July 28, 2011

A Post I Was Hoping to Avoid: On Roman Catholicism

I knew sooner than later I was going to be confronted with issues about Roman Catholicism and I have avoided the topic so to avoid a pronounced fact driven polemic. If it isn't brutally obvious from 700+ posts in the last 2 years, I am Protestant. I am Protestant for a reason. I have tried to get along with brethren of all denoms as is evident by my willingness to friend just about everyone on Facebook and preach sermons x-denominationally (Lutheran, Baptist, etc) except where denominations refused to have me.

I have now been backed into a corner and at the risk of angering and alienating all of my Roman Catholic friends I must now clear the waters. When presented with false teaching I believe I have been called to correct it where I find it. I am in no way going after Roman Catholics themselves, I am going after the Roman Catholic Church or the institution itself and some of its false teaching as addressed in recent posted comment here: The Inerrancy of Scripture III: God's Decrees, Embody His Word. I know many Roman Catholics and many reside right within my own family (blood relatives). If I didn't love them I would lie to them. I do love them so I will address this issue tentative but firmly. The RCC has perpetuated false teachings for centuries and there are more than I will mention here as this is response to my previous post because of space constraints. I will document the most objectionable false teaching of the RCC from a/my evangelical point of view. Again, I am posting this here as a post because I was limited to a 5000 word response and that is not nearly enough space to correct what was been a proliferation of errant dogma for over a millennium. First, let me present the comment from a reader. Sadly, it started as an accolade and then turned into a case study of patchwork theology created by the Catholic Church.

"Anonymous said...

Amen. This love and belief in the inerrancy of the Bible is what led me home to the Catholic Church under the protection and care of Christ's appointed shepherd (Pope Benedict XVI currently). The Church gave us the Scriptures and has protected them from tampering (e.g.- Martin Luther's removal of St James, part of Hebrews and seven other books as well as adding the word "alone" to his "translation").

May God bless you.

...and now my response that Blogger wouldn't allow because it was too long-winded:

Assuming this is not Philsthrills trying to deliberately push my buttons, I will respond at length to this comment. As you should probably be able to ascertain from many of my posts I do not subscribe to Roman Catholicism. I admire many adherents of the RCC because of their true desire to believe but their "shepherds" have clearly been leading their sheep astray for a long time (perhaps they themselves are led astray aslo?). I believe there are many within the RCC that have been saved throughout the ages but not due to the orthodoxy or dogma of the RCC proper. As such I must correct certain statements about the RCC or "the Church" and add some of my own.

Not sure where to start here...hmmm.

God gave us the Scripture through inspiration of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, not the Church proper (RCC), I will concede that the church helped protect Scripture from annihilation by the powers of the dark for a few centuries (dark ages) until the advent of the printing press and the ability of everyday people to read and internalize the Scripture in something other than Latin (i.e.: the Reformation). As for the comment about Luther, yes he thought James and Hebrews were questionable (admittedly). This is based in firm exegesis by Luther. The prose and style of Greek in Hebrews is odd (graceful and fluent) and Luther stumbled on the whole "faith without works" portion in James. Conversely, in relation to your comment about Luther, this did not prevent the RCC from including non-canonical books into the Canon after the Council of Trent in 1545 as a support for purgatory and the idea of indulgences (among other things) that Luther decried even when the books are clearly not at the level of other Canon in terms of inerrancy or other canonical criteria. Suffice to say: They disqualify themselves from Canon with what they contain.

The Pope, cardinals, bishops, etc are not Christ's only appointed "shepherd(s)" as the RCC will have you believe. The RCC assumes papal lineage back to Peter based on statement of Christ in Matthew 16:13–19 that has been dubiously interpreted and is oft referred to as the Petrine guarantee. Tracing Papal lineage pre-Constantine is dubious at best (as there are substantial / insurmountable gaps and the Bible never assumes this lineage to begin with, the RCC does). It assumes the RCC interpreted the Matthew passage correctly (which I believe was taken out of context to mean Peter, instead of the truth of what Peter stated, that –Jesus is the Son of the Living God)—a.k.a.: the stone, Jesus the cornerstone of the Church (Ephesians 2:20). The rest of us are only disciples and followers. The apostles were picked by Christ through mercy and grace as ordinary men, not exception men. This was done (specifically) to show that any can enter discipleship with Christ, all they need is faith in Jesus Christ. There is no hierarchy "in Christ".

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galations 3:28.

The idea of elevating Peter over other Apostles as a basis for the inception of papal lineage and the Catholic Church itself  is contrary to the understanding of discipleship that Jesus taught and Paul expounded upon in Ephesians and is therefore errant and runs rogue of Scripture. It also is contrary to equality in Christ taught in letters like Philemon where Onesimus as a doulos / slave was Paul's equal as an imprisoned but full fledged Roman citizen. Philemon was to accept Onesimus back as an equal to Paul or "αὐτὸν ὡς ἐμέ---auton os eme"..."him as me". Paul did not send Onesimus back to Philemon...he sent himself via Onesimus. Onesimus acted as Paul's agent.

De Ecumenismo 4 of the RCC states that, “As the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion are overcome, all Christians will be gathered, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, into that unity of the one and only Church which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the [Roman] Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time"

De Ecumenismo 3 of the RCC states, “It is into the Church of Rome then that all those people who belong in any way to God's people should be incorporated."

De Ecumenismo 3 also states, “For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which the all-embracing means of salvation is, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained."

The RCC has no authority to make these claims, nor are these claims Biblical which is my measuring stick for truth. I, as an Evangelical, do not accept the claim that the Church of Rome is the only true church, nor that its supreme teaching office is free from all error in matters of belief, nor that the road that leads to Rome is the way to unity.

