Lucia's Blog: THE FALLEN CHURCH OF ROME - PART ONE
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, October 10, 2015

THE FALLEN CHURCH OF ROME - PART ONE

"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth."
(I Timothy 4:1-3)


THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE BIBLE


The new pope of the Roman Catholic Church has made news lately with his visit to our halls of government. Conservative politicians find him liberal.  The greater issue, however, is his claim to be the Vicar of Christ.  The things that he stands for are directly condemned not only by Jesus but also by the prophecies of the apostles of Christ.  Allow me to share with you my analysis of the issues represented by the world renowned Pope Francis.

I was raised as a devout Catholic and was mostly educated by nuns until 8th grade.  My father was a Catholic but not devout.  My Catholic mother was raised by nuns and in turn raised us to be devout Catholics.  I went to confession before the priest, took communion, attended mass every Sunday and studied Catechism and many other things.  I also served as an altar girl.  Although my mother was a devout Catholic, she always encouraged her children to read and study the Bible only, never to worship idols and above all to love God alone and His Word.  She taught us to be faithful servants. She is the reason I began searching for the Truth (the whole truth and nothing but the truth) since she was searching for it as well.  By the grace of God, my mother and I found the Truth that set us free.  I had been blinded by all the deceptions and false teachings, but my eyes were opened.  For my faith in Christ today, I owe much to my mother by the grace of God.

Before my mother and I began our search for the Truth, there were many things that caused us to suspect the fallacy of the Catholic Church and begin our journey to seek the true church that Jesus our Lord purchased with His blood.  We left the Catholic Church because of their deception and hypocrisy but ultimately because their teachings contradicted the inspired Word of God. Since Catholics disregard the Word of God, that became the most obvious reason for us to leave this false doctrine.  

It is a sad fact that so many souls in the world are lost, blind and without the Truth to set them free from the bondage of sin and error. The Roman Catholic Church has not made it easier to many of these souls since she exercises tremendous force in advancing her carnal religious views not only in the political arena but also in the hearts of a devastated number of followers who are under her dominion.

In my study, I will consider:  The Definition of a Roman Catholic, the rise of the Roman Catholic Church, Developments in Church Practice, and some of the Beliefs and False Doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.


I.    The Definition of a Roman Catholic

The Roman Catholic Church believes that,

  • They are the true church that Christ built or established in 30 A.D.
  • Their appointed Pope is God’s appointed head of His church on earth.  He is the supreme authority.  He has God’s given authority to rule and to teach.
  • Therefore, they claim to have all authority to make laws.
  • The Church’s organization is superior to the Bible.
  • The Pope’s teachings and decrees are equal to the Bible in authority.  
  • The Church and her councils (popes, bishops, and priests) are the only infallible interpreters of the Bible.
  • The Traditions of Catholicism are equal to the Bible in authority.
  • All Catholics believe that the Church’s theocratic organization determines what doctrine is to be taught and practiced.
  • The Bible is just one of many sources of religious authority.

The Roman Catholic Church is an apostate church that sustains many false doctrines, false teachings that began to develop as early as 18 centuries ago, although some doctrines are not even a century old.  There is a total of 67 Roman Catholic denominations in the world.  Likewise, there are at least 22 different liturgies within the Roman Catholic Church and 66 independent schisms.


II. Rise of Catholicism

  • What Happened to the Lord’s Church?

The first-century church was devoted to the apostles’ teachings.  Everything the church did came directly from the authority God gave the apostles.  These first century Christians owned no buildings in which to meet to worship.  They were not concerned about bishops, dioceses or councils.  The Bible never authorized the bishop of Rome, the monastic life, priestly celibacy or catechisms.  Yet, in the second and later centuries, the faith was overshadowed by many such issues.  So, 
  1. What happened to the early church?  
  2. What caused such drastic change from a mere body of Christ’s believers led by the Holy Spirit (the pure doctrine of Christ) to an institution mainly concerned with power and control?

It is sad to imagine that the church departed from the divine pattern authorized by God, causing the faith of God to suffer overall.  Perhaps this will help us to see the terrible consequences to the Lord’s church so that we may avoid making the same mistakes.  Consider some of their failures:

The practice of monarchical bishops was against the divine pattern.  The New Testament describes a plurality of elders serving in each church.  The bishops (literally overseers), elders (presbyters), and pastors (all three terms are used interchangeably) were specifically commanded not to lord over the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).  There is nowhere in the Bible that one can see a hierarchal system of priest-bishop-archbishop-cardinal-pope.  When any system of that sort develops, it begins to form a life of its own, whose main interest is protection and continuation of the same.

