The Roman Catholic Church teaches its followers that the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ in approximately 30 A.D. was when it was founded. However, the New Testament reveals that the Catholic Church does not have its beginning in the teachings of Jesus Christ or the Apostles. There is no mention of the Pope, the worship of Mary or many other of the fallacies taught by the Catholic Church – which we shall touch on later in this article. Many of the claims of the Catholic Church are not supported by any mention in the Scriptures.
Supporters of the Catholic Church rely heavily on non-Biblical historical records. These historical records, written by humans, do not supersede the Holy Scriptures, which are the greatest authority and the unerring word of God. Personal opinion and beliefs of individuals, no matter who they are, do not have precedence over the inspired word of Almighty God! In the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly said, “follow Me” (see appendix), He did not say to become a Catholic, a protestant or anything else. The New Testament Church were those who followed the teaching of Jesus Christ. None of the 12 chosen Apostles nor Jesus Christ ever used the word Catholic in the Bible.
Some Catholics are Christians but as with any Christian church there are those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior – and those persons who have not accepted the Lord Jesus will not even see the kingdom of God. (John 3: 1-7) Only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior are born again and you must be born again to be saved. (v. 7)
There is evidence however that in the early Christian Church, every Christian was considered Catholic. The terms Christian and Catholic were used synonymously. The actual Catholic Church was not formed until some-time later. There is much debate as to the actual date the church was founded but best information places the founding between 200 A.D. and 325 A.D. Catholics believe and teach that their church began with the Apostle Peter around 30 A.D. There is no Biblical validation of these claims. Peter never even mentioned the word Catholic.
Jesus Christ said He would build His church on this rock, referring to Peter as that rock. (Matt 16) No one disputes that, it is in the Bible. However, Peter spoke to a multitude of people during the years of his teaching. Not all of these people became members of what is now referred to as the Catholic Church. The church that Jesus referred to – was – anyone who accepted Him as Lord and followed His teachings. When Jesus spoke there were no Catholics, no Protestants and no other Christian denominations. There was one church and that church was the people who accepted and followed Jesus.
All of this denominational nonsense is what keeps people from learning the truth and it keeps people from the Salvation offered by Jesus. The in-fighting of the different Christian Churches is what keeps us separated from God and opens the door for Satan to enter and lead people astray. The teachings of the Catholic Church is as fractured as the teachings of many other denominations. There is one true church, says the Bible, and that church is made up of those who follow Jesus -it is not the buildings – it is the people. Christians need to unify. Ephesians 4: 3-6 says, “3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Doctrine that is conceived of and written by men is totally irrelevant. The only relevant doctrine that matters is the doctrine put forth by Jesus Christ. Jesus related to His Apostles the things that were relevant and to be taught to future generations. Those doctrines are found in the Holy Scriptures for anyone to read. The Holy Spirit is the great teacher and the only guidance we need in order to understand God’s Word and how we as followers of Christ are supposed to live and find salvation. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, was given to all 11 disciples, not to Peter only. There is only one Lord, One Church and One Truth.
In the early Christian Church every believer was called Catholic. It was later that the Catholic Church was founded and began to differentiate from other Christians. The catholic church slowly adopted rituals and ideas that are not supported Biblically. The Bible makes no mention of worship or adoration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, or of any other of the accolades attributed to Mary. The is no mention in the Bible of apostolic succession, confessing sins to a priest, indulgences or that the church was equal in authority of church tradition and Scripture.
Where did all the different teachings of the Catholic Church come from? It was the Roman Emperor, Constantine, who established himself as the head of the church and allowed the acceptance of Christianity, around 313 A.D. – and a few years later tried to unify Christianity. However, Constantine never fully embraced the Christian faith and continued to follow many of his pagan beliefs. The result was a form of pagan Christianity. Worship from the heart was replaced by rituals and the grandeur of paganism. The first actual Pope in Rome was most likely Leo I from 440-461 A.D. but some claim the first Pope was Gregory I from 590 – 604 A.D.
Constantine not only allowed but encouraged the mingling of Christian and pagan beliefs. Many unbiblical pagan beliefs were merged into Catholic teachings. A few of the pagan beliefs integrated into the Catholic Church were:
- The Cult of Isis, this Egyptian mother- goddess was brought into Christianity by replacing Isis with Mary. Isis was referred to as the “Queen of Heaven” and the “Mother of God” – these titles were attached to Mary also. Mary’s exaltation in the Christian faith far exceeds what the Bible attributes to her.
- Mithraism, a pagan religion heavily embraced by Romans in the first 5 centuries A.D., had 7 “sacraments” which brings to mind the similarities of the sacraments in Roman Catholic Church. The pagan sacrificial meal of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a bull in Mithraism was changed by the church to the Christian Communion – but not as the worshipful remembrance of Christ’s death and shed blood that the Bible teaches. The Romanization of the Lord’s Supper became a sacrificial consumption of Jesus Christ known as the Catholic Mass or Eucharist.
- Henotheism is the worship of one god while acknowledging the existence of other gods. Most Romans believed this. When the Catholic Church merged with Roman paganism, the saints replaced the pantheon of gods. The belief of the god of war, love, wisdom, peace, etcetera was replaced by patron saints for the different cities as an example.
- The preeminence of the bishop, papal government, was created with the assistance of the Roman Emperors. When the Western portion of the Roman Empire disintegrated in 476 A.D. the pope took the title of Pontifex Maximus.
The Roman Catholic Church denies the pagan origin of many of its practices and beliefs but the similarities to the above mentioned examples and the lack of any Scriptural support for Catholic rituals leads any reasonably intelligent person to believe there has been a tragic concession made by the early Catholic Church leaders to the teachings of the Holy Bible. The Catholic Church has been tragically compromised by the inclusion of pagan religious rites and practices into their doctrine. 2 Timothy 4: 3,4 says, ” 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”
The word catholic simply means universal. There should be no disagreement by non catholic Christians by this statement. When a word is taken and incorporated by someone else it should not change anything. The fact that the Catholic Church has adopted the word “catholic” into their name does not make the Catholic Church the one true church spoke of by Jesus when He said – “follow me”. Other churches are doing the same thing. For example, The Church of Christ, (Iglesia Ni Cristo), claims they are the one true church because they use the name “Christ”. The LDS church says they are the correct church because they use the word “saint” in their name. A word does not give authenticity to the name. Jesus described His church and it was men that corrupted and splintered the one true church presented by our Lord.
Here are some interesting issues. Matthew 23: 9 says, “9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” Roman Catholics call priests, father. The Catholic Church claims that Peter was the first Pope, and of course we know the Catholic Church does not allow marriage in the priesthood, but Peter, whom they claim was their first Pope was married. Matthew 8: 14 says, “14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever” and 1 Cor 9: 5 says, “5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas[a]?
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Matthew 4:19 says, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Matthew 8:22 says, “But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Matthew 9:9 says, “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Matthew 10:38 says, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Matthew 19:21 says, “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 1:17 says, ““Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Mark 8:34 says, “[ The Way of the Cross ] Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Luke 9:23 says, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Luke 14:27 says, “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 18:22 says, “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
John 1:43 says, “The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
John 8:12 says, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 10:27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
John 12:26 says, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
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