Christ Assembly

The Roman Catholic Cult:

The Biblical Response

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Some people do not understand that the Roman Catholics oppose the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation. Some people think that the Roman Catholics just have different teachings from other Christians, but those minor differences make no real difference. Do not be deceived. Roman Catholicism is a cult, and always has been. By the using the word “cult,” I mean a group centered around a particular person, following a particular group of evil teachings. Like many cults calling themselves “Christians,” the Roman Catholics cite many bible verses, but they do not acknowledge the Bible as the ultimate authority. No, they see the Roman Catholic pope as the final authority on all spiritual matters. Anyone who believes the teachings of the Roman Catholics is not going to heaven, because those teachings deny the Gospel preached by Jesus Christ in the Bible. We must examine the Bible to see if the Roman Catholics teach the truth or lies.

I have divided this study into two parts: Part One—The Roman Catholic Cult and Part Two—The Biblical Response to Roman Catholics. In Part One, I will compare the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholics with the Bible, the Word of God. The Roman Catholics distort the Bible to their own destruction. In Part Two, I will discuss the born-again believer’s response to Roman Catholics.

Part One

The Roman Catholic Cult

Roman Catholics fit the definition of a cult. They are a large group of people centered around a particular person, following a particular group of evil teachings. Like many cults calling themselves “Christians,” the Roman Catholics quote many Bible verses, but they distort those verses to their own destruction. Furthermore, they explicitly state that the Roman Catholic pope (a sinful man they elected to replace Jesus) is the final authority on all spiritual matters. For the Roman Catholics, their pope provides authoritative teaching and has veto power over all other teaching.

The Roman Catholics publish some of their teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (“CCC”). Therefore, I will quote their own teachings from the CCC with citations. Their own writings demonstrate that they deny the teachings of Jesus Christ and love the teachings of Roman Catholicism which directly conflict with the teachings of Jesus in the Bible.

The Roman Catholics know that their teachings conflict with the Bible (the sixty-six books of the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books)). At the Roman Catholic Council of Trent, held about fifteen hundred years after the birth of Jesus, the Roman Catholics recognized other books that were never a part of the Bible written by God. Those newly added books are called the Apocrypha, which contains the teachings of men who were not inspired by God. The Apocrypha provides support for many Roman Catholic ideas not found in the Bible. Even so, the Roman Catholics teach that only the pope and the Roman Catholic bishops in league with the pope can interpret the Bible correctly. So, the Roman Catholics do not believe that God can help you understand the Bible as well as the Roman Catholic leadership understands the Bible. They also believe that their pope holds final earthly authority over all spiritual matters, even though he is only a man. Instead of bowing their knees before God and submitting to the teachings of the Bible, they embrace a man as pope and believe that man speaks without error, even when that man contradicts the Bible. Did you know that the Roman Catholics had three popes at the same time, and they all hated each other and had their own Roman Catholic followings? When people worship and revere people, then we know they have never known Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, because He alone is the Savior of the World. By faith in Jesus and His Gospel, we find peace with God through His salvation based upon justification by faith alone.

Romans Catholics teach many serious doctrinal errors. The name “Roman Catholic” is both very interesting and oxymoronic (the juxtaposition of two conflicting terms to achieve an epigrammatic effect). The term “catholic” means universal or all-embracing, so they appear to be making a claim to universal teaching. But they also call themselves “Roman.” If they are catholics in the universal sense, why do they use the term “Roman”? Because they know their teaching comes from Rome, not from God. Their own name “Roman Catholic” separates themselves from the true catholic church, the church founded by Jesus Christ, based upon salvation through grace by faith alone. The church of Jesus is headquartered today in heaven with Jesus, but Jesus will return to the city of Jerusalem in Israel, not Rome, and occupy the throne of David there to rule the world. Always remember that Roman Catholics serve an evil man in Rome calling himself “pope,” and he is not Jesus. The pope opposes Jesus and His teachings.

Section One

Roman Catholics Reject the Bible

Roman Catholics reject the Bible. They may claim to value the Bible, but they actually value the teachings of men far more than any value they place upon the Bible. Roman Catholics refuse to accept the Bible as their sole authority on spiritual matters.

1.1 Pope. The Roman Catholics say that their pope is the personal representative of Christ on earth and the pastor of the church with “full, supreme, and universal power over the whole church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered” (CCC 882). The Roman Catholics reject the authority of the Word of God (the Bible contained in sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments) and look to their pope, created by man alone. Remember that the Roman Catholics had three popes at the same time, and they hated each other.

