Call this outrageous if you like, but I struggle to understand
why the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) can be considered a Christian institution,
despite its statements, symbols, and size.
That must sound massively bizarre. After all, Roman Catholicism
fixes largely on the Lord Jesus Christ, His death, resurrection, and mostly on
I am aware that the RCC has a 1,700-year history and boldly
claims to be the only true church of Jesus Christ. It claims to have been
founded by the Lord Himself who, according to the RCC, crowned the Apostle
Peter as His go-to first pope.
Having said that, let me stir the fire by suggesting that the
Church of Rome is a false cult of massive proportions. It ranks down there with
the Jehovah's Witnesses and The Church of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons).
Like the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, the RCC solidly
fits the true definition of a cult.
The commonly held definition of a cult is simply a belief
More correctly, a cult is a group led by a dictatorial leader
who demands unquestioning adherence to his doctrines, which are generally taken
from or based upon the Scripture, but out of context or twisted to fit a styled
teaching. A cult also allows for "new revelations of truth."
This is so true of the Roman Catholic Church. The RCC is headed
by the Pope who, at times, claims to speak for almighty God. Papal
edicts must be obeyed, without question, for
its followers to crack Heaven's gate when they die.
RCC leaders say that after Jesus returned to Heaven, the
Apostles taught early church doctrines through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
This is true. They say their added doctrines are God-inspired, too. No. Many of
the central gospel planks taught in the Bible have been horribly changed by the
Church of Rome under what it bills as holy traditions.
Here's what the RCC proclaims about its position on traditions:
"And (Holy) Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has
been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit."
The RCC, therefore, declares that both Scripture and tradition
must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.
Huge error there.
The problem with this theology is that many of the teachings
and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church are blatantly in opposition to what
the Bible proclaims.
In the event of a suggested contradiction between tradition and
Scripture, which wins? The church's traditions do every time. As one wise old
Bible teacher used to put it, "This is playing with fire!"
The Bible insists that a doctrine, to be valid, must
conform to the Word of God, and it alone. Isaiah 8:20 in the Old Testament
says, "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not
according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them."
This is sadly ironic because the 27 books of the New Testament
were approved by the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Hippo in North
Africa in 393 AD after much work in previous councils. Nowhere in the Bible
does it suggest God will ship us more inspired writings.
It goes without saying that God rode shotgun over which books
would be considered Canon-worthy and which writings would be rejected at Hippo.
God is not about confusion. He would not give us a faulty manual.
What does the Bible say about bowing to traditions?
Colossians 2:8 says, "See
to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,
which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world
rather than on Christ." In other words, if a belief is not supported
by the Bible, it must be shunned.
Jesus was no fan of churchy traditions. While on earth, He
always dismissed the fake Temple priests and quoted the Old Testament as His
source of truth.
Here are some other Bible verses which address traditions.
Matthew 15:1‑3 states,
some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked,
'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't
wash their hands before they eat!' Jesus replied, 'And why do you break the
command of God for the sake of your tradition'?"
Matthew 15:6 says,
"Thus you nullify the word of God for the
sake of your tradition."
Mark 7:8 says,
"You have let go of the commands of God and
are holding on to the traditions of men."
Beliefs and Practices
Let's examine a few Roman Catholic beliefs and practices based
on tradition and which fly directly in the face of what Holy Scripture teaches.
These teachings are heresies to the max degree.
1. The Bible portrays the blessed mother Mary as the earthly
mother of The Lord only, not the "Queen of Heaven" as the Roman
Catholic Church proclaims.
Mary was not sinless, as Rome insists. She confesses that she
was a sinner—who would need the same salvation cleansing that we all do by the
atoning blood of Jesus—when she referred to Jesus, in Luke 1:47, as "God
my Savior." A sin-less person would not need a savior.
The Bible does not teach Christians to devote themselves to
Mary as the Popes demand, especially these days.
Nowhere does it suggest we seek her as our advocate or
go-between before God. To the contrary, the Bible points out in 1 Timothy 2:5
that "There is one God, and one mediator (go-between) also
between God and men, Christ Jesus."