Even though, Jesus said not to call anyone on earth your father (Matt. 23:9), the priests and the pope came to be called that.  The apostle Paul also said that it was demonic to forbid marriage and demand the abstention from certain foods (I Tim. 4:3).  Moreover, Jesus said that His followers were to be the salt and the light of the earth (Matt. 5:13-16).  Paul also declared that we should expect to associate with sinners in the world (1 Cor. 5:13-16).  However, the monastics withdrew from any association with the world so that they might pursue a form of personal holiness they perceived to be desirable.  In doing so, they made a distinction among Christians that the Bible does not teach or authorize.

Monasticism was an attempt to address the problem of worldliness in the church.  It became a poor answer to the problem.  The best answer to the problem would have been to confront the error and worldliness in the church, turning away from it as Christians who must be living lights in this world of darkness.  Paul declared that self-made religion, self-abasement and severe treatment of the body (commandments and teachings of men) have the appearance of wisdom “but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”  (Col. 2:21-23).

Obviously, the church in the second century and the following centuries tried to follow these practices of worldliness and error as the thing to do.  This, of course, is what happens when man is led by his own thinking and reasoning rather than God’s ways and thoughts.  (Prov. 14:12; Isaiah 55:8-9).


1.    The Influence of the World

The early church went through some drastic changes that showed the influence of the world.  The changes are seen in the development of church hierarchy.  They seemed to have forgotten the Lordship of Jesus and the divine pattern ordained by God that would have protected them from error and later apostasy.  This divine pattern was meant to be followed!  Lest we forget, Christians are to be governed by God’s rule.  We must grow in the knowledge of Christ becoming imitators of Him. Certainly, we must not follow man-made additions or rules.  If we ignore and disobey the Lordship of Christ and His Law, we detract from the power of the pure Gospel of Christ and complications and chaos will arise.  It is imperative for Christians not to pursue a policy of control that is not what God has ordained.  Why?  Because it would prevent them from growing in Christ’s doctrine which gives us eternal salvation.

Another problem the church had to face was that the hierarchy insisted that all Christians had to follow their system to reach God and go to heaven.  Each congregation of simple New Testament Christians observing the doctrinal teachings and organization taught by the apostles was declared heretical and pressured to conform to the human system.  Paul warned the brethren in Galatia of the false teachers who were eagerly seeking them, “not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them.”  (Galatians 4:17).  In other words, the false teachers in Galatia claimed that their system of rule was best for the Christians.  In fact, it was best for these false teachers since it gave them a much bigger group of followers over whom they could have more control and power.  Such a system or approach is very far from confessing Jesus as Lord of lords and King of kings.


2.    The Problem and Power of Tradition

One of the problems that the church faced from the beginning was the power of tradition.  Tradition (customary ways of doing things) is not necessarily bad.  In fact, the apostle Paul praised the church in Corinth for holding “firmly to the traditions, just I delivered them to you.”  (I Cor. 11:2). Assembling with other Christians every Lord’s Day, praying at a regular time every day, studying and meditating on the Word of God every day, gathering with family members to celebrate certain special days are all examples of good traditions since they encourage each other.

However, we must be careful since traditions can also hurt the church and even violate the Word of God.  Our Lord Jesus said that keeping man-made traditions can cause others to neglect and ignore God’s commandments.  Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, the Jewish leaders, who would hold on to the tradition of giving money to the Temple rather than honoring their mother and father supplying what they needed (Mark 7:6-13).  They obviously violated God’s commandment. 

Perhaps, the tradition of giving to the Temple had an honest beginning, namely to enable the maintenance of God’s holy place.  However, the Jewish leaders enforced such a practice, using their human reasoning and thinking to imply that giving to the Temple was in fact honoring one’s parents when in reality that was not what God had ordained by the fifth commandment at all.  This is something they invented out of their stubborn and carnal heart.  When man insists on keeping man-made traditions, such traditions become more important than the Word of God, keeping all believers from obeying His Word.  To these Christians, it was easier and wiser to follow the lead of the bishop of Rome rather than the leadership of Christ.  These Christians should have known they were going to be in an awkward and difficult situation when they found out that their bishop was wrong, as inevitably he was.

Unfortunately, the monastic life created another hierarchy of believers. Church buildings began to dominate the time and money of their believers (fellowship).  Baptizing infants changed the meaning of saving faith, of baptism and church membership.  Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus, became nearly another deity.   When something is done over and over again, being justified, we have what is called a “tradition.”  Let us make sure we keep traditions that are for our edification and not our destruction.

