This article is reproduced by permission.
©1994 by William Schnoebelen

 Straight Talk #55 On The Roman Catholic Church

  by William J. Schnoebelen, © 1994

 When examining what appears to be "the world's oldest, largest Christian church" one must, of necessity, be very careful to stick to the injunctions of the Holy Bible. This document is certainly not intended to be an attack on the character of Catholics. Certainly, most Catholics are fine, upstanding people who try to live their faith to the very best of their ability. Also, there are some Catholics that are truly Born Again in the Biblical sense. However, because of the doctrines of Catholicism, they are in the distinct minority!

Indeed, I myself am a product of a devout Catholic upbringing and some 21 years of formal Catholic education. I spent 12 years in the Catholic parochial school system, 4 years in a minor seminary college, and later spent four years getting a graduate degree in theology from a Catholic seminary. I was an altar boy, a member of Catholic Action, and later studied to become a priest. Thus, I am not someone who speaks out of ignorance concerning the content or practices of the Catholic faith. It is important that the Catholic church be examined in the light of the Word of God, to see if it is in fact what it claims to be.

There are a several operating premises under which this paper is written. The first is that there is (and always has been since the days of the apostles) a TRUE church of Jesus Christ on the earth today and that it can be identified according to the Bible.

THE SECOND PREMISE is that the Holy Bible, the Authorized Version, is given by inspiration of God and thus is the FINAL authority in matters of doctrinal truth (2 Tim. 3:16). We realize that this is somewhat contrary to the beliefs of the Catholic church, but that is an issue with which we will deal in the course of this paper.

THE THIRD PREMISE is that the Bible is a self-interpreting Book and that no human being needs help interpreting it (2 Pet. 1:20). A corollary to this premise is that there are proper ways of interpreting the Bible. Chief of these scriptural guidelines is commonly called the "Law of Three Witnesses." (Deut. 19:15, Matt. 18:16, 2 Cor. 13:1) This means that one isolated verse of scripture alone does not make enough of a case to establish doctrine with. "A text without a context is a pretext." Thus, every assertion made here will be backed up by at least two or three verses.

THE FINAL PREMISE is that there are several fundamental truths about the Christian faith that one has to get right in order to qualify as a genuine Born Again Christian. These are:

  • Who is God?
  • Who is Jesus Christ?
  • What is the Bible and what is the nature of its authority?
  • What does one have to do to get Born Again (saved)?
  • What is the final authority?

 If one gets more than one of these questions wrong, then your soul is in mortal peril according to the Bible. Thus, these are the questions which we are going to examine in Catholicism in the light of the scriptures.

 Part 1: Who is God?

In the broadest sense, the doctrine of the Catholic church is essentially the same as the Bible. Catholics officially affirm the doctrine of the Trinity. This is the belief that God consists of One God in three distinct Persons-Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7, Matt. 28:19) If the Catholics were as accurate in all their doctrines as they are in this one, there would be no difficulty at all in accepting them as members of the Body of Christ.

 Part 2: Who is Jesus Christ?

Though the Catholic church officially affirms a belief in Jesus as Almighty God, actual Catholic practice has produced a multitude of "other Jesuses" which are very problematic (2 Cor. 11:4) and which actually hinder a Catholic's developing a saving relation with the real Jesus. These include:

 1. The "Jesus" of the Eucharistic communion host. This is a "Jesus" who is a wafer of bread. He can be eaten, chewed and swallowed. He can be expectorated, lost or even stolen. An "Almighty God" who can be misplaced or stolen is obviously false! (cf. Gen. 31:30, Judg. 18:24)
2. The "Jesus" who is stern and inaccessible; thus necessitating Mary as our intercessor. Catholics are taught that Jesus is a severe taskmaster. Only by asking Mary, Jesus' mother, to intercede to Him, can they hope to gain His pardon. This is contrary to the Biblical Jesus, who is taught to be extremely compassionate and merciful, and not at all harsh or unrelenting:

Hebr. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Exod. 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Hebr. 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him [Jesus] to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Num. 14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression...
Eph. 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (also Ps. 86:15, 1 Pet. 1:3, 2 Pet. 3:9, Jude 21)

Additionally, the Bible says nothing about Mary being a mediator between us and the Lord. Rather, it says that Jesus is the ONLY mediator:

1 Tim. 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Hebr. 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

  3. The priest is "another Christ. " Catholic theology states that "Sacerdotus alter Christus est." (The priest is another Christ) Catholics are taught that the priest becomes Christ on the altar when he says the words of institution to turn the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. But the Bible teaches that a sacrificing priesthood was ended at Calvary...

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Hebr. 10:8-12 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, 0 God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

...and that our ONLY priest is Jesus:

Hebr. 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebr. 7:24-5 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an
unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Since the high priesthood (like the papacy) could only pass from one person to another at death, the fact that Jesus now lives and reigns forever means that no other person can ever hold a special sacrificing priesthood again, because Jesus will never die. The only other priesthood is simply the priesthood of all believers, which all Born Again Christians share-men and women alike (1 Pet. 2:5,9). Thus, the priests of the Catholic church which offer the "sacrifice" of the Eucharist are functioning under a false priesthood.

  4. The dead "Jesus" on the crucifix. This is a central icon of the Catholic church. It nails Jesus anew to the cross, even though the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is risen and in glory and will never suffer again. Actually, the crucifix, so venerated by Catholics, is actually a cursed thing:

Deut. 21:23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but
thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is
accursed of God;)...
Deut. 7:26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house,
lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and
thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.
Gal. 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being
made a curse for us: for it is written. Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

 5. The pope is said to be the Vicar of Christ (Vicarius Christos = "another Christ" or "substitute Christ"). The Catholic dictionary teaches that "The pope sits as Christ in the Vatican."(1) He claims to be Christ and also insists on being called Holy Father, even though that is a title of God the Father so precious and holy that Jesus only used it once in all of His recorded prayers. Also, we are forbidden to call any religious leader "Father."

 John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
Matt. 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

Thus, we can see that the Catholic church has managed to thoroughly confuse and muddy the waters as to who Jesus really is, and how we gain access to Him. 

 Part 3: The Holy Bible

Officially the Vatican affirms the Bible as the Word of God, but it claims it created the Bible and thus has the sole right to interpret it infallibly. This leads to the difficult problem of two sources of ultimate authority which often conflict:
1. The Holy Bible (as interpreted by the Vatican)
2. The Magisterium of the church, which consists of two elements: (a) decrees of ecumenical councils or dogmas "infallibly defined" by the pope; and (b). church tradition-pious customs kept from time immemorial which thereby assume the force of law. This is all contrary to the Bible:

2 Pet. 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Tim. 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Mark 7:6-9 He answered and said unto them. Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them. Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that
ye may keep your own tradition.
Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
1 Pet. 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Logically, there cannot be two sources of authority. It would be like the proverbial two-headed dog that couldn't decide which rabbit to chase. If there are two sources of authority to choose from, then WE-as fallible, sinful human beings-get to choose which authority we will obey at any given moment. That essentially makes us God, rather than submitting ourselves to the true and living God and His will.

Thus, if the Bible says one thing, and the magisterial authority of the Catholic church says something else (something which frequently happens, as you can see)-then who decides who is right? Trusting the pope to do it is like trusting the fox to watch the hen-house. We will discuss more about the issue of final authority after this next, very important section:

 Part 4: Salvation

How do you get saved (become Born Again)? Well, the position of the Vatican is that salvation is not normally available to those outside the Catholic church. Baptism is essential to salvation, as is faithful attendance at the sacraments, especially the Sunday liturgy. Tied into this dogma is a complex system of religious practices to facilitate the Catholic's salvation:

