A 12 part series exploring the teachings and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. Please click on the PDF links to read each article in full.
The Roman Catholic Church views itself as the one and only true Church established by Jesus Christ. Many Evangelicals see no problem whatsoever in labelling Roman Catholicism Christian. What are we to make when “America’s Pastor” Rick Warren – best-selling author and Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church, the eight-largest evangelical Church in the U.S. – calls for evangelicals to unite with Roman Catholics? When Joel Osteen – the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church the largest evangelical Church in the U.S. whose televised sermons are seen each month by over 20 million people in some 100 different countries – makes a special trip to the Vatican and praises Pope Francis for his efforts in trying to make the Church more inclusive and to take everybody in? Are the differences that separate Protestants, Catholics just minor matters of insignificance?
In this first part of a teaching series looking at the core teachings of Roman Catholicism, we give a concise but insightful insight into the teachings and beliefs of one of the largest religions on planet earth.
If one was to consult a Catholic apologist as to what the origin of the Catholic Church was and when it was established; he would invariably respond by saying that it was the Church established by Jesus Christ; the Church born out of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection in approximately 30 AD. The Roman Catholic Church claims to trace its history to Jesus Christ and His apostles. It believes that its bishops are the actual successors of the apostles and its pope is the successor of Peter.
In this second part of a teaching series looking at the core teachings of Roman Catholicism, we look at the history of the Roman Catholic Church and its elaborate structure of Church governance.
The Roman Catholic Church believes itself to be the only true Church instituted by Jesus Christ. It believes that its pope is the sole successor of Peter who the Church maintains is the Vicar of Christ appointed by Christ to exercise supreme and full authority over His Church. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the pope is not simply a spiritual leader, nor is he a pastor among equals or even ‘Primus inter pares’ – first among equals. Rather, the Roman Catholic Church views the pope as chief, foremost and supreme among all the bishops. To understand the place to which Rome elevates the Pope, we must first understand the place to which it elevates Peter, whom they maintain was the first Pope of the first Church.
In this third part of a teaching series looking at the core teachings of Roman Catholicism, we examine the claims of Rome to be the true Church of Jesus Christ and the place to which it elevates Peter.
If one was to ask a Roman Catholic, what his/her authority is for determining truth, they would invariably respond by saying the Magisterium. One cannot seek to understand the authority of the Roman Catholic Church without understanding what the Magisterium is. Having dealt with the papacy, we turn our attention in this teaching to the second leg in the three-legged stool on which Rome sits – the first being the Papacy, and the third being Sacred Tradition. In short, the Magisterium is the name given to the official teaching office of the Roman Catholic Church, which Rome maintains is the sole teaching authority which alone is qualified to define and explain the authentic teaching of the Church to the people. The Magisterium is made up of the pope in communion with the college of bishops. Rome believes that this authority has been entrusted to them by no less authority than Jesus Christ. When the Magisterium exercises this teaching authority in a solemn way to define and teach divine revealed truths (dogma) whether by an ex cathedra papal declaration or in an Ecumenical Council this is the Magisterium acting in an extraordinary and solemn manner. These solemn pronouncements are deemed to be infallible and as such binding upon the universal Church of Jesus Christ.
In this teaching we seek to understand what the Magisterium is as it pertains to the extraordinary Magisterium and the ordinary Magisterium. Is such a teaching office biblical? Are the teachings arising from this teaching office biblical? May the Lord increase your knowledge as you listen to this very important teaching as we seek for an answer to the question; “Is Roman Catholicism True Christianity?”
If one was to ask a Roman Catholic what his position was regarding the authority and inspiration of the Bible, they would respond in the affirmative, namely that it is the Word of God. However, the fundamental question that must be asked of all evangelicals at this point is this; if it is the case that the Roman Catholic Church upholds the authority of the Bible then how at the same time does it differ so drastically in its doctrines and beliefs? How can one reading the Bible and accepting its authority possibly come to believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary or her immaculate conception? How could one ever possibly come to the position that by confessing one’s sins to a priest he/she could receive forgiveness of sins on the say-so of a Catholic priest? How would one ever know that what is before him in the mass, which by all accounts seems to be natural wafers and natural wine, is in fact the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ? To answer this question, one has to turn to what Roman Catholics term Sacred Tradition.
In this fifth part of this teaching series looking at the Roman Catholic Church, we seek to better understand the place to which Rome elevates Sacred Tradition. Was such a so-called tradition handed down by the apostles? Is such a tradition biblical? Can history substantiate and testify to such a tradition existing in first century Christianity? We seek to shed light on these questions and more.
The Catholic Church makes no bones about it when it declares that it is the vehicle through which salvation comes to the world. The Latin phrase “extra Ecclesiam nulla sallus” well sums up Rome’s position which being interpreted means “outside the Church there is no salvation”.
In this teaching we ask the question ask the question, by what means does salvation come through the Church? To answer that question, we turn to what is called the sacraments! There are seven sacraments which the Roman Catholic Church hold to. These sacraments are rituals or ceremonies that the Catholic Church maintain Christ instituted and entrusted to the true Church of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church defines that these seven sacraments are not outward symbols conveying the reality of an inward reality but that these visible rituals (ceremonies) carry actual power, to impart divine life and saving grace to those who are the recipients of them in true faith. In this sixth teaching part, we explore each of these seven sacraments as we continue to ask the question, is Roman Catholicism true Christianity?