As we can see, the commandments and inventions gradually led to apostasy and the development of the Roman Catholic Church.  And even though many men tried to reform the Catholic Church, bringing her back to the Truth, back to the Light, their efforts only resulted in the establishment of more man-made churches led by false teaching.  Their man-made efforts only gave birth to denominationalism along with their false doctrines.  Denominationalism is the offspring of Catholicism.  The true and pure church that Jesus died for and was founded by Him and the apostles in the first century was neither Catholic nor Protestant, but merely the church that belonged to Christ composed of Christians.


3.    Keeping the Faith

We are surrounded by many influences that appear to be good.   The way in which some churches have always done things seems to be the only way to do it.  Whatever is popular, easy, feels good in our culture seems to have great attraction.  But, those who confess to being followers of Christ obey God’s laws and do not conform to the standards of this world, our culture.  The better way is always less popular and more difficult to follow, but God still demands that we follow His ways that we may be equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

We must trust and love God’s Word with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength.  His Word is sufficient for us, and we must seek to follow it to receive salvation.  (James 4:4).


III.    Developments in Church Practice

  • Changes in Church Organization

Christ’s church remained pure and uncorrupted for some time until apostasy (the one that was predicted) began to sneak into the church, fulfilling the prophecy we read in Acts 20:29-30; II Thess. 2:1-4; I Tim. 4:1-3.  Because of human doctrines, traditions, changes, and commandments, many of the Lord’s churches apostatized giving place to the Roman Catholic Church.

The pure and uncorrupted local churches that Jesus established beginning on the day of Pentecost, the pattern that we find in the book of Acts, began to change significantly after the days of the apostles. Though a great number of practices and faith still existed by the 2nd century even among the apostate churches, the divine pattern that characterized the New Testament church of the first century began to change throughout many regions that had been converted to Christ.  The simple pattern of independent congregations, overseen by local elders (also called bishops) began to change as well. These church leaders were not concerned anymore about the Lordship of Christ and His divine pattern.  Indeed, the driving control of the hierarchy began to flourish:  control of church practices; control of error and false teachings; and control and conform of the lives of Christians into a more manageable pattern.

The Biblical pattern in the New Testament was for each local congregation to be overseen by elders who were also called bishops (overseers) or shepherds (pastors) in Acts 20:28 and I Peter 5:1-2. Around 100 AD, some congregations were still recognizing elders or bishops as those who presided and were considered the wisest men in the congregation.  By the late second century, the established pattern ordained by Jesus began to change.  Bishops began to claim authority over still larger areas as Christians looked for guidance.  These bishops began to enforce their authority with the claim of apostolic succession.  They claimed that their authority came in a direct line from the apostles.  Alas, not many Christians were willing to challenge such false authority.  

Consequently, the Lord’s church began to develop a hierarchy (sacred rule) of leadership.  

  • First, a division arose between the ordinary people in the church (the Greek word for “people” is “laos,” from which we get laity) and those who were qualified to lead the services in the church. (The Greek word for priest is “hiereus” (1 Peter 2:9) and “heritage” (1 Peter 5:3) is from the Greek “cleros,” from which we get clergy. Both words in context refer to all Christians or the saints.)  
  • Next, a hierarchy (rule of priests) grew among the clergy.  A priest was now declared to be qualified to perform the rites and rituals of a parish or local district of the church.  A bishop can oversee a diocese of several parishes.  An archbishop was to oversee several dioceses.

Isn’t it something that the church that our Lord purchased with His blood has now copied significantly the political divisions of the Roman Empire?  How?  In 303 Diocletian had divided the 120 provinces into twelve diocese or administrative divisions.  Rome had local officials, provincial governors, and diocesan administrators.  The church straightforwardly followed such arrangement in the name of control and oversight.

Of course, a hierarchy needs someone to be on top of the pyramid.  The question arose as to whether it was going to be a council of bishops (a super-eldership over the entire universal church) or one bishop, just as local churches (congregations) were overseen by a single bishop or elder.  The bishop of Rome could now claim all authority to oversee the church the same way the emperor oversaw the empire.  The bishop of Rome (head of the church in the capital city) could now claim all authority, having great influence and power over the church.

