The Roman Catholic Church--the Only Church?
Recently I read a hub describing what the word "saint" really means. It is not what we most often think of. This brought a response from an irate Roman Catholic. Those of you that know me know that I will not bend on what the Scripture clearly teaches. There may be areas where we as brothers and sisters in Christ have room for some loving disagreement as no one has all the answers. But yet if we rightly divide the word of truth as Paul admonishes Timothy, true Christians will usually be in agreement in doctrinal matters.
All my "religious" beliefs are based on the Bible, and nothing else. I do not accept man made teaching unless it is verified by the Word of God.It is from that framework that I am writing.
Several major misunderstandings were brought out in some of the comments. It is these misunderstandings that I want to address. I mean no malice nor am I angry with anyone. I simply feel the need to state the facts.
I was asked in one of the comments by what authority do I decide heresy. The simple truth of the matter is I do not decide what is heresy and what is not. God does--period. There really is no need to belabor this question. It is what it is, and if the Scripture is clear on a matter we ought to let well enough alone, and not read into it man made teachings. Who is man anyway that he thinks he can correct God?
Later in the comments it is mentioned, and I quote, "There is only one Christian church. It is the Roman Catholic Church." This is partially true. There is only one church, but it is not the Roman Catholic Church. The true church is made up anyone irregardless of "religion" that has been born again (John 3:3).
We Are the Bride of Christ
Rather than "the universal church" Scripture refers to it as "the Bride of Christ." Without being born again no one can see the Kingdom of God. Salvation never has been nor will it ever be found in a church. It has always been in the person of Jesus Christ. Even in the Old Testament the Messiah was the One sought after for salvation. In our human state we do not seek after God. He is always the pursuer. To trust in a church only leads down the path to hell. That is exactly what satan wants.
The False Teaching of Purgatory
Going on in the comments it is mentioned that I reject the teaching of purgatory. They use Revelation 22:27 as a proof text--"“nothing unclean will enter it, nor any who does abominable things or tells lies”. Funny thing, I could not find Revelation 22:27 in my Bible, but let us carry the thought through anyway as it is Biblical.
Again there are partial truths here although the verse is taken grossly out of context. Nothing unclean can enter Heaven, but I have been made clean by the blood of Christ. It is through His righteousness that I am made clean. It is not of myself. It is by His grace for I surely deserve worse than Purgatory. I deserve to burn in hell forever. And the truth is whether you believe it or not, you do too.
The commenter goes on to mention how I take Ephesians 2:8 to mean that all we have to do is to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and then we can do anything we want; live any way we want. First of all, this comment is off topic for the hub that it was related to. Secondly I do not remember salvation by works being mentioned anywhere in the hub. The author did discuss sanctification which certainly covers the need for good works, but not as a means of salvation.
But here is the meat of it. The Bible is clear that we are saved by grace which we hold by faith. And yes, I preach we need to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. However, the commenter leaves out Ephesians 2:10 which says "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works...." If Jesus is my Lord, then He is my master and out of love for the good Master I feel a need to keep His commandments (John 14:15). So works do not save us (Ephesians 2:9), but are a reflection of a changed, washed heart and a new nature living within us. So yes, if someone truly has faith there will be a desire to follow Christ and do good works according to James 2:17, but those works in and of themselves can never save anyone.
I am also accused of refusing anything that is not written in the Bible. Well, I think I already made that statement clear. Yet verses taken out of context like John 21:25 are used to try to persuade me to believe that man has the authority to make up his own rules. I say this kindly, but the organized Roman Catholic Church has been changing and making its own rules for centuries. Truth does not change. Two plus two will always equal four.
The book in question (the Bible) actually does give us the command not to add or take from the Scriptures in.Revelation 22:18, 19. The Old Testament speaks of it as well in Deuteronomy 4:2.
I'm Upset! I'm Mad! I can't Stand It!
The upset commenter also mentioned that I am determined to reject sacred tradition--Yep! If it goes against what the Bible clearly teaches I must reject it.The proof text used for accepting tradition is II Thessalonians 2:15. where Paul says we are to stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that we were taught. Again, a lack of Bible understanding is exposed.
The Greek word Paul uses for the English word traditions is paradosis. The meaning of it being "a precept; specifically the Jewish traditionary law: - ordinance, tradition." The traditions Paul mentioned were not used as a means of obtaining salvation nor were they contrary to the Scriptures that had been written at this time. All churches have some traditions. The question is, are the traditions in accordance with Scripture or against Scripture?
Paul does mention the evil traditions in his writings to Timothy (I Timothy 4:1-3). He mentions the traditions of forbidding to marry (priests), and abstaining from meats (fish on Fridays). He then links this with seducing spirits and doctrines of devils in verse 1. We certainly must be careful what we accept as coming from God and the only sure thing that we have is the very Word of God, the Bible.
The bottom line is we must be sure of the Truth. Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can even consider salvation unless they come God's Way. His Way is through His son, not a church, not by works. nor by any other way, and yes, I am narrow minded enough to know that there is only one way. His name is Jesus.