Come Out of the Catholic Church
|By: Mike Gendron; ©2000|
|A question that many Christians have been faced with at one time or another is: “When must I leave the fellowship of a visible church?” Mike Gendron examines this question as it relates to Christians who may be worshipping in the Roman Catholic Church.|
Come Out Of The Catholic Church
What Scriptural counsel do you give Catholics who say they are Christians? Do you persuade them to leave their church which deceived them and join a church where they can worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24)? Do you encourage them to join a fellowship of true believers so they can be made disciples by observing all that Christ has commanded? God’s word gives strong exhortations for Christians to come out of false religious systems and be separate. “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins” (Rev. 18:4). “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols.” (2 Cor. 6:14-16).
Let us investigate 6 reasons Christians cannot remain in the Catholic Church.
Its worship is idolatrous
Of the many ways the Roman Catholic Church practices idolatry, none may be more blasphemous than the worship of a lifeless, inanimate piece of bread as the almighty and eternal God, creator of the universe and everything in it. Rome relies on its tradition for this idolatry. The Catholic Church teaches the priest calls Jesus down from heaven by transubstantiating a wafer into His body and blood, soul and divinity. “In the absence of Scriptural proof, the Church finds a warrant for rendering Divine worship to the Blessed Sacrament in the most ancient and constant tradition” (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5 page 81, (emphasis added). Yet there is scriptural proof that forbids this, “we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:29-30). Catholic tradition consistently overlooks the words of Jesus, “…making the word of God of none effect through your tradition” (Mark 7:13). Rome even dares to alter the word of God by removing the second commandment from its Catechisms. This commandment, which forbids idolatry, is removed so that the making of statues and the selling and bowing down to them can go on unrestrained. To worship God in the form of a wafer or statue would be to reduce the Creator to the substance of creation. The Apostle Paul said to do this is to become a fool (Romans 1:22-23). The prophet Isaiah warned us what God says about idolatry, “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8). Catholics will say they do not worship statues of Mary and the saints, instead they venerate them. Yet the Catholic Dictionary defines veneration as, “the word commonly used to express in English that worship given to saints either directly or through images or relics.”
Christians who desire to submit to and obey God’s word will leave the Catholic Church and its grievous sin idolatry. Paul commanded us to “not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is … an idolater” (1 Cor. 5:11), to “flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14), and to “turn from these worthless things to the living God” (Acts 14:15). John also commanded “keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).
Its dogmas condemn Christians
The councils of Trent and Vatican II have condemned over 100 times all those whom God has called by His grace through faith alone in Christ alone. These saints, born again of the Holy Spirit, who do not believe all the dogmas of the Catholic Church are cursed with anathema, which means Rome has turned them over to God for condemnation. This means, for example, you are condemned if you believe indulgences are useless for the remission of sins for the living and the dead. Many Catholics who think they can pick and choose which dogmas to believe and which to reject are not aware of this. Rome also condemns everyone who believes they are eternally secure in Christ and condemns those who believe they were justified by faith alone. Anyone who believes the debt of their eternal punishment is completely blotted out after they received the grace of justification is also condemned. Why would Christians want to remain in a church which condemns them?
Its rituals are rooted in paganism
A study of the many rituals, practices and traditions of the Catholic Church will reveal their pagan origins. Votive candles, holy water, vestments, images, relics, medals, scapulas, rosaries, transubstantiation, indulgences and purgatory were never part of the early church. The Tau cross (the letter “T” with a circle on top), a popular Catholic symbol, was one of Egypt’s most sacred hieroglyphics thousands of years before Christ. Almost all pagan religions have a place after death where a purging fire prepares people for their deity. The doctrine of purgatory was adopted from Babylonian, Greek and Roman mythology. The rosary invented by Peter the Hermit, 1000 years after Christ, can be traced back to the Buddhists and Mohammedans who used a similar mechanical device for counting prayers.
The Vatican supplants God’s authority by establishing its own. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church and its sacred tradition are said to be equal in authority with God’s word. According to the new Catechism, Catholic Bishops alone have the infallible right to interpret and teach revelation with authority (para. 85,100). They are the stewards of grace and have supreme authority over the universal church (890-896). Yet we know from Scripture that Christ is the head of the church (Col. 1:17-18) and His Word is our authority (Acts 17:11, Galatians 1:6-9, 2 Tim 3:15-16). Jesus said the condition for showing our love for Him is whether or not we submit to the authority of His Word (John 14:23-24). The standard for discerning truth from error has always been the divinely inspired Scriptures. Christians who truly love Jesus will turn from the teachings and traditions of fallible men and find a church that submits to Christ and His infallible word.
Its doctrines are demonic
Paul described doctrines of demons as those doctrines which forbid people to marry and forbid them from eating certain foods. Hypocritical liars who have abandoned the faith teach them (1 Timothy 4:1-4). For centuries the Catholic Church has forbidden priests, monks and nuns to marry. Because of this forced celibacy, many priests have become hypocritical liars because of their shameful immorality. This doctrine was not enforced in the Catholic Church until a thousand years after Christ. In the 16th century the Council of Trent went so far as to condemn anyone who affirmed that marriage is more conducive to happiness than celibacy (Canon 10). From Scripture we know that the Lord’s brothers and the apostles were married and that each church leader had the right to take a believing wife (1 Cor. 9:5). The Catholic Church has historically forbidden the eating of meat on Fridays, until recently, when it relaxed this practice to Fridays only during Lent. Paul said these ascetic regulations produce self-imposed worship, a false humility, harsh treatment of the body and they lack value in restraining sensual indulgence (Col. 2:23).
Its teachings deny Christ
Christ’s last command was to go and make disciples, teaching them all that He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). Many of the words, commands and works of Christ are denied by the Vatican. As a result, their disciples are taught the teachings and traditions of men rather than Christ. Jesus said the sacrifice for sin was finished at the cross (John 19:30), but Rome says it must be re-presented daily on Catholic altars. Rome has denied the sufficiency and efficacy of Christ’s shed blood to expiate sin by adding a religious system of sacraments, purgatory, indulgences, and the bloodless sacrifice of the Mass. Rome denies Christ is the only mediator that can reconcile sinful man to His Holy Father (1 Tim. 2:5). For a disciple of Christ to be sanctified by truth he must be made aware of the errors of the Roman Catholic Church and depart from them (John 17:17).
For those devout Catholics, who have a zeal for God, we must warn them their zeal is not based on biblical truth. They seek to obtain their own righteousness by following the Pope and his traditions, rather than receive the righteousness of Christ by trusting Him and His Word. May we have the same heart’s desire and prayer for our dear Catholic family and friends as Paul had for the Jews—that they will come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved (Romans 10:1-4).