8 Bizzarre Doctrines Which Sets the Catholic Church Apart from Mainstream Christianity
8 Bizzare Doctrines Which Sets the Catholic Church Apart from Mainstream Christianity
Numbering about 1.29 billion total adherents, Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination in the world. As one of the oldest religious institution ever, it plays an important role in history and the development of Western civilization.
Governed by the Bishop of Rome who is popularly known as the Pope, the church's doctrine is summarised in the Nicene Creed. It's headquarters, which is known as the Holy See, is situated at the Vatican City.
Despite being such a historic and celebrated religion, many of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church are clearly in contradiction with Biblical Christianity. Let's look at 8 of the most bizarre doctrines which distinguish the Catholic Church from other mainstream Christian denominations
With nearly 1.29 billion adherents, Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in the world
1# View regarding the authority of the Bible
A major contrast between Catholics and Christians is their view regarding the Bible. Catholics consider the Bible as having equal authority along with the Church and tradition. Christians consider the Bible as the supreme authority to guide their faith and practice.
The important question is, how does the Bible present itself?. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17, said: " All Scripture is breathed by God and is useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work".
This text never speaks the importance of church tradition or to submit ourselves to a certain Pope in Rome. On the contrary, Scripture alone is perfectly sufficient for everything in Christian life.
Scripture rather than church traditions should be the supreme guide in Christian living
2# How to approach God
The second major difference between Catholics and Biblical Christians is the understanding of how to approach God. Catholics tend to use intermediaries, such as Mary or the saints to communicate with God. Biblical Christians pray to God directly, offering prayers to none other than God Himself.
Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we ourselves can approach God's throne of grace with boldness. The Bible is absolutely clear that God desires us to worship Him, to communicate with Him, to request what we need in life from Him (Phillipians 4:6; Matthew 7:7-8; 1 John 5:14-15).
There is no need for the intercession of saints or Mother Mary, as Christ is our one and the only mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), and both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are already interceding on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27; Hebrews 7:25).
Catholics believe that the intercession of the saints is necessary to approach God. Scripture says Jesus alone is our mediator.
3# Issue of Salvation
The most crucial difference between Catholic and Bible Christians is regarding salvation. Catholics regard salvation as an ongoing process whilst Christians believe that salvation is both a completed status and a process. Catholics see themselves as "being saved" while Christians believe themselves as "having been said"
John 3:16 assure that the Bible presents salvation as a gift the moment a person puts his trust on Jesus Christ as Savior. When a person accepts Christ as his/her Savior, he or she is declared righteous (Romans 5:9), redeemed (1 Peter 1:18), reconciled (Romans 5:1), sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11), and born again as a new creation (1 Peter 1:23, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Each of these is fully accomplished at the moment of salvation. Christians are then called out to live their life practically in obeyance of God, having received the fruits of grace.
The Catholic viewpoint is that salvation, while received by faith, they must be "maintained" by good works and participation in church activities.
4# The Role of Mary
According to the Catholics, Mary is the co-redeemer, for she participated with Christ in the painful act of redemption. In contrast, the Bible verse, 1 Peter 1:18-19 clearly states that Christ alone is the Redeemer, for He alone suffered and died for sin.
Apart from that, Catholics also hold that Mary is the co-mediator, to whom we can entrust all our cares and petitions. However, verses 1 Timothy 2:5, John 14:13,14; 1 Peter 5:7 says Christ Jesus is the one mediator to whom we can entrust all our cares and petitions.
Catholic belief that Mary is the co-redeemer along with Jesus Christ is absurdly unbiblical
5# Confession of sins
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that unless a believer is hindered, the only way to obtain forgiveness for their sins is by confessing them to a priest. In contrast, the Bible teaches that confession of sins is to be made to God (1 John 1:9).
6# Good works
The Catholic Church teaches that Christians are saved by meritorious works (beginning with baptism) and that salvation is maintained by good works( obeying church traditions, submitting to the Bishop,etc).
The Scripture states that Christians are saved by grace through faith, totally apart from works (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 3:10-11; Romans 3:19-24).
In the New Testament, baptism is ALWAYS practiced AFTER believing in the saving faith of Christ. Baptism is not the means of salvation, only faith in the Gospels that saves (1 Corinthians 1:14-18; Romans 10:13-17).
The Roman Catholic Church teaches baptismal regeneration of infants, a practice nowhere found in the Scripture. The only possible clue of infant baptism in the Bible that the Catholic Church can point to is that the whole household of the Philippian jailer was baptized in Acts 16:33.
However, the context nowhere mentions infants. Acts 16:31 states that salvation is by faith. Paul spoke to all of the households in verse 32, and the whole household believed (verse 34). This passage only supports baptism for those who had already believed, not of infants.
Infant baptism is nowhere mentioned in the Bible
Transubstantiation is a controversial Roman Catholic teaching that states that once an ordained priest blesses the bread of the Lord's Supper, it is transformed into the actual flesh of Christ. Similarly, once the priest blesses the wine, it is transformed into the actual blood of Christ (though both the bread and the wine retains it's original appearance and taste).
On contrary, the Scripture declares that the Lord's Supper is a memorial to the body and blood of Christ (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25), not the actual consumption of Christ's physical body and blood as interpreted by the Roman Catholics.
The most serious argument against the doctrine of Transubstantiation is the views by Roman Catholics as a "continuing" sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins, or as a "reoffering/representation" of His sacrifice. This directly contradicts what the Bible says, that Jesus died "once for all" and does not need to be sacrificed again (Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18).
The "physical" presence of Jesus Christ flesh and blood during the Catholic's Sacrament of Eucharist is refuted by the Bible