1. The Eucharistic liturgy (formerly called the sacrifice of the Mass) as an "unbloody sacrifice" for sins. Catholics MUST EAT THE FLESH OF JESUS AND DRINK HIS BLOOD in the sacrament to be saved:

 Council of Trent creedal formulation: "I profess likewise, in the mass there is offered to God a true, proper, propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead. And that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, these are truly, really and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. And that there is made a conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and the whole substance of the wine into the blood."
Council of Trent, Canon #1: "If anyone shall deny that the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore the entire Christ, are truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist and shall say that He is only in it as a sign or in a figure, let him be anathema (cursed to hell)."

The problems with this doctrine are manifold. First of all, it stands against Hebrews 10:10-12 which scripture is already quoted above. Additionally, if the Eucharistic liturgy does what Catholic doctrine teaches that it does, then Catholics are being asked TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ACT FORBIDDEN BY GOD, both BEFORE the giving of the Law of Moses:

Gen. 9:3-4: Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
AND under the Mosaic Law;
Lev. 17:14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
AND TODAY in the New Testament age of grace for gentile Christians:
Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

Additionally, if the liturgy does what it says it does, then it consists of repeating the sacrifice of Calvary and undoing the effects of the resurrection of Jesus! A central feature of the crucifixion was the shedding of Jesus' blood. This is because without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins (Hebr. 9:22). Therefore, the separation of Jesus' blood from His body was essential (1 Cor. 15:50). However, there is a place in the liturgy where by putting a fragment of the host (supposedly the body of Christ) BACK into the chalice of wine (His blood supposedly), the priest actually puts the body and blood of Jesus back together, thus undoing Calvary. What a blasphemy!

Hebr. 6:6 - If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
John 19:34-But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Finally, there is the fact that there is no real evidence that when Jesus was calling the bread and wine His body and blood He was speaking literally. Although John 6 is cited by Catholics as additional proof for the truth of the doctrine of Transubstantiation (that Jesus is really present fully in the bread and wine). Though Jesus does call Himself the "bread of life" (John 6:35), the question must be asked, did He intend to be taken that literally? For example, in the same gospel, He also called Himself a "door" John 10:7), a "vine" (John 15:1) and a "light" (John 8:12). Does that mean that Jesus was also a vegetable, a candle, and a piece of carpentry? Indeed, in that same chapter of John 6, Jesus warns His listeners that:

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

If, one must truly eat His flesh to live forever, as v. 54 seems to say,
then why would He say that the flesh has no profit? Additionally, notice this:

John 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

Look carefully, and see that Jesus is saying that there is an exact equivalency between the life He lives through His Father and the way He acquires that life, and the way that a Christian can live by eating Jesus. Now obviously, Jesus was not physically eating the flesh of His Father (Who had no flesh- Matt. 16:17), and therefore, we do not need to literally eat Jesus' flesh to have eternal life either. Observe that elsewhere in the same gospel, Jesus defines this kind of "eating" for us:

John 4:32, 34 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of... Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

See how helpful it is when we let scripture interpret scripture (even from the same divinely inspired author-John) instead of allowing men to do it?

2. Purgatory is taught to be a purification spot for Catholics not yet worthy to enter into heaven. Purgatory is where the "temporal punishments due to sin" are removed. Because of this doctrine, NO CATHOLIC can know where they will go when they die for certain! Of course, the word "Purgatory" is not mentioned in the Bible, in either Testament. Nor is there any trace of uncertainty about where Bom Again Christians (Catholics are taught that all Catholics are Born Again at baptism (2)) will go when they die:

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
John 3:15-16 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Notice that in all these verses (and many others as well), the Bom Again Christian is shown to have eternal life-present tense-right now! It is not something which that have to wait years of purgatorial suffering to attain. They have it RIGHT NOW, the moment they receive Christ as Saviour and Lord! Thus, there is no possible reason for Purgatory. Every Born Again Christian is instantly presented to God... "...holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his [God's] sight" (Col. 1:22) This verse is also in the present tense. There is nothing future about the eternal life which Jesus gives. It is yours the very moment you ask Him to save you from your sins and to be the Lord of your life.