Ultimately, the bishop of Rome, the capital city of the empire, defended and supported his position by blatantly claiming that the apostle Peter was the first bishop of Rome when he was there.  This claim of apostolic succession from Peter is the foundation or beginning of the pope’s authority to make all decisions for the Roman Catholic Church.  Thus, the position of bishop of the capital city of the empire was rooted on the false doctrine of apostolic succession converting Jesus’ kingdom into an earthly government ruled by men.  

This claim was first made in 354 AD and was opposed by bishops in the east.  Sadly, when the bishop in Rome claimed authority and was deferred by others, the pattern was established.  The Pope became the “Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ and the ‘visible’ Head of the Roman Catholic Church.”  Eventually, his authority became supreme in all matters of faith and morals as head of the church.  As a result of this, in recent years Roman Catholics began to believe heartily that the Pope is infallible when speaking “ex-cathedra” or “from the throne” on church doctrine.  The truth is that Peter never claimed to be infallible.  How pathetic it is for the Catholic Church to claim such establishing control and dismiss those who differ.

When Jesus spoke in Matthew 16:19 of the keys of the kingdom, He was making reference to Peter being the first one to proclaim the gospel message of Christ opening the door with the keys of knowledge, so that all could enter the kingdom.  It had nothing to do with the power of the bishop of Rome to lead or control the church.

There is no evidence that shows that either Peter or Paul started the church in Rome.  Perhaps, the visitors from Rome mentioned in Acts 2:10 might have started the church there in Rome.

By the fifth century, the bishop of Rome was called the "Papa or Pope," the maximum father figure in the Church.  This is the origin of the word “papacy.”  To show how much influence the Roman Empire had, the pope was also called Pontifex Maximus or highest priest (one of the titles held by the pagan emperor).

A council of bishops took place in Arles, France in 314 to discuss the condition of priests who had denied the faith and had applied for reinstatement.  The Council of Arles decided “once a priest, always a priest” reinstating them.  This was not a church-wide council.

In 455, Emperor Valentinian III decreed that all western bishops were to submit to the pope.  This decree was disregarded somewhat in the West but in the East totally.  Such a decree was to enforce and reflect the bishop of Rome as the head of the Church.  

  • Councils and Creeds

The church had to face the threats of both false religions (outside) as well as false teaching (inside).  In the second century, Gnosticism (emphasis on inner knowledge) and skepticism of the material world, grew, influencing the view of many Christians.  Among these Gnostics, there were those who denied that Jesus really came in the flesh.  To them, anything that involved the flesh was inherently evil.  Other mystery religions were also growing, influencing the Christian’s thinking.

Councils were summoned in matters of controversy that had arisen in the church whenever the emperor wanted the bishops to make a decision or resolve anything.  One of these was Constantine’s council at Nicaea in 325.  These councils were of great importance because,
  1. They demonstrated the power and influence that the bishops had over the churches.  
  2. They established church doctrine by council rather than just simply studying the Bible.  
  3. The creeds (from the Latin credo, meaning “I believe”) defined orthodoxy (authorized doctrine, practice) and thus exerting control over what would be considered faithful.
  4. Finally, the councils demonstrated the role of the emperor as the de facto leader of the church. That is to say, the church did what the emperor said without any objection.

  • Monasticism

Before Christ came in the flesh, some people wanted to escape the corruption or defilements of the world, drawing nearer to God by means of contemplation and separated living.  The Jewish sect of the Essenes lived apart from the rest of Israel near the Dead Sea.  Buddha trained some of his followers to live as monks (from the Greek, meaning alone).

As the Lord’s church became worldlier, the pressures of the flesh increased.  Some Christians wanted to escape the influence and corruption of this world to live a holier life for Jesus.  Others wanted to overcome their wrongdoings, the desires of the flesh.

By the 4th century, thousands of believers (Christians) were living in the Egyptian dessert.  Some were living in solitary huts and others in small communities.  By the mid-fourth century, the first monasteries were established on the Nile River for monks to live alone.

Many of these hermit monks lived rigidly strict lives where they were allowed to eat once a week. They beat themselves to remove the lusts of the flesh.  Some of their other methods of self-abuse were even more severe. The monastic communities developed many rituals and established special orders of group life.  Benedict established orders for a monastery in Italy around 500 AD.

To overcome sexual temptations, monks committed themselves to a life of celibacy. Although, they believed that marriage intimacy was not wrong, they still thought that abstaining from marital intimacy was better.  Sometimes monks were chosen to serve as priests and bishops.  But when they went back to the world, they remained celibate.  The church expected their leaders to be unmarried and celibate.

