Saturday, April 11, 2009

World religions: Roman Catholicism

Note: (1) Mike Mislan, missionary to the Philippines and founder-president of San Marcelino Baptist Bible Seminary in Zambales, wrote the article below; (2) Surf to Just For Catholics, an earnest presentation of the gospel message and critique of certain aspects of Catholicism and A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics; (3) From Way of the Master Radio: Kirk Cameron witnessing to a Catholic guy named Tim, 4th minute mark of the audio, with Kirk not emphasizing the erroneous doctrines of Catholicism but rather explaining the Gospel with clarity, and Tim’s reply a week later, 26th minute mark of the audio.


The doctrines of Mary are very important to the Catholic Church, for in some ways, she possesses the attributes of God. She is able to hear and understand all languages at the same time as millions recite her rosary around the world, is able to remember all those who had prayed to her and how often they had prayed, has power to answer prayers, can appear and disappear through reported apparitions, can tell future events through secret letters that were given to the Popes, and as the Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, can even grant salvation to her devoted followers. In a way, she is even more powerful than Jesus Himself, for through her motherly influence, she can get you into heaven when Jesus wouldn’t.

In this lesson we will see how these doctrines were formed and how the Catholic Church had used one doctrine to build another, which in turn was used to build another, ending with Mary becoming a co-savior. We will also learn of the errors of these doctrines.

1. The Mariological Doctrines

While the modern ecumenical Catholic Church in America tends to downplay Mary’s role in the church, official writings from the Catholic Church doctrinally recognizes Mary as being a prominent figure, of which the Philippines ranks among one of her most devoted and loyal nations. In short, there are six Catholic doctrines specifically related to Mary:

1. Mother of God: when she gave birth to “God in the flesh”
2. Her Immaculate Conception: when she was born without sin
3. Her Perpetual Virginity: She never “knew” a man
4. Her Assumption into Heaven: Did not die, but taken into heaven
5. Her Coronation as Queen: Enthroned as Queen of Heaven
6. Her Co-Redemptrix: a mediator between man and Christ
A. Mary as the Mother of God

By giving birth to Christ, Mary became the “Mother of God” by virtue of Christ being “God in the flesh.” This has led the church to assume that as His Mother, Mary has more privileges with God - as any mother would have over her obedient son. While not specifically mentioned, the implication is that Mary can probably get you into heaven even if Jesus rejects you, by exercising her motherly influence over her Son, who, out of His love for His Mother, will comply.

But according to the Bible, Mary was never elevated by Christ, nor did Christ ever teach His disciples to worship her as the “Mother of God.” When Christ went into the temple as a child, He said that He must be about His FATHER’S business and not His mother’s (Lk.2:49). And when He was informed that Mary couldn’t reach Him because the crowd, He responded that His real mother was not Mary, but those who would obey His Word (Luke 8:19-21). And then again when a lady in the crowd had shouted “Blessed is the womb that bare thee..” Christ could have used this phrase an opportunity to elevate Mary - but he did not. Instead, He had lowered her status by responding “Yeah, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it” (Lk.11:27-28). Then, during the giving of His Great Commission, He mentions nothing to His Church about elevating Mary (Mat.28:18-20) and after His ascension, when Luke records a list of those who were assembled in the upper room, the apostles are listed first, with Mary and her children being listed last Acts 1:13-14. These accounts show that Christ, His apostles, and the Pre-Pentecost early church as a whole, did not elevate Mary to any special office or position, based simply upon her having been Christ's mother.

B. The Immaculate Conception
“The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved in the first instant of her conception... free from all stain of original sin..” (Pope Pius IX, Dec.8th, 1854) “When Catholics speak of Mary's Immaculate Conception, they refer to their belief handed down by tradition, that she alone was protected from the impact of original sin..” (The Catholic Vision, IV), “In order to be [the] Mother of God, God preserved her from..sin.. This means that at the moment when her soul was created and united with her body - she was Immaculate, preserved from original stain..preserved from..sin she did not need to be purified from it as we do through baptism” (Short Catechism of Mary).. “The perfect sinlessness of Mary had been taught by the Fathers of the Church..”(Catholic Encyclical, 1991)
“The doctrine that Mary’s sinlessess began from the first moment of her conception, was opposed by some medieval Doctors of the Church.. on the grounds that... original sin is transmitted in every human conception.’ - Catholic Encyclical

Statements against the Immaculate Conception by Catholic officials

St. Thomas Aquinas: The blessed Virgin contracted original sin.

St. Augustine: Mary, springing from Adam, died because of sin.

St. Ambrose: Jesus is the only one who did not experience original sin.

Pope Innocent II: Mary was produced in sin.

Pope Gregory Great: For He (Christ) alone was born holy.

“Texts from the not contain any explicit references to the fact of Mary’s Immaculate Conception” Rev. Daniel A. Murry, “The Living Word for the Living Church” - what every Catholic should know about Scripture, Tradition, and the Teaching Office,” a book ‘Imprimatured’ by Cardinal John Krol, Archbishop of Philadelphia.
C. Marys Perpetual Virginity
“The Church has consistently taught the perpetual virginity of Mary: She was a virgin before, through and after the conception and birth of Christ". (Catholic Encyclopedia)

NOTE: This claim that that church had consistently taught this “perpetual virginity” of Mary is a lie because it was never taught by Christ or His disciples, nor was it ever a doctrine of the early church
(1) Christ was Mary’s firstborn son: Both Matthew and Luke record that Jesus was Mary’s “Firstborn” son, definitely implying that other sons would follow (Mat.1:25, Lk.2:7).

(2) Joseph had sex with Mary after Christ’s birth: And Joseph ‘knew’ her not TILL she brought forth her firstborn son" (Mat.1:25). This word “TILL” means that Joseph did not have sex with Mary unTILL after Christ was born, producing up to seven other children.

(3) Five of Mary’s children are mentioned by name: Knowing that Christ was the “first” one born (Mat.1:25, Lk.2:7) and that Joseph had sex with his wife after Christ’s birth, according to the Bible, Mary later gave birth to James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Mat.13:55-58) and to three other daughters. "Isn't Mary his mother, and aren't James, Joseph, Simon and Judas his brothers? Aren’t all his sisters living here? ..and so they rejected him... Jesus said unto them, “A prophet is respected everywhere except in his home town and by his own family” (Mat.13:55-58 - Catholic-approved Today’s English Version).

(4) Marys children were recognized by others: Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they want to speak with you. Jesus answered, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Then He pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants him to do is my brother, my sister, and my mother” (Mat.12:46-50 TEV). Look, your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside..(Mk 3:31-35, 6:1-4, Lk.8:19-21, 4:16-30 TEV)"

D. Marys ascension into heaven
“In the only declared exercise of papal infallibility, Pope Pius XII.. on November 1st, 1950, proclaimed the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary a doctrine of the Faith. The dogma of the Assumption states that Mary was taken up body and soul into heaven.. since by reason of her Immaculate Conception she should not suffer the consequences of original sin” (Catholic Encyclopedia) In other words, she went directly from an earthly state to a heavenly state, without her body undergoing corruption, the penalty of sin..(Catholic Vision, IV-30)
“By reason of her immaculate conception” should show us that there is no real basis for this doctrine - for the “Immaculate Conception” of which this doctrine is based is without foundation itself! The truth is, the “assumption of Mary” never took place in the Bible and she died a normal death. In fact, archaeologists have found “images, mosaics, and frescoes depicting Mary’s death” (The Living Word in the Living Church - What every Christian should know about Scripture, Tradition, and the Teaching Office), there is not one passage in the Bible that mentions this event, and not one witness can be located to step forward who has actually seen it her alleged assumption. It is very strange that Christ, Elijah and Enoch all had their ascensions recorded on Scripture (Lk.16:19-20, 24:50-53, Acts 1:10-11, Gen. 5:24, Heb.11:5, 2 Kings 2:1-11), but that the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven’s was not! Even the Catholic church does not know when this alleged event took place and must make “guesses” by writing in their “Short Catechism of Mary” that “Pentecost is the announcement of her departure for heaven” - nothing but a guess! And if Mary was to ascend into heaven right after Pentecost (as the “Short Catechism of Mary” teaches), why would Christ ask John to care for her anyway (Jn.19:27)? It is hard to believe that John did not see it when he was commanded by Christ to look after her! And why look after her if she was still young? According to the Catholic Church Mary was young at the time of her assumption. But assuming that Mary was around 17 years of age when she gave birth to Christ, and knowing that Christ had died on the cross at the age of 33, Mary would have been over 50 years of age if she was assumed into heaven after Pentecost - not a teen as always portrayed! In short the “Assumption of Mary” is only an “assumption” without any Scriptural, historical or even traditional support.
“In Munificentissimus Deus, Pius XII defined this dogma. In so doing he did not present explicit texts from Scripture or from apostolic tradition. There is no absolutely clear and explicit testimony to the Assumption in Scripture or in the writings of the Fathers of the first few centuries of the Church’s life.” - Rev Murry, Catholic Theologian
E. Mary as Queen of Heaven
“The Blessed Virgin was given the title of “Queen”by Pope Pius XII, on May 31st, 1954, during the Marian Year.. (Catholic Encyclical), “Mary is Queen of Heaven and Earth. She shares in the glory of her Son (Short Catechism of Mary), “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy.. Hail O Queen of Heaven enthroned.. Queen of Heaven rejoice.. (Prayers to Mary), “Queen of angels, queen of Patriarchs, Queen of prophets, Queen of apostles..” (Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
Like the other Mariological Doctrines, this teaching has no foundation as there are no prophecies that indicate she would be crowned as Queen, and there certainly were no witnesses. The verse often used: “blessed art thou among women” (Lk.1:42) was not a prophecy from an angel but was actually spoken by Elisabeth, and did not include men anyway - just women. And when Jesus was walking with a crowd and a lady had shouted “Blessed is the womb that bare thee..” Christ had corrected her by responding “Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it (Lk.11:27-28). By doing this, Christ was proclaiming that obeying God’s Word was more important than honoring Mary. Actually, according to the Bible, the true Queen of Heaven was “Isis” and not Mary.