3. Masses and prayers are offered and indulgences earned for the departed in Purgatory. Catholics are taught that departed loved ones are most likely suffering intensely in Purgatory. Indeed, there is NO difference in the tortures suffered in hell from those in Purgatory save that Purgatory is temporary and hell eternal. Thus, Catholics are encouraged to do what they can to shorten the "sentence" of their dead loved ones' stay in Purgatory by having Masses said and saying prayers themselves.

The indulgence system-still fully in place after Vatican II-assigns certain periods of time to certain religious acts. Perhaps saying a "Hail Mary" for the soul of a departed relative might get them 25 days off their time in Purgatory. However, no one on earth apparently knows how long a given dead person's sentence in Purgatory is. Therefore, there is no way of knowing when you have amassed enough Masses, prayers, rosaries, etc. to get them from Purgatory to heaven. I know of relatives who are still having Masses said for departed parents who have been dead for nearly thirty years!!

Of course, this costs money. Masses are not free. The person seeking a Mass to be said must pay a stipend or donation. It is not a large amount of money, but it can add up over the years. Since no one will ever know when enough Masses have been said, this can (and often does) go on for decades, often from poor widows who don't have a lot of income. Jesus warned about those religious leaders who ".. .devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation." (Matt. 23:14)

The sad part of all this is that there is not a scintilla of Biblical evidence that any of it works. Nowhere in the Bible are prayers for the dead exhorted. To the contrary, the Word of God teaches that once you die, your eternal destiny is fixed forever. It cannot be changed by acts either of the living or the dead:

Hebr. 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

If this were not so, surely Jesus would have had ample opportunity to mention it when teaching about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:20ff). Here a rich man suffers torments in hell and no hope is offered by the Lord of ever getting out. Additionally, the Bible assures us (praise God!) that when a Born Again Christian dies they are instantly with the Lord in heaven!

2 Cor. 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

This pretty much shoots down Purgatory. The Bible is silent about such a place, or about praying for the dead; and instead it teaches that by believing in Christ we can instantly KNOW where we will go when we die.

4. Veneration of and prayer to the Virgin Mary and dead saints (St. Jude, St. John, etc.). Two issues are serious problems here. The first is the fact that we are forbidden in the Bible to communicate with the dead. The second is that we are forbidden from worshipping or praying to anyone but God. The Bible assures us that communication with departed dead people (however noble they may have been) is worse than useless.

Eccl. 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing...
Isa. 8:19 And when they shall say unto you. Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?
Lev. 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with
stones: their blood shall be upon them.
Deut. 18:9-11 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

It is important to understand that the term used, "familiar spirit" refers to a demon masquerading as a known (familiar) dead individual. Basically, there is no essential difference between praying to Mary or a dead saint than there is in going to a seance and trying to communicate with "dear Uncle Harry."

Some Catholics might protest that they do not pray to or worship Mary, etc. They just ask these departed worthies to intercede for them before the Father, much like we would ask a living Christian friend to pray for us about something. That sounds good in theory, but again there is no Biblical evidence for it.

Vatican theologians try to draw a fine theological line between the worship that is offered to God alone and the "veneration" that is accorded Mary and the saints. They have even come up with specialized Greek terms for it. "Latria" is the word they use for the worship afforded to God alone. "Dulia" is a word which refers to the veneration of the saints and "Hyperdulia" refers to the extra-special veneration accorded to Mary. These are technical Catholic theological terms. However, interestingly enough, the Greek root of those terms: DOULEIA, means "bondage" or "the condition of being a slave!"(3) Thus, Catholics are "in bondage" to the saints, and are in "super-bondage" tc Mary. Not a good arrangement!