This monastic movement served the church as well as the world in many ways.  For instance, 
  • Monasteries served as evangelists since the monks’ dedication attracted the attention of the outsiders who were persuaded to seek Christ.  
  • The monks provided education and health care in their communities.  
  • Monasteries were developed to produce hand-written manuscripts, copies of the Scriptures and classic literature to preserve ancient works from deterioration.  
  • One famous monk was Jerome, who studied Hebrew as a way of overcoming temptation.  He is the one who translated the Bible into Latin about 400 AD.  This translation was called the Vulgate (the Latin word vulgus means common people).  Jerome’s Vulgate became the standard authorized translation used by the Roman Catholic Church for centuries until other translations of the Bible were available around one thousand years ago.


IV. Beliefs and False Doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church

  • The False Doctrine of  the Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Church and Its Pope


The word “infallible” means incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.   The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the “Pope” is infallible when he speaks Ex Cathedra (from the “pope’s chair” with full authority of office).  The RCC doctrine teaches that when the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra his message is binding as the Word of God since he is viewed as the Vicar of Christ.  All her members must accept this doctrine.  However, the actual doctrine is that the official belief of the Roman Catholic Church is infallible.  Why?  Because the Roman Catholic Church made the “Pope” infallible (a hierarchy composed of cardinals and bishops).

The faith and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church is founded upon “that deposit of faith given to it by Christ and through the apostles, sustained by the Bible and by tradition.”  (A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, p. 44).  The Catholic Church disregards the Truth of God, His Word.  They are so bold as to say that Christ made His church infallible (which according to them is the Roman Catholic Church!).  In their Catholic Catechism they state,

 “Why can't the Catholic Church ever teach error? Because Jesus promised to be always with His Church to protect it from error.”  
It also states, 
“Jesus Christ promised to preserve the Church from error.”  “Jesus Christ commanded all men to listen to and obey the Church, under pain of damnation.  If His Church can teach error then He is responsible for the error, by commanding all to obey.”  
“Does everyone have to obey the Catholic Church?  Yes, because she alone has the authority of Jesus to rule and to teach.”  

Without a doubt, Catholics have placed authority in the wrong places.  Why?  
  1. Because all authority is not in the body but in the Head (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18).  
  2. Because all rule of government is not in the kingdom but in the King (Heb. 7:1-2; Rev. 1:5-6).
  3. Because all authority is not in the church but in Christ alone (Matt. 28:18; 1 Peter 3:22).  
  4. The church is not the Savior of the souls but merely the body of the saved souls (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:22-24).  
  5. Christ the Head warns the church, His body, repeatedly not to depart from His teachings. (Acts 20:25-31; Ephesians 4:17-24)

The Roman Catholic Church is mistaken when they claim that the church could never go into error because they are preserved from error by the Catholic leadership.  They intentionally ignored those texts in the New Testament that tell us that the church would not be preserved from error, (Acts 20:17, 28-30; 2 Peter 2:13; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:3-11).  It is clear from these texts that the church was going to go through a significant falling away from the Truth, apostasy.  All this falling away was to come from within the church's leaders, their bishops or elders (false teachers).  

Peter said, 
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.  Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” 2 Pet. 2:1.  

Likewise, Paul warned them that the apostasy was already underway, (2 Thess. 2, 7-12).

"That you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come...  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way... Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

The flawed Roman Catholic doctrine of an “infallible church” rejects the warning of Christ about embracing error, being rejected and eventually losing salvation significantly.  The early churches had to fight earnestly for the faith and to be steadfastly on guard against all error that would arise from within.  The truth is that the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize error nor does it correct its own mistakes.

  • Was Peter the First Pope?

The following are some texts that the Roman Catholic Church distorts to teach that the apostle Peter was the first “Pope.”

1.   Matthew 10:2:  “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother.”

The Roman Catholic Church claims that since Peter was the first one to be mentioned in this text, that automatically made him superior to the rest of the apostles.  But what they want to ignore is what Mark 9:33-35 says,

“ They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

My question to them is:  If Peter had been the prince of all the apostles, don’t you think this would have been the time to affirm it?

2.   Matthew 16:18-19:  “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”


This is the most distorted text used to teach that Peter was the first pope of the church.  They affirm that the name “Peter” (Petros) means rock or stone and that upon him (Peter), Christ was going to build His church.  This interpretation is fallacious.  Why?  Because two different words are used in this text:  “You are Peter [Petros] and upon this rock [petra] I will build my church.”  Therefore, Jesus never promised to build His church upon Peter (Petros) but rather upon the rock (petra).  This rock or stone is the Deity of Christ whom Peter had just confessed in verse 16.  Christ is the foundation of His church.

