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

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, October 16, 2015

THE FALLEN CHURCH OF ROME - PART TWO

"This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me.  But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men."
Matthew 15:8-9



Welcome back to our study of Catholic Fallacies.   We are going to dig deeper into a number of issues that affect millions of simple followers of Christ who are unfortunately ignorant of the New Testament teachings of Jesus.  He teaches us to love one another even when we disagree.  My sincere desire is to show you my love by helping you to please our Creator and Lord by examining our practices in the light of the Bible that we hold equally dear.


V.   Beliefs and False Doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church


  • The Doctrine of Purgatory

The Council of Florence in 1438 AD mentions the subject of purgatory.  It decreed, 

“If any true penitents shall depart this life in love of God, before they have made satisfaction by worthy fruits of penance for faults of commission and omission, their souls are purified after death, by the pains of purgatory.”

In the Douay Catechism, we read, 

“Whither go such as die in venial sin, or not having fully satisfied the punishment due to their mortal sin?  The answer:  To purgatory, till they made full satisfaction for them, and then to heaven.  What is purgatory?  The answer:  A place of punishment in the other life where souls suffer for a time, before they can go to heaven.”

Many Catholic authors cannot decide what purgatory is.  Some like Gregory the Great thought it to be the earth’s center.  He as well considered it to be eruptions of Vesuvius and Aetna as flames arising from it.  Bellarmine thought of purgatory as a place between heaven and earth with demons of the air.  Damien with others concluded it might be in some flaming cavern or icy stream.

The RCC teaches that the souls of individuals who have died with venial sins (nonfatal transgressions but mild), that have not been forgiven, or with sins for which they have not undergone the temporal punishment do not go to hell or heaven, but to this placed called “purgatory.  Purgatory serves as a place for the souls of these individuals to be purified with fire, from where they will eventually go to heaven. 

Now for them to prove this false doctrine, they cite 2 Maccabees 12:43, a vague text in an “apocryphal” book.   “Apocryphal” books are uninspired historical books from the period between the Testaments which are included in the Catholic Bibles as sacred.  They do not belong to the canon of Scripture.  They do not appear in the Septuagint, Greek version of the Old Testament.  They as well were not acceptable as legitimate Scriptures by the Jews or by Christ and the apostles in connection to the Truth. 

The words of 2 Maccabees 12:43 do not help their case.  In the previous verses (12:38-40), we learn that “they gather up the bodies of the men who had been killed in battle and bury them in their family tombs. 40 But on each of the dead, hidden under their clothes, they found small images of the gods worshiped in Jamnia, which the Law forbids Jews to wear. Everyone then knew why these men had been killed.”

These soldiers died guilty of idolatry. According to Catholicism, idolatry is a mortal sin that cannot be purged in Purgatory.  This text provides no support for the practice of praying for the dead who have committed “venial sins” and are suffering in Purgatory.  There is no mention of Purgatory.

In the New Testament, they refer to Matthew 12:32

“Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Their argument is that there is no sin in heaven, and it does not refer to hell since there will be no forgiveness in hell.  Therefore, it must be “purgatory.”

Take note that one of the most important rules to understand and explain Bible texts is to consider what the parallel texts say.  For example, Mark 3:29 is parallel to Matthew 12:32. Matthew and Mark speak of the same event.  The words of Mark correctly explain the words of Matthew by saying, 
“Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Notice that the phrase “never has forgiveness” is equivalent to “it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”  Undoubtedly, the text in Mark sets the real meaning of Matthew’s words.

Also, another parallel passage, Luke 12:10 says, “it will not be forgiven him.”  These two texts (Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10) precisely explain what Matthew is saying in 12:32:  “it shall not be forgiven him.”  It is crucial that we allow the Bible to explain itself: the Bible must explain the Bible and nothing else.

They also cite I Corinthians 3:15 where those that supposedly die in mortal sin go to be purified with fire (and with prayers and “mass” indulgences, purchasing the remission of sins to deliver souls from Purgatory).  I Corinthians 3:13-15 says, 
Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.  If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

On the surface, this text helps them since it says, “each man’s work will become evident… it is to be revealed with fire.”  However, the Roman Church does not teach that "each man" goes to purgatory. The word “work” in this text refers to those they have converted.  The “work” of everyone is tested as if by fire, and his work can be lost (i.e., the converts do not persevere).  However, if the worker accomplished his task, he will be saved.

Even though, they teach that the souls are purified in purgatory, I Cor. 3:15 does not speak of souls but rather works.  This text does not mean to “purify” but rather “to prove.”  “Each man’s work” (those whom they have converted) is to be tested by fire even though his work is lost (i.e., the converted ones do not persevere).  Regardless of whether the converted (the work that is tried by the fires of trials and persecution) remain faithful or is lost, he will be saved.

“Nobody is purified by fire.”  This doctrine denies the effectiveness of the blood of Christ.  We are purified, cleansed by the blood of Christ and our obedience to Him.  No Scripture teaches that fire helps to purify guilt or pay the price (punishment) for sin.  The doctrine of purgatory contradicts I John 1:7 and other verses that teach that we are redeemed by Christ and His blood.

Another basic text to consider here is Luke 16:19-31.  Jesus speaks of a certain man named Lazarus.  Please don’t dismiss this text as a parable.  This is not a parable.  The parables never speak of people by name.  Even if it were a parable, a parable is not a fable.  Parables always portray realistic everyday activities.

In this text, the rich man died and in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, saying, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.”  It says nothing about a purgatory.  He was not given the hope of escaping after being purified by fire for some time (as long as his family was praying for his soul and paying for a certain number of masses and indulgences).

Lastly, let us consider I Peter 3:18-20.  It is stated erroneously that Jesus preached to the souls in purgatory.  They say that the spirits in prison are not in heaven and that those who go to hell are not called spirits in prison, so it has to be "purgatory."

It is amazing to see the RCC contradict itself over and over again.  Who do you think these spirits in prison are?  Naturally, the “disobedient” ones.  This word is translated as “unbelievers” in the Catholic Bible and is a mortal sin.  Therefore, the same text that they twist contradicts them.  Isn’t that amazing!

The spirits in prison in this text are not in purgatory but in a place that the apostle Paul calls “Tartarus,” or “pits of darkness” for such.  (“Tartarus” is the place of torment in Hades, the temporary dwelling of the disembodied spirits.  The faithful dead go to Paradise, a resting place in Hades).

