At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.”
1 Timothy 3
14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 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.
.4. We believe that there is one holy church, comprising the whole assembly of the elect and faithful, that have existed from the beginning of the world, or that shall be to the end thereof. Of this church the Lord Jesus Christ is the head – it is governed by His word and guided by the Holy Spirit. In the church it behooves all Christians to have fellowship. For her He [Christ] prays incessantly, and His prayer for it is most acceptable to God, without which indeed there could be no salvation.
chalcedon451, all that I know about you is that you are a convert to Catholicism, a father, and that you write about the early Church. I’m a former Catholic who after being raised a Catholic and educated in Catholic schools came to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith in 1979.
A few weeks ago I wrote in a comment at your blog, All Along the Watchtower, that Jesus did not found the Church of Rome. You replied that this was merely an assertion without proof. Below is a link to the post where our discussion happened, followed by some comments for context, and after these I’ve given reasons for my assertion. As a scholar you’ve heard these before, but contending for the faith is worth the best effort of every Christian. My desire is to warn God’s sheep, protecting them from harm. (Hopefully too, please, our discussion doesn’t have to be continued.)
chalcedon451: “Jesus did not leave us without a guide. He founded a Church that is with us still. Do you believe he founded a Church, Maria?”
Maria, a gentle iconoclast: “The Lord gave us His Holy Spirit to guide us. Yes, He built His Church and it is still with us. It is not the Church of Rome.”
chalcedon451: “Maria, I think such a statement requires an argument with some evidence, otherwise it remains an assertion without any evidence.”
Maria, a gentle iconoclast: “I agree with you and will attempt to give a reason for the hope that is in me at my own blog.”
This what I believe: It is impossible for the Church of Rome to be “the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:1). The Word of God, Rome’s fruits, and history disprove her claim to be the Church founded by Jesus.
To begin, Rome believes and promotes deceptions such as the Fatima Apparitions. I say this upfront because we began this discussion on your post about the Centenary of the apparitions. The Apparitions often contradict the Bible and glorify Mary.
“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?”
“Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne.”
“No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don’t lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.”
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
But the chief reason that I and many other Christians believe that Rome is not the Church Jesus founded is that Rome does not preach the Gospel. For, though she seems to offer Christ, it is the Christ of the Eucharist not of the Bible, and in this way she actually keeps people from coming to the Lord. Additionally, Rome’s focus on “mystery” acts as a smokescreen under which errors are brought forward. Here are errors Rome teaches.
Transubstantiation. Among the many problems with this doctrine is that Jesus Christ – the Son of God, God in the flesh – has a human body, and although it is a glorified body it cannot be in multiple places simultaneously. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is Omnipresent for He is Spirit, but Jesus cannot be at the same time at the right hand of the Father, waiting until His enemies be made His footstool (Hebrews 10:12-14), and present on every Catholic altar in the world. You will say, But this is a Mystery, Maria, but I must answer that the Lord Who is the Truth desires truth in our innermost being (Psalm 51:6). chalcedon451, you realize, don’t you, that men and women have been killed for refusing to worship “the Host”?
Rome’s teachings about Mary, Jesus’ Mother, aren’t Biblical. For example, Divine titles have been given to her, such as, Mediatrix of all graces (Mediator), Conciliatrix (Conciliator, Counselor), Co-Redemptorix (Co-Redeemer), Advocate, Helper. Also, to encourage Catholics to come to the Lord through her because she is His mother (and therefore more approachable) contradicts and undermines:
The Lord’s testimony that He is “the only way to the Father” (John 14:6),
Paul’s teaching that Jesus is “the only Mediator between God and man” (1 Timothy 2:5),
And, the true comfort found in the Lord’s promise to sinners recorded in Matthew 11:
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
We do not need a mediator to bring us to Him.
The dogma of Mary’s “Immaculate Conception”:
In the constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”
But Mary the mother of Jesus testified to her own need for a Savior:
“And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”
The Sacrifice of the Mass: Since Jesus died for sins, “once for all,” why would further sacrifice be needed? I realize that Rome claims that the Mass is in reality the same sacrifice, but if so then still why would it be needed? Here is Rome’s answer, with an important admission upfront:
“It is a notable fact that the Divine institution of the Mass can be established, one might almost say, with greater certainty by means of the Old Testament than by means of the New. . .
“. . .Since sacrifice is thus essential to religion, it is all the more necessary for Christianity, which cannot otherwise fulfil its duty of showing outward honour to God in the most perfect way. Thus, the Church, as the mystical Christ, desires and must have her own permanent sacrifice, which surely cannot be either an independent addition to that of Golgotha or its intrinsic complement; it can only be the one self-same sacrifice of the Cross, whose fruits, by an unbloody offering, are daily made available for believers and unbelievers and sacrificially applied to them.”
Also, among the many difficulties with the Mass are the teachings that it is an “unbloody sacrifice,” which contradicts the truth that “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22); and, that it actually deals with sin (is expiatory) beyond what the Lord did “once for all” on the Cross, contradicting His declaration from the Cross,
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Rome believes and teaches that “The Sacrifice of the Mass” was not only instituted on the night before He died, but that Christ’s sacrifice of Himself began then (“the mystical shedding of blood in the chalice”), and that not only was it a true and real sacrifice but that “the ‘shedding of blood’ spoken of in the text took place there and then and not for the first time on the cross,” that,
“. . .Christ, therefore, at the Last Supper offered up His Body as an unbloody sacrifice. Finally, that He commanded the renewal for all time of the Eucharistic sacrifice through the Church is clear from the addition: ‘Do this for a commemoration of me’ (Luke 32:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24).”
This view contradicts the Epistle to the Hebrews:
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
These verses prove that the New Testament in His blood could never have been inaugurated on the night before He died, because He had not died yet.
Rome’s teachings about the Sacrifice of the Mass also contradict Hebrews 9:
24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
One death, one sacrifice, was all that was needed, chalcedon451!
The Temple sacrifices (God-ordained sacrifices) ended with Christ’s atoning death for sins. The Temple was then destroyed. Why is Rome continuing to sacrifice? Rome and pagans continue to sacrifice.
The priesthood. Here is the testimony of Hebrews 7 about the Lord, our great High Priest, Who holds His priesthood eternally in contrast to the Aaronic priesthood (human priesthood), followed by John’s statement in Revelation 1 about Christians being a kingdom of priests, that is, that Christ’s kingdom is comprised of priests (“the priesthood of all believers”).
23 The former priests [Aaron and his descendants], on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
(Please notice that it is the Lord Jesus Christ Who “always lives to make intercession” for us, not Mary.)
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen
We need no other priest than Jesus Christ! chalcedon451, God’s Word is clear. You believe you need a priesthood because you believe that you must continue to offer sacrifice, when:
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
And when, the “pure oblation” of Malachi 1 is not the Sacrifice of the Mass, as Rome claims:
10 “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you. 11 For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts
As a kingdom of priests, Christians offer the incense of prayer and thanksgiving, not the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. I’m not a scholar but know that the origin of the word “eucharist” has to do with feeling and being joyful and thankful. I’m not going to convince you, I know, if the wisdom of Christians through the ages can’t convince you that we need no priest to mediate for us with God, only Jesus Christ, Who offered Himself “once for all.”
Rome teaches that we are justified by Baptism. We are justified by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Rome’s teaching on Baptism:
1227 . . .Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.31
1266 . . .The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
1271 Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.”81 “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.”82
Under the headship of “Peter”, the history of the Papacy is one of scandal, treachery, and immorality. For example, contrary to the teaching of God’s Word, Rome insists that the great majority of her clergy be celibate, when marriage is the God-ordained remedy for sexual immorality.
1 Corinthians 7:2
Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
The Office of the Papacy robs God of His glory by, among many other things, usurping His Names, one of the most tragic usurpations being “Holy Father” (John 17:11).
Rome’s rationalization of her use of images of God and of Christ demonstrates that she delights in what God has forbidden. Please take this link to view the lengths to which her idolatry goes, stripping an image of “Jesus” nearly bare:
Again, we Christians affirm that it is impossible for the Church of Rome to be “the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
Because confessions of faith are truly helpful, and because no individual should try to reinvent the wheel, I’m including the following links on the Church from Protestant or Evangelical confessions:
Here is a video about Fatima with which I agree: