Dear God, open a door for my message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:3-4

R4C

R4C
Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You.
Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Prayer for the Dead



Almighty, Everlasting God, who hast dominion over the living and the dead, and showest mercy unto all whom Thou knowest will be Thine by faith and works: we humbly beseech Thee that they for whom we have resolved to pour forth our prayers, whether this present world still detain them in the flesh, or the world to come hath already received them stripped of their bodies, may, by the grace of Thy fatherly love, and through the intercession of all the Saints, obtain the remission of all their sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto Thee.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord graciously hear us.
Amen.
And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Amen.

59 comments:

  1. Dear Catholic, do you know for sure if you are going to heaven?
    by Matt Slick http://carm.org/roman-catholicism
    If you're a Catholic, do you know for sure if you are going to heaven when you die? As a Protestant, I can say that I know I am going to heaven. This isn't arrogance. It is confidence in the work of Christ and not my own work. It is confidence in the ability of Jesus to save me completely, to have fulfilled all of the Law perfectly, and to have cleansed me from my sin totally. Therefore, because all my hope and trust are in him and not what I can do, I know I am going to heaven. If my salvation depended on my goodness and abilities in any way, then I can't have any confidence that I will make it to heaven because I am an imperfect sinner. But God is perfect and requires holiness (1 Pet. 1:16). This is why God provided Jesus who fulfilled the Law (Matt. 5:17), including loving God (Deut. 6:5) and loving your neighbor (Lev. 19:18). In other words, Jesus did everything that is necessary for us to do. This is why we should trust Jesus alone and not Jesus and our goodness or Jesus and our church or Jesus and our ability to love God and our neighbor.
    But, what about you? Do you have that confidence? If not, perhaps it is because of the requirements that the Roman Catholic Church has stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
    • “The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation,” (CCC 1257).
    • “Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation,” (CCC 846).
    • “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,” (CCC 980).
    • “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation, (CCC 1129).
    • “Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation,” (CCC 1816).
    • “The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law [i.e., 10 Commandments, CCC 2070], because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation,” (CCC 2036).
    Are you as a Catholic able to keep all the requirements that the Roman Catholic Church says are necessary for salvation? We both know you can't.
    Are you sincere, and do you go to confession?
    If you go to confession, then that means you are not keeping the law perfectly; otherwise, you would not need to go to confession. So, the very fact that you go to confession demonstrates you're not able to live up to the standard of God's requirement. But since the Roman Catholic Church says you are to keep the Law to be saved, please consider this:
    • Gal. 3:10, "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law.'”
    • James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."
    God's standard is perfect. We are not. This is why we need to trust Jesus alone, so that we are justified by faith. What about you? Are you doing that? Or, are you trusting in Jesus and your ability to keep the Law?
    • Rom. 3:28, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."
    • Rom. 4:1-5, "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness."

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  2. A list of false teachings in the Roman Catholic Church

    The Protestant Reformation happened for a reason. Basically, it was to combat the many false teachings that the Roman Catholic Church had adopted through the centuries. When Martin Luther compared Catholicism to Scripture, the result was his nailing the 95 theses to the Wittenberg door. However, instead of reforming the Roman Catholic Church, it resulted in the protesters, the Protestants, whose aim was to get back to the Scriptures.

    Following is a summarized paragraph with references found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) of many of the false teachings of Roman Catholicism. How do we know they are false? By comparing Scripture with what is taught.
    -----------------------
    The Catholic Church is the one true church (CCC 2105), Infallibility of the Catholic Church, (CCC 2035), Only the Roman Catholic Church has authority to interpret Scripture (CCC 100), The Pope is the head of the church and has the authority of Christ (CCC 2034), The Roman Catholic Church is necessary for salvation (CCC 846), Sacred Tradition equal to scripture (CCC 82), Forgiveness of sins, salvation, is by faith and works (CCC 2036 CCC 2080 2068), Full benefit of Salvation is only through the Roman Catholic Church (Vatican 2, Decree on Ecumenism, 3), Grace can be merited (CCC 2010 CCC 2027), The merit of Mary and the Saints can be applied to Catholics and others (1477), Penance is necessary for salvation (CCC 980), Purgatory (CCC 1031 CCC 1475), Indulgences (CCC 1471 CCC 1478 CCC 1498 CCC 1472), Mary is Mediatrix (CCC 969), Mary brings us the gifts of eternal salvation (CCC 969), Mary delivers souls from death (CCC 966), Prayer to the saints (CCC 2677), The Communion elements become the actual body and blood of Christ (CCC 1374 CCC 1376).

    1. The Catholic church is the one true church
    A. CCC 2105 "The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is 'the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ.' By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them 'to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live.' The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies."
    2. Infallibility of the Catholic Church
    A. CCC 2035, "The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed."

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  3. 3. Only the Roman Catholic Church has authority to interpret Scripture
    A. CCC 100, "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."
    4. The Pope is the head of the church and has the authority of Christ
    A. CCC 2034, "The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are 'authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice.' The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for."
    5. The Roman Catholic Church is necessary for salvation
    A. CCC 846, "How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it."
    6. Sacred Tradition is equal to scripture
    A. CCC 82, ". . .the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence'."
    7. Forgiveness of sins, salvation, is by faith and works
    A. CCC 2036, "The specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the creator, is necessary for salvation."
    B. CCC 2080, "The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law. It is made known to us by divine revelation and by human reason."
    C. CCC 2068, "so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments,"
    8. Full benefit of Salvation is only through the Roman Catholic Church
    A. "For it is only through Christ's Catholic Church, which is "the all-embracing means of salvation," that they can benefit fully from the means of salvation,," (Vatican 2, Decree on Ecumenism, 3).
    9. Grace can be merited
    A. CCC 2010, "Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification."
    B. CCC 2027, "Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods."

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  4. 10. The merit of Mary and the Saints can be applied to Catholics and others
    A. 1477, "This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission in the unity of the Mystical Body."
    11. Penance is necessary for salvation
    A. CCC 980, “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."
    12. Purgatory
    A. CCC 1031, "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:
    B. CCC 1475, "In the communion of saints, "a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things." In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.
    13. Indulgences
    A. CCC 1471, "The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance. What is an indulgence? 'An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins 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.' 'An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.' The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead."
    B. CCC 1478, "An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity.

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  5. C. CCC 1498, "Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory."
    D. CCC 1472, " . . . On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin..."
    14. Mary (there are many false doctrines concerning Mary found in Roman Catholicism, here are a few)
    A. Mary is Mediatrix, CCC 969, "Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.'"
    B. Mary brings us the gifts of eternal salvation, CCC 969, "Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . "
    C. Mary delivers souls from death, CCC 966, " . . . You [Mary] conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death."
    15. Prayer to the saints
    A. CCC 2677, "By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the 'Mother of Mercy,' the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender 'the hour of our death' wholly to her care."
    16. The Communion elements become the actual body and blood of Christ
    A. CCC 1374, "In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained."
    B. CCC 1376, "The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."

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  6. 4. Hugh Farrell. Born in Denver, Colorado. Entered the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel, commonly called the Discalced Carmelite Fathers. Ordained as a priest.
    A. Priestly power to change elements: "The priest, according to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, has the power to take ordinary bread and wine, and, by pronouncing the words of the consecration prayer in the sacrifice of the Mass, to change it into the actual body and blood and soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Hence, since one cannot separate the human nature of Christ from his divinity, the bread and wine, after being changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, are entitled to the worship of adoration." (pp. 28)
    B. Temporal punishment due to sins. "I knew from the teachings of the priests and nuns that I could not hope to go directly to heaven after my death. My Roman Catholic catechism taught me that after death I had to pay for the temporal punishment due to my sins. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that 'the souls of the just which, in a moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sin, enter purgatory.'" (p. 29)
    C. Penance. Regarding life in the monastery and doing penance. "These penances consist of standing with the arms outstretched to form a cross, kissing the sandaled feet of the monks, receiving a blow upon the face from the monks, and, at the end of the meal, lying prostrate before the entrance to the refectory so that the departing monks must step over one's body. These, and other penances, are supposed to gain one merit in heaven and increase one's 'spiritual bank account.'" (p. 36)
    D. The Mass and sorcery. "According to the teaching of the Roman Church the priest, no matter how unworthy he may personally be, even if he has just made a pact with the devil for his soul, has the power to change the elements of bread and wine into the actual body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ. Provided he pronounces the words of consecration properly and has the intention of consecrating, God must come down on the altar and enter and take over the elements." (p. 39)

    5. Alexander Carson. Baptized into the Roman Catholic Church as an infant. His priesthood studies were at St. John's seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts. He was ordained by Bishop Lawrence Shehan of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1955 and was a priest in Alexandria, Louisiana. Also, he was pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Rayville, Louisiana.
    A. Bible or Tradition. " . . . the Holy Spirit led me to judge Roman Catholic theology by the standard of the Bible. Previously, I had always judged the Bible by Roman Catholic doctrine and theology." (p. 53)
    B. Mass contrary to scripture. "In my letter of resignation from the Roman Catholic Church and Ministry, I stated to the bishop that I was leaving the priesthood because I could no longer offer the Mass, as it was contrary to the Word of God and to my conscience." (pp. 54-55)

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  7. 6. Charles Berry. He entered the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine and became a priest after 17 years. He was given orders to continue studying until he achieved a Ph.D. in chemistry and was then "transferred to the headquarters of the Augustinian order in the United States."
    A. Superstition. "In the United States the Roman Catholic Church is on its best behavior, putting its best foot forward because of its critics and opponents. In a Roman Catholic country, where it has few opponents or critics, it is a very different matter. Ignorance and superstition and idolatry are everywhere, and little effort, if any, is made to change the situation. Instead of following the Christianity taught in the Bible the people concentrate on the worship of statues and their local patron saints." (p. 59)
    B. Idols and Statues. "When I met in Cuba a genuine pagan who worshiped idols (a religion transplanted from Africa by his ancestors), I asked how he could believe that a plaster idol could help him. He replied that the idol was not expected to help him; it only represented the power in heaven which could. What horrified me about his reply was that it was almost word for word the explanation Roman Catholics give for rendering honor to the statues of the saints." (p. 59)

    7. Bob Bush. He went to a Jesuit Seminary and studied for 13 years before being ordained in 1966. He entered a post graduate program in Rome.
    A. Works: "When I entered the order, the first thing that happened was that I was told I had to keep all the rules and regulations, that to do so would be pleasing to God, and that this was what he wanted for me. We were taught the motto, 'Keep the rule and the rule will keep you.'" (p. 66).
    B. Salvation is by faith: "It took me many years to realize that I was compromising by staying in the Roman Catholic Church. Throughout all those years I continued to stress that salvation is only in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and not in the infant baptism; that there is only one source of authority which is the Bible, the word of God; and that there is no purgatory but rather that when we die to either go to heaven or hell." (p. 69)
    C. Salvation by works: "The Roman Catholic Church then goes on to say that in order to be saved you must keep its laws, rules and regulations. And in these laws are violated (for example, laws concerning birth control or fasting or attendance at Mass every Sunday), then you have committed a sin . . . 'individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the only ordinary way by which the faithful person who was aware of serious sin can be reconciled with God, and with the church' (Canon 9609)." (p. 75)
    D. Works: "The Roman Catholic Church adds works, and that you have to do these specific things [keeping its laws, rule and regulations] ]in order to be saved, whereas the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it is by grace that we are saved, not by works." (pp. 75-76)

    As you can see, even Roman Catholic Priests can discover the truth found in God's word and escape the error of the Roman Catholic system of works righteousness. To God be the glory.

    "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9).

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  8. Jesus' references the Old Testament: from Abel to Zechariah

    Jesus referenced the Jewish Old Testament canon from the beginning to the end and did not include the Apocrypha in his reference. "From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation." (Luke 11:51).

    "The traditional Jewish canon was divided into three sections (Law, Prophets, Writings), and an unusual feature of the last section was the listing of Chronicles out of historical order--placing it after Ezra-Nehemiah and making it the last book of the canon. In light of this, the words of Jesus in Luke 11:50-51 reflect the settled character of the Jewish canon (with its peculiar order) already in his day. Christ uses the expression "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah," which appears troublesome since Zechariah was not chronologically the last martyr mentioned in the Bible (cf. Jer. 26:20-23). However, Zechariah is the last martyr of which we read in the Old Testament according to Jewish canonical order (cf. II Chron. 24:20-22), which was apparently recognized by Jesus and his hearers."1

    This means that the same Old Testament canon, according to the Jewish tradition, is arranged differently than how we have it in the Protestant Bible today. This was the arrangement to which Jesus was referring when he referenced Abel and Zechariah, the first and last people to have their blood shed--as listed in the Old Testament Jewish canon. Obviously, Jesus knew of the Apocrypha and was not including it in his reference.

    Jesus references the Old Testament: The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms

    Catholics sometimes respond by saying that the Old Testament is referred to in three parts: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. It is these writings that are sometimes said to include the Apocrypha. But this designation is not found in the Bible. On the contrary, Jesus referenced the Old Testament and designated its three parts as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms--not as the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.
    "Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (Luke 24:44).

    So we see that the designation offered by the Roman Catholics is not the same designation found in the Bible, and their argument is invalid--as their argument is incorrect. Nevertheless, even if it did say "writings," it would not include the Apocrypha for the above-mentioned reasons.

    Church Fathers

    Did the Church fathers recognized the Apocrypha as being Scripture? Roman Catholics strongly appeal to Church history, but we don't find a unanimous consensus on the Apocrypha. Jerome (340-420), who translated the Latin Vulgate which is used by the RC church, rejected the Apocrypha since he believed that the Jews recognized and established the proper canon of the Old Testament. Remember, the Christian Church built upon that recognition. Also, Josephus the famous Jewish historian of the First Century never mentioned the Apocrypha as being part of the canon either. In addition, "Early church fathers like Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and the great Roman Catholic translator Jerome spoke out against the Apocrypha."2 So, we should not conclude that the Church fathers unanimously affirmed the Apocrypha. They didn't.

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  9. Many church fathers, notably Origin, Jerome, Athanasius, and Cyril of Jerusalem, denied the Apocrypha’s inspiration and canonicity. The early Jews of Palestine, including the Jewish Council of Jamnia which met in A.D. 90, rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture. Also, Philo, a Jewish teacher who lived in the first century, quoted from virtually every Old Testament canonical book, but never once quoted from the Apocrypha.

    There are historical errors in the Apocrypha. John Ankerberg and John Weldon summarize a few of these:

    Tobit contains certain historical and geographical errors such as the assumption that
    Sennacherib was the son of Shalmaneser (1:15) instead of Sargon II, and that Nineveh
    was captured by Nebuchadnezzar and Ahasuerus (14:5) instead of by Nabopolassar
    and Cyazares….Judith cannot possible be historical because of the glaring errors it
    contains….[In 2 Maccabees] there are also numerous disarrangements and discrepancies
    in chronological, historical, and numerical matters in the book, reflecting ignorance or
    confusion. [John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Protestants and Catholics:
    Do They Now Agree? p.59]

    Questions:
     Does God make mistakes?
     Do books inspired by God contain mistakes?
     Did you know that history and archaeology are true friends of the Old and New
    Testaments because they verify numerous customs, places, names and events in
    Bible times?
     Did you know, by contrast, that the apocryphal books contain many historical errors?
     What does that tell you regarding whether the Apocrypha is inspired by God?

    The Apocrypha contains a number of unbiblical doctrines, such as the doctrine of the mass (2 Maccabees 12:42-45; compare with Hebrews 7:27), the notion that the world was created out of preexistent matter (Wisdom of Solomon; compare with Genesis 1 and Psalm 33:9), the idea that giving alms and other works can make an atonement for sin (Ecclesiasticus [Sirach] 3:3; 3:30; 5:5; 20:28; 35:1-4; 45:16; 45:23; compare with Romans 3:20), the invocation and intercession of the saints (2 Maccabees 15:14; Baruch 3:4; compare with Matthew 6:9), the worship of angels (Tobit 12:12; compare with Colossians 2:18), purgatory and the redemption of souls after death (2 Maccabees 12:42,45; compare with Hebrews 9:27).

    Because we know the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, and because the apocryphal books contain doctrines that contradict the Old and New Testaments, we conclude that the apocryphal books are not the Word of God, because God does not contradict Himself.

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  10. TESTS OF CANONICITY

    The issue of the Apocrypha relates directly to the question of canonicity. When the church formally recognized what books belonged in the canon, there were five primary tests that were applied:

    1. Was the book written or backed by a prophet or apostle of God?
    2. Is the book authoritative?
    3. Does the book tell the truth about God and doctrine as it is already known by previous revelation?
    4. Does the book give evidence of having the power of God?
    5. Was the book accepted by the people of God?

    Measuring the Apocrypha against these tests shows that the Apocrypha falls far short of the Old and New Testaments. The books were not written by prophets or apostles of God. The books do not ring with the sense of “thus saith the Lord.” The book contradict doctrines revealed in the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

    The Holy Spirit of God is truly the divine author of Scripture. Though He used erring humans as penmen, He superintended them as they wrote, keeping them from all error and omission. Scripture has final authority because it is a direct revelation from God and carries the very authority of God Himself (Galatians 1:12). What the Bible says, God says. The Scriptures are the final court of appeal on all doctrinal and moral matters. This is what Protestants call sola scriptura (“Scripture alone”).

    Jesus said, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). He never said “tradition cannot be broken.” Jesus used Scripture as the final court of appeal in every matter under dispute. To the Sadducees He said, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). He told some Pharisees that they invalidated the Word of God by their tradition which has been handed down (Mark 7:13). Jesus informed them, “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8). To the devil, Jesus consistently responded, “It is written…” (Matthew 4:4-10).
    Following Jesus’ lead, Scripture alone must be our supreme and final authority.

    Questions:
    1. Would you please read aloud Mark 7:8 and 7:13, where Jesus is speaking to some Pharisees?
    2. What is Jesus’ attitude toward tradition here?

    3. Would you please read aloud Colossians 2:8?
    4. According to this verse, is it possible for human traditions to lead people astray?

    Often you may hear that it was the Roman Catholic Church that gave us the Bible. This simply is not true. The canon of Scripture was being established in the very days that the Bible was being written, before the Roman Catholic Church was even in existence.

    The Lord Jesus used the Scriptures as His final court of appeal. As noted above, Jesus said, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). To the devil, Jesus consistently responded, “It is written…” (Matthew 4:4-10). Jesus affirmed the Bible’s divine inspiration (Matthew 22:43), its indestructibility (Matthew 5:17,18), its infallibility (John 10:35), its final authority (Matthew 4:4,7,10), its historicity (Matthew 12:40; 24:37), its scientific accuracy (Matthew 19:2-5), and its factual inerrancy (John 17:17; Matthew 22:29).

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  11. Further, scholars have noted that Peter ministered heavily among the Jews of his time (Galatians 2:7,8). In view of this, it would have been strange for Peter to move on to Rome, since that city was not a center of Judaism. The first 15 chapters of the Book of Acts show that Peter was in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and Antioch. There is never any mention of Rome.

    Questions:
     If Peter ended up in Rome, why didn’t the apostle Paul mention a greeting to Peter in his letter to the Romans (see Romans 1:7; 16:1-16)?
     If Peter ended up in Rome, why didn’t he ever visit the apostle Paul while Paul was imprisoned in Rome? (There is no mention of a visit by Peter in any of the Epistles Paul wrote from Rome.)

    THE SCRIPTURE IS INFALLIBLE, NOT THE POPE

    In claiming to be infallible when speaking on matters of faith and morals, the pope claims for himself, something that even the apostles did not. The apostle Paul is an example. In the Book of Galatians, Paul warned against the danger of a false gospel and said, “But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). The gospel that Paul preached is permanently recorded in written form in his Epistles. And if anything conflicts with that written Scripture, it is to be rejected. Scripture alone is infallible and hence authoritative (John 10:35).

    When in Acts 17:11 the Bereans tested Paul’s truth claims against the Old Testament Scriptures, Paul did not chasten them but rather commended them. Paul’s attitude is encapsulated in this admonition: “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

    We should follow this advice in regard to the truth claims of the pope. His teachings should be measured against the teachings of Scripture. And in doing so it becomes clear, at least in many cases, that the pope’s teaching is patently unbiblical.
    The truth is that the pope was a finite human being who was prone to mistakes as all other human beings are. Only God has infinite understanding and makes no mistakes. That is why His Word is infallible (John 10:35); it comes straight from Him (2 Timothy 3:16).
    Scripture never promised that there would be successors to Peter who would be divinely protected from error when speaking ex cathedra. That is a man-made doctrine.

    In fact, scholars tell us: “There have been about thirty-five anti-popes in the history of the church.” [Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), p.66.] When there are two popes at once, the Roman Catholic is left in a dilemma:

    Which pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth? Which one is the phony? Which one makes infallible statements on morals and faith when he speaks ex cathedra? [Geisler and MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals, p. 217.] While many Roman Catholics ignore this issue, it is something that has never been satisfactorily answered, and which deals a hard blow to the claim of infallibility.

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  12. Questions:

     How do you explain the fact that there have been 35 occasions in which there has been more than one pope at a time in the Roman Catholic Church?

     Doesn’t this undermine the Roman Catholic view on infallibility?

    A further problem for the Roman Catholic view of infallibility is the fact that some of the Church’s popes have taught heresy. One example would be Pope Honorius (A.D. 625-638), who was soundly condemned by the Sixth General Council for teaching the monothelite heresy (the teaching that there was only one will in Christ). [Norman L. Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, “What Think Ye of Rome? Part Four: The Catholic-Protestant Debate on Papal Infallibility,” Christian Research Journal, fall 1994]. How can an infallible pope teach fallible heresy? It does not make sense.

    Question:

     If the pope is infallible, how can it be that Pope Honorius I (A.D. 625-638) was condemned for teaching heresy by the Sixth General Council?

    Contrary to the idea that we must submit our understanding of God’s Word to an organization, individual believers are exhorted and instructed by Scriptures to test things for themselves (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1). They are to be like the Bereans, who examined what the apostle Paul said in light of the Word of God, to make sure that Paul’s teachings were in line with Scripture (Acts 17:11; see also Galatians 1:8). (Note that the Bereans were not priests; they were laypeople living in Berea. Scripture alone is our spiritual guide, and the Holy Spirit alone is our teacher (John 14:18, 26).

    MATTHEW 16:18 – Is Peter the rock on which the church is built?

    Problem: Roman Catholics use this passage to support their belief in the primacy of Peter, that is, that he is the rock on which the church is built. But Paul said the church is built on Christ, not Peter (1 Corinthians 3:11). Is Peter the “rock” in this passage?

    Solution: There are different ways to understand this passage, but none of them support the Roman Catholic view that the church is built on St. Peter, he became the first Pope. This is evident for many reasons.

    First of all, Peter was married (Matthew 8:14), and Popes do not marry. If the first Pope could marry, why later pronounce that no priest (or Pope) can marry.
    Second, Peter was not infallible in his views on the Christian life. Even Paul had to rebuke him for his hypocrisy, because he was not “straight forward about the truth of the Gospel” (Galatians 2:14).

    Third, the Bible clearly declares that Christ is the foundation of the Christian church, insisting that “no other foundation can anyone lay that that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).

    Fourth, the only sense in which Peter had a foundational role in the church, all the other apostles shared in the same way. Peter was not unique in this respect. For Paul declared that in this sense the church is “built on the the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the “chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). Indeed, the early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine [not just Peter’s]” (Acts 2:42). Even “keys of the kingdom” given to Peter (Matthew 1:19) were also given to all the apostles (cf. Matthew 18:18).

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  13. Fifth, there is no indication that Peter was the head of the early church. When the first council was held at Jerusalem, Peter played only an introductory role (Acts 15:6-11). James seems to have a more significant position, summing up the conference and making the final pronouncement (cf. Acts 15:13-21). Peter is never referred to as the “pillar” in the church. Rather, Paul speaks of “pillars” (plural), such as, “James, Cephas, and John” (Galatians 2:9). Peter (Cephs) is not even listed first among the pillars.

    Sixth, there are a number of factors in the Greek text that argue against this interpretation. Whenever Peter is referred to in this passage (Matthew 16), it is in the second person (“you”), but “this rock” is in the third person (verse 18). Moreover, “Peter” (petros) is a masculine singular term, and “rock” (petra) is a feminine singular term. Hence, they do not have the same referent. Jesus did not say to Peter, “You are Petros and on this Petros I will build my church.” Jesus said, “You are Petros (Peter), and upon this petra, I will build my church.” It would seem that, in context, petra here refers to Peter’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Christ.

    Question:
     Since Peter in Matthew 16:18 is referred to in the second person (“you”), but “this rock” is in the third person, does it not seem clear that Peter is not the “rock” upon which the church would be built?