Remember that I Peter 1:10-12 teaches that the spirit of Christ was in the prophets and Noah was one of those prophets.  So, this text (I Peter 3:18-20) is referring to the preaching of Christ by Noah’s mouth of which the passage speaks clearly.  The unbelieving (the ones who disobeyed Noah’s preaching) are the people who are presently imprisoned in “Tartarus” (Hades) awaiting final judgment.


  • The Erroneous Doctrine Concerning Baptism

Before I start to discuss this subject, let me briefly make a few observations about the seven sacraments of the RCC since this is one of the seven.

The RCC declared seven sacraments or avenues through which grace was dispensed to individuals. They believe that these traditions came directly from God and that God revealed Himself to humankind through the church’s collection of Sacred Tradition.  Before the Reformation in the Middle Ages, most Roman Catholics were far more familiar with Sacred Tradition than they were with the Bible, especially since the Bible was available in Europe only in Latin and very few believers except the priests and scholars had access to the Bible.  This is the very “heart” of their religion.  Our Lord Jesus Christ did not institute them (although they teach that He did) since the Bible never mentions such “sacraments” in the Bible.

They are mere doctrines of men.  In Matthew 15:3-6 Jesus said that the Pharisees and Scribes transgressed the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition.  In Matthew 15:9 we read, 

“BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”  

Again, in Colossians 2:22, the apostle Paul condemned the “commandments and teachings of men.”

Consider the RCC’s seven sacraments;

  1. Baptism (soon after birth).
  2. Confirmation (of young children).
  3. Communion (the weekly observance).
  4. Marriage (when performed in the church with the couple promising to rear their children as Catholics).
  5. Penance (upon confession of sin to a priest who assigns works often the repetition of ritual prayers).
  6. Holy orders (the vow taken by priests, monks, and nuns), and
  7. Rites or Extreme Unction (administered to a dying person).

Among some of their other traditions, we find:  Offering prayers to the saints, counting prayers on the rosary, the veneration (adoration) of their Virgin Mary, the veneration (worship, adoration) of relics, the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception.

The RCC thus claimed the ability to impart grace to its members from birth to death.  Anyone who dared to step out of line with church practice and teaching back then faced the threat of being excommunicated or being declared ineligible to receive communion, the weekly dispensation of grace. I believe it is still the same way today.  A decree called the “papal interdicts” could even cut off the sacraments from an entire area until the king there repented of a sin.  This, of course, puts lots of pressure on any king to stay in line with the pope.  The system of sacraments threatened to make Christian practice a mechanical ritual because the church insisted that, grace was administered when the sacraments were observed, regardless of the lifestyle or dedication of either the priest or the supplicant.

The RCC has practiced “infant baptism” for centuries.  This is not found in the New Testament, and their origins and practice are unclear.  It became a way for the RCC to claim for its own the children who were thus sprinkled, pressuring parents to rear their children as Catholics.

They baptize babies by sprinkling water on them.  The Greek word for “baptism” literally means immersion in water.  The Greek word for immersion is used for baptism throughout the Bible.  The first recorded case of sprinkling was in 257 AD.  It was offered to someone who was sick in bed.  It wasn’t until 1311 AD that the RCC Council of Ravenna, declared that sprinkling was an acceptable substitute for immersion.

Catholics also teach that infants inherit their parents’ sin at conception, thus being condemned and totally wicked.  This is the doctrine of inherited sin.  It is nowhere in the Bible.  The answer is found in Ezekiel 18:20.

They apparently ignore what the Word of God teaches about baptism.  One must believe (Mark 16:16; repent (Acts 2:38); confess (Acts 8:37) are the prerequisites of Scriptural baptism.

Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them… “  Jesus did not say, “baptize them when they are infants, and teach them when they grow up.”  Christ put teaching before baptism.

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”  Jesus did not say, “Baptize them in infancy and let them believe when they grow up.”  Our Lord and Savior puts belief before baptism.

Peter said, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  (Acts 2:38).  Peter did not say, “Baptize them in infancy and let them repent when they become old enough.”  He put repentance before baptism.

When the eunuch asked in Acts 8:36-37, “What prevents me from being baptized?” Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”  Every positive law implies a negative one.  Hence, a baby cannot be baptized. Why?  Because in baptism we obey from the heart that form of doctrine (death, burial and resurrection of Christ) and then we are made free from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:17-18).  It is impossible for a baby to obey from his heart as it is also impossible for him to be baptized.   An infant cannot become free from sins, past, present or future, even if he had any sins.  Parents can take a baby to be baptized, but it is just a wet baby.  He is not a baptized baby.

The RCC tries to annul these prerequisites of baptism saying that such are the conditions of adult baptism and that such do not apply to infants.  But the truth of the matter is that these prerequisites do apply to all individuals.  Hence, if infants cannot qualify, then they cannot be baptized.  When the Catholic Church suggests that another class of people (babies) can be baptized without meeting the above-stated conditions, it puts them in a great dilemma of teaching and practicing two baptisms when the Bible explicitly says there is but one baptism (Eph. 4:5) and not two.  Infant baptism and adult baptism are not one baptism.  They are two baptisms.  They teach a “believer’s baptism” and an “unbeliever's baptism.”

When an infant comes to baptism with nothing but the flesh without any faith, repentance or confession, he is really not obeying the command to be baptized.  He cannot give his assent or dissent.

Those who practice a baptism without faith are under the obligation to prove that there are two baptisms:  One that requires faith and another one that requires flesh only.  My question is: 
  1. If there is an “infant baptism,” why is it that the Bible only mentions “one baptism?”  
  2. If there is such a thing as an “infant baptism,” why is it that there is no account of it in the Scriptures?  
While the Bible gives no instruction at all regarding infant baptism, the RCC is exacting, wordy and voluminous in her instructions on this institution.  The RCC theology is monstrously different from the Bible!

The RCC again distorts Acts 16:14-15.  They assume that the baptism of the house of Lydia included the baptism of infants.  They assume that Lydia was a married woman.  The Bible does not say that. Lydia’s “household” could mean that she had a house of maids, servants, and helpers without being married.  It is assumed she was married and had infant children.  It is a speculative argument!

They use the same sort of speculation in I Cor. 1:16 in speaking of Stephanus and his household. There are no infants mentioned as being in the household.  Again, they assume the thing to be proved. Paul declared that the members of this house were the “first fruits of Achaia,” and that they “set themselves to minister unto the saints.” (I Cor. 16:15).  Infants could not have ministered to the needs of the saints.  Period!

The third twisted text is found in Acts 16:25-34 of the jailer and his household.  Again, the speculation is that there were infants in this family.  The Bible teaches that there were no infants under consideration in this family.  Let me prove it:

After the jailer was baptized, he “rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”  Who was baptized?  Who believed?  “He and his house.”  ALL!

Take notice,
  1. All the jailer’s house believed in God.
  2. Infants cannot believe in God.
  3. Therefore, there were no infants in the jailer's house that are under consideration.

The Bible affirms that there is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5), forbidding two.  The fact that Jesus commanded to baptize believers (Mark 16:16) prohibits the baptizing of infants since they are not believers.  God commanded Noah to build the ark with gopher wood.  That prohibited steel or anything else.  Likewise, when Jesus explicitly commanded to baptize believers that prohibited the baptizing of infants.  Regarding communion, Jesus commanded that we take bread and the fruit of the vine.  This prohibits taking milk or something else at the Lord’s Supper.  Therefore, there is no command in the Word of God from beginning to end for infant baptism!  They are demonic and man-made doctrines.


  • The Worship of Mary, the Goddess of Heaven
As someone who was raised as a devout Catholic and who also went to Catholic school for many years, this was a big one for me.  I was for many years indoctrinated by nuns about the adoration of Mary.  I was taught that Mary was “the mediatrix of our salvation, the ladder of paradise, the gate of heaven, the most true Mediatrix between God and man.”

For Catholics, Mary is Christ, the mediator here on earth.  This is what the pope teaches.  Catholics are more engaged in praising Mary than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  They actually (I was taught) pray to her to have their prayers answered.  They use what they call “rosary beads” to praise Mary more than God Himself.  Notice that of the 59 beads of the Rosary, 53 beads are “Hail Marys, ” and only 6 beads are to “Our Father.”  This is outrageous to me!  This is where most Catholics really have a problem.  No one can dare to belittle Mary.  It is when a Catholic is able to see the Truth of this demonic teaching, that he is able to set himself free from the RCC doctrine.  This is where many Catholics stumble!

The Rosary most often ends with a “Hail, Holy Queen” prayer to Mary, not God, our Father in heaven.  They claim that Mary was a perpetual virgin and never had any children.

Catholic officials (clergy) argue that Mary was chosen from among all creatures to bring the Redeemer into the world, entitling her to high praise as our mediatrix.  This is a big false teaching among the clergy.  Of course, Mary was a good woman, but she was a human being, not a divine being.  She is entitled to be praised as a good woman but not entitled to be hailed as “the Mediatrix of our salvation.”  How do I know that?  Because the Word of God gives that high office only to Christ our Lord (I Tim. 2:5).  Are we going to accept the Word of God or the precepts of man?  When they honor her as the mediatrix of our salvation, they unwittingly dishonor her and especially Christ because it is blasphemy to honor a human as only God is worthy of being honored.

They try to get around I Tim. 2:5 by saying that Jesus is “the one and only mediator of our redemption,” leaving it to imply that there are other mediators.  But none of them died for us!  So why is it that they cannot cite other texts to prove their argument?  It is just another example of them teaching a doctrine without any Scriptural proof.  

  1. The text in I Tim. 2:5, “… one God and one mediator,”  nothing else!  There are no other mediators between God and man, but our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us.  Only One could qualify.  The word “mediator” literally means one who stands equidistant from two sides.  
  2. Jesus lived with God in heaven before He came in the flesh, born of a woman (Matt. 9:6).  
  3. He knew God, the Father.  
  4. He understood His love for man and His attitude toward sin.  
  5. He, living among men, was tempted as a man (Heb. 4:14-15).  
  6. He knew man, his temptations, and his weaknesses.  
  7. This automatically qualified Him to go back to heaven and to advocate on our behalf, representing us as man’s intercessor before the mighty throne of God (Heb. 7:25).  
  8. Only Jesus could or can qualify for this high office. 
  9. Only One Mediator is needed, and it is not Mary.  
  10. Praying to Mary or the departed “saints” removes the One Mediator from that high office.  He alone can hold such a high office, of making intercession for us to God, the Father.  
This theology is more serious and dangerous than I could have imagined.

Man is not to pray to man but for man.  The RCC doctrine violates God’s Laws when they teach that man can pray to man.  We are taught and commanded to pray only to God (Matt. 6:9) through Christ (John 14:13-14;16:23) and that excludes everyone else, including Mary.

They also twist Luke 1:41-43 which tells of Elizabeth’s words to Mary, a very natural conversation, but there is not a word about Mary being “the Mediatrix of our salvation.”  Luke 1:48 says, “from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”  The proof text disproves their theory rather than proving it.  In this song of praise, Mary is stating the character by which she wishes to be known, namely, the blessed or happy one.  She never said that all generations would call her the Mediatrix of their salvation.  She did not want that.  For she wanted to be known as the blessed one.  If the statement, “All generations shall call me blessed,” should be interpreted to imply that she is our mediatrix, then Leah is also our mediatrix for she said, “For women shall came me blessed.” (Gen. 30:13).  Take note that this quotation was taken from the Catholic Bible.

Roman Catholic theology asserts: 

 “And to increase our confidence, St. Anselm adds, that when we have recourse to this divine mother, we may not only be sure of her protection, but that sometimes we shall be sooner heard and be saved by invoking her holy name than that of Jesus our Savior.  And he gives the reason;  Because it belongs to Christ as our judge to punish, but to Mary as our advocate to pity.  By this he would give us to understand that we sooner find salvation by recurring to the mother than the Son.”  (The Glories of Mary, St. Alfonzo Liguori, p. 149).  

This boils down to this:  Christ is too hard, too difficult and too demanding (exacting).  Mary can manage things better than Christ since she is more qualified to act on our behalf.  So, Roman Catholics should take all their problems to Mary, who will either act independently of God or throw a woman’s influence upon Him until she has her way in everything.  What a shame for the RCC to make such a harsh, untruthful, disgusting statement about our Savior!  I cannot fathom that!  It is too much for me!

