This article is part 2 to yesterday’s part 1.
Continuing on the theme from yesterday, we need to avoid these types of arguments when talking to followers of false religions such as Roman Catholicism. The issue is and always will be the Gospel. Roman Catholics do not believe the Gospel in the Bible, they believe a false one. We ill-serve our Lord if we center our evangelism to Catholics on how they’re wrong to pray to Mary (or whatever may come up) and miss the Gospel. Preach the Gospel, and if they have been appointed unto belief, they’ll stop praying to Mary soon enough.
That said, we can effectively deal with these types of complaints from Rome and its apologists. They don’t have good arguments, and too much of their silly apologetic is built upon falsehood and revisionist history. So, continuing with the catholic365 article…
6. “God said to confess sins to Him, not a priest.”
This one is a personal favorite of mine. Drum roll please.
-James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
It is true that we pray directly to God, and ask Him to forgiveness, however for sins (mortal) we do as Jesus commands and confess it to one another (our priests). Jesus said this directly to his disciples, so through Him, they were able to forgive sins. This power passed down to every priest, and so on and so forth. That felt good.
Well, we’re all glad you feel better. While you have your Bible open to James, let’s examine the context of what you say is the justification for the abomination that is Catholic Confession. Verse 13 begins a new thought for James as he asks if anyone is suffering, and directs those sufferers to pray. The cheerful? They should sing praises. The sick? They should call the elders who should pray for the sickly and anoint them with oil. There’s no power or anything special in the oil, by the way. It was a medical practice of the day for bumps and bruises. Undoubtedly it carries with it the picture of ceremony familiar to Jews, but at best can simply be understood as care and encouragement from the elders. James tells us the prayer of the faithful will restore the one who is sick and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven. So, we ought to confess sins in a situation like that so others can pray for us.
Guess what isn’t there. A formula for how sins are forgiven in general. No, rather we have instructions for a particular set of circumstances. Are we honestly to believe that James, dealing with a particular situation, was setting up a formula for how sin was to be forgiven in contradiction to every other instance where we see forgiveness in the rest of Scripture?
As for the supposed power to forgive sins given to your priests directly from the Apostles… the statement is rife with pre-suppositions that must be dealt with. First, there is no apostolic succession involving your priests. Destroying the myth of the Apostolic papacy is another post for another time, but no serious historian actually believes Peter was the Bishop of Rome let alone started some sort of succession prior to his death. So, no, the “power” to forgive sins that Jesus supposedly gave your church is nothing more than an ability to bind and loose in the church in general (Matt 18:18-19). In other words, whatever the church acknowledges on Earth is acknowledged in Heaven. But the power to actually forgive is reserved for God alone (Mar 2:7, Luk 5:21). God forgives, we can count on it, and when we recognize it and preach it on Earth we can have every confidence it is already so in Heaven. Quite a different picture than relying on a priest to forgive, isn’t it?
7. “Catholicism is a cult.”
Jesus Christ founded this Church more than 2,000 years ago, I would hardly call it a cult.
Actually I’m with you on this one. Roman Catholicism is a false religion, but not a cult. A cult has far more control over it’s adherents, and since your Jesuits can hardly get along with your Franciscans, which hardly acknowledge the other sects, I’d say that’s a good argument Catholicism isn’t a cult. I’d also say since your Popes contradict each other, even anathematizing each other, that you hardly have the uniformity often found in cults. So, congratulations, we agree.
As for the being founded over 2,000 years ago? Got some news for you, the first 3 centuries of Christianity looked nothing like your religion and we’re not even sure Rome had a bishop for some of that time. No, you’re religion is a product of Roman societal norms. A slow and gradual investment of (false) importance into the church in the city of Rome and its leaders. Hardly the near eastern religion that turned the world upside down (Act 17:6). Rather, the European religion that turned to the world and became upside down.
8. “Catholics aren’t Christians.”
The word Christian is associated with anyone who follows Christ’s teachings, and since the Catholic Church does just that then we are to be called Christians. Not to mention Catholics were actually the first Christians.
No, my Catholic friends, you don’t follow Christ’s teachings. There are a number of places I could go for this, but let’s examine the reasons we protestants broke away from the Catholic church to begin with. Did Christ teach that Scripture Alone (2Tim 3:16-17) reveals that salvation is in Christ Alone (Jhn 14:6), through Faith Alone (Rom 3;28), by Grace alone (Eph 2:8-9)… plus nothing(1Co 2:1-5)… for the Glory of God alone? Or did Christ teach that Scripture needs tradition and a magisterium in order for the church to act as a gateway to Christ AND Mary for salvation by religious acts, through ritual for the entrenchment of the Roman papal order?
9. “Catholics added books to the Holy Bible.”
This one is so hilarious it hurts. For 300 years there was no Bible, only random writings from the prophets like St.Peter etc, until the Catholic monks compiled and canonized what is now known today as the Holy Bible. (That is until the Protestant Reformation occurred, in which one man *Martin Luther* removed 7 books). Ouch.
Let’s take this point by point.
2) “Until Catholic Monks compiled and canonized what is known today as the Holy Bible.” Ok, my first question is if that’s true, then why do you need other authorities? If it’s your book, why turn to tradition? But it’s not your book, is it? And you all know that, don’t you? Monks didn’t exist for quite sometime after the first century and by the time they did, the Bible was prolific throughout the world.
3) “(That is until the Protestant Reformation occurred, in which one man *Martin Luther* removed 7 books). Ouch.” Good grief. The books he took out were added by the magisterium to find justification for doctrines that weren’t found in what everyone already knew to be the Scriptures. The books your people added? Gnostic heresies and Inter-testamental books known from the Apocrypha of which only a small number of the faithful ever acknowledged as being inspired by God. The thing that makes the Bible the Bible is that the faithful always recognized it as being divinely inspired. So when a book like the Shepherd of Hermes came along, not written by an apostle, contradicting what was already Scripture, and of dubious lineage, most Christians knew enough to reject it.
It makes me sick that, in order to keep power, a church claiming to be the one true church takes credit for the inspired Word of God. How dare you?
10. “Catholics believe you can pay your way into Heaven.”
We definitely do not. That is a huge misconception which occurred during the Protestant Reformation.
Well you got one part right, it did happen during the Protestant Reformation. Tell us, how did you guys build that Basilica in Rome? I’m sure donations just poured in because people thought you guys were just the bee’s knees, right? Had nothing to do with promises of heaven or coins in cups ringing and souls springing, did it? NAH!
My message to my Catholic friends is to repent. You cannot count on the teachings of Rome to save you eternally. You can only count on He who has overcome death and offered Himself up on your behalf… and only in Him ALONE. Repent, trust Christ, and leave this wretched life behind.