The Bible Reveals: Jesus Is the Head of the Church, Not a Pope.

Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep and took it again: “I am the Good Shepherd” and “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” (John 10:11, 14; 17-19). The Roman Catholics idolize Peter and wrongly see him as the first pope. Jesus did not set Peter above the other disciples. Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to all of His disciples, not just Peter: “Truly I say to you [plural], whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). Jesus commanded the local assemblies to appoint elders (notice the plural) for their own local assembly. The local elders did the work of shepherding that local assembly. Jesus always remained the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-4). The Bible never mentions a pope, never views Rome as supreme, never elevates Peter above the other disciples and always shows that elders serve the Chief Shepherd, Jesus. Please remember that Paul rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy, which undoes any claim of Peter having universal authority of any kind (Galatians 2:11-14). Paul followed the teachings of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; 16:21-23) to rebuke Peter for spreading his evil hypocrisy to other disciples. The church has only one head, Jesus Christ: “Christ . . . is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.” Christ reserved the titles “Head of the Church” and “Savior of the body” only to Himself. The Roman Catholics idolize Peter and distort the truth about true church leadership to claim their pope has universal power over the church. Roman Catholics follow such evil teachings to their own destruction.

1.2 Roman Catholic Tradition. The Roman Catholics value Roman Catholic tradition more than the Bible. Their interpretations of the Bible require strict obedience: “The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the church, that is, to the pope and to the bishops in communion with him” (CCC 100). Please note that the Roman Catholics define the Word of God as “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God” (CCC 97). When the Roman Catholics value the words of men (Roman Catholic tradition) more than the Bible (the Word of God), then they no longer recognize the Bible as the supreme authority. The words of men have, in practice, greater authority than the Bible. Also, please recall that Roman Catholics think that only the Roman Catholics can tell you what the Bible means. According to the Roman Catholics, only the Roman Catholics can interpret the Bible. No college or council of Roman Catholic bishops can exercise any authority without the approval and recognition of their pope (CCC 883, 884). In the history of the Roman Catholic church, church councils have had great feuds with popes, and popes have ignored those councils just as the councils have ignored the popes at times. The Roman Catholics elevate the interpretations of men and the traditions of men above the Bible, which God gave for everyone to study and learn from the anointing given to each believer. The Roman Catholics elect a man to be their next pope. The Bible never said Peter was pope and never said anyone was elected pope by any group of men. The Bible knows of no pope. The Bible reveals that Jesus is the only Head of the church. Evil men love to elevate evil men to rule over them. They have no desire to follow the Bible and learn and obey what Jesus commanded. They interpret the Bible to suit their own evil traditions and they deny you can interpret the Bible for yourself.

The Bible Reveals: All Believers Have an Anointing from God. In 1 John 2:27, every believer has an anointing from God that teaches them about all things: “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” Furthermore, every believer can study the Bible to see if things proclaimed by people (especially the Roman Catholics) are true. Consider the Bereans: “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11).

ConclusionThe Roman Catholics wrongly teach that their pope and the traditions of men have more value than the Bible. They add to the Bible with the Apocrypha and their own proclamations. The Bible declares that God will add the plagues of Revelation to anyone who adds to the Bible (as the Roman Catholics do) (Revelation 22:18). The Bible also declares that God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city if anyone takes away from the words of the book of Revelation (Revelation 22:19).

Section Two

Roman Catholics Teach a False Gospel of Salvation

The Roman Catholics deny the teachings of the Bible concerning salvation. God wrote the Bible and it says we go to heaven by faith alone; our works have nothing to do with salvation. Works means keeping commandments, obeying God, and doing good things. God says those things are very important, but they have nothing to do with salvation. God said that salvation only comes through the faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift of God; we can do nothing to earn it. We can do nothing to deserve it, so God called salvation a free gift of grace (unmerited favor).

2.1 Error: Roman Catholics Teach Salvation by Works, Not by Faith Alone. The Roman Catholics deny that people go to heaven by faith alone in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2.2 The Roman Catholics Deny Salvation by Faith Alone. Roman Catholics teach that “all men may attain to salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments” (CCC 2068). According to the Roman Catholics, a person must not only have faith, but they must also: (a) be baptized by the Roman Catholics; and (b) observe the commandments of God.

