Apologetics Lecture 16 Roman Catholicism

Roman Catholicism

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Basilica Del Pilar-Sunset.Jpg
Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar

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With the election of a new Pope, it is likely that you will have opportunity to discuss with friends and family Catholic teaching. How will you speak with your family and friends who are so thankful that God has given them a new Pope? Much of evangelicalism is seeking to embrace Catholics as true believers in Christ. We’re hearing more and more calls for unity on the part of Evangelicals and Catholics. For example, the Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) document.

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The document says, “We affirm together that we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ. Living faith is active in love that is nothing less than the love of Christ, for we together say with Paul: ‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ (Galatians 2)”

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Another quote, “All who accept Christ as Lord and Savior are brothers and sisters in Christ. Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have not chosen one another, just as we have not chosen Christ.”

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Some of the more popular names on the list of those who either endorsed or participated in the crafting of the document.

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The Rev. Pat Robertson

Regent University

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Dr. James J. I. Packer

Regent College (British Columbia)

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Dr. Thomas Oden

Drew University

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Dr. Mark Noll

Wheaton College

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Dr. Richard Mouw

Fuller Theological Seminary

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Dr. Bill Bright

Campus Crusade for Christ

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Dr. Richard Land

Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

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Mr. Charles Colson

Prison Fellowship

But how are born again people to deal with, say, the worship of Mary and the idolatry that is found in the mass? Or how are we to deal with the priesthood, apostolic succession, sacred tradition, or the sacraments?

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History

Roman Catholicism, like Christianity, traces its roots back to Jesus Christ. The foundational differences between Roman Catholicism and biblical Christianity are sources of divine authority. Roman Catholics hold to apostolic succession, sacred tradition, as well as the Apocrypha and the Bible. The Council of Trent, the second Vatican Council, and their catechisms reflect the progression of their teachings.

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This is, of course, different with biblical Christianity, which holds to the Bible as the sole authority.

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In 313, Constantine, through the Edict of Milan, lessened the persecution of Christians and in 380, under Emperor Theodosius I, Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. Many doctrinal controversies as well as the influences of various leaders occurred during the middle ages. When persecution lessened until just previous to the Reformation, church history is really Roman Catholic history. There are pockets of biblical Christianity, but persecution was a big deterrent to disagreeing with the Catholic Church.

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Areas of agreement

We agree with Catholics on a number of doctrines. For example, the person of Christ. We both believe that Jesus is God in human flesh, in the Trinity, man is a sinner, that the Bible is the Word of God, and in the second coming of Christ. As well, RC’s believe that faith is necessary for salvation.

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But we differ on so many doctrines, some of which are the differences between heaven and hell.

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Religious Authority

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Extent of Biblical Authority: Should We Include the Apocrypha?

RC’s hold that some books other than the 66 books of the Bible are inspired. These were written from 400BC to the time of Christ.

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What we might call…

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Catholics Call…

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1. The Wisdom of Solomon (c. 30 b.c.)

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Book of Wisdom

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2. Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) (132 b.c.)

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Sirach

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3. Tobit (c. 200 b.c.)

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Tobit

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4. Judith (c. 150 b.c.)

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Judith

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5. 1 Esdras (c. 150–100 b.c.)

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3 Esdras

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6. 1 Maccabees (c. 110 b.c.)

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1 Maccabees

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7. 2 Maccabees (c. 110–70 b.c.)

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2 Maccabees

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8. Baruch (c. 150–50 b.c.)

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Baruch chaps. 1–5

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9. Letter of Jeremiah (c. 300–100 b.c.)

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Baruch chap. 6

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10. 2 Esdras (c. a.d. 100)

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4 Esdras

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11. Additions to Esther (140–130 b.c.)

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10:4–16:24

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12. Prayer of Azariah (2nd or 1st cent. b.c.)

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Daniel 3:24–90
(Song of Three Young Men)

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13. Susanna (2nd or 1st cent. b.c.)

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Daniel 13

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14. Bel and the Dragon (c. 100 b.c.)

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Daniel 14

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15. Prayer of Manasseh (2nd or 1st cent. b.c.)

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Prayer of Manasseh

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Why do they view these books as divinely authoritative and we don’t?

They view them as divinely authoritative because of many different reasons. The church fathers used them, the New Testament reflects the thought of some of the books, early church councils accepted them, the Council of Trent proclaimed them canonical in 1546.

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But none of these arguments prove divine authority. How would we prove divine authority?

Scripture must substantiate other Scripture. Do these teachings fit with the Bible’s teaching?

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Ecclesiasticus 25:19 Any iniquity is insignificant compared to a wife’s iniquity.

Ecclesiasticus 25:24 From a woman sin had its beginning. Because of her we all die.

Ecclesiasticus 22:3 It is a disgrace to be the father of an undisciplined, and the birth of a daughter is a loss.

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Yikes!

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The apocryphal books themselves make reference to what we call the Silent 400 years, where there were no prophets of God. Prophetic status would naturally be required to write Scripture. Only those who are prophets can give us God’s word. We know they are prophets because their teachings line up with the Bible.

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But the apocryphal books seem to recognize there were no prophets.

And they laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, till there should come a prophet, and give answer concerning them. (1 Maccabees 4:46)

And there was a great tribulation in Israel, such as was not since the day, that there was no prophet seen in Israel. (1 Maccabees 9:27)

And that the Jews, and their priests, had consented that he should be their prince, and high priest for ever, till there should arise a faithful prophet. (1 Maccabees 14:41).

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Since there were no prophets, how could these books be canonical?

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How does this jive with the NT or the OT?

“Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins…Water will quench a flaming fire; and alms maketh an atonement for sin” (Sirach 3:3, 30).

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Tobit 12:9, “alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin.”

the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

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Sirach 12:4-7 advices, “Give to the godly man, and help not a sinner. Do well unto him that is lowly, but give not to the ungodly; hold back thy bread, and give it not unto him… give unto the good, and help not the sinner.”

How does that jive with Jesus teaching, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back” (Luke 6:27,30).

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It also condones the use of magic

Tobit 6:5-7, “Then the angel said to him: Take out the entrails of this fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee: for these are necessary for useful medicines. 6 And when he had done so, he roasted the flesh thereof, and they took it with them in the way: the rest they salted as much as might serve them, till they came to Rages the city of the Medes. 7 Then Tobias asked the angel, and said to him: I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish? 8 And the angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them.”

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Historical Errors

Judith 1:5, “Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him.”

Sorry, Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Babylonians, not Assryians.

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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.”

Sorry, the Jews were in Babylon for 70 years, not 7 generations (Jer. 25:11).

 

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You could say, “If you’re a Catholic, which do you practice? Luke 6:27,30 or Sirach 12:4-7? Why?” The Catholic church views the books as inspired. How do you deal with the errors?

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Roman Catholic Church pronounced these books as part of the canon in A.D. 1546 at the Council of Trent. From the Fourth Session

“But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books [which includes the NT books and the apocryphal books] entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema.”[1]

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How are we to understand the errors then? Similar to the book of Mormon which teaches Jesus was born in Jerusalem. You could ask a Catholic, “Why should I believe in the apocryphal books, but not the book of Mormon? Both have similar errors.”

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Sufficiency of Biblical Authority: Should We Include the Sacred Tradition?

Is the Bible sufficient? Or do we include traditional teachings of the church as authoritative?

“Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God . . .” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 97).

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· “The apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority.'” (Par. 77).
· “This living transmission, accomplished through the Holy Spirit, is called tradition…” (Par. 78).
· “Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (Par. 82).

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Restated…

· If the apostles gave successors the very same position that they themselves had, then those successors have the same authority as the apostles.
· Therefore, whatever the successors teach, is also accomplished through the Holy Spirit.
· Therefore, this tradition must be accepted and revered the same degree as original apostolic teaching.

If one can prove that the apostles were able to impart the same authority to their successors that they had, I suppose this would hold up. But the burden of proof is on those presenting this argument to prove that the apostles were able to and did impart to others the same authority that they had.

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So is apostolic succession God’s design?

Paul passed his ‘office’ off to Timothy? (1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:6, 13-14, 2:1-2, 4:1-6). But does that mean that Timothy to ____ and ____ to _____ and now to Pope Francis I? Really?

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Luke 9:1-2 (NASB) 1 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.

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John 17:18 (NASB) “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

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John 20:21 (NASB) So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

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Luke 10:1-3 (NASB) 1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. 2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

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And does this all mean that successors are infallible?

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What About Papal Infallibility and Apostolic Succession

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The Pope:

Technically, the Reformation did not start solely with Martin Luther. 100 years earlier, Jan Hus wrote a book entitled The Church. The fourth chapter was entitled “Christ the only head of the church.” In the book he proclaimed that the Pope is not the head of the church nor the Cardinals. Christ alone is head of the church.

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Hus didn’t survive his denunciation of the Pope and its structure. He was burned at the stake in 1415. 100 years later, Martin Luther read Hus’ book and declared himself to be in line with Jan Hus.

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The Pope is called “Holy Father” as well as “Vicar of Christ.” Through the structure of the Catholic Church, he claims the ability to speak ex cathedra, making him infallible, putting his doctrine only authoritative level of Scripture.

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Revelation 22:18 (NASB) I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

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This attitude is reflective of the spirit of antichrist.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NASB) 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

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1 John 2:18 (NASB) Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

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1 John 4:3 (NASB) … this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

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2 John 1:7 (NASB) For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

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1 Timothy 2:5 (NASB) For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

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“Only one mediator. It’s filled. Leave your post you priests and Pope. Repent!”

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And back to ‘sacred tradition’…. It’s all a matter of a misunderstanding of tradition.

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The Bible is in favor of tradition when it supports the teachings of the apostles

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

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But if it contradicts Scripture, watch out.

Matthew 15:3 (NASB) And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

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Yet, it is against tradition when it “transgresses the commands of God” (Matt. 15:3). All teaching must be harmonious with the Bible.

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…But does Catholic ‘tradition’ contradict Scripture?

You betcha!

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Doctrines

 Mass and Transubstantiation

The Mass in Roman Catholic theology is the equivalent of the Lord’s supper. It is a series of rituals and it is also called the Eucharistic supper. Through the mass, Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers himself to God as a sacrifice through the bread and the wine.

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It is a sacrifice, according to RCC.

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To RC’s, the Mass began when Jesus said Matthew 26:26 (NASB) 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.”

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And

Matthew 26:28 (NASB) for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

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When Jesus said this, Jesus gave the apostles and to future priests the power to change the bread and the wine into his body and blood. During the consecration part of the ceremony of the mass, the priest changes the elements into Christ’s body and blood.

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The catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the mass is a holy, divine sacrifice offered through the hands of the priest. It is a representation of the sacrifice of Christ as well as a “one single sacrifice” with Christ’s sacrifice.

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“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,” (CCC, 1367).

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CCC teaches that it removes God’s wrath and all who deny this are “anathema.” It is also capable of repairing sins for the living and dead.

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Unfortunately, Catholics also say that in the mass, Christ is not sacrificed again. They can claim that, but how do you put together that claim with the fact that it is a true and divine sacrifice? Also, the sacrifice of Christ and the Eucharist are one single sacrifice. It also removes God’s wrath and can repair sins.

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If it has this sort of power, it must be a re-sacrifice of Christ. How can it be one with the sacrifice of Christ then? Only Christ’s sacrifice can remove God’s wrath. We ought not think that Christ is sacrificed over and over again.

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The Bible is clear

Hebrews 9:24-28 (NASB) 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

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There is nothing else other than the sacrifice of Christ on the cross that can take away sins. To reinstitute multiple sacrifices is to bring back sacrifices of the old covenant, that could never take away sins.

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The mass according to the catechism of the Catholic Church, is “the source and summit of the Christian life.”

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John O’Brien, a Catholic priest, explains the mass.

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“When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim. Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.

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They don’t let Christ off the cross; he is the eternal victim, not the risen Savior! Jesus did not die for sins once on behalf of all, he died and he is still dying for sins.

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Is this biblical? Romans 6:8-10 (NASB) 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

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Thus the Roman Catholic teaching of the mass perverts the once for all sacrifice of Christ that is effective to save sinners forever. If you add to take away from or pervert the very sacrifice of Christ that takes away sins, what is left for your salvation? Roman Catholic teaching is heresy to the damnable degree. All those who hold to her teachings are hell bound.

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 Penance
 Doctrine and Veneration of Mary

“I no longer have a heart; I gave it to Jesus’ Mom.”

~ St. Gemma Galgani

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Luke 1:48 (NASB) “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

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Does this verse tells us to worship Mary? Or maybe Luke 1:42 (NASB) And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

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According to Roman Catholicism, Mary is the

Mother of God (AD 431)
Mother of the Church (AD 1965)

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 If that is true then, it makes sense then that
Prayers may be offered to Mary (AD 600)
She was sinless (Immaculate Conception, 1854)
 This is her conception in her mother’s womb. She was kept free from original sin
She was assumed into heaven (1950)

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Four doctrines form the basis of Mari-olotry.

Perpetual virginity, Mother of God, Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

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Perpetual virginity

This is the Catholic teaching that expresses the Virgin Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to Jesus the Son of God made Man.” Jesus was Mary’s only biological son.

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They are well aware of verses such as Mark 6:3, Matt. 1:25, but they work around them quite creatively.

 We technically don’t know what happened after “until” was fulfilled in Matt. 1:25.
 Perhaps they were children of another marriage.
 “It cannot be said that the New Testament identifies them (the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus) without doubt as blood brothers and sisters and hence as children of Mary.”[2]   

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But just saying the Scriptures don’t say doesn’t give us credence to adopt the doctrine, either. The words, what are the positive scriptural arguments?

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Mother of God

TheotokosΘεοτόκος

Jesus is God.

Mary is Jesus mother.

Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.

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Ok…but don’t you think that needs clarification?

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Immaculate Conception

This is the teaching that when she was conceived in the womb, Mary was kept free of original sin.

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So this refers not to Jesus conception, but to Mary’s conception inside the womb of her mother Anne.

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She had no sin in the sense of inherited sin from the fall of Adam and Eve. How can she be sinless? If she was, she’d need no saviour, right?

Pope Benedict XVI said, “I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking visitors on this great Feast day when we honour the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her sinless perfection, Mary is a great sign of hope for the Church and for the world.”

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I’d say good Catholics believe Mary was sinless. But why did she say she needed a Savior? Luke 1:47 (NASB) And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

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Assumption

This is the teaching that Mary was assumed into Heaven. They teach that she was the bodily taken up into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. Pope Pius XII exercising papal infallibility declared it dogma on Nov. 1, 1950.

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Catholics use Revelation 12:1-2 (NASB) 1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. V.5… And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

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However, there is no historical account of this happening. Earliest records date from the 4th century. 400 years is a long time for assumptions to take place! Ahem…

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Also Mediatrix

Refers to the intercessory role of Mary as a mediator in the redemption by Jesus Christ and that her son bestows graces through her.

In other words, through Mary, Jesus saves.

They would teach Jesus as the one mediator, but it appears dishonest in light of the role of Mary, the priests, and the Pope.

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Where is Scripture; where is the final authority on this? In their sacred tradition. They know it’s not scriptural in the way you think of it.

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If some apostolic authority pronounces it, it is so. If it’s in the line of sacred tradition, it is eternally true. But this clearly contradicts scripture.

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The RC doctrine of Mary clearly contradicts Scripture

Revelation 22:8-9 (NASB) 8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 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.”

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Don’t make the same mistake John did! But they do!

Ineffabilis Deus in 1854, Pope Pius IX

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“Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.

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That sounds quite like godhood. Contrast that with Luke 1:46-55

Luke 1:46-55 (NASB) 46 And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. 49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. 50 “AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM. 51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. 53 “HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed. 54 “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

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This is idolatry. They do worship her, although they claim not to. What would you call someone who

1.Is sinless (2 Co. 5:21)
2.You must pray to (Ps. 5:2)
3.You must fly to when afraid (Ps. 56:3)
4.Under who’s care is our salvation (Acts 4:10-12)
5.Has been appointed a ruler (Acts 2:36)
6.Sits at God’s right hand (Ps. 110:1)

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She can effect atonement of sin and deliver our souls from death and her intercession brings salvation.

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I’d call that person God! They ascribe divine attributes to Mary.

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 Purgatory

1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

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1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned

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Vatican II, “The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God’s holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments.”

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Purgatory is for all those who, though in a state of grace, must be purified of sins that were not absolved while on earth.

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So purgatory…

(1) is a temporal purification that takes place before one enters heaven; (2) this purification involves some kind of pain or suffering; and (3) this purification can be assisted by the prayers and devotions of the living.

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Support?

2 Mac 12:42–45.

42 and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.

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Purgatory denies the sufficiency of Jesus’ cross work. If purgatory is true, why did Jesus die? I thought it “was finished”? (John 19:30)

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Hebrews 1:3 (NASB) And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

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He sat down because He was finished.

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Hebrews 10:14 (NASB) For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

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 Indulgences
 Priesthood
 Confessional
 Rosary
 Venial and Mortal Sins
 Statutes in the Church
 Salvation

The Council of Trent expresses this plainly:

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Session 6 CANON XXIV.-If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema. [in other words, it’s not saving faith ->good works; Catholic theology does teach faith+good works=justification]

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CANON 9: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

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CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.

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Justification is God declaring a sinner to be righteous in His sight. How does that happen?

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RCC teaches justification is not by faith alone.

“If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified … let him be accursed,” (Canon 12, Council of Trent).

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 1992) that “…justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.”

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Thus, through a priest and Roman Catholic Church and through this sacrament of baptism, the road to justification is begun, according to Roman Catholic teaching. The RCC also teaches…

“No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 2027).

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If you can merit grace, then what is grace? Is grace merited or unmerited favor?

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Through this we understand that justification in the Roman Catholic Church is a process. It begins in baptism. However, the Bible clearly teaches justification is not from works.

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Galatians 2:21 (NASB) “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

Romans 3:28 (NASB) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Romans 4:3 (NASB) For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Romans 4:5 (NASB) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

Romans 5:1 (NASB) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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 Sacraments

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How to witness to a Roman Catholic

Like usual, undercut clear RC beliefs that contradict Scripture.

What is essential for RC’s is to emphasize salvation by grace through faith alone in Scripture with the above passages.

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“Do you have assurance of everlasting life? John wrote that we might know we have eternal life. 1 John 5:13 (NASB) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

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“What works are you trusting in for eternal life?”

Read Isaiah 64:6 (NASB) For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

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“What does God think of our righteous works? Do you think they contribute in any way to our salvation?”

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Do you think it would be tiresome to pile on filthy rags to gain salvation? Read Matthew 11:28 (NASB) “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

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Faith in Christ is given to you.

Philippians 1:29 (NASB) For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

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Christ alone atones for sin. 1 John 2:2 (NASB) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

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Conclusion

Roman Catholics are not Christians. Their practices and doctrines, which deny the complete efficacy of Christ and His work, demand trust, not in Christ, but in other things, like Mary, baptism, and the mass. Trust in anything less than Christ, though you may trust Christ as well, is to denigrate Christ. Christ alone, Christ alone!

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Galatians 1:6-8 (NASB) 6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

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And that word in Greek does mean damnation!

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Go to BibleTrove.com Home Page from Apologetics Lecture 16 Roman Catholicism

Go to Theology Main Page

Go to Apologetics Lectures Main Page

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  1. A Council of Tours desires that after three warnings there be recited in chorus Psalm cviii against the usurper of the goods of the Church, that he may fall into the curse of Judas, and “that he may be not only excommunicated, but anathematized, and that he may be stricken by the sword of Heaven“. This distinction was introduced into the canons of the Church, as is proved by the letter of John VIII (872-82) found in the Decree of Gratian (c. III, q. V, c. XII): “Know that Engeltrude is not only under the ban of excommunication, which separates her from the society of the brethren, but under the anathema, which separates from the body of Christ, which is the Church.” This distinction is found in the earliest Decretals, in the chapter Cum non ab homine. In the same chapter, the tenth of Decretals II, tit. i, Celestine III (1191-98), speaking of the measures it is necessary to take in proceeding against a cleric guilty of theft, homicide, perjury, or other crimes, says: “If, after having been deposed from office, he is incorrigible, he should first be excommunicated; but if he perseveres in his contumacy he should be stricken with the sword of anathema; but if plunging to the depths of the abyss, he reaches the point where he despises these penalties, he should be given over to the secular arm.” I.e., Anathema is not simply excommunication. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm  http://reformedanswers.org/answer.asp/file/43371

    1. Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus means: “outside the Church there is no salvation.” The CCC explains this means “all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body.”

    2. At the Council of Trent, anathemas were a kind of excommunication, at least making them outside the Church.

    3. Therefore, in the Council of Trent, an anathema was a pronouncement of damnation.

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  2. Mary in the New Testament: A Collaborative Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars

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