WHY I AM NOT A CATHOLIC
PART 2 of 3
A HOUSE BUILT ON SAND
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B. VICAR OF THE SON OF GOD
C. TRADITION EQUALS SCRIPTURE
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The entire power and authority of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is built on two claims, both based on Matt. 16:18-19. They are the result of trying to force a conclusion that was never Jesus’ intent. However, it has served their purpose for over a thousand years.
Matt 16:18-19 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
- “Peter is the foundation of the Lord’s church.”
No, it was Peter’s demonstration of faith in Christ as the Son of God that is the cornerstone of Christianity. Faith is the first step towards salvation. To claim Peter himself as the foundation rock of the Lord’s church is giving him power and authority he never claimed and never had. (See Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:6-7) Peter is not the foundation of the Lord’s church, Jesus Christ is.
- “ “Christ gave Peter the power to ‘bind’ and ‘loose,’ with his decisions validated in heaven.” ”
No, the authority to make and cancel rules (bind and loose) was not given to Peter. The apostles were to teach the world to do on earth as it has already been established in heaven. They were to teach the earth heavenly ways, not teach heaven earthly ways.
(Our source for Catholic beliefs is:
THEIR FIRST MAJOR ERROR
B. VICAR OF THE SON OF GOD
The cornerstone of the Roman Church is their assertion that Peter was given the leadership position as chief apostle. Further, each pope claims his authority is derived by direct succession, starting with Peter.
They cite Matthew 16:18 (above) as their proof. However, in our examination of the claim (that the papacy is built on Peter) we find it is misinterpreted. They claim the rock on which the church was built was Peter because “Peter” is derived from the Greek word “petros,” or “rock.” But “rock” has two meanings, one for a small stone (which is attributed to Peter) and one for a foundation stone, “petra,” (which we attribute to faith in Christ).
In addition, their claim of succession back to Peter is made without any authority at all. Nowhere does it state that Peter has leadership authority. And if he did, nowhere does it state that would be passed down to others.
It took them several hundred years to find a verse like Mt 16:18 on which to hang their claim that Peter was the foundation rock of their church. But a careful academic analysis shows they have misinterpreted this verse. Jesus is saying (paraphrased), “You are a small stone (petros; Strong’s 4074; small rock) and I will build my church on the massive rock (petra; Strong’s 4073) of your faith in me as the Son of God.”
Peter had announced his Faith in Christ as the Son of God. That is the first step leading one into the kingdom of Christ. Without first believing that Christ is the Son of God, nothing else matters.
Faith in Christ is necessary, not faith in Peter. Jesus Christ is the foundation, the cornerstone of his church, his kingdom and of Christianity itself.
Acts 4:11-12 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
The Holy Spirit tells us specifically that salvation is found in Christ, not in any man. That would include Peter. Thus, according to Scripture, Peter cannot be the cornerstone of the Lord’s church.
It is clear Peter is not the foundation. There is no one under heaven by which we can be saved except the cornerstone of the church, Jesus Christ. Not Peter, not Paul, not Abraham or Moses or any other person, living or dead.
(Also see Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:6-7)
As we noted previously, the institution of the papacy did not begin with Peter but developed over the years. Peter was never a pope. He was an apostle and elder who never assumed authority over people but was dedicated to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In 379 AD, the concept of the apostolic see was introduced. The Bishop of Thessalonica was possibly the first pope, according to many within the Roman Church. Others point to Gregory I as the first Bishop of Rome in 590 AD. Pope Leo I was the first to claim authority over all of Christendom. Eventually the title of “pope” was applied to all the Bishops of Rome, both past and future. They did include Peter although he was never an official “Bishop” of Rome. He was an elder so technically he was a Bishop in Rome.CHRISTIAN HAVE NO NEED FOR A POPE
We reject the application of the title, “Vicar of Christ” on anyone. To say the leadership of the church would be on one man who could establish policy is misinterpreting what Jesus said. In two thousand years they haven’t found a verse, ambiguous or otherwise, to support this assertion.
CHANGE OF COMMAND PROCEDURE
If Jesus Christ had wanted to establish a supreme leader with full authority to make new laws He would have informed his followers in a manner that would leave no doubt as to his intentions. Instead, the Roman Church relies on an ambiguous statement with a meaning that can be easily misconstrued. (Ex: The Eastern Orthodox Church failed to consider the Bishop of Rome as the leader of the Lord’s church because it is not as obvious as the Catholic Church would have us believe.)
The Catholic myth that Peter is holding the keys to the Pearly Gates, reading the Book of Life and allowing or disallowing people into heaven, is as false as many of their other pronouncements.
Remember, the keys to the kingdom were used on earth when Peter opened the door to the kingdom of Christ in Acts 2. The Good News, that salvation is available to all is now proclaimed throughout the land.
1. WE ALREADY HAVE A MEDIATOR
1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Notice: It doesn’t say the mediator is between God and the man left in charge. It says “men” meaning all men can go to God through Jesus Christ. Unlike the old way where the High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies once a year, in the kingdom of Christ, all men are priests and can pray to God through our High Priest (after the order of Melchisedec).
There is only one mediator, Jesus Christ. Nothing is ever mentioned regarding an intermediary, such as a Vicar of Christ or a kindly local priest who hears our confession of sin. John 16:26-27 records Christ telling his followers that if we ask in his name he (Christ) will pray to the Father for us. Nothing is written about a third party getting involved. If someone interjects himself into this process, he is adding to what the Bible says, which brings condemnation down on him, and anyone else who does the same thing. And us if we believe him.
When we repent of a sin, we pray for forgiveness to God in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The prayer goes through our mediator, Jesus, to God. No one else is involved! No kindly “Father O’Malley” type neighborhood Priest; no bishop and certainly no pope.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Catholics will tell us, that confessing our sins means confessing our sins to a priest. But Christ did not mention a priest. To say we must confess our sins to a priest would be adding to the Word of God. We don’t need an imposter to stand between us and our Saviour! Christ died so our sins can be forgiven. Why pay homage to a Catholic priest when we can ask forgiveness through the man who actually suffered and died for us, JUST AS HE TAUGHT?
2. PETER REFUSED TO BE WORSHIPPED
A striking example of why Peter was not the Vicar of Christ is this:
Acts 10:25-26 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
Peter himself proclaimed he was just a man! And being a man he is not a Vicar of Christ! If Peter had been the first pope, as some claim, his office was less “pontifical” than it is today. Would today’s pope prohibit anyone from bowing down to him? No, in fact he encourages it. And kissing the ring of a bishop or pope is a form of worship a true Christian should avoid. We consider bowing to a pope the same as bowing to Caesar.
If you feel the need to kiss a ring or bow to the pope then first reflect on the martyrs who died in Rome, refusing to bow down to anyone but Jesus Christ. They gave their lives in agony proclaiming Christ as king, not Caesar or anyone claiming to stand in for Christ.
All the Apostles Had the Same License
An effective debate technique is to state an opinion as fact. “As the blessed Peter was constituted Vicar of the Son of God on earth,” is a perfect example of avoiding controversy while winning the issue. Make a bold statement and hope no one examines it too closely. It is important to notice that any authority given to Peter was also given to all the other apostles in Mt 18:18. So apparently, Peter was not given exclusive power but simply was the first to receive it. All apostles were given the same authority, not to make new rules but to teach existing ones. And no one was appointed leader of the Lord’s church other than Jesus Christ.
3. CHRIST’S CHURCH IS A BETTER EXAMPLE
Mt 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Christ expects his church (the people who are called out from the world) to be a good example to the world. A society living in peace, putting aside lying, cheating, stealing, anger and pride would be a utopia here on earth. A peaceful, honorable person is worthy of admiration and imitating.
In contrast, the examples set by some of the popes have been horrendous; many were hardly the kind of people Christ would want representing His church. The history of the popes includes many heinous acts such as rape, homosexuality, murder, adultery, incest, drunkenness and selling religious offices, including the papacy itself.
These men ignored the Word of God, paid no attention to its warnings, overlooked its teaching and substituted human ideas to make a religion that was more attractive to the world.
(For a list of the top ten most evil Popes go to:
<class=”auto-style4″>(Note: The word, “world” is often used as a metonymy of its inhabitants, the majority of whom are sinners, people who are not yet Christian. They who enjoy “worldly lusts,” (drunkenness, fornication, cursing, lying, cheating, etc.) rather than that which is righteous.).
Could This Be Rome?
