In October of 1981, while visiting a friend in the hospital, I was confronted with the question, “Are you a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Word at God?” I was also asked, “Would you like to invite the Lord Jesus in your heart to save you and to give you eternal life?” Well, these phrases were foreign to my vocabulary. You see, my friend happened to be a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I wasn’t.
In his hospital room he shared with me from the Bible how God in us Supreme love and grace, provided a way for me to have all my sins forgiven and washed away. He shared with me how God sent us only-begotten Son to die for me. It was amazingly revealed to me that Jesus Christ died once and for all on the cross at Calvary for the sins of all that would believe and call upon his name. Tears filled my eyes when I began to realize how Jesus carried the cross, shed His blood on that cross, was ridiculed, spat on and beaten for ME! It was shown to me from God’s glorious Word how Jesus then died, was buried and how He arose in glory to be my Savior! He is now my only way to God and my only Mediator.
Yes, I needed salvation and I came to realize then, and every day since then, that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ alone. No other can fill His place nor can He again be put to death for He died once and for all on that cross at Calvary almost 2000 years ago! On that day I prayed and received Christ Jesus and believed in His Lordship! And do you know what? He saved me because He promised to in His Word, the Bible!
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with my leaving the Roman Catholic Church. Everything! I was a Roman Catholic for 23 years prior to my conversion. As a Catholic I believed many things which were necessary in order to be a “good” Catholic. I came to realize at the time of my conversion and the months following that most of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church stand contrary to the Bible. I realize this may sound shocking to some but I believe if anyone is willing to take God’s Word in one hand, the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in the other, one will come to the same conclusion. With this conclusion one is left with the decision of following the teachings of Rome or the teachings of God’ s Holy Word, the Bible. I would like to, lovingly and Biblically, share with you these differences. I prayerfully hope God might use this information to edify and help you.
After becoming a born again believer in Jesus Christ and being led by the Holy Spirit according to the Bible, His Word, I began to find that the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings were not in harmony with the Scriptures.
Because of limited space I will share only a few reasons for my leaving the RCC. I will continue in the next newsletter. First, the RCC teaches that their priests have at least two powers. One is the power to forgive the sins of their people. They believe these sins are forgiven or absolved either in private confessions or in a general absolution (as a large group present in the church). The second power that the RCC priests claim to have is the power of “transubstantiation”. With this power they claim that the priest has the power to take the Lord Jesus Christ from His throne in heaven, change the Lord’s body, blood, soul, and divinity, into the form of bread and wine at every Roman Catholic Mass. They ‘then believe that Jesus is offered as a continual sacrifice for the sins of their people.
Those who truly believe in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ and read their Bible believe that Jesus died ONCE FOR ALL! Hebrews Ch.7-10) Christ made it clear from the cross, “IT IS FINISHED!”. (John 19:30) The Bible makes it clear that no man can forgive sins no matter how sincere he might be. Only GOD can forgive sins. (Mark 2:7) The Word of God says that Christ will come again in glory, not in the form of bread and wine. It is clear that when Jesus said, “This is my body,” He was speaking symbolically, just as He did when He called us His “sheep” and when He called Himself the “door,” “vine,” “shepherd,” etc. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” For believers to believe that Jesus is “continually being offered as a sacrifice” is to deny God’ s Word… “knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him” (Romans 6:9).
Another reason for leaving the RCC is the church’s belief in the dogma of Mary. The RCC teaches that Mary is the Church’s model. She is called the “mother” of the church. In the Documents of Vatican II, she is called the church’s “Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.” The RCC believe that she is without sin and that she never died, that she ascended bodily into heaven as did Jesus.
The Word of God makes it clear that Mary was “blessed among women”, NOT blessed ABOVE women. In the Old Testament a woman named Jael was called “blessed among women” (Judges 5:21). That doesn’t mean we are to worship her! The Bible makes it clear that “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus died on the cross f or our sins and MARY’S! In the book of Luke, Chapter 2, we find Mary called God her Savior. Why does she need a Savior if she was without sin? The Bible also makes it clear that Jesus is the only Mediator for us. “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man; the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:5). “There is no other name given under heaven whereby we must be saved” (Acts 1:12).
The RCC also teaches that salvation, true salvation, comes only through the Roman Catholic Church. It is through her sacraments and her grace. The Bible contradicts this in that “He saved you, not by deeds you have done in righteousness, but by His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
“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. Neglecting the commandments of God, you hold to the tradition of men… You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep YOUR TRADITION… invalidating the Word of God by your tradition which you have handed down” (Mark 7). “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures, or the power of God?” (Mark 12:21).
As a Catholic, I was taught many “traditions of men” which were philosophically rationalized to agree with the Bible. I did not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God, but after my salvation the words of Jesus became true to me: “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free… If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:32,36). In the Catholic Church I was not free. I had no assurance of my salvation because, as a Catholic, my salvation depended on the Sacraments of the (RCC) church, the intermediation of Mary and the saints, and the forgiveness of God rested upon the priest through the confessional and the Sacrifice of the Mass. I did not realize the free gift of the Almighty God in Jesus Christ by faith alone.
Another reason for my leaving the Roman Catholic church is the supposed “infallibility of the pope.” It is taught in the RCC that the pope is the successor of Simon Peter. They claim that Jesus gave Peter the authority of the church and that Jesus gave Him the infallibility to go along with it.
