Argument against Catholicism

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   Catholics believe that Mary is sacred and holy. They have statues of Mary in their churches, even though this is against God's commandment. Exodus 20:4-5 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them..." They pray to Mary. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to pray to Mary, or any other person, but it tells us only to pray to God the Father. Matthew 6:6 "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." They pray to Mary because they believe that she intercedes for us. This is not supported by any Scripture, but Scripture states that Jesus intercedes for us. Hebrews 7:25 "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." Romans 8:34 "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."

   Without a doubt Mary was a blessed woman, but she was not perfect. Catholics believe that Mary never sinned. Again, this is not supported by any Scripture. Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." There is only one person that never sinned, and that person is Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin." 1 John 3:5 "And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." 1 Peter 2:22 "'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.'"

   They believe that Mary was always a virgin, and had no children other than Jesus. Matthew 13:55-56 "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?" Mark 3:31 "There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him." Matthew 12:46 "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him." Catholics argue that when the Bible refers to brothers of Jesus, that these are spiritual brothers and not blood relatives. The following verses make a clear distinction between spiritual and blood brothers: Luke 8:19-21 "Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, 'Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.' He replied, 'My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.'" Jesus' spiritual brothers are the ones who hear God's word and put it into practice. Catholics also believe that Jesus used the word "brethen" or "brothers" when referring to His disciples. This is true in some cases, but in the following verses there is a definite distinction between Jesus' brothes and His disciples. John 2:12 "After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days." John 7:3 "His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest."

   Catholics believe that Jesus made Peter the 'rock' of His Church. They believe that Jesus gave him the keys to His kingdom, and made him Head of His Church. They believe that this authority and power can be passed on to men who hold the position of Pope. Catholics base this belief of the supremacy and authority of Peter and the Pope on the following Scripture: Matthew 16:18-19 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Catholics state that to Peter alone Jesus gave the authority and power to become the Head of His Church. If Jesus gave this authority and power to Peter alone then Catholic Popes do not have this power and authority. Catholics state that Jesus was referring directly to Peter and not to Peter's faith when He said "on this rock I will build my church". What about the time when Jesus called Peter "Satan"? Matthew 16:23 "Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.'" If we follow Catholic thinking then we conclude that Jesus was referring directly to Peter and not to Peter's unbelief. I doubt that Jesus would make Satan the Head of His Church.

   Popes, Priests, and Nuns are not permitted to marry. Catholics claim that Peter was the first Pope, yet Peter was married. Matthew 8:14 "When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever." 1 Corinthians 9:5 "Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" Cephas is another name for Peter.

   Is Peter the Head of the Church? The following verses state that Jesus is the Head of the Church. Ephesians 5:23 "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body." Ephesians 1:22-23 "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all." Colossians 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." Is Peter the rock or the cornerstone of the Church? The following verses state that Jesus is the rock and the cornerstone of the Church. 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 "They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ." Ephesians 2:20 "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone..." Acts 4:10-11 "then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.'" Peter said this. Even Peter declares that Jesus is the cornerstone!

   Catholics believe that the Pope communicates to God for them and that he communicates to them for God. That is, he holds the office of the High Priest. But the Bible says that Jesus is the only way to God, and that He alone is our High Priest. John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." 1 Timothy 2:5 says "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..." The Pope is elected by a group of men, but Jesus was chosen by God to be our high priest. Hebrews 5:4-6 "No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.' And he says in another place, 'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'" Jesus will never die so He has a permanent priesthood, and there is no longer a need for an earthly high priest. Hebrews 7:23-25 "Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." Hebrews 6:20 "Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." Peter was not the Head of the Church, the cornerstone of the Church, or the High Priest; Jesus was. The Pope is not the Head of the Church, the cornerstone of the Church, or the High Priest; Jesus is.

   Catholics believe in Purgatory, the final purification process of the elect by fire, occurring after death and allowing them to enter into Heaven. Purgatory is a place of suffering, where one continues to pay for his sins committed after his baptism. Catholics say that the suffering in Purgatory may be shortened by prayers, good works of the faithful, and the sacrifice of the mass by individuals on Earth. They believe that the Pope (or a priest acting for him) can release individuals from punishment in Purgatory by transferring the superabundance of the merits of Christ and the saints. After their sins are atoned for and purged by their suffering in Purgatory, they are then translated to Heaven.

   The doctrine of Purgatory is rooted in the Catholics' division of sins. They have divided sin into two kinds: mortal sins which are a grave offense and kill the soul, and venial sins which are a small pardonable offense against God. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." That is not the wages of big or major sins, but any sin. God does not classify sins as small or big. With no distinction of sin the Catholic's argument falls apart. Every sin is an offense to God and deserves punishment from Him. Any sin, however small, deserves eternal punishment. God is too holy to fellowship with any sin. Thus we need to be cleansed from all sin before we can enter into Heaven. Revelation 21:27 "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." Hebrews 12:14 "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord..."

   How can we be cleansed so that we will be fit to enter into Heaven? To become a child of God we must repent of our sins and believe on Jesus. If we have sinned as a child of God, then we must confess our sin, repent of it, and pray to God for forgiveness. When we repent of our sins, God will cleanse us and we will be fit to enter into Heaven. 1 John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Hence our sins, all of them, are forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ, and none are left to be purged away by human merit. 1 John 1:7 states "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." The verb 'cleanseth' is in present tense in the Greek manuscripts, meaning that the blood of Christ continues to cleanse us from all sin. If we continue to walk in the light, when we die, we will be pure and free from all sin. We will not need any purifying fires of Purgatory, but we will be totally exempt from all sin or spots, and we will be fit for Heaven. The one walking in the light will be cleansed from his sin by the blood of Christ. He will have no debts carried with him out of this world. Titus 2:14 "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." If He redeems us from all iniquity then we are pure and fit to enter into Heaven. There is no need for us to pass through Purgatory. Isaiah 1:18 says "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." God will cleanse us from all our sins, no matter how great they are.

   Catholics use certain passages to support the doctrine of Purgatory. 2 Maccabees 12:39-45 "And upon the day following, as the use had been, Judas [Maccabeus--mh] and his company came to take up the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen in their fathers graves. Now under the coats of every one that was slain they found things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites, which is forbidden the Jews by the law. Then every man saw that this was the cause wherefore they were slain. All men therefore praising the Lord, the righteous Judge, who had opened the things that were hid, Betook themselves unto prayer, and besought him that the sin committed might wholly be put out of remembrance. Besides, that noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, for so much as they saw before their eyes the things that came to pass for the sins of those that were slain. And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachmas of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection: For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there was great favor laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin." This is from the Apocrypha, and is not recognized by Protestants to be the word of God. It does give valuable historic information, but nothing it teaches can be held authoritatively. One important thing to notice is that Purgatory is not found in these verses. Nowhere in this passage is there any mention of fire in which souls are tormented. All that is mentioned is prayers for the dead, from which the Roman Catholic theologians infer, first, that such prayers are proper, and secondly, that such prayers can be effective for the salvation of the dead. Furthermore, from the Roman Catholic viewpoint, these verses prove too much, for they teach the possible salvation of soldiers who had died in mortal sin, that of idolatry. That contradicts Roman Catholic doctrine, which says that those dying in mortal sin go straight to Hell and are permanently lost. Surely one who had never heard of Purgatory would not learn about it from this passage.

   Let us consider the passages in the New Testament which "insinuate" the doctrine of Purgatory. Matthew 3:12 "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." They argue that the fire is Purgatory. This is a fire which will never be quenched or extinguished. Purgatory's fire will come to an end. Thus, this cannot refer to Purgatory. Matthew 5:25-26 reads "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." Catholics say that this 'prison' is Purgatory. Instead, this is imprisonment in a jail for failing to pay a debt. 'Till' does not look forward to getting out of Purgatory, but till the debt (the amount of money) was paid (worked off). Matthew 12:32 states "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." Catholics reason that this sin would not be forgiven in the world to come, thus there must be some sins which will be forgiven in the world to come. They believe that those sins will be pardoned in Purgatory. Jesus never mentioned any sins that will be forgiven in the world to come. All Jesus was saying was that this sin would never be forgiven. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." Catholics teach that the fire which will try man's work is the fire of Purgatory. If a man's works burn that means that those works were faulty and imperfect, thus he shall suffer loss (spend time in Purgatory) but will ultimately be saved. Notice some differences between this fire and the fire of Purgatory. This fire is not till the last day, the fire of Purgatory begins at death. The fire of Paul is to try the works, the fire of Purgatory is to try the persons. Paul's fire causes 'loss' to the sufferers; Catholics' Purgatory, great gain, namely, Heaven at last to those purged by it. This fire is to 'try men's works of what sort they are', but Purgatory-fire is not for trial, not to bring men's actions to the test, but to punish men for them. Thus, this passage is altogether against Purgatory. 1 Peter 3:18-20 says "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." Catholics teach that Christ went into Purgatory (the spirits in prison) and preached the gospel to them, and He gave them the opportunity to live (a second chance). The spirits that Christ preached to in prison were the ones who were disobedient during the days of Noah. They rejected the preaching done through Noah, so they were now in prison. Catholics just assume this prison is Purgatory, without any contextual foundation. This prison is Hell, not Purgatory. 2 Peter 2:4-5 "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly..." Genesis 6:13 "So God said to Noah, 'I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth." If God destroyed those people then they would be in Hell, not in Purgatory where they would have a second chance. These spirits were in Hell, and would not be transported to Heaven by way of Purgatory. These were spirits that would be lost, not saved in the end.

   Catholicism claims that we must be good enough to earn our entrance into Heaven. Catholics say that while Christ died for our sins, His blood does not completely take sins away. They state that we must still be punished for the sins we commit. Thus, one must suffer a period of time in Purgatory until God's justice is satisfied. 1 John 2:2 "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." Christ's sacrifice is atoning for our sins, so we do not need to go to Purgatory and atone for our sins. Hebrews 10:18 "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." Hebrews 10:14 "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." Purgatory would be another offering for sin. There is no need for another sin offering; Jesus' blood was sufficient to cleanse us from all sin. Christ's blood washes away sins at baptism: Acts 22:16 "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Christ's blood continues to wash away our sins as we confess our sins: 1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Our sins are totally forgiven through the blood of Christ. According to Catholics, God would continue to remember our sins until we have passed through Purgatory. Hebrews 10:17 "Then he adds: 'Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.'" Hebrews 8:12 "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Micah 7:19 "He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." Psalms 103:12 "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." According to these verses God will not remember our sins, but He will remove them from us. Romans 5:9 states "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." We are saved from wrath. Purgatory is wrath, even though only temporary to satisfy God's justice. Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Purgatory would place one right in the middle of condemnation. Jesus said in John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Hence eternal life is already possessed by the soul that believes on Christ and there can be no possible condemnation of that soul. When Jesus said to the penitent thief on the cross "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43), the clear inference was that at his death he would go immediately to Heaven. Jesus made no mention of Purgatory. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 declares "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." When in this life, we are absent from the Lord. When we die, we are at home with God. If we had to spend time in Purgatory, then we would not be present with the Lord at death. Paul's statements would be totally incorrect if Purgatory exists. Proverbs 10:12 reads "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." God's love covers all our sins, so there is no need for us to suffer for them in Purgatory.

   Leviticus 19:2 says "Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy." Why would God tell the children of Israel to be holy if it were impossible for them to be holy in their lifetime? 1 Thessalonians 4:7 says "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." Why would God call us unto holiness if it were impossible for us to be holy in our lifetime? It is indeed possible for us to be holy in this lifetime. However, we cannot do it alone; we need God to make us holy. Leviticus 20:8 "Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy." If we sin we must repent of our sin, and ask God for forgiveness and cleansing. God will then forgive us, cleanse us, and make us holy. If we are truly holy then we are fit to enter Heaven, and we do not need to pass through Purgatory to be purified.

   Catholics argue that Jesus did not reprove the Jews for their belief in a middle state nor for praying for the dead. Since He did not condemn it, it must be in harmony with His will. But simply because He did not condemn the Jews for this belief does not prove that He approved of it. There were other errors which Jesus did not directly condemn. Also, we do not have everything recorded which Jesus did. John 20:30 "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book..." John 21:25 "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." Jesus might have condemned this doctrine and the Gospel writers simply did not record it.


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