Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By James Fire
The following series is compiled from two different teachings given at church; their respective titles are: Biblical Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism (given last month, and more recently:) The Roman Catholic Church, Mysticism and the Emergent Connection to a One World Religion.
Once again, we must remind ourselves why we are here: we are not here to disparage, to ridicule, to put down or to bash religions; we are here for truth and to expose falsehoods where ever they may be.
In order to know what is true and what is false, you must know what the truth is.
The truth is the standard by which all statements, beliefs, doctrines, practices are measured against in estimating their truthfulness or falseness. This is the essence of discernment, or the ability to judge right from wrong, truth from deceptions.
Charles Spurgeon once said:
“Discernment is not knowing the difference between what is true and what is false; rather it is knowing the difference between what is true and what is almost-true.”
Sometimes we may examine a particular subject and find that it contains much truth, but the danger lies there – for in seeing so much truth, the deception can easily hide in its midst and escape notice!
There are many things in Roman Catholicism that is true, doctrinally -
Roman Catholicism holds the following to be true:
- Jesus was born of the virgin Mary
- Jesus is the Son of God
- The Bible is the Word of God
- Salvation is by grace
- Communion is vital for the believer
- Baptism is an important declaration of faith
. . . and many other things.
However, they also teach things that are added to these truths, such as the idea that Mary is a perpetual virgin that had no other children. That Jesus, though He is the Son of God, defers to His Mother when she petitions Him. That the Bible only contains the Word of God; that salvation is by grace, but that this grace is administered to the people through the (Roman) Church by the ministration of Mary herself and that works are also required for salvation; that communion is not merely emblematic but is actually the body and blood of Jesus incarnated in the wafer and the wine. Salvation is necessarily by water baptism which admits a soul into the (Roman Catholic) church and regenerates that soul to eternal life.
IF YOU ADD TO THE TRUTH, THEN YOU HAVE REALLY SUBTRACTED FROM IT.
In dealing with Roman Catholicism, I am addressing something very close to me, because I was a Roman Catholic up until the age of 19 when, after having been born again for one year, I left that institution for a church that focused on biblical teaching and biblical truth (rather than liturgical ceremony). At one point, prior to my salvation, I had decided to become a priest – later, as a born again believer, I came to realize that I already am a priest!
1 PETER 2:9
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
The Seven Sacraments: Biblical or Profane?
2) Holy Confession*
3) Holy Communion/The Eucharist*
4) Holy Confirmation*
5) Holy Matrimony
6) Holy Orders
7) Last Rites/Extreme Unction
I will show how and why these are not biblical, taking the foundational ones, one at a time. Due to importance of this religious Institution and its influences in and over both churches and the world, this presentation will be divided into several parts.
In the first half of this series I will focus on just the first four Sacraments as these are foundational for all Roman Catholics as well as the Authority of Traditions, and Indulgences.
In the last half of this series I will address other pertinent issues that are not necessarily apologetic in nature, but have more to do with Rome's ecumenical influences in the world, and the prophetic relevance of this religious institution; such as Mary the Mother of God/the Queen of Heaven, Mystical Practices, Emergent (Church) Connections and A One World Religion.
First, let's look at these foundational Sacraments and determine what Scripture has to say about them:
1) Baptism –
From C.A.R.M.s website (information from this source is a primary source for this examination), we have the following:
“Salvation in Roman Catholicism is a process. To begin this process, God grants actual grace to a person which enables him to believe in Christ (CCC 2000) and also believe in the truth of the Catholic Church (CCC 1814). After belief, the person must be baptized, which is necessary for salvation (CCC 1257). This baptism erases original sin (CCC 405), unites the person with Christ (CCC 977), infuses grace into the person (CCC 1999), and grants justification (CCC 1992, 2020). After baptism, he is then saved.”
“1992 - Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.”
And yet Scripture clearly states:
HEBREWS 9: 12, 14, 22
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
There is no biblical basis that associates the atonement, which is the shedding of Christ’s blood for the forgiveness of our sins, with water baptism.
Likewise, there is no biblical basis for the ministration of water baptism of infants. Everywhere in the Bible, any time anyone is baptized, they are instructed to repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as LORD and SAVIOR – an infant obviously cannot perform these requirements in order for baptism to be valid. The act of baptism itself cannot confer to people the causes and effects of salvation.
This Sacrament is actually something called Baptismal Regeneration –
From the GOT QUESTIONS web site:
"Baptismal regeneration is the belief that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. It is our contention that baptism is an important step of obedience for a Christian, but we adamantly reject baptism as being required for salvation.
"We strongly believe that each and every Christian should be water baptized by immersion. Baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Romans 6:3-4 declares, “Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
The action of being immersed in the water illustrates dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection.
"Requiring anything in addition to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is a works-based salvation. To add anything to the gospel is to say that Jesus' death on the cross was not sufficient to purchase our salvation. To say we must be baptized in order to be saved is to say we must add our own good works and obedience to Christ's death in order to make it sufficient for salvation.
"Jesus' death alone paid for our sins (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus' payment for our sins is appropriated to our “account” by faith alone (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, baptism is an important step of obedience after salvation but cannot be a requirement for salvation.
"If baptism is necessary for salvation, why would Paul have said, “I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius” (1 Corinthians 1:14)? Why would he have said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17)?” (At this web page (link directly below), many Scriptures that refer to water baptism are addressed, and it is shown how these do not teach that baptism is required for salvation to take effect."
Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation?
Not only does the Roman Catholic Church teach that water baptism saves, but also the Church of Christ denomination, as well as various (certainly not all of them) Calvinist churches. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin taught that without baptism a person cannot be saved.
“[I] affirm that Baptism is no human trifle, but that it was established by God Himself. Moreover, He earnestly and solemnly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved.” ~ ~ Martin Luther.
“For inasmuch as [baptism] is given for the arousing, nourishing, and confirming of our faith, it is to be received as from the hand of the Author himself. We ought to deem it certain and proved that it is he who speaks to us through the sign; that it is he who purifies and washes away sins, and wipes out the remembrance of them… that it is he who comes into a unity with us so that, having put on Christ, we may be acknowledged God’s children. These things, I say, he performs for our soul within as truly and surely as we see our body outwardly cleansed, submerged, and surrounded with water.” ~ ~ John Calvin.]]
From C.A.R.M. once again:
“But, to maintain [the Roman Catholic’s] salvation it is necessary for him to perform good works (CCC 2010, 2068, 2080) and participate in the sacraments (CCC 1129) which provide grace that is "proper to each sacrament" (CCC 1129, 2003). This is necessary in order to maintain infused grace (CCC 987, 1468).”
2) Holy Confession –
“Venial sins (CCC 1862) remove part of the infused grace, but not the saving grace known as sanctifying grace (CCC 1863). To remedy the problem of venial sins, the Catholic is to take the Eucharist and also perform penance. The Catholic Church teaches that both forgive venial sins (CCC 1416, 986). However, penance must be done with perfect contrition (CCC 1452).”
In Holy Confession, the Roman Catholic attends a local parish and steps into a confessional (a booth like structure with two compartments, one for the penitent and the other for the priest) and confesses their sins to the priest who acts as a mediator between the penitent and God, officiates in hearing the confession of sins, and absolves the penitent of sins.
• 980 - It is through the sacrament of Penance (or Confession) that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church: Penance has rightly been called by the holy Fathers "a laborious kind of baptism." This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn.
• 986 - By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance.
• 987 - "In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification," (Roman Catechism, I, 11, 6).
This practice is wholly unbiblical on many levels; first of all, we are to confess our sins to God and not a man of any sort:
I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
1 JOHN 4: 7-10
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (See also Rom. 3: 23-26; 10: 9-11)
Forgiveness is obtained by the atonement of Jesus Christ and His direct ministry of grace and faithfulness in forgiving our sins; no where is the church addressed in Scripture as being granted the authority to forgive sins.
The priest is acting as a mediator, a representative of God for the penitent, but all true believers, born again Christians are considered priests of God already (1 Peter 2:9); therefore there is no need of a special priesthood above the members of the body of Christ, that is, all believers saved by the grace of God.
The idea of a priesthood superior to and over the laity is known as the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes (“Nico” – conquer, rule over; “laitanes” – laity, the people) in the book of Revelation (Rev. 2:15), a doctrine that the LORD Jesus vehemently disapproved of.
Also, there is no need of any mediator other than the One that God has provided for us, Who alone stands ready to forgive and absolve us of our sins as we confess them to Him Who is our High Priest, JESUS CHRIST.
1 TIMOTHY 2: 4-6
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
HEBREWS 3: 1
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
However, there are some of the Roman Catholic leaders and laity that justify this practice by pointing out this verse:
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
And yet if this verse was acted upon as stated, then the priest and the penitent would switch places and the priest would then confess his sins to the penitent!
Do priests have biblical authority to forgive sins?
John 20: 23
If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.
The context of John 20:23 is that Jesus was speaking to the disciples (v. 19).
He breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit (v. 22). There is nothing here about priests having the authority to forgive sins or anywhere else in the New Testament about apostolic succession that says priests have the authority to forgive sins and that it is passed down.
The Bible does mention appointing elders (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5), and that the disciples of Jesus had special authority (Matt. 16:18). It speaks of the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:19), as well as ordaining men to the ministry (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6; Titus 1:5).
At best, the laying on of hands deals with ordination, not apostolic authority being passed down. After all, they were ordaining elders, not apostles, and it was the apostles who were given the authority by Christ to do miracles and write scripture.
Nothing is said here about apostolic authority being passed down.
In Mark 2:5-12 Jesus forgave sins and the Scribes, students of the Law, rightly stated that only God forgives sins.
If they were wrong about that, then why didn't Jesus correct them? Instead, he affirms their claim and states he has the authority to forgive sins, then heals the paralytic. It should be clear that only God forgives sins, and Christians, as representatives of Christ, pronounce to people what has already been forgiven them by God.
So, John 20:23 is not saying that Catholic priests have the authority to forgive sins. It is saying that Christian disciples have the authority to pronounce what sins “have been forgiven.”
Do Roman Catholic Priests have the power to forgive sins?
We will conclude part 1 of this series and continue our examination of these Sacraments of the Romish Sort in part 2.
Following this, we will then examine some of the history and then the implications of this religious Institution in these prophetic last days and how it is the primary instrument for ecumenism, a leading promoter of mysticism and the formation of a one world religion which will pay homage to the coming world leader who is (and will be) presumed to be and recognized as 'the Christ' but in reality will be the son of perdition as mentioned in Scripture:
2 Thessalonians 2:2-4
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Posted by James J. Fire at 12:15 PM