Ultimately, the deeper problem is that few Catholics understand these subtle distinctions. Most DO pray to Mary. They don't just ask her to pray for them, they pray TO her! This is most especially true in developing nations where Catholicism is so strong. Even in the U.S., one of the most popular Marian devotions is the booklet, "Our Lady of Perpetual Help" which has MANY prayers addressed to Mary asking HER (not Jesus) to save us! That is emphatically not Biblical. Mary cannot save anyone. There is only one Savior (Isa. 43:11, Hosea 13:4, Acts 4:12) and no one but God should be the object of our prayers, worship or devotions.

Luke 4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Job 15:15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.

Space does not permit a detailed examination of the serious heresies in the cult of the Virgin Mary. Suffice it to say that Catholics call her the "Queen of Heaven" (see Jer. 7:18 and Jer. 44:17-25) and have elevated her to the level of a Goddess, de facto, if not de jure!

The bottom line on the salvation teachings of Catholicism is that you are NOT saved by grace in the Catholic church, but rather by the accomplishment of these (and hundreds more) acts of piety such as Rosaries, novenas, etc.; and by abstaining from sin. The clear message of the Bible is that you are saved by faith in Jesus Christ and nothing else:

Eph. 2:8-9 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.

"Gifts" do not have to be earned, only accepted. If a Catholic is "earning" something, then they are going to be appalled at their paycheck:

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 Part 5: The Papacy & Ultimate Authority

Catholics are taught that the pope is the literal successor of Peter as bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the universal Church, the Vicar of Christ-Jesus' personal representative. Thus, the pope alone can declare someone a saint, and he has the ability to infallibly define dogma for all Catholics. The Vatican interprets Mt. l6:18 as applying to Peter as the "rock" upon which Jesus built His church. There are two
problems with this:

Matt. 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (PETROS), and upon this rock (PETRA) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

First of all two different words there are used in Greek. "PETROS" means a piece of a rock, a detached stone or boulder.(4) "PETRA," on the other hand, means a huge mass of immovable rock.(5) Logically, it would be unlikely for Jesus to say that He was going to build his church on a small piece of rock o stone, when instead He could build it on Himself, the mighty, giant rock!

This interpretation is borne out by other scriptures (using the Bible to interpret itself). First of all, over and over again, Jesus (and/or God) is called "the Rock." In 36 places. God is called "the Rock."(6)Yet, nowhere else in the Bible is any other person referred to as a rock. Nowhere in the Bible is Peter treated like a pope, called a pope, and he never calls himself a pope, nor does he call himself a "PETRA." Rather, he writes...

1 Pet. 2:6-8 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture. Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him (Jesus) shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he (Jesus) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Thus, it seems evident from the Bible, and even from Peter himself that Jesus is the Rock upon which the church is built! (see also Eph. 2:20) Additionally, though past popes have demanded worship (bowing down to them, calling them "Your holiness," kissing their feet, kissing their ring, etc.), Peter explicitly refused it-as did other Godly people in the Bible.

Acts 10:25-26 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. (see also Rev. 19:10 & 22:9)

2. There is absolutely no Biblical (or archaeological) evidence for Peter ever being bishop of Rome or even being in Rome. For example, Paul wrote extensive greetings to Roman Christians at the end of Romans (16:1-16) and never even mentioned Peter. That would surely be pretty rude if he was the bishop or pastor of the Roman church! None of Peter's epistles are sent from Rome. To the contrary, one is identified as coming from the far mission field of Babylon! (1 Pet. 5:13-14)

3. As mentioned above, Peter never permitted anyone to kiss his feet, or his ring, to call him "Your Holiness" or "Holy Father," and never gave any "infallible" decrees. To the contrary, James seemed to be the head of the church in (Acts 15:13ff) and Peter was doctrinally corrected on a serious issue by Paul-in front of everyone:

Gal. 2:11-14 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I [Paul] withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

4. Nothing in the 1600-year history of the Papacy would lead one to believe that it was a divine institution. Indeed, popes have contradicted earlier popes and even fought with other popes who also claimed to the true successor of Peter. In fact, as Catholic author Malachi Martin points out, a large number of popes were highly unmoral people! (7) Their sins included fathering illegitimate children, orgies, homosexuality, murder, bribery and- of course-idolatry! Popes have declared that the world was flat, that the earth was the center of the solar system, and that it was a mortal sin to play "B-flat!" They have made thousands of false prophecies!
If popes were truly hearing from God down through the centuries, how could they have made so many scientific mistakes or moral errors? This is especially the case when a simple look at the Holy Bible (from 1611, King James Version) could have informed the pope that-for instance, the earth was round! (see Isa.-40:22)

The bottom line on all this is where do you get your ultimate authority? How can ultimate truth be determined? Can truth be found by following a mortal man, like the pope-or by following an inspired (2 Tim. 3:16), living (Hebr. 4:12) Book which has never been found to be wrong in the tiniest way!

The fallacy of the "two-headed" leadership of the Catholic church (Bible and Magisterium) is that if the two contradict (as they usually do), then who has the authority to referee? It is like having a corporation with two presidents!

God is not the author of confusion! (1 Cor. 14:33) No unit, not the family nor a company, nor a church can function with two equal leaders, because there is always the chance that they will disagree.

The Holy Bible can be mathematically, scientifically, juridically proven to be truly what it says it is, the very inerrant Word of God.(8) The papacy and the Vatican cannot. On top of everything else, it must be said that if the Vatican is right, then the Bible must be false. However, if the Bible is true, then the Vatican must be false! Look at the fruits of the two "camps!"

The nations where the Catholic church has reigned supreme are among the poorest in the world. Places like Latin America, the Philippines, Haiti, that have had undiluted Catholicism for centuries are full of crime, corruption, illiteracy, high infant mortality, shortened life spans and abject poverty! On the other hand, countries like England, America, and northern Europe . which have revered the Bible (at least until this generation) have been the most prosperous, advanced nations in history. Indeed, the recent decline in US, English, and northern European fortunes can be directly traced to their moving away from the Bible and toward humanism or Catholicism.

Deut. 32:31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.



If you are a Catholic, and you do not know where you are going when you die for certain; if you do not know that Jesus Christ is your personal Lord and Savior and that He will take you instantly out of the Kingdom of darkness and translate you into His Kingdom of God (Col. 1:13), then you need to do as the Bible commands:
1) Confess to God that you are a sinner (Romans 3:23)
2) Repent of those sins and want to turn away from them (Lk. 13:5)
3) Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood to pray the price for your sins, and that He rose again from the dead (Romans 10:9-10)
4) Ask the Lord to save you from your sins (Romans 10:13)
5) Ask Jesus Christ to take complete control over your life and be your Lord (Romans 12:1-2)

Then, you honestly need to forsake the Catholic church and renounce it as a false religious system. You cannot be a part of a religious institution which has been responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of Christians down through the centuries (Rev. 17:6). You must come out from among them and be separate!

2 Cor. 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

 Closing Remarks from Bishop J.C. Ryle:

I wish my readers to remember that the burning of the ...martyrs is an act that the Church of Rome has never repudiated, apologized for, or repented of, down to the present day.... Never has she repented of her treatment of... the Albigenses;
never has she repented of the wholesale murders of the Inquisition;.. .never has she repented of the burning of the English Reformers. We should make note of
that fact and let it sink down into our minds. Rome never changes! (9)