2.3  The Roman Catholics Curse The Bible’s Teaching of Justification by Faith Alone. The Roman Catholics teach: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9). According to the human teachings of the Roman Catholics, if you agree with the Bible that teaches that we are saved by faith alone, then the Roman Catholics curse you (anathema) for your faith in the Bible which proclaims salvation by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). In essence, they curse God for writing the truth in the Bible. Actually, God curses them for spreading a false gospel of salvation by works, which is no gospel at all.

2.4  The Bible Teaches Salvation by Grace through Faith, without Works. In contrast to the human teachings of the Roman Catholics, God wrote the Bible and the Bible repeatedly holds that we are saved by grace through faith, without works (Ephesians 2:8-9).

2.4.1 Ephesians 2:8-9. The Bible says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). According to God, faith is a free gift, and we accept the free gift of salvation from God by faith alone. When the Roman Catholics add works and baptism by the Roman Catholics to salvation by faith alone, they contradict the Gospel of Jesus Christ and preach a false gospel, which is really not a Gospel at all. According to the Bible, anyone preaching a false Gospel is cursed by God (Galatians1:6-9).

2.4.2 Titus 3:5. The Bible says: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5). In contrast to the false teaching of the Roman Catholics, the Bible says that we are saved “not on the basis deeds we have done in righteousness . . . .” Deeds have nothing to do with salvation, according to the Bible. According to Roman Catholics, your good deeds save you.

Conclusion. The Roman Catholics wrongly teach that you must do good works to go into heaven. In contrast, God teaches in the Bible that salvation comes by grace through faith alone, not as a result works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Because the Roman Catholics teach a false gospel of works, God calls them accursed for teaching a false Gospel, which is no gospel at all (Galatians 1:6-7). Therefore, anyone who believes the Roman Catholic teaching about salvation will not go to heaven.

Section Three

The Roman Catholics Teach Salvation Comes

 Only from The Roman Catholics

The Roman Catholics teach that “the [Roman Catholic] Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation.” According to the Roman Catholics, only the Roman Catholics administer sacraments that bring entrance into the Roman Catholic group, and no one outside the Roman Catholic group can go to heaven.

3.1 No Salvation Outside The Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholics teach that “the [Roman Catholic] Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation” (CCC 846).  According to the Roman Catholics, if you are not a Roman Catholic, you are not going to heaven.

3.2  No Salvation for Anyone Leaving the Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholics teach that only the Roman Catholics were founded by God “as necessary by God through Christ . . .” (CCC 846). Anyone who refuses to join the Roman Catholic group or refuses to remain with the Roman Catholic group cannot go to heaven (CCC 846).

3.3  The Bible Proclaims: You Become a Member of the Church of Jesus at the Moment You Are Born-Again by Faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; The Roman Catholics Never Join the Church of Jesus Because They Teach a False Gospel. In contrast to the lies of the Roman Catholics, God proclaimed in the Bible that born-again people become members of the Body of Christ, also called the Church. God only has one Church, composed of born-again believers from all over the world.

3.3.1 Ephesians 3:6. In Ephesians 3:6, we read: “to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” According to God, both Jews and Gentiles become members of the body of Christ by believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Membership in the Body of Christ happens at the moment a person believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ, resulting in salvation. Jesus has only one church, and it is not the Roman Catholic group.

3.3.2  1 Corinthians 12:13. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, we read: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” According to God, we join the body of Christ (known as the Church) when Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation by faith alone (Mark 1:8). Notice that Jesus baptizes you with the Holy Spirit; salvation has nothing to do with water baptism. At the moment of salvation, God seals us with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).  Jesus remains the Head of His Church, a group of born-again believers sealed with the Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:8).

Conclusion. The Roman Catholics wrongly teach that you must be a member by baptism and the sacraments of the Roman Catholic church; if you never join the Roman Catholic church, or leave the Roman Catholic church, you are not going to heaven. In contrast, Jesus said we are saved by grace through faith, not of works. We are born again by faith in Jesus and His gospel. We automatically become members of the Church of Jesus Christ. At the moment of salvation, Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit so that all believers are immediately and permanently members of His Body, the church.


Section Four

The Roman Catholics Teach Idolatry:

The Worship of Mary

The Roman Catholics idolize Mary. They often refer to her as the Blessed Virgin or the Virgin Mary. The Roman Catholics ignore both the Bible and they contradict the Bible with their teaching.

4.1 The Roman Catholics Use Mary as an Idol. The Roman Catholics corruptly teach heresies concerning Mary, the human mother of Jesus.