Alas, I ask the RCC,  how dare you treat our Savior this way?  Such disgusting and untruthful statement makes it easier to see why their prayers are filled with “Hail Mary,” and why their prayers addressed to Mary are more emphasized than the prayers to God.  

“The entire Rosary consists of one hundred and fifty Hail Marys…  The principal prayer of the Rosary is Hail Mary, repeated one hundred and fifty times.”

Take note that the Bible in contrast to this unscriptural doctrine says:  
  1. "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him [not Mary] might be saved."  (John 3:17).
  2. “According to his mercy he [not Mary] saved us.”  (Titus 3:5).  
  3. “The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him [not Mary].” (Romans 10:12).  
  4. “If ye shall ask anything in my name [not Mary’s name] I will do it.”  (John 14:14).  
  5. “I [not Mary] am the way, the truth and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me [not by Mary]  (John 14:6).
  6. “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father,  Jesus Christ the righteous [not Mary].  (I John 2:1).  
  7. “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name’s sake [not for Mary’s name’s sake].”  (I John 2:12).  
  8. “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ [not Mary].”  (Eph. 3:14).  “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father [not Mary] in my name [not Mary’s name] he will give it you.”  (John 16:23).

Catholic clerics assert that the Lord considers the glory of Mary as His own and exults in it!  They support this argument with Isa. 48:11 where He said, “And My glory I will not give to another.”  No man can make this text read that the LORD considers the glory of Mary as His own.  So it is RCC theology versus the Bible.  Another text from their own Bible, “I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to graven things.”  (Isa. 42:8).  They implicitly are stealing the glory of Christ and giving it to Mary.  This is wrong!  Both Peter and Paul speaking of Christ said, “To whom be glory for ever and ever.”  (Galatians 1:5; II Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:21; I Peter 5:11).  No inspired writer ever said, “To Mary be glory for ever and ever.”  The apostles were guided into all truth (John 16:13).  They were not guided by the doctrine of glorifying Mary.  Hence, this doctrine is not part of the Truths of God.

What they need to acknowledge is that Mary shares in Christ’s glory and not our Lord in her glory, exulting it.  This is blasphemy!

The RCC wishes to glorify Mary since she was the fleshly mother of Jesus. As I mentioned earlier, this outrageous error grows out of the mistake of placing too much emphasis on the physical relationship of Jesus.  If Jesus had wanted us to worship Mary as they do, He then missed a marvelous opportunity of glory.  Instead, Jesus taught that the greatest honor comes from obeying the Word of God.  His emphasis is mainly placed spiritually rather than physically.

They boldly assert that Mary is the “Mother of God.”  The Bible never calls Mary the “Mother of God.”  If she were to be the “Mother of God,” then she would be divine.  Jesus is divine since He is the Son of God.
  1. Christ “was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  (John 1:14).
  2. And in the process of this incarnation, Mary became the human mother of Jesus, not the mother of His divinity, not the “Mother of God.”  
  3. God is the Creator of Mary. 
  4. She is a creature, not a self-existing being like God.  
  5. It is pure idolatry to worship and serve a creature rather than our Creator.  
If Rome had read the Bible, they would have encountered this verse in the Bible, in the letter to the Romans.  This letter was given to Rome before she invented the glorification of Mary, of saints and of angels.  They must heed the warning:
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator.”  (Romans 1:25).

Oh!  Roman Catholics how can you kneel before an image such as Mary, praying to her saying, “Hail Mary,” “Hail Mary,” “Hail Mary,’ in the light of these Scriptures!!  How do you dare to make a creature such as Mary, the goddess of your religion when you know well our Only Creator is to be our Only God in heaven?


  • The Doctrine of Celibacy
The RCC asserts that priests do not marry because they voluntarily follow the advice given in Scriptures:  
“But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.”  (I Cor. 7:32-33; Matt. 19:20).
Celibacy for the priesthood is not a deliberate practice, but an ecclesiastical ruling.  If it were a voluntary matter, then there would be no issue here.  Those who wished could marry, and those who wished could refuse.  The Word of God teaches that single life is acceptable to God and so is married life.

The vast number of canons on celibacy passed by the RCC shows that it is not voluntary, but obligatory.  If it had been voluntary, it would not have been necessary for Gregory VII, in a council held in Rome in 1074 to decree that every layman who received communion from the hands of a married priest should be excommunicated, (Cyclopedia, McClinton, and Strong, Vol. IV., p. 175). This decree testifies that they enforced celibacy.  Human nature has not changed.

They added in the New Catholic Edition of the Bible (in their notes, under I Tim. 3:2), “priestly celibacy as a law is of the later ecclesiastical institution.”  They defend celibacy by saying that the church officials had the authority to add it.  They cannot support their practice with the Scriptures. Therefore, forced celibacy is not part of the Truth, and it is an error.  It is not a Scriptural doctrine nor a good work.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Notice that the apostle Peter was married and so was Phillip the evangelist (Matt. 8:14; Mark 1:30; Luke 4:38; Acts 21:8-9).

  • Auricular Confession
This is the practice of confessing to a “Priest” and being interrogated by the “Priest” concerning one’s sins. The members confess their sins into the ear of the “Priest,” but he does not confess his sins unto them.  The priests go to confession too but to another priest.  The Bible never said to “confess your sins to the priest.”  Instead, it says, “confess your sins one to another.’'  (James 5:16).  The Word of God says nothing about confessing sins to the priest, a confessor or “I absolve you.”  

The RCC seeks to prove that their members should confess their sins in private to the priest.  Again, they twist “confess your sins one to another…”  It is evident that James is not teaching the RCC doctrine of confession.  If so, he would not have used the expression “Confess, therefore, your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”  (James 5:16); individuals to individuals.

They also to refer to John 20:21-23 to prove that the Lord gave to a special class of priests, the power to forgive sins.  By the way, this is a favorite proof text.  This Scripture tells us that Jesus gave the apostles power and sent them out to exercise it.  
  1. If that power is the same as the RCC claims for their clergy to forgive sins, why is there no record of such authority in the Bible?  
  2. Where did any of the apostles ever receive in secret any sinner, to hear his confession and absolve him?  
  3. Where in the Bible do we find any apostle called a “confessor?”  
  4. Where did any of the apostles ever say, “I absolve you”?  Let Scripture interpret Scripture!

Since the apostles did not practice “Auricular Confession,” then John cannot be writing about it.  It is out! Period!  What did they really do as apostles?
  1. Our Lord promised the apostles, that they were to make known to men the divine Law of salvation after they had received the Holy Spirit Who was to guide them to all Truth. 
  2. Obedience to this Law was to bring men forgiveness from God in heaven.  
  3. The Holy Spirit spoke the Law through the apostles (Lk. 24:46-49; Acts 2:1-5; Isaiah 2:2-4). 
  4. On the day of Pentecost, they presented the terms of pardon, and as a result, three thousand souls were forgiven of their sins (Acts 2:38-41).  
  5. This is the sense in which the apostles forgave sins.  
  6. They did this by preaching the terms of pardon upon which God was to be able to forgive sins.
  7. Today, the same conditions of forgiveness apply to all those who obey.  
  8. The apostles revealed how men may be forgiven, but did not practice “Auricular Confession.” 
  9. Peter himself commanded Simon the Sorcerer to repent and pray to God that he might be forgiven (Acts 8:22). 
  10. He did not demand that Simon confess to his “confessor priest.” 

It is clear that the apostles did not have the power to remit sins as the RCC claims.  They did not claim or exercise such power.  If so, I demand a Scripture.

The Roman Church uses the Jewish priesthood model of the Old Testament to support their Catholic priesthood.  The priesthood they speak of is in the present and not the past, the OT.  Even though the old priesthood and the Law had changed (Heb. 7:12), some Judaizers who accepted Christianity still kept some of the Law.  They had not accepted Christianity since they were still in Judaism.  

  1. The Only High Priest that we have today is our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:14).  
  2. Likewise, every Christian is a priest (I Peter 2:5) and does not need an intercessor other than Christ.  
  3. Every Christian can “come boldly unto the throne of grace.”  (Heb. 4:16). 
  4. Christ, our high priest, “ever liveth to make intercession” for us (Heb. 7:25).

So the argument of the Jewish priesthood disproves rather than approves their doctrine.  They err when they say “We are the successors of Christ, the high priest.”  NO!  It is not true, Christ our high priest, “ever liveth to make intercession.  He is not dead and has not resigned His office. 
  1. Therefore, He cannot have a successor.  Christ is “a priest forever.”  
  2. Therefore, there cannot be a succession of priests or vicars.  Those who pretend to be vicars of Christ are imposters!!  
  3. Therefore, Christ is the only High Priest, and no man can pretend to have this office without blaspheming the Son of God who by divine right holds the office legitimately.

“Auricular Confession” has been practiced for many years, but its history ceases before one gets back to the inspired apostles.  It is not mentioned in the Scriptures.  It did not originate in the first century with Christ and the apostles.  Therefore, it has no part at all in Christ’s doctrine.

Did you know that before 1215, the confessional was an optional thing in the church of Rome?  No canon compelled it.  It is also an absolute truth that the form of absolution, “I absolve you,” was not known as a practice of Christians till the thirteen century.  Thomas Aquinas in 1250 wrote in defense of the form, “I absolve you.”  There is no authority in Scriptures for “Auricular Confession.”  Period!

  • The Doctrine of “Inherited Sin.”

Satan has always made things chaotic for the Lord’s church.  He used the famous “St. Augustine,” the son of a Christian mother and pagan father.  He lived an immoral life searching for the most suitable path through several philosophies.  After his mother died, he converted in 387 AD.  He became a monk and eventually the bishop of Hippo in northern Africa.  He was impressed with the moral depravity of man, which he believed to be inborn (influenced by his experiences and philosophy).  He also believed that the elect were predestined by God to obtain salvation.  He wrote a book named “Confessions,” where he retells his life story.  He is one of the most influential writers and teachers of the vast world of Catholicism/Protestantism (evangelical).  He taught that because of Adam’s sin everyone is guilty of “original sin.” That man is born with a corrupted nature, sinful, totally depraved and unable to do good or righteousness and unable to believe.

The Bible speaks of many kinds of sin:  in deed, in word, by thought, by refusing to do God’s will and much more.  But original sin?  What verse in the Bible speaks of original sin?  If there is one, I would like to know!

A.   In Genesis 3:16-19 we see the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin without any reference to an “original sin” that was to be inherited by Adam’s descendants.  Such a fallacious concept contradicts all that the Bible teaches on the subject of sin!

Here are the major tenets of this doctrine:

1. That when Adam sinned, his descendants also sinned.  This is what is called “original sin.” 

According to this false doctrine, everyone (all mankind) is born sinful.  And that he sins because he is a sinner.  And it is human to sin.  The practical consequence of this teaching is that sins are reduced, and the guilt for personal sin is transferred to our ancestors.  Man sins because that is his nature; therefore he must do it.  Satan wants man to say willfully, “We sin all the time and cannot help it.”

My friends and brethren, this is nothing but one of Satan’s false doctrines (1 Tim. 4:1) to deceive all men about sin.  Satan uses his ministers (2 Corinthians 11:15) that teach that man’s sins are so great and so bad that the only explanation for it is that they are born depraved (corrupted).  They speak of the intensity, passion and strong inclination in doing evil, concluding that man is born corrupted, devoid of divine life, thus becoming God’s enemy.

They site many Bible texts that speak of the enormity of sin:  Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:10-18, Psalm 51:5; Job 14:14; Exodus 20:5; John 3:5; Ephesians 2:3; Romans 5:12 and following.  They conclude that since man is so corrupted (depraved), he had to be born with a sinful nature.  

Furthermore, they say that the corrupted man can never change:  They use the following texts to support their argument:  Job 14:14; Jeremiah 13:23.

Their favorite verse is Psalm 51:5:

"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me."

Another Scripture they twist is Romans 5:12-18: 

"Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned: for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.   Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come.   But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift. For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many.  And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment came of one unto condemnation, but the free gift came of many trespasses unto justification.   For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.   So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life."

The following is a refutation of their false doctrine as held by both Catholics and Protestants:

  1. Genesis 3:16-19, 24:  Moses portrayed the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin without making even the slightest reference to inherited guilt or depravity.
  2. Psalm 139:13:  “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.”
  3. Zechariah 12:1:  God, “forms the spirit of man within him.”
  4. Hebrews 12:9:  God is the “Father of spirits.”
  5. Acts 17:29:  We are “children of God.”

My question:  Is the baby that is formed in the womb, the spirit, and body of man, corrupted by God?  Even to ask such a question is an accusation and blasphemy of our God who forms the spirit of man within him!

Undoubtedly, the “god” of Catholicism (and other religions that teach this false doctrine) is not the God of love we find in the Bible.  (I John 4:16).  “God is love.”  What kind of love would pervert or corrupt the spirit of a baby before he is born?

B.  Genesis 6:5 speaks of the perversity, wickedness, of man.  Notice that it does not say that man is born that way.  Verse 12 states, “God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.”

C.   Psalm 51:5:  Does not say, “I was brought forth with iniquity inside me.”  They do not acknowledge that this verse implies that David was brought forth and was born in a world of wickedness (lawlessness).  It is figurative language (hyperbole, overstatement) to emphasize the intensity of his sins… By saying “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me,” he is speaking of the prevalence of sin in the world.  

Compare this text with Acts 2:8, “each in our own language in which we were born?” Are we born speaking?  No, but we are born into a world that speaks a certain language.  

Also note Psalm 58:3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.”  Is this verse speaking in a literal or figurative sense?  Job 31:17-18 helps us with the answer:  

Job insisted that he helped the orphan by saying, “Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb).”  

Clearly, the phrase, “from my mother's womb,” is the same as “from my youth.”  (Let us allow the Bible to speak and explain itself!)

From birth:  
  • Isaiah 48:8:  “And you have been called a rebel from birth.”  
  • Psalm 22:10:  “You have been my God from my mother’s womb.”
  • Psalm 71:6:  “By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb.”  
This is poetic language, figurative to give emphasis.


In Psalm 51, David speaks of:
  •  “my iniquities,” 
  • “my transgressions,”
  • “my sin,” 
  • “Against You, You only, I have sinned,”
  • “done what is evil in Your sight,” (“done” not “inherited").  
All these expressions point out free will and that David himself was responsible and guilty…

SIN IS NOT INHERITED, RATHER IT IS COMMITTED:  I John 3:4: “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”

A. James 4:17:  “To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  One sins when he disobeys the will of God.

B. Ezekiel 18:20:  “The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”   

In this chapter, we learn that the consequences of the sins of the parents are visited upon the children, but not the guilt of sins.  God calls us to bear the consequences of the sins of others without bearing the guilt of those sins.  No Scripture teaches that Adam’s descendants will inherit the guilt of those sins.  (2 Cor. 5:10).  It is true that we bear the consequences of the sins of Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen. 3:3; 17-19; Romans 5:17).  However, we will not be accountable for some supposed inherited sin inherited from our parents or Adam.  That would be very unfair.  Why?  Because,
  1. “ For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  (Romans 2:6).
  2. Not according to what Adam or our parents have committed or done. “who will render to every man according to his works.”  (Romans 2:6)
  3. “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”  (Romans 14:12).  Where is the text that says that we will give account for the inherited sin of Adam or our parents?  
  4. “Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned.”  (Romans 5:12).  Notice that the apostle Paul does not place a “period” here!  The phrase does not end here.  Is there something else!  “for that all sinned.”  I don’t see why those who teach “original sin” don’t read and take note of this last phrase.  Why?  Because it is not convenient for them.  Because this phrase shows and points out the responsibility and accountability of man for his own sin.  “for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23).

The role of Adam is clearly stated here:  
  1. Because of him, “sin entered into the world.”  
  2. Adam introduced sin into the world, then death (spiritual death) passed unto all men for all had sinned.  
  3. Then the apostle Paul goes on to explain the subject in Romans 5:17-18, “For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ. 18 So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life.”
  4. The truth is that Adam introduced sin into the world and all of his descendants have imitated him voluntarily (Romans 3:23; 5:12).
  5. And have fallen short of the glory of God.  That means they fall into condemnation.  
  6. Nobody is born a sinner.  
  7. No one has been or is condemned because of Adam’s sin.  
  8. No one is or has been convicted or condemned unconditionally.  
  9. No one is born with a sinful nature.  
  10. Such doctrines are merely Satan’s doctrines!

The doctrine of inherited sin is responsible for much of our lawlessness today.  Both Catholicism and Protestantism mistakenly say that man came to this condition unconditionally.  That is not what Paul is saying!

In Philippians 2:8, Paul speaks of Christ’s work that undoes the consequences of sin:  

Through one act of righteousness (He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men, Philippians 2:8) there resulted justification of life to all men.  If we were to reverse this to make it fit the twisted “reasoning” of Catholicism and Protestantism (unconditional original sin), we would simply say that one’s righteousness resulted in unconditional universal salvation.   The advocates of the “original sin” doctrine and “born with a sinful nature” simply are not honest not to teach unconditional universal salvation.  This doctrine is pure folly and madness.

  • The Doctrine of  “Consubstantiation” or “Transubstantiation” (The Eucharist)

The practice of the Lord’s Supper changed from a remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection to a more typical event in which Christ supposedly is sacrificed all over again, and the bread and grape juice of the vine actually became the body and blood of Jesus.  Communion came to be seen as a sacrament, a means or way by which God’s grace was dispensed.  Someone who was excommunicated could not partake of communion (therefore not receive grace) until he repented and got back in line.  These changes were pure control and manipulation over church members (laity).

The Catholic Church teaches that the priest has absolute power to change the bread and wine into the very body, blood, soul and deity of Christ.  This is amazing!

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper He commanded an observance the night before His death as the apostle Paul recorded it in I Corinthians 11:23-26:

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

Notice that Jesus took bread and said of it, “This is my body.”  When Jesus made that statement, He was living in the flesh of His body, His earthly body.  Jesus used the present tense of the verb declaring when He made this statement.  If the bread became His literal body, then He had two literal bodies at the same time.  Jesus also said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood."  Notice that the cup did not become His literal blood, for His blood was still flowing in His veins.  So why add the word “literal” or “actual" to qualify it if it does not mean anything but the “literal” and “actual” body and blood?  Notice what Jesus commanded, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me [Christ].”  

So, can the bread be at the same time the memorial and the thing memorialized?  Paul tells us that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of the death and resurrection of Christ until He shall come (I Cor. 11:26).  
  • Don’t you think that the cup can literally mean the new covenant?  So why argue that the cup is the actual blood of Jesus and not the actual new covenant? Both are found in this same passage.
  • Remember that Jesus also said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.”  (John 5:5).  
  • Don’t you think that we can deduct from this text that Jesus was literally the vine and His disciples were the branches literally?


Also, they justify their position using John 6:53-55 that says, 
“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in your-selves…  For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.”  

Notice that Jesus was not talking about the Lord’s Supper at all.  That was said before He instituted the Lord’s Supper.  If you keep reading the whole chapter you will find Jesus’ explanation, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”  (verse 63).  Let the very words of Jesus refute the Catholic teaching,

“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying,“Drink from it, all of you.”  (Matthew 26:27). 
Also,
“And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.”  (Mark 14:23).

  • The Doctrine of  "Extreme Unction."

Extreme unction is one of the sacraments practiced by the Catholic Church.  She describes it thus, 

“Extreme unction is a sacrament in which by the anointing with holy oil and by the prayers of the priests, the sick receive the grace of God for the good of their souls, and often also their bodies… It [extreme unction] increases sanctifying grace; it remits venial sins, and those mortal sins which a sick person repents of; it strengthens the soul in its sufferings and temptations; it often relieves the pains of sick persons and sometimes restores him to health… We should receive extreme unction when we are in danger of death from sickness.”

The above statement is presumptuous.  The Bible does not mention such a practice.  The Scriptures cited are Mark. 6:13; James. 5:14-15, though these passages have nothing to do with preparation for death. The doctrine of  "extreme unction" was defined at the Council of Trent.

James 5:14-15 says that this was done by New Testament elders (not priests) to heal the sick (not the dying) during the time in the New Testament church when some who were miraculously endowed could indeed bring about healings. 

  • The Veneration of Images and Relics

In 787 AD, The Second Council of Nicaea introduced this doctrine.  In 1545 AD, the Council of Trent pronounced a decree that said, “images were to be retained and due honor and veneration to be given them as presenting those whose likenesses those images bear.”  Thomas Aquinas stated, “The same reverence is to be paid to the image of Christ, as to Christ Himself.”

Their clergy cites Ex. 20:4, 5; Deut. 4:15-16 to say that these texts forbid “the making of images to be adored,” and that these warnings were given to prohibit idol worship.  Certainly, this commandment had to do with the bowing down to and serving images (Ex. 20:4-5) and adoring them.  

They also cite Numbers 21:8-9 of the brazen serpent but fail to mention II Kings 18:4 where Hezekiah destroyed it because this relic had become an object of adoration and worship.

The bronze statue of Peter in the Vatican is an excellent example of veneration and worship.  Its continual press of human worship has disfigured it because of those who bow and kiss it though they deny it.  So, if they deny that those worshipers were not bowing down and adoring it, what were the doing?

Yes, the RCC cannot claim to be guiltless concerning the adoration and veneration of images and relics.  All the facts are against them and shame them.  They are guilty of idolatry.  Why?  Well, let me prove it.  

  1. When the Israelites made a golden calf, they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” (Ex. 32:8).  
  2. They knew the golden calf did not bring them out of Egypt since verse 5 says that they made a “feast to the LORD.”  (Ex. 32:5).  
  3. It was only a symbol of deity but the apostle Paul calls the creation of such a symbol idolatry (I Cor. 9:7).  
So, we can clearly see that the Word of God condemns any image that symbolizes deity.  It is idolatry!

The problem that man has is that he thinks it 's hard to draw nearer to any being if he cannot see it.  Therefore, he creates some sort of symbol to represent such being.  However, our faith as Christians is not of sight and image making but of faith, (II Cor. 5:7).  This violates our faith.  It violates the second commandment, Exodus 20:4-5.

The New Testament teaches that Christians are not to revere, worship or venerate idols, etc.  (I John 5:21; Acts 17:29).  So why is it that that the Roman Catholic officials have removed this commandment of God from their Catechism allowing multitudes to be deceived into thinking that God did not give it?

  • Instrumental Music

As in many cases, the church adopted pagan rituals giving them a Christian meaning.  Music in the church was apparently the reciting of psalms or the singing of compositions perhaps in the form of a chant.  Melodies were later developed by the 4th century.  Instruments were not introduced in the assemblies until the middle Ages.

The RCC practices and teaches the use of mechanical instruments of music in their worship.  Anyone who uses mechanical instruments of music in his worship disregards the authority given by God. The Law of Christ teaches us to make melody in our hearts (Ephesians 5:19) with the fruit of our lips (Hebrews 13:15).  This melody of our lips, our singing, is to be with the spirit and the understanding (I Cor. 14:15).  Can a mechanical instrument qualify?  No, since there is no authority for such use.  

CONCLUSION

It is undeniable that the church described in the book of Acts and its believers were devoted to the apostle's teaching.  God had given the apostles authority and power to perform many signs and wonders (Acts 2:42-43).  Each congregation of believers was established in a city by the preaching of the gospel.  Those who became Christians met regularly to encourage one another and to listen to the teachings of the apostles or evangelists such as Timothy or Titus.  Elders were appointed as pastors (overseers, bishops, elders) to watch over the local flock (Acts 14:23, 20:17; Titus 1:5).  Although Christians met several times during the week, on the first day of the week (Sunday), they came together to remember the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior (the breaking of the bread, i.e., to observe the Lord’s Supper) and share fellowship.  

The early church (Christians) was aware of the powerful influence on those of the world.  Jesus has always wanted His followers to live in such a way as to glorify His Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). He also said that the world (non-Christians) would be able to identify His followers by the way they lived (their works or fruits)and their love for one another, (John 13:35, 15:8).  

Moreover, Paul urged these Christians to live wisely among outsiders, redeeming the time, and doing what was right.  Their speech was to be seasoned with salt, i.e., filled with good and not evil (Colossians 4:5-6).  He also urged them to be ready to present a defense of their faith to anyone who asked them of their hope, but to do it in a gentle and loving way (I Peter 3:15).  All Christians must be aware of their influence, to live and speak in such a way that would draw others to their Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Faith in Jesus spread from Jerusalem and throughout the Roman Empire.  Those who were scattered abroad included many cultures (Jewish, Roman, Greek, Asian and African).  Apostles and evangelists were the primary teachers.  The first-century believers shared everything they had with anyone who had a need (Acts 2:44-45). 