(See this article
for more on Mary.)
2. Paying to have a priest pray for the soul of someone who is
dead is traditional bunk but is a grand cash cow for the Vatican. Reformer
Martin Luther thundered loudly against this practice which is still carried on
2 Corinthians 5:8, which applies to the born-again
Christian only, mentions no sin-cleansing Purgatory: "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
3. The Latin language was imposed as the language of prayer and
worship in churches by Pope Gregory I, 600 years after Christ. In 1 Corinthians 14:9,
God forbids praying and teaching in an unknown tongue. "Unless you
speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are
saying? You will just be speaking into the air."
4. The worship of the cross, images, and relics is given the
green light by the RCC. It is severely condemned and called idolatry in the
Bible. Exodus 20:4 says, "You shall not make for yourself an idol
in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the
5. Canonization of dead saints was first declared by Pope John
XV in 995 AD. The Bible says every believer and follower of Jesus Christ is a
saint. Romans 1:7 says, "To all in Rome who are loved by God and
called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from
the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 9:32 says, "As Peter
travelled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda."
6. The Roman Catholic mass was developed gradually as a sacred
sacrifice. Attendance was made obligatory in the 11th century. The Bible
teaches that the sacrifice of Christ was offered once and for all, and
His death is not to be repeated, but only commemorated in the Lord's Supper.
Hebrews 9:26‑28 says,
"Unlike the other high priests, he does not
need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for
the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when
he offered himself.
"Then Christ would have had to suffer many
times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for
all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 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."
7. Is infant baptism, a RCC ceremony where God through a priest
is said to wipe away a child's inherited sin, biblical? No. It's a tradition.
It is not supported by the Bible. Interestingly, Jesus was baptized at age 30
and He had no sin.
Mark 1:9 says, "And it came to pass in those days, that
Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan."
8. Do regular church attendance, confession of one's sins to a
priest, and participation in a mass, put us on the right road to Heaven? No.
The Bible teaches that the church is not something we go to.
Rather, the church is the people of God, the worldwide collective of the Body
The Bible teaches that we are to call no man on earth
"Father," and that the bread and wine services are in "memory
of" rather than the RCC mass practice of literally re-sacrificing Jesus
and eating His literal flesh and drinking His literal blood. Jesus said in
Luke 22:19, "This is My body which is given to you; do this in memory
9. Is praying the rosary mentioned in the Bible or was it made
up by the RCC? It's made up. As pointed out above, the Bible does not say that
Mary whispers messages into the ears of Jesus.
Rosary prayers don't make it to the ceiling. Jesus teaches us
that repeating prayers, like the rosary, over and over again is of no value.
Matthew 6:7 says, "But
when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: For they think that
they shall be heard for their much speaking."
10. The RCC teaches that the condition of our soul at the
moment of death affects our eternal destiny. This teaching is blind tradition.
Jesus said that those who belong to Him would never be condemned to Hell.
John 10:28 states, "I
give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch
them out of My hand."
11. The celibacy of the priesthood was decreed by Pope
Hildebrand Gregory VII in 1079. Jesus imposed no such rule, nor did any of the
apostles. On the contrary, St. Peter was a married man, and St. Paul says that
bishops were to have wife and children.
Matthew 8:14‑15 says, "When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's
mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever
left her, and she got up and began to wait on him."
12. The Inquisition of "heretics" and the slaughter
of many was instituted by the Council of Verona in 1184. Jesus never taught the
use of force to spread or to protect His gospel.
Matthew 10:14‑15 say, "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye
depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say
unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the
day of judgment, than for that city."
The following is from two historical accounts of unholy
"In the middle of the fifth century, Pope Leo the
Great commended the Emperor for torturing and executing heretics on behalf of
the Church. Anyone in Villaro who declined to go to a Roman Catholic mass was
liable to be crucified upside down, but there was some variation in the manner
of killing in other towns.
"Some were maimed and left to die of starvation,
some had strips of flesh cut off their bodies until they bled to death, some
were stoned, some impaled alive upon stakes or hooks. Some were dragged along
the ground until their flesh was scraped away.