4.1.1 Mediatrix. Roman Catholics say that Mary is the “mediatrix” of salvation (CCC 969).

The Bible Reveals: Jesus Only Mediator. The Bible proclaims that “there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5). The Roman Catholics contradict the Bible by proclaiming Mary is the mediatrix. The man Christ Jesus is the only mediator between God and men.

4.1.2 Worship. Roman Catholics say that Mary deserves worship: The Roman Catholic group’s “devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship” (CCC 971).

The Bible Reveals: Worship God Only. The Bible provides: “Go, satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (Matthew 4:10). The Roman Catholics promote idolatry by worshiping Mary, and promote the satanic worship of Mary.

4.1.3 Immaculate. Roman Catholics say that Mary was born and lived without sin (CCC 966).

The Bible Reveals: For All Have Sinned. The Bible declares: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).  Every human being, except Jesus, suffered from the sin of Adam, being brought forth in iniquity and conceived in sin: “Behold, I was brought forth iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5); “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). Through Adam sin came into the world and spread to every human being (including Mary), for all sinned: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14). Only God is good and without sin: “And He said to him, ’Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good;’” (Matthew 19:17). Likewise, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). The Roman Catholics promote idolatry when they claim Mary was sinless and equate her with God.

4.1.4 Protection. Roman Catholics say that Mary protects the faithful from dangers and supplies needs (CCC 971).

The Bible Reveals that God Protects Believers: Not Humans. Neighbors, friends, family all will fail you in times of need. Look only to God for help (“Do not trust in a neighbor; do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom guard your lips. For son treats father contemptuously, daughter rises up against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own household.” (Micah 7:5-8). Likewise: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” (Psalm 118:8). The Bible does not provide any example of Mary helping anyone after her death. The Roman Catholics add to the Bible and ignore the Bible to promote idolatry about Mary.

4.1.5 Rosary. Roman Catholics say that Mary deserves prayers, such as the rosary, which they deem an epitome of the whole Gospel (CCC 971).

The Bible Reveals the Only Gospel. The only Gospel is “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The Gospel in the Bible says nothing about Mary. When the Roman Catholics add Mary to the Gospel, they preach a false Gospel and are accursed for doing so (Galatians 1:6-9). Jesus, not Mary, offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins for all time. By that one offering, Jesus “has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14). Likewise: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Roman Catholics promote idolatry by distorting the Gospel to include Mary and do so to their own destruction.

Conclusion. The Roman Catholics lie about Mary and worship her, contrary to the Scriptures. Mary lived and died a sinner, saved by grace. She has no special power to help believers and should never be worshiped. Only God deserves worship, not any human, including Mary. The Roman Catholics promote the worship and veneration of Mary. They ignore the Bible and wrongly claim she was sinless and resurrected immediately to heaven. According to the Roman Catholics, Mary is the “mediatrix” of salvation and so the Roman Catholics deny the Gospel Jesus preached. They also deny that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man. They also wrongly look to Mary in prayer for help and support, when all men should look only to God for help. The Roman Catholics ignore and distort the Bible and worship Mary to their own destruction.

Section Five

The Roman Catholics Lie about Indulgences

Buying Salvation from Punishment

5.1 Indulgences Defined. The Roman Catholics believe that their pope can grant salvation through “indulgences” offered by their pope.

5.1.1 Definition. The Roman Catholics define an indulgence as “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sin whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints” (CCC 1471). Roman Catholics teach that the indulgence, granted by their pope, applies the merits of Christ and the saints to other people, living or dead (CCC 1478, 1475). The Roman Catholics think that good works accumulate in a treasury, which their pope controls. In essence, the Roman Catholics teach that the pope controls punishment of both the living and the dead by dipping into the treasury of good works and dispensing to people the benefits of those good works as he deems best. The pope of the Roman Catholics dispenses those benefits through indulgences.

The Bible Reveals that Jesus Paid for Sins Once and for All. Humans lack the capacity to atone for sins. Only God can atone for sins, because sin requires the death penalty (“the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23). Jesus alone paid the death penalty we all deserve. He died once and for all: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14). His death propitiated the anger of God toward sin. Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of both believers and unbelievers: “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2). By faith believers accept the free gift of salvation from God (Romans 6:23). All the suffering and condemnation we deserve as sinners was placed upon Jesus at the cross, where He fully satisfied the demands of God’s righteousness regarding sin: “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Therefore, because Jesus died for all, those who accept His free gift of salvation by faith alone do not come into judgment, but have passed out of death into life (John 5:24). At the moment of death, every believer will be with Jesus in Paradise (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Everyone who fails to accept that gift during their lifetime on earth goes immediately to Hades, waiting there in pain and suffering (Luke 16:23), until the day of the Great White Throne Judgment, when they shall be consigned to the Lake of Fire for eternal punishment, a place of torment day and night forever (Revelation 20:10-15).

5.2 Manipulation. Popes love to manipulate people through the use of indulgences. For example, the pope granted an indulgence for everyone attending the IX World Meeting of Families in Dublin Ireland in August 2018. According to the Roman Catholic pope, everyone attending the meeting received an indulgence. Likewise, many popes have issued decrees of indulgence for travel, offerings, prayers, pilgrimages and other activities. Gifts of money to the Roman Catholics can buy you an indulgence from the pope. You can see how the Roman Catholics use indulgences to claim wrongly that their pope can help you or a loved one escape punishment by doing good works. So, for Roman Catholics, salvation from punishment turns upon your wealth, travel, pilgrimages, and other things you must do; the more good things you do, the less you or others will suffer. Of course, indulgences are just another example of the corrupting effects of Roman Catholic ideas. The Bible opposes all human attempts to deal with the penalties of sin.

Conclusion. The Roman Catholics not only invented “indulgences,” but they also invented  the idea of “Purgatory” as a means of manipulating people to give them money. They promise falsely that by giving money, or doing other good works approved by their pope, that loved ones can leave “Purgatory” faster. They conceived an evil plan where their pope would create a purely imaginary treasury of good works and he alone could dip into it and dispense remission of suffering for those who pay him the right amount of money or do the right things he has ordered. The Roman Catholic scheme of indulgences displays the distortions of the Bible for the sordid gain of the Roman Catholics. In fact, “Purgatory” only exists in the minds of Roman Catholics and it only serves a role in manipulating people to obey the Roman Catholic pope. Jesus said He paid for all sins with His death, and born-again believers go straight to Paradise at death to be with Him for eternity.

Section Six

The Roman Catholics Lie about Purgatory

6.1 Purgatory. The Roman Catholics wrongly teach that some people “die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC 1030, 1031). The Roman Catholics created the doctrine of “Purgatory” to describe their heresy of final purification of the elect before the final judgment. They created this false doctrine of “Purgatory” after the pope called the Roman Catholic Council of Florence (1438 A.D.) and the Roman Catholic Council of Trent (1545-1563 A.D.) (CCC 1031). Notice the Roman Catholics created “Purgatory” more than a thousand years after the Bible was written.

6.2 Indulgences and Purgatory. The Roman Catholics wrongly teach that their pope can get you or a loved one out of purgatory quicker if you give money to the Roman Catholics or perform certain good works, such as a pilgrimage or say certain prayers. The Roman Catholics use the term, as above, “indulgence” to describe this supposed power of their pope to dispense certain merits. As above, the Roman Catholics wrongly claims that their pope alone controls the power to free people from “Purgatory.” According to the Roman Catholics, the pope can help people out of purgatory at any time he feels like it by dipping into the treasury of good works. Apparently, he likes to keep people in “Purgatory” because it brings great value to the Roman Catholics.

6.3 Hell. The Roman Catholics wrongly teach that Hell is a place reserved only for people dying in mortal sin without repentance (CCC 1033). The Roman Catholics define “mortal sin” to be “sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent” (CCC 1857). Therefore, Roman Catholics added “Purgatory” as a place separate from hell where some people go before the final judgment of God (CCC 1038).

The Bible Reveals that Hell Awaits all UnbelieversThe Bible never mentions “Purgatory.” The Bible indicates that all people who lack saving faith in Jesus Christ go straight to Hades, a place of torment and agony in flames (Luke 16:24). At the Great White Throne Judgment, death and Hades will give up their dead and their inhabitants are sentenced to the Lake of Fire: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:13-15; compare John 5:24), a place of torment, night and day forever (Revelation 20:10). The Bible describes all men as sinners and they all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). “the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23). The only remedy for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ, activated by faith alone, for forgiveness of sins (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 2:8-9). The Roman Catholics lie about the existence of “Purgatory.” Such lies bring false hope to sinners; only faith in Jesus Christ while alive on earth can save a sinner and bring eternal life. For believers, at the moment of death they are present in Paradise with the Lord Jesus (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6-9).