“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  (I Cor. 3:11).

To deliver or give “the keys of the kingdom” implies that Peter was going to preach the glorious gospel of Christ that would show all the steps of obedience to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Indeed, Peter did this on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).  He opened the door to the Gentiles when he preached to Cornelius and all his household (Acts 10).  Now concerning the words “bind” and “loose,” Jesus said the same thing to all the apostles (Matthew 18:18).  It does not mean that Jesus was going to give them authority to teach whatever they thought was suitable or convenient, but rather they were to bind and loose on earth what was already bound and loosed in heaven.  

3.   Furthermore, they teach that Matthew 16:18 promises infallibility to the Church.  They misuse Matthew 28:20 that says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  They teach that the church will be protected from all error, because if it fell into error, the doors of Hades would have prevailed against it.  What they forget to mention is the first part of Matthew 28:20, “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…”  

The Roman Catholic Church tramples on the teachings of Jesus Christ that do not suit them.  For instance, they insist on calling their leaders “Father.”  They completely ignore what Jesus said, “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.”

The teaching of the infallibility of the Church violates several Scriptures:  

Galatians 1:6-9; Romans 16:17; 1 Timothy 1:20; 4:1-4; 2 Thessalonians 2; 2 Timothy 4:2-4 and many more.  These texts clearly indicate that the apostles and the prophets were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, their teachings were infallible (the Truth and nothing but the Truth, without error). There is no Scripture that promised such infallibility to the church even when there were men inspired by God.  On the contrary, the verses cited here speak of an apostasy.  The Catholic Church, far from being an infallible church, is the apostate church.  It is the fulfillment of these prophecies.

Another favorite verse that they use to establish that Peter was the first “Pope” is John 21:15-17. Jesus said to Peter, “Tend My lambs…  “Shepherd My sheep.”  They conclude from this text that Jesus entrusted to Peter the charge or control of the whole church.  Peter would have never thought that Jesus was implying such a thing.  Catholicism is based, from beginning to end, on doctrines of men, inventions, fables and human imaginations.

4.   Moreover, they also misuse Acts 2:14, “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.”  

5.   Acts 2:37, “ Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”

In Acts 10 and 11, Peter was the first one to preach to the Gentiles.  But he also learned “that God is not one to show partiality.” (Acts 10:34).  In Antioch “he stood condemned.” (Galatians 2:11-12). Paul had to exhort him (“I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned”).  How wonderful that the first pope of the church would commit such error, having to be reprimanded or rebuked by the apostle Paul!  Maybe, it would have been better for the RCC to have chosen Paul as their pope.

  • The Roman Catholic Church is the Apostate Church Prophesied by the Apostle Paul
“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.  Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”  (2 Thess. 2:1-4)

It is a fact that the Roman Catholic Church forbade Catholics from eating meat on Friday and still forbids their priests and nuns to marry.  In 1079, AD celibacy was first enforced for priests and bishops by Pope Gregory VII.  They were allowed to marry before it was enforced.  They neglected to accept what the Scriptures say, I Tim. 3:2-5, about the qualifications of a bishop or elder.  The Catholic Church believes and teaches that the apostle Peter was not married even when the Bible affirms it. They go as far as to say that Peter had a wife when he first met Jesus but that he got rid of her.  Mark 1:30 affirms that Peter had a wife.  All the apostles had the right to be married, I Corinthians 9:5.

There can be no doubt that the RCC is the fulfillment of that great apostasy preached and prophesied by the apostle Paul.  Their deeds speak for themselves.  The pope of Rome is the man of lawlessness. As to displaying himself as being God, it is undeniably true.  Why?  Because he is revered among his cardinals as “LORD God, the Pope.”

  • The RCC Teaches that the Catholic Bishops are the Apostles’ Successors and Bishops (Elders)
“Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matt. 28:20).

Jesus said this to His apostles.  This promise given by Jesus coincides with John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” in the person of the Holy Spirit, John 14:26; 16:13, etc. The promise of sending the Holy Spirit to guide them into all Truth. The Holy Spirit was with them in their teaching and when they wrote the books of the New Testament.  Yet, Jesus never promised that the church could never fall into doctrinal error. 

