This article is not intended to question the good intentions or sincerity of anyone who might call themselves a Catholic. But, Biblical Faith requires both SINCERITY AND TRUTH! (Josh 24:14). It involves an eternally important choice between what God says and what man says. Please honestly consider the following thoughts.
If the modern Catholic faith is the original Christian faith, it would have all the characteristics of the original. Its teachings would honor God by being identical to the beliefs and practices of the original church revealed in the holy scriptures. Have the founders and rulers of Catholicism been careful not to reject or go beyond the authority of God's Word? Or have they taken it upon themselves to add, to take away and to change their church's teaching into something very different from the original? Is it acceptable for a person of true "faith" to live in denial of the actual inspired teachings of Jesus and the Apostles found in God's Word (The Bible)?
Leaders of the Roman church profess to believe that the Bible is the inspired Words of God himself. But, for many centuries Catholics have not been encouraged to study the Word of God without "church" authorized direction. This implies that God spoke words he never meant people to understand on their own. Bible study is a threat to the clergy's monopoly of Bible understanding. A sincere study of the simple Word of God produces the original faith of the Bible (Romans 10:17). When an honest person who believes the Bible begins to study, they very quickly see the considerable difference between what they have been taught and the instruction originally given by God.
Next comes the church officials trying to explain to them why the Bible does not mean what it says or that it is not God's final word. Can you stand before God in the judgment able to say you have studied and obeyed the Words and Faith He gave to Jesus and the Apostles? Or is your hope dependent on hundreds of years of "clergy" who claim to speak for God with equal or greater authority than the scriptures. If this church is truly speaking for God, there would be no difference between what they teach and what God has taught through Jesus and the Apostles
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached (past tense, original teachings) unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (The Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6-9)
The Bible Contains All The Truth Needed To Understand and Follow The Original Faith:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect (complete), thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Apostle Paul decreed by true inspiration that, "Faith (the original) cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17). The Apostle Peter wrote, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God…"(1Peter 4:11). The scriptures forbid human additions to or subtractions from God's Word. "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." (Proverbs 30:5-6: note also Rev. 22:18,19). If given the choice to believe what God says or what men have said, a true believer will go with what God has said every time. "… Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." (Romans 3:3-4). A true disciple of Jesus is one who continues in God's Words. Jesus said "… If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:30-32). In reality, the Catholic faith, has become a religion where human tradition and teaching has far more influence and authority than the Word of God.
True Believers Are To Follow and Stand Up For The Original Faith Revealed In Scripture:
The first Christians were commanded to contend for and preserve the faith "once" delivered. "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3). To worship God by human teachings and traditions is vain and unacceptable to God. "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…" (Mark 7:7-8).
1. Jesus Is the Only Head of the Original Church, His Body (Not some visible person on the Earth).
Sadly, every time a Catholic accepts what the Pope or traditions say instead of the truth given by Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the scriptures, they are submitting to the wrong head.
"For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:2-3)
"And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell;" (Colossians 1:18-19)
2. The Original Faith Had No (Jewish Style) Priesthood or Clergy which was exalted by different clothing or titles (There were no "reverends", "cardinals", "popes" or "fathers").
The word "reverend" is found only once in the Bible and there it is referring to God (Psa 111:9). Every Christian was a "saint" or "holy one" which means in the original language, "one set apart" for God's purposes. Many "saints" were alive and well in the pages of the Bible. Every Christian was a minister (servant) and part of a holy priesthood in God's service. Christians did not confess their sins to a "father" to receive forgiveness.
"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:" (1 Corinthians 1:2)
"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." (Matthew 23:8-10)
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5)
3. The Original Faith taught only believer baptism (Immersion) for the remission of sins.
Catholic dictionaries and encyclopedias acknowledge that immersion in water of believers was the baptism originally practiced in Bible times. The Greek word translated baptism in the Bible means immersion. Belief was always required before baptism in the Bible. Hundreds of years after the Bible was written, the men in power decreed that sprinkling water on infants was an acceptable baptism.
Today, the vast majority of those in the Catholic faith have not been baptized into Christ the way the Holy Spirit has taught and approved in the scriptures. They have laid aside the Word of God and are trusting and submitting to the teachings of men. Bible baptism was always immersion. There is not a single example of a nonbeliever being baptized in the scriptures even if their parents believed (no infant baptisms). The vast number of people who were sprinkled as infants, had no knowledge, belief, repentance or personal decision in what they were later told was their baptism. They were not Biblically baptized.
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15-16)
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:37-38)
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3-4)
4. The Original Faith Taught Believers To Pray Only To The Living God, Not To Deceased Humans.
Like some Pagan religions who offer prayers and even give homage to their deceased ancestors, Catholic teaching has decreed that their members can be blessed by offering prayers to deceased individuals. Even Jesus' earthly mother has been exalted to near Deity and petitioned for help constantly. This practice is purely of human origin and completely foreign to Biblical faith. No Christian in the Bible ever offered prayers to another dead Christian.
It is sad that something as simple as to whom we must pray could be so corrupted by the teachings of men. Praying to the dead is very different from Jesus' clear teaching on how to pray (Only to the Father). (Catholic practice of prayer also ignores Jesus' prohibition against vain repetition.)
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Matthew 6:7)
"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth." (Luke 11:1-2)
5. The Use Of Statues (Idols) Was Forbidden By The Original Faith:
God's Word specifically forbids His people from creating any carved images in the likeness of man or any other creature for religious purposes. They were not to bow down to them. When they did, God was angry and there were dire consequences. God condemned the use of carved images in the law of Moses and he also forbids Christian use of idols. The use of statues is more evidence of pagan influence on the minds of the creators of Catholic practice. It is also evidence that it is not the original faith which rejected idolatry.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven 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:" (Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 5:8)
"Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." (1 Corinthians 10:14)
"Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." (1 John 5:21)
Conclusion: Biblical Faith
Please keep in mind we have noted only a few of the differences between the original faith and the Catholic faith.
If faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). If God's Word is truly inspired and reliable for all teachings and doctrines (2 Tim 3:16,17). If replacing what the Bible says with what men have invented leads to worshipping God in vain (Mark 7:7-8). If Jesus and the scriptures have the authority they claim to have ("all", Matt 28:18). If it is essential that we practice the "faith once delivered" (Jude 1:3). Then the Roman church is not practicing or teaching the original faith revealed by God in the scriptures. This church is not teaching its people how to receive the remission of sins in baptism as taught in the scriptures. This church is not holding exclusively to the true Head of the Bible church. This church is not teaching people exclusively Jesus' instruction on prayer. How many times does a man made church have to contradict God's Word before people are willing to admit it is not the original?
Catholicism would not be recognized by the first Christians as the faith they originally received from God. They would not recognize its Head, its Priesthood, its Baptism, its Prayers or its Idols. Every Catholic must decide if they will make a change and obey the Biblical faith or if they will continue to trust their souls to the doctrines and commandments of men. Catholicism is or it is not the original. Since so many of its teachings contradict and reject the original truths in the Bible, it could not be the original. Will you trust God's Word or Man's Word??
Dear Readers: Will You Allow God's Word To Make You Think?
What we think about God and Faith is eternally important. God's Word should be the source of all we believe about God and His will for our lives. Much of the world's religious belief is not found in the Bible. It is time for those who are truly seeking God to examine themselves and their beliefs in the light of God's Word.
"Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10:17
There is no truth or hope for mankind without accurate knowledge of God's Word. This series of articles is intended to help us see truths in God's Word which have been overlooked by many religions of our time. We are the church of Christ. The church you can read about in your Bibles.
This message brought to you because God's Word is True and He deserves to be heard.
Tarentum Church of Christ
614 East 9th Avenue
Tarentum, PA 15084
Questions? Contact: Robert 724 681 2724
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Sunday Morning Worship: 11am
Sunday Evening Bible Study: 6pm
(Fellowship Meal every 2nd Sunday: No pm study)
Wednesday Evening Bible Study: 7pm
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