Conclusion. When the Roman Catholics lie about “purgatory,” they contradict the Bible to support their own evil teachings promoting indulgences and the power of the pope to help people after death. The Bible teaches that believers go straight to Paradise and unbelievers go straight to Hades. Faith in Jesus alone brings salvation. We are justified by faith alone, not by giving money or doing good works. If someone dies without accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ by faith alone, then they will go to Hades, and await the Great White Judgment and final sentencing and consignment to the Lake of Fire to experience torment, day and night for eternity.

Part Two

The Biblical Response to Roman Catholics

God draws a sharp distinction between the teachers of a cult and the members of a cult. God loves sinners and gave His unique and only Son, Jesus, to die for those sinners, so that they would not perish, but have eternal life. Except for Jesus (the God-Man), all humans have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus spent considerable time preaching the Gospel of Salvation to evil men bent on His death and destruction. They failed and He triumphed, even over death through resurrection with glory to follow.

Jesus had very harsh words for the religious leaders of His day. He called them hypocrites, blind guides, and murderers, among many other things. Jesus warned His disciples to be wary of the leaven of the Pharisees. Their evil teaching would infect many people. Jesus also warned that in the last days, men will pay attention to deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons.

Jesus ate with the Pharisees and taught them many things. He did not shun them, but engaged with them to spread the good news to them. Jesus identified the religious leaders of His day as thieves, robbers, wolves and men who devour the houses of widows and prevent people from entering the kingdom of God.

We should recognize that Jesus provided different rules for how we interact with religious teachers and their followers. As born-again believers, we must distinguish between false teachers and followers of false teachers. We must never allow false teachers into our homes and never give them a greeting. Yet, we may eat with unbelievers who follow bad teachings. If a person says “I am a believer in Christ” and then acts sinfully, without repentance, then the Bible says we must not eat with that so-called believer. Keeping all these matters straight requires that we study several different passages in the Bible.

Section One

The Believer’s Response to False Teachers

When we study the New Testament so that we may learn how to respond to false teachers, we should first look at Jesus. He provided very clear teaching through His actions as He dealt with the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and others.

1.1 The Religious Groups. The Pharisees were religious Jews who believed in the resurrection after death, angels, and spirits. The Sadducees were religious Jews who denied all of those things (Acts 23:8). The Pharisees and the Sadducees shared religious power in the time of Jesus. Both groups vigorously opposed Jesus and finally decided to kill Him.

1.1.1 The Dinner Invitation. One day, one of the leaders of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat bread at the Pharisee’s home. While there, Jesus met other Pharisees and lawyers (men who studied carefully the Old Testament Law and the traditions of men about the Law). Jesus did not attend the meal to learn from the Pharisees and lawyers, but to proclaim the Gospel to them (Luke 14:1-24). While there, Jesus healed a man of dropsy and taught the Pharisees that God healed on the Sabbath, despite their protests. Jesus said to the Pharisees and lawyers: “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” (Luke 14:5). The listeners had no reply to Jesus. We may learn from this account that Jesus taught the Pharisees and lawyers why they were wrong to object to Jesus doing miracles to help people on the Sabbath.

1.1.2 The Wedding Feast Parable. After healing the man, Jesus spoke a parable to the invited guests. He told them ”When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place’” (Luke 14:8-9). Jesus taught them than everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11). Jesus used a dinner invitation to teach them about humility, because they loved the chief seats and the honor of men.

1.1.3 The Big Dinner Parable. Finally, Jesus spoke a parable about a rich man giving a big dinner. He invited many guests, but they did not attend. The rich man sent out his servants “to go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.” (Luke 14:21). His slaves replied that they had already done so, and space remained. Finally, the rich man ordered his servants to compel people from the highways and hedges to come in, so that his house may be filled (Luke 14:23). Jesus concluded His parable with a warning to the dinner guests: “For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner” (Luke 14:24). Jesus meant that the Pharisees who were listening to Him would not be going to heaven unless they believed He was the Messiah, the Savior of Israel, and God in the flesh.

1.2 Simon the Pharisee. On another occasion, Jesus visited a Pharisee who invited him to dinner. Jesus entered Simon the Pharisee’s home. While there, a woman anointed Jesus with perfume from an alabaster vial. As she wept, she wet the feet of Jesus with her tears and wiped them with her hair. All the while, she was kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Seeing the anointing, the Pharisee was repulsed and said to himself: “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39). Jesus responded with a parable about forgiveness. Then Jesus told the Pharisee that woman had done all the things that the Pharisee had not done: washed His feet, anointed Him, and displayed her love and worship of Jesus. Jesus explained that the woman had been forgiven much and therefore loved much: “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47). Jesus then told the woman: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50). Jesus emphasized to Simon the Pharisee that only faith in the forgiving power of Jesus as God allows people to enter heaven.

