"I am astonished that you are so quickly
deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning
to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently
some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert
the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" Gal 1:6-8
Belief in Catholicism is based upon the unquestioned authority of its
alleged theological forefathers and its doctrines. The most common
defense of Catholicism I've run into is "It is so because they say so".
But such was not the attitude Paul affirmed. For example the Bereans
were commended for scrutinizing Paul.
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11
Likewise Paul said, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you— unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test." 2Cor 13:5,6
And here in Gal 1 we see Paul again tells the Galatians to examine his preaching as to whether it is in line with the gospel they were first presented with. And not only so, but in saying "or an angel from heaven" is to say that NO ONE is above scrutiny. (For Mormons, I say even their "angel" Moroni)
And this idea of no one being above scrutiny applies to the leadership in the church at Jerusalem including James and Peter. Peter he actually rebukes in Galatians 2. And he says, "As for those who seemed to be important— whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance— those men added nothing to my message." Gal 2:6 If it made no difference to Paul, why should it make any different to us?
The Logical Fallacy Catholics fall for in this case is known as "The Appeal to Authority".
It is a logical fallacy to say that it is so because some alleged
"authority" says so and you are not allowed to question the authority of
such a person. Not even Jesus did that. Rather than saying, "believe me because I say so", he said, "Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does.
But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the
miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and
I in the Father." John 10:37,38 He gave evidence of his
authority to speak for God by miracles. Likewise whenever the gospel is
preached in the Bible, miracles, such as Jesus' resurrection from the
dead were mentioned as forensic evidence validating the message. "Men
of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by
God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you
through him, as you yourselves know." Acts 2:22
"he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man
he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him
from the dead." Acts 17:31
In contrast Catholicism's Appeal to Authority to endorse
Catholic dogma is purely speculative and falls short when it is
scrutinized. But as with any cult, Catholics are brainwashed not to
scrutinize their own religion.
One of the common verses Catholicism misinterprets to justify rejecting any scrutiny against it is the phase "the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Mt 16:18.
This they take to mean that heretics will not prevail against the
Catholic Church, and thus any scrutiny against their theology they label
as heresy and reject it out of hand. But what the phrase ACTUALLY MEANS
is that those who died in Christ will not be stuck in Hades (the place
of the dead where both the righteous, including Jesus (Acts 2:31)
and the wicked went prior to Christ's resurrection - such as in the
case of the rich man and Lazarus of Luke 16 and the man on the cross
next to Jesus who was promised to enter into Paradise that very day).
Rather, believers would now go straight to heaven, by passing Hades.
That's what it means.
"I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them." Acts 20:29,30 Such is the case concerning the origin of Catholicism.
Catholicism claims its origin in the early church. Yes it was in the
early church. Catholicism's origin is found in the Christian cult of the
Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. Acts 15:1,2
This cult was the leaven of the church at Jerusalem. Even James admits that, "We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said." Acts 15:24
But the cult was more insidious than James makes it out
to be. When Paul went to the Jerusalem church concerning this matter, he
went solely to the leadership there. "Then
some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood
up and said, 'The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the
law of Moses.'" Acts 15:5
So among the leadership of the church of Jerusalem we find members of
the circumcision. So the circumcision found its way to leadership
positions in that church.
Now in Acts these are called "believers". For Luke was
not writing what people really were, but rather what they were called.
For he was not writing doctrine but history. But Paul, writing doctrine,
says what these people really were. "This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." Gal 2:4 These were false brethren.
Likewise Catholicism infiltrated the ranks to enslave
the Christian community to Catholic Canon Law. In contrast to the gospel
whereby one is justified by faith apart from works, where eternal life
is a free gift, under Catholicism one's salvation is contingent upon
being a good Catholic, following the Catholic Canon Law with its rules
"You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. ... That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 'A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.'" Gal 4:5,8,9
Upon scrutinizing the record of what occurred, I would say the
"little yeast" is the doctrine of James, which lead to Catholicism
infecting the whole batch of dough.
