Catholicism... Christian or Cult?
Catholics And Protestants How Big Are The Differences? The ultimate factor in deciding the legitimacy of the Catholic Church is its presentation of the gospel, its answer to the age-old question of "What must I do to be saved?"
Sola Scriptura The Latin "Sola Scriptura" means Scripture Only, or Scripture alone. Protestants maintain that Scripture alone is the ultimate authority. Catholics maintain that Scripture, by itself, is insufficient and that the teaching authority of the church and tradition are authorities commensurate with the Scriptures. Both positions cannot be right.
The Catholic Catechism Which Pope John Paul himself calls “a sure norm for teaching the faith” deviates considerably from what Scripture teaches. Roman Catholic dogma based upon tradition often flatly contradicts God's holy, infallible Word, the Bible.
Catholicism.. A Cult? Cultism is any major deviation from orthodox Christianity on many cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, So does Catholicism qualify?
Roman Catholics, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses When we study the doctrines of Roman Catholicism, Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses we discover that they have more in common with each another than with the Bible. Each religion exalts the name of Jesus Christ and claims to be Bible-based, yet each one has perverted "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 4).
The Truth About Catholicism Is the Roman Catholic Church the one true Church? Are its past and present teachings and practices Scriptural? How has the Roman Catholic Church changed through the centuries? How much has it changed in our lifetime? Have these changes been basic or superficial? Where is the Roman Catholic Church headed?
Why It Matters One of the most frustrating aspects of addressing the Roman Catholic gospel is the prevailing ignorance regarding what Catholicism actually teaches. Most evangelicals are clueless regarding Catholicism. And many practicing Catholics (including a surprisingly high number of priests and nuns) simply do not know the actual extent of the salvation requirements of their Church.
Catholicism and Ecumenism
The Two Faces Of Catholicism On the one hand the Vatican has made a concerted effort since 1965 to bring their "separated brothers back home to "holy mother the church." On the other hand the Catholic church fraternizes .. joins in prayer with ... and actively endorses other religions.. Pope John Paul II's bizarre involvement with and approval of other anti-Christian religions has caused even many Catholics to call Pope John Paul II the Anti Pope.... However many Protestants see this as a much more sinister sign.
The Papacy and Islam In his message to the predominately Muslim nation of Kazakhstan twelve days after the horrors of September 11th, 2001, the Pope declared, “‘There is one God’. The Apostle proclaims before all else the absolute oneness of God. This is a truth which Christians inherited from the children of Israel and which they share with Muslims: it is faith in the one God, ‘Lord of heaven and earth’.
“... the popes have always been the very antithesis of Christ. The Pope is welcomed by presidents, kings, and prime ministers, and hailed by millions wherever he goes; whereas Christ was mocked by a mob crying, "Away with him, crucify him!" Christ had one robe, in which He slept on the ground the night before His crucifixion because He had no house; the Pope has hundreds of the finest silk robes embroidered with gold and lives in more than one palace, two of them with 1,100 rooms each. Christ gives salvation as a free gift which He paid for in full by His sufferings on the cross; the Pope claims partial salvation is dispensed through sacrificing Christ upon RCC altars (thousands of times each day). The contrast between Christ and His professed "Vicar" could not be greater. (A Great Betrayal. Dave Hunt)
Upon This Rock Catholic Tradition maintains that Jesus in Matthew 16:17-18 said He would build His church on Peter who was ostensibly the first pope. However a closer look at where the incident took place sheds much light on the meaning of the Saviour’s words.
How Convincing Is The Roman Catholic View That Peter Was The First Pope? It must involve some very elaborate armchair gymnastics to prove from the Bible that the Lord Jesus appointed Peter to be the first pope, thus establishing the papal throne. If anything, the very fact that the Lord appointed twelve apostles is itself good reason to cast doubts upon the whole idea of one, and only one, pope…. If the Lord Jesus Christ had intended to establish the supreme authority of Peter, and to have that authority perpetuated in the bishops at Rome, then it is only reasonable to assume that He would have distinctly informed His followers
The New Testament’s Denial Of The Papacy Basically, the Catholic apologist reads something between the lines that cannot be proven to be a part of the thinking of the writers of the New Testament. How credible is it, then, when the Catholic Church claims that the papacy is a "clear doctrine" of scripture that was "ever understood" by the Christian church? It's not credible at all. Considering that Purgatory, indulgences, the Immaculate Conception, and other speculative doctrines are founded upon the alleged authority of the Pope, the fact that the doctrine of the papacy is so speculative.