2.1 Do Not Allow False Teachers into Your Home and Do Not Greet Them If They Come to You To Spread Their False Teaching. John described what real love looks like when dealing with false teachers. John said people really love Jesus when they walk according to His commandments (2 John 6). Jesus gave specific commandments regarding people who do the work of anti-Christ.  Many deceivers have gone out into the world, and do not acknowledge Christ as coming in the flesh (2 John 7). John warned believers: “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). John continued his warning about false teachers: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” (2 John 10-11). John meant that you must reject false teachers and provided specific guidance on how to separate yourself from them.

2.1.1 Do Not Receive False Teachers. Roman Catholics are false teachers as shown above in Part One. You should never let a Roman Catholic priest, pastor, teacher or other Roman Catholic official trying to share their corrupt views with you into your home (2 John 10).

2.1.2 Do Not Greet False Teachers. Believers should never greet Roman Catholic priests, pastors, teachers or other Roman Catholic officials who are trying to share their corrupt views with you (2 John 10).

2.1.3 Do Not Participate in their deeds. Anyone who greets a Roman Catholic priest, pastor, teacher or other Roman Catholic official who is trying to share their corrupt views with you participates in their evil deeds (2 John 11).

Conclusion. Jesus consistently identified the Pharisees as hypocrites. He pronounced numerous “woes” upon them for their false teaching. He called them the blind guides of the blind; both of them will fall into a pit (Matthew 15:14). He also exposed them as false teachers who were hindering people from entering the kingdom of God (Matthew 23:1-26). Jesus ate with the false teachers in order to teach them. He never allowed them to teach His disciples and never listened to their teaching. He shared the message of eternal life with them. Therefore, the believer today may spend time eating with false teachers for the sole purpose of warning them and sharing the Gospel with them. In general, believers should stay away from the false teachers because their teaching acts like leaven among people (Matthew 16:6, 12), spreading evil through an entire group. John warned believers that they should never let into their homes false teachers bringing their false teachings to you. Likewise, you should never offer them a greeting. If you greet false teachers bringing their false teachings, then you participate in their false teaching. Notice the difference is that the false teachers are bringing their false teachings to you. Avoid them when they attempt to teach you or others.

Section Two

The Believer’s Response to Unsaved Followers of False Teachers

Jesus should always be our model for interacting with people. Believers can only have true fellowship with other born-again believers. Light has no fellowship with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14). We have seen that the Bible provides very clear teaching about avoiding false teachers who try to bring their false teaching to you. But what about the followers of false teachers?

2.1 2 John. The same commandments (described above) about avoiding false teachers bringing their corrupt teachings into your home also apply to followers who try to teach you false teachings: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” (2 John 6-11). Therefore, the moment a follower becomes a teacher is the moment you avoid them and keep them out of your home and you stop greeting them. If you accept the false teaching into your life, you will be subject to the leaven of evil Jesus described (Matthew 16:6, 12).

2.2  Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-2). In order to make disciples, a person must be converted and born again through faith in Jesus. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17). Therefore, Jesus meant for His disciples, including all believers today, to go into all the world and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelievers. Furthermore, Jesus was known as the friend of tax collectors and sinners (Luke 7:34). So, we know that every believer may be friends with tax collectors, sinners, and unbelievers. The basis of the friendship must be to share the love of Jesus Christ for all sinners and present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them so that they may believe and be saved, and, in turn, to make disciples.

2.3  Bad Company. Jesus also warned believers not to be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Jesus meant that we should be very careful that our friendships do not corrupt us and our morals. Therefore, we should be very careful to avoid the deception of being corrupted by unbelievers without even recognizing it.

2.4  Best Friends. Remember that believers should never be bound together in marriage, business, or other close personal relationships with unbelievers. Regarding unbelievers, Jesus taught that believers have: (a) no partnership; and (b) no fellowship; and (c) nothing in common; and (d) no agreement (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). If your best friend is an unbeliever, then you should seriously reconsider the words of Jesus. God commanded us to come out from the midst of unbelievers and be separate from them. He will be a Father to us, and we will be sons and daughters to Him (2 Corinthians 6:16-18). You may have unbelieving friends, but be certain that every unbeliever (even your “nice” unbelieving friend) is “dead in trespasses and sins,” and walks “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air” (the devil), “of the spirit. . . of disobedience.” which works in your friend (Ephesians 2:1-2). Your unbelieving friends live in the domain of darkness and you can share with them how they can be transferred by God into the kingdom of His beloved Son: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in who we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14). Unbelievers “do not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to them; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The word of the cross is foolishness to the every unbeliever; but to every believer, “the word of the cross is the power of God to salvation” (1 Corinthians 1:18). When it comes to forming tight bonds, only believers provide fellowship, partnership, and agreement. Spiritually, believers have nothing in common with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).

