally into the lives of Roman Catholic people, and such.
And then from that sacrament is..., the blood is continuing to the flow through the hands of Mary. Mary is the dispenser, the final dispenser, of all grace in Roman Catholicism.
And we have seven sacraments depicted. These each themselves are said to dispense grace to the people.
MARY KRAUS - FORMER FRANCISCAN SISTER This picture really grieves me. That people would have to go through the Church and through Mary to receive the grace that Christ earned on Calvary is so contrary to Biblical doctrine, and it is just wrong. The Church here is making the grace of Christ less accessible, not more accessible to people.
Christ is the one mediator between God and man.
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST So here we have an example of someone in Scripture, Mary, who was a very beautiful person and a model of Christian life, as you know, in her faith-walk with the Lord, and it gets distorted off into a tradition, a definition, a dogmatic definition that contradicts Scripture.
THE CATHOLIC SALVATION
NARRATOR According to the Catholic Church, God created Adam and Eve with a divine life in their souls called grace. This grace was lost when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, and the gates of heaven slammed shut.
Christ restored this grace by dying on the cross. Once again the gates of heaven swung open. Christ had done his part, now man must cooperate by doing his. What is man's part?
Central to his many responsibilities in achieving salvation are the seven sacraments. Each sacrament provides a different blessing.
Baptism is the first sacrament received. It cleanses all sin, brings rebirth into the life of grace, and makes the infant a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Parents are responsible to see that their newborn infant is baptized as soon as possible.
PRIEST Peter, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
NARRATOR Confirmation grants special strength from the Holy Spirit to avoid temptation and to defend the Catholic faith.
The Sacrament of Matrimony provides help to the couple for married life.
The Catholic remains in the life of grace unless he commits a mortal sin such as immorality, drunkenness, or failing to attend Mass each Sunday. These mortal sins are punishable by eternal separation from God.
Mortal sins must be confessed to a priest. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest grants absolution as he recites the formula:
PRIEST Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace. And I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
NARRATOR The priest receives the power to absolve sins and celebrate the Mass through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
The Last Sacraments prepare the soul for passage through death. The family calls the priest to administer Confession, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Communion.
The condition of the soul at the moment of death will determine the eternal destiny of the Catholic. Those who die out of grace will spend eternity in hell.
While those who die in a state of grace will go to heaven, most must first suffer in purgatory. There the person pays for past confessed sins as well as unrepented venial sins like minor lying or anger which the Church considers less serious.
This burden is carried by the entire family as they realize they can shorten the time of their deceased loved one in purgatory by offering up their own good works and sufferings. The Mass is a particularly effective offering.
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST And that is why Catholics have Masses said for people. They would come into a parish, and they will give some money. They will have a Mass said for their deceased relatives.
But when you search through the Scriptures, you go all the way through, you know, through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, all the way down to the Book of Revelation, you go all the way through, and you won't find it. There is no purgatory in there.
NARRATOR Though a mandatory belief, many Catholics are confused about the doctrine of purgatory.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I never think of purgatory. I think of it as an outdated idea. I don't know what it means.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I have very mixed feelings on that. I am not awfully sure. I have deceased members of my family. I just hope that they have actually gone on to heaven immediately rather than waiting for the time that they earn their way into heaven or someone prays them into heaven as we have been taught when we were little kids.
NARRATOR Can someone else really pray them in, or a person earn his way into heaven?
FRANK EBERHARDT - FORMER SEMINARIAN The problem with that, of course, is that the Scripture nowhere says that we can pay for our own sins. We cannot work for them. In fact, in Ephesians, chapter two, verses eight and nine, we're told, "For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
So we could never pay for our own sins. We're given that gift, a full payment by Jesus Christ. Another problem with purgatory is that it implies Christ was not able to pay the full penalty for our sins. And yet the Scripture says that in the one-time death of Christ, he not only made us Christians, but he paid the full ransom for our sin.
NARRATOR But have Catholics been taught this simple truth?
New York City: gathering point for people from around the world.
We asked Catholics what they thought they must do to get to heaven.
INTERVIEWER How is it that you hope to get into heaven?
CATHOLIC MAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET By trying to live a clean and decent life, I guess.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET Well, just, you know, by being a good Catholic and being nice to one another. Doing my best. Hopefully that will get me there.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET You obey the Ten Commandments, I think, and you have got a pretty good chance. You can't go wrong with the Ten Commandments.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET By following my conscience, and believing in God, and doing well and good.
CATHOLIC MAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET By treating people properly. Be fair to everyone.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET Going though Christ is going through Mary. So as a woman you have to follow Mary's way to go through Christ.
CATHOLIC MAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I don't know. Just behaving myself.
CATHOLIC MAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET Do good. Go to confession. Go to church and treat your neighbors as good as you can.
CATHOLIC MAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I go to the sacraments every weekend, every Sunday.
NARRATOR Catholic Priest William J. Cogan provides a good summary of the Catholic way to heaven in his book A Catechism for Adults.
What is necessary to be saved?
The answer provided in the catechism lists eight requirements:
- church membership,
- obedience to the commandments,
- the sacraments,
- good works,
- and remaining in grace until death.
FRANK EBERHARDT - FORMER SEMINARIAN The Scripture never speaks of anything like this. In fact, the Philippian jailer, who in fear for his life asking Paul, "What must I do to be saved?," Paul's reply was very simple, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
BART BREWER - FORMER DISCALCED CARMELITE PRIEST The Catholic Gospel, the Roman Catholic Gospel, absolutely is a gospel of works.
NARRATOR If salvation is by works, how much work do you have to do? Does the average Catholic think he will make it to heaven?
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET Well, let's hope that God will take into consideration that you have done more good than bad, and therefore you are worthy of getting into heaven.
CATHOLIC MAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET Well, I got a lot of work to do, myself.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I don't think so. Not right now.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I am not sure that whatever I have done in the past could ever be reconciled. But, I mean, there is nothing horrible either. I am not a murderer or something like that. But I think that hopefully with more good that I have done than the few bad can weigh it out.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I don't know. But I hope. I try. I am trying all the life to go there when I die. But I am not sure if my life, how it has been.
NARRATOR Bart Brewer recalls his attempts as a Carmelite monk to try to merit salvation.
BART BREWER - FORMER DISCALCED CARMELITE PRIEST But we would whip ourselves or flagellate ourselves to mortify the body.
And then we had to get special permission to wear this, this belt. This, now this is Saint Elmo's belt. And the, this goes around, this would go around my, my waist or my, my thigh, or my leg.
And the purpose of these mortifications, whether it was to sleep on a bed of plywood, or take the vows, or whatever, the purpose was basically to expiate sin, to atone for sin.
WILMA SULLIVAN - FORMER SISTER OF MERCY I entered the convent with a sincere desire to serve God and man. I came to realize that it's not sincere..., it's not sincerity that's going to get us to heaven. It's not our good works. It's not by righteousness which we can do.
VICTOR AFFONSO - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST What saves you is your faith in Christ Jesus. And it's the gift of God.
DOREEN D'ANTONIO - FORMER SISTER OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY Someone has once mentioned that God has done 99%, and we have 1% left to finish. That is totally false. The Lord did it all. Whatever we do does not amount to anything.
MARY KRAUS - FORMER FRANCISCAN SISTER I must first acknowledge I really cannot save myself. That no matter what I do, I am going to fall far short of the perfection that God would expect.
But Christ was perfect, and so I need to trust in him and lean entirely on him and him alone. He earned all. He earned my salvation on the cross.
FRANK EBERHARDT - FORMER SEMINARIAN I was taught to go to Jesus through the sacraments, to go to Jesus through the saints, to go to Jesus through the priest. What I am saying that is different now is that as a Christian I can personally go to Christ. I have asked him to be my savior and forgive my sins, to pay the penalty that I could never pay.
BART BREWER - FORMER DISCALCED CARMELITE PRIEST Our dear Catholic people don't understand the true person and work of Jesus Christ. He is not personal Lord and Savior. So as a result there's a vacuum. And I think the Catholic Church tries to tell its people that this, this vacuum can be satisfied by participating, you know, in the seven sacraments. So instead of a dynamic personal walk and talk with the Lord Jesus Christ, it's ritual and ceremony, which create the impression that indeed the Catholic people know Christ the Savior. However, they don't, by the very nature of Roman Catholicism.
NARRATOR Despite the teachings of the Church, some Catholics have learned that salvation is by faith alone.
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET I feel like as long as you believe in Jesus, and that is all he asks you to do, then you'll be going to heaven.
INTERVIEWER And what do you have to believe about him?
CATHOLIC WOMAN INTERVIEWED ON THE STREET That he died for you. That he forgives your sins if you believe in him. And that is all he asks.
NARRATOR This woman was the only one of two dozen Catholics we interviewed at St. Patrick's Cathedral who seemed to understand God's simple plan of salvation.
Is it only the laity who have been misled? While still a Jesuit priest, Victor Affonso was troubled that the Catholic Church was not teaching the true gospel. He discussed the matter with a prominent Catholic scholar only to realize the priest himself did not understand. Finally, Victor asked the priest what he thought the gospel was. The priest's reply?
VICTOR AFFONSO - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST "To love one another."
I said that's the fruit. That you love one another. What's the good news, Father?
He never knew the good news! He wouldn't say the good news is that we are all heading for hell, and that when Jesus came and died on the cross by the precious blood, when we believe in him, we are saved. We have eternal life.
They won't say it. Why? Not because they are against Jesus. He does not know it! And he is a Scripture scholar.
NARRATOR The Scriptures are clear, but the errors persist.
The Sacrifice of the Mass continues despite Christ's last words on the cross, "It is finished!"
Statues are treated as sacred though the Ten Commandments forbid both making and bowing down to them.
Mary is proclaimed mediator of all grace despite the New Testament's teaching that there is one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus.
And the people are taught that they must work for salvation though the Scriptures clearly state that salvation is "by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Many modern Catholics have chosen to ignore certain doctrines of the Church which they consider to be out of date. A common misconception is that the Second Vatican Council changed many of these dogmas.
BART BREWER - FORMER DISCALCED CARMELITE PRIEST Vatican II made no doctrinal changes. In other words, no, there was a change of image, but no change of substance. There's a principle Rome promotes semper idem. It means "always the same." In other words, her basic dogmatic teachings can never change. There has been a change of, there's been redefinition and restructuring of Catholic theology, but there has been no substantive, no radical change of Catholic dogma, because that would destroy Roman Catholicism.
NARRATOR While no doctrinal changes were made, the Second Vatican Council did change the position of the Church in relationship to non-Christian religions.
