The Catholic Church and The Bible
by Dennis Tucker
Recent articles in the local newspaper have dealt with the Catholic Church and whether or not it is of Christ. Some view such discussions as being non-Christ like. They think every body has a right to their own faith and all faiths are alike. Therefore, one can be a Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or even Muslim and be right with God.
Jesus, in speaking to the Samaritan woman by the well made two points. This woman was living with a man to whom she was not married, John 4:18. She realized He was a prophet of God and asked whether the proper place of worship was in Jerusalem or “this mountain” (John 4:20). In speaking of the religion of the Samaritans Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews….God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:22, 24). I should point out that in verse 23 Jesus speaks of a time where it will not matter where the people worship God. My point is that Christ told this woman that her religion was not according to God’s word. It is not wrong or demeaning to question one’s religion and point out any errors that may exist.
Therefore, is the Catholic Church one built upon the word of God or are Catholics worshipping what they do not know?
If it is built upon the word of God, we will be able to see its practices, organization, and doctrines in the Bible. The Bible and the Bible alone contains “all that pertains to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3).
The Catholic Church recognizes a Pope as the head of the church. This man is elected by Cardinals. He is supposed to be the Vicar of Christ, or Christ here upon earth as stated in the New York Catechism. This contradicts the Bible. There is only one head or Lord of the church, Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:5; Colossians 1:18. “He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power” (I Timothy 6:15b– 16). The Pope can not be the head of the church, for Christ is the one and only head of the church.
The Catholic Church claims Peter in a continuous line of Popes from Peter to the present. Factually this is not true. Peter was given the keys to the kingdom of the church, Matthew 16:19. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter and the other eleven Apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:1-4. Peter and the eleven stood up and preached the Gospel of Christ, Acts 2:14. Peter spoke with no more or less authority than any of the other Apostles. The first Pope did not exist until 588 A.D. when John the Faster claimed the office of Universal Bishop of the church. He was denounced when Gregory the Great wrote, “whosoever adopts or affects the title of universal bishop has the pride and character of anti-Christ, and is in some manner his forerunner in this haughty quality of elevating himself above the rest of his order” The Bible vs. Romanism, Trice, pp. 67-68). In 606 A.D. Boniface III was recognized as the Universal Bishop or Pope. There is no successive line of Popes from Peter to the present.
The organization or the Catholic Church can not be found in the Bible. On the Day of Pentecost 3,000 were baptized into Christ, Acts 2:41. Those baptized were added to the church, Acts 2:47. As persecution arose, Christians were dispersed and went throughout Judea and Samaria preaching the Gospel, Acts 8:1. People obeying in Judea and Samaria were added to the body of Christ. They were added to the saved, the Universal church which is not the same organization as the Catholic Church. The church Christ established is composed of Christians. Those people met with other Christians in forming local congregations. We read of the church at Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, and other places. Each congregation was autonomous. Meaning they functioned independently from other congregations. They had their own elderships (Acts 14:23), treasury (I Corinthians 16.1-2), members (I Peter 5:2), and work. It was not until later that man started to join local congregations together, thereby creating an organization larger than the local congregation. The organization of the Catholic Church consists of Bishops, Cardinals, and Pope, where the Cardinals are over the Bishops and the Pope is over the “Universal Church.” Such an organization can not be found in the Bible.
The Bible and the Bible alone contains the Law of Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that its traditions are equal to the Bible. The decree of its councils and its Pope is of greater importance than the Bible, resulting in many practices and doctrines foreign to the Bible. Some of those teachings are; praying to and worshipping Mary as the Mother of God, celibacy of the priesthood, transubstantiation, venial and mortal sins, purgatory, the perpetual virginity of Mary, and a host of other teachings. What does the Bible say about these things? Jesus had siblings (Matthew 12:46-47); therefore Mary did not remain a virgin. No one prayed to or worshipped Mary in the Bible. All Christians are part of the priesthood of Christ, I Peter 2:9. Celibacy of the priesthood would mean that all Christians would have to live a celibate life. Such contradicts I Corinthians 7:2. It is wrong to add to or take away from what has already been revealed in the Bible, Revelation 22:18-19.
In short, one must either accept the Bible or the Catholic Church, but one can not have both. As for me, I take the Bible as my source of authority.