Posted by: Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals | October 13, 2008

Witnessing: How to Witness to a Roman Catholic

 

The Virgin Mary

What is Mariology?  Essentially, it’s the theology that affords devotion to Mary.  Does this mean the Catholics worship Mary?  Well, yes and no.  Publicly, the Roman Catholic Church does not afford Mary the same status as Jesus.  However, their reverence for her goes beyond their admiration for even the saints.  The Catholic Encyclopedia details a view of Mary that it admits is not Biblical.  Their view of her life and her role originate in Catholic tradition – that is, the writings of the popes and theologians, rather than in the Bible. 

Biblically, Mary was betrothed to Joseph.  Because of her faith, she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  She was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, and conceived Jesus.  There was no physical union, and therefore Jesus was born of a virgin.  While no doubt a faithful and godly woman, Mary was nonetheless just a woman.  In fact, apart from Acts 1:14, Mary is not mentioned anywhere outside the Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).  Even in the Gospels, her spiritual power and authority are almost non-existent.  Neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor any other biblical writer ever gave Mary the place or devotion that the Catholic Church has given her.  The New Testament epistles (letters) were written for the spiritual guidance of the Church, and have a great deal to say about doctrine and worship.  Her absence from the epistles must then call into doubt the role that Catholics ascribe to her. 

In Roman Catholicism, Mary (or as she’s also called: Our Blessed Lady, Our Blessed Virgin, etc.) is more than human.  Catholic Tradition includes the following teachings:

1 – Mary’s immaculate conception:  This doctrine teaches that she was born without original sin, and was therefore sinless throughout her life.

2 – During her tutelage in the temple as a child, Mary received almost nightly visits by angels. 

3 – Mary’s perpetual virginity:  This doctrine asserts that she had no children before Jesus (a Biblical teaching) or after Him (unbiblical).

4 – Mary’s physical ascension into heaven:  This teaches that because of her sinlessness, Mary never experienced a physical death – the result of sin.  Instead, she was raised bodily into the presence of Christ.

5 – Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces:  This doctrine holds that the obedience and sufferings of Mary were essential to secure the full redemption bought by Christ.

6 – Mary’s right to veneration and/or worship:  This teaching holds that because of her unparalleled role in salvation, Mary is worthy of special adoration. 

There are three specific terms of worship in Catholicism:  latria – adoration that is due God alone, dulia – veneration afforded to the saints, and hyperdulia – special veneration given to Mary.  In practice, these become practically indistinguishable.  As a matter of point, Catholics pray to Mary and expect that she hears and answers all such prayers.  This elevates her to a position of deity. 

I have already mentioned that the role that is ascribed to Mary by Catholics is unbiblical.  Let me give you more evidence of that.  Below, I have included an excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia, where the writer acknowledges that their interpretation of a passage in the book of Genesis must be more accurate than the original Hebrew text, as their interpretation ascribes more power to Mary: 

 The first prophecy referring to Mary is found in the very opening chapters of the Book of Genesis (3:15): “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” This rendering appears to differ in two respects from the original Hebrew text:

(1)  ….

(2) The second point of difference between the Hebrew text and our version concerns the agent who is to inflict the mortal wound on the servant: our version agrees with the present Vulgate text in reading “she” (ipsa) which refers to the woman, while the Hebrew text reads hu’ (autos, ipse) which refers to the seed of the woman. According to our version, and the Vulgate reading, the woman herself will win the victory; according to the Hebrew text, she will be victorious through her seed. In this sense does the Bull “Ineffabilis” ascribe the victory to Our Blessed Lady. The reading “she” (ipsa) is neither an intentional corruption of the original text, nor is it an accidental error; it is rather an explanatory version expressing explicitly the fact of Our Lady’s part in the victory over the serpent, which is contained implicitly in the Hebrew original. The strength of the Christian tradition as to Mary’s share in this victory may be inferred from the retention of “she” in St. Jerome’s version in spite of his acquaintance with the original text and with the reading “he” (ipse) in the old Latin version. [Highlighting added by Contender Ministries]

For the record, the text of Genesis 3:15 mentioned above is found that way only in the Catholic version of the Bible.  Other versions agree with the original Hebrew text in that the seed of the woman (Jesus) will do the crushing.  The Catholic Church has changed scripture to fit with their doctrines.  This tactic is the only way the Catholic Church can justify many of its teachings that are unbiblical. 

In his book, Revelation Unveiled, author Tim LaHaye says this”

“One of the dangerous trends during the twentieth century in the Church of Rome is the elevation of Mary to a status just short of deity.  News media reports indicate that millions have petitioned the Pope to declare her a member of the Trinity, though the official line is that it is not going to happen – yet.  Already she is referred to as ‘the mother of God’ or ‘the queen of Heaven’ and in some instances appears to be the dispenser of salvation, which contradicts many Scriptures…To even suggest that anyone, even Mary the human mother of Jesus, participates in dispensing the gift of eternal life is not only heresy, it is blasphemous.”

As for the Catholic view of Mary as Mediatrix, let me refer you to:

1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”

Purgatory

Perhaps one of the most unique doctrines of Catholicism is that of purgatory.  Purgatory is a place of burning torment and suffering that follows physical death, but precedes heaven.  According to Catholic doctrine, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from original sin – that is, the sin inherent in humans that occurred via the fall in the Garden of Eden.  Each individual commits sins on top of the original sin, for which only the sinner may atone.  This is achieved partly through penance and adherence to the sacraments during their lifetime.  The remaining blemishes of sin must be cleansed through the fires of purgatory, prior to entering heaven.  One can think of it in terms of twisted halfway house where one must be sufficiently tortured before being allowed to matriculate into decent society.  The Catholic Encyclopedia defines purgatory this way:

 Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

 All sins are not equal before God, nor dare anyone assert that the daily faults of human frailty will be punished with the same severity that is meted out to serious violation of God’s law. On the other hand whosoever comes into God’s presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense His “eyes are too pure, to behold evil” (Hab., i, 13). For unrepented venial faults for the payment of temporal punishment due to sin at time of death, the Church has always taught the doctrine of purgatory.

The Catholic Church teaches that faithful Catholics should pray for their loved ones who are in purgatory, in order to hasten their purification and allow them to go on to Heaven sooner.   

The Catholic doctrine of purgatory supposes the fact that some die with smaller faults for which there was no true repentance, and also the fact that the temporal penalty due to sin is it times not wholly paid in this life. The proofs for the Catholic position, both in Scripture and in Tradition, are bound up also with the practice of praying for the dead. For why pray for the dead, if there be no belief in the power of prayer to afford solace to those who as yet are excluded from the sight of God? So true is this position that prayers for the dead and the existence of a place of purgation are mentioned in conjunction in the oldest passages of the Fathers, who allege reasons for succouring departed souls. Those who have opposed the doctrine of purgatory have confessed that prayers for the dead would be an unanswerable argument if the modern doctrine of a “particular judgment” had been received in the early ages.

The “proofs” used by the Catholic Church to support the doctrine of purgatory come from Catholic Tradition (the writings of the Popes and saints) as opposed to Biblical scripture.  This isn’t to say that they have not attempted to support the doctrine Biblically.  The following passage from the Catholic Encyclopedia provides what it describes as proof from the Old Testament of the Bible.  However, this “proof” comes from the Apocrypha.  As stated in another section, the Apocrypha, or “Deuterocanonical Books” are hotly contested and are only found in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles.  Most Protestants and Jews have disregarded the Apocrypha as scripture, due to numerous chronological and other errors that cast doubt on divine inspiration.  During the Protestant reformation, Luther sided with Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate, in deciding that the Apocryphal books should not be considered Scripture.  Jerome gave his support to the Israel/Palestine Jews who rejected the Apocrypha instead of the Hellenistic Jews who readily embraced these books.  While the inclusion of the Apocrypha had been decided at the Councils of Hippo and Carthage late in the fourth century, Luther’s action caused the Roman Catholic Church to react by reaffirming the canonicity of the Apocrypha at the Council of Trent in 1546.  It is largely based on these books that the Catholic Church supports their peculiar doctrines, including the doctrine of purgatory.  The passages mentioned below are found in the Apocrypha:

 The tradition of the Jews is put forth with precision and clearness in II Maccabees. Judas, the commander of the forces of Israel, “making a gathering . . . sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead). And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (II Mach., xii, 43-46). At the time of the Maccabees the leaders of the people of God had no hesitation in asserting the efficacy of prayers offered for the dead, in order that those who had departed this life might find pardon for their sins and the hope of eternal resurrection.

If you are searching through your Bible trying to find II Maccabees, you’d better have a Catholic Bible.  As part of the Apocrypha, it is not in most Protestant or Jewish Bibles.  The Catholics also use the following passages from the Bible to support the doctrine of purgatory, but if you read the passages carefully, you’ll find the Catholic interpretations to be a wide stretch of what is written: 

There are several passages in the New Testament that point to a process of purification after death. Thus, Jesus Christ declares (Matthew 12:32): “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” According to St. Isidore of Seville (Deord. creatur., c. xiv, n. 6) these words prove that in the next life “some sins wil be forgiven and purged away by a certain purifying fire.” St. Augustine also argues “that some sinners are not forgiven either in this world or in the next would not be truly said unless there were other [sinners] who, though not forgiven in this world, are forgiven in the world to come” (De Civ. Dei, XXI, xxiv). The same interpretation is given by Gregory the Great (Dial., IV, xxxix); St. Bede (commentary on this text); St. Bernard (Sermo lxvi in Cantic., n. 11) and other eminent theological writers.

A further argument is supplied by St. Paul in I Cor., iii, 11-15: “For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble: Every man’s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in 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 burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” While this passage presents considerable difficulty, it is regarded by many of the Fathers and theologians as evidence for the existence of an intermediate state in which the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul thus purified will be saved.

I’ll admit I’m somewhat at a loss as to how best address their interpretation of the scripture above – mostly because I don’t know what logic they used to twist these meanings out of those verses.  As for the passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, one should back up and start on verse 10, where Paul says he laid a foundation as an expert builder, by the grace God gave him.  Gold, silver, and precious stones represent durable work that will stand the test of divine judgment.  Wood, hay, or straw denotes worthless work that will not stand the test, and are consumed by fire.  The work of some believers will stand the test while that of others will disappear – emphasizing the importance of teaching the pure word of God.  As for the last verse that reads that he shall escape, yet so as by fire.  In the New International Version of the Bible, it reads, “he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through flames.”  The best interpretation indicates that the original language was a Greek proverbial phrase, which means, “by a narrow escape”.  A modern equivalent might be, “escaped by the skin of his teeth”.  Paul is really trying to drive home this point:  Okay, so you’ve been saved.  Great.  Wonderful.  What are you going to do with this opportunity?  Will you squander it, or will you live a life in service to your Lord? 

One of the stranger aspects of purgatory is the belief that one can pray to the souls of loved ones who are in purgatory, and ask for intercession.  Some believe that the souls in purgatory can pray for and intercede in the lives of the living.  Here is what the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say on the matter:

Do the souls in purgatory pray for us? May we call upon them in our needs? There is no decision of the Church on this subject, nor have the theologians pronounced with definiteness concerning the invocation of the souls in purgatory and their intercession for the living. In the ancient liturgies there are no prayers of the Church directed to those who are still in purgatory. On the tombs of the early Christians nothing is more common than a prayer or a supplication asking the departed to intercede with God for surviving friends, but these inscriptions seem always to suppose that the departed one is already with God. St. Thomas (II-II:83:11) denies that the souls in purgatory pray for the living, and states they are not in a position to pray for us, rather we must make intercession for them. Despite the authority of St. Thomas, many renowned theologians hold that the souls in purgatory really pray for us, and that we may invoke their aid. Bellarmine (De Purgatorio, lib. II, xv,) says the reason alleged by St. Thomas is not at all convincing, and holds that in virtue of their greater love of God and their union with Him their prayers may have great intercessory power, for they are really superior to us in love of God, and in intimacy of union with Him. Suarez (De poenit., disp. xlvii, s. 2, n. 9) goes farther and asserts “that the souls in purgatory are holy, are dear to God, love us with a true love and are mindful of our wants; that they know in a general way our necessities and our dangers, and how great is our need of Divine help and divine grace”.