It affirmed that people of all religions "form one community" and that "the Church respects the spiritual, moral, and cultural values of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam." Dialogue and collaboration were encouraged.
FATHER RICHARD CHILSON, C.S.P. - CATHOLIC PRIEST I myself am engaged in a Ph.D. in Majayana Buddhism. My specialty in that is Tibetan Buddhism.
I chose Buddhism because it seemed to be as contrary to Christianity as it was possible to be.
Buddhists do not believe in God. Buddhists do not believe in a soul. What I have discovered instead, through my studies of Buddhism, is that in spite of the doctrines, the myths, that seem to contradict one another, the reality behind those doctrines and myths seems to be the same.
NARRATOR Catholic publishers seem to agree and have produced numerous books designed to enrich Catholic spirituality with eastern religion.
A Taste of Water: Christianity through Taoist-Buddhist Eyes was co-authored by a priest and a nun.
Love Meets Wisdom: A Christian Experience of Buddhism written by a Jesuit priest.
And Buddhist Emptiness and Christian Trinity which shows how Buddhist-Christian dialogue has gone beyond mutual understanding to mutual transformation.
Pope John Paul II personally took the initiative to unite the leaders of the world's religions for a prayer summit at Assisi, Italy, in 1986.
They came from around the world. Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and Jews. Moslems from nine nations sang from the Koran. Buddhism's Dalai Lama, traditionally regarded as a living deity, chanted rhythmically. American medicine men called on the Great Spirit. Animists from Africa, Hindus, Zoroastrians.
"We will stand side by side asking God to give us peace." With that papal invitation, 160 leaders from the religions of the world gathered to petition God.
While toleration for the cultures of others is commendable, this summit treated all religions as equally valid: an endorsement without precedent in the history of Christianity.
But what do the Scriptures say?
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST There's only one person who took our sins away. My sins and your sins. There's only one person who did that, and that's Jesus. Buddha didn't do it. The Hindu religions didn't do it with Shiva. Confucius didn't do it. No one did it. The Moslem religion doesn't do it. They don't have a savior who takes away the sins of the world. They don't have that. That's why Scripture says there's only one way.
NARRATOR Why has Catholicism departed from Biblical Christianity? Because it has elevated tradition, the teaching of the Church, to the position of the Scripture and even above it.
The New Testament describes Christianity as the faith which was delivered once and for all through Christ and the Apostles. But Catholicism has continued to add new doctrines to the Catholic faith from the traditions of men.
The belief that the nature of the bread changed at the Mass was not added to official doctrine until the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. This was the first time the Church sanctioned the Theory of transubstantiation.
Purgatory was declared doctrine in 1274.
The Immaculate Conception in 1854.
Papal Infallibility, 1870.
The Assumption of Mary, 1950.
And the Declaration on Non-Christian Religions, October 28, 1965.
The Second Vatican Council made it clear that the Catholic Church will continue to rely on Tradition:
"It is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence."
FRANK EBERHARDT - FORMER SEMINARIAN I had a problem with this, especially when I began to read the Scripture for myself. I could see the Scripture saying one thing, and tradition saying another. And this again caused for me problems, a crisis you might call it, to where I had a hard time accepting what the Church would say when I could clearly see Christ in Scripture saying something different.
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST The Catholic Church claims that there is no conflict, there is no problem. But there are lots of conflicts and there are lots of problems. There are many, many examples of this, of infallibly defined doctrines and dogmas that actually contradict what is already in Scripture.
NARRATOR This conflict between Scripture and Tradition was at the heart of the Reformation during the Middle Ages.
PROSECUTOR "Dr. Luther, yesterday you admitted these writings were yours. Will you tell us now, do you persist in what you have written here, or are you prepared to retract these writings and the beliefs they contain."
MARTIN LUTHER I ask pardon if I lack the manners that befit this court. I was not brought up in kings' palaces, but in the seclusion of a cloister. I am asked to retract these writings....
NARRATOR Protestant critics? Not exactly. The leaders of the Reformation were all Catholic priests and theologians.
NARRATOR Catholic theologian John Wycliffe was one of the first. His troubles started when he began to teach that the Bible is the only source of truth. Rome silenced him. Forty-four years after his death, they exhumed his bones and burned them because of his departure from Roman authority.
In 1415, Catholic priest and theologian of the University of Prague, John Huss, was burned at the stake. His crime? He also had made the Holy Scriptures his only rule in matters of religion and faith.
After sixteen years as a priest, Swiss reformer Huldreich Zwingli broke with the Catholic Church when he could no longer put tradition on the same level as the Holy Scriptures.
John Calvin was studying for the priesthood when he experienced a spiritual conversion. He left the Church shortly thereafter.
Martin Luther was an Augustinian priest and professor of theology at the Catholic University of Wittenberg. He objected to representatives of the pope selling pardons from purgatory in order to finance the building of St. Peter's Basilica.
Luther made a list of 95 reasons why this was wrong and nailed it to the Church door at Wittenberg.
Luther's writings helped form the three guiding principles of the 16th century call for reform.
- The Bible is the only source of authoritative truth for salvation.
- Man is saved by God through faith alone.
- Every believer has direct access to God through Jesus Christ alone.
When ordered to recant, Luther responded, "My conscience is captive to the Word of God." He narrowly escaped with his life.
These men were all loyal Catholics whose attempts to reform their Church and return it to Biblical Christianity were met with vigorous opposition from their superiors.
The problem is an old one.
While walking through a grain field on the Sabbath, the Lord Jesus also clashed with the religious leaders of his day over tradition. The apostles were picking heads of grain and eating them.
Additionally, when they ate their bread, they did not ceremonially wash their hands as prescribed by the rabbis. In the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Mark, we read that the Pharisees and the scribes questioned Jesus, "Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders?"
Jesus was not intimidated. He rebuked the religious leaders for elevating the teaching of the rabbis to the same level of authority as God's Holy Scriptures. He accused them of teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. He could not obey the traditions of the elders without disobeying the written Word of God. He chose to obey God rather than men. Many Catholics today are making that same choice.
WILMA SULLIVAN - FORMER SISTER OF MERCY I had the decision to make who I was going to follow. Was it going to be a man, who could make mistakes, or was it going to be God, who could not lie to me?
VICTOR AFFONSO - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST But I had to leave for one purpose. And that is I found that the Catholic Church, in its doctrines and infallible doctrines [which] were called the dogmas, had perverted and changed the Word.
BART BREWER - FORMER DISCALCED CARMELITE PRIEST I left the Roman Catholic Church and forsaked the Roman Catholic priesthood, by God's grace, strictly for theological reasons. For doctrinal reasons.
DOREEN D'ANTONIO - FORMER SISTER OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY I came to realize that the Catholic Church does not have the correct doctrine. They did not have what I needed in my life.
BART BREWER - FORMER DISCALCED CARMELITE PRIEST Many, many thousands, maybe millions, of Catholic people leave because of theology. They have, they started to re-examine Roman Catholic premises or teachings in light of God's Holy Word.
WILMA SULLIVAN - FORMER SISTER OF MERCY I love them. I love the people. But I'm sorry that the doctrines that they so cling to are not according to what God has said is necessary to get to heaven.
FRANK EBERHARDT - FORMER SEMINARIAN Because of the teaching of tradition, Christ has become de-emphasized. You have Mary in a prominent place. She's held up as ever virgin and sinless even as Jesus Christ himself is. You have saints, who are much holier than we are, who are in heaven, that can pray for us. You have other symbols in Catholicism that take the place of Jesus Christ, or at least de-emphasize the work of Jesus Christ for Catholic people.
I think a reason why Catholicism isn't working today and it is in crisis is because there is a lack of belief in the Gospel itself.
VICTOR AFFONSO - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST Many of you will say, well, we've been a long time in the Catholic Church, and we've had enough of Jesus: all this kneeling down and going for Sunday Mass and receiving Jesus in Communion and all. Brothers and sisters, that is not Jesus.
NARRATOR It is not Jesus, and it is not the message inspired by the Holy Spirit as recorded in the Scriptures. The Catholic way of salvation is a false hope, for it is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ found in the New Testament.
God warns us of those who would come and preach another Jesus, a different Spirit, and a different Gospel.
Disenchanted with Catholic teaching, many have finally turned to the Bible for help. These Catholics were surprised by what they discovered.
FORMER CATHOLIC - WOMAN That grace was something that you could not earn. And that surprised me, because I was..., always thought in the Catholic Church you would earn grace by going to church and going to confession.
FORMER CATHOLIC - MAN And all the time I thought it was in church, or, you know, going to Mass, or doing penance, or just doing, being good. But I didn't realize that it's accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and through his blood that you're saved.
FORMER CATHOLIC - WOMAN That he was the one that came to take all the sins, even mine, which I thought I never was good for anything. He died for me.
FORMER CATHOLIC - WOMAN He came because I needed a savior, and that there was no other way I could get to heaven. And when he was on the cross, he had me personally in mind. I'll always remember being completely overwhelmed with that thought: that he had my name in his mind.
NARRATOR John and Jane Delisi received eternal life while studying the First Epistle of John. Jane was a teacher in the Catholic parochial school system.
FORMER CATHOLIC - JANE DELISI There was a verse there that says that you can know that you can have eternal life. And I was very, very confused and puzzled, because I couldn't understand how I could really know that I could have eternal life.
FORMER CATHOLIC - JOHN DELISI We found out that the work of Jesus Christ alone was sufficient for me to get to heaven. And it was nothing that I did, but it was all that he did. And it was trusting in him and his finished work on the cross.
NARRATOR Each of these individuals has since left the Catholic Church.
BOB BUSH - FORMER JESUIT PRIEST It's not what we are leaving. It's what we are getting into. It's not what is behind us. I mean, it's like when the pioneers came to the West. It's not what they're leaving behind. It's what they're coming to.
And we're coming to a new life in Jesus. We're coming into everlasting life. When Jesus died, and he saved me, and I receive that, that gives everlasting glory to God forever in all eternity. I will praise God for all eternity for having saved me.
DOREEN D'ANTONIO - FORMER SISTER OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY The Lord Jesus Christ is my all. That's it. How can I...? He's everything. My salvation.
FORMER CATHOLIC - WOMAN And when I think of him, I can just visually see myself dropping at his feet..., but also being torn in wanting to run to him, as if you..., as if you've been separated from a long, longtime friend, and you want to be with him. But that awe is so awe-inspiring.
And just the sense of never wanting to leave his presence. Wherever he goes, I want to be there. I can't..., I can't live without him.
The Catholic mind-set is one of ingrained ideas handed down from generation to generation, e.g., prayers to Mary, infant baptism, what about all the heathen, etc. They all can be, and must be demolished by the Sword of the Spirit.