"One at least was literally minced. Daniel Rambaut
had his toes and fingers cut off in sections: One joint being amputated each
day in an attempt to make him recant and accept the Roman faith."
13. Confession of sin to a priest at least once a year was instituted
by Pope Innocent III, in the Lateran Council in 1215. The Bible does not say
anything about our need to pray to or through a priest or pastor. We are to
confess our sins directly to God.
1 John 1:9 says, "If
we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
14. The Scapular was invented by Simon Stock, an English monk.
It is a piece of brown cloth with the picture of Mary, and it is supposed to
contain supernatural virtue to protect from all dangers those who wear it on
naked skin. Yeah, that flies! This is fetishism.
15. In 1229, reading the Bible was forbidden to laymen and
placed in the Index of forbidden books by the Council of Valencia. Jesus and
His disciples said the Scriptures should be read by all.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
16. The Council of Trent, held in the mid 1500s, declared that
tradition is of equal authority with the Bible. Tradition is human teachings.
The Pharisees believed the same way, and Jesus bitterly condemned them, for by
teaching human tradition they nullified the commandments of God.
Mark 7:7‑9 says, "They
worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let
go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. And he
said to them: 'You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in
order to observe your own traditions!'"
Colossians 2:8 says, "See
to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,
which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather
than on Christ."
The majority of murals displayed by the Roman Catholic Church
depict the Blessed Mother Mary as the head, mothering the helpless baby Jesus
or grieving over the dead Jesus. Very rarely does one see a rendering of Mary
with the grown man, the Lord Jesus Christ. That's backwards.
Protestants, by and large, hold that the Bible is the stated
one-and-only Word of God. Most reject man-made traditions. Sadly, many
Protestant pastors do not—as the Bible demands—preach a clear salvation message
of the atoning blood of Jesus alone. Too many serve up thin soup focused on
All this church stuff aside, what does the Bible say we each
must do to qualify for Heaven?
I think that the majority will agree that there can only be one
truth. God did not create chaos nor many ways to Heaven.
Jesus states flatly in John 14:6: "Jesus saith until him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No
man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
It's Jesus' way or the highway. Salvation is through Him alone.
It is not by church affiliation or good works, although church membership and
good deeds are noble.
Neither the words "Protestant" nor "Roman
Catholic" (nor any other churchy handles) are mentioned in the Bible.
Jesus emphasized, "I am the Way."
Jesus taught that to get into Heaven one must "be
saved," "be born again," "receive,"
"accept." They all mean the same thing.
Simply put, the Bible says we are all sinners facing an
eternity in Hell unless we ask to be saved.
How do we get saved? It's quite easy, actually. Jesus made it
so simple that even a kid can become a Christian.
In a private, honest, one-on-one prayer to God we must:
1. Confess to God that we have sinned;
2. Choose to believe that when Jesus died and rose again
He paid for all our sins in full.
If we receive or accept Him and what He did, we will be saved. It's a one-time thing,
like taking out citizenship. We do not gain-lose-gain our salvation. If we honestly
believe, our salvation is sealed.
What do we pray? Well, something like this
I am a sinner.
Others have sinned greater than I have. Nevertheless, I
stand before you now as a lost sinner, deserving of Hell.
I choose to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
who became a man.
I choose to believe He allowed Himself to be put to
death, arose again on the third day, and is alive today.
The Bible says our sins are washed away by the blood of
Jesus Christ, and I believe that.
Father I want to be cleansed of all my sins right now.
I know I am not right with God, and I want to be. I want
to go to Heaven when I die.
Right now at _______ (date and time), I bow at the foot of
the cross of Jesus Christ, and I am putting all of my sins there. All of them!
I ask that the blood of Jesus Christ wash away all my
sins—past, present, and future.
I am sorry for my sin, and I accept your forgiveness.
Right now I declare that I am a Christian.
I ask, Father, that you will make me aware of when I want
to sin and give me the courage to say no.
I ask, too, that you will help me understand the Bible,
and to make the rest of my days on earth count for eternity.
I pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, my new
Lord and Savior.