    Ephesians 2:20 affirms that the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” Peter himself referred to Christ as “the cornerstone” of the church (1 Peter 2:7), and the rest of believers as “living stones” (verse 5) in the superstructure of the church. Colossians 1:17,18 affirms that Christ alone is the head of the church. Christ is called a rock in Romans 9:33 and in 1 Corinthians 10:4. In 1 Corinthians 3:11, we read, “No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”.

    Questions:

     Since the church is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles (plural), doesn’t this indicates that the church was not built on Peter alone (singular)?

     Since Christ is referred to by Peter as “the cornerstone” of the church (1 Peter 2:7), doesn’t Christ alone occupy the place of prominence?

     Do you know of a single verse in the Book of Acts where Peter is seen as exalted to a position of supremacy? (There is none.)

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  14. THE PERPETUAL VIGINITY OF MARY

    Problem: Jesus’ birth from the womb of Mary was unique in a number of ways. For one thing, Roman Catholics tell us that Mary, unlike all other human women, suffered virtually no pain during the birth. She was apparently exempt from the curse God spoke to Eve as result of the fall: “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16). Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott says that “Mary gave birth in miraculous fashion without opening of the womb and injury to the hymen, and consequently also without pains.” [Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p.99]

    Further, following the birth of Jesus, Mary perpetually remained a virgin. She never engaged in any sexual relations with her husband, Joseph. [James McCarthy, The Gospel According to Rome, p. 192.] As for those verses in the New Testament that make reference to Jesus’ brothers (for example, Matthew 13:55,56), Catholics often argue that in reality they were Jesus’ cousins.

    Solution: The idea that Mary was a perpetual virgin, that is she remained a virgin following the birth of Jesus, is directly contradicted by the biblical account. Indeed, in Matthew 1:25 we read that Joseph “kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus” (emphasis added). The word until implies that normal sexual relations between Joseph and Mary took place following the birth of Jesus.

    Further, when Jesus spoke in His hometown, some of the people there inquired, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us?” (Matthew 13:55,56).

    We also read that Jesus “went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days” (John 2:12). The fact that Jesus had brothers clearly shows that Mary gave birth to other children following the birth of Jesus.

    Not too long prior to the crucifixion, we find some of Jesus’ brothers taunting Him, not having yet placed faith in Him: “Not even His brothers were believing in Him” (John 7:5). Again, the fact that He had brothers shows that Mary and Joseph gave birth to other children following His own birth.

    The Roman Catholic claim that references to Jesus’ “brothers” actually refer to cousins is not convincing. It is true that the Greek term for brother (adelphos) can be used in a sense not referring to a literal brother (for example, it can refer to Jewish brothers, just like we today refer to our Christian brothers). Yet, unless the context indicates otherwise, Greek scholars agree that the term should be taken in its normal sense of a literal brother.

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  15. Further, there was a perfectly appropriate word in the Greek language that could have been used in the biblical text for “cousin” (anepsios), but this word is not used in the verses cited above. And since these “brothers” are always mentioned as being with Mary, the context is clear that literal brothers are in view.

    Furthermore, in a messianic prophecy in the Old Testament that was literally fulfilled in the life of Jesus, we read: “I have become estranged from my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s sons” (Psalm 69:8).

    Questions:

     Would you please read aloud from Psalm 69:8?

     Since this is messianic prophecy, referring to Jesus the Messiah, is it not clear that the reference to “my mother’s sons” proves that Jesus had brothers?

     Since there was a Greek word for cousins, don’t you think the biblical writers would have used this word instead of the Greek word for brothers when referring to James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55-57)?

     Since these “brothers” are specifically mentioned in contexts with Mary, is it not clear that the literal brothers of Jesus are meant?

    As for the Roman Catholic claim that “Mary gave birth in miraculous fashion without opening of the womb and injury to the hymen, and consequently also without pains,” there is virtually no biblical support for such a view. In fact, every verse in Scripture that addresses the birth of Jesus speaks of that birth as being quite normal, with no miracle having taken place. Jesus was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4), “brought forth” (Luke 2:7), delivered (Luke 2:6), and “born” (Matthew 2:2). Roman Catholics are reading something into the text of Scripture that simply is not there.

    Sexual relations within the marriage relationship bring no defilement, but are rather good and proper (see Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31). It is only sexual relations outside of marriage that Scripture condemns.
    Sex was a part of God’s “good” creation. Indeed, God created sex, and “everything created by God is good” (1 Timothy 4:4). But again, it is good only within the confines of the marriage relationship, which God Himself ordained (see Hebrews 13:4). So there would have been no defilement for Mary if she and her husband, Joseph, engaged in sexual relations following the birth of Jesus.

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  16. THE VENERATION OF MARY

    Problem: In view of Mary’s unique role in giving birth to the divine Messiah, as well as the many roles the Roman Catholic Church attributes to her, along with her many alleged virtues, Mary is venerated by Catholics worldwide. Catholics are quick to point out that the veneration they give Mary (called hyperdulia) is less than the adoration they give God (called latria), but is nevertheless higher than that rendered to angels and other saints (called dulia). [The Essential Catholic Handbook: A Summary of Beliefs, Practices, and Prayers (Liguori, MO: Liguori, 1997), p. 168.]

    The most common way Catholics venerate Mary today is by saying the rosary. This is considered an “epitome of the whole gospel.”

    Solution: We look in vain in the pages of Scripture for any semblance of the kind of veneration Roman Catholics give to Mary. Neither Jesus, nor the apostle Paul, nor any other biblical writer ever exalted Mary the way Catholics do. As we read the Gospels, we are given the teachings of Jesus, yet nowhere in the teachings of Jesus do we find that Mary is exalted or venerated. In the Epistles, Mary’s name is virtually absent, and these books are precisely where on would expect Mary’s name to be most prominent if the Roman Catholic exaltation and veneration of here were correct.

    Questions:

     If we are supposed to venerate Mary, why didn’t Jesus say anything about it in the four Gospels”

     If we are supposed to venerate Mary, why is it that Mary’s name is not even mentioned in any of the Epistles?

    MARY AS CO-REDEEMER AND MEDIATRIX

    Problem: Many Catholics speak of Mary as the co-redeemer of humanity. They offer a number of arguments in support of this idea. For example, Mary’s very agreement to bear in her womb the human-divine Messiah shows cooperation on her part with (and a taking part in) the divine plan of humankind’s redemption.

    For this reason, the Second Vatican Council tells us, a number of the early church fathers asserted that “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing Mary with Eve, they claim: “death through Eve, life through Mary.” [Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, electronic media, Harmony Media Inc.]

    When Mary is called co-redemptrix, this is not to imply that she is on a level of equality with Jesus. Rather, she shared with her son in the saving work of redemption for humankind. She participated in the redemptive work of her Savior-son. “Mary, who is completely subordinate and dependent to her redeeming Son even for her own human redemption, participates in the redemptive act of her Son as his exalted human mother.”
    [Mark Miraville, Mary: Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate pp. Xv-svi. See also White, Mary-Another Redeemer? P. 118]

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  17. There are other titles given to Mary in Roman Catholicism. For example, she is presently in heaven in the role of “Queen of Heaven and Earth.” This title is due in no small part to her alleged role in man’s redemption. And as Queen of Heaven and earth, she can answer our prayers. [The Immaculate Conception, Apostolic Constitution, Pope Pius ix, Ineffabilis Deus, Dec. 8, 1854]

    Mary is also sometimes called “Mediatrix of Grace.” Catholics typically argue that while Jesus is Mediator between man and God; nevertheless, Mary holds a secondary mediatorship that is subordinate to that of Christ. Mary’s role as “mediatrix” is said to carry two important connotations, according to Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott: “1. Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces by her cooperation in the Incarnation. And 2. Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces by her intercession in Heaven.” [Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pp. 212-213.]

    Solution: Scripture is clear that there is only one mediator between man and God and that is Jesus Christ. No secondary mediatrix is needed: “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). When this one Mediator died on the cross, it was not Mary who offered Him to the Father, but rather Christ “offered Himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14). This is important, for Roman Catholics often place great weight on their claim that Mary offered Jesus to the Father at the cross.

    Jesus is the single Savior of humanity, and this in itself is something that eternally distinguishes Jesus from Mary. For, indeed, the Scriptures are clear that only God can be the Savior. God Himself (Yahweh) said in Isaiah 43:11: “I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no Savior besides Me” (Isaiah 43:11).

    When we consider the biblical doctrine of the Redeemer, one thing that becomes very clear is that it is closely connected to the doctrine of the Incarnation. Humankind’s
    redemption was completely dependent upon the human divine union in Christ. If Christ the Redeemer had been only God, He could not have died, since God by His very nature cannot die. It was only as a man that Christ could represent humanity and die as a man. As God, however, Christ’s death had infinite value, sufficient to provide redemption for the sins of all humankind. Clearly, then, Christ had to be both God and man to secure man’s salvation (1 Timothy 2:5).

    Further, we must note that the Redeemer as portrayed in Scripture is absolutely sinless (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus’ unique qualification as Redeemer is precisely what disqualifies Mary in any role as a co-redemptor, because 1) Mary is a mere human being (she is not divine or even exalted), who 2) is defiled by sin (Romans 3:10-12,23; 5:12), and who 3) herself is in need of the Redeemer (Luke 1:47).

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  18. THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY

    Problem: Roman Catholics teach that when Mary’s life on earth was over, she was bodily assumed into heaven. Indeed, Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, proclaimed this as Church dogma: “The Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.” [Catholic Church History, electronic media, Harmony Media Inc.] It is argued that because Mary was full of grace (Luke 1:28) and because she was preserved from original sin, she was also kept free from the consequences of son, namely, corruption of the body after death. [Hardon, Pocket Catholic Dictionary, p. 32.]

    Solution: There is virtually no scriptural support for the idea that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven at the end of her earthly life. Even Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott admits that “direct and express scriptural proofs are not to be had.” [Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 208.] But because the Roman Catholic Church teaches the doctrine, we are told that it is true. Because there is not even of hint of Mary’s bodily assumption in Scripture, and because this doctrine did not even become dogma for the Roman Catholic Church until the middle of the twentieth century, we can assume it is not true, but is rather a man-made doctrine.

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  19. The Gospel for Roman Catholics

    This paper is written in two parts. The first explains and documents the Roman Catholic Church's position on justification. The second part presents the true gospel in contrast to the Catholic Church's position. If you want to go straight to the gospel presentation for Catholics, simply scroll down the page.
    Because of the great emphasis on Sacred Tradition within the Catholic Church and because so many Roman Catholics appeal to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, the Word of God is often placed after the Catholic Church itself in relation to authority. Because of this, many Catholics appeal to their works--in combination with the sacrifice of Christ as a means of being justified before God. The Council of Trent expresses this plainly:
    "If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema." (Canon 14).
    Justification is the legal declaration by God upon the sinner where God declares the sinner righteous in His sight. This justification is based completely and solely on the work of Christ on the cross. We cannot earn justification or merit justification in any way. If we could, then Christ died needlessly. "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." (Gal. 2:21). Because righteousness cannot come through the Law (through our efforts of merit), the Bible declares that we are justified before God by faith:
    • "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom. 3:28).
    • "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Rom. 4:3).
    • "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
    • "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
    • "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God;" (Eph. 2:8).
    However, in Roman Catholicism, justification by faith is denied.
    "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," (Canon 12, Council of Trent).

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  20. Which are we to believe? The Roman Catholic Church or God's word? Furthermore, the RCC states that justification is received not by faith--but by baptism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph, 1992, that " . . . justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith." This means that faith is not the instrument of obtaining justification; instead, it is an ordinance performed by a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.
    Furthermore, baptism is only the initial grace along the road of justification. The Roman Catholic is to then maintain his position before God by his efforts.
    "No one can MERIT the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can MERIT for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods," (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), par. 2027).
    The problem here is that the RCC is teaching us to "merit for ourselves and for others all the graces need to attain eternal life." You cannot merit grace. Grace is unmerited favor. Merit is, according to the CCC, par. 2006, " . . . the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members, experienced either as beneficial or harmful, deserving reward or punishment . . . " CCC 2006. This means that merit is something owed. By contrast, grace is something not owed. Therefore, the RCC is teaching contrary to God's word regarding grace and justification.
    The sad result is that in Roman Catholicism, justification before God is a process that is maintained by the effort and works of the Roman Catholic. This is a very unfortunate teaching since it puts the unbearable burden of works' righteousness upon the shoulders of the sinner. By contrast, the Bible teaches that justification/salvation is by faith.
    • "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
    • "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
    • "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God;" (Eph. 2:8).
    The Gospel for Roman Catholics
    The Gospel for Roman Catholics is the same as for anyone else, and it is obtained by grace through faith in believing and trusting in Jesus alone, who is God in flesh, for the forgiveness of sins. Salvation is not found in a true church. Salvation is not found in being good. Salvation is not found in good works. Salvation is not found in a sincere heart. Salvation is not found in making up for past sins by efforts of restoration or penance or indulgences. You can never do enough to please God.
    Because God is so infinitely holy and righteous and because we are sinners, we are incapable of pleasing God by anything that we do. In fact, our righteous deeds are considered filthy rags before God (Isa. 64:6). You can do nothing to earn forgiveness or keep forgiveness. Salvation before God is not administered to us through an earthly priest in the Catholic church by the sprinkling of water or giving of penance or recitation of formula prayers. Salvation for the Christian is not kept through the effort of the person who hopes and tries and worries about being good enough to stay saved.

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  21. Such error can only lead to despair and hopelessness and a desperate and unwarranted dependence on the Roman Catholic Church as the only means by which salvation can be distributed and maintained. In this error, people far too often seek to work their way to heaven by being good, by doing what the Catholic church teaches them to do, by prayers to Mary, by indulgences, by the Rosary, and by a host of other man-made works. Remember, in the RCC, salvation is through the Church and its sacraments and not through Jesus alone--by faith alone. This is exactly how the cults of Mormonism and the Jehovah's Witnesses work who both teach that true salvation is found only in their church membership and in following the revelation and authority of their church teachers and traditions.
    Are you tired of the works' requirement?
    In great contrast to the position of the Roman Catholic Church, if you want to be forgiven of your sins, once and for all, then you need to come to Christ (Matt. 11:28). You need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Rom. 10:13). You need to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins (John 14:14) and trust in Him alone and in nothing that you can do. Remember, your good deeds have no merit before God (Isa. 64:6). Furthermore, if you have faith, it is because that faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29). If you believe, it is because God has granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29). It is not because you were baptized or have been good or have been sincere. It is all of God. The Lord must receive all the glory for salvation because it completely and totally rests in Him. Salvation rests in Christ alone, and it is received by faith apart from works.
    Please read the following scriptures carefully.
    1. "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23).
    2. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Rom. 6:23).
    3. "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." (1 Pet. 2:24).
    4. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21).
    5. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:14).
    6. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29"Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:28-29).
    7. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name," (John 1:12).
    8. "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." (Gal. 2:21).
    9. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).
    10. "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Rom. 4:3).
    11. "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
    12. "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13).

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  22. A suggested prayer
    This suggested prayer is not a formula but a representation of biblical principles by which you might better understand the true gospel and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. It is not a formula derived from Sacred Tradition or Stamped with the seal of the Roman Catholic Church's approval. Its principles are derived from scripture: we are sinners; God is Holy; we cannot earn salvation; salvation is a free gift; prayer to Christ; Jesus is the only way; receiving Christ; faith; etc.
    "Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner, and that I have offended you by breaking your Holy Law. I confess my sins to you, Lord, and ask forgiveness from you and do not ask anyone else to be forgiven of my sins against you. I acknowledge who you are, God in flesh, creator, humble Lord, who bore my sins in Your body on the cross; and I come to you alone and trust you alone, by faith, that you will forgive me completely of my sins; so that I will have eternal life. I ask you, Lord, to come into my heart to be my Lord, to forgive me of my sins. Lord, I trust in you alone, in the work of the cross alone and not in any church, not in any saint, not in Mary, not in any priest but in you alone. Lord, Jesus, I receive you and come to you and ask you to forgive me and justify me by faith as I trust in you alone. Thank you.
    If you are a Roman Catholic and have trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins, then welcome to the body of Christ. Welcome to salvation and the free gift of forgiveness in Jesus.
    Next, I strongly recommend that you read the Bible regularly, talk to Jesus daily in prayer, and seek to find a church that teaches and focuses on Jesus as Lord, Jesus as Savior, and sticks to the Bible alone.

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  23. The Doctrine of Purgatory

    Purgatory may be defined as “a place or state in which are detained the souls of those who die in grace, in friendship with God, but with the blemish of venial sin or with temporal debt for sin unpaid. Here the soul is purged, cleansed, readied for eternal union with God in Heaven.” [Catholicism, George Brantl, ed. (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 232].

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “all who 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 joy of heaven.” [Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York: Image Books, 1985), p. 93].

    The Roman Catholic teaching on purgatory was pronounced as Church dogma in A.D. 1438. The best way to describe it is that it is a temporary hell with the sole purpose of working off the temporal punishment for a person’s sins.

    The Doctrine of Indulgences

    The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Church is the steward of a vast reservoir of merit called the “treasury of the Church” or “treasury of merit.” This treasury was allegedly earned by the works and prayers of Jesus Christ, His mother Mary, and the saints of all ages. This treasury of merit is so vast that it can never be exhausted or depleted.

    According to Roman Catholic theology, the Church has the power to dispense from this reservoir “indulgences,” which are said to cancel the debt of temporal punishment. [The modern Roman Catholic teaching on indulgences has been stated and clarified in three documents, dating from 1967 (Indulgentiarum doctrina, of Paul VI), 1968 (The new Enchiridion of Indulgences, issued by the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary), and 1983 (the new Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church).
    Because Christ, Mary, and various Catholic saints have provided “super-abundant satisfactions” to God through their many merits, the Catholic Church believes it can offer these same merits to Catholic believers in exchange for remission of punishment.

    Catholics speak of both a “partial indulgence” and a “plenary indulgence.” A partial indulgence is one that takes away just a portion of a person’s temporal punishment. A plenary indulgence cancels all the temporal punishment a person has accumulated. The more temporal punishment remitted through indulgences in this life, the less time someone will have to spend in purgatory. Understandably, the partial indulgence requires fewer acts of piety that a plenary indulgence.

    Once a person has earned an indulgence, he or she can apply it either personally (thereby reducing his or her own temporal punishment for sins committed), or can by prayer apply it to the account of a dead loved one believed to be in purgatory. So indulgences can benefit both oneself and one’s dead loved ones. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 411.)

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  24. Answering Roman Catholics
    The Doctrine of Purgatory

    Consider what Roman Catholics are saying in regard to the doctrine of purgatory. Let’s say you are a good-hearted Catholic, and you do all the things required of your Church throughout life. You regularly attend Mass, you work hard to maintain sanctifying grace in your soul by being faithful, and you confess your sins to a priest when you do wrong. You are always careful to participate in the sacrament of penance after committing what you think may be a mortal sin. You do all this and more, keeping with what your Church tells you. When you die, you will likely still have to go to purgatory before being granted entrance into heaven. Throughout someone’s lifetime he or she could attend over a thousand Masses and still die not fully purified from sin. Protestants respond that this hardly seems like the “good news” of the gospel (Ephesians 2:8,9).

    Questions:
    • Did you know that the word gospel means “good news”?
    • Does it sound like “good news” to you that you can attend over a thousand Masses throughout your life and still die not fully purified from sin?
    • By contrast, does the following statement by the apostle Paul sound like “good news”: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as result of works, that no one should boast: (Ephesians 2:8,9)?
    • Is believing in Christ sufficient for salvation? Or must we combine believing in Christ with doing good works?
    • Did you know that there are about 200 scriptural references in the New Testament that salvation is said to be by faith alone, with no works in sight? Here are few scriptures for you to review: Acts 16:31; Romans 1:16,17; Romans 3:20; John 3:15; John 5:24; John 11:25; Galatians 2:16.

    The doctrine of purgatory is an outgrowth of the insufficient Roman Catholic view of justification. Since only perfectly righteous people get into heaven, and since in the Roman Catholic view of justification someone is not absolutely and once for all declared righteous by God, then somehow a person must become perfectly righteous before entrance into heaven is granted. This happens via purgatory (among other things). Contrary to the Catholic view, the biblical view of justification involves a singular and instantaneous event in which God declares the believing sinner to be righteous.

    From a scriptural perspective, when Jesus died on the cross He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus completed the work of redemption at the cross. No purgatory is needed for those who trust in Christ. In His high priestly prayer to the Father, Jesus said, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). First John 1:7 says, “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin”. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.

    We are cleansed not by some alleged fire of purgatory but by the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrew 9:14). Jesus “Himself is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2). It is through Jesus’ work on the cross that we are made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). The apostle Paul spoke of his life as “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:7-9). It is through this wonderful work of Christ on the cross that believers are “blameless,” and hence are in no need of some alleged purgatory (Jude 1:24; Ephesians 1:4).

    In Hebrews 10:14: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified”. In other words, no further purging is necessary because Christ has perfected “for all time” those who have believed in Him. That which is already perfect “for all time” needs no further purging. There is no need for purgatory for those who have truly trusted in Christ as Savior.

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  25. Sola Scriptura Versus Tradition

    One of the most volatile issues that separates Protestants from Roman Catholics has to do with the issue of sola scriptura (“Scripture alone”). Protestants believe that Scripture alone speaks with God’s voice and is authoritative in matters of faith and practice, whereas most Roman Catholics believe that both Scripture and tradition constitute the Word of God.

    Roman Catholic traditionalists often make reference to the phrase, “sacred deposit of faith.” This refers to the body of beliefs and practices entrusted to the pope and bishops by the 12 apostles, who themselves received this body of belief and practices from Jesus Christ.

    A body of truth was passed down to the pope and bishops in two ways: tradition and the written Word. Tradition refers to oral teachings, oral worship, and the oral prayers of the apostles. The written Word, by contrast, is what we find recorded in the pages of Scripture. Many Catholics believe that written Scripture and oral tradition together form the Word of God.

    Protestants Respect Tradition, Not Exalt It

    Those of us who hold to sola scriptura do not say there never was a time when God’s Word was spoken. Quite obviously there was such a time. Yet we also hold that the Scriptures are God’s final and full revelation to humankind. All God intends us to have is found within the Scriptures. Nothing outside the pages of Scriptures is needed.

    That is not to say that Protestants view tradition as being worthless. Protestants respect “tradition” in the form of confessions and council pronouncements, but they do not accept traditions as being “apostolic,” or as being God’s revelation, or as something that has an authority equal to that of Scripture. Most Protestants have regard for the teachings of the early fathers, though obviously they do not believe they are infallible.

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  26. The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture – A Clear Contrast with Tradition

    The Greek word for inspiration in the Bible, theopnustos, literally means “God-breathed.” Because Scripture is breathed out by God, because it originates from Him, it is true and inerrant.

    Biblical inspiration may be defined as God’s superintending of the human authors so that, using their own individual personalities (and even their writing styles), they composed and recorded without error His revelation to humankind in the words of the original autographs. Benjamin B. Warfield, a prince of theologians, explains that

    the original documents of the Bible were written by men, who,
    though permitted to exercise their own personalities and literary
    talents, yet wrote under the control and guidance of the Spirit of
    God, the result being in every word of the original documents a
    perfect and errorless recording of the exact message which God
    desired to give to man. [B.B. Warfield. The Inspiration and Authority
    of the Bible (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1948). P. 173]

    The writers of Scripture were not mere writing machines. God did not use them like keys on a typewriter to mechanically reproduce His message. Nor did He dictate the words page by page.

    Second Peter 1:21 provides a key insight regarding the human-divine interchange in the process of inspiration. This verse informs us that “prophecy [or Scripture] never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” The phrase “carried along” in this verse literally means “forcefully borne along.” Even though human beings were used in the process of writing down God’s Word, the human wills of the authors were not the originators of God’s message. God did not permit the will of sinful human beings to misdirect or erroneously record His message. Rather, as Dr. Norman Geisler (apologist and theologian) and William Nix put it, “God moved and the prophet mouthed these truths; God revealed and man recorded His word.” [Norman Geisler and Willam Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978), p. 28.]

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  27. The Holy Spirit of God is truly the divine author of Scripture. Though He used erring humans as penmen, He superintended them as they wrote, keeping them from all error and omission. The Scriptures, in the original autographs, possess the quality of freedom from error. In all their teachings they are in perfect accord with the truth. In 1980, the International Council of Biblical Inerrancy affirmed that inspiration.

    The Bible teaches that Scripture alone is the supreme and infallible authority for the church and the individual believer (1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:21). Again, this is not to say that creeds and tradition are unimportant, but the Bible alone is our final authority. Creeds and traditions are man-made.