1. “We Catholics have an optimistic view of Creation. We believe that God sees everything He made as very good - not evil like you people do.” Show them Romans 5:12, and Jeremiah 17:9, and Mark 7:20-23, and Romans 3:10 and 3:23. Ask him or her what God thinks of His creation now that sin dominates!
2. “As Catholics, we don’t have blind faith. Our faith rather is based upon reason. We have always had a profound respect for reason, and we promote understanding. St. Augustine tried to understand all of history from the perspective of Catholic faith. St. Thomas Aquinas used the best of medieval science found in Aristotle. We Catholics are open to all human knowledge - unlike some fundamentalists who close their minds against the evidence for evolution, for example.” Take them to Colossians 2:8, and Proverbs 30:6, and 1 Corinthians 1:18-23.
Note: Remember, let the word do the work. Don’t force people to agree who don’t want to. They must respond to the “pricking” of the word of God, not to you!
3. The Catholics will claim continuous progress, using words such as “journey theology.” They may speak of Thomas Merton’s book, Seven Story mountain, or the stages in the castle of Theresa of Avila. They will tell you that they grow in holiness in the many things that they do. Mother Teresa of Calcutta just radiates grace, they say, as did Francis of Assissi and pope John XXIII. They will be horrified to think that anyone could dare think that these are not dear saints of God. A typical statement is, “We cooperate with grace; we do not claim a one-moment salvation, as do the fundamentalists.”
The underlying thought behind all the above is that people add to the good merits of Christ by our own good works, thus advancing little by little. Your response can be from Romans 11:6, and Galatians 2:21, and Philippians 3:3!
4. Show the graciousness of grace (Romans 3:24), and that salvation is only by Christ alone (Hebrews 1:3; 10:10,18).
The True Jesus Contrasted with the Apparitions of Mary
|Qualities of Jesus||Mary Apparitions' Claimed Qualities||King James Bible||Catholic Bible (NAB)|
|2||Suffering Servant||Suffering Servant||
|3||Atoning work complete||Atoning work continuing||
|8||Sinless||Sinless - Immaculate Conception||
|11||Worth of Worship||Worthy of Worship||
|12||Prince of Peace||Queen of Peace||
|13||King of Kings||Queen of Queens||
|14||New Adam||New Eve||
|15||Ascended bodily into heaven||Assumed bodily into heaven||
|17||Performs miracles||Performs miracles||
|19||Morning Star||Morning Star||
|20||Crush Satan underfoot||Crush Satan underfoot||
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1030, "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 Second Vatican Council, p. 63, says, "The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God’s holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."
This process of purification occurs in a place designated by the Catholic church as purgatory. According to Catholic doctrine, purgatory is not supposed to be a place of punishment, but of purification. The nature of this purification, according to different Catholic theologians, ranges from an extreme awareness of loss to an intense, excruciatingly painful "purifying fire."
According to Roman Catholic Doctrine, though a person may be in a state of grace, he may not enter heaven until he is purified from sins that were not dealt with on earth. Baptism remits sins committed up to that point, but prayers, indulgences, penance, absolution, and the Mass are means by which the sinner is able to expiate sins committed after baptism. If sins are not remitted, after death he must suffer the flames of purification until he is sufficiently cleansed and pure so as to enter into the presence of God. Additionally, intercession can be made by Catholics on behalf of those who are presently in purgatory. This is also done through saying the Mass, certain acts of penance, saying the Rosary, or by indulgences where the benefit is applied to the dead in purgatory.
But purgatory is not for everyone. Baptized infants who have died before the age of accountability and Catholic saints who lived such holy lives are excused from the "purifying fires."
The length of time that someone must suffer in this state is never known, but it is considered to be proportional to the nature and severity of the sins committed. Therefore, it could be anywhere from a few hours to thousands of years.
Problems with the Doctrine of Purgatory
As a Christian who bases spiritual truth on the Bible alone, I see problems with the doctrine of purgatory. For example:
1. It is not explicitly found in the Bible.
2. It implies that the righteousness of Christ does not cleanse from all sin.
3. It implies that justification is not by faith alone.
4. It implies that there is something we must do in order to be cleansed of sin.
The Catholics will disagree with my perceived problems of the doctrine of purgatory. That is to be expected. They will cite church Fathers, the apocrypha, and various biblical references to fire and purification. Which ever side of the argument you fall into, my goal here is to present a biblical argument that examines the doctrine in an attempt to determine if it is biblical or not.
Of course, the Catholic will say that as a True Christian, I come to the argument with the preconceived belief that (1) Purgatory is unbiblical, (2) that I am biased against it, and (3) that I have an agenda to accomplish. To each of these accusations I admit guilt. None of us are perfectly unbiased and most everyone has personal beliefs that are reflected in their actions and words. In this case, having read and studied the Bible thoroughly, I find no place in it for the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.
Does Purgatory Deny the Sufficiency of Jesus Christ’s Sacrifice?
According to the Handbook for Today’s Catholic, page 47, "If you die in the love of God but possess any ‘stains of sin,’ such stains are cleansed away in a purifying process called purgatory. These stains of sin are primarily the temporal punishment due to venial or mortal sins already forgiven but for which sufficient penance was not done during your lifetime."
The Catholic Catechism, paragraph 1030, says that purgatory is for "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."
Among the many doctrines that Catholicism claims to be derived through Sacred Tradition, purgatory is one of the most interesting and puzzling, particularly to a True Christian. In light of the Pauline doctrine of justification by grace through faith, how is it possible that an afterlife cleansing through punishment is necessary for a Christian who has trusted in Jesus to cleanse him from all His sins? Wasn't Jesus' punishment for our transgressions sufficient? Didn’t He take our place in that He suffered our death? It would seem that the words of Christ, "It is finished" (John 19:30) do not mean that the cleansing of our souls was completed on the cross.
Of course, Roman Catholic doctrine states that eternal life is bestowed upon the one who receives baptism (Catechism, par. 1265 - 1266, 1992). It is the stains of the sins committed after baptism and not removed through penance, good works, prayers, the Mass, etc., that are removed in the fires of purgatory (Handbook for Today's Catholic, page 47).
In light of the doctrine of justification by faith (Rom. 5:1), where Jesus bore all of our sins, purgatory would seem to have no theologically justifiable right to exist. But the Bible alone is not appealed to by Catholic theologians in support of Purgatory. By far, the main support for Purgatory is found in the Catholic doctrine of Sacred Tradition. Nevertheless, what does the Bible say about justification, punishment, and our sins?
What is Justification by Faith?
To ‘justify’ means ‘acquit’, ‘declare righteous’, the opposite of ‘condemn’. It means to not be guilty of breaking the Law and to be deemed as righteous by the standard of the Law.
God gave the Law, i.e., the 10 commandments. The Law is a reflection of God’s character and it is a perfect standard of righteousness which no one can keep. Since no one is able to keep God’s Law, no one can be justified by the Law (Rom. 3:20). There is, therefore, none righteous (Rom. 3:10-12). This is the problem of all people. We have all broken God’s Law and are in need of justification, of being declared righteous in God’s sight. This can only be done through the Messiah, our sin bearer.
Jesus is the one who took our place on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21), and turned away the wrath of God from us (Rom. 5:9) by being a propitiation (1 John 2:2) that turned away the wrath of God. He was punished in our place. Therefore, Jesus was our substitution. The righteous work of Christ is imputed to the believer by grace (Titus 3:7) and through faith (Rom. 5:1). This justification is a legal action on the part of God ‘reckoning’ the believer as having satisfied the Law — all of the Law.
It necessarily follows that to be justified in God’s eyes, is to be fully justified. It is not ‘part’ of the Law that must be satisfied, but all of it. Perfection is the standard. Likewise, it is not ‘part’ of our sins that were born by Christ, but all of them. This justification includes all of the sins of the believer (past, present, and future) or else we could not be justified.
What does the Catholic Catechism Say?
The Catholic Catechism (paragraphs 1990-1992) says, "Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God’s merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals"...."Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ..." and "...justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy."
Of particular interest is the reference that "justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith." There are many verses in the Bible that deal with baptism and ‘putting on Christ’ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:1-11). This paper is not intended to discuss the nature of baptism. Nevertheless, I strongly affirm that baptism is a covenant sign for the believer who is already justified by faith and for the children of believers who are under the covenant headship of the family. Baptism is not what justifies a person. Rather,
- Justification is a gift by His grace through Jesus (Rom. 3:24)
- Justification is by grace (Titus 3:7)
- Justification is by faith (Rom. 3:28; 5:1; Gal. 3:24)
- Justification is by Jesus’ blood (Rom. 5:9).
- Justification is in the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 6:11).
- Justification is not equated with baptism, but with grace, faith, and the blood of Jesus.
Jesus said, "It is Finished," John 19:30
Jesus bore our sins in His body, paid the penalty for them, and died. He said, "It is finished." In Greek, the phrase, "It is finished" is one word, tetelestai. In ancient Greek papyri texts that were receipts for taxes, when a debt was paid in full, the word tetelestai, was written on the document. This meant that the debt had been paid in full. In other words, Jesus had finished the work of atonement. But not only atonement (to make amends, to make right), but also of propitiation (turning away God’s wrath). He had fully paid the debt invoked by the sinner. There was nothing more to be done... It was finished.
Yet, the doctrine of Purgatory, in effect, is saying that we must suffer in purgatory for sins not ‘covered by baptism’ and not covered by the cross. It is to say that the work of Christ is not finished and that there are things we must do to complete the sacrificial, cleansing work of Christ. This amounts to earning heaven by our good works, albeit, a work of suffering. Additionally, the doctrine of Purgatory implies that a person must atone for his own sins. It implies that the person must do more than what the Law of God requires of him. This is called supererogation.
When Jesus said, "It is finished," all that was necessary in the atonement was concluded and all in Christ were justified. We cannot complete or add to Christ’s work through our suffering. Purgatory is not only unnecessary, but it contradicts God’s word.
The Roman Catholic View of Justification
Justification is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. It is a legal action in that God declares the sinner righteous -- as though he has satisfied the Law of God. This justification is based entirely on the sacrifice of Christ by His shed blood: "...having now been justified by His blood..." (Rom. 5:9).1 Justification is a gift of grace (Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7) that comes through faith (Rom. 3:28; 5:1). Christians receive Jesus (John 1:12) and put their faith-filled trust in what Jesus did on the cross (Isaiah 53:12; 1 Pet. 2:24) and in so doing are justified by God. The Bible states that justification is not by works (Rom. 3:20, 28; 4:5; Eph. 2:8-9) because our righteous deeds are filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Those who are justified are saved and salvation is a free gift (Rom. 6:23), something we cannot earn (Eph. 2:1-10). However, Roman Catholic doctrine denies justification by faith alone and says:
"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema" (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).