When there is question of invoking the prayers of those in purgatory, Bellarmine (loc. cit.) says it is superfluous, ordinarily speaking, for they are ignorant of our circumstances and condition. This is at variance with the opinion of Suarez, who admits knowledge at least in a general way, also with the opinions of many modern theologians who point to the practice now common with almost all the faithful of addressing their prayers and petitions for help to those who are still in a place of purgation. Scavini (Theol. Moral., XI, n. l74) sees no reason why the souls detained in purgatory may not pray for us, even as we pray for one another. He asserts that this practice has become common at Rome, and that it has the great name of St. Alphonsus in its favour. St. Alphonsus in his work the “Great Means of Salvation”, chap. I, III, 2, after quoting Sylvius, Gotti, Lessius, and Medina as favourable to his opinion, concludes: “so the souls in purgatory, being beloved by God and confirmed in grace, have absolutely no impediment to prevent them from praying for us. Still the Church does not invoke them or implore their intercession, because ordinarily they have no cognizance of our prayers. But we may piously believe that God makes our prayers known to them”. He alleges also the authority of St. Catharine of Bologna who “whenever she desired any favour had recourse to the souls in purgatory, and was immediately heard”.

In summary, the doctrine of purgatory is unbiblical.  Its foundation lies not in Biblical scripture, but in Catholic Tradition.  The Apocrypha should not be considered part of Biblical scripture, and the verses in the New Testament were twisted to fit an already established doctrine. 

The Pope

 

Of the numerous doctrines Roman Catholics must believe under pain of grievous sin, there are two upon which the entire religion is dependent for its continued existence.  Without these two foundational doctrines, the Roman Catholic religion comes crashing down to the ground of irrelevancy. In my Catholic childhood, I learned these two doctrines before I could read or write. To the question, “Which is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ?” I learned as a little shaver to answer, “The Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Christ.” To the second question, “And upon what did Jesus found His Church?” my response was, “Jesus founded His Church on the rock of Peter who was the first pope.”

 

When the Lord Jesus saved me at the advanced age of 52, it became obvious very soon thereafter that there is something radically wrong with those two foundational doctrines.

And, since the first – the true Church claim – rests squarely on the allegation that Peter was ordained to be its first pope, it is quite appropriate to seek in the Scriptures proof that Jesus really did give Peter such an assignment. There, in the inerrant Word of God, we  have every right to expect to find Peter’s appointment clearly set forth, established as a  fact beyond a shadow of a doubt. What we do find, though, is what follows.

 

The English word, “pope,” comes from the Latin word, “papa,” which means “father.”

But our Lord told His disciples, (and us through them), “…call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9) This had to be meant in a spiritual sense since we all have earthly fathers, while our heavenly Father is a spirit to be worshiped in spirit and truth. (John 4:24) And based on this admonition from Jesus, there shouldn’t even be a Catholic priesthood much less a papacy, for all Catholic priests are addressed as, “Father.” More on that later.

 

On another occasion, when His Apostles were disputing about leadership matters, Our Lord called them together for a disclosure of His organizational plan. He said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall NOT BE SO AMONG YOU: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” (Matthew 20:25-27) From this, it is clear Jesus was strongly opposed to any “prince” or “princes” exercising dominion over His flock.

 

Historically, it was not until the 3rd century, nearly 200 years after our Lord’s return to His heavenly throne, that a bishop of Rome – one of hundreds of independent bishops existing at that time – cited Matthew 16:18 as evidence Peter had been appointed bishop of Rome and head of the Church. This was a brazen grab for power by Calixtus 1 whose interpretation of Matthew 16:18 contradicted that of the leading theologians of his day. That grab for power died an ignominious death when Tertullian, bishop of Carthage, and others, called Calixtus 1 a “usurper.” From our vantage point 2000 years later, it is unimpeachable proof that Rome lies when it claims the office of the papacy has been in existence from the time of Peter.

Remember, if you will, the episode at Caesarea Philippi. There, Jesus asked His Apostles, “Who do YE say that I am?” It was Peter who responded for the twelve with this statement of FACT: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then said our Lord, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art PETER, and upon this ROCK I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:17, 18) In English, Latin, Aramaic, and other languages the words Peter and rock are entirely different. Unfortunately for Roman Catholics whose beliefs rest heavily on the papacy, Greek is a far more precise language.

 

In Greek, Peter is petros, masculine gender, defined as a small rock, one that can be picked up and skipped across the surface of a pond. It is a derivative of the root word,

petra, feminine gender, defined as massive foundation rock. If we insert Greek definitions for petros and petra, what our Lord said in Matthew 16:18 reads like this: “Thou art Little Rock, and upon this Massive Foundation Rock I will build my Church.”

 

To the most respected theologians of the early Church, the Massive Foundation Rock of

Matthew 16:18 was not Peter, but Peter’s statement of FACT – “Thou art the Christ, (Jewish Messiah) the Son of the living God.” That Jesus was and is the Messiah promised in Genesis, that He was and is the Son of God incarnate, are, in fact, the very foundation of Christianity. And that is exactly what was taught in opposition to Calixtus 1 by Cyril, Hilary, Tertullian, Jerome, (producer of the Latin Vulgate Bible), Basil, Ambrose, Augustine, Leo the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and the much-honored Greek scholar, Chrysostom.

 

Unfortunately, what the most famous early believers taught is not always considered by the Vatican to be the “Sacred Tradition” on which doctrines are based. For example, the great Augustine, besides opposing Peter as the Church’s foundation rock, staunchly opposed the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception which budded in the 5th century. The equally influential Aquinas did the same 800 years later. Hence, as in the Immaculate Conception matter, the Vatican totally disregarded the early theologians’ teachings about Matthew 16:18, even though Christ – as recorded in John’s Gospel – had given Peter the same name of small rock or stone in Aramaic long before the events at Caesarea Philippi. “when Jesus beheld him, (Peter) he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” (John 1:42) That Matthew 16:18 can in no way be interpreted as an appointment of Peter to be the first pope is even more evident when other Scriptures from both the Old and New Testament are considered.

 

Beginning in Exodus, the Old Testament is full of references to Jesus, the coming Messiah, as the foundation rock of saving faith. He it is who is symbolized by the rocks out of which came fresh water in Exodus 17:6 and Numbers 20:10. Moses, in Deuteronomy 32:4, wrote, “He (Jesus) is the ROCK.” Rebuking the Nation of Israel in 32:18, he said, Of the ROCK that begat thee thou art unmindful.” And in 32:31, he said, “…their (the enemy’s) rock is not as our ROCK.” In her prayer for a man child recorded in 1 Samuel 2:2, Hannah says, “…neither is there any ROCK like our God.” And David, just escaped from Saul, in 2 Samuel 22:2 gives credit for his safety this way: “The LORD is my ROCK, and my fortress, and my deliverer.”

 

Clear references to our Lord as the ROCK spoken of throughout the Scriptures, also are found in Psalms 18, 28, 31, 40, 42, 61, 62, 71, 78, 89, 92, 94, and 95. See also Isaiah 8:14, 17:10, and 51:1. In Hebrew, the word for rock is cela, and its definition is “crag, cliff, rock,” definitely not the kind of rock or stone one launches at a squirrel on the bird feeder.