    Scripture had final authority because it is a direct revelation from God and carries the very authority of God Himself (Galatians 1:12). That the Bible says, God says. The Scriptures are the final court of appeal on all doctrinal and moral matters. This is what Protestans call sola scriptura (“Scripture alone”). All that we must believe as Christians is found within the pages of Scripture. We need no other source, the Bible alone is sufficient.

    Jesus used Scripture as the final court of appeal in every matter under dispute. To the Sadducees He said, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). He told some Pharisees that they invalidated the Word of God by their tradition which has been handed down (Mark 7:13). Jesus informed them, “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8). To the devil, Jesus consistently responded, “It is written…” (Matthew 4:4-10). Following Jesus’ lead, Scripture alone must be our supreme and final authority.

    In Colossians 2:8 the apostle Paul warns, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ”.

    Any tradition that conflicts with the absolute Word of God as contained in Scripture is to be rejected. Scripture is supreme over tradition.

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  28. Question…
    • Would you please read aloud Mark 7:8 and 7:13, where Jesus is speaking to some Pharisees?
    • What is Jesus’ attitude toward tradition here?
    • Would you please read aloud Colossians 2:8?
    • According to this verse, is it possible for human traditions to lead people astray?

    Jesus affirmed the Bible’s divine inspiration (Matthew 22;43), its indestructibility (Matthew 5:17,18), its infallibility (John 10:35), its final authority (Matthew 4:4,7,10), its historicity (Matthew 12:40; 24:37), its scientific accuracy (Matthew 19:2-5), and its factual inerrancy John 17:17; Matthew 22:29).

    The apostle Paul affirmed the full adequacy of Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16,17. In this passage we read, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

    Notice that verse 16 and 17 does not say that Scripture as interpreted by the Roman Catholic Magisterium (teaching office) is “profitable for teaching, for reproof.” And so forth. Nor does it say that Scripture and tradition are “profitable for teaching, for reproof,” and so forth. It is Scripture alone that does these things. And the reason Scripture can do these thing is that “all Scripture is inspired by God” (verse 16).

    It is noteworthy that the word adequate (in the phrase “that the man of God may be adequate”) means “complete, capable, fully furnished, proficient in the sense of being able to meet all demands.” Scripture alone makes a person complete, capable, and proficient. Scripture furnishes all that a person must know to be saved and to grow in grace.

    Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper has suggested four advantages of written revelation as opposed to oral tradition: 1) Written revelation is durable and not susceptible to errors of memory, and accidental corruptions are minimized; 2) it can be universally disseminated; 3) it has the attribute of fixedness and purity; and 4) it is given a finality and normativeness which other forms of communication cannot attain. (Cited in Geisler and MacKenzie, “What Think Ye of Rome?”)

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  29. Rome’s Claim that the Bible Cannot Be Interpreted Without Tradition Contains a Fatal Flaw

    The Roman Catholic Church often claims that the Bible cannot be interpreted rightly without tradition. The big problem with this claim is that once Rome [Vatican City] gives a definitive explanation of a Bible passage via tradition, Rome’s explanation must then be interpreted, and in many Rome’s explanations must then be interpreted, and in many cases Rome’s explanations are more complicated that the Bible passage. (White, Roman Catholic Controversy, p. 71.)

    What this means is that Rome has just pushed the problem back one generation. Now, instead of needing help interpreting the Bible, we need help interpreting the tradition that is supposed to make the Bible clearer.

    Protestants, of course, believe that the Bible is sufficiently clear. This is a doctrine called perspicuity. This does not mean that every single verse in the Bible is equally clear or easy to understand. Rather, it means that the main teachings of the Bible are quite clear. As the old saying goes, the main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things.
    Church history reveals that there are clear contradictions in the many traditions of Rome. Abelard (A.D. 1079-1142) recognized hundreds of such contradictions. For example, some church fathers accepted the immaculate conception of Mary, while others did not. (Geisler and MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals, p. 196.) What this means is that tradition is not infallible, nor is it authoritative.

    Questions…

    • Did you know there are many contradictions in the traditions of the Catholic Church? (For example, some Church fathers accepted the immaculate conception of Mary, while others did not.)
    • Since there are many contradictions in the traditions of Rome, doesn’t that mean they are not infallible?

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  30. Thank you, Jeff. Your writing has been very informative.

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  31. False Religious Views of Grace

    Roman Catholicism

    • Meriting Grace to attain eternal life: Catechism of the Catholic Church 2010, "Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.”
    • Meriting Grace to attain eternal life: CCC 2027, "No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.”

    Mormonism

    • Saved by grace alone is evil: "One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.206. See also The Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1996, p. 36).
    • Justification by faith alone is evil: "The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith Alone has exercised an influence for evil. The idea upon which this pernicious doctrine was founded was at first associated with that of an absolute predestination, by which man was foredoomed to destruction, or to an undeserved salvation,” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, 1984, p. 432).

    Christian Science

    • Grace is spiritual understanding: "Philosophical links, which would unite dead matter with animate, Spirit with matter and material means, prayer with power and pride of position, hinder the divine influx and lose Science,--lose the Principle of divine metaphysics and the tender grace of spiritual understanding, that love-linked holiness which heals and saves,” (Miscellany, p. 206).
    • Grace is understanding God: "All this is accomplished by the grace of God,--the effect of God understood,” (Christian Science vs. Pantheism, p. 10).

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  32. Checking out Scriptures

    Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

    This is important, for Luke carefully draws a sharp contrast here between the rabble in Thessalonica -- with their unthinking, prejudiced minds, and their emotional, impulsive actions -- and these Jews in Berea, who were more noble. In what did their nobility consist? Well, not merely in receiving the word, but also in checking it out with the Scriptures. A noble person is one who has not only an open mind but also a cautious heart. He will not accept a teaching unless he checks it with the Scriptures.

    That is what the Scriptures are for. They are your guide so that you can tell what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong. And unless a Christian does this, he is lost in a sea of relativism, where he does not know what is right or what is wrong. Your mind becomes confused and blinded and you can be misled and manipulated, as the rabble in Thessalonica manipulated the crowd there, unless you have the nobility to check things out according to the Scriptures. That is what these Jews did, and it was a tremendous help. They checked up on the Apostle Paul.

    The value of this story to us, and the reason Luke includes it, is that we might learn the necessity of testing any man's word. Do not listen to just one man's CD’s, or read only one man's books or messages. It is a very dangerous practice. You will be misled by his errors and you will not know how to recognize them. Never give yourself to following a single man. Paul writes to the Corinthians: "You who do this are carnal. You follow Apollos or Cephas or Paul, but we are all provided for your instruction. You need us all..." (1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:22).

    Do not ever limit yourself to a single man's ministry. Do not read only the messages published in your own church and take them as Scripture. Check them out in the Scriptures and with other teachers. Establish what the Word of God says. That is the authority. How delighted Luke is to commend these Bereans for their nobility in doing this very thing!

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  33. On the Death of Prince

    By Pastor Greg Laurie April 25th, 2016

    Below is the article I wrote for WorldNetDaily.com

    ________________________________________
    Prince has died.

    He was found unconscious in the elevator of his Paisley Park Estate. This after reports of an emergency landing after a performance, due to “flu-symptoms,” according to his publicist. Reports are coming in that this may be a drug related death.

    I don’t know. All I know is a musical virtuoso who mastered almost every instrument at an early age and was an amazing talent, has died.

    Prince was a mix of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and a host of other influences with his own unique sound. As a guitar player alone he was beyond amazing, not to mention his body of work as a singer/songwriter. I remember seeing his performance during a tribute to George Harrison at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, joining in on the Beatles classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Showing the link to friends I said, “This is the greatest lead guitar solo of all time!”

    So much talent, now gone. I was sad to hear it.

    Prince sold 100 million records. One of his most well-known songs, “Let’s Go Crazy,” by Prince and the Revolution, almost seems prophetic now.

    Cause in this life
    Things are much harder than in the after world
    In this life
    You’re on your own
    And if the elevator tries to bring you down
    Go crazy, punch a higher floor.

    Ironic that on an elevator Prince Rogers Nelson, age 57, left this world for the next one.

    Prince seemed to believe in an afterlife. In his song, “Let’s Go Crazy,” he also sings,

    But I’m here to tell you
    There’s something else
    The after world
    A world of never ending happiness
    You can always see the sun, day or night.

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  34. Prince was right in this regard. There is an afterlife. And if your destination in the afterlife is Heaven, you can know that it is so much better than this life. The Bible describes it as a place of happiness, singing, feasting and being reunited with loved ones who died in faith and preceded us.

    People often ask, “What is Heaven like?”

    A better question might be, “What is earth like?” Take the greatest moments you have ever experienced on earth and multiply them times a thousand, and you will have a glimpse of Heaven.

    Heaven is not a weak imitation of earth. Earth at its best is a pale imitation of this place called Heaven. In the Bible, Heaven is described as a place, a country, a city and much more. Heaven is a real place for real people to do real things.

    Best of all, in Heaven we will see Jesus Christ. This promise, however, is only for the person who has put their faith in Him as their Lord and Savior.

    Coming back to the elevator for a moment. There are two ways to go, up or down. If you are a believer in Jesus you will go up for sure. But what if you are not a believer in Jesus? Then, according to the Bible, you will go down. Just as surely as there is a Heaven, there is also a hell.

    You might ask, “How could a God of love send anyone to a place as horrible as hell?”

    The fact is, God’s does not send people to hell. If we end up there, we will have only ourselves to blame.

    God doesn’t send people to hell, He saves people from hell. That is why Jesus Christ died on a cross 2,000 years ago. He paid the price for every sin you have ever committed. If you will turn from your sin and believe and trust in Him, you can be forgiven, and yes, you can go to Heaven when you die.

    It was only two months ago that musical icon David Bowie died. He too sang of the afterlife.

    Death is the great leveler, and no respecter of persons. Elvis, the King of Rock, has died. So has James Brown, the King of Soul. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop has died as well. And now Prince. But the King of Kings, Jesus Christ has died and has risen and is alive forevermore!

    He holds the keys to the afterlife. Jesus said,

    “I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” (Revelation 1:18)

    One day you and I will also die. But death is not the end. There is an afterlife, as Prince reminded us.

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  35. There is an inscription on a tombstone in England that reads:

    Pause now stranger, when you pass by.
    As you are now, so once was I.
    As I am now, so you will be.
    So, prepare for death and follow me.

    Someone reading this epitaph is reported to have replied out loud, “To follow you is not my intent…until I know which way you went!”

    I don’t know where Prince or Bowie went. Only God does. But I do know where I am going when I die.

    I’m going up. Which way are you going?
    To find out how to be sure you will go to Heaven when you die, visit my website:
    KnowGod.org

    ReplyDelete
  36. Question: "What does the Bible say about praying for the dead?"

    Answer: Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our prayers have no bearing on someone once he or she has died. The reality is that, at the point of death, one’s eternal destiny is confirmed. Either he is saved through faith in Christ and is in heaven where he is experiencing rest and joy in God’s presence, or he is in torment in hell. The story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar provides us with a vivid illustration of this truth. Jesus plainly used this story to teach that after death the unrighteous are eternally separated from God, that they remember their rejection of the gospel, that they are in torment, and that their condition cannot be remedied (Luke 16:19-31).

    Often, people who have lost a loved one are encouraged to pray for those who have passed away and for their families. Of course, we should pray for those grieving, but for the dead, no. No one should ever believe that someone may be able to pray for him, thereby effecting some kind of favorable outcome, after he has died. The Bible teaches that the eternal state of mankind is determined by our actions during our lives on earth. “The soul who sins is the one who will die. . . . The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him” (Ezekiel 18:20).

    The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Here we understand that no change in one’s spiritual condition can be made following his death—either by himself or through the efforts of others. If it is useless to pray for the living, who are committing “a sin that leads to death” (1 John 5:16), i.e., continual sin without seeking God’s forgiveness, how could prayer for those who are already dead benefit them, since there is no post-mortem plan of salvation?

    The point is that each of us has but one life, and we are responsible for how we live that life. Others may influence our choices, but ultimately we must give an account for the choices we make. Once life is over, there are no more choices to be made; we have no choice but to face judgment. The prayers of others may express their desires, but they won’t change the outcome. The time to pray for a person is while he or she lives and there is still the possibility of his or her heart, attitudes, and behavior being changed (Romans 2:3-9).

