From:  Worth’s Scriptural Handbook of Proof Texts                      Return to Home

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.                               © 2012

 

Reproduction of this book for non-profit circulation by any electronic or print media means is hereby freely granted at no cost—provided the text is not altered in any manner. 

 

Selected sections may be left out if desired.  If accompanied by additional, supplemental material—in agreement or disagreement—it must be clearly and visibly distinguishable from the author’s original text.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2:

Roman Catholicism

 

 

 

                        013      Indulgences

                        014      Infallibility

                        015      Mary—Bible Simplicity Versus Later Exaggeration

016      Was Peter Pope?

017      Priests

018      Purgatory

019      Saints:  Not a Specially Pious Minority of Christians        

020      Saints:  Prayer To

021      Saints:  Worship / “Reverence” of

022      Tradition 

023      Transubstantiation   

024      Venial / Mortal Sins:  An Invalid Distinction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

# 013 #

Indulgences

 

           

            This Roman Catholic Church practice is based upon the claim that there is a “treasury of (surplus) merit” from the extraordinarily virtuous and pious lives of the “saints.”  This “treasury of merit” can be drawn upon by the Catholic Church to remove all or part of the punishment received in Purgatory.

 

            1.  The Bible is a complete revelation of God’s will but it never mentions indulgences by name or description.

            If a doctrine this important to an individual’s future actually existed in the first century, how could it conceivably miss being mentioned!

            2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.

            2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:   17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

            2.  Indulgences are based upon the erroneous assumption that there is a special category of virtuous Christians called “saints.”  In Biblical usage, all Christians are saints—which means that a person did not have to have this kind of superbly advanced spirituality to qualify.

            The Corinthians are called “saints” in spite of their vividly described faults and weaknesses.  1 Corinthians 1:2 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:

            (Rotherham) 1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the assembly of God which is in Corinth, sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints,--with all who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in every place,--their Lord and ours.

            Individual congregations are composed of saints.  1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

 

            3.  Indulgences are based upon the assumption that there is such a thing as “surplus” virtue.  Actually even the most righteous person needs all he has.

            1 Peter 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?   18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

 

            4.  Indulgences are based upon the assumption that non-existent “surplus” virtue can be applied to someone else’s benefit.  This is pure unmitigated assumption without an iota of Biblical evidence. 

 

            5.  They are based upon the assumption that a living church leader has been given the authority to dispense such “indulgences” based upon whatever standard (financial?) he may wish to impose.  Again, no Biblical evidence.

 

            6.  The concept also encounters a major practical difficulty:  Could there possibly be that much “surplus merit” floating around?  Surely at some point it “runs out” (for lack of a better expression).  How can you continue to give what isn’t there any more?  Is it then miraculously multiplied? 

 

            7.  Indulgences assume that the virtues of the dead righteous can alter where a person will spend eternity.  The Scriptures teach that once a person is enduring punishment, there is no way that escape can be obtained.

            Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:   20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,   21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.   22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;   23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.   24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.   25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.   26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.

 

 

 

 

 

# 014 #

Infallibility

 

 

            1.  The original apostles were infallible in their teaching because they were inspired.  Since the modern popes concede that they are not inspired—though claiming to be the “successors” to those very same apostles—they are admitting that they do not possess the essential pre-requisite to being infallible, which is inspiration. 

            John 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.                    

            The reason the apostles could “bind” or “loose” matters in the moral and religious sphere was because of their inspiration—it assured they would get the decisions right.  Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

            All the apostles had that same authority and for the same reason.  Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

 

            2.  Although the popes claim to be successors to the apostles—though, oddly, never taking that title—none of them can meet the Biblical qualification of an apostolic substitute—having personally and literally seen Jesus during His earthly ministry.

            Acts 1:21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,   22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

 

            3.  There is no single compilation of all infallible statements ever made by the Pontiffs.  Indeed, there is not even a papally authorized list of the pronouncements.

            Why not, if the doctrine is so important?  Furthermore, there is a strange “bait and switch” approach inside Catholicism:  They claim “infallibility” but in actual practice the means of establishing the authority of a specific edict is not to cite infallible decisions but to appeal to “the authority of the church,” its “teaching magisterium.”  But if that is sufficient, why is infallibility needed?