When Paul presented his gospel to the leaders of the church at Jerusalem, Peter agreed with Paul.
"God made no distinction between us (Jews) and them (Gentiles),
for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test
God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor
our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through
the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." Acts 15:9-11
To Paul and Peter, salvation was a free gift. But when James spoke up it was evidence that he had quite a different idea.
"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult
for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to
them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual
immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood." Acts 15:19,20
First of all it is clear that James thought he could tinker with the gospel. "My judgement" and "we should not make it" reveal his attitude, putting himself in place of God.
Secondly in saying, "we should not make it difficult" indicates
that James thought that it was difficult for Gentiles to be saved. But
under Paul's gospel it's not only not difficult, it's free apart from
works, "Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." Rom 4:4,5 How easier could it possibly be to be saved? To the Ephesians he writes, "You
also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the
gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a
seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our
inheritance" Eph 1:13,14 Not only is eternal life free, but such people are guaranteed Eternal Security. "All
have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified
freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" Rom 3:23,24
By viewing it as difficult, and alluding to the Law, it seems clear
to me that James was of the Circumcision, perhaps even its leader. How
else did they get into leadership in that church if James hadn't
endorsed their doctrine? But what of Peter and John? It's also clear
that they were taking a passive role, for fear of the circumcision
.Though I don't know what they were afraid of, but Paul writes, "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group." Gal 2:11,12
And note "men from James"... "belonged to the group of the circumcision".
(What is Paul telling us about James?) And why was Peter afraid of
them, but that he was afraid of James. Notice how James makes a
unilateral decision (My Judgement)
to tinker with the gospel. Seems James ran the church as an
authoritarian leader, the others simply rubber stamping his decisions.
Now let's consider James' tinkering of the gospel.
"we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood." Acts 15:20
"It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality." Acts 15:28,29
(Notice again the logical fallacy of "Appeal to Authority" here in James' mentioning of the Holy Spirit)
Thus according to James it was NECESSARY to abstain from eating meat of strangled animals to be saved.
Consider James' command forbidding Christians to eat the meat of strangled animals as a condition for salvation. Paul says, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth." 1Tim 4:1-3 Paul is classifying James' decree as a doctrine of demons. He's speaking of James being a hypocritical liar whose conscience is seared.
Peter had characterized the Law as a yoke that even Jews could not bear. "Now
therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the
disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"
Perhaps he should have responded to James proposition with "James, why do you test God by tinkering with the gospel?" But he was apparently too afraid to bring that up.
James' idea was not to impose the WHOLE Law upon the Gentiles, but to
make it easier by imposing just certain laws upon them. This in
contrast to Paul's gospel which eliminates salvation being
contingent upon law altogether.
And that's what Catholicism does. It tinkers with the gospel, imposing it's own law upon people to be saved. It's a new version of the circumcision. Catholicism is a Neo-Circumcision sect.
While he didn't confront James to his face, Paul ignored him.
"As for those who seemed to be important— whatever they were makes no
difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance— those men added nothing to my message." Gal 2:6
Indeed Paul preaches contrary to the regulations James imposed. In
contrast to not eating meat of strangled animals Paul writes, "Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it." 1Cor 10:25,26
To the Colossians he writes, "Since you died
with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you
still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not
taste! Do not touch!"?" Col 2:20,21
And to the Galatians he writes, "You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain." Gal 4:10,11 This in contrast to Catholicism with all it's "Holy Days of obligation".
Just as with James, Catholicism makes the kingdom of God out to be a matter of eating and drinking. But Paul writes, "the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Rom 14:17 They make it a matter of observing days. But Paul writes, "One
man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers
every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." Rom 14:5
This leads us to the Epistle of James, inserted into the Bible by
Catholics, and the book most heavily relied upon by Catholics to defend
Catholicism. There James writes in opposition to Paul, in light of
Paul's gospel laid out for us in Romans.
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources
Edition: Dec 20,2016