"If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema." (Canon 14).
Anathema, according to Catholic theology means excommunication, "the exclusion of a sinner from the society of the faithful." The Greek word anathema is also translated as "accursed" (Rom. 9:3; Gal. 1:8-9, NASB & KJV), "eternally condemned" (Gal. 1:8-9, NIV), and "cursed" (Rom. 9:3, NIV),. We can see that Roman Catholic theology pronounces a curse of excommunication, of being outside the camp of Christ if you believe that you are saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus.
Does the Roman Catholic Church specifically state that we are "saved by grace and works"? Not that I am aware of and neither do the above Catholic Canons state such a thing. But, when the Roman Catholic Church negates justification by faith alone, it necessarily implies that we must do something for justification, for if it is not by faith alone, then it must be by faith and something.
At this point many Catholics appeal to James 2:24 which says, "You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone." But the context of James is speaking of dead faith as opposed to living, saving faith. James states that if you "say" you have faith but have no works (James 2:14), that faith cannot save you because it is a dead faith (v. 17). In other words, mere intellectual acknowledgement of Christ is a dead faith that produces no regeneration and no change in a person's life. This faith does not justify. Rather, it is only that real and believing faith in Christ that results in justification. When someone is truly justified, he is truly saved and regenerate. Therefore, we see the results of true saving faith as they are manifested in the changed life of the one justified by faith alone. Real faith produces good works but it isn't these works that save you. Good works are the effect of salvation, not the cause of it in any way and they certainly do not help anyone keep their salvation. For more on this, please see "Are you justified by Faith (Romans) or works (James)?"
True Christian theology, as a whole, appeals to the Bible alone for spiritual truth and maintains that justification is not by works in any way but is by grace through faith in Christ and His sacrifice alone. After all, the Bible says "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace" (Rom. 11:6). Furthermore, the Bible says:
- "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20).
- "being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).
- "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28).
- "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Rom. 4:3).
- "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness" (Rom. 4:5).
- "For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith" (Rom. 4:13).
- "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).
- "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him" (Rom. 5:9).
- "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Rom. 10:9).
- "..so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14).
- "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8).
I am bewildered when I read Catholic theology that denies justification by faith alone and requires human effort in addition to God's grace to be saved. Of course, Catholicism denies that it is works that save us and rightly so. But, it contradicts itself when it teaches that certain things must be done by people in order to be justified and to keep that justification. Whether or not Catholicism calls these works acts of faith or not is immaterial. The label doesn't change the substance. We are either saved by grace through faith alone or we are not.
Of the acts to be performed by Catholics for justification, baptism is the first requirement Please consider these quotes:
". . Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that 'we too might walk in newness of life'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church par. 977).
"Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy" (CCC, par. 2020).
I do not see the Bible saying anywhere that we are justified by baptism. Yes, there are verses that can be interpreted that way, but if they were then they would contradict the clear teaching of Rom. 3:20, 28; 4:3; 5:1; Eph. 2:8 which says salvation by grace through faith, not grace through faith and baptism. For a discussion of this subject please see Is Baptism necessary for salvation?
However, according to Roman Catholicism even faith and baptism aren't sufficient in themselves for you to be saved. It says that baptism is only the first sacrament of forgiveness. Good works, according to Roman Catholicism, are also required and are rewarded with going to heaven:
"We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere 'to the end' and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ" (CCC, par. 1821).
The above quote clearly states that heaven is the "eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ." Catholic theology asserts that works are a predecessor to justification in direct contradiction to God's word which states ". . .that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28). What are the deeds of the Law? Anything we do in hopes of getting or maintaining our righteousness before God. In the CCC, par. 2010 it says,
"Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification."
How does anyone merit for himself the underserved kindness of God's grace? Grace is by definition unmerited favor. To me this is an utterly false teaching. So how does the Catholic church get around this apparent dilemma that grace is unmerited but it is obtained through our merits? It states that...
"Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it" (CCC, par. 2023).
This is the crux of the problem. Roman Catholic theology asserts that God's grace is granted through baptism and infused into a person by the Holy Spirit. This then enables him or her to do good works which then are rewarded with heaven. Basically, this is no different than the theology of the cults which maintain that justification is by grace through faith and your works whether it be baptism, going to "the true church," keeping certain laws, receiving the sacraments, or anything else you are required to do. In response, I turn to God's word at Gal.3:1-3:
"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"
Does not the above scripture clearly state that receiving God's Spirit is by faith and not by what we do? Does it not teach us that we cannot perfect our salvation by the works we do in the flesh? To receive Jesus (John 1:12 ) means to become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) which means a person is saved, justified. Is this salvation something we attained through our effort? Of course not! Is it something we maintain through our effort? Not at all. It is given to Christians by God and assured by God because it rests in what God has done and not in anything we have done -- that is why salvation is by faith and not works. If it did rest in anyway in our works, then our salvation could not be secure and we would end up trying to be good enough to get to heaven. That only leads to bondage to the Law and the result is a lack of assurance of salvation, a constant worry that you are not good enough, and a repeated subjection to the Church's teachings and requirements about what you must do to be saved. The only natural effect of such a teaching would be that you can lose your salvation over and over again and that you must perform the necessary requirements of the Catholic church to stay saved.
Catholic Theology Teaches You Must Maintain Your Justification
Because the Catholic view of justification is a cooperative effort between God and man, this justification can be lost and regained by man's failure to maintain sufficient grace through meritorious works. Now I must admit that within True Christian churches there are different opinions on this very matter of eternal security. Some believe salvation can be lost while others do not. I am not here attempting to address this issue. Rather, I seek to point out that Roman Catholicism teaches that works are necessary for this "re-attainment" of justification. This is how...
According to Catholic theology, penance is a sacrament where a person, through a Catholic priest (CCC, par. 987), receives forgiveness of the sins committed after baptism. The penitent person must confess his sins to a priest. The priest pronounces absolution and imposes acts of Penance to be performed.
"Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as 'the second plank (of salvation) after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace" (CCC, par. 1446).
The Council of Trent (Sess. XIV, c. i) declared regarding Penance:
"As a means of regaining grace and justice, penance was at all times necessary for those who had defiled their souls with any mortal sin. . . ."
Acts of penance vary, but some of them are prayer, saying the rosary, reading the scripture, saying a number of "Our Father's" or "Hail Mary's" prayers, doing good works, fasting, and other such things. Is it by doing these acts of penance that the Catholic is able to regain his justified state before God? I am astounded to think that they are taught to believe that by their works of penance justification is regained. In essence it is earning one's salvation. Think about it. If you do not have it and you get it by saying prayers, fasting, and/or doing good works, then you are guilty of works righteousness salvation which is condemned by the Bible.
I confess my sins to God. He forgives me (1 John 1:9). I do not need a Catholic priest to be my mediator of forgiveness. I need the true mediator and High Priest, Jesus. He alone is my mediator (1 Tim. 2:5). He has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18) to forgive my sins and intercede for me. He finished the work on the cross (John 19:30) so that I do not need to perform any work in order to gain, maintain, or even regain my salvation. That is why the Bible teaches that we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) apart from works (Rom. 3:28).
To say that we can add to the finished work of Christ on the cross is to say that what He did was not sufficient to save us. May this never be! We are saved by grace through faith, not grace through faith and our works. If it were, then grace would not be grace.
"But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace" (Rom. 11:6).
Relationship Not Rituals
Salvation is a free gift from God given to us by His awesome Grace and is based upon the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Christians receive this by faith because faith is all we have left since my works are excluded, by God, as having anything to do with attaining salvation.
God desires fellowship with His people (1 Cor. 1:9), not rituals and works righteousness that cannot save us.
May God receive all the glory due Him because of His grace.
CATHOLIC CHURCH HISTORY:
The Catholic Church has a long History of Roman mythology over which time it has changed in many ways, sometimes for the worse. The history of the Catholic Church can be traced back to the city of
about 300 years after Jesus. Rome
HISTORY Bible CHURCH
True Christianity began with Jesus Christ and Rome tried to smother it and almost succeeded until the 1500's when real Christians began to protest the work-merits and other wrong doctrines the false church of Catholicism was doing and teaching. These protesters became separated from the Catholic Church and formed their own Church which was more inline with the scriptures and the truth.
THE MAIN ISSUE:
Through the history of the Catholic Church, Catholics have believed and practiced error compared to what Born Again Believers believe the Bible has clearly instructed. Born Again Believers believe this is a result of Catholics believing what certain individuals and traditions have said, rather than what God has said through the Bible. The problem of traditions becoming more important than God's truth is something all religions have at some time been guilty of. Catholics choose church leaders over the bible because they place their trust in traditions of man rather than the Word of God.
The Catholic Church has admitted some of the errors it has taught in the past, and has changed. But there are still some beliefs and practices that Born Again Believers would say are against what the Bible teaches. It is best for a true believer to stay away from false teachings of Catholicism and trust God and His Word.
1) THE BIBLE
Historically Catholics have not encouraged people to study the Bible, in fact reading the Bible was at one time banned by the Church. Only certain people were allowed to do so. People that did read, or spread the Bible, were even killed by the Catholic Church, like William Tyndale who was one of the first people to translate the Bible into English. Such practices have been stopped, but Bible study is still not as encouraged in many Catholic Churches as it should be.
The Catholic Church has also added to the Bible writings which Born Again Believers say should not be there. Including those called the apocryphal books, which are writings that have not been approved as inspired by God. They are not referred to as Scripture by Jesus or His disciples.
At one time almost all Catholic Church services were entirely in the Latin language to keep their people confused, and only a few people could understand Latin. This is no longer done in most Catholic Churches.
Catholicism adds to scripture and forces traditions upon their followers - Church Alone
2) THE VIRGIN MARY
Mary the physical mother of Jesus is of great importance to Catholics, but the Bible says very little about Mary. Here is a summary of what the Bible says about her:
The Bible describes Mary as the physical mother of Jesus, and that she was made pregnant by God. (Matthew 1:16, Luke 1:26-42, Luke 2:5-19) Mary visited her cousin Elisabeth (Luke 1:39-56) Mary attended a feast at
with her family. (Luke 2:48-51) Mary is present at a marriage feast. (John 2:1-10) Mary looked for Jesus when He was teaching inside a house (Matthew 12:46-47, Mark 3:31, Luke 8:19). Mary went to see Jesus at the cross (John 19:25-27). Mary was committed to the care of Jesus' disciple John. (John 19:27) Mary lived with the disciples in Jerusalem for a while (Acts 1:14). Jerusalem
So everything Catholics say about Mary that is not in the Bible has been made up by people, and are based on tradition rather than the truth. Nowhere does the Bible say Mary was greater than any other Christian, she was just a human like all of us. The Bible does not say people should worship Mary or pray to Mary. The Bible does not say Mary prays for us.