Five Historical Realities That Are Against An Early Papacy In light of five realities of history, the Roman Catholic Church's claims about the papacy are historically untenable. Catholics are encouraged to believe in transubstantiation, Purgatory, indulgences, the Immaculate Conception, and other doctrines because of papal authority, yet that authority is without foundation.
Were The Early Christians Roman Catholics? The Roman Catholic Church claims that the early Christians were all Roman Catholics, and that (aside from the Orthodox Church) all Christians were Roman Catholics until the Protestant Reformation. It claims that the Apostle Peter was the first Pope, ruling from Rome. It also claims that it gave us the Bible. But do these claims stand up to the test of history? Or are they false credentials?
The Fallibility Of Papal Infallibility While the Catholic Church tries to avoid responsibility for papal errors by defining papal infallibility in a vague way, it demands obedience to the Pope at all times, as though every word coming from his mouth is infallible
History of the Papacy An Overview... How the papacy evolved from a fellowship of believers under Christ Jesus, to an institution dominated by a hierarchy, with the most powerful individual being the Bishop of Rome
The Fraudulent Papacy History – not anti-Catholic "heretics" – is the Vatican’s most relentless, indefatigable enemy.
John Paul II has been insistent on his own authority being supreme and infallible, and upholding such dogmas such as Mary being the "All Holy One". Paradoxically this intransigent Pope is also the Champion of the faith for many Evangelicals. As more and more seem captivated by the one who calls himself, "The Holy Father". It is necessary therefore to analyze the accomplishments of John Paul II in the light of the Word of God, the Scriptures. (Also See DEATH OF A POPE)
Is the Mass the Real Sacrifice of Christ? Is the Mass a real sacrifice? This is the question that most Catholics seldom discuss, but one that is nonetheless central to their faith. In this month’s article, Jim McCarthy examines the Church’s answer and how Pope John Paul II defends it from Scripture.
Christ’s Work of Redemption is Finished, Not Continuing The Mass is at the center of Roman Catholic doctrine and devotion. According to the Church, the Mass is the ongoing sacrifice of Christ on the cross. How does this Catholic practice measure up beside God’s standard of truth, the Bible?
The Mass - Miracle or Mendacity? The Mass is an important part of Roman Catholic worship. Greg Durel explains what the Mass involves, and how it compares to biblical teaching.
The Sacrifice of the Mass - Blessing or Bondage? Many former Catholics have described their experience of going to weekly Mass as a prison sentence, something they had to do in order to avoid the penalty of a serious sin. Mike Gendron explains why participation is so compulsory for Catholics.
TRANSUBSTANTIATION [All Four Articles are On One Page]
Is The Roman Catholic View of the Eucharist Supported by the Historical Evidence? The author of Hebrews discusses Christ's sacrifice on the cross at length, and he repeatedly refers to it as a past, completed event, one that was only offered once and is never to be offered again. While Catholics try to reconcile the book of Hebrews with the concept of offering Christ's sacrifice repeatedly through the mass, there remains a fact they can't deny.
Is John 6:66 evidence of transubstantiation? Not only does the Catholic interpretation of John 6 miss the theme of the passage, but it also rests on some bad assumptions. Did Jesus really let the people in John 6:66 leave Him without a clarification of what He meant? No, He didn't. In verses 35 and 63, Jesus reveals that He isn't referring to actual eating and drinking of flesh and blood. If some who heard Him missed or forgot what He was saying in those verses, that was a problem with them, not with Jesus.
Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood if Jesus was speaking in literal language, then this teaching becomes the most blasphemous and deceptive hoax any religion could impose on its people. There is no middle ground. Therefore we are left with a question of utmost importance: Was the message Jesus conveyed to the Jewish multitude to be understood as literal or figurative? There are at least seven convincing biblical reasons why this passage is to be taken figuratively.
