When Jesus looked Peter in the face and abruptly addressed Satan, saying,“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:23), He took the confrontation out of the realm of “flesh and blood” and raised it to the eternal warfare between God and Satan that was going on before time began.
That warfare, however, is being fought, now, in real time, in our time. During the 130 years before Seth was born to replace Abel, who had been murdered by Cain, it would seem very likely that Adam and Eve would have taught Cain and Abel how that first sacrifice that God provided for them was to be continued as the necessary offering for sins they committed.
It is also likely that those two, Cain and Abel, were not mere children but mature young men when Abel’s murder took place. Those assumptions, then, mean that Cain’s offering was not an innocent mistake but a decided upon contradiction of what he knew to be God’s will. It was in the likeness of Peter’s affront to Jesus in that Matthew 16:23 account.
It was Satan’s move, that early on, to establish a humanistic alternative to God’s plan for a relationship with God. In so many ways we can see that alternative played out in the Roman Catholic Church and to some extent, in other church organizations.
Continuing that listing of deviant doctrines of the Roman Church that began in Part 2, we can start with the one that encompasses the whole of them, for the most part:
6. The Papacy. When the Roman Church reached back and claimed Peter as their first Pope, they apparently assumed, with him, the authorities Jesus issued to Peter in that Matthew 16:19 passage: “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
I am convinced that in the “putting together” of the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit nothing is out of place or incorrectly included. So then, what does this mean for Peter, given that he really is not the “first Pope” of an organization that is not of God’s doing? In Matthew 18:15-20 Jesus again repeats the “binding and loosing” matter in connection with resolving individual relationship difficulties and the power of unifying agreement among believers.
However, the Roman Church claims that authority over the spiritual welfare of mankind. The Pope is proclaimed Vicar of Christ over the affairs of the world—he is the official representative of Christ here on the earth, so assumed.
But what do the Scriptures say? Look at 1 Timothy 2:5-6 to see the real truth: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, theMan Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all….” This truth is echoed loudly in the account of Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4:23-24:
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
7. The role of the priesthood. This one is closely entangled with the Church’s overall claim for authority over spiritual matters of mankind. Confession of sins to a priest of the Church is not necessary, according to Scripture in two aspects:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
There is no indication of a mediator between the confessor and the God who forgives, here, and secondly:
“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5b-6).
Through that one Mediator, Jesus Christ, we have been made priests to God in our own persons. It is an awful truth that many have left their eternal destiny in the hands of a mortal man just like themselves, who cannot cause one whit of positive eternal consequence in their own authority. Look carefully at John 1:12-13 and see how the new birth comes about which Jesus talked of with Nicodemus in John 3:
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Control of individuals and shielding them from the truth by keeping these truths hidden in a language not readily available to the common man has left a bloody trail over the early centuries. It is the Word of God that convicts the sinner and brings him to repentance, and the enemy of our souls corrupts the message in any way that he can. A gullible, self-centered, “flesh and blood” mentality plays well in that deceiver’s arena.
8. The title of “Father” designated for priests. Matthew 23:9 clearly contradicts this assertion:
“Do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.”
This designation certainly has to do with the broad concept of clerical supremacy and authority over “other mortals of lesser spiritual understanding.”
9. Celibacy. Priests and nuns are not allowed to marry. The writer of Hebrews tells us that “marriage is honorable among all” (Hebrews 13:4), and Paul writes of some “forbidding to marry” as part of their deceptive doctrine:
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
The Catholic’s “first Pope,” Peter, did not set that example—he had a wife, as shown in Matthew 8:14-15 and 1 Corinthians 9:5. (Note also Paul’s identification, in the Timothy epistle, of other issues that have shown up in the Catholic Church even that early.)
10. Conferring sainthood upon worthy members. This one is so entwined into our cultures that we do not think of common man as a saint. Yet, the New Testament clearly labels everyone who is a born again believer a saint. Paul addresses his letters to “the saints at….” At your family get-to-gather, announce that you are now a saint since you have become a Christian.
The response, however, generally won’t be pleasant. The Catholic Church has shrouded this issue in mystery, much like their choosing of a new pope, elevating that identification above the common believer. The person so selected must have been one who has performed a miracle. Popularity runs a strong test on that issue, no doubt. And don’t forget, Catholic saints are prayed to just like deity.
11. The doctrine of “replacement theology.” The widespread belief is that the rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah by the Jews resulted in God’s cancellation of His promises to them for the land that was promised to Abraham and his descendants. The Spanish Inquisition of 1492 was a notable display of the Roman Catholic antagonism toward Jews. That doctrine dates back to the earliest church fathers in the third century when allegorical interpretations of Scripture were formulated to explain misunderstood passages in the Bible. It is not Bible truth for it makes God a liar.
12. Appearing to be religious, but denying the power thereof. Man’s idea of religion is mystery, pomp and ceremony, and unreachable as he looks upon it from the outside. Inside, it is of elegance, clerical superiority, as well as pomp and ceremony. Thus, we have seen burning at the stake for delivering the Scriptures in a common language and keeping their liturgy and the Scriptures in Latin. Now, think of an animal feeding trough in a stable and a Babe lying there, who would later say, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20).
We have only touched on a few of the intricacies of the Catholic doctrines and traditions. What about the allusions to that organization in Revelation—that city on seven hills, the woman who rides the beast, and that other beast of two horns like a lamb?
Let’s not forget that deceptive tactics are the prime tool of that great deceiver, the father of all lies, the Lucifer of old. We have more to cover of deceptions other than Catholic in Part 4, next.