Roman Catholicism: Catholic Church

When I refer to Roman Catholicism, I refer to the Official Church teachings.  My experience when witnessing to Catholics is that about 99% agree with what the Catholic Church teaches on salvation, which is, faith plus works.

There are some Christians in the Catholic Church who trust in Christ alone for their salvation apart from their good works that would cooperate with God's grace.  These Christians in the Catholic Church whom trust in Christ alone for their salvation are mavericks that are going against what the Catholic Church teaches.  

I object to the official teachings of the Catholic Church and in no way place a blanket statement on all Catholics, as only God knows their hearts.

The Catholic church teaches that a person must be baptized to be saved.  This is adding works to the atoning death of Jesus on the cross for our sins.  If you so much as add one ounce of your good works to the finished work of Christ on the cross and trust in them as some sort of cooperation with God's grace, you in fact believe in another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).

The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 4:1-5, Galatians 2:16).  The Bible also teaches that if you try to add to this free gift you have in fact fallen from grace, you are not saved: "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace," Galatians 5:4 (See also, Romans 10:3-4).

Since the Catholic Church teaches faith plus works, it is under the anathema [curse] of God (Galatians 1:6-9).  This exact issue was dealt with by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the churches in the Galatia region.  These Judaizers claimed that while salvation was of Christ, works were also necessary for salvation.  Some of the Bibles strongest words are reserved for those who would corrupt the free gift of salvation.    

Below are some teachings from The Council of Trent and The Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Pope John Paul II said this about the Catechism, "A sure norm for teaching the Faith."

"If anyone says that by faith alone the sinner is justified, so as to mean that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification...Let him be anathema."
(Council of Trent, sess. 6, Cannon 9)

"If anyone says that men are justified either by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ alone, or by the remission of sins alone, or even that the grace by which we are justified is only the favor of God...Let him be anathema."
(Council of Trent, sess. 6, Cannon 11)

"If anyone says that the righteousness received is not preserved and also not increased before God by good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not a cause of its increase, let him be anathema."
(Council of Trent, sess. 6, Cannon 24)

"If anyone says that by the said sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred through the act performed [ex opere operato, lit., "the work worked"]  but  [says] that faith alone in the divine promises is sufficient for the obtaining of grace, let him be anathema."
(Council of Trent, sess. 7, Cannon 8)

"If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluos, and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for each one, let him be anathema."
(Council of Trent, sees. 7, Cannon 4)

"If anyone says that baptism is optional, That is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema."
(Council of Trent, sess. 7, Cannon 4)

"If anyone says that God always pardons the whole penalty together with the guilt and that the satisfaction of penitents is nothing else than the faith by which they perceive that Christ has satisfied for them, let him be anathema."
(Canons Concerning the Most Holy Sacrament of Penance, Canon 8)

"If anyone says that in the Catholic Church penance is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord for reconciling the faithful of God as often as they fall into sin after baptism, let him be anathema."
(Canons Concerning the Most Holy Sacrament of Penance, Canon 1)

"If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified...let him be accursed."
(Council of Trent, Cannon 12)

"Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved."  Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that "we too might walk in newness of life."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 977)

"It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church: Penance has rightly been called by the holy Fathers "a laborious kind of baptism."  This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 980)

"Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 985)

"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."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1213)

"This sacrament (baptism) is also called "the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit," for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one "can enter the kingdom of God."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1215)

"The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.  He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.  Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.  The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit."  God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1257)

"By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.  In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam's sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1263)

"Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte "a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the divine nature," member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1265)

"Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ.  In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1277)

"The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit.  By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1279)

"Jesus calls to conversion.  This call is an essential part of the proclamation of the kingdom: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel."  In the Church's preaching this call is addressed first to those who do not yet know Christ and his Gospel. Also, Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1427)

These renderings are absurd since they directly contradict what the Bible teaches.  This clearly shows that the Catholic Church believes and preaches another gospel based on our good works that would cooperate with God's grace.  They attempt to add to the finished work of Christ on the cross.  To deny this clear fact is to deny what they and/or what the Bible teaches on salvation.

Many evangelicals wrongly consider Catholicism just another Christian denomination.  The Apostle Paul had some very strong language to those that added anything to the gospel:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  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.  As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men?  For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ," Galatians 1:6-9.

I could not agree more with this statement from Dr. John MacArthur regarding the false gospel of the Catholic Church:

"I would add an even stronger comment: as long as the papal system binds its people to "another gospel" it is the spiritual duty of all true Christians to oppose Roman Catholic doctrine with biblical truth and to call all Catholics to true salvation.  Appeals for "dialogue" must not be allowed to silence or obscure our clear polemic for the truth and against error.  And the focus and goal of all Catholic-evangelical dialogue should always be to seek truth--not a superficial peace, not merely common denominators, not even moral or political coalition--but  the true answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?"  Meanwhile, evangelicals must not capitulate to the pressures for artificial unity.  We cannot allow the Gospel to be obscured.  We cannot make friends with false religion, lest we become partakers in their evil deeds (2 John 11)."
(Dr. John MacArthur,"Reckless Faith," pg. 216)

What about Vatican II?

Many practical and political reforms were made, but the Church's official stance against the doctrine of the Reformation was clearly reaffirmed.  The infallibility of the Church was reasserted.  "The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remained intact."  The Reformation was once again rebuffed.  Catholic doctrine was declared, "irreformable."
(Dr. John MacArthur, "Reckless Faith," pg. 212)

So many naive people actually believe Catholicism is just another "Christian denomination."  Many blinded evangelical Christian leaders actually teach this lie.  If a pastor doesn't have enough intestinal fortitude and/or biblical knowledge to call the Catholic Church false I would have nothing to do with them.

The Gospel is of paramount importance to believers, if a pastor cannot get that simple thing right what other error is he teaching? If a pastor is afraid to speak plainly about what the Bible teaches because of fear of man he needs to resign. 

If a pastor wants to be ecumenical instead of biblical leave your church at once and find a real shepherd who loves Jesus more than man.  An ecumenical pastor is just a hireling who cares more about his prestige and praise of men than the care of God's sheep.

"But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.  The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep."
John 10:12-13.

"For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."
Galatians 1:10

     More Error's From The 'Infallible' Catholic Church

Most Catholic literature contains Nihil Obstat and the Imprimature, Church seals that designate authority.  They are defined as a
"declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or mortal error."  Yet The Catholic Encyclopedia, which contains these seals, teaches the following errors:

1. Salvation is by works.
2. Muslims worship the biblical God.
3. The book of Daniel was written in 165 B.C.
4. Mormons "believe in the Trinity."
5. Papal infallibility is true.
6. The Catholic Church is the only true Church.

The Catholic Encyclopedia also includes positive reviews of the Hindu practice of Transcendental Meditation, the religion of Islam, and the destructive approach to Scripture known as Form Criticism.  Such teachings indicate that The Catholic Encyclopedia is not free from doctrinal and spiritual errors.

Even popes have disagreed on such matters as religious freedom, the validity of civil marriages, the legitimacy of Bible reading, the order of the Jesuits, Galileo's scientific data, and other topics.  On rare occasion, popes have even sided with heresy, as did Pope Liberius (reigned from 352 to 366) when he accepted the Arians who rejected Christ's deity (cf. Zozimus and the Pelagians Honorius I and the Monothelites, or Vigilius and the Monphysites and Nestorians.)
("Facts on Roman Catholicism," John Ankerberg and John Weldon, pg. 43)

        Salvation Is A Free Gift Apart From Our Good Works Through The Atoning Death Of Christ In Our Place

"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

"Not by works of righteousness which you have done, but according to his mercy he saved us."
Titus 3:5

"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."
Romans 4:4-5

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
Galatians 2:16

"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Romans 11:5-6

"Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
Acts 13:38-39

"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"
Galatians 2:21

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord."
Romans 6:23

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Romans 10:9

Scripture that refutes the false Catholic Church:

Salvation is free and not earned by baptism:
Ephesians 2:8-9                                 Titus 3:5
Romans 4:1-5, 6:23, 10:9-13       Galatians 2:16
Acts 13:38-39, 15:1-11

Peter was not the first Pope:
Married: Matthew 8:14
Not infallible: Galatians 2:14
Christ is foundation: 1 Corinthians 3:11
Not Peter’s doctrine: Acts 2:42
Others got keys: Matthew 18:18
James was the leader: Acts 15:13-21
Pillars is plural: Galatians 2:9
Christ is our rock, not Peter: 1 Peter 1:1
Peter is an Apostle: 1 Peter 1:1
Peter is an elder: 1 Peter 1:1

Mary wasn’t a perpetual virgin:
Psalm 69:4-9                              John 2:12, 7:5
Mark 3:31, 6:1-3    Matthew 13:55    Luke 14:26
Galatians 1:19    Acts 1:14    1 Corinthians 9:4-5

The cannon (Bible, revelation from God) is closed unlike the Catholic Church teaches:
1 Corinthians 4:6    Jude 3    Proverbs 30:5-6
Revelation 22:18-19              Deuteronomy 4:2
2 Peter 1:19-21                      Galatians 1:7-8  
Hebrews 1:1-3                       2 Timothy 3:16-17
2 Thessalonians 3:6, 12, 14            John 10:35

Don’t worship angels like Catholic Church:
Colossians 2:18   Revelation 19:10, 22:8-10
Acts 10:26, 14:11-18

The false traditions of the Catholic Church:
Mark 7:1-20      1 Timothy 4:1-3       Titus 1:9-16
Ecclesiastes 5:2   Colossians 2:8   1 Peter 1:18-19

Don’t hold man as an infallible teacher (like Satan’s Apostle the Pope):
Matthew 23:9-10

All Christians are priests:
Revelation 1:6                              1 Peter 2:5, 9

Mary wasn’t sinless (Catholic Church):
Luke 1:47      Ecclesiastes 7:20       Psalm 51:5
Romans 3:23, 5:12                        1 John 1:8-10

Mary isn’t our intercessor (Catholic Church):
1 Timothy 2:5            John 14:6           Acts 4:12
Hebrews 8:6, 12:23-24

Jesus didn’t call Mary mother in Scripture:
John 2:4, 19:26                    Matthew 12:46-50

The Church in Scripture:
Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:22-33
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20, 15:9
Hebrews 12:23                            1 Timothy 3:15   2 Corinthians 6:16       Acts 7:48-50, 17:24-25

"Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God...The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, page 342, 352)
"Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?  He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."
Mark 7:5-9
"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

John MacArthur on the Catholic Church I.
John MacArthur on the Catholic Church II.