Eucharistic Adoration: Worship or Idolatry? To teach that the incorruptible, almighty and holy God is contained in a corruptible wafer that can be handled, eaten, digested and expelled is indeed the most irreverent, desecrating and profane form of idolatry. When Isaiah was confronted with God’s holiness he cried out, "Woe is me, I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips..." (Isaiah 6:5). When asked what happens to Jesus after the Eucharist is consumed, priests try to explain the unexplainable by suggesting the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus departs from the Eucharist as it is being digested.
Mary Worship The Pope bows in front of a painting of Mary. A million pilgrims walking in a procession, following a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and singing songs in her honor. Several million people in a procession following a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. People weep and raise their arms towards Mary. The largest assembly of bishops and cardinals since the Second Vatican Council, gathered together to join Pope John Paul II in solemnly consecrating the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Mary... Queen of Heaven? Catholics have gone to tremendous lengths to establish Mary as this powerful, compassionate, 'Queen of Heaven', whose role it is to intercede with her Son on our behalf. However, the examples they use to prove the point are either inaccurate or, at best, require a vast stretch of the imagination. In many cases, the Hebrew words used have been badly misinterpreted and/or mistranslated. For example, because the author of Hebrews applies Psalm 45:9 to Christ, Catholics believe that it is Mary who stands at His right hand arrayed in gold. The catch is that the Hebrew word used means a queen from cohabitation. Many others will use the wedding in Cana as an example of how Mary intercedes for people. But, is this exactly what happened? And is the point of the story the efficacy of Mary's ‘intercession’? Catholics also believe that the woman standing on a crescent moon with twelve stars around her head in Revelation 12, depicts the 'heavenly' status of the Virgin Mary. But, once again... is this true?
But here is what I find so tragic. In our myopic effort to enthrone Mary as some kind of perfect queen, and in our equally short-sighted efforts to refute these unscriptural ideas, we have forgotten that Mary and, to a lesser degree, her cousin Elizabeth, are actually outstanding examples of perfect disciples. Examples we would all be well advised to emulate. I find it wryly amusing that it is a Protestant that drew my attention to the qualities that the Bible attributes to her, rather than some inane flights of fancy that, for example, Ambrose of Milan, indulged in. (It seemed like all too many of the early church fathers preferred rhetoric to Biblical truths. Elaborate, pretentious ideas trumped accuracy).
Mary Who? The appeal of Mary is a growing phenomenon which needs to be addressed biblically, having spread far beyond the traditional borders of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Mary, who has at least a thousand times more shrines dedicated to her than even her Son, is rapidly becoming the "queen of ecumenism," someone whom diverse religions can honor, rally around, and even worship without offending their respective theologies. The Los Angeles Times reported that "A growing number of Americans from all Christian denominations are reaching out to the Virgin Mary as a comforting conduit of spirituality and a symbol of peace in troubled times. ...It's not just Catholics who are interested in Mary and following the apparitions.
The Real Mary of The Bible We know the Mary of the Bible was very godly, willing to risk her life as well as her future marriage and be the topic of slanderous gossip to obey God. She also had faith to believe for the impossible, submitted to her husband in the Lord, raised her children in the truth of God, pointed people away from herself to the teachings and directives of Jesus and mourned at the foot of the cross for the way Jesus was treated as he was dying, and waited patiently in the upper room for the Holy Spirit with the other 120, yet there is much more information in God’s word about other servants of God, such as Moses, Abraham, the apostle Paul, etc. Unlike others, she never wrote part of the Bible or died a martyr of the faith....
Apparitions of The Virgin Mary Devotion to the "Blessed Virgin Mary" (as she is commonly called by Catholics) has been a centerpiece of Catholic belief and piety for centuries. However, the last century and a half has seen a dramatic increase in Marian devotion. However the whole issue is considerably more complex than a straight choice between Divine revelation on the one hand and demonic delusion on the other. Several other factors seemed to play a part in varying degrees of significance at different shrines—psychological factors, the question of ecclesiastical manipulation and papal involvement, nationalist and political elements, the presence of something much older than Christianity, namely the worship of the goddess, and finally, the possibility of a link-up with New Age syncretism and neo-paganism.
Purgatory This is a foreign doctrine that is brought into the Scriptures and then someone searches for a hint somewhere to justify the doctrine. In fact, the Scripture teaches quite differently--the same author to the same people. In 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul says, "I prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." No intermediate stage. Paul says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Is There a Purgatory? The Catholic Church claims that a person can be forgiven of a sin, yet have to suffer to further atone for the "temporal" portion of that sin. Supposedly, the eucharist, an indulgence, or something else can be offered to complete the atonement for a sin that has been forgiven. Yet, the Bible teaches: "Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin." - Hebrews 10:18.