 From D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

In one sense.. .you might well think that the Roman Catholic church is the most orthodox church in the world... [It] believes that Jesus of Nazareth was the eternal Son of God; it believes in the Virgin Birth; it believes in the Incarnation;
it believes in His miracles; [etc.]...
But at this point, the subtlety comes in and the difficulty arises. To all that she "adds," with a damnable plus things which are utterly unscriptural and which, indeed, become a denial of the Scripture. So she lands us eventually in a position in which, if we accept her teaching, we are believing a lie.(10)
Roman Catholicism is the devil's greatest masterpiece!
It is such a departure from the Christian faith and the New Testament teaching that.. .her dogma is a counterfeit; she is, as the Scripture puts it, "the whore."...
Let me warn you very solemnly that if you rejoice in these (ecumenical] approaches to Rome, you are denying the blood of the martyrs! There are innocent people who are being deluded by this kind of falsity, and it is your business and mind to open their eyes." (11)

 Quotes from official Catholic sources:

Today's Catholics must "accept, without hesitation, and profess all that has been handed down...especially by the Sacred Council of Trent."(12)

If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory... let him be anathema.(13)
[We affirm] that there is a purgatory, and that the souls there detained are aided by the suffrages of the faithful and...[that] bishops shall see to it that the suffrages of the living, that is, the sacrifice of the mass, prayers, alms and other works of piety which they have been accustomed to perform for the faithful depart be piously and devoutly discharged in accordance with the laws of the church...(14)

Salvation outside the Catholic Church?
For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that Our Lord entrusted all the blessings... in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be full incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God.(15)

The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed.. .In fact, in purgatory the souls of those "who died in the charity of God and truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions" are cleanse after death with punishments designed to purge away their debt.(16)

[The Catholic church] teaches and commands the usage of indulgences- a usage most beneficial to Christians and approved by the authority of the" Sacred Councils-should be kept in the Church; and it condemns with anathema [a curse of damnation] those who say that indulgences are useless or that the Church does not have the power to grant them.

The Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass:
For it is the liturgy through which, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, "the work of our redemption is accomplished."(17)

Worshipping the wafer of bread?
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind "that all the faithful ought to show to this most holy sacrament the worship which is due to the true God as has always been the custom of the Catholic Church. Nor is it to be adored any the less because it was instituted by Christ to be eaten."(18)

Still sacrificing Jesus today?
The Mass, the Lord's Supper, is at the same time and inseparably: a sacrifice in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated.(19)
The sacrifice of the altar, then, is no mere empty commemoration of Calvary, but a true and proper act of sacrifice, whereby Christ the high priest by an unbloody immolation offers himself a most acceptable victim to the eternal Father as he did on the cross.(20)

The authority of the Holy Bible?
Sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other... Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal feelings of devotion and reverence.... But the task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church....It is clear, therefore, that in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. (21)
But when Christians separated from us [ie. Protestants] affirm the divine authority of the sacred books, they think differently from us... For in the Church, according to Catholic belief, its authentic teaching office has a special place in expounding and preaching the written Word of God. (22)

Bishops should show affection consideration in their relations with the separated brethren (Protestants] and should urge the faithful also to exercise all kindness and charity in their regard, encouraging ecumenism as it is understood by the Church.(23)
The term "ecumenical movement" indicates the initiatives and activities encouraged and organized, according to the various needs of the Church and as opportunities offer, to promote Christian unity.(24)
This Sacred Council urges the faithful to abstain from any frivolous or imprudent zeal, for these can cause harm to true progress toward unity. Their ecumenical activity cannot be other than fully and sincerely Catholic, that is, loyal to the truth we have received from the Apostles and the Fathers, and in harmony with the faith which the Catholic Church has always professed...(25)

 Catholic Confession of Faith:

I accept and hold, in each and every part, all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning Original Sin and Justification.
I profess that in the Mass is offered to God a true, real and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist is really, truly and substantially the Body and blood together with the soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and that there takes place what the Church calls transubstantiation...
I firmly hold that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful. Likewise, I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to God for us and that their relics are to be venerated.
I profess firmly that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God, ever virgin, as well as of all the saints should be given due honour and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant Indulgences...
This is the only church instituted by Christ for the salvation of mankind.. .All are bound to belong to the Church, which Christ established, to share in His merits and thus attain life everlasting.. .Those who know the Church of Christ cannot be saved outside her fold.(26)
[The Roman Catholic church is] the only true Church.. .the custodian and interpreter of Revelation...Man can obtain a knowledge of God's Word [only] from the Catholic church and through its duly constituted channels.(27)
When he has once mastered this principle of Divine Authority [residing in the church], the Inquirer is prepared to accept whatever the Divine Church teaches on Faith, Morals, and the Means of grace.(28)
... the task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the'living teaching office of the church alone. (29)
But by divine institution, it is exclusive task of these pastors alone, the successors of Peter and the other Apostles, to teach the faithful authentically, that is with the authority of Christ.(30)
We believe in the infallibility enjoyed by the successor of Peter when he speaks ex cathedra..., an infallibility which the whole Episcopate enjoys when it exercises with him the supreme Magisterium.(31)


1 John A. Harden, SJ, MODERN CATHOLIC DICTIONARY, 1980, p.561.
2 This means that such notables as Adolph Hitler, Al Capone, Heinrich Himmler and Frank Nitti are all Born Again Christians.
4 ibid. p.1099.
5 ibid.
6 See Deut. 32:4,15,18,30, 31; 1 Sam. 2:2; 2 Sam. 22:2-3; 22:32,47; 23:3;
Ps. 18:2, 31,46; 28:1; 31:2-3; 42:9; 61:2; 62:2, 6-7; 71:3; 78:35; 89:26; 92:15;
94:22; 95:1; Isa. 8:14; 17:10; Matt. 7:24; 7:25; Luke 6:48; Rom. 9:33;
1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:8.
7 Malachi Martin, THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN CHURCH, Putnam, 1981.
8 See Josh McDowell's EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, vol. I & II, Here's Life Publishers, among many other books on Biblical apologetics.
9 Bishop J.C. Ryle, WHY WERE OUR REFORMERS BURNED?, Leeds, England, Maranatha Revival Crusade, 1982, p.l8.
10 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, ROMAN CATHOLICISM, Evangelical Press,
Grand Rapids, MI, one in a series of "Pastoral Booklets," pp.1-4.
11 ibid., pp.1-4,16.
12 Rev. Peter Geiermannn, C.SS.R., THE CONVERT'S CATECHISM OF CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, Tan, 1977, Imprimatur Joseph E. Ritter, S.T.D., Archbishop of St. Louis, p.l03.
13 THE CANONS AND DECREES OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT, translated and introduced by Rev. H.J. Schroeder, O.P., Tan, 1978, p.46.
14 ibid., p.214.
15 VATICAN II: THE CONCILIAR AND POST CONCILIAR DOCUMENTS, Austin Flannery, O.P., ed. Costello Publishing, 1975, p.456.
16 ibid., p.64
17 ibid. p.71.
18 ibid, p.l.
19 ibid., p. 104.
20 ibid.,p.l02.
21 John A. Harden, SJ, THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM, Doubleday & Co., 1975, pp.465-466.
22 VATICAN II, op.cit., p.755-756.
23 ibid., p.468.
24 ibid., p.573.
25 ibid., p.457.
26 ibid., p.470.
27 Geiermannn., pp.101-104.
28 Geiermannn, pp.25-27.
29 ibid., p.l4,19, 27, 34, 36.
30 ibid., p. VI.
31 Austin Flannery, O.P., ed., VATICAN COUNCIL II, Costello Publishing, 1984, vol.1, p.755.
32 ibid., vol. II, 1982, p.430.
33 ibid., p.392.

 * Used by permission from William's Schnoebelen's Straight Talk articles. For information on how to obtain these see: With One Accord Ministries: http://www.withoneaccord.org

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