A popular Catholic belief is that Mary acts as a mediator between people and God, but this is the opposite to the Bible which says, Jesus is only mediator between God and mankind. (1 Timothy 2:5)
A mediator is somebody that negotiates a solution between two people that are divided because of some problem.
Praying to Mary, singing to Mary, and bowing down or kissing statues of Mary, might even be classed as a form of Idol worship, which Jesus said was wrong. For He said we must worship and serve God alone (Matthew 4:10). And Mary was a person.
Mary is not the gate of heaven as some Catholics say, for Jesus Himself said that He is the way and nobody comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). And the Bible also says, there is no other name except that of Jesus by which we are saved (Acts 4:12).
A popular Catholic belief is that Mary never did any sin, but the Bible says everyone has sinned (Romans 5:12-13, 1 Kings 8:46, 1 John 1:8-10, Psalm 53:3). Mary even admitted she needed a Savior for she called God her Savior (Luke 1:46-47). Jesus is the only person who has not sinned, and Jesus was God.
Catholics generally believe Mary never had any other children. But the Bible says Mary did have other children (Matthew 13:55-56).
Catholics often call Mary the mother of God, but God does not have a mother, for God and Jesus already existed before Mary existed (Isaiah 43:10). Mary was not God's mother, but simply a channel through which Jesus entered this physical world.
Mary cannot be the mother of the eternal God.
3) THE POPE
The Pope is a man Catholics have claimed is a mediator between God and mankind. But as it has been said Jesus is the only mediator between God and mankind (1 Timothy 2:5). Catholics also claim the Pope is the head of the Church on earth, but the Bible says Jesus is the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 2:9-10). To call the pope the head of the Church is to rob Jesus of the honor due to Him alone.
It is often believed among Catholics that a certain class of people called priests, have the power and authority to forgive sins. So sins must be confessed to priests. But such beliefs are the opposite of what is found in the Bible, which says Jesus has the power to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). Also, no human priest is a mediator between God and man. The Bible also teaches we can ask God ourselves for forgiveness, and He promises to forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). Peter also said in the Bible, that through Jesus name, whoever believes in Him will receive forgiveness of their sins (Acts 10:43). The Bible does not teach that today there should be a special class of people called priests, for God sees all Christians as priests (1 Peter 2:9).
Catholics teach they must continually confess to God to get saved and will lose their potential to remain saved if they don't practice their weekly mass.
Catholics generally believe sin causes spiritual penalties, and not all of these penalties are removed even if the guilt of a sin has been forgiven. They believe these remaining penalties can be removed or reduced by penance, which involves doing good works. What these good works are is decided by the priest after a confession. According to Catholic beliefs any remaining penalties will be paid by suffering in a place called purgatory after death.
However the Bible does not say anything about penance, God does not demand such things for the forgiveness of sins. God's forgiveness is a free gift we receive by turning away from our wrong ways and accepting it through believing in Jesus as our Lord (Galatians 2:16, Romans 1:17). According to the Bible good works do not make a person a Christian, but good works should be the sign of a person who is a Christian. Good works are the result of becoming a Christian. And we become a Christian by turning away from sin and turning our lives over to Jesus.
Purgatory is a place Catholics believe they will go if they die with unpaid penalties, there they will pay for their penalties by suffering. This imaginary place keeps many Catholics in fear all their life, because they can never be sure of how long they will spend there. They miss out on the joy and peace that comes from knowing Jesus has paid the full price for sin. Catholics often teach that time spent in purgatory can be reduced by gifts of money, the prayers of priests, and by doing other things. Through such teachings the Catholic Church has collected billions of dollars, making it one of the richest institutions in the world.
However nothing about purgatory can be found in the Bible, it is a story invented by people. Jesus said in the Bible, that He who hears His word and believes in Him who sent Him, has everlasting life, and will not be judged, but has passed from death to life (John 5:24). The Bible also says God does not remember sins that have been forgiven (Hebrews 10:17). The Bible also says that once Christians die they will be present with God (2 Corinthians 5:8-9), there is no place in between.
Catholics also teach that the unpaid penalties can cause individuals to be punished in this life also, in various forms of sufferings, and what remains unpaid by suffering on earth will be paid in purgatory. Catholics also believe these penalties can be reduced with what Catholics call indulgences, which involve doing good works, saying certain prayers, going to confession, going to communion, or doing something else. Catholics also believe indulgences can be gained for people that have died and gone to the imaginary place called purgatory.
The whole concept of Indulgences goes against the Bible, which teaches that God's Gift of life is free, for the whole punishment for all sin has been paid for by Jesus once and for all (Hebrews 10:10).
8) NO SURETY OF SALVATION
Because of beliefs about purgatory, No Catholic person is sure they will go to Heaven when they die, they might go to purgatory. But the Bible says if we walk in the light, as Jesus is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of God's Son Jesus cleanses us of all our sin (1 John 1:7).
So Jesus cleanses us of ALL our sin.
Born Again Christians have full assurance of going to heaven.
Catholic beliefs do not allow certain men to have a wife because they are leaders in the Church. However in the Bible we read Christian leaders were married, such as the Apostle Peter (Matthew 8:14, Mark 1:30, Luke 4:38) Paul who was a Christian leader and wrote most of the New Testament also allowed marriage (1 Corinthians 9:5). The Bible even makes it clear that it is wrong to forbid marriage (1 Timothy 4:3).
Catholics often repeatedly say the same prayer over and over again. But this is a practice that the Bible says is wrong. For even Jesus told His followers to not vainly repeat themselves in prayer, like some do thinking they will be heard because of their many words. Jesus went on to say, we are not to be like them, for our heavenly Father knows what we need, before we ask him (Matthew 6:7-8).
A common Catholic tradition involves the kissing and bowing down to images and statues of Mary, Jesus, dead people and angels. The Bible says that is wrong, and such objects should not even be made (Exodus 20:4-5). Jesus told us to worship God in Spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). There are many other Catholic practices and beliefs that can't be found in the Bible, such as saying prayers for the dead. Generally Church services involve fancy rituals and ceremonies that have been invented by people. God says He is more interested in what is in people’s hearts rather than rituals and ceremonies.
Eucharist or UAreFalseChrist?
Every church-going Catholic has this exchange with a priest every time they take communion. They are all ushered to the priest at the alter, patiently standing in line. The priest either places the wafer on their tongues or put it in their hand to place in their mouths. After returning to their seats, they kneel and pray until everyone is served and the remaining wafers are secured in the tabernacle, a miniature arc that held the sacred wafers. They are taught to give reverence to those wafers - it was the body, soul, and complete substance of Christ. Bow down to it. Admired it while it is paraded through the congregation on certain holidays. This was no ordinary wafer; it was Christ among us; it was the Eucharist. As the most celebrated of the seven Catholic sacraments, the Eucharist is elevated to "the source and summit of the entire Christian life." This statement from the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy echoed what had been previously stated in the Council of Trent four centuries earlier. The Eucharist contains the whole spiritual good of the Church; it’s the pinnacle of Catholic worship. These ideas started taking shape in Rome sometime in the second century. However, don’t confuse the fact that this sacrament, being celebrated more often than any other sacrament, is understood by a greater number of people. If fact, I tend to believe the Eucharist is most commonly misunderstood among all the sacraments. And so, keeping nothing hidden in the next few pages we’ll call out the official Church doctrine and compare it to God’s sacred Scriptures and traditions. In doing this we’ll arrive at the truth of God and His intentions for what we celebrate as Holy Communion. There are two aspects of this Roman sacrament we must examine. First, it’s claimed that the elements of the bread and wine are changed into the entirety of Christ - body, soul, and divinity. This transformation of the bread and wine has been given the theological term of transubstantiation. Second, the practice of the Catholic Church is to offer these elements to God as a sacrifice; Christ is re-crucified at every Catholic communion table every day all around the world. Let’s look at each of these beliefs. Has God Become a biscuit And juice? Let’s consider the substance of the bread and wine. We’ll begin our study at the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. Accompanied by the common anathema for anyone who disagreed with its findings, the council concluded in Cannon I and II that the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the entire Christ, are truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist. Put another way, when the bread and wine are presented at a Catholic Mass, they are understood to be Jesus Christ, in all that He is. One prominent Catholic source says, "The doctrine of the Eucharist implies that after the words of consecration are pronounced, the substance of bread is no longer really bread but has been changed into the substance of Christ’s body." The first official mention of this doctrine wasn’t until the middle ages when the Creed of pope Pius IV was published. To make no mistake about the matter, Trent also states in Cannon Law VI that Christ as the Eucharist is to be publicly and solemnly carried about in processions and adored as God. And anyone who views this as idolatry is accursed (anathematized - devoted to evil), says the Roman Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the belief of Eucharistic adoration quite clearly: Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. "The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession. This is their dogmatic teaching. Some Catholics don’t accept the entirety of this teaching; other Catholics have a clear understanding and affirmation. However, regardless of how a Catholic feels or believes, this is the authoritative teaching from the Vatican, the source of all Roman Catholic doctrine. But few realize this sacrament, contrary to Catholic teaching, was not always a doctrine of such oddity. There are at least three things we must consider to determine the validity of this doctrinal claim and while in the pursuit of establishing accurate and true tradition: 1) We must consider the Scriptures above all else, 2) We must study the original occurrence and consult with the direct descendants of those involved in the original occurrence. 