The Use of Images in Worship One of the issues that have divided Catholics and Protestants concerns the use of images in worship, termed in Catholic circles as the veneration of images. To Protestants, this is plain and simple idolatry which is condemned by God in Scripture. According to Catholic theology, icons of Christ (as well as of Mary, the angels, and all the Saints) do not violate the intent of the first commandment.
Catholic Mystics Catholic mystics were sincere men and women who loved the Lord, but were very deceived. They made a connection between suffering and intimacy with God, which is not to be found in the experiences of anyone in the Bible, even among those that had an an extraordinary relationship with God. There is no record of anyone whipping themselves or doing penance to mortify their flesh.. This presents a very distorted view of the nature and character of God.
The Myth Of Original Sin If the doctrine of original sin were true, sin would be a calamity rather than a crime. Could a sinful nature be the crime of him upon whom it is entailed without his knowledge or consent? If this doctrine were true, the sinner would be the most unfortunate creature in the universe. To blame him or call him criminal for his sins would be absurd, and to punish him for his sins would be a cruel injustice. Most Christians who profess to believe in the doctrine of original sin are ignorant of the fact that the doctrine has not always existed, that it evolved, and had its roots in a heathen philosophy.
What To Expect From Roman Catholic Apologetics And How To Respond To It Most professing evangelicals don't know much about the differences between evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism. Evangelicals who are concerned with the errors of Catholicism are often poorly equipped by books, tracts, and other material that either misrepresent the Catholic Church or use weak arguments against it.
Reaching Catholics With The Gospel The majority of Nuns and Priests and former Catholics that I know who have been saved out of Catholicism all testify to the fact that no Bible believer ever approached them about their salvation. Christ’s commandment to “go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature” is a commandment, not a request!
Holding Hands With The Pope Did the martyrs of old die in vain as they protested the false teachings of the Catholic Church and were burned at the stake for their efforts? Were Hugh Latimer, John Knox, and Martin Luther simpletons who failed to recognize the marvelous benefits of ecumenism and who, instead, boldly attacked the multiplied errors of Rome?
Contemplative Spirituality: The twentieth century, which has seen so many revolutions, is now witnessing the rise of a new mysticism within Christianity. Contemplative or Centering Prayer is a practice derived from Eastern mysticism. Precious Biblical concepts like God's grace and love are actually replaced by vague notions of wholeness through an eastern religious meditation technique... Since, regardless of personal belief, something does transpire during mystical experiences, the question that springs to mind is what can explain this phenomena. To say it is the Holy Spirit is just so much tosh, since there is not one, not two, but seven common themes of mysticism between Roman Catholic, Protestant, Hindu and American agnostic mystical experiences
Christianity Today recently carried an article entitled Vatican: Jews do not wait in vain for Messiah, which said...
“According to a new Vatican document, recently released in English, Jews should continue to anticipate the coming of Messiah.
The Pontifical Biblical Commission released the English version of "The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible" in May. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger signed the work.
"The Jewish Messianic wait is not in vain," the statement says. "It can become for us Christians a strong stimulus to maintain alive the eschatological dimension of our faith. We, like them, live in expectation. The difference is in the fact that for us, he who will come will have the traits of that Jesus who has already come and is already active and present among us."” ...
The document is the latest of several that some believe suggest the church is softening its stance toward Jews and their salvation. For example, several scholars said Dominus Iesus, a 2000 document that reaffirms that salvation comes through Christ and the church, does not apply to Jews the way it does to members of other non-Christian religions.
... “Darrell Bock, professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, noted that the new statement seems to imply belief in a two-covenant view of salvation. "This would undercut evangelism to Jews and does not make sense of the efforts of the earliest church to reach out to Jews as seen in the New Testament," Bock told Christianity Today. "On the key question of whether Judaism can save, the document is very unclear."” [LaTonya Taylor. Vatican: Jews do not wait in vain for Messiah. August 5, 2002. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/august5/18.24.html]
(See Two Covenant Theory of The Atonement)