We Were Catholics

by Eusebio M Lacuata

        My wife and I were born and reared as Catholics. My wife used to lead in the nine-night prayers for the dead, a teaching observed by ardent Catholics.

        When I was 40 years old I attended, out of curiosity, the lectures of preachers of the Church of Christ which were given during a four-day lectureship. At the end of the lectures each day, an open forum followed to afford the audience an opportunity to ask questions on religion. I thought that provided me a chance to test the scripturalness of Catholic doctrines.

        My Catholic friend, with your Bible bearing the IMPRIMATUR of a Catholic authority, investigate with me some of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. I will be quoting from the Good News Bible, Catholic Study Edition, Imprimatur: John Francis Whealon, Archbishop of Hartford, dated March 18, 1979, published by Thomas Nelson, Publishers, Nashville, Camden and New York. The Catholic doctrines I would like to investigate with you are the following: (all emphases in quotations are supplied.)

        1. That Mary Is Intercessor Or Mediatrix. The Good News Bible states in First Timothy, chapter 2, verse 5 (1 Timothy 2.5): “For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and mankind together, the man Christ Jesus.” According to this verse, our Lord Jesus Christ only can intercede or mediate for us to our Father in heaven. This verse is supported by John 16.23 where Jesus said: “. .I am telling you the truth: the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name.” Our prayers should, therefore, be addressed to the Father “in my name. ”(by authority of, or through Jesus). This may be an example of a personal prayer: “My Father in heaven, I thank you for all the blessings I received from you. May I ask again, Father, to protect me from evil men and all harm as I drive to my work this day. In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.” If prayer is made in a group, “our,” “we,” or “us” should be substituted for “I,” “me,” or “my.”

        2. Praying, or lnterceding, For the Dead. 2 Corinthians 5. l0 says: “For all of us must appear before Christ, to be judged by him. Each one will receive what he deserves, according to everything, he has done, good or bad, in his bodily life.” This teaching is repeated in Revelation 20.12 which states:“And 1 saw the dead, great and small alike standing before the throne. Books were opened, and then another book was opened, the book of the living. The dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.” These passages teach clearly that on Judgment Day, all men will be judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. No amount of prayer of the living on behalf of one who died as a sinner can change the status of the one who died a sinner because he did not obey God's commands when he was yet alive and capable to obey.

        3. Idols in Catholic Chapels and Homes. The Ten Commandments command in Exodus 20.3-5: “Worship no god but me. Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals.” This command is emphasized in Revelation 21.8 which warns us: “But cowards, traitors, perverts, murderers, the immoral, those utho practice magic, those who worship idols, and all liars-the place for them is the lake burning with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

        4. Pouring Water on Babies' Heads and Calling It The Act of Baptism. According to Ephesians 4.5, there is one baptism: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” This one baptism is an immersion or a burial in water. Let us look at some examples of this one baptism. Matthew 3.16 mentions this: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water...” Another example is found in Acts 8.38-39 which says: “The official ordered the carriage to stop, and both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away..” Romans 6.4 describes baptism thus: “By our baptism, then, we were buried with him and shared his death, in order that just as Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of the Father, so also we might live a new life.” So, the one baptism is going “down into the water” and a coming up “out of the water” or a burial in water -- not a pouring or sprinkling with water.

        5. Infants Are “Baptized.” There are preconditions to baptism. Before anyone is baptized, he/she must:

  1. Believe. Mark 16.16 says. ”Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Infants can't believe;
  2. Repent. Acts 17.30 tells us: “God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away (repent,EML) from their evil ways.” Infants cannot repent; and infants have no “evil ways” (Ezek. 18.20, Matt. 19.13-14.)
  3. Confess that Jesus is Lord: “If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved.” (Romans 10.9.) Infants can't do this. Because infants can't: Believe; Repent; and Confess, they should not be baptized. Acts 8.12 strengthens this teaching: “But when they believed Philip's message about the good news of the Kingdom of God and about Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women ” -- no infants.

        6. Calling The Pope and Priests “Father.” We call our earthly father our “father.” But God's Word prohibits the use of “father” if it is used as a religious title: “And you must not call anyone here on earth “'Father'” because you have only one Father in heaven.” (Matthew 23.9.) The word “Pope” means “Father.”