Queen of Heaven is a pagan goddess in Egypt: As far back as 586 BC (and even further), the “Queen of Heaven” was already being worshipped by the Jews in Egypt as “Isis” - the Egyptian sex goddess. God had sent the prophet Jeremiah to try to warn His people to stop this pagan worship but they had refused:
“As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But will certainly.. burn incense unto the QUEEN OF HEAVEN, and pour out drink offerings unto her..” (Jer.44:16-17)

“The Egyptian goddess.. Isis was represented as standing on the crescent moon with stars circling her head” (The Heathen Religions).

“In Roman Catholic churches all over Europe may be seen pictures of Mary exactly the same way - with twelve stars circling her head and the crescent moon under her feet” (Babylon Mystery Religion).

“..these figures became their Madonna and Child without any break in continuity: No archaeologist.. can tell whether some of these objects represents one (Isis) or the other (Mary)...” (The Paganism in our Christianity).
F. Mary as a co-mediator
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”
The Short Catechism of Mary states “The Blessed Virgin is powerful enough to obtain the salvation of her true servants.” There are many Scriptures that refute this false teaching.

1. Christ said that no man can come to the Father but by Him (Jn.14:6), that He Himself was the door (Jn.10:9), and that prayer should be made in His Name (Jn.16:23), not Mary’s!

2. There is only ONE mediator (1 Tim.2:5, Acts 4:12) and our advocate is Christ, not Mary (1st Jn.2:1).

3. When Stephen the martyr was dying and saw heaven opened, he saw the Father and Son only, NOT Mary (Acts 6:54-60).

4. When the rich man in hell wanted help from “Abraham,” no saints could help him (Lk.16:19-31).

5. Mary herself was totally unaware of any future role in salvation(Lk.2:19, Jn.2:4)

2. How a woman became a goddess

A. Tradition has the same authority as Scripture.

The true Church of Christ has always taken the Bible to be their final authority for faith and practice. But according to the Catholic Church, both the Bible AND tradition are considered equal in authority and value. This means that even if a tradition is man-made, it can still be considered as a doctrine or practice by the Catholic Church based upon the Magistrate who decides what will and will not become Church Doctrine. And by looking at the simple chart below we can see the errors of this kind of approach when defining doctrine.

Origins: came from man
Virtue of: capable of error
Results: conflicts with truth


Origins: came from God
Virtue of: pure and perfect
Results: is the truth
As a result of placing Scripture and tradition on the same level, sometimes the Magistrate was forced to make a choice between two considerations for doctrine, with one based on Scripture and the other on tradition. This sometimes resulted in tradition winning over Scripture and false doctrines being formed. For example, while the Bible teaches that “Bishops must be the husband of one wife” (1st Tim.3:1-5), all Catholic priests are denied marriage and are forced to disobey this clear command in Scripture. While the Bible teaches that all are sinners (Rom.3:10), Mary is somehow exempted from the curse of Adam by her “Immaculate Conception”. While the Bible teaches us not to repeat prayers as the pagans do (Mat.6:7-8), the rosary is upheld as a prayer tool, and the list can go on! This is why the Christ and His Disciples had always taught against following man-made traditions.
Why do ye also transgress the commandments of God by your tradition? (Matthew 15:3)
In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9)
Beware lest any man spoil you after the traditions of men (Colossians 2:8)
Not giving heed to..commandments of men that turn from the truth (Titus 1:14)
All are to perish with..the commandments and doctrines of men (Colossians 2:2)
Ye reject the commandment of God that ye may keep your traditions (Mark 7:9)
Making the Word of God on none effect through your traditions (Mark 7:13)
Laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of me (Mark 7:8)
B. Doctrinal Progression

Another fault of the Catholic Church is their “Doctrinal Progression” problem which is characterized by their building doctrines from previous doctrines that were built from previous doctrines and so forth, as if a Church Doctrine is a foundation in and of itself.

Since humans do not give birth to God, Mary must have been MORE than a human. And since Mary produced a sinless offspring, she herself must have been sinless (the “Immaculate Conception”). And since she produced an eternal God while a virgin, then her virginity is also eternal, (her perpetual virginity). And if she is sinless and eternal then she can go right into heaven (her “Assumption into Heaven”). And if she went right into heaven she obviously was made a Queen (her coronation as Queen of Heaven). And as a Queen she must have authority and salvation. And it all started with a humble teenager being chosen of God to be the womb for Christ! As you can see, all the doctrines of Mary each depend upon the foundation of the previous doctrine, of which had no basis.
THE BIBLICAL MARY: And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden (Lk.1:47-48)

THE CATHOLIC MARY: “The Blessed Virgin is powerful enough to obtain salvation for her true servants” - Short Catechism of Mary.

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