3) We must consider progressive revelation. Progressive revelation is the understanding that, as time passes and mankind matures in his understanding through new archeological discovers and technological advances, God further reveals His truths to mankind. This, of course, cannot contradict or nullify what He has already established as truth. Progressive revelation is a process of further defining truth, not redefining truth. In this case we are dealing with what happened at the Last Supper, which was a single historical occurrence and not a progressive theological idea. Nor has this occurrence had any significant clarification through science or technology. So, we can immediately set aside the influence of progressive revelation. This leaves us with what the Bible says and what the descendants of those present at the Last Supper say. The question is: Did Jesus intend for us to consider the bread and wine to be his actual body and blood? Whatever He intended is what should be adopted as the correct doctrine and tradition of His church. Going back to the original occurrence, Jesus and the twelve disciples were reclined on the floor celebrating the Passover meal. No, they we’re sitting on chairs before some well proportioned table with fine china in some pristine chapel with stain glass windows. It was a group of Jews in Jerusalem celebrating their heritage as was the custom of the day, and, in fact, is still celebrated by Jews today in what is called the Seder during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. What were they doing? The institution of the Passover meal is a ceremony of remembrance. This is very important. The Passover meal is a sign and a reminder that the mighty hand of God delivered the Jewish nation out of the bonds of slavery, out of Egypt and into the promise land. This ordinance has been kept from generation to generation from the Exodus to present day. The meal included the Passover lamb, an unblemished year old male without any broken bones. Unleavened bread and bitter herbs were also served at this meal. No foreigner was allowed to eat this meal, unless he had been circumcised into the Jewish nation. All men had to be circumcised, and all of the congregation of Israel was to celebrate it. On the day of the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated the same meal as did his forefathers and all those in Jerusalem that day. They were all remembering the mighty works of their God. Now that we have the setting of the original occurrence, we should consult with direct ancestry of those present at the Seder meal that day - the Jewish people, in fact, Messianic Jews (a Jew who believes Jesus is the promised Messiah). In a Messianic Passover meal, the lamb is no longer served because Jesus has become the Passover Lamb. Unleavened bread is served as a reminder that Jesus came to remove our sin, just as yeast is removed from the bread. The bitter herbs (horse radish) is a reminder of how harsh life was for the children of Israel in the land of Egypt - our life, before being set free from the bondage of sin. Anyone who is not a child of God cannot share in this celebration. Near the end of the meal a special piece of unleavened bread, called the afikomen, is shared just as Jesus shared it with the twelve. As they eat the afikomen, participants meditate on the broken body of the Lamb of God; the taste lingers in their mouths; the words, "do this in remembrance of me," echoes in their minds. Then the cup of redemption is shared as they remember Jesus taking the cup and identifying it with His blood that was shed for the sins of the world. The meal ends with a song. This Messianic Seder meal is one of Jewish tradition. This tradition has been maintained by God’s chosen people from generations before Christ, through their actual experience with Christ, and onto modern day ritual. It is the most historically and culturally accurate account of what Jesus shared with the twelve, one that is older and truer than any Christian tradition - certainly more substantial than the idea of transubstantiation developed some 1200 years after Christ. Jesus was a Jew, and He passed on and trusted this tradition, in all its Jewish context, to Jewish believers in order that they may pass it on to the rest of the world. It is a celebration of remembrance in which the afikomen (the bread) and the wine are not treated as the actual body and blood of Jesus. Rather, it is a means of remembering what God has done to deliver them not just from their bondage in Egypt but, more importantly, from the bondage of their sin through the body and blood of Christ into everlasting redemption. Anyone would be hard pressed to convince a Messianic Jew that Jesus meant us to understand the bread and wine to be the actual body and blood of Jesus. Transubstantiation is an idea completely out of context and totally neglect of the scriptural account. Let’s take a look at the text. When we look at the portions of Scripture pertaining to the Eucharist, the Greek word for remembrance (as in Luke 22:19) literally means to wait; it’s an affectionate calling to mind - not just a casual recollection. Jesus told his disciples during the Last Supper to affectionately remember Him in the same context they were remembering what God had done to deliver their ancestors from bondage in Egypt. The great and mighty hand of God delivered them from Egypt as the body and blood of Christ has delivered them from their sin. I wondered why Jesus would make this meal part of our lives and part of our worship. What would happen if we didn’t partake of this meal? Well, when Israel stopped celebrating the Passover, their whole nation fell apart. For example, recall the condition of Judah before Josiah. Judah turned away from God; they worshipped idols; they consulted mediums and spiritists; they did all kinds of evil in the sight of the Lord. They were a mess. It had been nearly 500 years since they celebrated the Passover; they had forgotten what their God did for them. As a result of their unfaithfulness, they faced God’s judgment. But as soon as the Passover was reinstated and as long as they remembered God’s mighty deliverance, their lives were changed and they lived in safety from God’s judgment. There is great value in commemorating what God has done for us. The value of "do this in remembrance of me" is the experience of God’s favor, a life of peace with God. Jesus taught in metaphorical terms concerning food and drink of eternal value. He said that if a person would come to him he will never hunger, and if a person believes in him he will never thirst. He describes life giving food and drink in spiritual terms, not physical terms. How then should we consider what Jesus said - "this is my body...this my blood?" Is He being metaphorical or literal? Well, if we believe Jesus meant for us to take in the bread and wine as His actual flesh and blood, we’ve just sanctioned the closest thing to cannibalism I can think of. It simply doesn’t make sense with the rest of the Scriptures and it doesn’t fit any custom or tradition of Jesus’ day. It actually opposes what Jesus was taught as a Jew. We can trace all of our true Christian traditions to the customs and traditions of Jews, but not transubstantiation. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is recorded as saying, "this is" my body, in the Greek - "touto esti," which means "this represents." It doesn’t say "touto gignetai," which means "this is turned into." Roman Catholic teaching, once again, has put aside the teachings of Christ for the teachings of men. Jesus didn’t want us to perpetually turn Him into bread and wine for consumption; He wanted us to remember what He endured for our sin: But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him...He was oppressed and he was afflicted. The first generation of believers understood the bread and wine did not change in substance. Paul teaches the Corinthian church about the manner of ceremony concerning the bread and wine. No mention is made of any change in the elements. Surely if this teaching of transubstantiation was a teaching of Jesus, and if this teaching is "the source and summit of the entire Christian life," we would have much evidence of it in the Pauline writings and also in the writings of those who partook of the Last Supper. But the only mention of it at all in Holy Scripture in other than the gospels is a few sentences where Paul teaches the elements remain as they are - bread and wine. Finally, and probably the most destructive evidence against transubstantiation, is one of the most straightforward commands of our Lord: You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. When someone displays bread and wine in elaborate ceremonies and announces that these things are God Almighty and parades them about to be adored by all who would bow down before them, can we not categorically call this idol worship or the worship of a heavenly likeness? For the sake of exposing the unbridled truth, we must not cover up or rationalize what is clearly an abomination to the Lord. Although, for what I have done, the Vatican condemns me as stated in Trent’s Cannon Law VI: If anyone shall say that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored in the Sacrament of the Eucharist...nor to be solemnly carried about in processions...and that He is not to be publicly set before people to be adored, and that His adores are idolaters - let him be accursed. This Eucharistic Adoration doctrine is a mockery of those who abide by the Scriptures, those who stand in obedience to the commandments of God. It is a blatant disregard for the sovereignty of God, the jealous God who demands nothing less than our complete devotion to Him and Him alone. It is blasphemous to kneel before the Eucharist as if it were God. I’m probably safe in saying that most Catholics have assumed the Church’s teaching to be correct and have never taken the time to understand this doctrine in light of the Scriptures. I’m equally confident that every Catholic would agree that God loves us with a passion we may never fully under-stand. My message for Catholics is to emphasize the importance of taking the time to fully understand the teachings of the Church and to measure these teachings with respect to God’s Word, not to be overruled by traditions of men. God has given us guidelines to follow, commandments to observe in order that our lives may be pure and complete. We would utterly destroy ourselves if God would allow us to carry out our worldly ambitions to fruition. Instead of going our own way, following our man-made traditions and worldly concoctions, we need to love Him. And as evidence of our love we must follow His commands without wavering from His Word - the Holy Scriptures. Is The Bread And Wine A Re-Enacted Crucifixion Of the Savior? This re-enactment of the crucifixion is celebrated by Roman Catholics in what is called the Sacrifice of the Mass explained by one author this way: It is official Catholic doctrine (Council of Trent) that the Mass is a true sacrifice...of expiation for the living and the dead...Christ is the same victim and priest in the Eucharist as he was on the cross...The sacrifice of the cross was a bloody sacrifice; the sacrifice of the Mass is unbloody. Nonetheless, the fruits of the latter sacrifice are the same as those of the former. The sacrifice of the Mass, Trent declared, is properly offered not only for the sins, penalties, satisfactions, and other needs of the faithful who are living but also for the departed in Christ who are not yet fully cleansed. (Decree on the Mass, Chapter II) There it is; Roman Catholics bring Christ back to the cross every time they have a Mass - countless times each day - to apply credit to our wretched souls, both the living and the dead. To mil-lions it sounds like a workable idea, but how does it measure up to Scripture? This discussion could come to an abrupt halt by just quoting Hebrews 7-10. But the subject deserves further elaboration. There are basically three things Roman Catholicism teaches about the Sacrifice of the Mass: 1) At every Mass, by the works of the priest, Jesus is re-crucified as a perpetual sacrifice for the living and the dead. 2) Jesus intended and proclaimed this type of sacrifice. 3) The Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in order to take away sin (among other things). First of all, there is no longer a need for a sacrificial order of priests. Jesus is our permanent priest. When the New Testament teaches about church leadership, it excludes the priesthood. Christian priests are a Roman Catholic invention, a man-made institution. Secondly, Jesus isn’t like the priests who were before Him in that He no longer needs to offer routine sacrifices. He made one all-sufficient sacrifice for sin. There are to be no more sacrificial offerings for sin. Thirdly, Jesus did not enter heaven to offer Himself again and again. He appeared before God once and offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. After He offered His sacrifice, He sat down at the right hand of God and the sacrifice for all sin was complete. My fourth point is that Jesus, the one who is called the Word (John 1), could not have possibly taught anything that was contrary to Holy Scripture. To say that He did would be to deny His divine influence on Holy Scripture. The only meaningful sacrifices that remain in the Christian faith are the spiritual sacrifices of praise and doing good and sharing. Our entire lives should be devoted to presenting ourselves as holy and acceptable to God - this is our full worship of God. I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. When Jesus shared the bread and wine, he didn’t turn it into himself and he didn’t mean for us to. He wanted us to remember what He had done for us, to never forget, to hold on to His mighty works in our lives that we may live accordingly - righteously, in peace, and in safety. It is God’s way we should seek, through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our man-made traditions are fine as long as they do not conflict with that which is written through the power of the Holy Spirit by those with first-hand knowledge of what Jesus taught. Those caught up in the Roman system of religion must ask themselves why they follow a system that is in contempt of Scripture. And if they find the Scriptures to be true, they must abandon Catholicism and enter into what God has intended for His children, the body of Christ.
Ralph Woodrow's Lame Babylon Connection Book
First of all, most of Woodrow’s Bibliography in The Babylon-Connection? is from catholic apologists, catholic encyclopedias, and Seventh Day Adventists
Woodrow just takes his old chapters from His first book; Babylon- Mystery Religion, and now says Hislop’s claims are just happenstance, a similarity, a coincidence.
That is the theme throughout every chapter: “oh this is just coincidence; these examples just look the same, “Please look the other way – emphasis mine”
Woodrow knocks on Hislops’ style of using phrases like, “everyone knows, and this is well known” but Woodrow wasn’t living in Hislops’ time and doesn’t know what they knew at that time.
