Why I left the Roman Catholic Faith.
Two Personal Testimonials:
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We Speak truth in LOVE
tell us if we have misrepresented Catholic Faith
In this lesson I want to state some of the reasons I left the Catholic Church. I do not wish to state any of the personal experiences I had as result of leaving. I will mention, though, that I came from a large, devout Catholic family of twelve children. I attended Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time of my intense Scriptural study, I had two brothers who were enrolled in Catholic seminaries studying to be priests. I also want to state I did not leave the Catholic Church because of some evil that I had done or that was done to me. I left the Catholic Church because I came to believe that it was contrary to the Bible. This I will endeavor to show in this study.
To illustrate what I mean by this, I will explain the difference in the two sides. Those with the right attitude toward the truth are always willing to test what they teach with others. They invite those of opposite views to work together for truth and unity. They appreciate when those who differ with them point out where they think they are wrong. They have everything thoroughly tested, studying arguments both for and against, looking at both sides of the question.
Those with the wrong attitude toward the truth are not willing to test what they teach in fair and open discussion, privately or publicly. They do not invite others to point out where they think they are wrong, and do not appreciate when others try to do so. They won't allow their members to hear both sides of an issue, and especially they don't want them to examine opposing arguments.
Hopefully, one can now understand what I mean when I said the Catholics do not have the right attitude toward the truth. Catholics are not allowed, and especially are not encouraged to hear both sides regarding truth and error. They are not to read books which differ from their doctrine. Thus, they are encouraged by the clergy to be closed minded to anything which differs from Catholicism. We ask, "Why don't Catholic officials encourage their members to examine opposing Scriptural teaching?" False teachers have learned that when truth and error are examined side by side, some begin to see the truth. False teachers are afraid of being exposed and of losing their members.
The Catholic Catechism For Adults on page 52 says, "Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible? No, because certain things in the Bible can be misunderstood, and because the Bible does not have everything God taught." Notice that the first part of their answer to "Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible?" is, "No..." However, their own translations of the Bible teaches the opposite. All Scriptural quotations that I will be giving are from Catholic translations. 2 Tim. 3:15-17 says, "And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by faith which is Christ Jesus. All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work." Thus, the apostle Paul by the inspiration of God, says to Timothy "thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation" and make you "perfect, furnished to every good work."
Rom. 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek. James 1:21 says, "...With meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save you souls." Consequently, the word contained in the Bible is able to save our souls.
The next part of the answer in the Catechism to the question, "Can you learn to save your soul just by the Bible?" is, "No, because certain things in the Bible can be misunderstood..." They are implying that the Bible cannot be understood. John A. O'Brien, the Catholic author of the book, "The Faith of Millions," is much more expressive when he says on page 152, "The Bible is not a clear and intelligible guide to all..." The book, "The Faith of Millions" was given to me before my conversion by my older brother Norman who was at the time a student at St. Meinrad Seminary, St. Meinrad, Indiana.
The apostle Paul said we can understand what he wrote. "If yet, you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me towards you: how that, according to revelation, the mystery has been made known to me, as I have written above in few words; as you reading, may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ." (Eph. 3:2-4). Paul said the mystery had been made know to him by the revelation of God. He then showed that he was writing it e.g., "as I have written above in few words" (in the chapters prior to this) and "as you reading, may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ." In other words, when we read what he wrote, we can understand what he understood. Paul also said , "For we write nothing to you that you do not read and understand" (2 Cor. 1:13) and "Therefore do not become foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17). Thus, the inspired writers taught that we most certainly can understand the Scriptures.
The last part of the answer given in the Catechism to the question, "Can you learn to save your soul just by reading the Bible?" was "No...because the Bible does not have everything God taught." The Faith of Millions, on pages 153-154 says, "The Bible does not contain all the teaching of the Christian religion, nor does it formulate all the duties of its members." The Scriptures contain everything that is necessary to equip the man of God for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). There is not a solitary good work that the Christian can do which is not provided in the Scriptures. The Scriptural proof they give for the Bible not containing everything God taught, is John 20:30. It says, "Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book." (See Catechism For Adults, p. 10).
In John 20:30, John simply said that Jesus did many other signs (miracles) which he did record. Notice, though, what John says in the next verse, "...But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." Thus, the apostle clearly shows that he wrote sufficient things to produce the faith which brings life in the name of Jesus. Life in the name of Jesus refers to eternal life and it is obtained by belief in the things written by the inspired writers.
We freely admit that the Scriptures do not contain everything Jesus did. John said, "There are, however, many other things that Jesus did; but if every one of these would be written, not even the world itself, I think, could hold the books that would have to be written." (John 21:25). Although we do not have everything Jesus did, we do have every necessary thing. We have enough to give us life in His name.
Catholic officials follow up their claim (that we cannot understand the Bible) by stating that one can get the true meaning only from the Catholic Church. The Catechism For Adults on page 10 says, "How can you get the true meaning of the Bible? You can get it only from God's official interpreter, the Catholic Church." The Catholics have no passages which mention an official interpreter and, thus, they try to support their claim through human logic and reasoning. Anytime men do such, it amounts to nothing more than human philosophy rather than Scriptural proof. The Bible says, "Let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Rom. 3:4). It also warns, "See to it that no one deceives you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to human traditions, according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ." (Col. 2:8).
The doctrine of the "infallible interpreter" implies that God did not make Himself clear. It implies that God gave us a revelation that still needs revealing. Did God fail in His attempt to give man a revelation? Do the Catholic officials want us to believe they can express God's will more clearly than God Himself? We believe that God made the mind of man and is fully capable of addressing man in words which man can understand.
The Catholic writers try to teach that the church could never go into error and is preserved from error. The Catechism For Adults on page 56 says, "Why can't the Catholic Church ever teach error? Because Jesus promised to be always with His Church to protect it from error." The book, "My Catholic Faith" which is based heavily on materials from the Baltimore Catechism, was given to me by my father not long after I was converted. I think his intentions were that somehow it would cause me to return to the Catholic Church. It says on page 144, "Jesus Christ promised to preserve the Church from error." On page 145, it says, "Jesus Christ commanded all men to listen to and obey the Church, under pain of damnation. If His Church can teach error then He is responsible for the error, by commanding all to obey." On page 54 the Catechism For Adults says, "Does everyone have to obey the Catholic Church? Yes, because she alone has the authority of Jesus to rule and to teach." It is easy to see that Catholics have the authority in the wrong place. The authority is not in the body, but in the Head (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). The ruling is not in the kingdom, but in the King (Heb. 7:1-2; Rev. 1:5-6). The authority is in not in the church, but in Christ (Matt. 28:18; 1 Pet. 3:22). The church is not the Savior, but simply the body of the saved (Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:22-24).
There are many passages in the New Testament which reveal that the church would not be preserved from error. Acts 20:17, 28-30; 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:3-11. We see from these passages that there was to come a great falling away from the truth. In Acts chapter twenty we learn that perverse things would come from the bishops of the church. Peter said (2 Pet. 2) that false teachers would arise among you (working from within) and there would be many who would follow them. Paul tell us (2 Thess. 2) that the apostasy was already underway, "for the mystery of iniquity is already at work..." (Verse 7). It started in Paul's day and was to continue until the second coming of Christ. He added, "...Whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of his mouth and will destroy with the brightness of his coming." (Verse 8).
We cannot harmonize that which the inspired apostles said (there shall arise false teachers among you) with that which the Catholic writers say (shall be preserved from error). Furthermore, we call your attention to the fact that the characteristics of the departing group are identical with those of the Catholic Church. Everyone knows that the Catholic Church has forbidden its people to eat meat on Friday and at the present it forbids some from marriage. Also, the only way for the wicked one to last from Paul's day to the second coming of Christ is to have a continual succession. It could not be some wicked person of the past because he will not be here for the Lord to slay when He comes. Furthermore, it could not be ones in the future because their iniquity would not have started in Paul's day. It must, therefore, be a continual succession from the beginning until now. The Catholic Church is the only group which perfectly fits the apostles' description of the great apostasy.
The seven short epistles to seven churches of Asia in the book of Revelation reveal the relationship the church sustains to Christ (See Rev. chapters 2 and 3; see especially 2:1-5, 12-14, 18-20; 3:1-3, 14-15). Those verses plainly reveal that when a church continues in Christ's word, it keeps its identity as His church, but when it fails to abide in His word, it is not longer regarded as His church. Also, they reveal that Christ did not establish His church as one that could never fall into error, because some of those churches went into error. Someone might say that the passages in Revelation referred to the various parishes or congregations rather than the whole church. It is true that the verses were speaking of local churches; nevertheless, the same principle that applied to them relates to the whole church. The Lord does not have a rule for one congregation which is not equally applicable to all. If one church is rejected for embracing error, all others who likewise embrace error are rejected. The early churches had to earnestly contend for the faith, and to continually be on guard against error arising from within. The doctrine of an "infallible church" causes the Catholic Church to fail in this. The Catholic Church is a church which neither recognizes nor corrects its errors.