The message of the glorious gospel of Jesus our Lord was intended to be proclaimed worldwide, and it still continues to change the world two thousand years later as no other force, idea, and philosophy has ever done.  (2 Cor. 5:19).

While the Roman Empire was declining, the Lord’s church was growing in numbers.  However, the church that was developing was far different from the simple faith that we read about in the New Testament.  As Rome became more Christian, the church became like a worldly empire.  The church went through many changes and practices as the Roman Empire weakened and fell.  

Paganism and mystery religions were still predominant in the Roman Empire centuries later after Christ and the apostles.  The cult of emperor worship was growing, becoming the official religion of the state.  The peculiar ways of Judaism were tolerated by the Roman government as well.

However, the NT church underwent many drastic changes over the four hundred years that followed the first century AD.  The church went from being an illegal cult to the official religion of the Roman Empire.  Sadly, the church went from being simple, rooted in God’s Word as described at the beginning of the church, to a more powerful and highly organized institution.  

As the church grew, it generated considerable criticism from skeptics and opponents who refused to grasp what it was about.  Many ridiculed the church.  Some would call the Way the third race, meaning neither pagan nor Jewish.  Some did express respect for the Christian’s moral code, character, and bravery in the face of persecution.  As some said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

By the end of the third century, many saw a need for universal religion to unify the empire.  Those who refused to accept the worship of the emperor were considered enemies of the state.  These were primarily Jews and Christians.  And in 303 AD, the emperor Diocletian ordered church buildings confiscated, church officials condemned and Christians were given the choice of repenting or being put to death.

Christianity was then changed by the actions of Emperor Constantine in the empire.  Even though he did not make it official, he indeed prohibited persecution.  This meant that some would become Christians because it was safe to have the emperor on their side and not because of a genuine conversion to Christ and His cause.  Unfortunately, Constantine began to influence the church practices and policy.  With the blessing of safety came the danger of compromise with the world.

All these developments in church practice caused leaders not to be concerned about following the perfect pattern established by the apostles under the Lordship of Christ.  Instead, they were driven to control the practices of the churches, introducing false teachings, precepts, doctrines and conforming the lives of Christians to a more easy pattern.  The church then began to develop a hierarchy of leadership copying in great measure the political divisions of the Roman Empire. The bishop of Roman claimed the authority to oversee the church just as the emperor managed the empire.  The bishop of the empire buttressed his position arguing that Peter was the first Pope, claiming apostolic succession to make decisions for the Roman Catholic Church.  By the fifth century, the bishop of Rome was called the Papa or Pope, the ultimate father figure.  

Without a doubt, the church, the one Jesus purchased with His blood, faced threats of false religions both from without and from within.  The philosophy of Gnosticism and skepticism grew in the second century influencing the view of Christ held by some people.  Likewise, other false doctrines were growing in their influence on the thinking of Christians.  Many Christians struggled with what it meant to be a Christian in a pagan world.  They confronted many questions.  How they answered these questions reflected how rooted their faith was in the Doctrine of Christ and how much they were willing to be different from the world of paganism (I John 2:17).

Evidently, some in the church failed to follow or obey God’s Word.  Lest we forget, the Bible must be our only standard in matters pertaining to God.  (Rev. 22:18-19; I Cor. 4:6).  Our goal must be that of “thus saith the Lord” for everything we do.  Sadly, some in the church did not follow this rule.  The church was obviously more influenced by the world than by the Word of God.  Instead of growing and imitating Christ.  The power of Tradition became a stumbling block violating the Word of God, keeping others from obeying the gospel of Christ.

Around 1200, The Roman Catholic Church was at the height of its power.  The pope influenced the world politically.  “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

One of the problems that the church faced after Christ and the apostles was worldliness since they were driven and motivated by the world.  One of Satan’s great deceptions is to influence Christians to think and act like the world as an acceptable way of living.  This affects the preachers, church leaders, young and old when their lives look no different from the lives of those in darkness. Likewise, the church is worldly when it pursues policies of power and the accumulation of riches.  It is worldly when Christians exalt the ways of the pagans without regard to how much this would impact their faith or the faith of others.

We Christians are called to keep ourselves unstained from the world (James 1:27).  We don’t have to leave the world to avoid becoming worldly (I Cor. 5:10).  We are to be changed in our heart by developing godly thinking and following God’s divine standards while we live in this world (Romans 12:1-2).

This has been an excellent and long study.  I have done it for God’s glory, for His Truth and because I care about those who are trapped in the Roman Catholic Church (and other religious error) as I was.  I want to see them free from the bondage of sin and error and experience true salvation and fellowship with Christ and the Father.  I want to apologize if I was overly blunt, but the Truth of God must not be compromised.  We must tell the Truth and nothing but the Truth.  

I pray that those who are in error like those in the Catholic system, will see the Truth and see the errors taught by their false teachers that are but doctrines of demons.  I have presented the Truth because of my love for their souls and my concern for the Truth.  (John 17:17).  

The Word of God is Truth, it is unchangeable, it is determined, certain and it is not contradictory. The Truth of God is always right. Therefore all men must eagerly desire it and thirst for it.  Jesus said, 

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  (John 8:32).

Let us desire the Truth like the Bereans who honestly and unbiasedly searched for the Truth, 

"Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so."  (Acts 17:11).

Now that you continued with me to the end, I hope this essay has been useful for you. There are several issues that I might not have examined, but it seems to me that these are the most important. May God bless you in your studies of God's Word.

May we always love the Truth and never compromise the Truth and tell it like it is.  May we allow God’s Word, Truth, to mold us to see the errors and false teachings while we distance ourselves from the evil doctrines of men.  May we always stand up boldly for the Truth and embrace it with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.  May we always separate ourselves from the world, from the most popular road to take, and learn from His Word alone and conform to it.  May we always live holy lives for the Lord Who has promised us eternal life.  May we be the lights that this darkened world may ever see.  May we proclaim the glorious gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to the lost.


Luci