    It is natural to have a desire to pray in times of pain, suffering, and loss of loved ones and friends, but we know the boundaries of valid prayer as revealed in the Bible. The Bible is the only official prayer manual, and it teaches that prayers for the dead are futile. Yet we find the practice of praying for the dead observed in certain areas of “Christendom.” Roman Catholic theology, for example, allows for prayers both to the dead and on behalf of them. But even Catholic authorities admit that there is no explicit authorization for prayers on behalf of the dead in the sixty-six books of canonical Scripture. Instead, they appeal to the Apocrypha(2 Maccabees 12:46), church tradition, the decree of the Council of Trent, etc., to defend the practice.

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  37. The Bible teaches that those who have yielded to the Savior’s will (Hebrews 5:8-9) enter directly and immediately into the presence of the Lord after death (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23;2 Corinthians 5:6,8). What need, then, do they have for the prayers of people on the earth? While we sympathize with those who have lost dear ones, we must bear in mind that “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). While the context refers to the gospel age as a whole, the verse is fitting for any individual who is unprepared to face the inevitable—death and the judgment that follows (Romans 5:12;1 Corinthians 15:26; Hebrews 9:27). Death is final, and after that, no amount of praying will avail a person of the salvation he has rejected in life.

    Recommended Resources: The Truth Behind Ghosts, Mediums, and Psychic Phenomena by Ron Rhodes and Logos Bible Software.

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/praying-for-the-dead.html#ixzz3NPWliTig

    ReplyDelete
  38. Question: "What does the Bible say about praying for the dead?"

    Answer: Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our prayers have no bearing on someone once he or she has died. The reality is that, at the point of death, one’s eternal destiny is confirmed. Either he is saved through faith in Christ and is in heaven where he is experiencing rest and joy in God’s presence, or he is in torment in hell. The story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar provides us with a vivid illustration of this truth. Jesus plainly used this story to teach that after death the unrighteous are eternally separated from God, that they remember their rejection of the gospel, that they are in torment, and that their condition cannot be remedied (Luke 16:19-31).

    Often, people who have lost a loved one are encouraged to pray for those who have passed away and for their families. Of course, we should pray for those grieving, but for the dead, no. No one should ever believe that someone may be able to pray for him, thereby effecting some kind of favorable outcome, after he has died. The Bible teaches that the eternal state of mankind is determined by our actions during our lives on earth. “The soul who sins is the one who will die. . . . The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him” (Ezekiel 18:20).

    The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Here we understand that no change in one’s spiritual condition can be made following his death—either by himself or through the efforts of others. If it is useless to pray for the living, who are committing “a sin that leads to death” (1 John 5:16), i.e., continual sin without seeking God’s forgiveness, how could prayer for those who are already dead benefit them, since there is no post-mortem plan of salvation?

    The point is that each of us has but one life, and we are responsible for how we live that life. Others may influence our choices, but ultimately we must give an account for the choices we make. Once life is over, there are no more choices to be made; we have no choice but to face judgment. The prayers of others may express their desires, but they won’t change the outcome. The time to pray for a person is while he or she lives and there is still the possibility of his or her heart, attitudes, and behavior being changed (Romans 2:3-9).

    It is natural to have a desire to pray in times of pain, suffering, and loss of loved ones and friends, but we know the boundaries of valid prayer as revealed in the Bible. The Bible is the only official prayer manual, and it teaches that prayers for the dead are futile. Yet we find the practice of praying for the dead observed in certain areas of “Christendom.” Roman Catholic theology, for example, allows for prayers both to the dead and on behalf of them. But even Catholic authorities admit that there is no explicit authorization for prayers on behalf of the dead in the sixty-six books of canonical Scripture. Instead, they appeal to the Apocrypha(2 Maccabees 12:46), church tradition, the decree of the Council of Trent, etc., to defend the practice.

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  39. CATHOLICISM
    An Examination of the Teachings of
    the Catholic Church

    Lecture notes by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
    Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry


    Praying for the dead and to the saints

    First, let’s consider praying for the dead. The Catholic Church teaches that Christians who are alive on Earth can and should come to the assistance of the souls in Purgatory by intercessory prayers as well as by giving to the poor and other pious works.

    Evangelicals reject this teaching of the Catholic Church on the basis that there is no Scriptural support whatsoever for this doctrine. (See Norman L. Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Disagreements, p. 348ff.) There is not a single example in the Bible of a person praying for a person who has died.

    Second, let’s consider praying to Mary and the saints. The Catholic Catechism says:

    “The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives... They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them [the saints] to intercede for us and for the whole world.” (p. 645, #2683, p. 249, #956) [This is right off the Vatican’s website here.]

    And so the Catholic Church encourages its followers to pray prayers like this one to Mary (that can be found on many Catholic websites)…

    “O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the gifts which God grants to us miserable sinners; and for this end He has made thee so powerful, so rich, and so bountiful, in order that thou mayest help us in our misery. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee: come to my aid, for I recommend myself to thee. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me. For, if thou protect me, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; nor even from Jesus, my judge, because by one prayer from thee He will be appeased. But one thing I fear: that in the hour of temptation I may through negligence fail to call on thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me, therefore, the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace ever to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help.” (This prayer is available on numerous Catholic websites, including this one http://www.dailycatholic.org/perpetua.htm)

    Catholics are encouraged by the Catholic Church to pray prayers like this, not to God, but to Mary! This is absolutely contradicted by the Bible.

    The Bible says in...
    Philippians 4:6
    “Let your requests be made known to [who?] God.”
    Jesus taught us to pray to “Our Father who art in Heaven" (Matthew 6:9).
    The apostle Paul writes, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
    There are prayers recorded in the Bible from Genesis all the way to the Book of Revelation, and none of them are addressed to a saint, an angel or anyone other than God.

    Numerous passages in the Old Testament condemn all attempts to communicate with the dead. Those verses include Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Leviticus 20:6, 27; 1 Samuel 28:5-18; Isaiah 8:19-20.

    Is it a serious thing that the Catholic Church would mislead multitudes of people away from the living God and into prayer to people (who have died)? Absolutely! In Old Testament times, if a Jew violated these commands prohibiting communication with the dead, they were to be put to death. Am I suggesting that we put people to death who do this? No. We are living in a different dispensation. Those laws were to govern the Israelites at a particular time in history. But it does show you how much God detests the practice.

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  40. GOSPEL MESSAGE (Part I)

    We do not become Christians by following some manual, religious ceremony or using some technique. Our conversion is a result of God’s implanting is Spirit in our heart, giving us new power to live or him. The Holy Spirit gives new life to all who believes and accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

    ”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

    The Holy Spirit is given now, immediately when anyone believes in Jesus. There is no sign, no feeling, no emotional indication of it. It occurs, as Jesus said it would, when any believe on him. It is the means by which the risen life of Jesus becomes available to us, continuously and constantly. All that he is made available through all that I am.

    It is a glorious kind of power. It does not need any props, does not require outside help, and does not borrow anything from the world. It does not even need a cup of coffee to get started in the morning! And it works best in a cemetery. It operates most visibly where everything is dull and lifeless, and nothing is happening. Anyone who is operating on resurrection power can come in and change the whole scene.

    Resurrection power changes lives from within and not from without. It does not start on the outside, with the environment, or the circumstances, or the external situation; it starts within, and works out, to change the environment ultimately. And it does not separate or divide; it harmonizes, it heals, it draws together and breaks down "middle walls of partition" (Ephesians 2:14 KJV) that have been standing sometimes for centuries. It batters them down and brings people together, in harmony. It is a totally different kind of power. That is what you receive when you receive the Holy Spirit.

    All of us have messed up our lives in one way or another; we have destroyed the wholeness already. But the glory of the good news is that in coming to Jesus, through his work on the cross on our behalf and his raising again from the dead, he can actually give us a new start. All the past is wiped out and forgiven. We are restored.
    Some of you may have been going to church for years. You have been hearing the gospel but you have never opened your hearts to God. But that is the final, necessary step. Ultimately, the will must be moved. Jesus said in Revelation, "Behold I stand at the door (the door of the heart) and knock. If anyone hears my voice (feels desire), and will open the door (invite him to come in), I will come into him and live with him and he with me," Revelation 3:20). That is what happened in Thessalonica.
    That is "the work of faith." Until you have actually received Christ, you have not exercised faith. You can believe the story to be true, but until it moves you to receive the Lord you have not exercised faith.
    All Have Sinned – Romans 3:23
    “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

    The Wages of Sin is Death – Romans 6:23
    “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

    God Loves You – Romans 5:8
    “God demonstrated His live toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

    Confession and Salvation – Romans 10:9
    “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”

    Thus the religion of the world, with its emphasis upon the external, is ignored by God. Man fulfills his proper function only by receiving what God has done in Christ, without any need for observances or candles or form or ceremony, but by a quiet act of faith. That is the simplicity of belief in Jesus Christ. It is so uncomplicated, so simple, so available to all.

    If you want to receive Christ into your life, visit this important message:

    http://www.harvest.org/knowgod/

    ReplyDelete
  41. 4. The Apocrypha contains no predictive prophecy to help substantiate its claims.

    The Bible over and over substantiates its claim to divine inspiration with hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. In fact, 27% percent of the Bible contains predictive prophecy, and half of them have already been fulfilled (see Every Prophecy of the Bible by John Walvoord).

    Unlike the books of the Bible, the Apocrypha contains none.

    5. The Apocrypha never claims to be the inspired Word of God.

    Unlike the Old Testament books that over and over say things, like “thus says the Lord” or “the word of the LORD came unto him” the Apocrypha never says anything like this.

    Since that is the case, it seems unwise to call the authors of the Apocrypha “prophets” or “spokespersons of God,” when that is something that they themselves did not claim to be.

    6. The Apocrypha was rejected by many of the leading early church fathers.

    The early church recognized a distinction between the Old Testament and the apocryphal books. Many of them, men such as Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Origen, spoke out against them.

    7. Jerome rejected the Apocrypha and left them out of His Latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate).

    Jerome (who lived from 340-420 A.D.) was the man, who translated, for the first time, the Bible from Greek into Latin. Jerome is considered to be the greatest biblical and Hebrew scholars of the early medieval period. Jerome’s translation (known as the Vulgate) became the Bible translation for centuries to follow. It even became the official translation of the Roman Catholic Church.

    So if Jerome left them out of his translation, how did the Apocryphal books end up in the Vulgate, the Catholic Bible? The Church inserted them into the Vulgate after he died.

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  42. 8. The Apocrypha contains numerous non-biblical and heretical doctrines.

     The Apocrypha teaches the erroneous unbiblical doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, suggesting that the kind of body one now has is determined by the character of his soul in a previous life (Wisdom of Solomon 8:19-20).
     The Apocrypha teaches prayer for the dead (2 Maccabees 12:41-46)
     The doctrine of Purgatory (that even the righteous must suffer after death for a time before they will be accepted into Heaven).
     The Apocrypha teaches that salvation is available through good works (through the giving of alms).

    Tobit 12:9
    “It is better to give alms than to lay up gold: alms doth deliver from death, and it shall purge away all sin”

    Tobit 4:11
    “For alms deliver from all sin and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness."

    These are doctrines that are not supported in the Bible, and are clearly even contradicted by authentic Scripture.

    9. The Apocrypha was not formally declared to be authoritative and inspired by the Catholic Church until 1546.

    1500 plus years after they were written!! Why did they do this so late? They did it to counter the teachings of Martin Luther and the other reformers. These men were exposing the fact that the Catholic Church was basing certain teachings on the Apocrypha, and not the sixty-six books of the Bible. So, the Catholic Church, officially declared that the Apocrypha was part of the Bible, inspired by God, and to be accepted with the rest of the Bible!

    So for these reasons Evangelicals reject the Apocrypha.

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  43. 8. The Apocrypha contains numerous non-biblical and heretical doctrines.

     The Apocrypha teaches the erroneous unbiblical doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul, suggesting that the kind of body one now has is determined by the character of his soul in a previous life (Wisdom of Solomon 8:19-20).
     The Apocrypha teaches prayer for the dead (2 Maccabees 12:41-46)
     The doctrine of Purgatory (that even the righteous must suffer after death for a time before they will be accepted into Heaven).
     The Apocrypha teaches that salvation is available through good works (through the giving of alms).

    Tobit 12:9
    “It is better to give alms than to lay up gold: alms doth deliver from death, and it shall purge away all sin”

    Tobit 4:11
    “For alms deliver from all sin and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness."

    These are doctrines that are not supported in the Bible, and are clearly even contradicted by authentic Scripture.