In the books of men, the following titles are commonly used with reference to a man: "Pope," "Holy Father," "Vicar of Christ," "Sovereign Pontiff." All of these are titles that rightly belong only to the Lord Jesus Christ and to God the Father. There is not a single instance in the Scriptures where any of the above titles are applied to a man. The term, "Holy Father" is used only once in the entire Bible, and it is used by Jesus in addressing God the Father. (John 17:11). Among the above titles is the bold assertion that the Pope is the "Vicar of Christ." A "vicar" is "One serving as a substitute or agent; one authorized to perform the functions of another in higher office." (Webster). When one searches the Bible from cover to cover, he finds only one passage which gives an indication of a vicar of Christ or God. It is 2 Thess. 2:3-4 and is worded as follows: "Let no one deceive you in any way, for the day of the Lord will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and is exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits in the temple of God and gives himself out as if he were God."
Some religionists today advocate that man is saved by faith only. However, there is only one passage in the entire Bible that has the words "faith" and "only" together and it says, "not by faith only" (James 2:24). The Catholics today speak of the Pope as vicar, taking the place of God (Christ Himself is God, Matt. 1:23; John 1:1), yet there is only one passage in the entire Bible which speaks of a man doing such and it calls him "the man of sin."
James Cardinal Gibbons, a Catholic Archbishop said, "Jesus our Lord, founded but one Church, which He was pleased to build on Peter. Therefore, any church that does not recognize Peter as its foundation stone is not the Church of Christ, and therefore cannot stand, for it is not the work of God." (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 82). The apostle Paul said, "For other foundation no one can lay, but that which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 3:11). There is no other foundation but Christ! Therefore, any church which does not recognize Christ alone as the foundation stone cannot be the church of Christ.
Catholic writers often speak of "the primacy of Peter" and "the primacy of the Pope." However, Col. 1:18, speaking of Christ, says, "And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy..." Thus, with reference to the authority in the church, the Lord Jesus Christ holds the primacy in all things. This leaves nothing for the Pope!
Catholics claim that the Pope is the visible head of the church. The Catholic book Answer Wisely, by Martin J. Scott says on p. 49, "The pope, therefore, as vicar of Christ, is the visible head of Christ's kingdom on earth, the Church, of which Christ Himself is the invisible head." The book Father Smith Instructs Jackson, by John F. Noll and Lester J. Fallon, on page 42 says, "According to the will of Christ, all its members profess the same faith, have the same worship and Sacraments, and are united under the one and same visible head, the Pope." Catholic officials always use the word "visible" no doubt thinking that it removes the thought of the Pope standing in opposition to the headship of Christ, and removes the apparent problem of having a church with two heads. Nonetheless, the Scriptures nowhere teach the idea of a visible and invisible head. Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." (Matt. 28:18; Emp. mine D.R.). Luke 17:20-21 says, "And on being asked by the Pharisees, 'When is the kingdom of God coming?' he answered and said to them, The kingdom of God comes unawares. Neither will they say, 'Behold, here it is,' or 'Behold, there it is.' For behold the kingdom of God is within you." The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and therefore needs only a spiritual head or king.
Eph. 5:23-25 shows that Christ is the only head of the church. "Let wives be subject to their husbands as to the Lord; because a husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church, being himself savior of the body. But just as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things." Consequently, the wife is subject to her husband as the church is to Christ. Just as the wife is subject to only one head--her husband, the church is subject to only one head--Christ. Just as the husband does not send a substitute to rule over his wife, Christ does not authorize a substitute to rule over His bride, the church.
Catholics often use the expression, "One fold and one shepherd" to sustain the doctrine of the papacy. (See Catechism For Adults, p. 59). They teach that the "one shepherd" is the Pope and the "one fold" represents the Catholic Church. Hear what Jesus said about it: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep...I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, even as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." (John 10:11, 14-16). Jesus is that one good shepherd. If one can understand that one and one equals two, he can understand this. If one is subject to Christ as the one shepherd--that's one. If one is subject to the Pope as the one Shepherd--that's two!
The church is often compared to the human body in the Scriptures. The members of the church are represented as the various parts of the body. Christ is always said to be the head. (See 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:15-16). Our question is: "What part of the body is the Pope?" Also, "How does one get the idea of a sub-head into the body?"
One of the greatest arguments against the primacy of Peter is the fact that the apostles had an argument among themselves as to which of them should be the greatest. Luke 22:24-26 says, "Now there arose a dispute among them, which of them was reputed to be the greatest. But he said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and they who exercise authority over them are called Benefactors. But not so with you. On the contrary, let him who is greatest among you become as the youngest, and him who is chief as the servant'." The very fact that the apostles had an argument among themselves shows they did not understand that Peter was to be prince. Also, the occasion of the argument was the night of the betrayal--the last night of the Lord's earthly ministry--and yet the apostles still did not understand that Christ had given Peter a position of primacy. The Lord settled the argument, not by stating that He had already made Peter head, but by declaring that the Gentiles have their heads, "But not so with you." Thus, Jesus very plainly taught that no one would occupy any such place as a Benefactor (or Pope) to exercise authority over the others.
There are other reasons why I left the Catholic Church. I have simple tried to list some of the ones that made the greatest impression on me at the time of my conversion. I hope and pray that these things will be of some benefit to those who are making an honest inquiry regarding truth. I beseech and invite all my Catholic friends and relatives to examine these things in the light of God's holy Word. May God be with you in your endeavors to serve Him.
Find the true church in your own home town!
Catholics Disregard The Word Of God
I left the Roman Catholic Church because of its disregard for the Word of God. Should any be inclined to take issue with that statement relative to the attitude of the Catholic Church, let me remind you that the Catholic Church maintains that "the Bible is a dead letter and unable to interpret itself." Yet in the Bible, whether Catholic or not, we read, "The word of God is living and powerful [quick and active], and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). That is Heaven's pronouncement in regard to the matter. Further the Catholic Church asserts, "We do not in anywise presuppose that the books of the New Testament are inspired, but, rather, they are only genuine, authentic documents written by honest men." John, one of the writers of the New Testament, wrote, "Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, 'Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on' " (Revelation 14:13). That is either an inspired statement or John was dishonest and, in either case, the Catholic Church would be in error.
Paul, another one of the writers of the New Testament, wrote, "If any one thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:37). The attitude of the Catholic Church is the attitude of Diotrephes, ". . . but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words" (III John 9, 10).
The Bible becomes a "dead letter" to those whose doctrine it condemns; but, in the words of Paul, here is the attitude toward the Bible of those who respect heaven's way. "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" (II Timothy 3:16, 17).
Catholics Claim That New Testament Is Uninspired
Not only does the Catholic Church contend that the Bible is a "dead letter" and the New Testament is uninspired, but it maintains that the apostles appointed a "divine, infallible apostolate" to direct us. That is essentially the way the Catholic Church endeavors to make room in the realm of religion for papal edicts and the decrees of the Romanist councils. But consider this: "For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken unto us through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard" (Hebrews 2:2, 3). Those who heard the word were the ones to confirm it, and that is in keeping with the following statement of Peter, "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." This was said in regard to one ". . . to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell" (Acts 1:21, 22, 25). Can this so-called "divine, infallible apostolate" qualify? And after the word has been spoken and confirmed, what purpose could such an office serve?
God's Directions Fixed And Not Flexible
I submit to you that the means of direction from earth to heaven is thereby fixed, complete and final. Listen to the apostle Paul, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:6-12). Thus we are caused to better understand why the same apostle declared, "Now these things, brethren, I have transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written . . ." (I Corinthians 4:6).
In keeping with that statement is this declaration of John's with its awful consequence, "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, does not have God" (II John 9). In closing the Book of God, John said in the last chapter, "For I testify unto everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book: and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18, 19).
That statement, as already shown, is consonant with the tenor of the whole New Testament. Hence, this very vital conclusion is sustained: the Word has been spoken and confirmed; it is fixed, complete and final; and there is, therefore, absolutely no place or purpose in God's design for a so-called "divine, infallible apostolate." Please remember this conclusion. It is essential to a proper understanding of what we shall say henceforth. The weight of that conclusion, as it is readily arrived at in the Scriptures, might well account for why the Catholic Church contends that the Bible is a "dead letter." Now, perhaps it can be better understood why the Council of Trent in its twenty-fifth session decreed that a council under the pope should draw up and publish an index of books which were to be prohibited in the church. Among these is the Bible, which is said to have been the first prohibited in the Council of Toloso. In the fourth of the ten rules concerning prohibited books as set forth in the Council of Trent, license to read the Bible is put under control of bishops and inquisitors. He that presumes to "read without such license cannot receive absolution of sins."
Word Of God Injurious To Roman Catholic Church
Recently, I had a conversation with a young lady who had been a government engineer and a Catholic. She is now employed in a vital capacity with the American Bible Society, a non-profit organization which has as its purpose the distribution of Bibles and Testaments. Last year, that institution in the pursuit of its noble course distributed throughout the world some twelve million Bibles and twenty-nine million New Testaments, and remember, without cost to the recipients.
Several months ago that young lady went to confession. While there, the priest asked her where she was working. She told him that she was working for the American Bible Society. He said, "You'll have to stop that." She inquired why adding that she thought it was wonderful to spread God's Word. His answer was that such furthers Protestantism. If the distribution of Bibles and Testaments free from anything other than the Word of God furthers Protestantism, what can you say for Catholicism? Could there be any stronger indictment of the Catholic Church as a man-made religious organization than that? Incidentally, you might be interested to know that I baptized that young lady into Christ.
Reared As A Catholic
My father was a Catholic and was largely educated by the monks. My mother, who survives him, was not and is not, a Catholic. However, she permitted him to rear us children as Catholics. We attended a parochial school in the beginning of our formal education. We went to confession, took communion, attended mass and studied the Catechism. But my mother encouraged our study of the Bible and I recall quite well that often she gave us Bibles as presents and the text would be King James version. For where I am today, I owe much to her through the grace of God.
Doctrine Of Depravity Of Infants Causes Discontent
If memory serves me rightly, the first thing that caused me to suspect the fallacy of the Catholic Church and, consequently, the beginning of the "why" I left that apostate body is this reading which I found in the Bible: ". . . Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven' " (Matthew 19:14). Though but a youth who was otherwise little informed in the Scriptures, I could not reconcile Catholic doctrine of little children being born depraved with the statement of Jesus to the effect that the kingdom of heaven is of such as little children. I have grown some since then and now let me expound the matter a little further.
In the Bible we read, "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, 'See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?' Then Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God' " (Acts 8:36, 37). When the eunuch asked to be baptized, Philip, by the inspiration of God, laid down a provision to be met: "If you believe with all your heart, you may." Whereupon the eunuch confessed his faith in Christ and was baptized.
Now this question: can a baby do that? In Hebrews 11:6 we read, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." He that comes to God must believe that God is. Can a baby qualify?
Now we can readily understand this verse: "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized" (Acts 2:41). Who were baptized? They that gladly received his word. Well, that eliminates babies, does it not? Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). That word and is a coordinating conjunction. It connects words, phrases or clauses of equal importance. Therefore, belief is just as essential to your salvation as is baptism and baptism is just as essential to your salvation as is belief. It is a case of two plus two equals four. It takes everything on the left-hand side of the equation sign to equal that which is on the right-hand side. Therefore, we are not saved by faith only; neither are we saved by baptism only. We are saved by faith plus baptism and that eliminates babies.
Someone may yet ask, "Well, what of babies? What if they die without being baptized?" My friends, you cannot be s-a-v-e-d until you are l-o-s-t; a baby is s-a-f-e. Remember, Jesus said, ". . . of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). This is when one reaches an age at which he or she can understand the gospel of Christ as it concerns the primary steps of obedience: faith, repentance, confession and baptism.
Sprinkling For Baptism
Before we pass from the consideration of this subject, let me say that the Catholic Church ordered sprinkling or pouring of water upon one's head as baptism about A.D. 1311. Thirteen centuries after God's order was given to the world the practice of sprinkling for baptism was commanded by the Catholic Church and every religious body under heaven which practices such is merely aping the Romanist church. Here is God's definition of baptism: "Buried with him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him . . ." (Colossians 2:12).
Seeking For The Truth
As my conviction mounted that the Catholic Church was in error, I began to grope for the truth elsewhere. I eliminated certain churches from consideration on the basis that their names seemed, even then to me, to be foreign to the Scriptures and to the church which I was persuaded that Christ had established. It was on such a basis that I eliminated the Baptist and the Methodist churches. Since then I have found there is overwhelming justification for maintaining there is something in a name. How can one read in the Bible that God changed Abram's name to Abraham and Sarai's name to Sarah and Jacob's name to Israel and named Jesus and John before their births and yet contend that the names by which the church is called in the New Testament have no significance! I have learned of other disparities in the religious bodies mentioned as time has passed, but I still maintain that the name being wrong is, in itself, sufficient error.
Attends The Church Of Christ
One Sunday afternoon in September, 1928, as I was sketching at the Dallas zoo, three young ladies approached. One of them lived in my neighborhood and we had attended the same high school. She introduced the others, who proved to be her sisters, to me. Toward the close of a none too lengthy conversation, one of the sisters invited me to Bible school and church. I inquired, "Where?" She named a church of Christ meeting in south Dallas. I attended the following Sunday. Truth compels me to say that I was not very much impressed with the Bible class and its study seemed to make no lasting impression, but I was very much impressed with the young lady that may, or may not, account for the lack of impression otherwise. Anyway, several times thereafter I attended the worship there with her, but the preacher's sermons, to me, seemed to carry little force and less clarity and conviction. In due course, the young lady suggested that we begin to read the Bible together. It was agreed and we began the study of the New Testament.
Then in the spring of 1929, while in the home of a certain young man, I listened to a radio sermon which he had seemingly flipped to just in order to employ my time while he took care of some household chore. The sermon was a plain exposition of the Scriptures with frequent reference thereto and it was master-fully delivered. The young man remained away until the entire sermon had been preached and congregational singing in the form of an invitational hymn had been sung. Then I learned that I had been listening to the broadcast of the regular Sunday morning worship of the Pearl and Bryan Streets Church of Christ in Dallas with preaching being done by C. M. Pullias.
That was a pioneering venture in religious broadcasting in Dallas or, perhaps, elsewhere for that matter. The fruits of it in magnitude only eternity itself will disclose. My own experience impresses on me its possibilities for others. I am an advocate not only of the pulpit, for which there is not and can never be a substitute, but also of the press and radio and various new and usable means of visualization which are now being introduced for the promulgation of the gospel. The casual way in which I became a part of the audience of that radio sermon might suggest to many that it was strictly a matter of chance; I do not share that view. Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7, 8). I was seeking the truth; I had no personal axe to grind religiously and, by this time, I had little interest in attempting to exonerate the religious views of others. In short, I wanted to know what God would have me to do. I believe implicitly in the providence of God; and I, for one, am quite persuaded that the instance of which I now speak is an example of it, for which I give thanks to the Father of lights.
Baptized Into Christ
After hearing that sermon, I suggested to the young lady that we attend the services of the church of Christ at Pearl and Bryan Streets in Dallas. She was agreeable. We attended. The truth I learned in our Bible study together was augmented and clarified frequently by what I learned from the pulpit there. That young lady, to whom I owe so much, was formerly Miss Glendelle Myers, but for the past eighteen years she has been Mrs. Joe Malone. Coming to a knowledge of the truth and recognizing my responsibility before God, I was baptized into Christ on April 22, 1934, by C. M. Pullias, to whom I owe a profound debt, at Pearl and Bryan, where a congregation meets which I shall ever hold in grateful remembrance.
Catholic Error Why "I" Left
One's conversion is, in its nature, a personal matter and to it we have given some attention; but when I am called upon to speak with regard to "Why I Left The Catholic Church," the motives which prompted my conversion are brought into focus; and those motives, which constitute the "why" with me, far tran-scend mere personal experience and localized circumstance. Broad principles of truth are unalterably opposed by the Catholic Church. When I expose the error of the Catholic Church and show the danger therein, I am setting forth why I left the Romanist Church. Others are welcome to whatever seems plausible to them, but Catholic error is the "why" with me. Hence, let us examine that error in the light of Truth as it is reflected in the Bible; and as we do, let it be borne in mind that thus I am continuing to establish why I left the Catholic Church.
Catholics Claim The Church Is Authority
When I speak of examining the church in the light of the Word, the Catholic Church will immediately contend that the church is authority for the Word and not the Word for the church. Jesus said, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). Let those contend that the Catholic Church is authority who will, but, as for me, I am going to accept that authority by which I shall be judged in the last day: the Word of the Lord. Remember that He said, "All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). Jesus said of those whose religion is based on the tradition of men, "This people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." A bit later in the same connection He said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted" (Matthew 15:8, 9, 13).
Did The Catholics Give Us The Bible?
Again, the Catholic Church relative to the Bible is prone to say, "If you accept the Bible, you must accept us for the Bible has been preserved by us and has come to you through us." My friends, the Lord is responsible for the preservation of His Word as He said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My Words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31). Should it even be granted that the Catholic Church were the agency through which the Word was preserved for a season, what would it signify? Further, should one be ready to concede that the Bible was handed to us, in a sense by the Catholic Church, does it follow that we must believe in the Catholic Church in order to accept the Bible? If I must repossess the newspaper from the mouth of my neighbor's dog, does it follow that I must believe in my neighbor's dog in order to accept what I read in the paper? Those who accept the Bible and the Bible alone plainly show that they reject all else.
Exposed Error Called "Interpretation"
Also, the Catholic Church is very prone to say (and she has a host of allies in this matter) that the force of any scriptural argument which is brought to bear upon her fallacy is "merely your interpretation." That reminds me of that classic poem about an owl critic. He proceeded to criticize an owl over the open door of a barber shop while the barber went on shaving. The critic pointed out that the fellow that stuffed that owl should have considered a live one. He said it was hunched over unnaturally, the expression on its face was all wrong, its claws were out of shape and so on and on. Finally, the owl with some to-do, left its perch and flew out the open door. Thus some will profess the Bible to believe and yet deny the very thing they see, and, we might add, others will read the Bible with their father's spectacles upon their heads and see the thing just like their father said.
The Catholic Church would have the people think that they cannot understand the Scriptures and that they must rely upon the priest for the proper "interpretation." Thus millions of people are kept in the bondage of ignorance and are coached to say, "That's just your interpretation" when some passage from the Bible is brought to consideration in opposition to Catholic error. Here is the point: let the Bible speak for itself and when you see it in the Book believe it for what it says. Paul said of Timothy, "From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures . . ." (II Timothy 3:15). If a child can understand it, can't you?
Further, if you say that you cannot understand it, you are charging God with requiring of you more than you are able to perform, for we read, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). We urge you to follow the example of the Bereans: "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).
Now it is greatly to be hoped that we are ready to consider Catholicism in the light of God's Word and in doing so, we will understand why I left it.
The Origin Of Catholicism: One-Man Rule
Hardly had the second century begun until certain people thought they saw the wisdom of setting one man over an entire congregation and designating that man as priest. All Christians are priests, for Peter plainly states that such compose a "royal priesthood" (I Peter 2:5, 9). But, as to the oversight of an entire congregation of people, let us see what the scriptures say. In I Timothy 5:17 we read, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." The elders then are to rule in the church. We might add they rule, "Not as lords over God's heritage, but as examples to the flock" (I Peter 5:3). What is the extent of their rule? In Acts 14:23, we learn that elders were ordained in every church. Thus we are caused to know that there is to be a plurality of elders in each individual congregation. Since the elders rule jointly in every local congregation, it is evident that no one man is to appropriate all such authority unto himself. Furthermore, you do not read in the New Testament of any man, or set of men, having more authority under heaven in the church of the living God than do the elders in the church. That means that, in the matter of organization, there can be nothing larger than the local congregation with the oversight under a plurality of elders.
The Origin Of Bishop, Arch-Bishop,
Cardinal And Pope
More time passes, and the same people thought it prudent to bring many local congregations in a given district under one head and so the bishop was introduced. The name "bishop" is synonymous with elder in the Scriptures and, as for the office given to the one so designated by the Catholic Church, there is absolutely no grounds in the Bible. With the passing of additional time, it was thought to be a part of wisdom to bring all the districts in a state or province under one head and so the archbishop was introduced. Both name and office are unscriptural and anti-scriptural. Then in the course of time it was thought wise to bring all the states or provinces in a continent under one head, and so the cardinal was introduced. Both name and office are unscriptural and anti-scriptural. With the passing of further time in fact, in A.D. 606 old emperor Phocus, who was himself a murderer and an adulterer, appointed Boniface III as the first pope. Should anyone be inclined to call that in question, being mindful as I am that Romanism proposes a certain lineage from the time of Peter, I think this one argument is enough to settle the matter: for the first six centuries there was no ecumenical council called but what was called by an emperor never by a pope! The decisions of those councils were considered authoritative and nowhere in them was there the slightest or barest allusion to a pope. Why not? If there had been such, quite obviously there would have been acknowledgment of the same.
Why Peter Could Not Be A Pope
Now we have reached a vital juncture in our consideration. A pope has been appointed. The pope is supposed to be the successor of Peter; and yet, is it not strange that Peter in neither of his epistles recognized the eminence of that office? Rather he referred to himself as a servant, as an apostle, as a fellow-elder. Further, is it not strange as recorded in Acts 8, when it was desired to have men sent from Jerusalem to Samaria that they might lay hands on certain ones, that Peter and John were sent? Have you ever heard of a pope being sent anywhere? Can you, in the greatest stretch of your imagination, conceive of the present pope being sent on a mission by anyone? Does then Peter, being sent to Samaria, indicate the preeminence which is ordinarily attached to the office of pope? Something more: in the council held in Jerusalem as recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Acts, was it not James, if any one at all, who presided? Was it not James who handed down the finality of the decision? Did not Paul say, "For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles." Does not Paul in the Galatian letter tell of withstanding Peter to his face, because he stood condemned? Peter associated with the Gentiles in Antioch before the coming of the Jewish brethren, but when they came, Peter withdrew himself from the Gentiles. Paul condemned Peter because he would have Gentiles live as did the Jews. Does that indicate the preeminence of Peter? You have heard it said that the Catholic Church never changes. Peter had a wife, as shown in Matthew 8:14. The Catholic Church would have you think he was the first pope. Can his successor take a wife? Peter being right, the Catholic Church is wrong. He was certainly not in harmony with it.
Too Many Popes
Let us consider just for a moment this matter of papal lineage. Did you know that, after the papacy was introduced, there was a period of seventy years in which there was no pope at all? Did you know that for another period of fifty years there were two lines of popes? And did you know that at one time there were three popes? They were Benedict XIII, Gregory XII, the French pope, and John XXIII, the Italian pope. Where does all this leave papal lineage and infallibility?
The Pope: Ruler Of The World
When the pope is declared to be the pope, on his head is placed a three-tiered tiara, or triple crown, which means, according to Romanism, that he is the father of kings and princes, ruler of the world and vicar of Jesus Christ. The Prompta Bibliotheca, an official Roman Catholic almanac published by the press of Propaganda Fide in Rome, in its article under the heading of "Papa" states: "The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but, as it were, God, and the Vicar of Christ. The Pope is of such lofty dignity that, properly speak-ing, he has not been established in any rank of dignity, but rather has been placed upon the very summit of all ranks of dignities. He is likewise the Divine Monarch and Supreme Emperor, the King of Kings. The Pope is of so great authority that he can modify, explain or interpret even divine law." Pope Gregory said, "The Pope is the representative of God on earth; he should then govern the world. To him alone pertain infallibility and universality; all men are submitted to his laws, and he can only be judged by God; he ought to wear imperial ornaments; people and kings should kiss his feet; Christians are irrevocably submitted to his orders; they should murder their princes, fathers and children, if he command it; no council can be declared universal without the orders of the Pope; no book can be received as canonical without his authority; finally, no good or evil exists but in what he has condemned or approved." Now, my friends, I ask: "Is there, or has there ever been, in all professed Christendom, a parallel to the foregoing in arrogancy and presumption?"
The Pope In Prophecy
Let us see now if you do not quickly recognize a certain prophetic description which we shall read from the Word of God: "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts him-self above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:3, 4). Who is the man of sin, the son of perdition? He is the one who, as God, sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. If you were required to describe such an impostor, could you possibly do it more completely than is done by that apostate church herself in the description of her head?
But let us read from the Bible further beginning with the next verse: "Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:5-12). You notice that Paul states there was something which restrained, at that time, the revelation of the man of sin, even though the "mystery of iniquity" was already at work, but you will also note the restraining force would be taken out of the way.
Now let us turn to the thirteenth chapter of Revelation. There we read, "And I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. . . . And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. . . . Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. . . . Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads. . . ."
On the basis of these various verses from the chapter stated, and bearing in mind the apostle Paul's description of "the man of sin" in the second chapter of II Thessalonians, let us consider a striking parallel as it is reflected in recorded history.
Out Of Paganism Grew The Papacy
The empire of pagan Rome, like unto a cruel beast, truly wore the name of blasphemy. It was called the Holy Roman Empire. Can an empire be holy which killed the saints and supported with all its strength a worship of force and idolatry? There is blasphemy! As long as pagan Rome was in the ascendancy, her crowned heads claimed divine powers. Sufficient proof of this is seen in the fact that every ecumenical council for the first six centuries was called by an emperor. The cruelty of pagan Rome shows that she derived her power from the dragon, the devil.
When the barbarian hordes swept down from the north in A.D. 476, the empire seemingly was "wounded to death." Babylon fell to rise no more. The Kingdom of the Medes and the Persians fell to rise no more. Apparently that would be the lot of Rome. But not so! The "deadly wound was healed" and "all the world wondered after the beast." Paul declared that the "man of sin" would not be revealed until that which restrained was taken away.
History plainly shows that, as long as pagan Rome was in the ascendancy, papal Rome was held in check. In the fourth century, Emperor Constantine recognized his version of "Christianity" as the true religion; and, by his gifts to the church and at the point of the sword, he gave impetus to that movement which resulted in the ascendancy of papal Rome. As pagan Rome declined, papal Rome ascended. Out of the casket of pagan Rome emerges papal Rome! Thus the second beast makes his presence felt for, "He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence" (Revelation 13:12).
And let me say just here that all the pageantry and display and pomp and ostentation of the Roman Catholic Church as is evidenced in her ornately decorated altars, the flowing robes and richly embellished garments of her priests and the tapers and incense all of this constitutes but relics of pagan Rome and speaks convincingly, itself, of the origin of papal Rome. And yet the uninformed are taken in by such stuff, thinking that it is the mark of the true religion. How unlike the Christ who, in the midst of Roman pageantry, was born in a stable and placed in a manger and who, some two years before his death, said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." And how unlike Peter who said, "Silver and gold have I none" is that one who sits pompously in the midst of the vast wealth of the Vatican while without her walls the impoverished Italians beg for bread; and yet many of them continue to pay allegiance to that impostor who in no small degree is responsible for their sad plight. Thus the "strong delusion" works of which Paul spoke. Why cannot people see that, on the very face of it, such pageantry cannot be a part of the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ? We say with the apostle Paul, "I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (II Corinthians 11:3).
The Intolerance Of Catholicism
Further, this second beast is described thus: "He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon." How fitly that describes the Roman Catholic Church! Her outward appearance presents the meekness of a lamb, but her papal bulls and edicts disclose the voice of the dragon. "He does great wonders . . . and de-ceives them that dwell on the earth, by means of those miracles which he had power to do. . . ." Or, as Paul states in describing the man of sin, "whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." The so-called "miracles" of the Catholic Church, such as those of the scapular, are sufficiently familiar to most of you to continue this striking parallel. ". . . As many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive the mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. . . ." Romanism is intolerant when and where that church has the ascendancy. Consider the Inquisition; consider the slaughter of the Huguenots; and even today consider the rank intolerance in Catholic dominated and benighted Spain as she struggles under Franco, the henchman of the pope. Also think, if you will, of the intolerance in Portugal and reflect upon the cruel suppression of the activity of other religious bodies in many South American countries particularly such countries as Argentina under the papal servant, Peron as the intolerance there has been brought to light time and time again by the protest of those religious bodies in the American press.
Catholicism Seeks Political Supremacy
What has happened and is happening in other countries would happen here if the Catholic Church were in the ascendancy that is my firm conviction. By their fruits, you shall know them! All of this stems from the idea that the pope should govern the world. Do not be deceived, the Catholic Church still entertains that hope. Hear her own spokesman, Cardinal Gibbons in The Faith of Our Fathers, page 150: "For our part we have every confidence that ere long the clouds which now overshadow the civil throne of the Pope will be removed by the breath of a righteous God, and that his temporal power will be reestablished on a more permanent basis." (This quotation is taken from the 83rd revised edition of the above book, published in 1917.) Further Paul tells us of the "deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." Jesus tells us that God's Word is truth (John 17:17). The Bible contains that Word and yet those in the bondage of Romanism permit themselves to be persuaded that "the Bible is a dead letter and cannot interpret itself." ". . . And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Catholicism Opposes Separation Of Church And State
What has been said plainly shows that the Catholic Church bitterly opposes the separation of church and state. When Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21), He forever separated the church, on the one hand, from the state, on the other. That period of spiritual degeneration, so aptly called the "Dark Ages," was the awful result of the merger of church and state.
Concerning this matter of the separation of church and state, one point which has been brought under very subtle attack is our public school set-up. As you perhaps know, some time ago the United States Supreme Court granted permission by a vote of five to four for parochial school children to be carried on public school buses. Later, Paul Connell, a lawyer in a school district in Pennsylvania, endeavored to force the local public school board to carry his daughter to a parochial school in a public school bus. The public school board refused. The matter was taken to the county court which sustained the decision of the school board. It was taken in due course to the state supreme court which upheld the former decision. Ultimately it reached the United States Supreme Court which, by its action, gave support to the decision originally arrived at by the school board itself. But do you not see the pattern? First permission is received and then compulsion is striven for. Catholics will argue that they pay taxes and, therefore, they are entitled to the use of the public school buses. They are entitled to the use of the public school buses on the same basis that every other taxpayer is: that is, that their children might be carried to some public school. Everyone welcomes their use of the public school buses on that basis. But when any school and I mean any school teaches a peculiar religious dogma, it forfeits the right to state support and it thereby forfeits the right to the use of public school buses. Indeed so!
The Bible In The Public School
There are those, some of whom ought to know better, who are urging that the study of the Bible be introduced into the public schools. The public school is a state institution, being supported by public funds. To argue that the Bible be taught therein is to waive the principle laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ concern-ing the separation of church and state. To contend that the Bible should be taught in public schools is also to waive the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Further, let it be borne in mind that all people who pay taxes support the state schools and if all tax-paying religionists did not have a voice in the particular course proposed for study, could not the slighted taxpayers say with Henry, "Taxation without representation is tyranny!" And if, on the other hand, all religionists did not have a voice in the course of study, tell me what kind of course would it be? Far better that there be no course than to have such a travesty. But the United States Supreme Court has ruled in this very matter and I have here the decision as reported in the United Press dispatch dated Tuesday, March 9, 1948: "Washington, March 8th The Supreme Court ruled Monday that religious teaching in public schools, even on a voluntary basis, is unconstitutional." The eight to one decision was made in a case challenging the voluntary religious instruction system used in the Champaign, Illinois, public schools. The majority opinion, written by Justice Hugo L. Black, was based on the separation of church and state as provided in the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Justice Stanley F. Reed was the lone dissenter. Black held that the First Amendment "has erected a wall between church and state which must be kept high and impregnable." He added that the Champaign plan "falls squarely under the ban of the First Amendment."
It might not be amiss just here to read the language of some of our men of state concerning this very matter.
James G. Blaine Opposes Union Of Church And State
James G. Blaine presented this article in the House of Representatives as a Constitutional Amendment: "No state shall make any law representing an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by school taxation in any state for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund thereof, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised, or land so devoted, be divided among religious sects or denominations." It was stated by Senator Blaine, as a matter of history, on the 15th day of February, 1888, that the defeat of this amendment was brought about by the Jesuits. Who are the Jesuits? A former Catholic priest has referred to them as "that society of storm troopers and mischief-makers of the Roman Catholic Church."
President James A. Garfield's Statement
President James A. Garfield said, "Next in importance to freedom and justice, is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained. It would be unjust to our people, and dangerous to our institutions, to apply any portion of the revenue of the nation, or of the state to the support of sectarian schools. The separation of the church and state, in everything relating to taxation, should be absolute."
General Grant Sees Conflict
General U. S. Grant declared, "If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon, but it will be between patriotism and intelligence on one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other. In this centennial year, the work of strengthening the foundation of the structure laid by our forefathers one hundred years ago, should be begun. Let us all labor for the security of free thought, free speech, free press, and pure morals, unfettered religious sentiments, and equal rights and privileges for all men, irrespective of nationality, color or religion. Encourage free schools, and resolve that not one dollar appropriated to them shall be applied to the support of any sectarian school; resolve that any child in the land may get a common school education, unmixed with atheistic, pagan or sectarian teachings; keep the church and state forever separate."
Abraham Lincoln Vs. The Catholic Church
Abraham Lincoln stated, "As long as God gives me a heart to feel, a brain to think, or a hand to execute my will, I will devote it against that power which has attempted to use the machinery of the courts to destroy the rights and character of an American citizen. But there is a thing which is very certain; it is, that if the American people could learn what I know of the fierce hatred of the generality of the priests of Rome against our institutions, our schools, our most sacred rights, and our so dearly bought liberties, they would drive them away, tomorrow, from among us, or would shoot them as traitors. . . . The history of the last thousand years tells us that wherever the Church of Rome is not a dagger to pierce the bosom of a free nation, she is a stone to her neck, and a ball to her feet, to paralyze her and prevent her advance in the ways of civilization, science, intelligence, happiness, and liberty. . . . I do not pretend to be a prophet. But though not a prophet, I see a very dark cloud on our horizon. And that dark cloud is coming from Rome. It is filled with tears of blood. It will rise and increase, till its flanks will be torn by a flash of lightening, followed by a fearful peal of thunder. Then a cyclone such as the world has never seen, will pass over this country, spreading ruin and desolation from north to south. After it is over, there will be long days of peace and prosperity; for popery, with its Jesuits and merciless Inquisition, will have been forever swept away from our country. Neither I nor you, but our children, will see those things." The beloved Lincoln made the statement just given at the conclusion of the trial of Mr. Chiniquy, author of the book, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome.
According to the book, America or Rome, Christ or the Pope by John L. Brandt, it was published in the various papers that Lincoln was born a Catholic, baptized by a priest and therefore was to be considered a renegade and an apostate. Although this was false, Mr. Chiniquy said to Lincoln at the time, "That report is your sentence of death."
The book further records that Lincoln's murder was planned in the home of Mrs. Surratt, a Roman Catholic. Booth, the murderer, was a Roman Catholic. Mr. Lloyd, who had the carbine that Booth wanted for "protection," was a Roman Catholic. Dr. Mudd, who set Booth's fractured leg, was a Roman Catholic. Garrett, in whose barn Booth tried to hide, was a Roman Catholic. The death of Lincoln was announced by Roman Catholics several hours before it occurred at St. Joseph, Minnesota, forty miles from a railroad and eighty miles from the nearest telegraph station. This fact is established in history.
After being apprehended, Booth said, "I can never repent. God made me the instrument of his punishment."
Prominent government officials said, "We have not the least doubt but that the Jesuits were at the bottom of the great iniquity." Mr. Chiniquy, Colonel Edwin A. Sherman and General Harris, friends of Lincoln, investigated the matter and unequivocally affirmed that Rome was the instigator of Lincoln's assassination.
The Bulwark Of Democracy
I realize that I have dwelt at considerable length on this matter of the separation of church and state but I consider it most vital and I am persuaded that the great principle involved is, in this great nation of ours, being subjected to constant and insidious attack. As for our public schools, I salute them as the bulwark of democracy. The Catholic Church charges that our public schools are Godless and inept. I answer, by their fruits you shall know them. Contrast the United States, the land of freedom and great achievement, with her public school system and high literacy standard with those countries burdened with Catholic education: benighted Spain and Portugal, backward Ireland, prostrate Italy, debauched France and the groping countries of South America. There you have sufficient answer! If we would maintain democracy as we know it, let us maintain our public school system as it is!
Catholic Holy Water
Now let us proceed with our consideration of Romanist doctrine and thus continue to establish the disregard for God's Word as reflected therein, and thereby further set forth why I left the Catholic Church. The introduction of "Holy Water" could easily have been the first departure from simple New Testament teaching. Where, pray tell me, do you read in the gospel of Christ of Holy Water? Peter tells us that God has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness (II Peter 1:3), but God has not given to us anything that pertains to Holy Water. There-fore Holy Water is no part of life or Godliness. Furthermore, let it be constantly borne in mind that, as already established, the revelation of God as it concerns our duty to Him is fixed, final and complete. As Jude would say, it has been "once delivered unto the saints." Hence, beloved, to teach or practice something not authorized therein is to fall under the indictment pronounced by John in these words: "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God" (II John 9). So a little Holy Water becomes a violation of a great principle.
The Latin Mass
And then there is the Latin Mass. Wherever you go upon the earth in this country, Canada, England, France, Germany, the countries of South America or Africa or Asia the mass is said in Latin, a dead language. Yet the apostle Paul declared, "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say 'Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (I Corinthians 14:14-19). Let the Roman Catholic Church contend that the world-wide Latin mass is a mark of her universality and a sign of her cohesion; the truth remains that it is a flat violation of the teaching of the apostle Paul which has just been given. Thus, again, the Catholic Church disregards the Word of God.
The Sacrament Of Penance
Let us now take a look at the Sacrament of Penance. According to this point of Catholic doctrine, which is everywhere embraced, acknowledged and studied by Catholics, when men sin they incur the wrath of God and when they repent and receive the Sacrament of Absolution, they are forgiven but not altogether! The Council of Trent sets forth: "If any man shall say that the whole penalty is always remitted by God, together with the guilt, and that the only satisfaction of penitents is faith whereby they embrace that Christ has made satisfaction for them: let him be accursed." Thus the Catholic Church teaches that there are two punishments for sin, the eternal and the temporal. Now, by the Sacrament of Penance, the eternal punishment is remitted, but the temporal punishment remains due. Man must do something to appease the wrath of God regarding the temporal punishment. The priest determines what is sufficient to satisfy God in this matter. In Peter Dens' Theology, a long list of suggested works of satisfaction practiced in the Romanist Church are given: fasting, rising earlier, enduring cold, praying, reciting litanies, reading the penitential psalms, hearing masses, visiting churches, wearing sackcloth, making gift of food, clothes, money and so on. Let us see the gross offense to God's Word in this. First, it makes God's forgiveness incomplete. But hear the Lord in the matter: "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).
Second, it makes Christ only a partial Savior the ministry of the priest is altogether essential; he must determine what more is necessary in order to satisfy God. But we read of Christ: "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make inter-cession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Get it, my friends! Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him!
Finally, as already stated, it makes the priest an absolutely necessary mediator and in this we see the design of the Catholic Church to bind the people to herself through her system of priests and sacraments which they alone can administer. But hear the apostle Paul in this matter: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5). There is one mediator; that mediator is Jesus Christ and that eliminates the Catholic priest from God's order.
Catholic Doctrine Of Purgatory
Let us now have a look at the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. The first council that mentions the subject of purgatory is the Council of Florence in A.D. 1438. It decreed, "If any true penitents shall depart this life in the love of God, before they have made satisfaction by worthy fruits of penance for faults of commission and omission, their souls are purified after death, by the pains of purgatory." In the Douay Catechism, we read: "Whither go such as die in venial sin, or not having fully satisfied the punishment due to their mortal sin? The answer: To purgatory, till they have made full satisfaction for them, and then to heaven. What is purgatory? The answer: A place of punish-ment in the other life where souls suffer for a time, before they can go to heaven."
As to the nature of the punishment, Peter Dens states that it is two-fold: one of loss and one of sense. The punishment of loss is merely a delay of the beatific confession and the punishment of sense in purgatory is caused by material fire. Bellarmine maintains that the punishments of purgatory are more severe, grievous and bitter than the greatest punishments of this world.
Damien, along with others, teaches the inhabitants of purgatory pass rapidly and painfully in baths ranging from cool to tepid, from torrid to frigid, from freezing to boiling. Thurcal tells us that, among other things, the sufferers have to pass over a bridge studded with sharp nails with points upturned; the souls have to walk barefoot on this rough road and many ease their feet by using their hands; others roll with the whole body on the perforating nails until, at last, bloodily pierced, they complete their way over the painful course. Thus, in due course, they escape to heaven. Such are some of the visions of purgatory depicted by some of the Romanist theological writers. Such tales are as silly as pagan mythology. In fact, Plato, Homer and Virgil taught the same doctrine. Protestants of today have so exposed these absurd notions that Roman Catholics are sometimes hesi-tant to acknowledge such a portrayal of purgatory. Yet the time was when the pope, the cardinals and their coworkers upheld such rigidly and to deny it was a mark of heresy. Their modern writers still maintain the punishment is extremely severe and is caused by material fire.
Where Is Purgatory?
As to where purgatory is, Catholic authors cannot decide. Gregory the Great thought it to be in the earth's center and he considered the eruptions of Vesuvius and Aetna as flames arising from it. Bellarmine thought purgatory between heaven and earth with the demons of the air. Damien with others concluded it might be in some flaming cavern or icy stream. The truth is, of course, that there is no such place. It is but the figment of Catholicism and is used to fatten her purse and bind the people to the ministry of her priests as we shall see in our consideration of indulgences, invented to release the sufferers from the imagined purgatory and transport them to paradise. Beloved, the Word of God very plainly teaches that our eternal destiny is sealed at the time of our physical death. Paul declares, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (II Corinthians 5:10). We shall be judged by what we do in the body and James sets forth that "the body without the spirit is dead" (James 2:26). Hence, when we die in the body our eternal judgment and destiny are sealed! This, of course, is absolutely fatal to the theory of purgatory, a supposed place of further cleansing.
A Great Gulf Fixed
Listen to Jesus, whose native home is the other world, as He gives us the account of the rich man and Lazarus. "So it was that the beggar [Lazarus] died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abra-ham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.' " Now take notice: " 'And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us' " (Luke 16:22-26). After death, there is a great gulf fixed between them which cannot be crossed, and mark it! that is before the final judgment, for later the rich man pleads that Lazarus might be sent to his father's house in order to testify to his five brethren. Remember, too, the account reads, ". . . The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes. . . ." That is the sequence. So, we see that after death there is a great gulf fixed that cannot be crossed. What purpose, then, can purgatory serve? It is not strange that Catholicism rejects the Bible; to accept the Bible would be to destroy Catholicism.
Indulgences The Key To Purgatory
As soon as the Catholic Church had invented purgatory, she devised means of affording a fictitious key, namely indulgences, to unlock the door of that fictitious prison called purgatory. The Catholic Church tells us that "an indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment of our sins, which the Church grants us outside the sacrament of penance. Can indulgences be made use of to the souls in purgatory? Yes, all indulgences which the Pope has indicated for that purpose." Pope Leo X stated, "We have thought proper to signify to you that the Bishop of Rome is able to grant to the faithful in Christ, indulgence either in this life or in purgatory out of the superabundant merits of Christ and his saints." The bishop may grant indulgences in his diocese and the archbishop throughout the whole province, but the pope is the supreme dispenser of indulgences. An indulgence may be received by a man before he enters purgatory and so be happy. Or, an individual might operate retroactively in regard to certain works of alms, prayers and the like performed by someone for another. For example, a Catholic with sympathy for his relatives in purgatory might obtain an indulgence in the form of commutation of their sentence in that fiery region, securing in such a case an indulgence of a certain number of days or years.
According to a Catholic book of devotion, this brief petition, "Sweet heart of Mary, save me!" gives three hundred days indulgence every time it is repeated. From the infallibly authorized Book of the Scapular, we take note that: To those who wear the scapular during life, Mary makes this promise; "I, their glorious mother, on the Saturday after death, will descend to purgatory and deliver those whom I shall find there, and take them up to the holy mountain of eternal life." To visit a Carmelite church on Saturday procures eighty-seven years of indulgence and the remission of two-sevenths of all sins; to wear a blue scapular gives full indulgence, cancels all sins and gives a free ticket to paradise.
America Spends Ten Million In Indulgences
Indulgences have been used to prompt crusaders to rise up against those who have opposed Catholicism; they have been used to purchase the remission of sins and to deliver souls from purgatory.
Mr. Chiniquy, in chapter twenty-five of his book Fifty Years in Rome, states that more than ten million dollars are expended annually in North America to help souls out of purgatory. At the time of writing, he stated that masses were said in Canada at twenty-five cents each and in many parts of United States at one dollar each, and that it was, therefore, a common practice for the bishops in the United States to have masses said in Canada for the departed souls and thereby make seventy-five cents on each mass. For many years it was a common practice for the bishops of Canada to send to Paris to have masses said at five cents each by the poorer priests there, thus saving twenty cents on each mass they were paid to celebrate.
Luther Arises Against Indulgences
When Martin Luther was serving as a priest in Whittenberg, Germany, Johan Tetzel, a Dominican priest, came through that region selling indulgences and telling the people that if they would buy those indulgences and couple with them severe penance, they would have the remission of their sins.
That seems to be the incident that prompted Luther to put his ninety-five objections to the Catholic Church on the door of the church building and then defy the whole Catholic hierarchy, pope included, to debate the merit of his objections.
I might add that the money thus obtained by Tetzel was going to complete the building of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. There was no scruple about this business of selling indulgences. Tetzel went so far as to proclaim that he had saved more souls from hell by his indulgences than the apostle Peter had converted to Christianity by his preaching. If that is not making merchandise of religion, pray tell me, what is it? Coming to a knowledge of the truth and being honest with myself, I could not stay in the Catholic Church. That is why I left.
The Doctrine Of Extreme Unction
The Catholic Church practices what she terms "extreme unction." She describes it thus; "Extreme unction is a sacrament in which by the anointing with holy oil and by the prayers of the priest, the sick receive the grace of God for the good of their souls, and often also their bodies. . . . It [extreme unction] in-creases sanctifying grace; it remits venial sins, and those mortal sins which a sick person repents of; it strengthens the soul in its sufferings and temptations; it often relieves the pains of sick persons, and sometimes restores him to health. . . . We should receive extreme unction when we are in danger of death from sickness." This is a shining example of Catholic arrogance and presumption. Not only is there no mention whatever of such a practice in God's Word, but for the first eleven hundred years of this Christian era there is no record of its ever being practiced among the people of earth. In the Converted Catholic Magazine of several months ago, there was an article, if I mistake not, having to do with the grave misgivings on the one hand or the fears on the other of Catholic youth engaged in World War II, who on the eve of actual combat reflected on the impossibility of Catholic chaplains being everywhere present to administer extreme unction. Protestant youth understand that there is one mediator, Jesus Christ, and that He is truly omnipresent and, hence, they are not concerned about the feigned mediation of one who, like themselves, has feet of clay.
Catholicism Only Authority For Instrumental Music
The Roman Catholic Church practices and thus teaches, the use of mechanical instruments of music in the worship. Everyone who is a member of a religious body using mechanical instruments of music in its worship has no higher authority for the use of the same than the Romanist Church. The New Testament teaches us to make melody in our hearts (Ephesians 5:19) with the fruit of our lips (Hebrews 13:15). It further teaches us that this melody, our singing, is to be with the spirit and the under-standing (I Corinthians 14:15). Can an insensate, mechanical instrument of music qualify? You may read your New Testament very, very carefully and you will not find the remotest hint of authority for the use of them. What does that mean? It means that whoever practices it in the worship goes beyond the authority of Christ and John states that he "does not have God" (II John 9). Of course, instrumental music is not wrong in itself; if that were true, it would be wrong anywhere at anytime. But remember this one thing, it is wrong to introduce it into what is professed to be Christian worship when God has not commanded us to do so. We cannot infringe on the silence of the scriptures.
When Pope Vitalian II introduced instrumental music into the worship in A.D. 666, it created such a furor that it had to be removed for about a hundred years. The matter of objection thereto, and division as a result thereof, has always followed in its wake. Indeed so!
Confessing Sins To Priests
Let me speak briefly of auricular confession and the arrogant contention that the priest can forgive sin. There is a curtained recess or box which is called the confessional in every Catholic Church. The penitent Catholic on bended knee there meets the seated Catholic priest and, as the priest questions, the penitent recites his various misdeeds since they last met. This is called "auricular" because it is made into the auris, or ear, of the priest. It is but one of not a few abominable practices introduced during the medieval period. In fact, learned Romanists do not deny that auricular confession became a practice of the Catholic Church at the council of Lateran, A.D. 1215. Pope Innocent III, of the merciless Inquisition, was its founder. Catholics, generally, do not know that. Here is one reason why they do not: the Council of Trent declared, "Whoever shall say that the mode of secretly confessing to a priest alone, which the Catholic Church has always observed from the beginning and still observes, is foreign to the institution and command of Christ, and is a human invention; let him be accursed. . . ."
My friends, here is God's way: first, for the alien sinner when in Acts 2, the believing Jews cried out, ". . . 'what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit' " (Acts 2:37, 38). No command here to confess to any priest or any other man for the purpose of obtaining absolution.
Now concerning God's way for those in the church: when Simon, after his baptism as recorded in Acts 8, had committed a grievous sin, Peter directed him as follows: ". . . Repent there-fore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you . . ." (Acts 8:21-23). Peter did not direct him to confess his sins to a priest in order to obtain absolution. James, in giving instructions to those in the church, said, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray one another, that you may be healed" (James 5:16). My friends, that states, "Confess your faults one to another." It does not say to a priest.
Corrupting Influences Of The Auricular Confession
Concerning another aspect of such a practice, Mr. Chiniquy, an ex-priest of good authority, says: "I have heard the confession of more than two hundred priests, and to say the truth, as God knows it, I must declare that only twenty-one had not to weep over the secret sins committed through the irresistibly corrupting influences of auricular confession. I am now more than seventy-seven years old, and in a short time I shall be in my grave. I shall have to give an account of what I now say. Well, it is in the presence of my Great Judge, with my tomb before my eyes, that I declare to the world that very few yes, very few priests escape from falling into the pit of the most horrible moral depravity the world has ever known, through the confession of females."
Do Catholics Teach That Priests Can Forgive Sins?
Let us look, just for a moment, at this question, "Does the Catholic Church really teach that the priests can forgive sin?" In Deharbe's Catechism, page 150, we read, "Question: Does the priest really forgive sins, or does he only declare them forgiven? Answer: The priest really and truly forgives sins through the power given him by Christ." How is the little child, or ignorant adult, or the one educated in a Catholic school going to recognize how much the Scriptures are perverted in that statement? To forgive sins is God's prerogative and He has never delegated it to any priest! "He as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Such blasphemy!
"Call No Man Father"
While speaking of the usurpation of that which belongs to God, let us consider the fact that the priest is called "Father." Jesus said, "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven" (Matthew 23:8, 9). The usual Catholic quibble is, "You call your paternal parent 'father'." Yes, and Jesus speaks of the earthly parent in that manner, but here it plainly has a religious designation as the context shows.
Lord's Supper Becomes Literal Body
And Blood Of Jesus
Now let us briefly consider the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. The Council of Trent declared, "Whosoever shall deny that in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist are contained, truly, really and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, the entire Christ; but shall say that he is in it only as in a sign, or figure of virtue: let him be accursed." From one of the Catholic Mission Books comes this: "Question: How and when are the bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? Answer: This change is wrought by virtue of the words of consecration pronounced by the Priest during the Holy Mass." Thus the Catholic Church teaches that the priest has the power to change the bread and wine into the very body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ; and then, permit us to add, the priest proceeds, along with his fellow-communicants, to eat the very Lord whom he professes to have thus brought into being. This absurd doctrine and practice was no doubt what prompted Crotus, the Jew, to say, "Christians eat their God." The cannibal never eats the object of his superstition, but the Roman Catholic eats the object of his adoration.
Mr. Chiniquy, the ex-priest, declares, "The world in its darkest age of paganism has never witnessed such a system of idolatry, so debasing, impious, ridiculous and diabolical in its consequences as the Church of Rome teaches in the dogma of transubstantiation. . . . It seems impossible that man can consent to worship a God whom the rats can eat. . . ."
In instituting the Lord's Supper, Jesus took bread and said of it, "This is My body." When our Lord made that statement, He was very much in the flesh of His body and the blood was coursing through His veins. Yet He used the present tense of the verb in declaring, "This is My body." Now this question: if the bread thus became the very body of Christ, what became of the One whose hand held that bread? Remember, He has but one body. Jesus also said, "I am the door and I am the true vine," yet none of us have any difficulty understanding that Christ is not a literal door or vine. Why then should anyone have difficulty in under-standing that Christ, in the body, said of a piece of bread, "This is my body"; that He did not literally become that piece of bread? Paul tells us, ". . . that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me' " (I Corinthians 11:23, 24). Notice, "Do this in remembrance of Me [Christ]." Now can the bread be, at the one and the same time, the memorial and the thing memorialized? Paul tells us that the Lord's Supper is a memorial of the death of Christ until He shall come (I Corinthians 11:26).
Usually the Catholic will strive to justify his position by turning to the sixth chapter of John and reading, "Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you . . . For my flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed' " (John 6:53, 55). Where is the Lord's Supper mentioned in that chapter? That was spoken before He instituted the Supper. To take a text from the context becomes a pretext. Continue to read the chapter and Jesus gives this meaning: "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life" (verse 63).
In Deharbe's Large Catechism, we read: "Have we to drink of the chalice, to receive the blood of Christ? No, for under the appearance of bread, we receive also the Blood of Christ, since we receive His living body." Let the very words of Jesus refute that Catholic teaching, "Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you' " (Mat-thew 26:27). And then we read in Mark 14:23, "Then he took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it."
Doctrine Of Celibacy
Let us view for a short while the Catholic doctrine of celibacy. The Council of Trent decreed: "Whoever shall say that the clergy constituted in sacred order, or regulars, who have solemnly professed chastity, may contract marriage and that the contract is valid: let him be accursed. . . . Whoever shall say that the marri-age state is to be preferred to the state of virginity, or celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to retain virginity, or celibacy, than to be joined in marriage: let him be accursed." The Catholic Church imposes celibacy on the pope, the cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops, the priests and the nuns. Yet God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him" (Genesis 2:18). We read in Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage is honorable among all. . . ."
In the summer of 1946, a young lady who was a Catholic and who was preparing to become a nun attended the last service of a meeting in which I was preaching in Stratford, Oklahoma. Afterwards, she asked to talk with me. During our conversation, I pointed out that, if she became a nun as she planned, she was going to pervert the course that God would have her follow, and then I quoted this statement made by the apostle Paul, "There-fore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully" (I Timothy 5:14). I am happy to say that, after some two hours of our considering the Bible versus Catholicism, I had the very great pleasure of baptizing that young lady into Christ.
Concubinage In Catholicism
In the Moral Theology of Ligori, Volume 8, page 444, we read: "A bishop, however poor he may be, cannot appropriate to pecuniary fines, without license of the Apostolical See. But he ought to apply them to pious uses. Much less can he apply those fines to anything else but pious uses, which the Council of Trent has laid upon non-resident clergymen, or upon those clergymen who keep concubines." Think of it! If a clergyman of the Catholic Church marries, he is excommunicated, but if he keeps a concubine, he merely is subject to a fine. Indeed it is a strong delusion that can ensnare people in a religion that teaches such!
It is no wonder that the St. Louis Republican of June 20th, 1887, printed a letter from Bishop Hogan of the Catholic Diocese of St. Joseph in which he gives a list of twenty-two priests received into his diocese the fifteen years prior to 1876 whom he was compelled to dismiss on account of immoralities. About the middle of the past century, Bishop Vandeveld, of Chicago, said of the conduct of priests in his diocese: ". . . they are all either notorious drunkards, or given to public or secret concubinage." Finally, concerning this matter of forbidding to marry, listen to this language from the Bible: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth" (I Timothy 4:1-3). If ever God in His Word points the finger of inspiration at a religious body and brands it an apostasy, He does in this instance. Which body? That one which forbids to marry and commands to abstain from meats. But with Catholicism, the Bible is a dead letter. No wonder!
Pope Becomes Infallible In 1870
The Roman Catholic Church had considerable difficulty deciding that her pope is infallible, and the matter required much time. In fact, it was not until the Vatican Council in 1870 that the infallibility of the pope was adopted. Here is the result of that council's vote on the matter: For 451, against 88, 62 would accept if modified, and 70 did not vote at all! On the basis of that, a fallible cardinal becomes infallible in the administration of his office when appointed pope. Who can believe such? And remember, this was adopted more than eighteen hundred years after Christ had given to the world His fixed, final and complete revelation of what constitutes acceptable service to Almighty God.
Images In The Catholic Church
The use of relics and images by the Roman Catholic Church is common knowledge. Suffice it to spend but a few moments on the matter. About 601, Gregory the Great condemned the use of images in the strongest terms. He very highly commended the Bishop of Marseilles for breaking the images to pieces. Yet at the Council of Trent, A.D. 1545, a decree was pronounced, and is authoritative today, to the effect that "images were to be retained and due honor and veneration to be given them as representing those whose likenesses those images bear." Thomas Aquinas said, "The same reverence is to be paid to the image of Christ, as to Christ himself."
Did you ever see a Catholic statue supposed to be a likeness of the adult Christ in which his hair was not shown as long dropping, perhaps, to the shoulders? The apostle Paul declares that even nature teaches that it is a shame for a man to have long hair (I Corinthians 11:14). Do you think that Jesus would violate that declaration which He moved Paul to record? Did you ever see a statue of Jesus in which He was not portrayed as being beautiful in body? Yet Isaiah said of Him, ". . . when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isaiah 53:2).
I have said the foregoing in order to point up this statement: no one knows how Jesus looked in the flesh and I submit to you that here is sufficient grounds for withholding such from man, "You shall not make for yourself a carved image any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God am a jealous God . . ." (Exodus 20:4, 5). It is no strange thing that the Catholic Church has entirely eliminated the wording of this second commandment of the Decalogue from its versions of the Catholic Baltimore Catechism, taught in all its parochial schools. The Bible becomes a dead letter to that religion which it condemns.
Life magazine, reporting the ceremonies in Ottawa, Canada, in June, 1947, at the Marian Congress, pointed out that a great procession of devout people knelt and kissed the foot of the giant statue of Mary "Until the paint wore off its toes." Pictures in L'Europeo, an Italian newspaper, of April 5, 1947, shows that devout Catholics in Naples continue to crawl at full length on their stomachs before the images of their Madonnas and lick the ground with their tongues on their way to the statues. Some years ago, the New York Department of Health was compelled to put a stop to this practice among the Italian people in the Bronx, because it resulted in so many cases of tetanus. Such idolatry!
The Worship Of Mary The Goddess Of Heaven
Catholics pray to Mary, to their saints and here is a prayer, found in the Breviary for the 14th of September, addressed to the cross as if it were living: "O cross, more splendid than the stars, illustrious throughout the World, much beloved by men, more holy than all things, who alone was worthy to bear the treasure of the world, bearing sweet wood, sweet nails, a sweet burden, save this present multitude assembled this day in thy praise."
As for prayers to Mary, in a book published by the Excelsior Publishing House, New York, 1891, and which book is entitled Glories of Mary and which was approved by the Archbishop of New York, on page 84 we read, "Sinners receive pardon only through the intercession of Mary." In the rosary, Catholics call on our Father some fourteen times and upon Mary some fifty-three times. The Bible teaches that ". . . whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).
Nowhere in God's Word are we taught to pray unto anyone other than God, and nowhere in His Word are we taught to pray through anyone other than Christ, who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
Mother Of God
Catholics exalt Mary thus: "Thou art called the Mediatrix of all grace, the Refuge of afflicted hearts, the Advocate of desperate causes, the unfailing succor of all in need. It is through Thy maternal Heart that all benefits come to us. Filled with confidence in Thy Immaculate Heart which we venerate and love, we come to Thee with our pressing needs and many supplications. . . . "
The Catholic Church addresses Mary as the "Mother of God" even though the first four words in the Bible declare that it is not so. On occasion, Catholics pray "five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys"; and, at such a time, they pray the same prayers through five times in undelayed succession. But listen to Jesus, "When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words" (Matthew 6:7).
According to a recent issue of the Time magazine, next year on the occasion of the present pope's fiftieth anniversary of entry into the priesthood, the Catholic Church is going to proclaim the ascension of Mary as a tenet of Catholicism! (This sermon was in November, 1948.) And Catholics will accept it! Thus Catholicism, like paganism, has her high priestess! Now listen to the Bible: "And it happened, as He [Jesus] spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!' But He [Jesus] said, 'More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it' " (Luke 11:27, 28).
How The Catholic Church Gains Adherents
The Catholic Church gains her adherents through three principal channels:
(1) immigration those who come to our
shores are largely Catholic;
(2) the offspring of Catholics usually
educated in parochial schools;
(3) the offspring born to a Catholic and
non-Catholic union the Catholic Church requires
that children born to such a union be reared as
How can a man or woman find such attraction in one of the opposite sex as to be willing to consign their unborn children to such an apostasy?
Thus I have set forth why I left the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church disregards the Word of God and is not the church of the New Testament. I believe that I have established that in the light of truth. I thank God that I am a member of the church of Christ, which takes its stand upon the Bible.
Beloved, Jezebel with her idolatry is at work in the land. We see bowed forms before her in the press and on the screen. This is no time for weak-kneed Protestantism; this is a time for courageous, concerted action in behalf of truth. Cast out that evil influence, as was Jezebel of old! How? Exalt and spread the Bible's influence. No one can embrace Catholicism without rejecting the Bible. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.
Find the true church in your own home town!
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