Woodrow compares Hislop’s examples with other cultures of the world and says “See, these cultures practice this and they are not catholic, but Woodrow fails to realize, or admit, that the whole discovery behind Babylon is that it spread throughout all cultures.
Any other examples than the ones I cite below are just redundant proofs of Woodrow’s premise:
Pp 6-13 Woodrow does not use any sources to claim that since so many names are used for Nimrod and Semiramis they cannot be the same people (of course it is hard locating someone 4000 yrs. old and multiple names is a common practice in Ancient mythologies)
Pp 15-16 Woodrow claims that since it is so hard to go back in research of Nimrod and so many names are involved then it cannot be proven. (But that does not disprove it either
p. 19 Woodrow claims since there are many instances of nimrod and Semiramis with different names they must be all myth
P 27 Woodrow claims since there are many fables of Nimrod (which is true) then all stories of Nimrod are untrue
p. 30 Woodrow claims modern obelisks can certainly not be a symbol of worship because no one recognizes them as such anymore, (but Hislop was referring to it’s origin). Today obelisks may be quite meaningless but that does not mean it was always insignificant or will not be used in worship in the future One World religion.
pp.34-36 Woodrow does claim Catholics place too much devotion upon Mary but since they don’t believe in Semiramis and Semi does not act like Mary then they must not have adopted her rituals
Pp 38-41 Woodrow disregards the spread of Tammuz worship as coincidence of Ezekiel 8
p. 43 Woodrow uses Catholic sources to disprove Hislop and uses his ‘similarities’ song and dance to excuse the ritual rites of sainthood. (No such thing as catholic saints, all born again believers are true saints according to the Word of God)
Pp. 59-60 Woodrow excuses the pagan mark of Tammuz and claims God asked for the same mark to be placed upon foreheads but the scriptures do not reveal what that mark was.
P 64 The coincidence of the Sun shapes in Catholicism are just ‘similarities’ please ignore.
pp. 82-83 Woodrow explains he researched articles on Bacchus but never suggests which articles he used so we can compare them.
p.85 Woodrow claims relics are not pagan and it is ok to keep relics.
p. 88 Woodrow says he looked up a Hislop’s references and couldn’t find Hislop’s claim but Woodrow never reveals what references He was looking up.
p.108 Woodrow purports these pagan origins just happen to be ‘similarities’ so it must be ok for Catholics to do the same thing.
Woodrow gets confused with the mythology of Nimrod and the actual beliefs and practices of pagan religions.
I do not hold Hislop's The Two Babylons as infallible, but I do see the similarities of the Babylonian rituals practiced in Roman Catholicism
Hank Hanegraaff displays a gross ignorance both of the character of Roman Catholicism and of church history. For more than a thousand years, Bible-believing Christians have identified Rome with the Harlot of Revelation 17. To give an overview of this issue, we offer quotes from the writings of two men who wrote widely acclaimed church histories. Both men knew far more about Roman Catholicism than Hank Hanegraaff. One is Peter Allix, who published a diligently researched history of the Waldenses in 1692. The other is John Dowling, who published the classic "History of Romanism" in 1847. Only seven years after its first publication, it could be said of Dowling’s book, "it has already obtained a circulation much more extensive than any other large volume ever published in America, upon the subject of which it treats; or perhaps in England, with the exception of Fox’s Book of Martyrs." Note what these men said about the identification of Rome with the antichrist and the Harlot of Revelation:
Allix says: "Now it is certain, first, that since the tenth century, wherein Arnulphus, Bishop of Orleans, called the Pope Antichrist, in a full Council at Rheims, nothing has been more ordinary than to give him this title. The Antipopes of the eleventh century very lavishly bestowed it upon one another. This example was followed in the twelfth century, and has never since been discontinued till the time of the Reformation; a vast number of writers having set themselves against the Pope and the Papacy, openly proclaiming him to be the Antichrist, and his Church the Great Whore, and Mystical Babylon" (Peter Allix, The Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont and of the Albigenses, I, 1692, 1821 edition, p. 281).
Dowling says: "The result of our examination is the solemn conviction . . . that the Romish, so far from being the true church, is the bitterest foe of all true churches of Christ--that she possesses no claim to be called a Christian church--but, with the long line of corrupt and wicked men who have worn her triple crown, that she is ANTI-CHRIST. . . This identity of papal Rome with anti-Christ was maintained by Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, and all the continental reformers; by Latimer, Melancthon, Calvin, and all the British reformers: by the illustrious Sir Issac Newton, Mede, Whiston, Bishop Newton, Lowth, Daubuz, Jurieu, Vitringa, Bedell, and a host of equally pious, illustrious and learned names. The same testimony has been borne in the authorized doctrinal standards of the Episcopal, Presbyteiran, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, and other churches both of Europe and America. The same doctrine is still taught in the theological school of Geneva by the illustrious D’Aubigne and Gaussen, and with but here and there a solitary exception, by all the most learned professors and clergymen of the present day, connected with the various evangelical denominations of protestant Christians" (John Dowling, The History of Romanism, 2nd edition, 1852, pp. 646,47).
Hank Hanegraaff is obviously at liberty to disagree with the countless numbers of godly Christians who have identified Rome with the Harlot of Revelation 17 and with the spirit of antichrist, but he is misleading his listeners when he pretends that such a position has no possible foundation in truth and is merely the ravings of an "extremist."
Hanegraaff might argue that the Roman Catholic Church has changed and therefore is no longer the same wicked institution which was opposed by the men previously cited. To prove such a point, though, he would have to show us when the Roman Catholic Church renounced the blasphemous doctrines that caused the saints of old to identify it with Revelation 17. He would, further, have to show us when the Roman Catholic Church renounced the papal bulls and encyclicals which fueled the inquisition whereby the Christians of old saw Rome drunken "with the blood of the saints." He would further have to produce evidence that the Roman Catholic Church has renounced the declarations of the Council of Trent, which spewed forth curses upon those who accepted the Bible as the sole authority for faith and practice and who therefore rejected Roman dogmas, which set into motion the terrible counter-reformation, which proclaimed the Roman Catholic Church as the only true church of Jesus Christ, and which worked to codify age-old Catholic heresies such as the blasphemous doctrine that Catholic tradition is equal in authority to the Holy Scriptures and which raised to canonical authority the apocryphal books. The fact is that the Vatican Council II declarations of the 1960s and the New Catholic Catechism of the 1990s have reaffirmed the Council of Trent unequivocally. I have documented this in the book Evangelicals and Rome (Way of Life Literature, 1701 Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277. 360-675-8311).
Rome has not changed its heretical character. It is the Evangelical crowd which has changed. Refusing to practice biblical separation, they have become spiritually blind. If Hank Hanegraaff wants to look upon Rome with some favor and refuse to look upon it as the great anti-christian religious harlot that it is, that is his prerogative, but he is deceiving his listeners when he claims that old-fashioned Protestant and Baptist views on this matter are "extremist" or unscholarly.
Let me give a few more specific examples from church history of the "old fashioned" view:
At the end of the NINTH CENTURY, "TERGANDUS, Bishop of Treves, called the Pope antichrist, yea, a wolf, and Rome, Babylon" (Martyrs Mirror, 5th English edition, p. 240).
In the TENTH CENTURY, "ARNULPHUS, Bishop of Orleans, who had the greatest reputation of any man of his time, solidly maintained, from the canons and customs of the Church, that the Pope’s sentence was not to be waited for in that case ... ‘To desire an answer from him, is to consult the stones. ... Who do you think that man is, who sits in his high chair? he is, answers he, the Antichrist, who sits in the temple of God, and shews himself as God.’ And the rest of his discourse is a sufficient evidence that he took the Pope to be the Antichrist, and that he acknowledged that the mystery of iniquity was then coming in upon the Church" (Allix, p. 199).
"FRANCE, which first bestowed upon the Popes the temporal dominions they now enjoy, long since owned the Pope to be the Antichrist. For Gregory I. having declared, in twelve several letters written against the Patriarch of Constantinople, who assumed the title of Universal Bishop, that whoever claimed that title for himself was either the Antichrist, or the forerunner of him; it was not long after, that Pope Boniface III. persuaded Phocas to give him the title of Universal, which all his successors took up afterwards with joy, and affected to use it: for which reason the French, fearing lest they should fail of the respect which they had for St. Gregory, if they should accuse themselves of having so often made use of a false way of reasoning, at last called the Pope Antichrist. They were not therefore Manichees that were come from the east, in the eleventh century, to settle themselves in the west, who first set on foot this accusation; but they were the French, who, in a full council at Rheims, after the tenth century, called the Pope Antichrist" (Allix, pp. 198,199,200).
In the ELEVENTH CENTURY, BERENGER OF TOURS denounced Rome’s dogmas and maintained that the Roman Church was the See of Satan (George Faber, The History of the Ancient Vallenses and Albigenses, London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1838, p. 159).
In THE 12TH CENTURY there were many groups of separatist Bible believers who labeled Rome as the Harlot of Revelation and the antichrist. This included the PETROBUSIANS, the PAULICIANS, the HENRICIANS, the ARNOLDISTS, and the PARTERINES (Allix, The Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches; Robinson, Ecclesiastical Researches, etc.).
THE WALDENSIANS, throughout their long history, identified the Pope as the Antichrist. In the year 1100, the Waldensian document titled the Noble Lesson, was produced. It identified the pope as the "Antichrist, the predicted murderer of the Saints, hath already appeared in his true character, seated monarchally in the seven-hilled city." George Faber testifies: "Of the authenticity of the Noble Lesson, the beautifully simple production of a confessedly simple people, there can, I think with the learned Raynouard, be no reasonable doubt entertained" (Faber, The History of the Ancient Vallenses and Albigenses. p. 371).
"A Treatise Concerning Antichrist," dated roughly 1160, identified the Pope of Rome as the Antichrist. George Faber identifies this as a production of PETER THE VALDO. The manuscript was found among the Waldensians in the year 1658, by Sir Samuel Morland, who was appointed by British authorities to aid the Waldensians in their bitter persecutions. Morland brought the manuscript for "A Treatise Concerning Antichrist" and packets of other manuscripts back to England and deposited them in the University Library at Cambridge. They have since mysteriously disappeared, but many of the most important documents were copied and published prior to their loss.
Antichrist is the falsehood of eternal damnation, covered with the appearance of the truth and righteousness of Christ and his Spouse.—The iniquity of such a system is with all his ministers, great and small: and, inasmuch as they follow the law of an evil and blinded heart, such a Congregation, taken together, is called ANTICHRIST OR BABYLON, OR THE FOURTH BEAST, OR THE HARLOT, OR THE MAN OF SIN WHO IS THE SON OF PERDITION.
