WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT CULTS

WHAT ROMAN CATHOLICS BELIEVE AND TEACH

Mt. 23:1-12

Roman Catholics are placing their trust and hope in their church, believing there is no salvation outside of their church.

They have no assurance of salvation and can only hope that after death they will eventually be released from PURGATORY and get to heaven.

We cannot depend on a church or ordinances to give us assurance of salvation.  We must base our faith on the Word of God.  Heb. 9:28; I Jn. 5:10-13.

The assurance of salvation is one of the great blessings of being saved.

BACKGROUND

While it is true that Catholics hold to some Biblical doctrines, they also hold to doctrines, which have no Scriptural foundation.

They do not hold to the gospel of grace, but preach “another gospel”(Gal. 1:6-12).

In A.D. 313 the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire.  He gave church leaders, especially those in the church at Rome, great religious and political power.

In 440 Leo I declared himself to be the first Pope.  He claimed to be Peter’s heir to the “keys of the kingdom” given to Peter by Christ Himself.  Leo’s claim was not accepted by all: but by 590 Gregory I succeeded in establishing the papal role with himself as Pope.

In 1054 there was a split in this body, which resulted in the Western (Roman Catholic) and the Eastern (Orthodox) Churches.

The Roman Catholic Church continued to grow in power.  The Pope came to be recognized as the ruler of rulers, and exercised, not only religious power, but also political power in every country the church entered.

This trend continued until the time of the Reformation in 1520.

I. WHAT ROMAN CATHOLICS TEACH ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD

A. They claim to believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures.

1. They have their own version of the Bible, which is much different than the authorized King James Version.

2. They also teach that the traditions of the church are of equal or greater authority than the Bible.

3. Faithful Catholics must accept both tradition and the Scriptures.

B. They teach that the Catholic Church is the divinely appointed Custodian and Interpreter of the Bible.

1. The People can now read the Scriptures, but are not permitted the right to think for themselves.

2. Only Roman Catholic authorities can interpret the Bible.

3. Before the ecumenical movement, they were taught that it was dangerous for a lay person to read the Bible.

C. Roman Catholics teach that the ultimate authority is in the Pope.

1. They believe in Papal infallibility.

2. They can be excommunicated (lose their salvation) for questioning the teaching of either the Church or the Pope.

3. Christ condemned the Pharisees for seeking power and high places (Mt. 23:5-12).

4. The Roman Catholic Church claims to believe that the Scriptures are inspired, but by their additions, they say it is not sufficient in itself.

D. What the Bible teaches about the Word of God.

1. Every Christian is responsible to God to study the Bible.

a. Parents are not only to know the Word of God themselves, but they are to teach it to their children (Deut. 6:5-7).

b. Kings or those in authority are to know the Word of God (Deut. 17:19).

c. We are to search the Scriptures in order that we might know that we have truly believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 5:39).

d. The Sadducees were mistaken about the resurrection, because they did not know the Scriptures (Mt. 22:29).

e. The believer is commanded to “study” the Scriptures (II Tim. 2:15).

f. The Christian becomes mature in his faith by knowing and applying the Word of God in his life (II Tim. 3:16-17).

2. The early Christians searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they heard preached and taught was true (Acts 17:10-11).

3. The Holy Spirit was sent to teach the child of God (Jn. 16:13-15; I Jn. 2:27).

II. WHAT ROMAN CATHOLICS TEACH ABOUT THE CHURCH

A. They teach that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true Church.

1. They believe that Jesus Christ promised to build His Church on Peter.

- They base their belief on what the Lord said in Matthew 16:13-19).

2. Roman Catholics believe that Peter was the first Pope of the Church at Rome, and that “the keys of the kingdom” were given to him and his successors.

B. Notice what the Bible teaches about the Church.

1. Christ promises to build His church, not upon Peter, but upon Himself (Mt. 16:18, 16).

2. The New Testament gives no evidence that Peter was ever in Rome.

3. Peter referred to Christ, not himself, as the foundation of the Church.

I Pet. 2:4-8; Eph. 2:20; I Cor. 3:11.

4. The Lord established the “local church,” and the door into the “local church” is baptism.  Acts 2:41, 47.