By Ron Kempen, Gospel Light Ministries
Papal infallibility is taught in the Catholic Church because, according to their view of Matthew 18:16-18, Peter was the first pope (i.e., the “rock” as they claim Jesus calls him) and that the gates of hell would not prevail against the (Catholic) church. The truth is that Jesus Christ is the Rock and always has been just as Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 10:4, “that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” His church consists of whosoever believes in Him, not whosoever believes in a religious system such as Catholicism. We need to question whether the Pope or the papal position is really in fallible when we see the succession of popes at times coming through illegitimate offspring. Is illegitimacy really a characteristic of infallibility?
Sacraments, despite the claim of the Catholic Church, are not the means to attain grace. For example, baptism is not needed for salvation as the Catholic Church claims and as Scripture doesn’t claim. If it was the means of gaining salvation, then why did Jesus die? If sacraments did save us, then we could boast about our own participation in them to claim that we are saved. Baptism is something we do AFTER we believe in what Jesus did for us, not a work for us to get saved by. If baptism (or any of the other sacraments) saves us, then Ephesians 2:8-9 is nullified: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” There is absolutely nothing we can do that we can boast about that will get us into heaven. Salvation is completely the work of Christ on the cross and our faith in Him. God gets all the glory and the credit.
The Eucharist, which the Catholic Church claims to be the real body and blood of Christ, is another hot spot that we can look at. Christ was talking in spiritual terms just as He was in John 4 about the food that He had to eat. Why, if He was talking in literal language, do people still physically die and still hunger and thirst (see John 6:32-63)? And why is it that while Matthew 15:16-20 tells us that nothing that goes into the mouth defiles a person, the Catholic Church would have us believe that Jesus meant by literally eating His very body we’d be able to save ourselves? He went to the cross to save us and communion is done to remember that very important event (see Hebrews 7-10).
Why is it that the Catholic Church ignores the Scriptures that are so clear, such as in 1 Timothy 2:5 and Acts 4:12, in telling us that “Jesus is the only mediator” and “by no other name is one saved?” God will share His glory with no other. He is God and there is no other (see Isaiah 45:5). Despite what Scripture says (and doesn’t say), the Catholic Church still says that we should pray to Mary and to the saints to help us with our spiritual needs.
According to the Catholic Church, justification is supposedly by faith AND works. Again, the Church ignores the many Scriptures that say salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, and that it is not by works, so no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9), and “If by grace then it cannot be by works” (Romans 11:6).
To support the idea of purgatory, Catholic apologists twist 1 Corinthians 3:15 where it says that it is our works that go through the fire, not our bodies. They also disregard Romans 9:30-32 which tells us, “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.”
Another passage that is disregarded is Romans 10:2-4 which says, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”
Romans 4:5 tells us, “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
Galatians 2:16 says, “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
And Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. All these verses the Catholic Church denies in an attempt to show an individual’s need to show the world how righteousness is attainable by one’s own abilities and works, not by having faith in Jesus alone. But Jesus did the work for us, once for all, 2,000 years ago.
Finally, the Catholic Church preaches a replacement theology that claims that the promises God made to Israel now apply to the church instead. What happened to Romans 11:1 and 25? These verses tell us that God is not done with Israel by any means!
In closing, I suggest that before believers in Catholicism consider buying this book, they consider seriously the points made in this article from Gospel Light Ministries about whether there really is a biblical basis for the tenets of Catholicism. The Romans 10:2-4 passage applies just as much to anyone believing in Catholicism (or anyone who sells books about Catholicism such as the one discussed above), as it does to anyone believing in any other religion that is not all about Christ: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”
Who is telling the truth? Man or God? This book is not biblical and, in fact, contradicts Scripture in many places. You need to decide who is telling the truth, which may call for a re-evaluation of your beliefs and practices.