|The Wall between the Gospel and Roman Catholicism|
Sadly, the Roman Catholic Church has entered the 21st Century with all its errors intact! (Click here for a glimpse at the most obvious of those errors). These errors have erected a wall between the true Gospel and the faithful of Roman Catholicism. Some are more than mere errors but damning heresy, because they cause priests and other to be required to preach another gospel, a gospel of faith plus works, that St. Paul clearly warned us against. (Galatians 1:8-9)
And it's not like the Roman Catholic faithful don't seek some reform, most do. However they and the church's hierarchy have been hog-tied by the hierarchy's teachings, which have been declared irreformable or unchangeable by the popes and councils who decreed them. In other words, they teach that the wall they have built is solid. But, it cannot be--for they built it and not God.
As you can imagine, this is not good because those errors have long affected the Church's ability to preach the full Gospel of Jesus Christ to the faithful. For instance, based on the church's own teaching, a priest cannot, in good conscience, even repeat Christ’s own words: “He who believes in me has everlasting life” if that priest wants to be a faithful Roman Catholic! Instead, he would, theoretically, be required to say: “He who believes in Christ and does the good works that the church requires to obtain merit for salvation, will have the best 'possibility' or 'potential' for everlasting life.” Click here to read about a late priest friend of mine who essentially taught that very thing. Click here to see the subtle but distinct difference between the true Gospel and this "other" gospel.
So why is it that the priest would be required to add to Christ words in such a way? How is it possible that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ can no longer be preached in the Roman Catholic Church? It's been this way for a long time, the final straw was the Council of Trent, which taught us that no one can go to heaven, have "everlasting life," simply by believing or having faith or trust in Christ:
"If anyone says that the faith which justifies (makes one right with God) is nothing else but trust in the divine mercy (of God), which pardons sins because of Christ; or that it is that trust alone (faith alone) by which we are justified; let him be anathema (accursed, condemned to hell)." --Decree on Justification, canon 12.
As you see above, the bishops at Trent taught that trust or faith alone (which only God can give us—since it is a gift from Him—see Ephesians 2:8-9) is not enough to make us right with him, though Christ himself repeatedly and clearly tell us otherwise in the Bible:
He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:23-24)
I tell you the truth, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (John 6:47)
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. (John 13:46)
For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, that whosever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. (John 6:39)
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; NO ONE can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:28-30)
If you read the verses above, you can see that Christ himself clearly declares that our belief in him—the gift of faith that only he can give—is the deciding factor for eternal life. At the “Trent” link you will also find that the bishops dig themselves in deeper and deeper, declaring against Scripture, that those who do good works even prior to having faith in Christ get credit or "merit" for those works.
If you go to the faith alone link you will see that St. Paul and the other apostles agreed with Christ (surprise!?) that those who have faith in him indeed have everlasting life. The apostles use most of the New Testament to preach this same message, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Yet, the Roman Catholic Church teaches us that if we believe such a thing—that we are saved by grace through faith alone—we are doomed to hell “anathema” unless we repent.
In those last Bible verses above, you read that Christ himself absolutely assured us that the Roman Catholic Church is wrong—that not even its “anathemas” in fact, “NO ONE” not even ourselves and our strong “free-wills” can cause believers to lose everlasting life with Christ.
And if good Catholics like me and you don’t do something to make a place where we Catholics who truly believe in Christ and the salvation he has won for us can go to worship, we leave them to all the Protestant denominations—few of which have maintained the moral doctrines of the church. And fewer still who believe they receive the very body and blood of Christ at Holy Communion—they fear too much being called "cannibals." Protestants are right to reject the Roman Catholic teaching of "transubstantiation" which insists that the bread and wine must undergo a "change in substance." However, Protestants, forget that while they do not have to believe this teaching, they still must believe what Christ told them: "This is my body...this is my blood..." See the Holy Communion link for more information on this matter. We should believe all the commands and promises of Christ. We have no right to "pick and choose."
From what I can analyze and from what I have experienced first hand, even the Protestant churches that have the true Gospel have become so “ecumenical” that they link themselves to other Protestant denominations that do not believe the true Gospel—denominations or national organizations that do not believe that Christ has absolutely secured eternal life for all who believe. That is indeed a generalization, and if you find an exception, let me know. In the meantime, I must ask you the following question:
What’s a good Catholic to do? I know this much, I will not leave my true brothers and sisters in Christ behind. Who are they? They are those who truly believe that Christ deserves all the credit for their salvation and that they themselves deserve none. I will point them to the word of God, the Bible and let them see the stark contrasts that it poses to the “Traditions” of my beloved former church. All of us, in one way or another, “love” this church—its people. We are used to attending Mass on Sunday and we usually appreciate our church family and even the folks at EWTN and the people that we consider to be good Catholics. But do we love them enough to tell them the true Gospel: that all who believe—put their trust—in Jesus should know that this belief or trust in him is a great gift that he alone has given them? This gift allows them to know with certainty that Christ died to absolutely secure their salvation—not to offer them the mere “possibility” of eternal life, that the Roman church teaches. They need no longer fear Hell for Christ's righteousness covers them!
Do we love them enough to tell them that all of us are born into this world in sin? And that means that all of us deserve the eternal fires of hell? Do we love them enough to confirm with them that God did indeed send a Savior, Jesus the Christ, and that he did much more than win the "possibility" of their salvation? Do we love them enough to tell them that Jesus fully accomplished what he came to do—absolutely save from those eternal fires all who come to believe in him as Lord and Savior, as God in the flesh? Do we love them enough to take the hits, usually verbal, that we will have to endure to preach the true Gospel?
Thank God that, right now, they are not burning those they deem as “heretics” or “schismatics” at the stake. We are not heretics and we are not schismatic from the standpoint that what we do and say is not based on mere trifles or interpretations but the true Gospel as it is plainly spelled out in the Bible—God's word. We are true believers in the Catholic or universal Christian faith that Christ alone has given us. We believe in Christ and in his every word, every promise, every command that we find in the Bible. Sadly, as you see in this short essay, the Roman Catholic Church has added so many "required-for-salvation" beliefs that it does not allow for the belief in the true Gospel—and it does not allow its faithful to believe such either.
If you don't believe that last statement, then try to converse about the true Gospel with the priest where you live. Sit down with him in private and tell him that Christ has come to totally secure the salvation of all those who come to believe in him as Lord and Savior and as God in the flesh. If that priest knows the church's teachings, he will tell you that you suffer from the sin of "presumption." You are presuming you are saved, merely because you have the faith to believe and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.
Isn't it odd that to believe that Christ's own words have become an occasion for sin in the Roman Catholic Church? Yet, indeed, I am taught that to believe the following promise is a sin: "He who believes in me has everlasting life." (John 6:47) For to believe such, to exercise the trust that only God can give us is called the "sin of presumption" in the Roman Catholic Church. How sad. What a crime against the Gospel, to tell anyone that to believe what Christ says is somehow sinful. Especially when we learn that it is this promise that is at the very core of the true Gospel, which is the means by which God himself has chosen to draw men unto him (Romans 1:16). As St. Paul tells us, in a few paragraphs below, this crime will not go unpunished. As you'll read at the end times link, even Roman Catholic "mystics" have predicted as much.
We have accepted the Bible given us by the early Catholic Church (without the "apocryphal books" of the Old Testament, which even St. Jerome told us should not be considered part of the canon) and we call to task today’s church that claims to represent that early church. We ask them simply, why have you fled from the Bible, specifically the New Testament, that you claim to have pieced together by the help of the Holy Spirit? We believe that it is truly inspired by God—it is his word. But we ask today’s church: “If you are the ‘true church,’ as you claim to be, why have you added so many teachings that the word of God in no way reflects and in too many ways contradicts? Why do you see fit to require these teachings for the salvation of the faithful? Why are you preaching and teaching them "another" gospel?
We warn the leaders of the churches, both Catholic and Protestant, as St. Paul himself did that there are dire and eternal consequences for those who “tinker” with the true Gospel, those who add to it or change it in anyway by their teachings: “As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:9)
The above verse from Paul is the true, Holy Spirit inspired, condemnation that all who preach another gospel should indeed fear.
And what Gospel did Paul and Silas preach? The same as their Master: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)
I am no prophet, I am no pope. I am simply a former Roman Catholic who became “former” only because the word of God is the sole rule of my life—and not the contradictory teachings of popes and councils. And I have no one but the merciful God in heaven to thank for salvation through the shed blood of his only Son, in whom I have been privileged to receive his gift of faith and his cover of righteousness.
I will not ignore the plain warnings of his word for those who continue to abide by the false gospel that is preached in Roman Catholicism and throughout many Protestant denominations. Pastor Don Fortner is good about being very blunt when he needs to be. He offers this test to help people know damning heresy when they here it from the pulpit: Damning heresy is "ANY DOCTRINE THAT TEACHES< OR PRACTICE THAT LEADS PEOPLE TO BELIEVE, THAT SALVATION IS IN ANYWAY CONDITIONED UPON, DEPENDENT UPON, OR DETERMINED BY THE WORTH, WORK, OR WILL OF THE SINNER. IT IS ALWAYS DEADLY TO THOSE WHO EMBRACE IT." For more on differentiating between doctrinal error and damning heresy, click here.
Once you discover this in your church, tell the preacher about it and if you see no change, God tells us clearly the action we must take:
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Revelation 18:4)
Therefore I will close only by echoing the words of my Lord and Savior: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)