For the Roman Catholic, the sacraments are more than just outward symbols of inward realities but rather it is believed that these visible rituals (ceremonies) carry actual power, to impart divine life and saving grace to those who are the recipients of them in true faith.
Rome believes that it’s through the sacrament of Baptism that one is freed from original sin, reborn as a new creature, adopted as a son of God and made a partaker of the divine nature being made a member of the Body of Christ. What compounds this problem even further is that the overwhelming majority of such baptisms are performed on little babies!! In this teaching we ask a number of very important questions; does the Bible teach the necessity of baptism for salvation? Is a person regenerated in baptism? Are our sins washed away in baptism? Can babies be born-again? Using the Bible alone as our infallible guide, we endeavour to provide answers to these questions and more.
We continue in this teaching part to examine and refute in finer detail another major one of the seven sacraments. Having looked at the sacrament of Baptism, we want in this teaching part to turn our attention to the sacrament of Penance.
In this teaching, we explore the Roman Catholic understanding of the concept of sin and atonement. In seeking to understand this, we in turn are equipped with the necessary knowledge to aid our understanding of just how important the sacrament of penance is in the salvation of Roman Catholics. How is it that a Roman Catholic priest has power on earth in Christ’s stead to forgive the sins of the penitent? What role if any, do human works play in our salvation? Is there such a place as purgatory and if so what role does its temporal flames play in our salvation? What are indulgences and how do they figure in our salvation? All of these questions are explored in this teaching part as we take a biblical look at the sacrament of Penance.
This now being our fourth teaching part on the sacraments, we come at last to set in focus, the sacrament of the Eucharist. The questions that we want to ask in this teaching part are two in number. Firstly, we want to ask; for what reason is the sacrament of the Eucharist so important and secondly; is the sacrament of the Eucharist biblical?
Biblical support to substantiate the sacrament of the Eucharist fails at every point. Scripture stands in direct contradiction to the Roman Catholic Mass. Biblically, Christ is not and cannot be present in a consecrated piece of wafer; eternal life cannot be received by ingesting the body and blood, of Jesus Christ; a man cannot have power on earth to change the substance of that bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity Jesus Christ; and finally, Eucharist adoration aka idolatry is flatly condemned in the pages of Scripture!! At best, the crowning sacrament of the Roman Catholic is a fraud and at worst utterly damnable to millions who celebrate and partake of it!!
Mariology is the theological name given to the doctrinal study of Mary the mother of Jesus. If one was to ask the general public for a defining person, inextricably and inseparably linked to Roman Catholicism, without a shadow of a doubt, the overwhelming response would not be Jesus Christ but instead, that of His mother Mary!! As biblical students of God’s Word, any study of the New Testament is not complete without making mention of Mary. Indeed, as one opens the New Testament, immediately one is confronted with the person of Mary in the events that record the nativity of Jesus Christ. However, Roman Catholic theology maintains that Mary was not only the biological mother of Jesus, the vehicle used by God to bring His Son into this world. But rather that Mary remained a perpetual virgin; that Mary is free from original sin and at the end of her life on earth, she was taken up into heaven where she continues perpetually to be the mother of God and Queen of Heaven. Catholics believe Mary to be Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix playing a role alongside her Son not only in His earthly ministry but even now in His heavenly ministry in the salvation of mankind!
In this tenth teaching part, we shall begin to look at the claims of the Roman Catholic Church concerning Mary and weigh them against the Bible! This is to be the first of a two part teaching comparing the Roman Catholic Mary vs the Mary of Scripture!!
Mariolatry is the theological name given to the worship of Mary. Roman Catholics take strong objection to being accused of worshipping Mary and would insist that such a label is an unfair representation of what they believe. However, what one believes on paper and what one practices in reality, are two different things!! To escape the charge of idolatry, Catholics have what is in effect a three tier level of devotion expressed to God (latria), Mary (hyperdulia) and the Saints (dulia). Yet when one turn to the Bible to search for such a pattern, one finds this distinction wanting!!
In this teaching part we examine this special devotion which Catholics afford to Mary as is expressed in the prayers offered up to her by countless millions of Roman Catholics worldwide. We examine the messages of those claiming to have received apparitions of Mary at some of the major Marian shrines in the world today. Would the humble handmaid of the Lord ever allow herself to be the object of love and devotion? We endeavour in this teaching to explore this question along with many others.
We arrive at last to the final teaching part in our series looking at the Roman Catholic Church. The fundamental question running throughout this series has been, ‘Is Roman Catholicism True Christianity?’ Some 52 000 words on in our study, having surveyed the religion of Roman Catholicism, we can concur with 100% accuracy that Roman Catholicism does not have a gospel and cannot by any stretch of the imagination, be considered Christian if by Christian, we mean that which is taught and defined in the New Testament!!
In this final teaching part, we turn our attention to the ecumenical agenda, which is being spearheaded by the Roman Catholic Church. We reveal a purposeful and deliberate effort by Roman Catholicism, to unite and bring back a divided Christendom to itself. Sadly, many evangelical Christians have bought into this lie and are now working hand-in-hand with Rome to bring about the reversal of the Protestant Reformation which severed the true Church from Rome some 500 years ago. Through use of shocking video footage, we bring to the forefront this deceptive agenda which has come to be known as ecumenism.