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Understanding Roman Catholicism
04/19/2005 10:37 PM
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Understanding Roman Catholicism, by Rick Jones, Chapters 1 and 2
I got side tracked and forgot I was going to post this by chapters, so here it is...de
Salvation Through The Church
Roman Catholicism teaches that salvation is available only through the Catholic church:
"The Second Vatican Council´s Decree on Ecumenism explains: ´For it is through Christ´s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.´" Pg. 215, #816
Here, the 1994 catechism reaffirms the existing teaching of Vatican II, that salvation can be obtained only through the Roman Catholic church. The catechism leaves no doubt that the Catholic church is necessary for salvation:
"...all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation..." Pg. 224, #846
Past popes have taught this doctrine, as have previous catechisms and church fathers. Here is but one example…
On May 7, 2001, Pope John Paul II told 2,000 youth gathered at the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of Damascus that "you cannot be a Christian if you reject the Church founded on Jesus Christ."
Catholic friend, you personally may not believe this, but your pope does. And it is an official doctrine of your religion.
If you check God´s Word on this subject, you will not find a single verse requiring one to go through a church to be saved. In fact, the opposite is taught:
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the full price for the sins of all mankind. According to God´s Word, anyone can go directly to Him for salvation. Jesus Himself announced that:
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36
"He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life…" John 5:24
"He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John 6:47
Jesus repeats this message in John 3:16, 3:18, and 6:40. If the Catholic church really is necessary for salvation, then Jesus Christ is a liar.
The Apostle Paul gives step by step instructions on how to be saved:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10
Notice, no church is required. So if Catholicism is right, then the Apostle Paul is also a liar. And since he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is a liar as well.
"But as many as received (trusted in) him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12
John says you become God´s child by believing in Jesus Christ. If this Catholic doctrine is true, then John´s name must be added to the list of liars.
But John is not a liar. Jesus never requires a church for salvation:
"To him (Jesus) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43
The key is belief in Christ, not a church:
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…" Romans 1:16
According to Paul, Timothy needed faith in Christ to be saved, not a church:
"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:15
When the Philippian prison guard asked Paul, "What must I do to be saved?," did Paul answer, "You must become a member of the Roman Catholic church?" No, he responded:
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…" Acts 16:31
Remember when Jesus was hanging on the cross? The thief on the cross next to Him cried out:
"…Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Luke 23:42
When that dying sinner uttered those words of faith, Jesus responded by saying:
"To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43
Salvation is in Christ… not in a church.
The catechism claims salvation comes "…through Christ´s Catholic Church alone…" But God´s Word says it is obtained through Jesus Christ:
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23
"… God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9
Only Christ can offer us salvation because He alone shed His blood for us:
"Much more then, being now justi-fied by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." Romans 5:9
No church can offer salvation. Only Jesus can:
"Neither is there salvation in any other (except Jesus): for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:10, 12
Since the Bible and Catholicism clearly disagree, here are some questions you must answer:
• If the Catholic church is necessary to escape hell and reach heaven, would not God have clearly stated it in His Word… at least once?
• Why would Jesus repeatedly lie by saying that salvation is available through faith in Him?
•Are you willing to call Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John all liars? For your religion to be right, you must.
• For centuries, Bible believing Christians have contended that this unbiblical doctrine was created to keep members in bondage. Was it?
• Lastly, you must again answer the question, "Which will I obey and serve, the traditions of men, or the Word of God?" You cannot say "both" because each says the other is wrong.
Someday you will stand face to face with Jesus Christ. You will look Him right in the eyes. You might want to start thinking about how you are going to tell the Lord that you rejected His teachings and obeyed the traditions of sinful men because you assumed He was lying.
"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…" Mark 7:8
1From article "Pope Meets with Youth of Various Christian Confessions," Vatican City, 5/7/01 (VIS) reported by the Catholic Information Network, 5/9/01, N. 86
Salvation Through Good Works
To be saved, Catholic doctrine requires the continual performance of good works.
"Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved." Pg. 222, #837
These works include baptism (pg. 320, #1257), various sacraments (pg. 292, #1129) plus many additional works.
Once again the teachings of Catholicism oppose God´s Word, which states that salvation cannot be earned, but is a free and undeserved gift of God:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" Titus 3:5
The Bible repeatedly states that salvation comes through faith-never by good works:
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Romans 3:28
"And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith…" Galatians 3:8
How do we become God´s children?:
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26
The Pharisees and good works
The religious Pharisees were convinced that performing good works would earn them salvation, but Jesus set them straight. In Mark´s gospel, the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus:
"Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?" Mark 7:5
In response, Jesus chastised them:
"Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." Mark 7:9
What a tragedy! By elevating tradition above God´s Word, the Pharisees had actually rejected the commandment of God. Jesus also accused the Pharisees of:
"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition…" Mark 7:13
This is exactly what the Catholic church does by elevating church tradition above the Word of God.
The Pharisees were convinced that salvation was obtained by performing good works, but good works can never save anybody:
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" Romans 5:1
Good works will not get you in
Many who stand before God will think they should enter heaven because of their good works. Jesus tells us in His Word:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven… Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Matthew 7:21-22
How shocked they will be when they hear Jesus respond:
"I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:23
How tragic! Millions of Catholics never learn that good works cannot save them until after they die. But after death is too late. At that point they are already doomed to an eternity in the lake of fire.
The Apostle Paul makes another important statement concerning good works:
"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Galatians 2:21
In other words, if you could earn heaven through your good works, then Jesus suffered that horrible death on the cross for nothing.
But He did not die in vain. Scripture declares that Jesus gave His life because there is no other way for our sins to be forgiven:
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18
Jesus repeats this same truth:
"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life…" John 6:40
Roman Catholic friend, you must make another decision. Either you will believe God´s Word and accept the free gift of salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ, or you will believe the traditions of the Catholic church, that salvation must be earned through continual good works.
You cannot choose Catholic doctrine and God´s Word because both disagree with each other.
My prayer is that you will make the right choice. If you choose to receive the God´s free gift of salvation, before the end of the book, we will explain how you can do it:
"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." John 6:29
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