Catholic Infant Baptism

22 02 2021

Listen to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”

Let’s take the errors line by line. The catechism starts off by saying that baptism is the basis or foundation of the whole Christian life. Paul tells us that Christ is the foundation or basis of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 3:11). In Matthew 16:18 we see that the basis for entering the Christian life is profession of faith not baptism.

Rome claims baptism is the gateway to life in the Spirit. What does Scripture say of this? In Romans 8:9 we are told that those who do not have the Spirit are not His children,

What is the gateway to life in the Spirit? Let’s look back to the Scriptures for the answer.

In Acts 10 we see Peter take the Gospel to Cornelius. He and his household believed the Gospel and in verse 44 we see them receive the Spirit.

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”

Did they enter life in the Spirit through baptism? No, it was through hearing and believing the Gospel. It was by faith not of works as we see expressed in Ephesians 2:8-9.

In fact it mentions that they were baptized after receiving the Spirit. Not only did they not receive the Spirit through baptism but receiving the Spirit was the basis for baptism.

Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:47)

The catechism claims that through baptism we are freed from sin. Scripture says that it is through our obedience to the Gospel that we are freed from sin.

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18)

The catechism claims that through baptism we are reborn as children of God. Does Scripture agree with this claim? Hardly, it actually opposes it.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)

Here we see that we are reborn not through baptism but the word of the Lord. What is the word of the Lord? Look a little further in this same chapter.

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (Vs. 25)

So the word of God is the Gospel. Look at John 1:12 and you will find the difference between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

We become children of God by believing on His name. Not by baptism, a system of penance, or the mass. Those who receive Him are born again.

The catechism claims that through baptism we are incorporated into Christ’s Church. We need to understand that they are referring to the universal body of believers not the local church. Let’s look again away from Rome and towards the Scriptures. At his sermon on Pentecost Peter preached Christ. We see the result in Acts 2:41.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

So the souls of those who believed the Gospel were added to the small group of believers. They were baptized but the focus on the verse is on them receiving their word not their baptism.

The catechism says that through baptism we are incorporated into Christ. What does the Bible teach?

Hebrews 3:14 says that we are partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence to the end. In other words if we continue in faith. Listen to Peter in 2 Peter 1:4.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

We are partakers of the divine nature by faith. How do I know this? Because the promises he mentions here are for “us” who is the “us”? Listen to verse 1.

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The promise of partaking in the divine nature is to those who have received faith. We know that faith is a gift of grace according to Ephesians 2:8-9. A gift cannot be earned or merited. It can only be received.

Rome does not deny salvation is by grace they simply deny the sufficiency of grace. They deny that grace alone saves. In fact the Council of Trent condemned with anathema those who believed salvation was by faith alone.

Turn to Romans 4:2-9.

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.”

The catechism calls it regeneration through water in the word. This quote is almost Biblical. It comes from Ephesians 5 where Paul is talking about Christ and His church.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” (Vs. 26)

This is not in regards to the unsaved but the church and it’s not in regards to initial salvation but sanctification. He wants to present to Himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. He sanctifies His church through the washing of water.

Is this actual, literal water? No, it is the water of the Word. He uses His Word as a purifying and cleansing agent.

They lean heavily upon John 3 to justify baptism as a means of salvation. Let’s look at the passage in question to see what it says. (Turn)

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

What they are doing is using a proof text. They do this by pulling a single verse out of a chapter to prove their point. We need to put the verse in context to see what it is actually saying. In verse 3 Jesus simply tells him that he must be born again. This confuses Nicodemus.

Nicodemus responds by asking how someone can be born a second time. He asks if he must enter his mother’s womb again and be born. Then in verse 5 Jesus draws the distinction. He says you must be born of water (physical birth) and of the Spirit (second birth).

Continue into the next verse, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” He clearly explains the birth of water is the physical birth and the birth of Spirit is the second birth. He closes His explanation in verse 7, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.” He explained that the command to be born again was referring to the spiritual not the physical.





Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

14 02 2018

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday in Roman Catholic tradition. Catholics get a cross made of ash put on their forehead as an outward sign that they are fasting for Lent. I wanted to address some major concerns about this practice in light of what the Scriptures teach.

Ash Wednesday is a violation of the spirit and letter of Matthew 6:16-18

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

Jesus is very clear that we are not to appear to fast in front of other people. Ash Wednesday violates this directly. I don’t believe that Jesus is just addressing the heart because He does tell us not to physically look like we are fasting. Catholic.com tries to cover for this by saying that Jesus didn’t really care if we look like we are fasting He was just concerned with the heart. They even argue from complete silence that the ones He is addressing were not truly fasting:

“First of all, Jesus’ primary concern is hypocrisy. What he is condemning are acts undertaken to show off one’s personal piety. If the intention in doing an otherwise good act of mortification is to draw public attention to oneself, then, Jesus says, the attention received from the public is the only reward that person will receive, rather than the heavenly reward for which we are searching.

It is also noteworthy that Jesus says these hypocrites are “neglect[ing] their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.” Perhaps those Jesus was condemning were not actually fasting but creating a surface impression so as to win the praise of others for their presumed piety. God, who sees the heart, knows whether or not they were really fasting. Hypocrisy, after all, is creating an appearance that is at odds with reality. (Article by Michelle Arnold, 2017)

To argue they were not really fasting is to argue from silence. To argue that the only important point is humility which is the spirit of His instructions is to ignore the plain meaning of the text. Yes humility is the reason we are commanded not to make our fasting public but the command to not make it public is still valid. It would be a gross misunderstanding of the Scripture to say that Jesus meant only don’t make it public if you’re not humble otherwise its okay.

This same article argued that the practice is Biblical because of a text in Maccabees 3:47. First of all that text is not even accepted as Scripture by the Jews. It was never a part of the Hebrew canon and was even rejected by Jerome and others because of that fact. Secondly, these were Jews performing a historical mourning ritual. There is no command for or example of Gentiles doing this.

Also of note, they rent their clothes and wore sackcloth. Why only a partial obedience by Rome? The truth is that Rome is notorious for finding Biblical passages that have even the vaguest reference to one of the non-biblical doctrines to support it. Even though they argue against Sola Scriptura they know the importance of it. Another point is that these ashes were sprinkled on their heads not smeared on the forehead.

Another point in reference to the above article is that they say it’s not to be done as an outward form of false humility. Many, if not most, American Catholics rarely attend church or practice their religion, yet they accept Ash Wednesday in large numbers. What you have is millions of people with no sincere desire to follow the church wearing a false symbol on their heads simply to look righteous.

This is also part of the system of penance set up by the church. Penance is the idea that we need to help pay for our sins. We need to make satisfaction for our sins. This is a spit in the face of the work of Christ. He made a perfect offering for sins.

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:12-18)

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the propitiation or satisfactory payment for sins.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

If He is the satisfaction for our sins (and a perfect satisfaction I might add) how can we do anything to satisfy God’s wrath on our sin? The answer is we cannot. The article does end well and I want all Catholics to heed what it says.

“Believe in the gospel!”

The Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins. We cannot make atonement for our sins because we are dead in sins. A perfect atonement is needed and that perfect atonement is given by Jesus Christ. We are not saved by contributing good works to the work of Christ but by trusting entirely in what Christ did on the cross.

On the cross Jesus paid in full the debt of your sin by taking on Himself the guilt of your sin. He now offers you His perfect righteousness as a free gift. You can be right with God because in salvation we are united to His Son. All you must do is to put your faith and trust in Christ and what He did on the cross. Call on the Lord to save you. You can be perfectly purified right now for all sin by putting your faith in Christ. Turn to Him today He is a perfect and loving Savior.





A Problem for Sabbath Keepers

29 05 2017

I have come into contact with many Seventh Day Adventist folks in my time sharing the Gospel. They seem to be caught up on one particular teaching and that is the keeping of the Sabbath day. Almost all of the sermons on their television broadcasts talk about this and in person they can’t seem to have much conversation beyond boasting in how they are “Sabbath keepers.” They are very proud of this and base their entire standing before God on the fact that they attend church on Saturday.

I have even asked them what gives them confidence in their salvation and they always go back to the fact that they keep the Sabbath. The Bible makes it clear however that our confidence should be of God and not ourselves nor can salvation be earned by our good works in fact no one will boast in the sight of God.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)

I find one other major problems for so called “Sabbath keepers.” The Bible says that God demands perfect obedience to His law.

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10)

While Seventh Day Adventist followers boast in being “Sabbath keepers” they are faced with a problem. The Bible reveals that if you break the law in one point you are guilty of the whole thing.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

This tells us that if we break the law in one point we are guilty of the whole law. While you make your boast in keeping the Sabbath day I must ask: do you lie? put other things before God? dishonor your parents? covet? Since no one is perfect I’m sure you know that you have broken God’s law. You can’t say, “well I’ll be okay when I face God because I keep the Sabbath.”

If you break the law in even one other point you are condemned as a lawbreaker. This means that you are under the wrath and condemnation of God. Let me urge you with love and compassion to flee to Christ and put your faith in Him alone for salvation. You can’t trust Christ and your keeping the Sabbath. You must repent of your sin and put your faith entirely upon the work of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins.

If you are trusting in your so called Sabbath keeping I urge you to count that as nothing and embrace Christ. He was the perfect law-keeper and when we trust in Him God credits His law-keeping to our account. Just as your sin was charged to Jesus and He was punished for it so His righteousness can be credited to you.





To My Jewish Friends

7 12 2016

Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.

Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place. And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.

And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.

Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance. But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.

But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.

In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.

I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt. This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:  To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house.

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

(Sermon to the Jewish Sanhedrin by Stephen as recorded in Acts 7:2-53)





Jehovah’s Missing Witnesses

6 12 2016

Shouldn’t Jehovah’s Witnesses witness? I mean it is in their name isn’t it? I have always pondered this question and I have yet to find an answer. The lackof witness does answer other questions about this organization.

To be honest most followers of the Watchtower aren’t too interested in witnessing when not “on the clock.” They don’t seem too concerned about the souls of those around them nor do I sense any urgency in them to share their message. This puzzles me for the mere fact that their claim to fame is that they are the sole and true witnesses of God.

I do a lot of door to door evangelism and I often encounter Watchtower followers in their homes. What I find is that time after time the majority and I mean 9 out of 10 encounters leads to them simply turning me away saying they are Jehovah’s Witnesses. This has always puzzled me.

The first reason is that they usually tell me how good it is that I’m out doing what I’m doing. I’m sure the Watchtower teaches lying is a sin and yet they lie to me on a regular basis. If they are right and my doctrine is wrong then the individual follower of the Watchtower cannot believe in their heart of hearts that what I’m doing is good.

I’m a false teacher to them. I have a false idea of God and a corrupted Bible. There is no way that what I’m doing is good. The reason I believe that they tell this lie is to avoid talking to me which brings me to the second reason I’m puzzled.

Are they not concerned for me? Why don’t they try to win me? Why don’t they show me my errors rather than cheer on my false beliefs? Are they not witnesses of the one true God? If they are then why shun some lost soul headed for nothingness after death with no hope of resurrection in Jehovah’s kingdom?

When they come to my door I’m quick to try and share the Gospel with them. I am quick to try and reason with them on the nature of God and Jesus Christ. I see them as sinners headed for eternal destruction and it moves me to want to see them saved. Why do they lack this moving?

When I am out in public I try and pass out Gospel tracts or witness to people when the opportunity arises. I have dealt with and encountered people I knew were Watchtower followers and never did they hand me a magazine or talk to me about the coming kingdom. There seems to be no concern for it.

The answer is very simple. They are not saved people. The moving that I feel is the compelling of the Holy Spirit and one evidence of being filled with the Spirit is the boldness to witness.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)

Watchtower followers witness in large part not because they love the lost, or because they are concerned for the souls of mankind. Their motivation is their works based religion. They are taught that in order to be saved they must be witnesses and go out a certain amount of time and talk to people.

They serve out of obligation which is why we see them walking slowly or stopping between houses. They are killing time. I have seen them stand at a door and ring a door bell for upwards of 5 or 10 minutes. The reason is that once they realize no one is home they can kill time and say they were at a door.

When I come to their door they are not getting credit for witnessing so they just don’t. They are also told not to talk to people who know their Bible and can answer their doctrines. The Watchtower as an organization sees the dangers of allowing their people to hear the truth. My pastor has no concern with me talking to a witness because I know the Bible.

Their lack of concern for witnessing and their witnessing out of necessity are further proofs that something is wrong. We see in the Bible and in church history men and women concerned for the souls of men sharing the Gospel with people at all times and under all circumstances. They were not required to but they were obedient to the Lord and concerned for the souls of mankind.





The Suffering Servant

14 07 2016

In the book of Isaiah the prophet tells of a man who will come and will suffer, be rejected and ultimately die for the sins of others. Hear the Word of the Lord.

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53)

This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth. He was the suffering servant who came to this world, lived a perfect, sinless life and gave His life as a payment for sin. Won’t you turn to Him today confessing your sin and accepting His offering of eternal salvation?





Problems With Purgatory: Part 3

5 07 2016

 

 

What about the argument of antiquity? We often hear the church fathers quoted or as one ignorant man told me, “I read books hidden in caves and it proves people in the early centuries believed these things.”

Does Scripture or human tradition set the standard for belief? I’m sure Jews who wanted to worship a golden calf could point to the antiquity of it and say, “Well when they left Egypt one of the first things our fathers did was make a calf and worship it so it must be right after all they did it way back then.”

Corruption was already setting in during the time of the apostles. John pointed to the slide in Ephesus.

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” (Revelation 2:4)

We saw John also warn about a man who as clergy/laity distinctions were being introduced was known to take control over a church.

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receive us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.” (3 John 1:9-10)

We see John continue his warnings to the church in the first century.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

We see Paul make a warning that not only would false teachers arise but that they would arise from the very people he was talking to.

“For I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30)

Paul said that some of those who he taught would err from the faith and draw away disciples after themselves. The true test of truth is not whether or not the Jews did it, or how long it has been taught, or who trained the person who taught it. The only valid test for the truth of doctrine is does the unchanging, infallible, and inspired Word of God teach it? If not then it cannot, should not, and must not be considered truth.

“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11)

If anything is taught it needs to be in line with what the apostles taught through the inspiration of the Spirit. Paul said:

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

Paul was not accidentally inspired, he was aware of the inspiration upon him when he penned the Scriptures. This verse proves that. He said that the gospel he preached under inspiration was so sure that even if he were to come back and correct or add to anything he said then he would be accursed.

If the church fathers believed baptism, penance, almsgiving and the mass add to our salvation and make us righteous before God then they are adding to the Gospel Paul preached which was by grace through faith. They are not only wrong but accursed. Paul goes on to say:

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12)

Paul said in Romans 1:16 that the Gospel was the power of God unto salvation but then said in 1 Corinthians 1:17 that Christ sent him not to baptize but to preach the Gospel. Paul is thus signifying that baptism has nothing to do with salvation. He said in the verse above that his revelation was from Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ says this about salvation it matters not to me the great mountain of church fathers, priests, councils, or men who teach otherwise they are all accursed.

