Catholicism - The Apostate Church

Scrutinizing Catholicism's "Appeal to Authority"

"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. 

The Gates of Hades

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.

Paul Predicts the Rise of Apostasy

"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. 

The Neo-Circumcision

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 Circumcision.

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 and rituals.

"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.

Paul versus James

Did Paul Preach the Gospel of James?

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

The Epistle of James

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.

Luther's Astute Observation

I would start this introduction just as Martin Luther starting his introduction to this epistle saying, "this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients" Martin Luther and  "I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle, and my reasons follow. In the first place it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works 2:24). It says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac (2:20); Though in Romans 4:22-22 St. Paul teaches to the contrary that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone, before he had offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15:6. Although it would be possible to "save" the epistle by a gloss giving a correct explanation of justification here ascribed to works, it is impossible to deny that it does refer to Moses' words in Genesis 15 (which speaks not of Abraham's works but of his faith, just as Paul makes plain in Romans 4) to Abraham's works. This fault proves that this epistle is not the work of any apostle." Martin Luther

This particularly becomes an issue in the second part of chapter 2 where James' ACTUAL statements are in contradiction to Paul's writings, particularly Romans 4. In both cases they apply Gen 15:6 to their argument which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." In Romans 4 Paul uses this verse as proof that justification is by faith alone apart from works, interpreting the Gen 15:6 as being fulfilled right then in Gen 15:6 prior to Abraham doing any works. Whereas James views Gen 15:6 as a prediction, a prophecy not being fulfilled until Gen 22, when Abraham did a work of faith. For to James, justification is not attained until one has both faith and works.

Note how James phrases James 2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

Every time in the Bible when this kind of phrase is used it's ALWAYS referring to the scripture as being a prophecy, a prediction of a future event.

Thus James views Abraham as either not believing God in Gen 15, or believing God, but not being reckoned righteous until Gen 22, prior to which Abraham had faith but no works, of which James refers to as dead faith and not able to save. Thus James views Abraham as not saved until Gen 22 when he offered Isaac as a work.

If James interpretation is correct concerning Gen 15:6, then Paul can't use it to prove his point in Romans 4. Conversely if Paul's interpretation of Gen 15:6 is correct and thus Abraham was justified by faith alone apart from works, then James is wrong. And thus Luther said and I agree concerning James, "it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works"

In fact why would James bring up Gen 15:6 to begin with? It doesn't lend support to his argument. Unlike Paul he's not using it as "proof" validating his point, rather he's simply imposing an interpretation of Gen 15:6 which is explicitly and intentionally contrary to Paul's gospel.

Furthermore consider the phrasing James chose in direct contradiction to Paul:

Paul in Romans 4:2-6
 "if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works"

James 2:20,21
"But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?"
James 2:24
"You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only."

And regarding the law, while Paul says in Gal 3:10  "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'" and being under the law he refers to as bondage. yet James again contradicts Paul by saying, "speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty." James 2:12. And yes he is talking about the law of Moses as he quotes Deut and Exodus referencing the Law of Moses.

It appears on all these points that James is writing to intentionally oppose Paul.

Gloss Readings of James

Typically Catholics interpret Paul in light of James. James is the underpinning of the soteriology of Catholic and anti-OSAS non-Catholic Christians who view salvation as contingent not upon faith apart from works, but upon FAITH + WORKS.

In fact James was included in the Bible because of Catholicism, though rejected as scripture by the earlier Christians. It was included as the foundation of their soteriology. Go and argue Paul's points concerning the gospel and the Catholic will typically defend Catholicism with the book of James. It's the leaven of the Bible.

Though Martin Luther is credited as the forefather the Reformation, yet his views concerning James have largely been ignored. Yet he makes valid points. Consequently non-Catholic Christians misread James in such a way to make him agree with Paul.

To elaborate see my page on A View of Church History to view the particulars of gloss readings of James.

Other Evidence from the Epistle of James

Is the Curse of the Law Freedom?

James 2:10-13 "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment."

James advocates the idea that we will be judged by the law, and that such law brings freedom (that is, if you follow it perfectly) In contrast Paul views the law as a curse. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them." Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law." Gal 3:10-13

According to James justification is by works, and yes, the works of the law, and that in opposition to Paul.

James' Hypocrisy and Prejudice

James 2:1 "My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality."

He goes on to speak of not treating the rich with partiality over the poor.  But if you were to replace "rich" with "Jew" and "poor" with Gentile, James is guilty of that very thing.

But let's consider even in his epistle, does James treat the rich impartially? No.

"Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you." James 5:1-6

He categorically condemns the rich. While he commands "Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned." James 5:9, yet he grumbles against the rich. In James 4:12 he asks rhetorically "Who are you to judge another?" Well who are you James to judge another? Who do you think you are? He says, "Do not speak evil of one another" James 4:11 Yet he speaks evil of the rich.

James is partial to the poor, and how conveniently being one of them. And this is how James responds to the generosity shown him by rich Gentile Christians whom he would never have welcomed into his church without them first getting circumcised (see Gal 2:3) who had sent donations to the poor saints in Jerusalem.

Where do you suppose Cornelius - a Gentile convert who was generous to the Jews - went to church? Certainly not in James' church. He would have never been welcomed there despite being converted by Peter himself.

James shows himself partial, ungrateful, proud and demeaning towards Gentile Christians, of whom he imposes his own personal cherry picked regulations upon while washing his hands of them with regards to ministry. (See Gal 2 an Acts 15)

The Most Important Thing

What is the most important thing to James? "But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment." James 5:12 The most important thing to James is to not swear an oath. Compare that with Paul.  Col 3:14  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

James obsesses about the external - words, works. But Paul emphasizes attitude. James obsesses over condemnation and judgement. "Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned." James 5:9 While Paul emphasizes attitude, grace, hope, love, one's security in Christ.

See also:

xCatholic Judaizers
xSacramental Theology
The Gospel to Catholics

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources