“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”
by Mark Karapetyan
Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination on earth. In fact, half of the world’s two billion Christians are Catholics. The Catholic Church claims that its history traces back to the apostle Peter, who is considered the first pope.
The Roman Catholic Church is headquartered in Vatican City (the Holy See), which is the world’s smallest country. Located entirely inside the city of Rome, it covers 0.17 square miles (0.44 km).
Over a period of some decades after the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the bishops spread out across the world to form a “universal” (Greek, katholikos) church, with the bishop of Rome holding primacy.
Today, Vatican City-and specifically, Saint Peter’s Basilica- stands over the grave of Peter (a Catholic belief), and the pope is considered Peter’s successor. Catholic Christianity began as a persecuted religious community, illegal in the Roman Empire in its earliest days, but within some three hundred years and with the conversion of the Emperor, Constantine, it became legal and was eventually recognized as the official religion of the Empire.
As you all may know, although both Protestants and Catholics agree on many essentials of the historic Christian faith, there are key issues which continue to distinguish their beliefs and practices. I personally find it odd that the Catholic Church still holds on to many man-made teachings and traditions that are not found in Scripture. Here are five of them:
Scripture alone vs. Scripture plus Tradition
The issue of Scripture alone verses Scripture plus tradition is perhaps the most fundamental difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. While Protestants view the Scriptures alone as authoritative, the Catholic Church teaches that “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God . . .” (CCC 97).
Many Christians mistakenly believe that the Catholic Church does not recognize the validity of Scripture alone doctrine. This is not so!
The fact of the matter is that the Roman Catholic Church, for the most part, agrees that God’s Word is the ultimate standard for all of truth. However, they add that this truth can be found in OTHER places outside of the Scriptures, such as Catholic Tradition and the Magisterium.
So, the question remains: Do we obtain the truth about God’s revelation from Scripture alone or from Scripture and tradition?
In my humble opinion, we must refer to BOTH Scripture, AND tradition to attain truth, as long as we maintain that Scripture is ALWAYS superior to ANY tradition.
The problem is that the Catholic Church elevates its own tradition and places it on an equal level with God’s word, and that both Scripture and tradition can only be interpreted by the Roman Catholic Church! If they can only be interpreted by the Catholic Church, that means no one outside of the church can understand or interpret God’s revelation, which, in turn, means, that whatever the church says must be accepted as God’s truth even if it is not. This is a very fatal approach toward obtaining God’s truth, and here is why:
The early Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, for instance, defined the word “dikaio’s” for justification, or to be justified before God, as “to regard as righteous, or to declare as righteous.” This means that we are declared or considered righteous not by ourselves, but by someone else -God. The Catholic Church realized this, and therefore, changed the word “dikaio’s” into the Latin word, “iustificare,” which directly translates into “to make righteous.” You see, to make righteous and to be regarded righteous are NOT the same- they mean two different things. One is about receiving righteousness freely, and the other is about “working” toward receiving it!
Undoubtedly, it was a clever word-game the Catholic Church played. They understood that if righteousness is freely given by God and not the Church, then people would have no need for the Church anymore. So, they changed the word in the Latin Vulgate to mean something else and deceived millions into thinking that they had to work hard, to do good things the church tells them to do in order to gain justification.
Let me give you another example:
In Matthew 3:2, the original Greek word “metanoia” means to “repent,” to “turn away.” The Catholic Church changed “metanoia” into the Latin word “poenitet,” which actually means “to do penance!!!”
Let’s read and compare both texts together:
“…and saying, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Original Greek)
“…and saying, “do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Catholic Bible)
Do you see the difference? Do you see how the Catholic Church corrupted the text to make it suit their own agenda? Do you now understand why the Tradition of the Catholic Church cannot and should not be trusted or even taken seriously?
On the flip side, many Protestant Christians insist that the ONLY source of truth is Scripture, since they consider tradition to be invalid. They completely ignore and disregard early church history and traditions. This is a misguided approach: If God wants to communicate His truth or revelation, where then, do we, humans, go to get it? Obviously, we must refer back to Scripture AND to the early church tradition and history that were passed down to us through the generations.
There is one caveat! What most Christians and Catholics fail to understand is that tradition in the Church (i.e., church councils, ancient writers) IS DIFFERENT than Sacred Tradition (the means by which the Roman Catholic Church ‘derives truths’ not found in Scripture).
The Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church is based on man’s experiences, and views, in spite of the claim that the Catholic Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. Can you show me a single place in the Bible where Sacred Tradition is said to be inspired?
It is also interesting to note that when it comes to Catholic Church Tradition (which the church wants us to hold on par with Scripture), even their early church fathers disagreed with one another.
Here are some examples:
They disagreed on Scripture’s final authority
- Yes: Irenaeus (130-202): “We have known the method of our salvation by no other means than those by whom the gospel came to us; which gospel they truly preached; but afterward, by the will of God, they delivered to us in the Scriptures…” (Adv. H. 3:1).
- No: Athanasius (300? – 375): “But beyond these [Scriptural] sayings, let us look at the very tradition, teaching and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached, and the Fathers kept” (Athanasius, Four Letters to Serapion of Thmuis, 1:28)
They disagreed on whether salvation is by faith alone
Yes: Irenaeus (130-202): “men were taught to worship God after a new fashion, but not another god, because in truth there is but “one God, who justifieth the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith,” (Against Heresies, Book 3, chapter 10, par. 2).
No: Gregory of Nyssa (330-394): “Faith without works of justice is not sufficient for salvation.”
They disagreed on whether Baptism is necessary for salvation
Yes: Irenaeus (120? – 200): “we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord” (Fragment, 34, A.D. 190).
No: Polycarp (69 – 150): “we shall also reign together with Him,” provided only we believe…” (Epistle to the Philippians, 1, 5, 8)
Remember, Jesus Himself rebuked the religious leaders for holding on to tradition above God’s Word:
Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition” (Matt. 15:1-6)
Before I jump to my second point, I would like to remind my Catholic friends that the ultimate standard for ALL truth is not you, me, or the pope; it must always be God, for His standard is immutable and perfect. Should a Catholic, or any Christian for that matter ever doubt a doctrine or a text, he/she must refer back to what God said, not what men said. Men err, God never does!
The Roman Catholic Church claims that it has the authority as the one true church to represent God on earth, correctly interpret Scripture, administer the sacraments, absolve sin, distribute grace, marry, annul, and discipline.
“The Church’s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these” (CCC, PAR. 88)
The Roman Catholic Church says that its authority comes from Christ who commissioned Peter to be the Rock, and that it is upon Peter that the Church is built.
“Christ, the ‘living Stone’, thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church” (CCC, PAR. 1008)
According to the Catholic Church: “The Lord made St. Peter the visible foundation of his Church. He entrusted the keys of the Church to him…” (CCC 936)
They refer back to (Matthew 16:18-19) to support their position of Peter being the possessor of the keys: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
In order for us to fully understand the text here, let’s look at another passage first, then go back to the Greek version of the above passage.
In John 1:42, we read: “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, ‘You are Simon, the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas’” (which is by interpretation, “a stone”).
The New Testament was originally written in Greek, from which the Latin, English, and other versions were translated. If you study the Greek text you will find that the word Peter and the word Rock on which Christ was to build His church are two separate and distinct words, each having a different meaning. The word Peter in Greek is petros, which means “a piece of rock; a stone; a single stone; movable, insecure, shifting, or rolling.”
The word rock, on the other hand, is Petra, which means “a rock; a cliff; a projecting rock; mother rock; huge mass; solid formation; fixed; immovable; enduring.” The word petros for Peter in the Greek is in the masculine gender and the word Petra for the rock is in the feminine gender. Petros and Petra are two distinct words in the Greek. Petros is a shifting, rolling, or insecure stone, while Petra is a solid, immovable rock.
Peter (PETROS) rock (PETRA)
Jesus said, “…you are Peter (Greek “petros”) and upon this rock (Greek “petra”) I will build my church…” In Greek, “petros” is masculine and “petra” is feminine. Peter, as a man, is referred to as the masculine “petros.” But Jesus said that the rock he would build his church on was the feminine, “petra” not “petros”. What is the “petra”? To answer that, we have to look at the context.
“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter [petros], and upon this rock [petra] I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:18-19).
If Jesus would have built His church on Peter, petros, He would have said: “You are Petros, and upon this Petros [or upon it] I will build My church,” but such is not the case. He plainly says: “You are Petros, and upon this petra I will build My church.”
Paul tells us that the petra is Christ. He also says, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). Peter is never designated by petra. Thus, Peter and Paul agree that Christ is the Rock; but the pope claims the title for himself. Which testimony should we accept? “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
It is worth noting that the word “Petra” is found in several places in the New Testament.
Matt. 27:60: “…and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock (Petra); and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.”
1 Cor. 10:4: “…and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock (Petra) which followed them; and the rock (Petra) was Christ.”
1 Pet. 2:7-8: “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock (petras) of offense.”
As we can see, The Rock “Petra” that Jesus was referring to was the truth that Simon Peter had said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It was not petros (Peter) that the church would be built upon; it was the Petra, Jesus Christ Himself.
I understand that some of you, including almost all Catholics, will argue that it is obvious from the reading of the earlier passage that Jesus gave Peter alone the kingdom of Heaven. Is that so?
Let’s re-visit the text: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19).
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus gave the same binding to His OTHER disciples also?
Matthew tells us of a time when the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him questions. This means that Jesus was addressing not just Peter, but all of the other disciples as well (read from the beginning of Matthew 18:1).
“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven,” (Matt. 18:18)
If Jesus gave the keys to Peter so he could loose and bind, and it was upon Peter’s authority that the Roman Catholic Church builds its case for its authority, then why did the rest of the disciples also have that same authority given to them later on? Remember, the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t say the church is built on the apostles, but upon Peter ALONE because Peter had the keys and the Pope is his successor.
The center of Roman Catholic worship is the celebration of the Mass, the Eucharist, which is the commemoration of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. The Mass is an act of worship that centers on the “Eucharist” (the communion of bread and wine) where faithful Catholics gather to participate in receiving the Lord’s body and blood – the actual body and blood of Christ.
The Sacrament of the Eucharist, in my view, is the most troubling aspect of the Mass. According to CCC 1336, the Mass seeks to “re-present” Jesus as a sacrifice during the observance of the Eucharist. CCC Paragraph #1367 communicates that the atoning Sacrifice of Jesus and the Eucharist are one in the same. In other words, every time the Catholic Church observes the Eucharist during Mass, it is re-sacrificing Jesus.
I think we all should take strong issue with the doctrine of transubstantiation, which teaches that the substance of the bread and wine is literally transformed into the actual body, blood, soul, and even divinity of Jesus Christ during the Mass. While the bread and wine take on special significance during Communion, they certainly do not change — either visibly or invisibly — into Christ’s actual body and blood.
The reality that Catholics fail to realize is that when Jesus referred to the bread and wine as His body and blood, He wasn’t talking about this in a literal sense at all.
“If Anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist there remains the substance of bread and wine together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the entire substance of the wine into the blood, the species of the bread and wine only remaining, a change which the Catholic Church most fittingly calls transubstantiation, let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session 13, Canon 2).
Sadly, not only does the Catholic Church fail to understand the true meaning of the Last Supper, but it also pronounces a curse upon anyone who would say that the Eucharist retains any substance of the bread and wine after it is consecrated (I wonder how Jesus feels about this!)
Before I give you a biblical response to the Catholic Mass, let’s read Matthew’s passage first:
“While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:26-28).
There are many key points about this passage that we need to understand.
First, how is it logically possible that Jesus offered up His crucified body and blood at the Last Supper when He hadn’t yet been crucified? Remember, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the elements are one single sacrifice (CCC 1367). “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.”
This “one single sacrifice” can only mean that the bread and wine are the crucified body and blood of Christ – that had not yet been crucified.
Second, none of the disciples believed that Jesus was being literal when He told His disciples to eat His body and drink His blood. Not a single Gospel account records anyone taking Jesus’ words literally regarding this matter.
The Catholic Church, however, brings forth the passage from (John 6:51-53) to make their case and claim that Jesus meant exactly what He said.
“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves….Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble?” What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before? “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
Did you catch that? Did you notice how Jesus tells his disciples that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood; the disciples have a problem with this. Then, Jesus speaks of how His words cause them to stumble. He then says the words he was speaking were spiritual words; that is, they are meant to be understood spiritually. We don’t see Jesus saying they were literal here or when He instituted the Supper.
If Jesus’ words were spiritual in this passage, so were they at the Last Supper. But let’s continue…
Third, If Jesus was teaching that the bread and wine were His literal body and blood, it would violate the biblical warning against drinking blood. Why? Because God warned against drinking blood in both the Old and the New Testaments!
- “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.”
- Acts 15:28-29, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”
How is it possible that Jesus broke His own command by asking us to drink His blood?
Fourth, after Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He quickly referred to the wine as the fruit of the vine, not his blood. If it were literally His blood, why did He refer to it as wine?
“And when He had taken a cup, and given thanks, He gave it to them; and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. “Truly I say to you, I shall never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:23-25).
Notice how Jesus quickly explained that His blood was actually the fruit of the vine, and that He was never going to drink from it again (since He was going to His death on the cross). If the wine (the vine), was a literal, his blood, as Catholics claim, then Jesus would have contradicted Himself by drinking His own blood when He said He was not going to drink of the fruit of the vine again…
HE JUST DID!!!
Do you see how illogical, contradictory, and unbiblical this Catholic teaching of the Mass is?
Two thousand years ago, John the Apostle made a gruesome mistake by falling at the feet of an angel and worshiping him:
“And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God’” (Revelation 22:8-9).
I truly believe that the Roman Catholic Church has committed the same error as John did by promoting a mere citizen of Heaven to an improper place of authority and honor. Despite the overwhelming testimony of Scripture that we should not do this, the Catholic Church has elevated Mary—a self-described servant of the Lord (Luke 1:38), almost to the same level as God, if not higher.
The Roman Catholic Church calls Mary the all holy, all powerful, co-redeemer, the mediatrix, the mother of God, full of grace, and the Queen of Heaven. Not only are her titles impressive, but she is also said to have been conceived without sin, to be the force behind the spread of the gospel, to be able to hear our prayers, to guarantees us salvation, and to be the only means of salvation; it has even been said that she has atoned for our sins. I agree that Mary deserves the utmost respect and honor as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. That, however, does not mean we should attribute to her what belongs to God alone!
The Bible actually has very little to say about Mary. There’s no description of her physical appearance, nothing about her life, her later years after Christ’s death, or her own death and burial. When she does briefly appear with the disciples and the other believers on the day of Pentecost, she’s not an object of worship or even a leader in the early church. She is just one among many. There simply are no biblical examples of anyone ever praying to her, honoring her, or worshiping her.
Catholics argue that they commit no idolatry when they “give honor” to Mary, pray to her and call her the “Mother of God,” Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, Mediatrix, The New Eve, the Mother of the Church, etc. It is one thing to make such a claim, and another to demonstrate that they are not worshiping an idol. The question is, what is the biblical definition of an idol? Let’s read:
“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth, you shall not worship them or serve them” (Exodus 20:3-5).
Isn’t that exactly what Catholics do?
Again, it is worth noting that the disciples and the early church members never gave Mary these titles I mentioned earlier. In fact, it wasn’t until 431 A.D. that Mary was named as the Mother of God by the Catholic Church. It was in 1854 when the Catholic Church started teaching that Mary was sinless. In 1950, we learned of the doctrine of Mary’s assumption to Heaven. Finally in 1965, Mary was proclaimed the Mother of the Church.
As you can see, these titles were NOT given to Mary when Jesus and the disciples were alive. These titles were attributed to her much later by men- the Catholic Church.
Now that you understand the role of Mary in the Catholic Church, allow me to introduce to you some of their teachings regarding her which are contradictory to the Bible:
- Sinless Mary: Mary was born without sin and never committed sin; “…from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life” (CCC 508, Also, par. 411, 493, 722).
- Prayer to Mary: “Beginning with Mary’s unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the person of Christ manifested in his mysteries…” (CCC 2675)
- The worship of Mary: “When Mary is the subject of preaching and worship she prompts the faithful to come to her Son…” (Vatican Council II, p. 420)
- Mary & the Serpent: Mary crushed the head of the serpent: “All our hope do we repose in the most Blessed Virgin—in the all fair and immaculate one who has crushed the poisonous head of the most cruel serpent and brought salvation to the world” (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus)
- Mary Saves us: Mary Delivers our souls from death; “by Mary’s prayers, she delivers souls from death” (CCC 966)
It is important to understand that the Catholic Church denies worship of Mary is equal to that of God. Yet, due to the supreme elevation of Mary, Catholics all over the world continue to give her an incredibly high degree of homage. In many cases, they even compare her to God by teaching that she crushed the head of the serpent (Pope Pius IX Ineffabilis Deus), even though the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was the one who performed that act (Genesis 3:15). They teach that Mary’s prayers will deliver us from death (CCC 966), when in fact the Bible states that God alone saves us from death (2 Corinthians 1:10). They teach that when we pray to Mary, we are adhering to the plan of the father (CCC 2679), although the Bible tells us to pray to God (2 Corinthians 13:7). They teach that she was sinless (Catholic Encyclopedia, Immaculate Conception), but Scripture teaches that Jesus alone committed no sin (1 Peter 2:22).
None of these teachings are found anywhere in the Bible. As a matter of fact, the Bible clearly contradicts them. Remember, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Catholic Church alone has the authority to interpret and correctly teach Scripture. Let that sink in for a second!
Now you understand why so many Catholics are misinformed and unaware of the teachings of their own church? They seldom refer to Scripture to obtain truth; rather, they blindly accept the teachings of the Catholic Church.
I whole heartedly believe that should a Catholic read, and diligently study Scripture, instead of believing church teachings and traditions alone, he/she would soon realize that they haven’t been told the entire truth, and that many church teachings directly contradict Scripture. After all, why do you think the Catholic monk, Martin Luther, nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Castle church door and ignited the Protestant Reformation?
The list of books that are accepted by the Roman Catholic Church but not the Protestant churches is called the Apocrypha. These books were written between 400 A.D. and the times of Jesus.
The term “apocrypha” comes from the Greek word meaning “hidden” or “secret.” The Catholic Bible is different than from Protestant Bible because the Catholic version is based on St. Jerome’s 4th century Latin Vulgate. The Old Testament portion of the Vulgate was translated directly from the Greek Septuagint instead of from the original Hebrew. The Septuagint is a Greek version of the Old Testament produced by Jewish scholars at Alexandria, Egypt, in the 3rd century B.C.
It wasn’t until 1546, at the Council of Trent (Trento, Italy) that the Roman Catholic Church officially declared some of the apocryphal books (Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, and Baruch) to belong to the canon of scripture. The reason was that the Apocrypha contained material which supported certain Catholic doctrines, such as purgatory, praying for the dead, and the treasury of merit.
Interestingly enough, not one of these books was ever in the Hebrew language, which alone was used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament.
Let me provide you with some reasons as to why the Protestant Churches refused to accept the Apocrypha as Scripture:
- The Jewish historian, Josephus (A.D. 37-95), rejected the Apocrypha. He wrote:
“From Artexerxes to our own time the complete history has been written but has not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets.” … “We have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine…” (Flavius Josephus, Against Apion 1:8)
- The most ancient list of Old Testament books is that which was made by Melito of Sardis (170A.D.). None of the apocryphal books were included (cf. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History4.26.14).
- These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish Church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord. Not only that, they were not even allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian Church.
- The Apocrypha inculcates doctrines at variance with the Bible, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection.
- St. Jerome (who translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin) refused to include the Apocrypha in his Latin Vulgate version (400 A.D.), but was overruled. As a result, the standard Roman Catholic Bible throughout the medieval period contained it. Thus, it gradually came to be revered by the average clergyman
- Epiphanius (the great opposer of heresy, 360 A.D.) rejected them all. Referring to the book of Wisdom of Solomon & the book of Sirach, he said: “These indeed are useful books & profitable, but they are not placed in the number of the canonical.”
- The Apocrypha has contradictions as well as doctrinal, and historical errors in it; thus, it can’t be God’s word:
Salvation by Works: Tobit 4:11: “For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness.”
Salvation by works: Tobit 12:9: “For alms delivers from death, and the same is that which purges away sins, and makes to find mercy and life everlasting.”
Money for the sins of the dead: 2 Maccabees 12:43: “And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection.”
Historical error: Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Babylonians, not the Assyrians: Judith 1:5: “Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him.”
Historical error: The Jews served in Babylon for 70 years (Jer. 25:11), not seven generations: Baruch 6:2: “And when you are come into Babylon, you shall be there many years, and for a long time, even to seven generations: and after that I will bring you away from thence with peace.”
- Most importantly, neither Jesus nor the apostles at anytime quoted or validated the Apocrypha as being inspired.
I encourage you to read some of these Apocryphal books on your own, compare them to the Gospels, and see if you will be convinced of their inspiration…
In all honesty, it marvels me that there are hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world who still adhere to the unbiblical teachings of the Catholic Church. They dismiss and disregard evidence and logical reasoning when challenged. They seldom read Scripture, but rather stick to their Catechisms and man-made traditions to obtain truth.
Go ahead; ask three or four Catholics what happens to non-Catholics after they die, and see how contradictory all their answers will be. Try it!
Some Catholics will tell you that God will admit everyone to Heaven, even atheists, because we, humans, can’t read Gods mind and we don’t know how He will judge people at the end (ironically, those Catholics alone can read Gods mind, therefore, they alone know that He will admit everyone to Heaven!)
Other Catholics will tell you that non-Catholic Christians are not really doomed because of ignorance-they just have no clue that salvation comes from being a Catholic. So, God will forgive them at the end because they didn’t know better. My question to this faction of Catholics is this: Why, then, didn’t an infinitely wise creator, like God, make His truth known to ignorant Christians like He did to informed Catholics?
A third group of Catholics will tell you that everyone who is not a Catholic is bound to Hell!
A Catholic woman told me once that “outside of the Catholic Church, there is no salvation.”
“What, then, do you do with John 3:16, when Jesus said ‘whoever believes in Me, shall have eternal life?’” I asked.
“IT’S AN IMAGE…JESUS IS AN IMAGE” she replied!
Of course her absurd answer does not truly reflect the beliefs of other Catholics, I understand. This, however, demonstrates how misinformed and misguided those Catholics are who rely on their Church to obtain truth rather than on God’s actual Word.
One thing you will notice when you ask Catholics questions like this, is that they rarely give you a biblical answer to back up their claims. It’s almost always what they think it is, or what the church has told them, or what they have learned.
It is astonishing that my Catholic friend, the woman, and Catholics like them believe that attaining salvation is a life-long, complicated process that involves several steps, such as: Baptism, Actual Grace, Faith, Good Works, participation in the Sacraments, Penance, Indulgences, and Keeping the Commandments. They quickly forget that Jesus never once said that salvation is to be gained, on the contrary, Jesus told us “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE: NO MAN COMES UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME.”
If you haven’t noticed, Jesus never said that no one comes to the Father except through the Catholic Church, did He? Moreover, not one verse, chapter or book of the Bible tells us all the conditions for salvation, and the Bible does not give any “magic formula” that will guarantee salvation except through faith in Jesus.
Catholics want you to quickly forget that one of their most corrupt church practices-the selling of indulgences, began in the middle ages as a way for people to repent of their sins through good works. But rather than requiring good deeds, church leaders began selling indulgence certificates as a way of raising money to enrich themselves.
How do you think St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was built? Better yet, how do you think the Catholic Church accumulated such tremendous wealth that’s worth in the billions?
In all honesty, where in the Bible does it say that baptism is necessary for salvation? Why does the Catholic Church disregard several passages in the Bible that contradict their claim, and affirm that people are saved apart from baptism?
The penitent woman (Luke 7:37-50), the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2), the publican (Luke 18:13-14), and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) all experienced forgiveness of sins apart from baptism. For that matter, we have no record of the apostles’ being baptized, yet Jesus pronounced them clean of their sins (John 15:3–note that the Word of God, not baptism, is what cleansed them).
Where in Scripture do we read that the Pope, the successor of St. Peter, is infallible? Do Catholics even realize that the infallibility of the pope wasn’t even an official doctrine until the 1500s? It was a pronouncement implemented hundreds of years later to serve the needs of the church.
Not only that, if the pope is infallible in the matters of faith, why is it that many popes throughout history have contradicted each other? Are we to believe that God gave these popes contradictory revelations?
Why do Catholics call the church hierarchy “father” when Jesus commanded us to “call NO MAN your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 23:9)
Seriously, where in the Bible does it say that Mary was sinless, or that she ascended into Heaven? If Mary was sinless, that would mean she was perfect. If she was perfect, then you fill in the blanks…!
I could go on for hours detailing the illogical, contradictory, unbiblical teachings of the Catholic Church. But then, this article would turn into a New York Times best sellers book that would bring me a fortune. In my weakness, I would choose wealth over Jesus, I would eventually forsake God and apologetics, and be tempted to take my money and retire somewhere magical like Bora Bora Island, and live there happily ever after.
On second thought, now that I think about it, it wouldn’t be too bad of an idea to act upon these worldly dreams. After all, the process of repenting and receiving forgiveness for my lost salvation, is easy. All I have to do is join the Catholic Church, do good works, say a few Hail Mary’s, confess to a Catholic Priest, do penance, and God will forgive me, just like that… RIGHT?
“It is a remarkable fact that all the heresies which have arisen in the Christian Church have had a decided tendency to ‘dishonor’ God and to flatter man.”
APOLOGETICS - ARTICLES AND INFORMATION
- What is Apologetics?
- The Lost Truth
- Logic & Reasoning
- Truth & Reality
- Does God Exist?
- The Cosmological Argument
- The Design Argument
- The Moral Argument
- Who is Jesus?
- Satan’s Wish!
- God’s Dilemma!
- Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?
- Does God Answer Prayers?
- When Were The Gospels Written?
- Was Noah's Flood Real?
- Are Miracles Possible?
- The Apostle Peter
- Does Archaeology Support The Bible?
- Science & The Bible
- How Can Jesus be the only Way to Heaven?
- Don’t All World Religions Teach the Same Thing?
- Undesigned Coincidences
- Are All Men Created Equal?
- Is the Bible Really the Word of God?
- Amazing Bible Facts
- The Blind Atheists
- Jesus Meets Einstein
- Did the Gospel Writers Tell the Truth?
- The Evolution Fairytale
- The Day Common Sense Died!
- The Philosophy of Jesus
- The Report (Part 1)
- The Report (Part 2)
- Are All Religions True?
- Are There Contradictions in the Bible?
- Are All Religions True?
- Why Does God Allow Evil & Suffering?
- Bible Prophecy
- New Age Christianity
- The Wager
- When God Cried
- What Happened to America?
- Don’t All Good People Go to Heaven?
- Jesus at the United Nations
- False Teachers
- The Conference
- Jesus & the Woman at the Well
- The Day You face God
- Was Jesus Really Crucified?
- The Blind & the King
- Is Jesus God?
- The Meaning of Life
- Hero & the Fake
- The Insanity of Pluralism
- Who is God?
- The Tree of Good & Evil
- The Confused Agnostic
- Lazarus Come Forth!
- When God Seems Silent
- Case #1101
- The Proposal
- The Prayer
- Roman Catholicism
- Jesus Meets the Pope
- First Century Jesus
- The Patterns of False Religions
- Timid Christianity
- The Foolishness of Life without God
- An American Thanksgiving
- An American Christmas
- An American Valentine
- The Arrest of Jesus
- The Devil's Letter to America
- Flight 459
WHERE DO I GO?
If you have questions or would like to catch one of our events, please do not hesitate to reach out using the form provided on this page or contact Mark with the email address provided below:
Follow us on social media to stay up to date on the latest news and events from What If UR Wrong Apologetics!