Likewise the Scripture reveals through Jesus Christ that the redeemed live forever in Heaven and the damned are punished eternally in hell. It matters not to me how many so called fathers, or church councils declare a third place it does not make it valid or true. All that matters, all truth, and all authority are contained in the Scriptures.

Purgatory is a hill in the southern hemisphere and souls who obtain a second chance end up on Mt. Purgatory where they face two levels. The seven deadly sins are depicted in seven levels all with fitting punishments. This is the depiction in the 14th Century work The Divine Comedy by Dante. Many over the years have held this image as being partially if not entirely accurate.

In a papal audience from August 4th, 1999 Pope John Paul II called purgatory a “condition of existence” lending to the idea that it is less an actual place. In a general audience talk from January 12, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI spoke concerning St. Catherine of Genoa (1447–1510). He said the purification of souls in Purgatory was pictured as a location in space in her day but that she did not agree and saw it as a purifying inner fire, the kind like she experienced in her sorrow for sins committed, when they are compared with the infinite love of God.

He basically likened it to a process that could happen in life more than a place where one goes after death. The church continues to take prayers and offerings for departed loved ones. This shows an amazing disconnect.

The Second Edition of the Catholic Catechism says, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” The Pope himself seems to be in some conflict here as he sees it more as a process not a place where one goes after death. In this catechism it states that people can be friends of God and assured of eternal salvation but may still need purification. This is a foreign thought to Scripture.

“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3)

The Bible says that Christ purged our sins Himself. The catechism says that we are imperfectly purified. The Bible says that He washed us from our sins in His own blood and yet the Romanist dare claim we are imperfectly purified.

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelation 1:5)

The above verse does not say that He washes us a little but then sends us to purgatory to purge us the rest of the way. It does not say He washes us only of former sins but sins committed after salvation must be atoned for by the fires of limbo. It gives us no hint of anything but a complete and perfect cleansing by Christ for us of all sins to God be the glory.

The doctrine of purgatory is a statement that what Christ did for us is imperfect or incomplete and that more must be done to purify us and make us ready for Heaven. This is not only a blatantly false doctrine but utter blasphemy and disregard for the work of Christ. The Roman Catholic Church has declared those whom Christ says He redeemed as imperfectly purified.

We are cleaned in Christ’s blood and declared righteous before Him. Abraham was declared righteous by faith. Scripture says that likewise all who come by faith are declared righteous.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Silver and gold would be faulty. Any corruptible things would leave a further need of cleansing but we have not been redeemed with such things. We have been redeemed with the precious, perfect Lamb of God to whom be glory forever Amen. Let me just throw a few more Scriptures in to settle the point.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:12)

Let’s look briefly at the few inspired texts that are used to justify this doctrine.

“And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matthew 12:32)

The argument that they try to grasp is that when it says that those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this world or the world to come that it implies some things can be forgiven in the world to come.

There are several faults with this argument. First of all in the first part of the verse it says that those who speak against Christ will be forgiven. It makes no mention of being forgiven in this life and in the world to come. What is being shown here is the severity of the offense of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. It is not telling us some sins will be forgiven and some won’t. We see no evidence at all that forgiveness is attainable after death. We are told that after death comes our judgment.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:21)

Consider the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. After death we see them in Paradise and Hell exclusively and their destinations were decided during their lifetime. We do not see any forgiveness being offered after death.

The second problem is that forgiveness is predicated on simply confessing and asking in this life. Logic would follow the same would apply to the life to come. The payment is then applied not by asking but by others doing stuff to obtain it.

Purgatory is not just “another place” people go after death. It represents an entire change to the program of God’s forgiveness. Just finding a verse to show there may be another destination after death is not enough. The Bible never indicates a change to God’s plan of salvation.

It thirdly must be realized that if you look further into the text we see judgment being talked about not the possibility of forgiveness.

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)

Those who blaspheme Christ can be forgiven and those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit are not forgiven but are to face condemnation. This is the clear meaning of the text.

The next Scripture that is used and all I can guess is that this one is used out of utter ignorance or desperation and that is 1 Peter 3:19.

“By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”

I won’t insult your intelligence by staying here too long so let’s go to the next verse and see where this prison is.

“Which sometime were disobedient” are you ready? Wait for it now, “when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.” (Vs. 20a)

This is speaking of hell not purgatory these were not imperfectly purified friends of God. What were these people? Wicked, sinners, condemned eternally.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6)

The next passage is from the writings of the apostle Paul.

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

They use this passage because it speaks of fire and it’s clearly not talking about hell so they figure this is a good place to fit their doctrine. They say that “being saved yet so as by fire” means they go to purgatory and fire burns away their sin and yet they are saved. The problem is that the thing being tried by fire here is not a person, neither is it sin. It is the works of the believer.

Our works are judged some being worthless, others with some worth and others shining as gold. The fire tries those works and only those of great worth make it through to be rewarded. Some will have their empty works burn up in God’s fires. They will be saved themselves but have little or nothing to show for the gift God has given them.

Another interesting point is the context of the passage in 2 Maccabees. The people he was making sacrifices for had been killed by God for idolatry. This according to Rome is a mortal sin which would send them straight to hell. Even in the context it was written it can’t refer to purgatory.

False religion not Scripture puts a relationship between the living and the dead. The only clear glimpse of the dead we are given is in Revelation 6:9-10:

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”

Here we see no evidence of prayers to them or them having knowledge of happenings on earth. We see no evidence in the Bible of praying to the dead. When we examine it in light of the Old Testament it is strictly forbidden.

What we see when we examine prayers for the dead is a long history of paganism. We see again and again Rome mixing paganism with Christianity. We see a pollution of idols being added to the clear Gospel given by the apostles. We see another Gospel being preached under the authority of a church that has usurped God’s throne, name, and power over His flock.

We see in purgatory a mechanism to obtain offerings and to control their followers all in the hope of possibly helping their loved ones get into Heaven although such hope is never realized officially. We see a Church that claims Christ imperfectly finished redemption and claim that they can complete what He lacked not just in His sacrifice but in the purification of the faithful. We see a system that gives the hope of eternal bliss but they themselves are the servants of corruption. They neither go into the kingdom themselves nor do they allow their followers to enter.





Problems with Purgatory: Part 2

13 05 2016

In the text given for Purgatory the sin they died committing was idolatry. According to Rome this is a sin for which there is no forgiveness after death. This invalidates this text as purgatory.

Often tradition is cited as the justification of a doctrine by Rome. Surely if the early believers or Jews held to it then it must be true. This is a grievous error that needs to be addressed. We will start as Scripture says with the Jews first.

The entire Old Testament is made up of stories of the mistakes and errors of the Jewish people. They were constantly caught up in idol worship, being carried captive, being returned, only to be carried away again. They had battle after battle many times having nations turned against them by God because of their waywardness. The prophets such as Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah preached a message of condemnation warning that the people had forsaken the LORD.

The Jews often strayed from the Scriptures and formed their own man made doctrines. They practiced these doctrines for years so when a new generation rose up they were taught that these “traditions” were just as valid as Scripture much like the modern day Romanist. Jesus had to rebuke them sharply for this.

“…Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophecy of you, saying, this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15: 6b-9)

Jesus even confronted their traditions in Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, and 43-44. Each time He started His rebuke by saying, “Ye have heard it said by them of old,” and finished the correction with, “But I say unto you.” He was not correcting Scripture, He was correcting their human tradition, sometimes centuries old that deviated from or contradicted Scripture.

The greatest support for such a doctrine comes not from the accepted canon of Scripture but from the contested Apocrypha. I will likely cover that topic elsewhere but needless to say the Apocrypha was not accepted by the Old Testament Jews as Scripture, and the texts contained in the Apocrypha often contradict accepted Scriptures.

The early church fathers were never in agreement on which apocryphal books were to be included. When Trent needed them to support their doctrines (otherwise unsupported) the Council of Trent confirmed them as inspired. They were not considered as part of the canon prior to Trent at least not by the church officially.

The main apocryphal text use to support purgatory is 2 Maccabees 12:42-46.

And they begged him that this sin might be completely blotted out. Then, Judas, that great man, urged the people to keep away from sin, because they had seen for themselves what had happened to those men who had sinned. He also took up a collection from all his men, totaling about four pounds of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. Judas did this noble thing because he believed in the resurrection of the dead. If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them. In his firm and devout conviction that all of God’s faithful people would receive a wonderful reward, Judas made provision for a sin offering to set free from their sin those who had died.”

This is the great proof text of the purgatory doctrine. In the passage all we see is Judas making an offering, and prayers for the dead. In the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church published in 2005, when asked question 211 on how we can help those in purgatory the answer is different. “Because of the communion of saints, the faithful who are still pilgrims on earth are able to help the souls in purgatory by offering prayers in suffrage for them, especially the Eucharistic sacrifice. They also help them by almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance.”

So the text said he made offering and said prayers for those already dead but there is no mention of indulgences or works of penance to aid the dead. These were added by the church. Even if this were inspired and a proof of purgatory they stray from the text and add to it their own doctrines.

The text emphasizes prayers and almsgiving yet in the catechism answer it says “especially the Eucharistic sacrifice.” The mass is not mentioned and yet they say it is especially beneficial. I was debating a man who was Rome-ward and he tried to say the mass is not the sacrificing of Christ but here we clearly see it is.

Another point in the text that I noticed was that Judas did these things it says to set them free. He seems at least from the passage to have that hope and yet no such hope exists in modern day Romanism. The faithful are told to say mass, light candles, do good deeds, and pay offerings in order to free their loved ones from purgatory and yet the Church has no power to declare when this task is completed.

They just keep doing those things until they die. After their death someone else does the same for them until they die and so on and so on. There is no point where the priest says, “enough is done, keep your money your loved one is now in Heaven.”





Problems with Purgatory: Part 1

11 05 2016

I would like to address the doctrine of purgatory. Millions of souls over the centuries have perished because they gave offerings hoping to buy less time in purgatory. Ornate cathedrals and churches were built with the money given by poor, often uneducated and trusting souls.

Purgatory is where people go who die in what Rome calls a “state of grace.” This is a state in which people are purged completely from sin and made ready for Heaven. This concept has no Biblical basis but relies heavily upon tradition and ancient pagan roots.

The concept of purgatory is seen in ancient Buddhist practices of making prayers and sacrifices for the dead. The term purgatory does not appear on the scene until around 1160 but the concept is applied long before that. Purgatory has been defined by several councils including the Council of Trent in 1545, the Council of Florence in 1438, and the first and Second Council of Lyon in 1245 and 1274.

Prior to these declarations the doctrine was developed and underwent changes over time. This happens when we try to hold firmly to doctrines not clearly stated in the Word of God. When we build our doctrine upon the sinking sand of human tradition and philosophy we will have to make changes to avoid contradiction and ensure compliance. When a doctrine is founded upon the solid rock of the oracles of God then we can be sure they can stand the test of time.

Catholics accept the Scriptural life after death destinations of mankind. In Heaven the souls of the righteous spend eternal bliss in the presence of God, and on the opposite end of the spectrum those who go on in sin rejecting salvation spend eternity in the fires of hell (although some Romanists make the Biblical description of fire as only symbolic). The Romanists have inserted a third state to which all must go in order to be ready to go to Heaven. They call this place purgatory.

Rome teaches that some souls are not yet purified enough to enter Heaven and must be purified in purgatory in order to prepare for being granted admission into Heaven. Peter opposes this idea.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. (1 Peter 1:22)

Peter is not saying that purification comes in some limbo state after death. He is saying our souls are purified by obeying the truth. This means that when we are saved our souls are purified not at some later time and place.

Romanism teaches that holiness is achieved in purgatory and that without purgatory we would still bear the stain of sin and not be holy enough to enter the presence of God. Scripture in several places disagrees with this idea.

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love…And (we) are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 1:4, 2:20-21)

“I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.” (1 Thessalonians 5:27)

To follow this teaching to its conclusion would make it impossible to explain the plight of the thief on the cross. Here is a criminal who has lived his whole life in sin and degradation. While being executed he comes to believe that Jesus is who He claims to be.

In a repentant heart he asks Jesus to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. What was the response of Jesus to this man’s faith?

“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

I must say if anyone needed purification or was not holy enough to enter Heaven it would be a criminal who just repented. Surely with no good works, no baptism, nothing to show for his faith he would need further cleansing and yet we have a statement from Jesus that by his faith he is counted worthy to be with Him in Paradise. No limbo, no waiting, just an immediate pardon for sin and access to God.

To better understand this view we must understand the Romanist view of sin. They categorize sin in two ways, mortal sins, and venial sins. Mortal sins would be grave violations of God’s law and venial sins are forgivable sins that don’t necessarily separate us from God.

I guess you could call them minor infractions. The Scriptures give us no evidence of God viewing sin this way. Some sins are greater than others in terms of the punishment for sin which is why those at the Great White Throne are judged according to their works when their fate is already determined (Revelation 20:11-15).

We also see examples of some sins being called abominations and others are not. We receive no hint as to whether that means non abominations are more or less forgivable. According to Scripture all sin brings spiritual death and separation from God.

Ezekiel 18:4b says the “soul that sinneth it shall die.” What is sin?

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)

Who has sinned?

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

What is the penalty for sin?

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

How is sin forgiven?

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

While Rome teaches mortal vs. venial sins the Scriptures tell us that sin is the breaking of God’s law. It goes on to tell us that all have sinned. The Bible also teaches that our sin can be forgiven by the grace of God through faith. Let me ask faith in what? Faith in the finished work of Christ.

“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21)

This is where most Romanists miss salvation because they feel their works add to salvation and that the work of Christ must be repeated through the mass. Jesus said:

“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:4)

The Roman Church teaches her followers that Christ’s righteousness is not imputed to us. Rome teaches that we are infused with grace and each grace that we act upon makes us more righteous before God. They teach that our sin stains are still with us after salvation and that these must be purged in purgatory.

They can teach this because they do not see salvation as a possession but a state of being. In other words you cannot possess salvation as a gift and have it and hold onto it but rather you can be in a “state of grace” where you have done enough good to merit God’s favor. The bad news is that you can do enough bad to fall out of that favor.

Let me address each heresy with the Bible. Is Christ’s righteousness imputed?

“But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (Romans 4:24)

“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” (Romans 4:6)

Can doing good make us more righteous?

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5)

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Do our sin stains stay with us after salvation?

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelation 1:5)

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Is salvation a state of being or a free gift possession?

“But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

Can we lose the gift of salvation?

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37b)

These beliefs are at the heart of the doctrine of purgatory. The idea of fire in purgatory is common in Roman lore but separate from hell. Scripture speaks often, and definitely about hell but is silent on purgatory.

Some have agreed it’s a material fire, although some have used the term fire metaphorically. The Church has not condemned such use. It seems that even the Church in her supposed wisdom, and power cannot decide.

 





Is Mormonism Christian?

10 05 2016

This is a video by Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries where he explains the differences between Mormonism and Christianity. Many Mormons will try and convince people that they are just another Christian denomination but this is historically and theologically in error. I hope this video will be a blessing and a valuable resource.








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