            An unanswerable question:  Has an “infallible” papal pronouncement ever been contradicted, altered, reversed, or repealed?  No one knows for no one has ever been given an authoritative list of what is infallible.    

           

            4.  If the Pope and Roman Catholic Church were truly infallible, how could they be wrong on so much?  Infant baptism, sprinkling rather than immersion, the list goes on and on.

 

            5.  Until the last part of the nineteenth century and the “pronouncement” of the doctrine as an article of faith, a Catholic could deny infallibility without being considered heretical or an apostate.  The elevation of the claim to the level of official dogma is a modern innovation, not a long-standing practice of centuries.

 

 

 

 

 

# 015 #

Mary—

Bible Simplicity Versus Later Exaggeration

 

 

            1.  The immaculate conception of Mary is a myth not a Biblical teaching:  This is the teaching that Mary was born free of “original sin” inherited from Adam.  No such sin exists.  We are all born into this world without the burden of anyone’s past sin.  

            Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

            Personal actions and not ancestors determine our status in God’s sight:

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 

            Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:   7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:   8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,   9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.  

Isaiah 3:10 Say ye to the righteous, that [it shall be] well [with him]: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.   11 Woe unto the wicked! [it shall be] ill [with him]: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

            1 Kings 8:32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

           

            2.  The perpetual virginity of Mary is a pious myth and has no foundation in Scripture.

 

            A.  The Scriptures limit their claim as to the virginity of Mary to that period prior to the birth of Jesus:  not one iota of text states, requires, or even reasonably implies its perpetuation beyond that point.

            Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.   31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.   34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?   35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.   36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.   37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.   38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

            Matthew 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,   23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.   24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:   25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

            What does “till” mean in this verse?  Would not the normal connotation of words require that sexual relations began afterwards?  (TEV) Matthew 1:25 But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son. And Joseph named him Jesus.  

 

            B.  There is no way that Mary could have remained a virgin throughout her entire married life without betraying the sexual obligation a couple owe to each other.

            1 Corinthians 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: [It is] good for a man not to touch a woman.   2 Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.   3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.   4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.   5 Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

 

            C.  Since Jesus had both brothers and sisters, Mary is hardly likely to have remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth—even if Joseph her husband was in his second marriage, the pure number of children argue that at least some were by her.  Would the question even have to be argued if a scripturally unprovable theory did not need to find a way to work around the scriptural evidence?  It should also be noted that we have no scriptural evidence that this was Joseph’s second marriage!

            Matthew 13:54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this [man] this wisdom, and [these] mighty works?   55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?   56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this [man] all these things?

 

            3.  The bodily assumption of Mary into heaven is an invention of post-Biblical religious speculation and has nothing to support it in the Scriptures.

            I have just as much Bible evidence for it as I do for the claim that Judas was miraculously resurrected, repented of his sin, and was restored to the full authority of the apostleship that he once possessed.  If the Roman Catholic Church actually embraced this, would that be enough to prove it was both true and historical?  That is the same “authority” behind what is done with Mary!

Mary unquestionably must have been a deeply pious woman to have been chosen for her role, but to exalt her into a virtually supernatural status as well crosses the line from honor into over-worked imagination.

 

            4.  To call Mary “the Mother of God” is thoroughly misleading and improper if the normal meaning of words are not to be bent all out of shape.

            For example:

            (1)  Both God the Father and His Son are eternal while Mary was not; the “temporary” can’t give birth to the eternal, can it?

            (2)  God and His Son have no beginning; hence no one can be rightly described as either’s “Mother.”

            (3)  If taken literally, Mary is greater than Jesus as deity for she is nothing less than the “Mother of Deity!”

            (4)  Mary herself must be Deity for the phrase to be literally true and the way that “reverence” for her is virtually indistinguishable from that given the Father, argues that in actual practice many of her “worshippers” actually make her such.  There is a vast distance between “full of grace and “coredemptrix” theology.

            (5)  In the first century such language would have been considered an indication of following a pagan deity:  Remember Diana (Artemis) of the Ephesians?

 

            5.  To make Mary an intervener on our behalf is to give her a status contrary to Scripture.

 

            A.  The mediator between man and God is Jesus; He requires no substitutes or assistants between himself and His earthly disciples.

            1 Timothy 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

 

            B.  The Biblical pretext for Mary having such a role is Jesus yielding to her intervention with Him to obtain more needed wine for the wedding feast at Cana.

            John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:   2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.   3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.   4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.   5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do [it].

            However:

            (1)  Jesus’ willingness to accept her “intercession” in temporal affairs while still on earth is a profoundly different matter than acting on her requests when He has been glorified by the resurrection to heaven.

(2)  1 Timothy 2:5 would be inexplicable if she played the role in first century theology that she does today.  It would have had to be worded significantly differently.

(3)  Jesus wasn’t all that happy with her request (verse 4).  If He was wary on a matter of such relative insignificance, does anyone really expect her to have sway on matters that affect an individual’s destiny and salvation?

(4)  Jesus acted at Cana just the way we would expect a respectful son to act—regardless of whether Mary’s alleged current role exists.  In short it proves nothing since, true or not, He would have acted the same way.

(5)  Mary originated the appeal to Jesus.  In Catholic dogma, she is relaying the pleas of mortals.  Why would we expect both to be handled the same way?

(6)  The incident at Cana occurred while Mary was alive.  We have absolutely no evidence at all that first century Christians prayed to her after her death. 

 

            6.  As the mother of Jesus, Mary certainly was respected by early Christians.  But Jesus went on record during His ministry, that others can be just as blessed as her--through their own obedience to God.     

            Luke 11:27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed [is] the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.   28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed [are] they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

            Luke 8:19 Then came to him [his] mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.   20 And it was told him [by certain] which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.   21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

 

            7.  Mary never played the role in the thought of the first century church that she does in modern Roman Catholicism:  If she had, the assertions of contemporary Catholicism would be highly visible and unquestionable throughout the New Testament. 

            Unless we are to argue that medieval and modern theology have greater insights into the importance of Mary than the inspired New Testament does, we have no choice but to dismiss them as well meaning but unjustified and unfounded theories.

 

 

 

 

 

# 016 #

Was Peter Pope?

 

            This is one of the most fundamental principles of Roman Catholicism.  Even if it were actually true, there would still be the need to justify these other claims:

            (1)  That Peter was intended to have “successors” in his papal office.

            (2)  That “successors” are infallible on matters of faith and morals—not to mention the Catholic Church as an institution.

            (3)  That the unbiblical and even anti-Biblical teachings of that church are proved to actually be orthodox and obligatory by virtue of that gift of “infallibility.”  (Asking for papal statements claiming infallibility on these or any other matter is an exercise in futility, however.)   

 

 

            1.  The “rock” on which the church was built was the supernaturalness of Christ and not the apostle Peter.

            Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?   14 And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.   15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?   16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.   17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.   18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

            A.  Jesus promised to build His church on the “rock” and not “on you” (i.e., Peter).   The latter was the natural way to say it, one that would remove any and all doubt as to the intent of the words.  Was Peter with his ultimate denying be adequate to be the “rock” on which to build the church?  Would not the truth about Jesus be a rock a million times stronger?  Does a wise builder choose a weak foundation or the sturdiest available?  

 

            B.  The play on words found in this verse conclusively rules out Peter being the rock.  Peter is petros in our text; “rock” is petra.  W. E. Vine (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words):  Petra denotes a mass of rock, as distinct from petros, a detached stone or boulder, or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved.”  The contrast is between Peter’s puniness (not much above a mere pebble, if you will) and the massive ledge of rock representing Jesus’ true nature.

 

            C.  Paul called Jesus—not Peter—the foundation of the church.  Surely an inspired apostolic statement should resolve any controversy!

            1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.   11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 

            D.  To the extent that Peter can be called the “foundation” of the church at all, all of the apostles are equally deserving of the label.

            Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;   20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]

            The most likely meaning of this text is that the “apostles and prophets” laid the “chief cornerstone”—that being a pivotal part of the work of a builder, to install the cornerstone.  If the idea is that the apostles are part of the foundation itself—note that all of them are included—and that even they are dependent upon the “chief cornerstone,” being Jesus. 

 

 

            2.  Peter possessing the keys of the kingdom does not prove that he was “pope” since all the apostles had the keys and not he alone.

 

            A.  Peter’s possession of the “keys.”

            Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.           

 

            B.  All the apostles having possession of the “keys.”
           
Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

 

            C.  Binding and loosing power was safe to give the apostles because they were inspired—they would inevitably get it right.  Giving uninspired later leaders such carte blanche would have been ultimately suicidal to the purity of the church. 

            John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.   14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.   15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

 

            D.  This fact of inspiration would fit in especially well with those who translate Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 as referring to the binding or loosing in heaven occurring before that on earth.  Regardless of whether the texts have to be translated this way, the heavenly binding would be the necessary assumption explaining why they would be binding / loosing what they did at all.

            (NASB) Matthew 16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."

            (Holman) Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven."

            (ISV) Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you prohibit on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven."

 

 

            3.  Contrary to traditional Roman Catholic interpretation, Peter took Jesus’ triple questioning of his love as a rebuke rather than as a bestowal of supreme authority in the church.

            John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.   16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.   17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

 

 

            4.  Peter could not have had supreme authority over the entire church because the apostle Paul was his equal.

 

            A.  Paul claimed equality with the most prominent apostles.

            2 Corinthians 11:5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

            (Weymouth) 2 Corinthians 11:5 Why, I reckon myself in no respect inferior to those superlatively great Apostles.

            2 Corinthians 12:11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

            1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.   10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.   11 Therefore whether [it were] I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

 

            B.  He even publicly rebuked the apostle Peter.

            Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.   12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.   13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.   14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?   15 We [who are] Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles.

            What would be the fate today of any Catholic religious official who took on the Pope publicly in this manner?  Something drastic has changed, hasn’t it?

 

 

            5.  Peter could not have been pope because he was a married man.  Popes are not permitted to be married.

            1 Corinthians 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and [as] the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

            Matthew 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.   15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

 

 

            6.  Peter could not have been pope because the other apostles sent him out on a preaching tour.

 

            A.  The apostles sent Peter and John to Samaria. 

            Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:   15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

 

            B.  The one who is sent is not as great as the one doing the sending.  Hence Peter could not have been greater than the other apostles.

            John 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

 

 

            7.  Peter could not have been Pope because he taught a dramatically different and contradictory doctrine to that of modern “popes.”

 

            A.  Peter taught a dramatically different plan of salvation than modern popes.

 

            (1)  He taught “adult” baptism and not infant baptism, a baptism that must be preceded by the repentance that no infant is capable of.

            Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.   37 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?   38 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.

 

            (2)  The baptism Peter taught as essential to salvation was immersion:  When speaking of baptism, Peter compared it to the Genesis Flood that completely engulfed the earth.  Sprinkling could hardly be the “baptism” he had in mind!

            1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.   21 The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

 

            B.  Peter taught humility on the part of church leaders.  In contrast, the Popes exalt in great displays of papal importance.

            1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:   2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;   3 Neither as being lords over [God's] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

            (Weymouth) 5:3 not lording it over your Churches but proving yourselves patterns for the flock to imitate.

 

            C.  Peter taught that the completed revelation of God’s will was available in the first century.  The Popes teach the existence of an authoritative “tradition” that exists independent of the completed New Testament.

            One approach to Catholic “tradition” is to defend it as firmly rooted in the past and a completed body of work.  Since doctrines not heard of or at an earlier date—such as the bodily assumption of Mary—clearly have been added to the tradition, the more perceptive approach is to regard it as subject to later evolutionary alterations that justify new doctrines and practices. 

            Either way, whether written down fully yet or not, the complete New Testament revelation existed while Peter was still alive; these other things were never needed!-- 2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.  

           

            D.  Peter considered all Christians to be priests.  He did not limit the term of a separate “clergy.”

            1 Peter 2:5 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 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

 

 

 

 

 

# 017 #

Priests

 

 

            1.  All Christians are priests.  The idea of a clergy / laity distinction is alien to the New Testament.

            1 Peter 2:5 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.

            Peter 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

            Revelation 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

            Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;   10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

 

            2.  In some modern religious systems (such as Roman Catholicism), “priests” are forbidden to marry.  According to the Bible, this is an indication of spiritual apostasy rather than higher spirituality.

            Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;   2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;   3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

            Hebrews 13:4 Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

            Actually there are exceptions to the prohibition (the “Greek Rites” and Anglican Priests converting in particular), but they regard these as necessary aberrations and nothing more.

             

            3.  In some modern religious systems, confession of sins is made to a special “priest” class (again Roman Catholicism immediately comes to mind).  In the New Testament age, in notable contrast, Christians freely prayed for and with each other as there was cause and request.  Not to mention that there was no special class of Christians to whom confession was exclusively made (see the first point above). 

            James 5:16 Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

            Acts 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

 

            4.  In the Mormon religious system there is an elaborate and fully developed “Melchizedek priesthood.”  Biblically speaking, this is nonsense since only two people have ever been in that priesthood—Jesus Christ and Melchizedek himself.  (Far less well known is that the Roman Catholic priesthood claims to be the modern Melchizedek priesthood as well.)

            Hebrews 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?   12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.   13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.   14 For [it is] evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.  

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,   16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.   17 For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.   20 And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]:   21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)   22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.   23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:   24 But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

            (1)  Note the clearly implication that there was a time gap between the original Melchizedek and the second person to occupy that priesthood, Jesus.

            (2)  Note the singular reference to “priest” and not the plural “priests:  In both cases only one person occupied that priesthood at a time.

            (3)  There is no need for any other Melchizedek priest for Jesus, having become such, “continueth ever” in “an unchangeable priesthood” (7:24).

            Hebrews 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as [was] Aaron.   5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.   6 As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

           

 

 

 

 

# 018 #

Purgatory

 

 

            1.  Jesus taught that once a person is suffering punishment in the hereafter, that there is no way that it can be escaped.

            Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:   20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,   21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.   22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;   23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.   25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.   26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.

            (Weymouth) 16:26 And, besides all this, a vast chasm is immovably fixed between us and you, put there in order that those who desire to cross from this side to you may not be able, nor any be able to cross over from your side to us.'

            Even if this be regarded as “just” a parable—and there is nothing in the text or context that particularly argues it is—parables always taught truth accurately.  They did not misrepresent truth.  Surely one of the core elements of the narrative is that once you are dead, there is no changing or altering your destiny; strip that out and the story is no longer telling the truth but severely misrepresenting it

 

2.  The apostle Peter taught that the righteous are barely saved.  Hence there are no “surplus virtues” of “saints” that can be applied to the sinner and save him from part or all of his due punishment.    

            1 Peter 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?   18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

            (Rotherham) 4:18 And if the righteous man is with difficulty saved, where then shall the ungodly and sinful man appear?

 

            3.  It is the blood of Christ that cleanses from sin.  Neither the “fires of purgatory” nor the “surplus virtues” of the “saints” can accomplish it.

            Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].

            Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

 

            4.  Even if it were possible for a person to escape the punishment in the next life, God has nowhere authorized any church or religious system to invent the terms and conditions under which it can be obtained.  To do so represents spiritual arrogance at its boldest.

 

 

 

 

 

# 019 #

Saints:

Not a Specially Pious Minority

of Christians

 

 

            1.  All are “saints” (set apart to God’s service) due to being Christians; the term does not connote only those of superior moral excellence—though that should be the goal of all “saints.”

 

            A.  The example of Corinth.

           

            (1)  They were all considered “saints.”  1 Corinthians 1:2 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.

 

            (2)  But serious and grievous faults were still found among them—and in large number.  1 Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

            1 Corinthians 4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.

            (English Standard Version)  Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you.

            1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.   2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

            (Weymouth) 5:2 And you, instead of mourning and removing from among you the man who has done this deed of shame, are filled with self-complacency!

            1 Corinthians 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?   5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?   6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

            1 Corinthians 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, [this] is not to eat the Lord's supper.   21 For in eating every one taketh before [other] his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

 

            B.  Paul uses “saints” as equivalent to all anywhere who call on Christ’s name, i.e., Christians in general.

            1 Corinthians 1:2 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

 

            C.  Paul uses “saints” as equivalent to those who are beloved by God, i.e., all Christians.

            Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            D.  Paul uses the language of faithful brethren as equivalent to saints, again pointing to all believers being included.

            Colossians 1:2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

            2.  Although being a “saint” does not guarantee superior morality, the striving for moral excellence is a natural consequence of being a saint.  Elevated character is the expected result of “sainthood” rather than its cause!

            Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.

            (NKJV) But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.

            Romans 16:2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

            (NKJV) that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.

 

 

            3.  No church or collection of churches is given the authority by scripture to designate men and women as “saints” in distinction from all other believers.  It is an act of spiritual arrogance to try to do so.  Those who are genuine “saints” are such by virtue of their relationship to God and not by designation of any religious institution.

            Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

            2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

 

 

            4.  There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that a “saint” can or will work a miracle after his death.  Yet such is required to be recognized as a “saint” by the Roman Catholic Church!

 

 

 

 

 

# 020 #

Saints:  Prayer To

 

 

            1.  In the New Testament, “saints” were all Christians and not just some tiny fraction of the spiritually elite.

            Paul used it as equivalent to all who follow Christ--1 Corinthians 1:2   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.

 

            2.  Since saints were Christians and since Christians are those who have obeyed the gospel plan of salvation, the vast majority of Catholic “saints” don’t qualify for the label in any sense.  Hence even if true saints could hear and answer prayer, Catholic saints would not be able.

           

            A.  True saints were immersed.  Few Roman Catholic saints were.

            Romans 6:3   Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4   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.

            Note that Paul is describing the baptism that as “many of us” as were baptized had gone through.  The idea of an unimmersed saint / Christian is alien to the New Testament concept of things.  

 

            B.  True saints were believers at the point they were baptized.

            Jesus Himself ordained that faith come before baptism—Mark 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 

            3.  A fair number of Roman Catholic saints are inherently unable to hear and answer prayer for the simple reason that they never existed.  The removal of individuals from among the officially recognized Catholic “saints” is no great secret.  Yet for years these nonexistent, non-entities were prayed to for help.  What—if anything—answered their prayers?   

 

            4.  The Bible teaches Christians to pray for one another.  It never instructs them to pray to one another.

            James 5:16 Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

            It is often argued that if living Christians are desirous of receiving prayers, dead righteous believers must be equally desirous to do so.  The parallel breaks down because the Roman Catholic Church advocates (1) praying to the dead, while the Bible endorses (2) the living (3) praying for each other and provides not the slightest evidence for the Roman custom.

 

            5.  Prayer to the dead is excluded by Divine silence:  Since the Bible only endorses the living praying for each other—and never to each other—it follows that God neither commands, encourages, or implies that the Roman tradition is to be followed.

            The apostles were promised that they would be guided into the totality of the Divine will--John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.   14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.   15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

            That totality of the Divine will was revealed in the first century--2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.

 

            6.  The Catholic doctrine is based on the unproved assumption that God allows, permits, or encourages the dead to hear our prayers.  To what limited extent the Bible provides evidence about their knowledge of our world, it points toward them being permitted no knowledge at all—except, of course what might be gained by those recently arrived from our world. 

            Job 14:20 Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.   21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them.

            (Bible in Basic English)  14:20 You overcome him for ever, and he is gone; his face is changed in death, and you send him away.   21 His sons come to honour, and he has no knowledge of it; they are made low, but he is not conscious of it.

            Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.   6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun.

 

            7.  God will not permit the righteous dead to intervene at the request of the fellow dead.  If there is that strict a prohibition, why would we expect God would permit intervention when requested by the living? 

            Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.   24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.   25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.   26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence.   27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:   28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.   29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.   30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.   31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

 

            8.  We do not need the righteous dead to intervene for us since no matter how righteous they were, they were still imperfect and sinners.  Instead, we have the sinless Jesus prepared to intervene as mediator on our behalf.

            1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

            1 Timothy 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

            Romans 8:34 Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

 

 

 

 

 

# 021 #

Saints:

Worship / “Reverence” of

 

 

            1.  We never read in the Bible of departed (or living!) saints being accorded religious worship.  Nor is there the command of God or the approved example of an inspired individual for it.  In light of how common this is in the Roman communion, this would be nothing short of astounding if it were routine practice in the Biblical age church. 

 

            2.  In vivid contrast, we read of the attempted worship of a living saint being rejected.  This example involved no less than the apostle Peter, the very person the Roman Church insists was its first head.  And if he wasn’t qualified to receive it, who else could ever possibly be?

            Acts 10:25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped [him].   26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

            The most this text can be “bent” away from this application would be to render the word “worshipped” as “homage,” but isn’t this the very substitute that Catholics themselves often invoke when trying to avoid the alleged “harsh overtones” of the term “worship” as applied to their saints?-- (Weymouth) Acts 10:25 When Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him, and threw himself at his feet to do him homage.   

 

            3.  If angels are not to be worshipped—even though they are supernatural beings—then certainly mere mortals can not be worshipped.  No resurrected human is ever called an angel, merely angel-like [Matthew 22:30]; hence it is unprovable that they ever “rise” to that status at any point.  And, if they did, they would still be under the prohibition of worshipping angels for they would then be angels! 

 

            A.  Angels are not to be worshipped.

            Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.

            (ISV) Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels cheat you out of the prize by boasting about what he has seen. Such a person is puffed up without cause by his carnal mind.

            Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

            (Weymouth) Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he exclaimed, "Oh, do not do that. I am a fellow bondservant of yours and a fellow bondservant of your brethren who have borne testimony to Jesus. Worship God." Testimony to Jesus is the spirit which underlies Prophecy.

            Revelation 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard [them]. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.   9 Then saith he unto me, See [thou do it] not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.  

 

            B.  Human beings are counted as lower than angels.

            Speaking of Jesus but applying the principle to all human beings--

            Hebrews 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?   7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands

            Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

 

 

 

 

 

# 022 #

Tradition

 

 

            Although Protestant denunciation of Roman Catholic tradition has been widespread—and quite justified—what is often overlooked is that Protestants can be just as dependent on tradition themselves.  On many matters, if you quote John Calvin or Martin Luther you’ve “established” the truth—even if they were dead wrong on the subject. 

Likewise countless church practices are never questioned or compared to the Bible because “it’s what we’ve always done.”  Implicit is the argument:  “It’s our tradition.  How could something done by this many and for this long possibly be wrong?”  Because we are all human and Catholic traditions originated out of good will and good intentions also.   

 

            1.  Tradition to establish church practice is not needed because God has provided a complete revelation of His will, the Divine revelation of the first century as preserved in the Bible.

             2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

            2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:   17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

 

            2.  Uninspired human religious tradition—no matter how well intentioned—is of no genuine religious authority in God’s eyes, especially when it contradicts or is different from His own revealed will.

            Mark 7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.   2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.   3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash [their] hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.   4 And [when they come] from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, [as] the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.  

5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?   6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me.   7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.  

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.   9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.   10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:   11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, [It is] Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; [he shall be free].   12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;   13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

            (NASB) Mark 7:9 He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

            (God’s Word) Mark 7:9 He added, “You have no trouble rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep your own traditions!”

            (NIV) Mark 7:13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.

            (Rotherham) Mark 7:13  cancelling the word of God by your tradition which ye have delivered. And, many such similar things, are ye doing!

            (God’s Word) Mark 7:13 Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God's word. And you do many other things like that.

           

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

(Weymouth) Take care lest there be some one who leads you away as prisoners by means of his philosophy and idle fancies, following human traditions and the world's crude notions instead of following Christ.

 

            3.  Verbal teaching of the apostles was just as authoritative as their written teaching.  But nothing outside the New Testament can be conclusively proved to be their tradition and it can’t be genuine when it is contradictory to the written message of Scripture that has been preserved.  Even written tradition from the second and third centuries is unauthoritative if it does not faithfully echo the genuine apostolic tradition preserved in writing from the first.

            2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

            2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
           
2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

 

            4.  Any tradition that contradicts the New Testament is self-condemned as non-apostolic in origin and non-authoritative.  Example:  The stories of childhood miracles by Jesus.

            The New Testament tells us quite clearly-- John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

            (Weymouth) This, the first of His miracles, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee, and thus displayed His glorious power; and His disciples believed in Him.

 

 

 

 

 

# 023 #

Transubstantiation

 

 

            This is the Roman Catholic doctrine that the bead and fruit of the vine in the Communion become the literal fleshly body and blood of Christ after it is blessed by the priest.

 

            1.  Even if the theory were true, there is nothing in the Bible to indicate when the transformation occurs.  To claim that the change occurs when the priest performs the blessing—rather than, for example, occurring automatically when partaken—may build up the prestige of the clergy but there is no scriptural foundation for the assertion.

 

            2.  The circumstances of the institution of the Lord’s Supper were such as to make both the disciples and us interpret “body” and “blood” figuratively / symbolically rather than literally.

           

            A.  Jesus’ physical body was sitting in front of them, instituting the Communion.  Hence there was no reason to expect that the bread and liquid were being transformed into literal flesh and blood.

 

            B.  If it were literal flesh and blood, it should have tasted like such.   But there is no indication that they had the normal human reaction (aversion) to such a taste.  Actually the Catholic doctrine requires a double miracle:  the transformation into flesh and blood and that it not taste like such.

 

            C.  As Jews, they were raised with the strongest feelings against eating human flesh or blood.  The fact that they did not protest Jesus’ words show that they did not take them literally.  Or are we to argue that Jesus deceived them by meaning it literally when He knew full well they would not interpret it so?

 

 

            3.  If Jesus referred to the elements of the Lord’s Supper as literal flesh and blood in John 6, He contradicted Himself not many verses later.

 

            A.  In this chapter are found several verses that are often quoted by Catholic writers as “proving” their point.

            John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.   48 I am that bread of life.   49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.   50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.   51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.  

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?   53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.   54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.   55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.   56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  

57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.   58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.   59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.  

 

            B.  In the context of explaining the meaning of this statement, Jesus denied that the literal flesh is important.

            John 6:59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.   60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard [this], said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?   61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?   62 [What] and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?   63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.   64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  

 

            C.  That the eating of His flesh and blood referred to partaking of His teaching that would give eternal life is both shown in the above explanation by Jesus and also in the Old Testament proof text He had used to introduce the actual discussion.

            John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.   45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.   46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.   47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.   48 I am that bread of life.   49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.   50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  The ancients had eaten physical manna but died, while His contemporaries would have the opportunity to eat of the spiritual manna of revealed truth from Jesus and live for ever (“not die”).   

 

 

            4.  Both Jesus and Paul describe the elements of the Lord’s Supper as still being bread and fruit of the vine even after the “blessing” is done.

 

            A.  Jesus does so of the fruit of the vine in particular.

            Mark 14:22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.   23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it.   24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.   25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.         It was still “fruit of the vine” after being blessed (verse 25).

 

            B.  Paul does so of the bread in particular.

            1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.   27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.   28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.  Note that it is described as “bread” both before and after consumption.

 

 

 

 

 

# 024 #

Venial / Mortal Sins:

An Invalid Distinction

 

 

            The Roman Catholic Church divides sin into two categories according to its seriousness:  Venial are lesser transgressions and do not endanger the soul’s salvation; mortal sins are more serious actions because they can send the soul to Hell.

 

            1.  The Bible does not provide any such breakdown of sin into categories:  the violation of any part of God’s law makes us guilty of violating the entire Divine Law Code as a system—it implicitly asserts the right to violate any and all parts we may wish.

            James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.

            (Weymouth) A man who has kept the Law as a whole, but has failed to keep some one command, has become guilty of violating all.

 

            2.  The Bible nowhere grants to any church the authority to break down God’s law into categories of significance and assign different degrees of spiritual penalties to the two groups.  It is pure arrogance on our part to expect God to honor any such churchly system.

 

            3.  Without inspiration, no person or institution could possibly categorize sin in this way and expect the list to be correct:  mankind’s way of thinking is just too different from that of God.

            Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.   9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  

 

            4.  The Roman Catholic Church has erred in its categoricalization of sins.  To give one example, it considers a lack of humanitarian concern for one’s co-religionists to be a venial sin.  In contrast, Jesus said it could send a person to Hell!

            Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:   42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:   43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.   44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?   45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.   46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

 

            5.  All sin that we are unwilling to repent of is a sin leading to spiritual death.  All sin that we repent of is not a sin leading to death.

            1 John 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.   16 If any man see his brother sin a sin [which is] not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.