The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) states that it is the one and only true church. We strongly disagree! When most non-Christians (and many professing/nominal Christians) refer to "Christianity", they are referring to, or at least thinking of, the Roman Catholic Church. We at BibleTruthForToday believe that the RCC does NOT represent true Biblical Christianity. Throughout the centuries heresy has been added upon heresy such that the beliefs and practices of the RCC today do NOT represent Biblical truth. We believe that many of the errors of the RCC have been accommodated for so long that they are assumed to be true, and they are not! Listed below are some of the key areas of divergence from Biblical truth. An approximate year has been listed - solely for the purpose of showing the relative length of time that the specific error has been recognized. The issues and concerns with Roman Catholicism are too numerous to go into any great detail - just a few are summarized below to give a flavor of the kinds of issues/concerns that are evident.
Issues/Concerns regarding this church
Listed below is what this church believes about certain things:
Click on the individual "issue" (link) to see an explanation of the issue.
The Doctrine of Original Sin
Please see our link on Original Sin
Baptism as a Saving Ordinance (c.150 A.D.)
Please see our link on Baptismal Salvation
Infant Baptism (c. 225 A.D.)
Please see our link on Infant Baptism
The Lord's Supper as an elaborate sacramental sacrifice (c. 250 A.D.)
Please see our link on Sacramentalism
"Tragically, the Catholic's faith is not in the redemption Christ accomplished once and for all upon the cross, but in the Mass, which allegedly is the same sacrifice as on the cross and imparts forgiveness and new life each time it is repeated.... As Christ died, He cried in triumph "It is finished", using a Greek expression that meant that the debt had been paid in full. Yet the new Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God" (par 1414, p.356). That is like trying to continue paying installments of a debt that has been paid in full. The Mass is a denial of the sufficiency of the payment Christ made for sin upon the cross! The Catholic lives with the uncertainty of wondering how many more Masses it will take to get him to heaven." (excerpts from The Berean Call, December 2014, p.4)
Transubstantiation of the wafer (c.1215 A.D.)
This teaching is that at the Lord's Supper, or communion, which the RCC calls the Eucharist, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine becomes the blood of Christ. This is sacramentalism at its worst! There is NO Biblical authority for this teaching. We are told by Jesus to "observe" the Lord's supper as a memorial, as a remembrance, to ensure that we give proper and ample consideration for what Christ did for us. There is NO Biblical authority for giving that commemoration special status as a sacrament and even less Biblical authority for declaring that Christ's presence is physically manifested through bread and wine. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is currently seated in heaven, at the right hand of the Father, and His Presence in the world today is by way of His Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers - not in some sacramental ceremony.
"It is claimed that the priest transforms the wafer and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ, thereby making Christ's sacrifice on the cross perpetually present... If the past event accomplished its purpose, then there is no reason for wanting to perpetuate it in the present, even if it could be done. For example, if a benefactor pays a creditor the debt someone owes, the debt is gone forever. It would be meaningless to speak of re-presenting or reenacting or perpetuating the payment in the present. One could well remember with gratitude the payment that was made, but no reenactment would have any virtue since there no longer remains any debt to be paid." (excerpts from The Berean Call, December 2014, p.4)
Lu 22:19 "And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
1Co 11:24-25 "and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
Adoration of the wafer (c. 1220 A.D.)
Cup denied to laymen (1415 A.D. - Council of Constance)
It seems that as early as 200 A.D., elders and bishops were beginning to be looked upon as a special priesthood and the Clergy-Laity distinction begins to take shape.
There are various significant issues here. There is NO Biblical authority, in the New Testament economy, for any special class of Christians to be known as and serve as "priests". Much of the erroneous thinking here stems from carrying over the priesthood under the Old Testament economy into the New.
In one sense, there is no longer any need for the Old Testament priest - this is covered in detail in the Bible in the book of Hebrews. Here are a few selections from Hebrews chapter 7:23-28 "Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever."
In yet another sense, ALL true Christians comprise a priesthood - not just a "special" or select group.
1 Peter 2:4-5,9 "Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;"
Enforced celibacy of priests (c.1123 A.D.)
Historical evidence of priests remaining unmarried actually back to Augustine's time. It is particularly curious that the RCC places great emphasis on the continuance of papal authority tracing it back to the Apostle Peter who could (by them) be viewed as the first Pope and in the Bible we find that Peter was married!
Furthermore, 1 Timothy 4:1-3 "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth." (accenting is mine)
"Father" - Siricius, bishop of Rome (384-398 A.D.) seems to be the first to use the title "pope" ("father"), for bishops and priests in general.
Matthew 23:8-10 "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ."
Temporal, political power of the Pope (c.754 A.D.)
This likewise can be traced to an earlier time. At the Council of Nicea (presided by emperor Constantine) The Council recognized three metropolitan churches: Rome (over the Western churches), Alexandria (over the Egyptian churches) and Antioch (over the Eastern churches). Each bishop of these three churches was given the authority to preside over all the churches in his jurisdiction.
John 18:36 "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
Infallibility of the Pope (1870 A.D.)