 

In the New Testament, our Lord’s parable of the wise and foolish builders, recorded in Matthew 7 and Luke 6, leaves no doubt that Jesus, not Peter, is the foundation rock on which those who are wise establish their faith. Paul recognized Christ was the nation of Israel’s rock and the foundation of Christianity as well. “….(they, the Jews) did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual ROCK that followed them: and that ROCK was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4) Earlier, in 1 Corinthians 3:11, Paul made absolutely certain there would be no mistaking upon whom Christ’s Church was being built. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

 

The foregoing cited Scriptures not only don’t support Rome’s claim that Peter was ordained a pope, the first in the Vatican’s alleged unbroken chain of popes, they actually contradict the claim, and they contradict it most emphatically. Moreover, one comes up “empty” again when trying to find passages that show Peter and the other Apostles, Paul included, were clearly aware of Peter’s election to leadership by Jesus. Nor is it obvious from God’s Word that Peter spent enough time in Rome to have functioned as that city’s first bishop.

 

In his own first epistle, Peter acknowledges a title far different from bishop or pope. Says he, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an ELDER.” (1 Peter 5:1)

Then he says: “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as BEING LORDS over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” From these words in particular, and from the general tenor of both his letters, one concludes that Peter had no idea he had been ordained the first pope of a Church that did not come into existence until the 5th century.

 

In the account of the Church’s first general council reported in Acts 15, it is James, the brother of Jesus, and not Peter, who provides the solution to the problem under discussion. (Cf. Acts 15:13-23.) Even before that council, Peter was not acting like the supreme leader of the flock. Rather than directing the actions of others, he was being directed, as the following attests. “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, THEY SENT unto them Peter and John.” (Acts 8:14) It was the same John, who, along with his brother James, had sought

from Jesus the promise of sitting one on His right hand, and one on His left in the coming kingdom. This, long after Matthew 16:18 had taken place, and a clear indication that the Apostles had no idea Peter had been ordained their leader.

 

There is additional biblical evidence refuting the Vatican’s alleged Petrine papacy to be found in Paul’s letter to the Roman Churches. At the end of that letter, he salutes 27 named individuals, none of whom is Peter. Why is that if Peter was bishop of Rome? Also, in Acts 23, Paul not knowing it was the High Priest he was addressing, called him a “whited wall.” (Acts 23:3) When informed that his epithet had been directed at the High Priest, Paul was instantly repentant. Said he, “I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” But in his

letter to the Galatian churches Paul is openly critical of Peter, saying, “when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.(Acts 2:11) What Paul said directly to Peter in front of many witnesses was this: “…If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” (Acts 2:14) If Peter had been ordained bishop of Rome and head of the Church, Paul certainly would have been aware of the fact and would not have been openly critical of him in front of others.

 

Finally, still consulting the Scriptures, we learn that Paul, not Peter, received the Gospel directly from the lips of Jesus. “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.” (Gal 1:11,12) And in 2 Peter 3:16, we get the impression that at least some of what Christ had given to Paul was not known to Peter, for he says that in Paul’s letters “are some things hard to be understood.” Inevitably comes this question, if Jesus made Peter head of the Church, why was Paul the one chosen to receive the Gospel directly from our Lord?

 

The binding and loosing authority the Vatican claims exclusively for its popes was given

to all of the Apostles, not just Peter; (Matthew 18:18) and, in fact to all believers when

Jesus said, Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven; For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18: 19,20)

 

When all of the Scriptures having to do with Peter’s alleged ordination as pope are reviewed it becomes manifestly clear that he was only one of twelve chosen men, who will sit on twelve thrones in the millennium, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30). A bishop of Rome he was not. A pope he was not. And when historical facts are studied – as will be done in a separate article – they will positively confirm what has already been seen in the divine Scriptures.

 How To Witness To A Catholic

 

 

Love: Approach with Love. We are commanded to love. John 13:34 says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” If you don’t approach someone with Love, how can you expect them to see the Love of God through you. That’s really what you are trying to show them. God loved us so much that he sent his son to suffer and die to pay the penalty for our sins if we will only choose to follow him. We have reviewed how to approach a Catholic with knowledge, understanding and love. But, what do you say to them? Prepare with prayer. God will speak through you if your intentions are pure. One of the greatest gifts we have is the Word of God.


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