        7. Bowing Down To The Pope. There are two examples in the New Testament that a man bowed down and knelt before another man. Acts 10.25-26 states: “As Peter was about to go in, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet. And bowed down before him. But Peter made him rise. 'Stand up,' he said. 'I myself am only a man.'” Revelation 19.10 adds: “I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, 'Don't do it! I am a fellow servant of yours... Worship God.'”People fall down at the feet of the Pope in Rome; he extends his hand and people kiss it in adoration and worship -- a thing the apostle Peter didn't allow to be done to him. (Acts 10.25-26.) Was the apostle Peter who preached the first sermon recorded in the Bible (Acts 2.14-40) inferior to the Pope? The Holy Spirit guided Peter.

        8.“Reverend” and Priests. Psalm 111.9 (KJV) says: “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” Like denominational preachers, Catholic priests are addressed “Reverend” [“awesome” (NIV, NAS, NKJV); “terrible” (RSV)]. “Reverend” is found just once in the Bible and was used to describe God's name. Should “Reverend” be used in reference to man?

        9. Pope, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and Other Officers of the Roman Catholic Church. These statements appear in the Good New Bible: “From Miletus Paul sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him.” (Acts 20. 17.) “So keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock which the Holy spirit has placed in your care. Be shepherds of the church of God.” (Acts 20,28) “I left you in Crete, so that you could put in order the things that still needed doing and appoint church elders in every town. Remember my instructions: an elder must be without fault; he must have only one wife, and his children must be believers..” (Titus 4.5-6.) “I, who am an elder myself, appeal to the church elders among you... I appeal to you to be shepherds of the flock that God gave you...” (1 Peter 5.1-2.) These quotations teach:

  1. that elders are also called shepherds or overseers (Acts 20.28, KJV, RSV, NAS), bishop (1 Tim. 3.1-2, KJV) Church leader (1 Tim. 3.1-2, GNB);
  2. that elders must be married and have believing children;
  3. that each congregation is shepherded by “elders” (not just one);
  4. that each congregation is overseen by elders who are members of the congregation they oversee; and
  5. that “Pope,” Cardinal, Archbishops, etc. are not mentioned in the New Testament as the shepherds of the flock.

        10. The Roman Catholic Church Is The Outcome of Apostasy. The apostasy was foretold long before it took place: “The spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burned with a hot iron. Such people teach that it is wrong to marry and to eat certain foods. (1 Tim. 4.1-3.) [“to abstain from meats” (KJV]. It is common knowledge that priests up to the Pope don't marry because of regulations made by men; and Catholics don't eat certain foods (meats) at certain seasons of the year. Those who departed from “the Faith in later times” became the nucleus of the Roman Catholic Church.

        My friend, I showed you from the Bible approved for use by Catholics some doctrinal errors of Catholicism. It is my earnest prayer that you will investigate further God's Word as contained in the Bible and get out of false teachings. We are warned: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell! We have said it before and now I say it again; if anyone preaches to you a gospel that is different from the one you accepted, may he be condemned to hell!” (Galatians 1.8-9, GNB); and “Anyone who does not stay with the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God. Whoever does stay with the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9, GNB).

        The apostle Paul wrote:

  1. “There is one body” Ephesians 4,4.);
  2. ”The church is Christ's body” (Ephesians 1.23); and
  3. Christ is himself the Savior of the Church, His Body.” (Ephesians 5.23.)
        The obvious conclusions from these statements are:
  1. That the Lord Jesus Christ built (Matthew 16.18-19, Acts 2.1-47) only one church and
  2. That He is the savior of only one church or body. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain by being a faithful and zealous member of the Lord's church – the Church of Christ.
        Salvation is the most precious gift from God and should not be rejected through our adherence to unscriptural teachings of men. May you therefore, heed the exhortation: “Put all things to test: keep what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5.21.) If you follow this advice, you will be on the right path to salvation. To be washed of your sins, you must:
  1. Hear the gospel preached (Acts 4.4);
  2. Believe in Jesus [John 8.24, Mark 16.16];
  3. Repent for sins (Acts 2.38, Acts 17.30);
  4. Confess Christ (Matthew 10.32, Romans 10.9-10); and
  5. Be Baptized (immersed in water) (Matthew 28.19-20, Mark 16.16, Acts 2.38. Acts 22.16, 1 Peter 3.21.
        After you have taken these five steps, all your sins have been forgiven and the Lord adds you to His one church: “Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2.47 KJV.) You, whose sins were forgiven, must remain faithful to the end (Matthew 10,22, Revelation 2.10) by staying in the Church of Christ to which you have been added by the Lord.

        We earnestly invite you to the Church of Christ (1) which was founded by the Lord; and (2) of which Christ is the Head and Savior. We assure you that you will find peace of mind and joy in the hope of eternal salvation which will be your most valuable gift from God!

Also see "Let The Bible Speak About Roman Catholicism"