They also teach that Matthew 28:20, mainly addressed to the apostles, also applies to the apostles’ successors.  They conclude that Christ will always be with the church, that for them it means that Jesus will be with the pope and his hierarchy (cardinals and bishops), that they may not fall into error. The reality is that the whole Catholic system, from beginning to end, is erroneous and fallacious. Their name, organization (hierarchy), worship, doctrines, and practices are all wrong.  They are all man made.

  • They Teach that the Church is the Infallible Interpreter of Scriptures

They claim that the Bible is a Catholic product.  They had councils to determine which books should be in the Bible.  They declared that only they can interpret infallibly.  They willingly ignore that the apostles, prophets and members of the church who received the gifts of the Holy Spirit were entirely inspired in order to interpret the Bible.  For example, 1 Timothy 5:18 cites Matthew 10:10. Likewise, Luke 10:7 as “Scriptures.”  Peter refers to the epistles of Paul as “Scriptures.”  The apostolic writings were inspired of God long before any church declared them Scriptures.

“As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”  (2 Peter 3:16).

They teach that the infallibility of the church gives their members encouragement (Catholics in general) instead of living preoccupied about various doctrines.  They can place their faith in the infallible church and relax.  In this way, the hierarchy enslaves their followers, convincing them that they cannot study the Scriptures and think for themselves.  Ha!  What a way to brainwash their followers!

Another text they twist is 2 Peter 1:20, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.”  From this text, they mistakenly conclude that the “laity” are not able to interpret the Scriptures, but that they must allow the bishops to do it for them.  They willfully ignore explanation that follows, “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”  (2 Peter 1:21).  Peter was merely referring to the origin and source of the Scriptures.

We must love the Truth and have the right attitude toward it.  The clergy does not allow or encourage them to test what they teach, privately or publicly.  The laity follows blindly what the clergy teaches them without question, like the blind leading the blind.  They are not encouraged to point out error and will not listen to those who try to do so.  Catholics are not allowed to hear both sides:  Truth and error.  They are not permitted by their clergy to examine anything that differs from their doctrine. Their motive for not encouraging their members to examine and oppose their evil doctrine is that they are afraid, as with all false teachers, to be exposed as false and lose their members.

Catholicism affirms, 
“Not all truths revealed for us by God are found in the Bible.  Some are found only in Divine Tradition.  By Divine Tradition is meant the revealed truths taught by Christ and His apostles which were given to the Church only by word of mouth and not through the Bible, though they were put in writing principally by the Fathers of the Church.  Divine Tradition must be believed as firmly as the Bible because it also contains the Word of God”

The Catechism states, “Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible?  No, because certain things in the Bible can be misunderstood, and because the Bible does not have everything God taught.”  

Although, the first part of this statement answers NO to their question, their translation of the Bible teaches the opposite.  They also claim that “The Bible does not contain all the teaching of the Christian religion, nor does it formulate all the duties of its members.”  This is a fallacy.  The Bible says otherwise, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  They misuse John 20:30 as their text to indicate that the Bible does not contain everything that God taught.  

What John 20:30 says is that Jesus performed many other signs (miracles) that he did not record. Catholics seem to disregard what John says in the next verse, " ….but these were written...”  The apostle John evidently wrote enough to produce a life of sufficient faith in Jesus.  This life refers to eternal life that man can obtain by believing in those things that were written by the inspired writers.

Even though the Bible does not contain everything that Jesus did (John 21:25), we have everything we need for salvation.  We have enough revealed in the Scriptures to give us abundant life.

The next question in the Catechism is, “Can you learn to save your soul just by the Bible?  NO, because certain things in the Bible can be misunderstood....”  What they imply is that the Bible cannot be understood.  That the Bible is not clear nor is it an easy guide to understand at all.  They contradict the revealed Word of God, 

 “If indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. 4 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit.” (Eph. 3:2-5).  


Paul declares that we can understand what he wrote since the mystery had been made known to him by God's revelation of His Word.  In a few words, what Paul understood and wrote was inspired by the Holy Spirit.  It is so easy for us to understand, that all we have to do to understand it is to read it. He also declared, 
“For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end.” (2 Cor. 1:13). 
 “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  (Eph. 5:17).  

Hence, we can certainly understand the revealed Word from what Paul and the other inspired writers taught and wrote.

The Catholic Church officials affirm that one cannot understand the true meaning of the written Word of God unless he receives it from the Catholic Church.  In their Catechism they ask, “How can you get the true meaning of the BIBLE?  You can get it only from God's official interpreter, the Catholic Church.”  They support their claim through human logic and reasoning since they cannot support their claim with the Bible.  They forget what Scriptures say, “let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,” (Romans 3:4).  They ignore the warning, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”  (Col. 2:8).