His first work is: that, the service of Latria, properly due to God alone, he perverts unto Antichrist himself and to his doings; to the poor creature, rational or irrational, sensible or insensible; to man, for instance, male or female saints departed this life; and to their images, or carcases, or relics. His doings are the sacraments, especially that of the Eucharist, which he worships equally with God and Christ, prohibiting the adoration of God alone.
His second work is: that he robs and deprives Christ of the merits of Christ, with the whole sufficiency of grace and justification and regeneration and remission of sins and sanctification and confirmation and spiritual nourishment; and imputes and attributes them, to his own authority, or to a form of words, or to his own performances, or to the saints and their intercession, or to the fire of Purgatory. Thus does he divide the people from Christ, and lead them away to the things already mentioned: that so they may not seek the things of Christ nor through Christ, but only the works of their own hands; and not through a living faith in God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, but through the will and the works of Antichrist, agreeably to his preaching that man’s salvation depends upon his own deeds.
His third work is: That he attributes the regeneration of the Holy Spirit to a dead outward faith; baptising children in that faith; and teaching, that, by the mere work of the outward consecration of baptism, regeneration may be procured.
This fourth work is: that he rests the whole religion of the people upon his Mass; for, leading them to hear it, he deprives them of spiritual and sacramental manducation.
His fifth work is: that he does everything, to be seen, and to glut his insatiable avarice.
His sixth work is: that he allows of manifest sins, without ecclesiastical censure.
His seventh work is : that he defends his unity not by the Holy Spirit, but by the secular power.
His eighth work is: that he hates, and persecutes, and searches after, and robs, and destroys, the members of Christ.
These things and many others are the cloak and vestment of Antichrist, by which he covers his lying wickedness, lest he should be rejected as a pagan.—But there is no other cause of idolatry, than a false opinion of grace and truth and authority and invocation and intercession, which this Antichrist has taken away from God, and which he has ascribed to ceremonies and authorities and a man’s own works and saints and purgatory (Faber, The History of the Ancient Vallenses and Albigenses, pp. 379-384).
Note that of the eight reasons given by the Waldensians for labeling Rome Antichrist or Mystery Babylon, the majority remain in force. Rome still requires prayer to and worship of things other than the Lord Jesus Christ. It still robs Christ of His merits as the sole Savior and Mediator by imputing salvation to the sacraments, etc. It still attributes regeneration to a dead outward faith. It still retains as the focus of its religion and the great trust of its people the dead and unscriptural mass. It still does everything to be seen, as is evident by its grand buildings, ceremonies, and garb. It still allows of manifest sins without ecclesiastical censure. Though it no longer defends its unity by the secular power as it did for 1,500 years it is only because the secular powers are not as susceptible today to her manipulations. In those parts of the world where Rome is still able to affect her way within the secular government (such as in parts of Mexico) she still tries to harass non-Catholic Christians and impose her religion through the force of law.
In 1206, at the conference of Montreal, the ALBIGENSES made the following confession: "That the Church of Rome was not the spouse of Christ, but the Church of confusion, drunk with the blood of the martyrs. That the polity of the Church of Rome was neither good nor holy, nor established by Jesus Christ" (Allix, p. 178). The Albigenses "expressly declared that they received the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, and that they rejected every doctrine that was not grounded upon, or authorized by them, or was contrary to any one point of doctrine that may be found there. According to which maxim, they confessed that they rejected and condemned all the ceremonies, traditions, and ordinances of the Church of Rome, which they declared to be a den of thieves, and the whore that is spoken of in the Revelation" (Allix, p. 194).
The BOHEMIANS, a colony of Waldenses in Bohemia, held the following beliefs, according to the Roman Inquisitor. This description was given in the 14th century but uses material from the 13TH CENTURY: "The first error, saith he, is that the Church of Rome is not the Church of Jesus Christ, but an assembly of wicked men, and the whore that sits upon the beast in the Revelation. ... They declare the Pope to be the head and ringleader of all errors" (Allix, pp. 242-259).
JOHN HUSS (1373-1415), in an epistle unto the people of Prague: "The more circumspect you ought to be, for that Anti-Christ laboureth the more to trouble you. Death shall swallow up many, but of the elect children of God the kingdom of God draweth near... Know ye, well-beloved, that Anti-Christ being stirred up against you deviseth divers persecutions" (John Foxe, Acts and Monuments, 8th edition 1641, III, p. 497,498).
Many of the LOLLARDS of the 14TH AND 15TH CENTURIES maintained that the pope was antichrist and identified the papacy with Revelation 17 (Allix, p. 230; John Thomson, The Later Lollards, pp. 76, 80, etc.).
All of the REFORMATION LEADERS considered the Pope the Antichrist, including Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Huss; their successors in the 16TH, 17TH, 18TH, AND 19TH CENTURIES persisted in this. Rome was considered the Mother of Harlots. The Westminster Confession of Faith exemplifies what all of the Protestant denominations believed: "There is no other Head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof: but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church, against Christ and all that is called God" (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1648, chapter 25, section 6).
On December 1, 1520, MARTIN LUTHER published two tracts in answer to the Bull of Leo X, one of which was entitled, "Martin Luther against the Execreable Bull of Anti-Christ." He charged the Pope and his cardinals of acting "the undoubted part of the Anti-Christ of the Scriptures."
Many of the EARLY PROTESTANT BIBLES (16th century) contained dramatic wood cuttings of the Scarlet Woman of Revelation 17, plainly identifying the Roman Catholic Church with this apostate religious system.
WILLIAM TYNDALE, the father of our old English Bible, identified the Pope as the Antichrist in his treatise The Practice of Prelates. Tyndale also labeled the Pope the antichrist in the Preface to the 1534 edition of his New Testament. "Though the Bishop of Rome and his sects give Christ these names (His rightful names), yet in that they rob Him of the effect and take the signification of His names unto themselves, and make of Him but a hypocrite, as they themselves, and make of Him but a hypocrite, as they themselves be, they be the right Anti-Christs, and deny both the Father and the Son; for they deny the witness that the Father bore unto His Son, and deprive the Son of all power and glory that His Father gave Him" (William Tyndale)
On September 9, 1560, Pastor JEAN LOUIS PASCHALE of Calabria, just before he was burned alive in the presence of Pope Pius IV in Rome, turned to the pope and "arraigned him as the enemy of Christ, the persecutor of his people, and the Anti-Christ of Scripture, and concluded by summoning him and all his cardinals to answer for their cruelties and murders before the throne of the Lamb" (J.A. Wylie, History of the Waldenses, c1860, p. 120).
THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, in its Book of Homilies, makes the following statement in regard to Romanism: "Which the idolatrous Church [of Rome] understandeth well enough. For she being indeed not only an harlot (as the Scripture calleth her), but also a foul, filthy, old withered harlot (for she is indeed of ancient years) and understanding her lack of natural and true beauty, and great loathsomeness which of herself she hath, doth (after the custom of such harlots) paint herself, and deck and tire herself with gold, pearl, stone, and all kind of precious jewels, that she, shining with the outward beauty and glory of them, may please the foolish phantasy of fond lovers, and so entice them to spiritual fornication with her; who, if they saw her (I will not say naked) but in simple apparel, would abhor her, as the foulest and filthiest harlot that ever was seen: according as appeareth by the description of the garnishing of the great strumpet of all strumpets, ‘the mother of whoredom,’ set forth by St. John in his Revelation" (Homily of the Peril of Idolatry, Part Third).
BISHOP NICHOLAS RIDLEY, who was burnt during the reign of Queen Mary in 1556, then declared: "The See of Rome is the seat of Satan, and the bishop of the same, that maintained the abominations thereof, is Anti-Christ himself indeed; and for the same causes this See at this day is the same that St. John calls, in his Revelation, Babylon, or the whore of Babylon, and spiritual Sodom and Egypt, the mother of fornications and abominations on earth."
WILLIAM LATIMER, a Greek scholar who loved the Word of God during the time of Tyndale, said, "Do you not know that the Pope is very Antichrist, whom the Scripture speaketh of? But beware what you say; for if you shall be perceived to be of that opinion, it will cost you your life. I have been an officer of his but I have given it up, and defy him and all his works" (Christopher Anderson, Annals of the English Bible, I, pp. 35,36).
In his 1893 work titled Union with Rome, CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, bishop of Lincoln in the Church of England stated the view which prevailed among Protestants at that time: "… we tremble at the sight, while we read the inscription, emblazoned in large letters, ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great,’ written by the hand of St. John, guided by the Holy Spirit of God, on the forehead of the Church of Rome" (Wordsworth, Union with Rome, p. 62).
WALTER WALSH, author of The Secret History of the Oxford Movement, 1899, testified as follows: "In common with most of the learned Divines of the Church of England since the Reformation and—as we have seen—in accordance with the teaching of her Homilies, we object to Reunion with the Papacy because the Church of Rome is the Babylon of the Revelation." (The Secret History of the Oxford Movement, p. 370).
These examples could be multiplied almost endlessly. Further, old-line Protestants, Baptists, and other Fundamentalist Christians continue TODAY to identify Rome with Revelation 17. There are still millions of Christians who consider Rome the Babylon of Revelation. These include Bible Presbyterians, some of the Lutheran synods, Bible Methodists, Brethren groups, fundamental Baptists, and many others.
We definitely believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the partial fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 17 of a one-world religious Harlot. This is not to say that Revelation 17 is entirely fulfilled by Roman Catholicism. This prophecy will not be completed until the reign of the Antichrist just prior to the coming of the Lord, and Rome will be joined by a conglomeration of other apostate churches and organizations, the end result, no doubt, of the present Ecumenical Movement. Even so, every feature of this religious Harlot is found in the Roman Catholic Church.
We would ask Hank Hanegraaff this: Does the Roman Catholic Church not have a golden cup in her hand? (The papal chalice which the pope uses for the mass is made of gold, and by Catholic liturgical law every mass chalice until recent times was at least gold plated if not entirely of gold.) Is the Roman Catholic Church not filled with idolatrous "abominations"? Is the Roman Catholic Church not decked with gold, and precious stones and pearls? Is the Roman Catholic Church not clothed in purple and scarlet? Has the history of the Roman Catholic Church not been characterized by gross moral licentious and fornication? (The history of the popes and the "celibate" priesthood and nunnery is so morally filthy that the full details have never been written. Even to this day the Catholic priesthood is a den of iniquity.) Are the Roman Catholic dogmas such as calling the pope "His Holiness" and calling Mary "the immaculate Mediatrix" "names of blasphemy"? Have the kings of the earth not committed fornication with the Roman Catholic Church? Is the Roman Catholic Church not "drunken with the blood of the saints"?