2 Thess 2:3-12 is arguably the most damning evidence against the Catholic Church.
Paraphrased, the Son of Perdition places himself above all that is God’s; he sits in the temple of God showing himself as God. This man of sin is Satan’s tool, tricking everyone with strange demonstrations and will do great miracles. (Would that be miracles such as “Our Lady of Fatima,” the visions of “Mary” in everything from tree bark to potato skins or the miracles that confirm the sainthood of Catholic saints?)
He completely fools those who have refused the truth because they accepted his fabrications. God will not interfere with their believing the lies of the man of sin and all of them will be judged for believing falsehoods, refusing the Truth and enjoying their sins.
Verse 4 is especially incriminating: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Could this be the Vicar of Christ sitting in St Peter’s Basilica? I am not in a position to say this points specifically to the Roman Church. However, the similarity is chilling! Remember, the Roman church does claim that the decisions of the pope are the decisions of God. By “showing himself as God?” the pope places himself firmly in the prophetic verses of Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians.
The folks at Light Ministries found this: “Therefore the decision of the Pope and the decision of God constitute one decision….Since, therefore, an appeal is always made from an inferior judge to a superior, just as no one is greater than himself, so no appeal holds when made from the Pope to God, because there is one consistory (Ed: a church council; the meeting of a council) of the Pope himself and of God Himself.” Augustinus Triumphus, in Summa de Potestate Ecclesiastica, 1483, questio 6. Latin.
Paul warned the congregation at Thessalonica that there will be one who calls himself God, showing himself that he is God. When the Catholic Church claims the decisions of the pope are the decisions of God we can only conclude, sitting in St Peter’s Basilica, the pope shows himself as God.
THEIR SECOND MAJOR ERROR
C. TRADITION EQUALS SCRIPTURE
THE FIRST VERSION
Adding to Scripture with new “Traditions” has been the custom of the Catholic Church for centuries. They felt that Peter had the authority to make additions, and these additions were passed down through the popes. Today there is an “updated” version of what the Catholic Church teaches about “Tradition.” We will examine both versions. The first version goes like this:
The Catholic magisterium claims Peter, being given the keys to the kingdom, (MT 16:19) is told that whatever he binds on earth will be agreed to in heaven. Catholic apologists say Peter was given special license to establish Church policies, i.e., whatever he, and those who follow his office, established on earth will be confirmed in heaven.
This is the opposite of what God tells us. The Word of God does not give Peter special license because two chapters later the other disciples are told the same thing, “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” (Mt 18:18). So apparently, Peter was not given exclusive powers but was simply the first to receive it. All apostles were given the same authority. The authority to do what?
Jewish Legal Phraseology
The expressions “bind” and “loose” were common to Jewish legal phraseology. The meaning is to declare something forbidden (bind) or to declare it allowed (loosed). Thus the apostles were not to introduce new procedures but to teach all Christians what they can and cannot do, i.e., what they should (loose) or should not (bind) do, “as it (already) is in heaven.” They were to teach earth heavenly ways, not the other way around. The rest of the Bible confirms they did their job well.
The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament states under the entries for “deo_ and luo_” (the Greek words for binding and loosing); “Jesus does not give to Peter and the other disciples any power to enchant or to free by magic. The customary meaning of the Rabbinic expressions is equally incontestable, namely, to declare forbidden or permitted, and thus to impose or remove an obligation, by a doctrinal decision.”
BIND – To Forbid
The apostles were simply to teach the world what was forbidden (lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, etc.). Thus we were to do on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10). The apostles fulfilled this when they wrote The New Testament and recorded sins that were forbidden to Christians.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 Cor 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Cor 5:9-11 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
This is not meant to be a complete list of things forbidden to Christians, but these are some examples of the things heaven does not want us to do. We look around and we see many in the “world” engage in forbidden activities. There are fornicators, homosexuals (either actual or advocates), vulgar people, liars, cheaters, thieves and in general, people that have no regard for other people or their property. The policy of His church is to bind (forbid) sin and bring decency to a lost and dying world.
LOOSE – To Allow
Likewise, many things are loosed (allowed). “Be a workman worthy of his hire” is a perfect example of something a Christian is encouraged to do.
