The Gospel to Catholics

Contrary to the Catholic idea that wha constitutes "the Faith" has been evolving through Catholic councils over the ages, the Bible says, "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." Jude 1:3 Once for all time what constitutes the faith had been delivered to the saints, of which we can read in the Bible. Catholicism attempts to change the faith. Jude goes on, "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." Jude 1:4 Catholicism changed the gospel into something it is not.

God has implemented salvation in such a way that people are saved by words. The angel told Cornelius ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, ‘who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’ Acts 11:13,14 Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." John 5:24 The Apostle Paul stated, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" Rom 1:17 "God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." 1Cor 1:21 Salvation comes through faith in Christ. And "faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Rom 10:17 One time Paul was asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" What was the reply? "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." Acts 16:30,31 The gospel declares that faith is the sole requirement for salvation. For no other requirement is mentioned but faith.

With regards to the idea that salvation is through compliance to ceremonies and regulations, Paul writes, "No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall shor of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Rom 3:20-24

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, tha whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

"Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." Rom 3:27,28 Tha is, salvation is by faith alone, without any added works, regulations or rituals.

"Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, bu as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." Rom 4:4-8

The Gospel According to Catholicism

As noted above, while the Bible teaches salvation by faith apar from works, Catholicism teaches the following: CANON IV of their "Council of Trent" states, "If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are no necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema."

Catholicism advocates Sacramental Theology in describing the means of salvation. Namely that one's salvation is contingent upon compliance to regulations and rituals as determined by the Catholic Church. To be saved one must regularly attend the "Sacrifice of the Mass" as Catholicism has labeled it, in which Jesus is allegedly transformed into a piece of bread - the Eucharist - and then crucified again at the hands of the priest and congregation who declare "receive this offering made by our hands.. " Peter characterizes those who crucified Christ as wicked. "you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." Acts 2:23

Hebrews takes issue with the Catholic concept. "Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Chris would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. Bu now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." Heb 9:25-28

And furthermore concerning recrucifying Christ, the Bible also says, "I is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame." Heb 6:4-6 Yet in Catholicism Christ is recrucified every Sunday.

Concerning salvation being contingent upon taking the "Eucharist", the Bible says, "the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking" Rom 14:17 Yet Catholicism makes it a matter of eating and drinking. And since the Bible says it's not a matter of literal eating and drinking, then when Jesus speaks of eating he body and drinking his blood he couldn't have been speaking in a literal senses. Yet the basis of their Eucharist worship is to insist upon a literal interpretation of scarce passages while ignoring the vast quantity of what the Bible explicitly teaches on the subject, mainly that salvation is not a function of religious ceremonies or rituals. Catholicism is willfully ignorant on this point and Catholics have no defense on the day of judgement. "For everyone must die once and after that comes judgement." Heb 9:27

"Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them." Heb 13:9 And Paul 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 no handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings  Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." Col 2:20-23 Ceremony neither saves, nor does it even restrain the sinful nature. This applies to Catholic dietary laws as well where one is not allowed to ea meat during lent, for example.

Ironically, while demanding salvation being contingent upon compliance to the commandments, they themselves reject the 4th commandment. For while the 4th commandment insists upon a Sabbath rest, the Catholic Canon XXIX says, "CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ."

Another of the many examples of the works/ritual basis of salvation under Sacramental theology is the means by which one attains forgiveness of sins. For one is required to go to a priest, say that ritualistic works "Father forgive me for I have sinned ..." and then after confession one must make an act of contrition by repeating however many times the priests specifies the ritualistic prays of the "Our Father" and must pray to Mary for their sins to be forgiven. Such a practice is unBiblical on so many levels. In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus commanded no one be called "Father" as a religious title. And he declared not to pray repetitious prays as if "they think they will be heard because of their many words."

Suffice it to say the under Sacramental theology one must comply to the 10 commandments (which is a summary of the Law of Moses) and the Catholic Canons to be saved, which is the very idea that the Bible explicitly and emphatically declares is not the means to salvation.

The Origin of Catholicism

Though the origin of Catholicism with its sacramental theology is in the Bible, it is contrary to the gospel of Christ. In Acts 15 certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." These were the primitive Catholics. "Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question."

So Paul, Barnabus and Titus, who was a Gentile, went to the church a Jerusalem, which was headed by the Apostle Peter, James (the Lord's brother), and the Apostle John. There some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed (Primitive Catholics) rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses." In a letter to the Galatians about this incident the Apostle Paul wrote, "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. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you." Gal 2:2:4,5

From Paul's perspective these primitive Catholics were false brethren in that they advocated a different gospel. Catholicism had its origin in the first church - the church at Jerusalem. It was a heretical sec which unfortunately tolerated by most of the apostles, but not by Paul. While in Jerusalem Peter agreed with Paul's gospel. There Peter declared "We (Jewish Christians) believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they (Gentile Christians)" Acts 15:11 But Peter feared that sect.

Paul testifies, "Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision." Gal 2:11,12 Peter was afraid of the Catholics. Paul rebuked Peter saying among other things, "know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." Gal 2:16

To the Ephesians Paul writes that Jesus "abolished in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations." Eph 2:15 And to the Colossians, Jesus "canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was agains us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." Col 2:14

But heresy of Catholicism spread outward from the church of Jerusalem to the surrounding area of Galatia. Thus Paul wrote to the Galatians, "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 That was Paul's attitude towards Catholicism.

He reminded the Galatians that salvation is not a matter works, rituals, compliance to regulations, but by faith alone. He asked rhetorically, "I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" Gal 3:2,3 and "Does God give you his Spiri and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Gal 3:5,6 This is the same argumen he gave in Romans 4 saying, "What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For wha does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'" Rom 4:1-3

"Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. 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.'" Gal 3:7-12

And thus Paul's concern for the Galatians who were falling into a works based salvation concept. "Now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it tha you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years.  I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain." Gal 4:9-11 And to the Colossians, "If you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—— "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using——according to the commandments and doctrines of men?" Col 2:20-22 Yet such bondage to religious ritualism is inherent in Catholicism.

Yes, Catholicism existed in the early church. It was in the first church at Jerusalem in the sect of the circumcision, false brethren who attempted to change the gospel into one of compliance to religious regulations. And they had such an influence among many of the early churches that Paul found them to be one of his greatest adversaries, and so wrote a great deal in opposition to them. His letters draw a clear, emphatic, and comprehensive distinction between his gospel and that of Catholicism. If you feed on the Word, which is the bread of life, you will find this to be the case.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources