Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Are Roman Catholics Followers of Jesus?

Jesus' sacrifice is a once-time sacrifice. They treat the Eucharist as an actual presence of Jesus' body and blood every time they partake of it.

Jesus is, according to the Bible, the only Mediator we need with God the Father. They teach that we need The Virgin Mary as "co-redemptrix."

We are free to pray to God in our own words as long as we do so in faith. They teach that we must use a Rosary and other special prayers.

Scripture recognizes Baptism and the Eucharist as the only Sacraments we need. They teach these, adding things like The Holy Water, the burning of incense and others rituals.

Jesus makes clear that we have only one Father, God. They teach that the Pope and lesser Priests and others are to be called "Holy Father."

We who follow Jesus are all called saints. They hold a canonization system for special people to get this title.

Marriage is considered sacred among even Pastors in the Bible. They forbid their priests and nuns marriage.

What I like About Roman Catholics

This describes the worldwide religious body called the Roman Catholic Church. On my first blog, I am reviewing a book by an artist, from the Jesus Movement, who had converted to the Roman Catholic religion. In the past, I have read some other books by Catholic writers. I have always admired Mother Teresa. As a "pro-life" person, I commend the strong stance this religious body has on abortion, though I believe that they go too far in prohibiting birth control even in marriage. Yes, I know that without the awesome obedience of Jesus' earthly mother, Mary, the salvation plan would never have happened (or God would have had to turn to someone else as the means to bring His Son into the world to become God made man). Mary had a major role in her human Son's life and was there throughout His life, even standing at the foot of the cross as He was dying. Yes, we are to value and observe the two Sacraments that the Bible has called us to observe. Yes, we are terribly sinful and need a Mediator to give us access to a holy God, Who cannot tolerate even the smallest speck of our sin. But does God need all that this religious body has added to His teachings?

What I Don't Like About the Roman Catholic Teachings

When I was growing up, I was led to believe that the Roman Catholic religion was just a variant of Christianity, though it added to the simple message of the Christian faith. Even early into my adulthood, I did not really question it though I would never want to join any Roman Catholic fellowship. I would see Catholic versions of Bibles at bookstores or book fairs and wonder why they had to add "their books" to the inspired Word of God. I know of at least one person who had ultimately left the denomination of my childhood, to become part of the Roman Catholic religious body; however, I know of quite a few people who testify that while they grew up in the Catholic religion, they left it. The religion of my childhood, itself, like Roman Catholicism itself, adds to Scripture and to the simple Gospel of Jesus by teaching and practicing infant baptism, which has no Biblical grounds. But when I read books by Catholic authors, it was clear that their teachings added to the Gospel of Christ, complicating its simplicity of simply trusting Christ's one-time atoning death for us, to save us. We can do nothing--zip, zero, none--to earn our salvation or to add a thing to what Jesus did for us at Calvary. Nothing! Even the repentance and faith that are required of us are gifts that we cannot do unaided. This, as I see it, is the heart of the problem with the Roman Catholic religion. I do not have anything against any Roman Catholic individuals. I am certain that many Catholics trust in Jesus alone for their salvation, and stay in that religion for their own reasons. Maybe they want to be a force for good among other Catholics, and to witness to them. Maybe they are married to spouses that will not leave. Maybe they fear to leave because of family intimidation. In many visits to bookstores and libraries, I have seen numerous Catholic books. In more recent years, I have seen many apologetics teachers and nonprofits that called the Roman Catholic religion a cult and even interpret the "Harlot Church" of Revelation to be the Roman Catholic Church. I have read those verses and the end of this "Harlot Church" is not a pretty one. And her "Daughters" in Revelation are either considered to our Protestant denominations who have been influenced by this godless culture, or are interpreted to be false teachers like Joyce Meyer, Rob Bell, Benny Hinn, or Joel Osteen. Considering how our culture is moving away from any moral compass and how the modern Church has gotten away from Biblical Christianity, these interpretations of the Bible make sense.

On Popes and Priests and Jesus

I remember when the Pose, years ago, came to the United States. I remember all the hype surrounding his arrival. He had extensive security, including what was called a Popemobile. I knew, even then, that being a public figure, he was especially vulnerable. I could not help but contrast this arrival to that of Jesus, the Son of God made man, over 2000 years ago when He was riding into Jerusalem to die on a cross for the sins of the world. Jesus, like the Pope, was at this time a public figure. His gracious ministry, full of teaching, preaching and healings, was very well-known. Threats were constantly being made against His life, because of His boldness in standing up to the religious leaders of His day. But guess what? Though He was every bit physically at-risk as the Pope was, He did not use extensive security to protect Himself when He arrived in Jerusalem. He rode in on a donkey, and had only palm branches surrounding Him, as well as worshiping people, children included. Aside from this, in light of all the sexual abuse scandals surrounding priests, I find it amazing that the Roman Catholic religious body has been able to get new followers. Now I'm fully aware of the many Protestant religious leaders and Pastors have their share of scandals, often sexual immorality or white collar crime scandals. So no denomination has a corner on this "equal opportunity destroyer" called scandals among Pastors or other religious leaders, public or private. However, because priests are forbidden to marry and have no outlet for their sexual desires, I think that this helps explain (but not excuse!) why sexual abuse has been reported as so prevalent among Catholic priests. The authority structure of the Roman Catholic religious body is not Scriptural. There is nothing in the Bible that says that God needs a Pope as the Head of Rome, to oversee its millions of followers. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us that priests or any other religious leader, cannot marry. There is absolutely nothing anywhere in the Bible that indicates that God needs Mary as a third party and go-between, to have us access Him. This unique role is reserve solely for His Son, Jesus, Who died a once-for-all death so that only He is needed! Roman Catholic leaders and those who believe in all these Catholic teachings, are adding many things to the Word of God and putting themselves and others in the position of experiencing God's judgment unless they repent and believe the simple Gospel of Christ, that we are saved by the once-for-all death of Jesus Christ through faith.

If You are A Roman Catholic or Know A Roman Catholic

If you are Roman Catholic or know Roman Catholics, I have nothing against you. It is your religion that I have problems with. If you read the Bible, you will see that God has problems with a complicated religion that adds to the simple Gospel of Christ. You will not be held accountable for being raised in this religion, just as you would not be held accountable for growing up up in any other religion. But I believe that God holds you accountable to read His Word and to see if all you have been taught is so, or if you have been taught wrong things. I am including a link to a webpage that includes more about the origins and history of the Roman Catholic religion. You can find it here.

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