    9. The Apocrypha was not formally declared to be authoritative and inspired by the Catholic Church until 1546.

    1500 plus years after they were written!! Why did they do this so late? They did it to counter the teachings of Martin Luther and the other reformers. These men were exposing the fact that the Catholic Church was basing certain teachings on the Apocrypha, and not the sixty-six books of the Bible. So, the Catholic Church, officially declared that the Apocrypha was part of the Bible, inspired by God, and to be accepted with the rest of the Bible!

    So for these reasons Evangelicals reject the Apocrypha.

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  44. CATHOLICISM
    An Examination of the Teachings of
    the Catholic Church

    Lecture notes by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
    Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry

    The Bible

    Evangelicals believe that the Bible is made up of 66 divinely inspired documents that God decided should make up the canon of Scripture.

    In 1546 at an event known as the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church added eleven Jewish writings to the Bible known as the “Apocrypha."

    What is the Apocrypha?

    The Apocrypha is a collection of fourteen Jewish writings that were written down between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100. Eleven of those fourteen books were accepted by the Catholic Church as God-inspired Scriptures and were placed in the Catholic Bible. If you open a Catholic Bible today you will see books in there with titles like Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, and Baruch.

    Not only has the Catholic Church added these books to the Bible, they state:

    “If anyone, however, should not accept the said books as sacred and canonical [ i.e. part of the Bible], entire with all their parts…and if both knowingly and deliberately he should condemn the aforesaid tradition let him be anathema." (Cited in Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, by Geisler and MacKenzie, p. 157.)

    Well, that's precisely what we say. There are numerous reasons why the early church and believers down through the centuries have rejected the apocryphal books as authoritative or divinely inspired.

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  45. JESUS IS THE ONLY MEDIATOR AND SAVIOR


    Catholics often claim that their doctrine of Mary as mediatrix does not in any way detract from, contradict, or do damage to the unique work or position of Jesus Christ. What we must examine is not what Roman Catholicism claims, but rather what state of affairs actually exists. In other words, despite what Roman Catholicism claims, we must address the issue as to whether Mary as mediatrix does detract from the unique mediatory role of Christ.

    Scripture is clear that there is only one mediator between man and God, and that is Jesus Christ. No secondary mediatrix is needed: “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”
    1 Timothy 2:5). When this one Mediator died on the cross, it was not Mary who offered Him to the Father, but rather Christ “offered Himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14). This is important, for that Roman Catholics often place great weight on their claim that Mary offered Jesus to the Father at the cross.

    Jesus is the single Savior of humanity. The Scriptures are clear that only God can be the Savior. God Himself (Yahweh) said in Isaiah 43:11: “I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no Savior besides Me”. The fact that Jesus is portrayed as this Savior over and over again in the New Testament shows Jesus’ unique divinity (for example, Titus 2:13, 14). And it is through this one Savior and Him alone that “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).

    When we consider the biblical doctrine of the Redeemer, one thing that becomes very clear is that it is closely connected to the doctrine of the Incarnation. Humankind’s redemption was completely dependent upon the human divine union in Christ. If Christ the Redeemer had been only God, He could not have died, since God by His very nature cannot die. It was only as a man that Christ could represent humanity and die as a man. As God, however, Christ’s death had infinite value, sufficient to provide redemption for the sins of all humankind. Clearly, then, Christ had to be both God and man to secure man’s salvation (1 Timothy 2:5).

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  46. This is related to the Old Testament concept of the kinsman-redeemer. In Old Testament times, the phase kinsman-redeemer was always used of one who was related by blood to someone he was seeking to redeem from bondage. If someone was sold into slavery, for example, it was the duty of a blood relative, the “next of kin”, to act as that person’s “kinsman-redeemer” and buy him out of slavery (Leviticus 25:47-49).

    Jesus is the Kinsman-Redeemer for sin-enslaved humanity. For Jesus to become a Kinsman-Redeemer, however, He had to become related by blood to the human race. This indicates the necessity of the Incarnation. Jesus became a man in order to redeem man (Hebrews 2:14-16). And because Jesus was also fully God, His sacrificial death had infinite value (Hebrews 9:11-28).

    Further, we must note that the Redeemer as portrayed in Scripture is absolutely sinless. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (see also 2 Corinthians 5:21). Just as lambs with no defects were used in Old Testament sacrifices, so the Redeemer was the spotless Lamb of God who was unblemished by sin (1 Peter 1:19).

    Jesus’ unique qualification as Redeemer is precisely what disqualifies Mary in any role as co-redemptor, because 1) Mary is a mere human being (she is not divine or even exalted), who 2) is defiled by sin (Romans 3:10-12, 23: 5:12), and who 3) herself is in need of the Redeemer (Luke 1:47).

    Whereas we look in vain for any Scripture references that portray Mary as a co-redemptor or medaitrix, we find numerous references to the effect that Jesus is exclusively man’s only means of coming into a relationship with God. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). A bold Peter proclaimed, “There is salvation in on 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).

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  47. When we trust in Christ only (no one else), we make an exchange: He takes our sin and makes us right with God. Our sin was laid on Christ at his crucifixion. His righteousness is given to us at our conversion. This is what Christians mean by Christ’s atonement for sin.

    Christ’s death and resurrection set us free from the fear of death because death has been defeated. Every person must die, but death is not the end; instead, it is the doorway to a new life in heaven. All who dread death should have the opportunity to know that hope that Christ’s victory brings.

    We all know that we only pray directly to God, (see John 14:13, John 15:16) you will find that we direct our prayers to Jesus (no one else).

    We also know that we only worship God, Jesus always accepted such worship as appropriate: Luke 5:8, John 20:28, Heb 1:6, Joshua 5-13-15, Mark 5:6, Rev 5:11.

    Philippians 2:10-11
    “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and
    of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should
    confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    There will come a day that all angels, all prophets, all religious leaders, (including Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, Pope, etc.), all saints, mother Mary bowing down to Jesus.

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  48. GOSPEL MESSAGE (Part II)

    The crisis of humanity is Jesus: You can be very religious, you can spend hours and days or an entire lifetime of following religious pursuits and apparently honoring God, but the test will always come: What will you do with Jesus?

    Jesus Christ. He can change you. He can give you a new life. He can wipe out the old pattern of failures and all the hurt and agony and anguish that you have been going through and give you a wholly new heart

    That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:10-11 NIV)

    The Good News of Jesus Christ still sounds foolish to many. Our society worships power, influence, and wealth. Jesus came as a humble, poor servant, and he offers his kingdom to those who have faith, not to those who do all kinds of good deeds to try to earn salvation. This looks foolish to the world, but Christ is the mighty power of God, the only way we can be saved. Knowing Christ personally is the greatest wisdom anyone can have.

    The message of Christ’s death for sins sounds foolish to those who don’t believe. Death seems to be the end of the road, the ultimate weakness. But Jesus did not stay dead. His resurrection demonstrated his power even over death. And he will save us from eternal death and give us everlasting life if we trust him as Savior and Lord. This sounds so simple that many people won’t accept it. They try other ways to obtain eternal life (being good, being wise, performing religious rituals, etc.). But all their attempts are futile. The “foolish” people who simply accept Christ’s offer are actually the wisest of all, because they alone will live eternally with God.

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  49. In 1 Corinthians 3:22, The Apostle Paul says that both life and death are ours. While non-believers are victims of life, swept along by its current and wondering if there is meaning to it, believers can use life well because they understand its true purpose. Nonbelievers can only fear death. For believers, however, death holds no terrors because Christ as conquered all fears (see 1 John 4:18). Death is only the beginning of eternal life with God.

    If you just receive Jesus into your life, accepting Him only as your personal Lord and Savior, and repent of your sins, then you have an absolute guarantee that you will enter into heaven.


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  50. CATHOLICISM
    An Examination of the Teachings of
    the Catholic Church

    Lecture notes by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
    Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry


    MARY

    The Catholic Church teaches that Mary was immaculately conceived (that is to say, “preserved free from all stain of original sin”-Pope Pius IX, 1854), lived a sinless life, remained a virgin after the birth of Christ, was carried bodily up into Heaven and plays a part in our salvation as a co-redeemer with Christ.

    Evangelical Christians reject all of these teachings. We believe Mary was a great example for believers in her faith and in her obedience. But there are numerous Scriptures that contradict the traditions the Catholic Church has attached to her.

    For example, regarding the Catholic teaching on Mary’s supposed sinlessness, the Bible clearly contradicts this in Scriptures like Luke 1:46 where Mary herself states:
    Luke 1:46
    “My spirit rejoices in God my savior."
    Mary’s reference here to God as her “Savior” implies that she too was a sinner. You don’t need a “Savior” if you are not a sinner. Her statement here is in perfect harmony with Romans 3:10, where it states:
    Romans 3:10
    “There is none righteous, no not one.”
    There is also Mark 10:18 where Jesus said:
    Mark 10:18
    "No one is good except God alone."
    There is also the passage in Luke 2:22-24, where Mary goes to Jerusalem “to offer a sacrifice…a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” for her sinful condition (fulfilling the requirement put forth in Leviticus 12). A sacrifice would not have been necessary if she had been sinless.

    These are just some of the verses that the Catholic Church has overlooked or brushed aside as it has developed its unbiblical view of Mary.


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  51. We can have the hope of going to heaven one day. That is where the death and resurrection of Christ comes in.

    John’s gospel gives us an inviting scene of a breakfast cooked by Jesus, the risen, living Savior. His hands had been pierced for the disciples, yet he took the time to make them a delicious meal. He had risen again in a physical body. He wasn’t a ghost. He wasn’t a phantom. He wasn’t a spirit. He was standing before them alive again.

    Just for a moment, go back in your imagination to the first century. Here was Jesus with his great ministry, the people were singing his praises, and things were building to a crescendo. Jesus was headed to the cross. He talked about it all the time. He told his disciples that he would be betrayed, whipped and crucified, that he would rise from the dead three days later. But somehow they missed the memo on that. They were expecting him to establish his kingdom on earth right then and there.

    But according to God’s plan, Jesus was betrayed. He was beaten. He was crucified. He was laid in a tomb. And just as he predicted, he rose again from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus changes everything.

    Because of the resurrection of Jesus, one day we will receive new bodies. And those bodies will no longer age or get sick or break down. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we will have resurrected relationships. One day we will be reunited with our loved ones who have died in faith. We will be reunited with loved ones who have gone on before us.

    By the way, these are promises for Christians only. If you are not a Christian, then the only promise you have is that of a certain judgment. The Bible says, “He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31 NKJV). Because Jesus died and rose again, there will be a final judgment.

    Good works don’t get you to heaven, however. Even if they did, there is no way, even on your best day, that you would have enough good works to earn the approval of God. The good news is there is nothing we can to do that is bad enough to keep us out of heaven. But the bad news is there nothing we can do that is good enough to get us into heaven.

    This is where Jesus comes in. This is why we need Jesus – because we are not good enough. We need help. Jesus, who was God in human form, satisfied the righteous demands of the heavenly Father, whom we have all offended through our sin.

    When Jesus died on the cross, he took hold of a holy God with one hand, and with the other hand, he took hold of sinful humanity. He died there in our place. That is why Jesus Christ – and Jesus Christ alone – is our only way to heaven. God has dropped one lifeline from heaven, and it is Christ himself.

    God doesn’t grade on the curve; he grades on the cross. Heaven isn’t for good people; heaven is for forgiven people.

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  52. If you were to die right now, do you think you would enter into Heaven? Would you like to have the absolute assurance that you will be welcome there? If so then, pray this simple prayer:


    Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I know I cannot earn my way into Heaven. I thank you for sacrificing your life so that my sins could be forgiven. I know the only way anyone can receive forgiveness is through you, and so I come to you now and ask you to come into my life, forgive me of my sins, cleanse me, heal me, and be my personal savior so I may have eternal life through you. I pray in your name Jesus. Amen.


    As a continuation of your faith in Christ, you should start studying the Bible daily in order to gain a closer relationship with God, also find a local church to attend that teaches directly from the Bible so you will have someone to answer any questions you may still have. Welcome to the family of God!

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  53. GOOD NEWS

    Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. (1 Corinthians 1:22-25)

    Many Jews considered the Good News (Gospel Message) of Jesus Christ to be foolish, because they thought the Messiah would be a conquering king accompanied by signs and miracles. Jesus had not restored David’s throne as they expected. Besides, he was executed as a criminal, and how could criminal be a savior? Greeks, too, considered the Good News foolish: They did not believe in a bodily resurrection, they did not see in Jesus the powerful characteristics of their mythological gods, and they thought no reputable person would be crucified. To them, death was defeat, not victory.

    The Good News of Jesus Christ still sounds foolish to many. Our society worships power, influence, and wealth. Jesus came as a humble, poor servant, and he offers his kingdom to those who have faith, not to those who do all kinds of good deeds to try to earn salvation. This looks foolish to the world, but Christ is the mighty power of God, the only way we can be saved. Knowing Christ personally is the greatest wisdom anyone can have.

    The message of Christ’s death for sins sounds foolish to those who don’t believe. Death seems to be the end of the road, the ultimate weakness. But Jesus did not stay dead. His resurrection demonstrated his power even over death. And he will save us from eternal death and give us everlasting life if we trust him as Savior and Lord. This sounds so simple that many people won’t accept it. They try other ways to obtain eternal life (being good, being wise, performing religious rituals, etc.). But all their attempts are futile. The “foolish” people who simply accept Christ’s offer are actually the wisest of all, because they alone will live eternally with God.

    “There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on the save them.” (Acts 4:12)

    Many people react negatively to the fact that there is no other name than that of Jesus to call on for salvation. Yet this is not something the church decided; it is the specific teaching of Jesus himself.

    “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

    If God designated Jesus to be the Savior of the world, no one else can be his equal. Christians are to be open minded on many issues, but not on how we are saved from sin. No other religious teacher could die for our sins; no other religious teacher came to earth as God’s only Son; no other religious teacher rose from the dead. Our focus should be on Jesus, whom God provided us the way to have an eternal relationship with himself. There is no other name or way!

    The Bible says “…all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) It is impossible for us to live a life that is righteous enough for us to “earn our way into Heaven. Salvation is a gift from God as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ and our acceptance of His sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. (See Ephesians 2:8-9) You can become a Christian today

    If you are willing to entrust your life to Jesus, to allow Him to be your Lord, to take control of your life, Then pray this simple prayer:

    “God, I admit that I have sinned. I don’t want to be separated from You because I need You in my life. Please forgive me for all my sins. Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I invite You to come into my life to be my Lord and Savior. Make me the person You want me to be. In Your perfect name I pray. Amen.”

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  54. Why the Cross?

    "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
    1 Corinthians 1:18

    A true story was reported about a couple that was visiting a jewelry store. As the jeweler showed them various crosses, the woman commented, "I like these, but do you have any without this little man on them?"

    That is what so many people want today: a cross without Jesus. They want a cross without any offense, one that will look cool with their outfits. But if we could travel back in time and see the cross in its original context, we would realize that it was a bloody and vile symbol. It would have been the worst picture imaginable to see someone hanging on a cross.

    The Romans chose crucifixion because it was meant to be a slow, torturous way to die. It was designed to humiliate a person. The crucifixions outside Roman cities served as warnings to anyone who would dare oppose the rule of Rome.

    If there was any other way, do you think that God would have allowed His Son to suffer like this? If there had been any other way we could have been forgiven, then God surely would have found it. If living a good moral life would get us to heaven, then Jesus never would have died for us. But He did, because there was and is no other way. He had to pay the price for our sin. At the Cross, Jesus purchased the salvation of the world.

    If you were ever tempted to doubt God's love for you, even for a moment, then take a long, hard look at the Cross. Nails did not hold Jesus to that cross. His love did.

    Jesus says in John 3:3 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    The Kingdom is personal, and its entrance requirements are repentance and spiritual rebirth. In John 3:5,6: Jesus was explaining the importance of a spiritual rebirth, saying that people don’t enter the Kingdom by living a better life, but by being spiritually reborn.

    Heaven isn’t for good people; heaven is for forgiven people. God made the first move, now it’s your move. Either you accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation or you reject it. It’s your choice!

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  55. A Righteous Judge - Pastor Greg Laurie November 18, 2016

    The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
    —Psalm 19:9

    When it comes to God's judgment, sometimes people will say they believe in a God who is not judgmental. That sounds good, but here is what they are really saying: "I believe in a God who doesn't care about right and wrong." To put it more bluntly, they are saying they believe in a God they just made up in their heads.

    If God really is loving, then God also will be just. That is what the Bible tells us. The love of God makes Him a righteous judge. Know this: No one will be in heaven who deserves to be there. Nor will there be anyone in hell who does not deserve to be there. No one will be in heaven who went there unwillingly. And no one will be in hell who didn't go there willingly.

    God won't force anyone to go to heaven. He won't say, "Get up to heaven right now!" You don't have to go if you don't want to. On the other hand, no one will be in hell who did not go there willingly.

    I like the way J. I. Packer summed it up: "Scripture sees hell as self-chosen. . . . Hell appears as God's gesture of respect for human choice. All receive what they actually chose. Either to be with God forever, worshipping Him, or without God forever, worshipping themselves."

    How could a God of love send people to hell? He doesn't. He won't. If you end up in hell, then you went there willingly because you rejected His offer of forgiveness. You rejected Jesus Christ and all that He did for you. But if you ask God to forgive you of your sin, He will remove it from you and give you a change, a transformation in your life. You will be born again.

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  56. STATEMENT OF FAITH

    WHAT IS OUR ULTIMATE AUTHORITY?
    The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the ultimate revelation of God to mankind. In it, God reveals the objective truth about who he is, who mankind is, his purposes and desires for the world and how human beings are able to know him in a personal relationship.

    WHO IS GOD?
    God is an objective person who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is perfect in every way and is especially characterized by his holiness, his righteousness and his love. He has eternally existed, and reveals himself to mankind in three distinct personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three manifestations are co-equal expressions of one God.

    WHAT IS A HUMAN BEING?
    Human individuals are beings who have been created in the image of God for the very purpose of living in relationship with him. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, we are tarnished by our human nature which is disobedient toward God. This sinful nature generates sinful acts and the end result is separation from God.

    HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE SALVATION?
    Salvation is the process that God has provided for mankind to end the separation that exists because of the sin problem. This separation is a spiritual problem which exists as an objective reality in this life and continues on throughout eternity if it is not remedied before physical death. God provided for this process through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To receive this salvation, an individual must personally acknowledge his or her responsibility for the sin problem, decide to turn from that disobedience, ask God’s forgiveness and offer his or her life to him based on the work of Christ on the cross. God honors a person’s sincere repentance and request by adopting the individual into his family to live for eternity in his presence.

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  57. GUILT

    Is guilt real, or am I just overthinking things?

    The Bible teaches us that guilt is a reality. But two realities need to be separated: Guilt and feelings of guilt. If we are actually guilty, we will also feel guilty. But not all feelings of guilt are because we are truly guilty. We can be made to feel guilty by others, we can feel guilt over something that wasn’t our fault, and so forth. The Bible addresses true guilt, offending the righteous standards of God by thought, word, or deed.

    The Bible says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), so every human being is legitimately guilty. But Christ’s death on the cross removed the guilt of man’s sin before God for all those who will accept the gift of God’s forgiveness (Colossians 2:14). Christ became guilty in our place and suffered the punishment of the cross. Therefore, no matter what sin any Christian has committed, no matter what condemnation you may have felt, or what guilt and shame you may have experienced, the guilt of that sin has been removed. The only way to maintain a clear conscience and avoid the shame of guilt is to continually confess sin to God and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). There is no sin so great that God will not forgive. When you come to God acknowledging your sin and guilt, God will remove your sin, and your joy will be restored.


    What steps should I take to eliminate guilt in my life?

    If you want to know how to deal with guilt in your life, there is a way out of your desperation. For almost a year, King David lived with the guilt of adultery, deceit, and being an accomplice to murder. To begin his process of restoration, the first thing he did was accept full responsibility for his sin and acknowledge the sinfulness of his actions. That’s where restoration begins. Then he made his confession to Almighty God. In Psalm 32:5 David said, “I acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’” Psalm 51 is a longer account of David restoring his relationship with God: his brokenness (verse 17), confession (verses 3-4), cleansing (verses 7-9), and consecration (verses 11-16). Any Christian who has sinned can follow similar steps to remove the guilt of sin. God will forgive you and the joy of your salvation and your fellowship with Him will be restored.

    As David expresses, all guilt is ultimately based on sin against God (Psalm 51:4). But if we have sinned against another person, it is important to seek their forgiveness as well (Matthew 5:23-24). No one can remove guilt except God alone, but confession and forgiveness can restore fellowship among individuals.


    How can I move on from my guilt?

    Once you have made your confession to God and your fellowship is renewed, you need to begin focusing on the future. King David is worthy example of the fact that sin and forgiveness are in the past tense. Once he had confessed his sin to Almighty God, he wrote the following: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1-2).

    After David’s ordeal was over, he immediately moved on (2 Samuel 12:20). That may seem abrupt, but it illustrates a point: God’s forgiveness is a response to repentance and confession. Once granted, we should move forward with life. Yes, there may be time needed for restoration and reconciliation, but that should happen immediately. Only Satan would want to keep a forgiven person bogged down with feelings of guilt and shame.

    David wrote, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” The Hebrew word for “blessed” means “happy.” Indeed, happy is the person who can move forward knowing that sin and resulting guilt can be left in the past. There is nothing like the knowledge that you have been forgiven.



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  58. CATHOLICISM
    An Examination of the Teachings of
    the Catholic Church

    Lecture notes by CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
    Director of The Always Be Ready Apologetics Ministry


    Purgatory

    The Catholic Church teaches that the souls of believers who have died will suffer for a time of purging that will prepare them to enter Heaven. The purpose of Purgatory, says the Catholic Church, is to cleanse an individual of imperfections, sins and faults. Catholics differ in their opinions as to the nature of the suffering in Purgatory. Most believe that suffering will include the physical pain of burning in fire.

    Regarding Purgatory, the official teaching of the Catholic Church says:
    “If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged, either in this world or in Purgatory, before the gates of Heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.” [Council of Trent]

    In other words, “If you think a person can just go straight to Heaven after having their sins forgiven, without having to suffer in Purgatory first, let him be anathema!”
    Well, that’s exactly what we say.

    Evangelicals believe that the doctrine of Purgatory is a man made invention that denies the sufficiency of what Christ did on the cross for our sins. The Bible teaches that upon death, Christians are immediately ushered into the presence of God in Heaven. Where? Turn with me to Luke 23:43.

    If ever there was a person who deserved to go to “Purgatory”––if there was such a thing––it would have been the thief on the cross next to Jesus. He was a brand new believer. He had no time to do any good works, be baptized or be “confirmed“ before his death. But where did he go when he died? Jesus said to him: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). Not Purgatory. Paradise.

    For the person who has put their faith in Christ, he too will immediately go into the presence of God in “Paradise” (Rev. 2:7). The apostle Paul knew this and that is why he was able to say "We are of good courage, I say, and prefer to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8)." That is what happens to believers today when they die. They go “home” to be “with the Lord.”

    To say that a Christian must suffer in the future for the same sins that Jesus died for is an insult to Christ’s sacrifice. Purgatory is an unbiblical doctrine.

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  59. What happens when a person dies? I am fearful of dying.

    The Bible speaks of physical death and spiritual death. When a person dies physically, the soul and spirit leave the body in an inanimate state on earth. Those who die physically in Christ are united spiritually with God, while those who die apart from Christ await the final judgment. Physical death, therefore, is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body.

    Spiritual death is the separation of the soul and spirit from God. It is possible to be physically alive on earth while being spiritually dead. Apostle Paul describes those “who were dead in trespasses and sins” in Ephesians 2:1. Paul also wrote that sin entered the world through Adam and spread to every person (Romans 5:12), and that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Spiritually dead persons are “made alive” through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:1). Whatever one’s spiritual condition at the time of physical death, whether spiritually alive or spiritually dead, passes through to eternity.

    So physical death is the separation of the spiritual nature of man from the body, while spiritual death is the separation of the spiritual nature of man from God. For a Christian (born again), physical death is nothing more than a doorway through which we pass into eternal life. Jesus said it best: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). There is no reason for a Christian to fear physical death. Through faith in Christ, we have eternal life even before die physically (John 17:3).

    If you were to die right now, do you think you would enter into Heaven? Would you like to have the absolute assurance that you will be welcome there? If so then, pray this simple prayer:


    Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I know I cannot earn my way into Heaven. I thank you for sacrificing your life so that my sins could be forgiven. I know the only way anyone can receive forgiveness is through you, and so I come to you now and ask you to come into my life, forgive me of my sins, cleanse me, heal me, and be my personal savior so I may have eternal life through you. I pray in your name Jesus. Amen.


    As a continuation of your faith in Christ, you should start studying the Bible daily in order to gain a closer relationship with God, also find a local church to attend that teaches directly from the Bible so you will have someone to answer any questions you may still have. Welcome to the family of God!

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