It is evident in the Bible that Peter was not a pope but an elder by his own confession (1 Peter 5:1). There is no Scriptural evidence of Peter going to Rome. It was Paul’s call of God to the Romans. In Paul’ s letter to the Romans, his greetings do not include Peter (Romans 16). In the Book of Matthew, Jesus told Peter that We would build His church upon Himself (Jesus), not Peter. If Jesus built it upon Peter and gave Him infallibility, then why was Peter used of Satan in the following verses, requiring the rebuke of Jesus? (Matthew 16:23). Why does Peter in his own epistle call Jesus the Rock, not himself? (1 Peter 2). Paul only calls Jesus the “Rock” (1 Cor. 10:4). If Peter were infallible, then why would Paul have rebuked him? (Galatians 2:11-21) My friend, it is evident that the false teaching that Peter was pope and that the pope is infallible, whether sitting on a chair or standing on a roof, is not anchored in the Bible.
It is evident that there is One who sits on His Throne who offers you salvation in Him alone! His name is Jesus and He will judge by His Word, not tradition!
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20, 21).
When one studies the Bible, it is evident that the Word of God is sufficient in itself. It needs no additions of books or traditions of men. The Bible is the Word of God. It is God’s complete revelation of Himself to us. The Roman Catholic Church disagrees. “Consequently, it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church (RCC) draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and sacred scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence… Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is committed to the Church (RCC). . . The task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church (RCC).
“It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church (RCC), in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way.. contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.” (Documents of Vatican II, Dogmatic Const. of Divine Rev. Ch. 2, sec 9-10)
It is evident that the Roman Catholic Church denies the sole authority of God’s Word, the Bible. She claims that her tradition “contributes to salvation”. This false teaching was another reason f or my exodus out of her. The Bible makes it clear that God’s Word stands alone! We are not to add to it! (Deut. 4:2; Proverbs 30: 5, 6; Revelation 22: 18, 19) Salvation comes only by faith in Jesus Christ according to His Word the Bible, without traditions and added books (I Peter 1: 18-20).
The Catholic Church has “another” Bible. In their Bible they have added the 11 books of the “Apocrypha”. These Books were added in 15116, along with their teaching that their tradition was equal to Scripture. These books are met Scripture. Any careful examination will attest to that. “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” (Colossians 2:8).
“No man can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for him-
the ransom for a life is costly,
no payment is ever enough-” (Psalm 19:7-8)
“It is appointed for men to die once
and after this comes the judgement” (Hebrews 9: 27)
November 2nd is “All Souls Day” in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a time when the Catholic faithful who have died are remembered. They are also prayed for and to by the members of the RCC. Many of these dead ones are believed to be in a place or state called Purgatory. They believe that penances, indulgences, and Masses can be performed to rescue, if not lessen, the punishment that these may be facing.
The Roman Church teaches that purgatory is a place in which souls who depart in this life and are in God’s grace suffer for a time because they still need to be cleansed from venial sins. They may still have to pay the punishment due to mortal sins, even though the guilt and eternal punishment of which may have been remitted.
An indulgence is the remission granted by the Catholic Church f or the punishment due to sin that has already been forgiven. The disturbance caused by that sin can be atoned for by penance, suffering, or good works. An indulgence granted to the souls in purgatory may shorten the stay in that punishment or lessen the severity of it.
The Modern Catholic Dictionary defines purgatory as follows:
“The place or condition in which the souls of the just are purified after death and before they enter Heaven. They may be purified of the guilt of their venial sins, as in this life, by an act of contrition deriving from charity and performed with the help of grace. This sorrow does not, however, affect the punishment for sins, because in the next world there is no longer any possibility of merit. The souls are certainly purified by atoning f or the temporal punishments due to sin by their willing acceptance of suffering imposed by God. The sufferings in purgatory are not the same f or all, but apportioned to each person’s degree of sinfulness. Moreover, these sufferings can be lessened in duration and intensity through the prayers and good works of the faithful on earth. Nor are the pains incompatible with great peace and joy, since the poor souls deeply love God and are sure they will reach heaven. As members of the Church Suffering, the souls in purgatory can intercede for the persons on earth, who are therefore encouraged to invoke their aid. Purgatory will not continue after the general judgement, but its duration for any particular soul continues until it is free from all guilt and punishment. Immediately on purification the soul is assumed into heaven.” (pg. 152)
In other words, the Roman Catholic Church believes that there are many who upon death do not go to heaven, but to a place of punishment were they must pay for their sins. Those of their faith on earth can pray to them for intercession and should pray for them that they may not suffer long before advancing to heaven.
It is also held that persons on earth can provide different means of “payment” for the punishment due for their own sins as well as the sins of the deceased through prayers, penances, acts of charity (giving of money), or good works.
The Bible has a lot to say against these false teachings. As we have seen, we cannot redeem anyone else (Psalm 49:7-8). After death comes the judgement, not purgatory! (Hebrews 9:27). The word “purgatory” is not found in the Bible. The doctrine of purgatory is not taught in the Holy Scriptures. We cannot be redeemed by money!
The first epistle of Peter states, “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of the Lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-19) See also Isaiah 52: 3, 55:1; Acts 8: 20.
The total cleansing of our sins was performed by the one time sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross of Calvary! (See Gal. 2:1-11; 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 9:1-11; Romans 8:1). Jesus told the repentant thief on the cross, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise!” (Luke 23:43).
“And when you were dead in your transgression and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us… We has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My Word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgement, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).