This doctrine of the “infallible interpreter” has the audacity to imply that God did not make Himself clear and understandable.  It suggests that God's revealed Word is flawed and still needs more revealing.    The only TRUTH is that God never failed when He revealed His Word to man. These Catholic officials have but one purpose, to convince us that only they can express God's will, and they can do it even better than God Himself.  How dare they!  We know that God made man in His image, with an intelligent mind that is fully capable of understanding His will, as expressed in His Words without any problem whatsoever.

As you can see, one of the Catholic Clergy’s biggest claims is that they have all authority over the Word of God so that the Words of Jesus actually have less authority over the church.  They ignore what Jesus said, 

“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” (John 12:48).  

Only Christ has all authority on earth and in heaven by which we all will be judged on that last day, Matt. 28:18.  Jesus also said,

"THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN."  (Matt. 15:8, 9)
 “But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted.” (Matthew 15:3).

The Clergy claims, “If you accept the Bible, you must accept us for the Bible has been preserved by us and has come to you through us.”  How dare they claim that!  Our Lord Jesus is the only One responsible for preserving His Word.  He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Mark 13:31).  Those who love and obey the Bible alone know that they reject all else.

The Bible maintains that the New Testament is the complete and final revelation of God’s will for all mankind. (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  God forbids us to go beyond the revealed will of Christ, 2 John 9, 10. We must not teach anything other than the gospel revealed by the apostles in the New Testament.  To do otherwise is to be accursed.  (Gal. 1:6-9).

Sadly, there are others besides Catholics:  The Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, the Adventists, the Pentecostals and many other religious groups that refuse to think for themselves and indeed regard the superiors of their religion as infallible; that they are right and cannot be wrong at all.  Therefore, the Catholic who is subject to the Catholic hierarchy it is no blinder nor more a slave than the Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Baptist, Pentecostal, Adventist and so on.

  • Tradition

While they maintain the use of certain texts in the Bible as an effort to justify their peculiar and false doctrines, they make no claim to obeying the teachings of the revealed Word of God.  Furthermore, they have added what they call “Divine Tradition.”  


The RCC teaches that there are many teachings of Christ and the apostles that were not written.  They cite 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Timothy 2:2 to support their arguments.  These teachings are called “tradition.”  Tradition is not bad as long as it is in harmony with divine inspiration as in these texts.  Also, I Cor. 11:2 and verse 23 explains the idea:  It is simply the teaching that one receives from another and turns it over to others.  In this case (I Cor. 11:23), Paul received from Christ that which he also delivered to the Corinthians.

Jesus in Matthew 15:9 and Colossians 2:2 condemned the doctrines and precepts of men.  Undoubtedly, the traditions of the RCC are precisely traditions of uninspired men who are apostates.  (1 Timothy 4:1-4; 2 Thess. 2)  Therefore, that which Catholics call “Divine Tradition” is nothing more than man’s doctrines and commandments which Jesus said makes religion vain. (Matt. 15:8-9).

  • The RCC Believes that Its Tradition is Superior to Scriptures

They insist that the RCC has given the Bible to the world, that it is a Catholic product and that only they can interpret it infallibly.  They erroneously teach that after the apostolic time, the church had expanded, developed and improved the teachings of Christ and the apostles.  Thus adding doctrines and practices according to the pope’s criteria and his council.  They boast of being “the voice of the living church.”

They brazenly say that Christ is and will be with the RCC to protect it and prevent it from teaching error.  They even say that if the RCC fell into error, then the gates of Hades would have prevailed against her.  They make these claims in spite of all their practices and human doctrines that contradict the Scriptures.  They do not care that their teachings and practices contradict the teachings of Christ and the apostles since they think theirs is superior.  Take, for example, if one were to ask if Peter left his wife to be a pope, they would say no because the doctrine of celibacy did not originate until centuries later.  They say that now to be a priest, the man who is married has to leave his wife (as long as she is in agreement with that).


Conclusion to Part One
I hope that you will forgive my emotional presentation of these issues.  You must understand just how much joy I found in the simple truths of the Scriptures once I was free from the shackles of the Clergy.  I feel like the person that Jesus described who found a priceless pearl and joyfully sold all that he had to buy that pearl.  The Truth of the Gospel has given me that joy.

In Part Two, we will briefly discuss the doctrines of Purgatory, Baptism, the Intercession of Mary, Supreme Unction, the Eucharist, and perhaps a few others.


Luci