For definition from the Catholic Encyclopedia, see www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm
For explanation of the error of this teaching, see www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?ArtKey=infallibility3
Worship of Mary (c.788 A.D.)
Mary, the Mother of God - In 431 A.D., at the Council of Ephesus, Mary is first proclaimed as the "Mother of God". The Bible declares that Mary is the mother of Jesus, a virgin through whom God chost to bring about the incarnation of His Son. God has no mother, nor any father. He is the pre-existing One - without beginning, without end. See Hebrews 7:1-3. Please see: www.allaboutreligion.org/worship-of-mary-faq.htm
Immaculate conception of Mary (1854 A.D.)
"The Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic dogma that asserts that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was preserved by God from the stain of original sin at the time of her own conception. Specifically, the dogma says she was not afflicted by the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, but was instead filled with grace by God, and furthermore lived a life completely free from sin."
There is NO Biblical authority for this position!
Assumption of Mary (1950 A.D.)
"According to Catholic doctrine and the traditions of the Catholic Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary (Mary, the mother of Jesus) "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." This means that Mary was transported into Heaven with her body and soul united. The feast day recognizing Mary's passage into Heaven is celebrated as The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics. This doctrine was dogmatically and infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950" Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_Mary
There is NO Biblical authority for this position!
Worship of Saints (c.788 A.D.)
Ex 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),"
De 8:19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish."
1Ki 12:30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan."
Mt 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "
Worship of the cross, images, relics (c.788 A.D.)
Ex 20:4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;"
Le 26:1 'You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God."
De 4:25 "When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil in the sight of the Lord your God to provoke Him to anger,"
De 5:8 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;"
Mic 5:13 "Your carved images I will also cut off, And your sacred pillars from your midst; You shall no more worship the work of your hands."
Purgatory (proclaimed c.1438 A.D., but can be traced back to Cyprian of Carthage (c.250 A.D.)
Purgatory is "after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned." The doctrine includes, and is indeed based on, the belief that these elect may be aided by the prayer and sufferings of the faithful and the Sacrifice of the Mass."
Heb 1:3 "who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,"
Prayers to/for the Dead (c. 300 A.D.)
According to Hebrews 9:27 , "It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment"
Making the sign of the cross (c.300 A.D.)
Worship in the Latin language (c.600 A.D.)
Fabrication of Holy Water
This erroneous practice can be trace back even as far as c. 304-309 A.D. when Marcellus, bishop of Rome, orders his deacon Equitius to sprinkle holy water in houses and churches to exorcise devils.
"Q. 1071. What is holy water? A. Holy water is water blessed by the priest with solemn prayer to beg God's blessing on those who use it, and protection from the powers of darkness." "Holy Water is used in the blessing of nearly everything which the Church wishes to sanctify. The [pre-Vatican II] Ritual contains hundreds of distinct benedictions [blessings] in which it is used. Besides the pouring of baptismal water which forms the "matter" of the Sacrament of Baptism, the sprinkling with holy water [may be] a part of the ceremonies of the... [sacrament of the sick] and of the administration of the Holy Eucharist to the sick; and it is employed also in services for the dead. [See Viaticum.] The Asperges, or sprinkling of the congregation on Sunday, has a mystical meaning of its own. It renews every Sunday the memory of Baptism, by which we have been sanctified and purified from sin; and it is intended also to drive away all distractions which might hinder us from the proper hearing of Mass. It is well to remember that the holy water need not actually touch every person in the congregation. The whole assembled body of the faithful is blessed together, and all receive the benefit of the blessing, even though the holy water may not reach each individual."
Rosary Beads (c.1090 A.D.) www.newadvent.org/cathen/13184b.htm
"The Rosary (from Latin rosarium, "Rose Garden"), is a traditional popular devotion in the Roman Catholic Church. The term denotes both a set of prayer beads and a system of set prayers to be said as the beads are told. The Rosary combines vocal (or silent) prayer and meditation centered around sequences of reciting the Lord's Prayer followed by ten recitations of the "Hail Mary" prayer and a single recitation of "Glory Be to the Father"; each of these sequences is known as a decade." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosary
Money for Masses (c.1100 A.D.)
Sale of Indulgences (c.1190 A.D.)
"an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due to sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution. Indulgences were a major point of contention when Martin Luther initiated the Reformation."
Auricular confession of sins to the priest (c.1215 A.D.)
The Roman Church as the only Catholic Church (c.1303 A.D.)
Simply declaring that they ARE the only true church doesn't make it so!
Compare the beliefs, the teachings and the practices with the Bible!
Unscriptural decrees of the Council of Trent (1545 A.D.)
The Council of Trent was largely a reaction to the Protestant Reformation
Tradition equal in authority to the Bible (1545 A.D.)
Matthew 15:9 "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "
Mark 7:7 "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
Justification by faith AND works (1545 A.D.)
While the official position is stated at the Council of Trent, the teaching goes back to Tertullian (c.200 A.D.) and Cyprian of Carthage (c. 250 A.D.)
Ephesians 28-10: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (accent mine)
Apocryphal books added to the Bible (1545 A.D.)
The Catholic Mystery, John Armstrong, 1999, Harvest House