On Tuesday, April 10th, I posted an article titled 40 Days for Life, Catholics, and Christians, which has created quite the stir in the local Charlotte, NC pro-life community. The article came to be primarily as a result of the events that transpired on March 31, 2012 at A Preferred Women’s Health Center (known locally as the Latrobe Abortion Mill). On this day of pro-life outreach, perhaps two dozen Roman Catholics representing 40 Days for Life practiced their traditions and rituals with a life-sized portrait of “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. If you missed it Tuesday, you can read more about it at the first link mentioned above.
Though the conversation is still ongoing about the relationship between Christians and Catholics in pro-life outreach, I wanted to take a moment to speak to the Roman Catholics in 40 Days for Life (and any Roman Catholic who may come across the blog). In the coming days, Lord willing, I will also be writing another article to my Christian brothers and sisters in 40 Days for Life in the spirit of the next few paragraphs (please go here for that article).
Because the first article was primarily addressed to Christians involved with 40 Days for Life, I recognize the offense taken by Roman Catholics who have read the article. I understand you feel your religion and faith has been attacked, and no doubt you have taken it personally. I do not blame you.
To set aside our religious differences for a moment, I’d like to express my appreciation to you for the work you are doing. I understand there are some, perhaps many, Catholics involved with 40 Days for Life who may only participate in pro-life outreach 40 days per year, yet there are some, perhaps many, who volunteer your time and energy year-round in the defense of the unborn. In either case, and regardless of motive in temporary or continuous pro-life work, I commend you and appreciate you.
Your mere presence on the sidewalks can and does play a role in turning women from the abortion mill to keep their baby or give their baby up for adoption. I love that you value life and are making efforts to end abortion in America. Abortion is a heinous crime against humanity and more importantly against God, and all efforts to fight abortion should be recognized and welcomed. Though we differ eternally on our views of salvation, I trust God can and does work through your efforts to save the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves, and I am grateful for that. I hope you continue in the fight against abortion and I join you in your passion in the defense of the unborn.
With this said, I’d like to speak to you about spiritual matters. A couple of years ago I posted an article titled “Dear Catholic Friend”. It was based on a message I listened to by a brother named Mark Cahill. Though there is significant disagreement with this brother in the evangelism community currently, I found his message titled Roman Catholicism versus the Bible to be extremely helpful in my understanding the vast and eternal differences between our beliefs.
I hope you consider reading the below letter that compares the official Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church with Scripture. Please know my heart in sharing this with you – I understand you may be angry with me and the article I wrote a few days ago, but I do care about you and ask for a few minutes of your time. The truth is, I care much for you.
Before continuing, I would like to challenge you to pray to God asking Him something along the lines of: “If what I’m about to read is true, will you reveal this to me by Your Spirit? I want to be conformed to the truth, and if I have believed a falsehood, please show me.” I don’t believe in repeating suggested prayers, I just ask you to seek God to reveal Himself to you according to His Word. I have in mind when the Apostle John wrote the following to believers in 1 John 2:27
But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
This is a bit long, so please take a break if you need to, and ask questions as necessary. I have updated the letter from its original content:
Dear Catholic Friend,
I am not your enemy. I am your friend.
I love you. I want to make that clear. I love you enough to share the Truth with you. This post is not about bashing the Catholic church or Catholics, and I pray it does not come across as such. I simply love you and I want you to join me in heaven one day. I ask that you continue reading and allow me to explain.
You have probably had conversations with protestant Christians before, and it’s likely been argued who was right or who was wrong. Issues about the Catholic church and its teachings were brought up, and you probably found no shortage of reasoning to support your religious beliefs.
Please allow me to be frank with you: it matters not what you believe to be the correct set of beliefs. The only thing that matters is the truth. Understanding and coming to a saving knowledge of the Truth is the most important thing you will ever do in this life. I compel you to take some time and consider what I present to you. Surely it is worth your time to determine if your beliefs are true, or whether you have been deceived. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5,
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
The Bible is clear that deception and lies abound, and if this is true, we must consider where those lies and deceptions are present.
There are numerous resources to explain the trappings and false teachings of the Catholic church. The most critical false teaching is the Catholic doctrine of salvation as it contradicts the biblical pathway of salvation. As is the case with many other Catholic doctrines, the gospel of the Catholic church is fundamentally opposed to the Word of God. I love you enough to tell you this. It gives me no joy to have this discussion, as it may very well divide us. But division is no excuse to compromise the truth, and if one is deceived into believing something contrary to the fundamentals of Christianity, it is my responsibility to share this with you so that you might come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I love you enough to tell you. I want you to be with me in heaven. I urge you then with all of my heart to please continue reading.