1 Peter 3:8-11 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
What perfect advice, to have compassion for one another! Read today’s newspaper and see how many people are in trouble because that one principle was ignored. The paper would be slim indeed, if those who were involved in shootings, robberies, thefts and vandalism were to love (respect) their neighbor, and treat them like they themselves would want to be treated. But alas, that is not the case.
The authority to bind and loose was not license for Peter and his successors, to make new rules or “traditions.” However, that is how the Catholic magisterium misconstrued, in their favor, what was written and allowed them to invent changes as they went along. In reality, all apostles were given the same authority to go and spread the gospel to all the world, teaching what was allowed and disallowed in the kingdom of Christ. They did not have license to make up new rules as they went along.
However, according to:
“Matthew 18 also refers to the Church’s authority to bind and loose with regard to sin. Every priest has the authority of Christ to “loose” (absolve) penitents from their sins through the sacrament of confession (Jn 20:21-22, 2 Cor 5:18-20). The priest also has the obligation, in rare cases when he sees no evidence of contrition or an unwillingness on the part of the penitent to stop committing sin, to “bind” someone in their sins by refusing to grant him absolution until he evinces genuine contrition.”
The policy of our Lord’s church is to loose (allow), i.e., promote, decency, love and peace in a wicked world. The policy of the Roman Church was to absolve (loose) or “bind” sinners. Remember, one’s eternal salvation depends on whether one’s sins are forgiven or not. Since they misunderstood “bind and loose” salvation wasn’t found in the Roman Catholic Church. They did produce decrees, statues, rules and laws while threatening their members with a painful death if they fail to obey.
When they believed “bind and loose” gave them the authority to add or take away rules with heaven confirming their decisions, there was no stopping them. Forgive sins? Sure. Invent Purgatory? Why not? Shorten or terminate a soul’s time in Purgatory? Of course. Make salvation dependent on the pope? Absolutely! Introduce the “Perpetually Virgin Mary?” You bet! Light candles as part of prayer? Approved!
THE SECOND VERSION
As a youngster I was taught the Catholic Church was the only authorized church of God and they had the right to make rules via “bind and loose.” Today that has been discarded in favor of “Jesus told Peter and he passed that authority down to us.
Within the past few decades the RCC changed its story and decided another explanation was necessary to combat the public perception of error in their teaching.
While the Bible is adamant about not changing what was written by the apostles [See “Keep the Ordinances” elsewhere on this website] the Catholic Church now teaches that she has been given verbal instructions from Jesus Himself to bring in new policies and procedures. Catholics are told a series of changes had been told by Jesus Christ to Peter and passed down over the centuries as “Tradition” and accepted as the truth.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia their official position on Tradition is:
[The following several paragraphs describe the Catholic position on Tradition. I have marked some items for further discussion by underlining and numbering. Ed.]
Catholics hold that there must of necessity be certain revealed truths apart from those contained in the Bible, and (1) “that Jesus Christ has established in fact, and that to adapt the means to the end He should have established, a living organ as much to transmit Scripture and written Revelation as to place revealed truth within reach of everyone always and everywhere.”
Holy Scripture is therefore not the only theological source of the Revelation made by God to His Church. Side by side with Scripture, there is tradition; side by side with the written revelation, there is the oral revelation. “It is impossible to be satisfied with the Bible alone for the solution of all dogmatic questions.” (2) (Emphasis added)
Sacred Tradition comes from Christ. It is the full, living gift of Christ to the Apostles, faithfully handed down through each generation (3). It is through Tradition that the Holy Spirit makes the Risen Lord present among us, offering us the very same saving Word and Sacraments that he gave to the Apostles.” (4)
From Vatican II (Oct ’62 – Dec ‘65):
Dei Verbum speaks of “a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture”: “both of them… [flow] from the same divine wellspring.”
The word “tradition” actually means handing down something to another person. Scripture testifies to this meaning of Catholic Tradition as the normal mode of transmitting the Faith:
2 Thess. 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”
1 Cor. 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you….
1 Cor. 15:3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received….
Jude 1:3 …to fight in defense of the faith handed on once and for all
This is the most basic meaning of Catholic Tradition: it is the true Faith itself, given to the Apostles by Christ and faithfully transmitted to each new generation. (Catechism, 77-78) Catholic Tradition stands with Scripture in forming the one single deposit of the Faith. For Catholics, Sacred Tradition is not in opposition to Scripture: they compliment and confirm one another.
We often write Tradition, with a capital ‘T’, to mean Sacred Tradition. This Catholic Tradition is different from those traditions (small ‘t’) that are merely customs, and which are not part of Divine Revelation.
Actually, doctrines are defined formally only when there is a controversy that needs to be cleared up or when the magisterium (the Church in its office as teacher; cf. Mt 28:18-20; 1 Tim 3:15, 4:11) thinks the faithful can be helped by particular emphasis being drawn to some already-existing belief. The definition of the Immaculate Conception was prompted by the latter motive; it did not come about because there were widespread doubts about the doctrine. In fact, the Vatican was deluged with requests from people desiring the doctrine to be officially proclaimed. Pope Pius IX, who was highly devoted to the Blessed Virgin, hoped the definition would inspire others in their devotion to her.
Rebuttal to the Catholic position on Tradition:
From the Council of Ephesus in 431, which dogmatized this belief, to the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptorisr Mate, the Virgin Mary has come to be seen and venerated not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church. What was overlooked is the fact that the English word, “virgin,” as found in Isaiah 7:14 and the New Testament was originally from the Hebrew or Amharic words for “woman” or “young maiden.” It did not specifically mean sexually inexperienced. We have no doubt that applied to Mary but to build a whole doctrine on one word that is misunderstood would be mortifying if they ever considered they might be wrong.
We understand young women in those days, unlike today’s “enlightened and liberated” world, were not generally sexually active. But it is interesting to notice the entire complex worship of “perpetually virgin” Mary is based on a misinterpretation.
One area of contention is the “perpetually virgin” Mary. The veneration of Mary has grown far beyond what was the norm in the first century. This is demonstrated by Pope John Paul II in his 1987 encyclical Redemptoris Mater:
At the centre of this mystery, in the midst of this wonderment of faith, stands Mary. As the loving Mother of the Redeemer, she was the first to experience it: “To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator”
The created bore the Creator? That is attaching a far more complex concept to the birth of Christ than can be imagined by this mere mortal.Shrines to Mary have become some of the most visited locations in the world! The “Virgin of Guadalupe” in Mexico City brings 800,000 on her “day,” December 12th, every year; the “Our Lady of Aparecida” in Brazil receives 8 million visitors a year; the “Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima” receives over a million visitors on May 13 and October 13 each year. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes, France receives over 5 million pilgrims annually. All this expense and effort to pray at the feet of a statue.
Imagine how the coffers of Catholic Charities could be increased if one tenth of this money were donated to help the poor.
What a great idea (for the Vatican). “Inform the “faithful” that, even if they can’t make a pilgrimage to one of these sites they can make a donation on a Day of Obligation (January 1st Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Day or December 8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception Day) to the “Marion cache” and they will receive the same benefits as if they had made the journey themselves.” Let’s see how soon they will implement this great money making idea. It sounds like something they might do.
Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Col 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.
A cleaver ruse is their use of misdirection when quoting Scripture that mentions “tradition.” They claim it confirms they can introduce new traditions, when in fact the Apostles are referring to doctrines already handed down. The apostles mention tradition in the past tense. The phrases, “were taught,” “received from the Lord,” and “which were taught by us” indicate finality.
By claiming they are entitled to bring in new doctrine the magisterium has deceived their followers. The apostles were promoting doctrines already on hand, not looking forward to an influx of future policies. The traditions had already been handed down, the door is closed to new customs and innovations.
The claim that “Sacred Tradition” and “Sacred Scripture” are equal in authority is heresy! The very claim that “Tradition” adds to the teaching tells us it is wrong. There are many statements in the Bible where the apostles beseech the reader to not accept changes or additions. Everything anyone needs for salvation can be found in the Bible (2 Tim 3:15).
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church has introduced “Tradition,” a new policy that cleverly satisfies their need to add doctrines heretofore unknown to the Christian community. Instead of changing things long established, they claim the Holy Spirit passed down things that are only now being made public. Clever! Who can question something no one heard?
Just because the Catholic hierarchy calls something a “fact” does not make it so. They have found that if you tell a story often enough and with authority, people will accept it. Or, as Joseph Goebbels would say, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Parishioners dubious about the “facts” are told that if they question the Church they are questioning God. Consequently, devout followers accept anything and everything they are told by the magisterium. Further, the Catholic Church claims the decisions are made by the pope and his decisions are the same as God’s. (A classic example of the pope showing himself as God.)
Examples of new Traditions are the veneration of Mary, her perpetual virginity while married to Joseph and her bodily assumption into heaven. There is also transubstantiation, praying to saints, the confessional, along with penance and purgatory, to name some of the more prominent features that were unknown to the early church.
More importantly, modifying the apostles’ instructions for the sake of convenience and/or expedience, and then later claiming “tradition,” is patently dishonest!
In the above Catholic explanation of “Tradition,” we underlined and numbered certain statements for closer examination:
- Catholics hold that there must of necessity be certain revealed truths apart from those contained in the Bible;
- ”It is impossible to be satisfied with the Bible alone for the solution of all dogmatic questions.”.”
Quite a statement, that there is more than the Bible. Why must there be more beyond what is in the Bible? The Bible is complete and self-protecting. There are many statements from the beginning of the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:2) to the end (Revelations 22:18-19), cautioning the reader to not add or take away from the words in this Book. For now we are interested in:
2 Pet 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:
According to the primary doctrine of the Catholic Church, Peter was the first pope and has the authority to make changes. Yet here in his 2nd letter, Peter himself is telling us that God has (already) given us “all things” that pertain to life and godliness. To say he gave (past tense) us “all things” means just that. All we need has already been given to us in the inspired Word of God. From this we understand He did not set some things aside to be revealed later.
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Paul cautions us that what was already preached is sufficient; new things are to be avoided and the bearer of new gospels, doctrines, canon and/or policy is to be cursed.
3. “Sacred Tradition comes from Christ. It’s the full, living gift of Christ to the Apostles, faithfully handed down through each generation.”.
They claim information was passed down via oral revelation from the Holy Ghost. Since a new pope is usually elected well after the previous pope died it would be impossible to orally give the information from one pope to the next.
Further, we know this claim is false because it is written that the Holy Ghost gave instructions to the apostles for them to disseminate the gospel to all the world during their lifetime. Nothing was to be given piecemeal, nothing was to be given over time by others. The apostles confirmed this when they wrote that all doctrine was already delivered and the Bible was complete.
So we ask, how was the information passed down via oral revelation? We are told the Holy Ghost whispered the “Traditions” to Peter. To whom did he whisper them?
And if the total Traditions are, say 20, then all 20 would have to be whispered ‘down the line’ until the first one was enacted. Then 19 would be whispered, and so on. But knowing the propensity for humans to garble the message from person to person we would think an all-knowing God would find a more secure method of transmitting his doctrines.
We cannot help but wonder how the supposedly intelligent and well educated leaders of the Roman Catholic Church expect people to be so gullible as to believe such an outlandish story.
The people are trained that everything they are told by the church is from God and they are not to question God. Regardless of how little sense or logic is involved, questioning “Traditions” is not acceptable for a “good Catholic.”
4. Offering us the very same saving Word and Sacraments that he gave to the Apostles.”
Scripture (Acts 1:8) records how Jesus told the apostles the Holy Ghost will come and they will be his witnesses, to all the world.
The apostle Luke wrote, in Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The Catholic magisterium wants us to think there were two parts to the information given to the Apostles: public, as found in Scripture; and private, as handed down orally, not to be released until needed in the future. Using a well-worded explanation that talks all around the subject, they mention Tradition is the same that Jesus gave the apostles. That is wrong! Following his resurrection Jesus did not offer the apostles information but sent the Holy Ghost.
And we notice, “and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Since their travels did not take them to the most distant parts of the earth, England or China for example, we conclude they spread the gospel of Christ with letters. Epistles were sent to various congregations of the Church of Christ throughout the Middle East – from Rome to Jerusalem – placed together, and the compilations sent around the world.
The Guinness Book of World Records grants the Bible the title of “Best-Selling Book of Nonfiction.” Some of those 5 billion Bibles (since 1815) have found their way to the uttermost parts of the earth, thanks to Bible Societies and evangelists from various church groups.
Nothing was handed down to the apostles that was not available to everyone in the world. To imply Jesus told the apostles something in secret contradicts Acts 1:8, where Jesus informs the apostles they are to receive information from the Holy Ghost to be made known to the world. He didn’t mean piecemeal, either.
5. there is the oral revelation
6. The word “tradition” actually means handing down something to another person
The Catholic position is that information was passed down orally. Again, if it was passed down orally, it could not have been pope-to-pope. Then to whom would that information be given?
They introduce new “Traditions” from time to time, such as Mary’s Immaculate Conception, her bodily assumption into heaven, transubstantiation and praying to saints. These are items outside Scripture that are held closely to the Catholic consciousness. To “prove” their authenticity they developed “Tradition,” which to them is information that was available all this time because it was “handed down by Jesus to the apostles,” to the “Church,” and released to the public at the appropriate time.
In claiming authenticity for tradition, they declare the item being addressed is not new, but rather an “already-existing belief.” Again, this contradicts Acts 1:8 (the apostles were to witness to all the world, not just a few items now and the rest later).
If Tradition is being released piecemeal, we have to ask, “Have they all been identified? What else is being held back? Why don’t they reveal everything now instead of later?” “Holy Roman Tradition” reminds us of:
Matt 15:7-9 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
An excellent lesson can be found in Matthew 15:7-9 where Christ confronts the Pharisee, calling them hypocrites by honoring him with their lips. They worship in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. They lay aside the commandments of God and hold their own traditions. That was true of the Pharisees and it is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church has done.
Matt 15:13-14 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
The Tradition of the Immaculate Conception
The explanation of the release of the “Tradition” regarding the Immaculate Conception is curious. The Vatican was deluged with requests from people desiring the doctrine to be officially proclaimed. Lo and behold, Pope Pius IX suddenly announced the very thing for which the people had been clamoring. Apparently it had been passed down orally, and was available now that the people wanted it. How convenient! How suspect!
(Information for this subject was found at: www.catholic.com/tracts/immaculate-conception-and-assumption)
If the “Immaculate Conception” is valid what was the purpose of keeping it secret for so long? Why not announce it early and let the people know about it? They could have “venerated” Mary centuries earlier.
Waiting until the people clamored for it makes it even more suspect. We challenge this process. It is obvious to us that nothing was ever handed down, but the desire of the people convinced the pope to make the veneration of Mary an official policy; the best way to do that was to claim it was a “Tradition” handed down from Peter.
REVIEW OF PART 2A. Vicar of the Son of God;
Do we preserve the ordinances as delivered by the apostles of Jesus Christ, or do we accept the teachings of a man sitting in what appears to be a temple of God, showing himself equal to God and telling us God has given him new, albeit private, instructions superseding the apostolic writings?
We made the following points:
- The Holy Spirit tells us salvation is found in Christ, not in any man;
- The title “Pope” wasn’t announced until AD 379;
- We already have a mediator with God, Jesus Christ;
- The terms “bind” and “loose” mean the opposite of what Catholics teach; Consequently, all changes they make are invalid;
- Unlike many popes, Peter refused to be worshipped;
- Many popes were evil examples of what a Christian was not supposed to be;
- The Bible condemns anyone showing himself equal to God;
B. Tradition equals Scripture
We made the following points:
- Contrary to Bible admonition against adding to it, many new “Traditions” have been added to a Catholic’s “Christian” experience;
- The Bible states it contains ALL that is necessary for life and godliness. No new revealed truths are necessary;
- Jesus told the apostles they were to make the information available to all the world, not just a secret conclave;
- The keys to the kingdom are not in Peter’s hands at the Pearly Gates. He used them when the kingdom of Christ was formed and the door to salvation was opened on the Day of Pentecost.
- Traditions mentioned in the Bible were in the past tense, meaning they had all been supplied. New information would not be forthcoming;
Mt 15:7-9 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Again, if you tell a lie often enough, and bold enough, people will believe you. Especially if you add that they will go to a painful burning hell for eternity if they dare question your teachings. Well, we not only question them, we reject them entirely. We trust in the traditions written by the apostles that were made known to the entire world, traditions we can find in the faithful and true Word of God.
We stand with the apostles and
- We reject the Catholic claim that Christ appointed an earthly leader;
- We have disproved their claim they can make new rules that will be approved in heaven;
- We refute their claim they have secret doctrines held in abeyance until they are ready to announce them publically.
accept the Holy Scriptures as already delivered.