Tonight, I want to bring something to the table that has confused many people over the years. It is a topic that has differing views. It is a topic that many people feel they know the basics of but fall short when asked for an explanation. The subject is whether Roman Catholicism should be considered a valid option. The subject is whether Romans Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ or if they are the mission field. I want to let it be known that nothing said tonight is meant to belittle anybody else as a person. It is simply meant to inform so that you will never again be without an appropriate response when presented the question this lesson is named after.
Ask congregation what their answer is to the question in the title.
Beginning in 1985, there was a movement. This movement was called Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). In 1994, there were many people of both Protestant and Catholic belief who signed an official document. The purpose of the ECT is to work together for the common good. Although they may have their differences, they believed they were following the same Christ. Instead of fighting each other, they desired to work for the common good and share Christ to others. On the surface, this seems like a great idea. If we all worship the same Christ, why not work together? It was a joint effort to stop treating each other like the mission field. However, this simply is not possible regardless what piece of paper is signed so long as each party holds their beliefs unwavering. There are simply too many irreconcilable differences.
To realize why it is impossible, a Protestant must only look at their own name. The key word is protest.
Ask congregation if they know what they are protesting.
The protest that was cause for the birth of Protestantism was the protest of the Catholic Church. There are some very clear things being protested among us Protestants. In fact, the Catholic Church had some very strong things to protest as well toward us. In the 1500’s, over the course of 18 years, a council took place to put together an official statement. This assembly was known as the Council of Trent. Protestantism was gaining popularity in the way it held dear to Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) and did not place Church Tradition on the same divine level. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, puts them on an equal level.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 82
. . .the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.
The Council of Trent had a purpose to put a stop to the Sola Scriptura Reformers. They declared 125 anathemas in this attempt. Dictionary.com defines anathema as, “a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.” In other words, the Catholic Church gave 125 different ways a Protestant can be eternally cut off and cursed by God. We are going to review a few of those ways tonight and then learn the truth.
Canon 9, Justification
If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to cooperate 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.
In other words, if you believe you are justified by faith alone and that there is no work we can possibly do to justify ourselves, you are eternally cursed and cut off from God.
because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
The Law does not justify us. If anything, it does the exact opposite. It shows how there is nothing we can do to justify ourselves. It shows our total depravity and dependence on God. It gives us knowledge of sin. It shines light on sin so that we can see it for what it really is and how impossible it is to be justified apart from God or by anything else other than God.
Canon 23, Justification
If any one saith, that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or, on the other hand, that he is able, during his whole life, to avoid all sins, even those that are venial,- except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard of the Blessed Virgin; let him be anathema.
Canon 23 says it is possible, indeed likely, to lose your salvation. If you say it is impossible to lose your salvation and that one who falls away from the faith was never truly saved to begin with, be eternally cursed by God.
1 John 2:19
They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.
He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
Salvation is not something which is here today and gone tomorrow. It is eternal. What good is eternity if it is only temporary and always changing? The answer is that it isn’t. Thankfully, Scripture promises something quite different. It tells us that a man who has obtained salvation through faith will remain secure in his salvation. If he departs from his faith, it was to show that he never had faith to begin with for nobody can snatch us out of the Father’s hand and Christ will not lose a single one of his sheep.
Canon 24, Justification
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.
The Council of Trent declares that good works are not merely the fruit of a Christian but are actually a method of obtaining justification. If you believe the former and not the latter, you are eternally cursed by God.
You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
If good works are more than just fruit and do indeed justify, why is it that Paul so clearly states otherwise? Paul tells us we are to not be subject to a yoke of slavery. By putting our faith and hope of justification in works, we are binding ourselves to them. We are hoping we will perform well enough so that we might one day be considered justified. Paul rebukes the Galatians for this. He calls them foolish to think something that was started by the Spirit could be made perfect by our own doing in the flesh. Justification is by Christ alone. Those whom He calls, He justifies. Our own works have nothing to do with it.
Canon 30, Justification
If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema.
In other words, if you believe the blood of Christ fully cleanses and does not leave some form of spot or blemish in which we must purify ourselves of in the fires of purgatory, you are anathema.
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
and in Him you have been made complete,
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins;
We are forgiven of all of our transgressions. Christ canceled out all of our debt. He rescued us from the domain of darkness; from Hell. While we are not to sin, even if we do, we have an Advocate in Christ. That is in the current tense. We currently have an Advocate making intercession for us at all times. Every little thing that might be held against us is nailed to the cross. As a result, we are fully justified and are left spotless before the eyes of God.
Canon 3, The Sacrifice of the Mass
If any one saith, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and of thanksgiving; or, that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or, that it profits him only who receives; and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities; let him be anathema.
To understand, the Catholic Mass would be similar to our communion. Another name for it is the Eucharist. In other words, if you do not believe that communion is a sacrifice of Jesus, you are condemned. If you do not believe that communion is profitable for the dead as well as the living, you are damned. If you do not believe that communion is a means of propitiation, you are cursed. If you believe communion to be merely symbolic and not the imparting of grace, you are eternally cut off from the Father. Here are some quotes from official Catholic teaching:
New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, Vol 2 Question 357
The mass is the sacrifice of the new law in which Christ, through the Ministry of the priest, offers himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine. The mass is the sacrifice of Christ offered in a sacramental manner...the reality is the same but the appearances differ.
Their catechism clearly teaches that the mass is a sacrifice of Christ. Now the question remains as to what they mean by sacrifice. Thankfully, they answer this question:
New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, Vol 2 Question 358
A sacrifice is the offering of a victim by a priest to God alone, and the destruction of it in some way to knowledge that he is the creator of all things.
Based on those 2 statements alone, we can clearly see the mass is the sacrifice of Christ, their victim, which a priest offers up to God countless times over and over again to purposefully destroy him on the altar. Unfortunately, there is more.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1369
The sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests' hands,
How is it that they can possibly be proud to claim something so vile and disgusting? The Roman Catholic Church attempts to use Scripture to back itself up but it fails miserably. They use verses such as Matthew 26 and Luke 22.
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." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
Instead of taking this as a command to perform communion on remembrance of the death of Christ, the Romans Catholic Church teaches that Christ was passing on a sacrament to the apostles and their succeeding priests and was giving them the power to transform the bread and wine into the literal flesh and blood of Christ. As we read, they do not teach that it is bread and wine but rather, literal flesh and blood that only appears to be bread and wine although the bread and wine is no more.
This is where the priest comes into play with his sacrifice. He goes to the altar where the bread and wine await him. He lifts it up to the sky in the action of raising it to God. He then brings it down and offers it to the people. According to their teaching, it is not bread and wine that he offers up but is literally Christ being sacrificed by the priest under the appearance of bread and wine.
The Catholic Church does not deny that Christ alone is our propitiation. However, with their teaching of the Mass, it allows them to claim propitiation in the act of the priest for it is Christ being sacrificed.
For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,
According to Scripture, Christ died once for all. There was no need for countless reoccurrence as was the habit of the priests. We are told the repetitious sacrifices are in vain as they can never take away sins. We are also told that Christ died once for all so who is it that the Catholic priests are sacrificing? It is bad enough that they claim to sacrifice Christ countless times over but it is even worse that they are lifting up someone other than Christ since we know Christ was only sacrificed once and that was by God. Once was sufficient. Once for all. Who are they lifting up in their worship because it is not our Lord. The whole concept of the Mass is an extremely anti-biblical, pagan, and dare I say, Satanic practice.
The Catholic Church will deny their claim that they re-sacrifice Christ over and over. They do this because the claim of repetitious sacrificing completely goes against the Scripture that says he was sacrificed once for all. They instead say that they are simply re-presenting the sacrifice of Christ. Despite these claims, this is not what they teach.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1068
For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that "the work of our redemption is accomplished”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1367
The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice
By their own admission, they go against Scripture. However, they will never claim error because they believe they are preserved from such. They can never be wrong in their doctrine or dogmas. They clearly teach a sacrifice of Christ and will never recant these teachings for to do so would crumble the whole system. If one thing is admitted to be wrong, how many countless other things are wrong as well? Again, if Christ is not being sacrificed over and over again (as per the Scriptures), who is it that they are lifting up week after week all over the world?
Canon 33, Justification
If any one saith, that, by the Catholic doctrine touching Justification, by this holy Synod inset forth in this present decree, the glory of God, or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ are in any way derogated from, and not rather that the truth of our faith, and the glory in fine of God and of Jesus Christ are rendered (more) illustrious; let him be anathema.
In other words, if you disagree with even one jot or tittle of the declarations and teachings of the Catholic priesthood, you are eternally cut off from the glory of Heaven, eternally cursed by God, and are destined for Hell. I must be in big trouble then because I denounce every single one of those and I have the Truth of Scripture to bring me confidence in these matters.
One may ask if the Catholic Church still holds to these teachings. Wouldn’t it be highly possible that they would have renounced these absurd teachings so many years after the Reformation? It is clear the whole purpose of them was to scare people from leaving the Roman Catholic Church during a time when so many were converting to Protestantism. Despite this, the Roman Catholic Church still clings to each and every one of the teachings of the Council of Trent. In fact, it was only about 50 years ago that Pope John XXIII affirmed them. To say otherwise is to go against the very core of Catholic teaching.
1 Timothy 3:15
but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.
I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
They teach that they are Christ’s one true church and that they are preserved from error. They claim the truth abides with them and that they will never teach doctrinal error because the gates of Hell will not overpower Christ’s Church. Because of this, nothing they declare as doctrine, dogma, anathema, or especially ex cathedra will ever be wrong. As a result, instead of preserving the truth, the have done nothing more than preserve error upon error under a system of works.
I only taught on a few of the decrees from the Council of Trent. According to the Roman Catholic teachings, a few other things that will get you booted to Hell include:
1) Rejecting the Apocrypha as being the inspired Word of God
2) Saying baptism is not a requirement for salvation
3) Claim infant baptism is wrong
4) Believe confirmation is just a ceremony and not a sacrament that imputes grace
5) Deny penance
6) Deny the priesthood
7) Deny the doctrine of purgatory
Where exactly does the grace of God ever come into play in all of these preposterous claims?
Pope Benedict XVI
The Mass is the sum and substance of our faith.
If the Mass is the substance of faith, the Catholic Church does not have saving faith. The Mass lifts up someone they call Christ but is not actually Jesus. It worships a counterfeit and makes sacrifice after sacrifice of this counterfeit Christ. Again, how can this be the substance of faith? It follows after a system of legalistic works that teach you can earn your salvation as if by merit so long as you follow their rituals and make payment on time. It teaches that there is some other way of justification and some other source of propitiation and then places it at the feet of the priest who lifts it up to a false god. No, the Catholic Church cannot be considered a valid alternative. It can not even be defined as a Christian denomination any more than Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses can be. Their counterfeit Jesus is not an all sufficient Savior but merely a person who helps them to save themselves.
Just keep in mind that not all people in the Catholic Church fully affirm its teachings. Some people know the truth for what it is but do not see the harm in staying in the Catholic church they grew up in. Being in a local Catholic Church is not the same as being a follower of the Catholic teaching. If you know anybody in this predicament, I urge you to speak with them of the importance of leaving. While it may seem harmless, I hope the examples brought to you tonight can show how it is far from it. It is very dangerous and we need to understand why. It is the mission field through and through.