Papal Infallibility is exceptionally unbiblical and is a recent "official" creation. This was not even an official Papal Bull until 1870. Christ is clearly the only infallible man to ever walk this earth. Not the Popes (plural, as there have been many). The justification and righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers, not infallibility. The infallibility Papal Bull is the logical fallout of the belief that the RCC itself is infallible and speaks for God. This is cleary wrong and has no Scriptural support. The RCC also believes that it is the only acceptable interpreter of Scripture. This is also cleary wrong and has no Scriptural support either.

Speaking of errors, the worship/veneration of Mary is the most disagreeable to me. This is the largest and most dangerous doctrine to ever come from the RCC church next to the veneration of the saints or the idea that anyone other than Jesus Christ can act as mediator to God the Father.

At the Second Council of Nicea (787) a distinction was made between the veneration due to the saints (dulia) and the worship (atria) due to God alone. Already, then, Mary was regarded as being in a class by herself, and the veneration given to her was called huperdulia. Gradually Mary came to be regarded not only as a witness to the gospel, an example to follow, but also as a "supernatural friend" who could help in the difficulties of life. By the sixteenth century, as evidenced by the spiritual struggles of the Reformers, the image of Mary had largely eclipsed the centrality of Jesus Christ in the life of believers. A further decisive step in the development of Marian dogma was taken in 1854 with the promulgation of the papal bull, Ineffabilis Deus.
"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
In it Pius IX declared the immaculate conception of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary. By Vatican I it had become official. This dogma is absolutely absurd and not supported by Scripture in any form. I challange anyone to prove otherwise evidentially. Mary was a woman (most blessed among women) that was bestowed grace and given the privilege to bear the Son of God after an immaculate conception of the Holy Spirit when He overshadowed her. She was a normal woman picked by God for an exceptional task that ended up dying (not ascending bodily into heaven). She was then buried/entombed in the ground just like every woman previous and every woman that would follow after her. Again, like the disciples, God picked her because of her normalcy not her exceptionalism. The idea of elevating anyone other than Christ takes away from Christ. Mary was picked to be Jesus' mother exactly because she was normal and ordinary...this then showed the exceptional nature of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit not Mary.

More objectionable is this: Pope Pius XII defined in Munificentissimus Deus (The most bountiful God) the dogma of the heavenly assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The decree was promulgated on November 1, 1950. Here the key passage reads:
“From all eternity and by one and the same decree of predestination the august Mother of God is united in a sublime way with Jesus Christ; immaculate in her conception, a spotless virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble companion of the divine Redeemer who won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, she finally obtained as the crowning glory of her privileges to be preserved from the corruption of the tomb and, like her Son before her, to conquer death and to be raised body and soul to the glory of heaven, to shine refulgent as Queen at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of ages.”
This is absolutely heretical bar none. She is nearly brought to the level of Jesus Christ with a statement as presumptuous as, "preserved from the corruption of the tomb" and "like her Son before her". Really? Where is the Scriptural proof for that? Show me where. Here Mary is seen "not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience." She is the "mother to us in the order of grace."…according to the RCC.

The dogmatic affirmations of her immaculate conception, her perpetual virginity, and her assumption into heaven in bodily form totally lack biblical foundation. Nor is there biblical basis for titles such as "Queen of Heaven," "Mother of the Church," and "Queen of all Saints," nor is there any Biblical evidence for the belief that she constantly intercedes in behalf of believers. In any other situation, the Queen of Heaven moniker would constitute a New Age belief tantamount to being cultic but because it is the Catholic Church it is accepted as orthodoxy instead being questioned as obvious error.

I could continue on ad nauseum about other things like:

The errant doctrine/dogma of Justification by Works, Sacramentalism / Eucharist, transubstantiation, ritualism/"vain repetition" (which has been raised to a syncretistic artform in Latin American countries), willingness to acclimate, embrace and absorb liberal theology (i.e.: Vatican II) and finally... the overall ostentatious and flamboyant nature of the Vatican and Romanization of the Church which includes massive cathedrals, enormous land holdings and gold-plated everything, etc...

The Son of Man had not place to rest His head, why would the Church be any different when Jesus clearly said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me".... ? If you still haven't "unfriended" me after this or "unjoined" and are interested in my views on these other topics I can always type them for another post. Either way contact me in the comments section.

I must now force myself to desist from further comments upon risk of offending those I love to the point of not even being able to communicate the true message of Christ. Truth about the Gospel or Jesus often solicits anger against the one speaking the Truth. As Jesus said:

"Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also (John 15:20)."

"For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." (2 Corinthians 4:5)

"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 26-31)

It would suffice to say that many of these aforementioned beliefs/dogma are manufactured by the Roman Catholic Church and have no Biblical support whatsoever...none. The RCC is an institution that has assumed more authority than it rightfully should have or is afforded. It is allowed this authority because people unsuspectingly and often innocently give it to them out of fear or doubts about their salvation. Please read your Bible and stop allowing yourself to be betrayed and deceived by the errant dogma of the RCC that left much of the true teaching of Jesus and Scripture a long time ago. Your soul is at stake. Prayer, proper exegesis/interpretation and guidance of the Holy Spirit is enough for you to come away from the Bible understanding it correctly.

I have been mostly civil and fully factual in this response, please reciprocate if you feel the need to comment. If you flame me I will dump you and your comment and will ban you from the site. No ad hominem or personal attacks allowed. :) Good day.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

As a former RC...I couldn't agree with you more!

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