The first resource I want to share with you is a message from Mark Cahill. Mark was born into a Catholic family but was saved by the blood of Jesus Christ more than 25 years ago. Mark compares the official and current Catechism of the Catholic Church to Scripture. I plead with you to consider how the catechisms contradict the Word of God, and by doing so, you may be on the road to reading the Bible for yourself and coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In no way is this an exhaustive study of Roman Catholicism versus the Bible, but it is certainly a beginning for future study and consideration.
For your convenience, I have listed below several of the catechisms Mark addresses and the Scriptures that refute them. Please prayerfully consider the implications of these teachings and how they cannot possibly lead to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I encourage you to obtain a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and compare to the Word of God for yourself. You can also open up the Catechism link in a new window to view online.
97 “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God”…
Colossians 2:8-10 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Here, the Catholic church teaches that tradition PLUS the Bible makes up the Word of God. The Bible, however, warns us to beware of traditions of men and that Christ, who is the Word, makes us complete.
181 “Believing” is an ecclesial act. the Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. the Church is the mother of all believers. “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother” (bold emphasis mine)
John 6:44 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
How can the Catholic church claim motherhood of all believers when the church was not even established before Jesus spoke these words in John 6:44?
868 The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation…
You will find nowhere in Scripture that the church possesses the fullness of the faith or the totality of the means of salvation. Jesus Christ is the fullness of the faith and the totality of salvation, and any tradition or doctrine beyond Him and His finished work on the cross is utterly unbiblical.
1493 One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. the confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. (bold emphasis mine)
1461 Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation,65 bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops’ collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (bold emphasis mine)
Matthew 9:6 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
Mark 2:7 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Psalm 51:4 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
Only God has the power to forgive sins, no one else. We may ask forgiveness from someone we have offended, and they have the responsibility to forgive us of our offense, but every sin we commit is against God. It is He, and He alone, who can forgive our trespasses.
1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
The Catholic Church has added works as a means of salvation. Further:
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. (bold emphasis mine)
1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. (bold emphasis mine)
1 Corinthians 1:17 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
Salvation comes by the grace of God alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone as Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly teaches. Moreover, if baptism was required for salvation, Paul would have been sent to baptize, not preach the gospel. Adding baptism as a requirement to salvation strips away the doctrine of grace, and thereby strips away true salvation if one puts their trust in the baptism and not in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins.
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.604 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. the tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire
Did you catch that? The church “formulated” this “tradition” at the Councils of Florence and Trent, which took place in the 15th and 16th centuries, respectively.
1 John 4:10 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Jesus Christ was the propitiation for our sins. He satisfied the debt of sin once and for all. Nothing else must (or can) be done to satisfy this penalty. The Catholic church, however, teaches that one must go through this purification process in order to gain entry into heaven. The Bible, contrarily, teaches that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Jesus said “It is finished”, and that means there is no more payment for sin to be made. As CARM indicates regarding purgatory:
- It is not explicitly found in the Bible.
- It implies that the righteousness of Christ does not cleanse from all sin.
- It implies that justification is not by faith alone.
- It implies that there is something we must do in order to be cleansed of sin.
To learn more about purgatory, please visit these links:
494 …without a single sin to restrain her…
411…Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life. (bold emphasis mine)
Luke 1:46-47 46And Mary said:
“ My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
If Mary was perfect, with no original sin, having “committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life”, why is it that she needed a Savior? And because all men are appointed to die once because of the consequence of sin (Hebrews 9:27), the Catholic church had to formulate yet another doctrine to appease this false teaching:
966 “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things… (bold emphasis mine)
The Catholic church teaches Mary did not die. So not only are they in error to teach Mary was sinless, they required another lie to account for the first deception.
By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the “Mother of Mercy,” the All-Holy One.
This is blasphemy. There is only one All-Holy One and He is the Lord of lords and King of all kings. He is the Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come!
969 …Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” (bold emphasis mine)
1 Timothy 2:5 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
1 John 2:1 1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Hebrews 9:15 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
John 16:7 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
Psalm 54:4 4 Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
Do you see what has happened here? The Catholic church has given Mary the same names as Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Mediatrix, Advocate, Helper). Though she is blessed among all women, the Catholic church has exalted her to a place she does not deserve. Many of the names given to her are reserved for Christ alone. To review a list of prayers to Mary, please see A Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
These teachings of the Catholic church are merely the tip of the iceberg. It has not been my intention to bash Catholics or the Catholic church, but rather to share the truth in love and compare the teachings of the Catholic church against the absolute truth of the Word of God.
I have family and friends who adhere to Catholicism. I have you all in my prayers that you will come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is true freedom to be had in Christ, and as He says Himself, the truth will set you free. Free from the bondage of a works-based system where you will never be able to attain salvation by any work of your own, and free from the weight of sin that would condemn us all to an eternal hell had it not been for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, who offers us all the gift of grace through faith in Him, and Him alone.
This is a lot of information, admittedly. I pray you diligently seek God in these matters and ask God to show you whether you have been deceived, that you would repent from the idolatry of false religion, and put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone to receive eternal life.