2.5  Family. When it comes to family, many believers do not know how Jesus defined His family. Jesus said that His family consisted of people “who do the will of My Father” (Matthew 12:50). Jesus meant that His family did not include His unbelieving brothers (John 7:5). Jesus did not come to bring peace to human families, but a sword (Matthew 10:34). When Jesus came to preach in the synagogue of Nazareth, His own hometown, His own relatives and His own household did not honor Him (Mark 6:4). Therefore, we know that Jesus divided families into believers and unbelievers. For a time, the physical brothers of Jesus (born of Mary), did not believe in Him (John 7:5); by the time of His resurrection, they had become believers (Acts 1:14). Therefore, when it comes to dealing with false teachers (including those people who teach Roman Catholic errors), do not let them into your home and do not greet them, even if they are your physical relatives or children or parents, because they are not a part of the family of God. If you are married to an unbeliever, and the unbelieving spouse consents to live with you, then stay with them (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).  

Conclusion. Jesus was known as the friend of tax collectors and sinners and loved them. Yet, Jesus warned His disciples to avoid being entangled with unbelievers. Jesus warned that He came to bring a sword, particularly a sword that divides families into believers and unbelievers (Matthew 10:34). Therefore, believers must be careful not to associate with anyone who teaches false doctrine, especially the false doctrine of the Roman Catholics, even if they are your own physical family members.

Section Three

The Believer’s Response to So-Called Brothers Following False Teachers

At times, people profess their faith in Christ as Savior, but they have never received the free gift of salvation by faith alone. They only pay lip service to Jesus and do not believe in their hearts to be born again. In fact, when some people identify themselves as believers, but continue in sin, Paul called them “so-called” brothers. He gave specific instructions on how to deal with people who continue in sin without repentance.

3.1  Turn Away From Them. Paul commanded the believers in Rome to pay close attention to people causing dissensions in the church: “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17).  We must do likewise today. We must first spot the people who cause dissensions and hindrances. Paul also explained that those people were slaves of their own appetites and by their smooth and flattering speech, they deceived the hearts of the unsuspecting. Today, we see so many believers split into factions and hindered by false teaching contrary to sound doctrine delivered by the apostles of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. But, as Paul promised, the God of Peace will soon crush Satan under the feet of the believers (Romans 16:20). Paul again urged believers to remove other people from the fellowship who departed from the teachings of the apostles, especially those who hindered and ensnared unsuspecting believers.

3.2 Anti-ChristJesus warned His disciples: “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).  Roman Catholics are false teachers and deceivers. Many deceivers teach Christian Science, Roman Catholicism, New Age, Mormonism and similar false teachings. They lead people to hell through teaching their own false gospels. According to the Bible, they are deceivers and anti-Christs (2 John 1:7; Galatians 1:6-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Believers should be careful to test every spirit and avoid the spirit of anti-Christ.

3.3 No Association. Jesus also provided very clear teaching regarding so-called brothers who continue in sin without repentance: “I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one” (1 Corinthians 5:11). For every person who claims to be a Christian and participates in the deeds of Roman Catholicism, such as the idolatry of Mary worship, then believers must not associate with those so-called believers until they come to repentance and leave their sin behind. Please recall that Jesus ate with people who made no claim to believe in Him. He ate with them to evangelize them and warn them of their own destruction. Paul commanded believers, “in the name of Jesus Christ, that they keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition received from” the apostles (2 Thessalonians 3:6).

ConclusionJesus wanted His disciples to be unified in their fellowship and doctrine. He wanted them to love one another, just the Father loved Him and He loved His Father. To maintain unity and to limit the corrupting effects of believers continuing in sin without repentance, Jesus ordered His followers not to associate with believers who follow and teach false doctrines. The Roman Catholics promote idolatry and the spreading of many lies, all based upon a false gospel of works. They also deny that the Bible demands our obedience as the final authority on all spiritual matters.