An Analysis of the Cult of Image Worship

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We are all familiar with the central roles religious images – statues, icons and works of art – play in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Stories of miracles and supernatural feats are so hinged with the cult of images that it’s obvious that one can’t survive without the other.

Such stories have been crystallized in many Catholic legends (e.g St. Mary of Egypt, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Faustina Kowalska etc.) and there’s no shortage of such today – from the spurious to the curious to the grotesque.

In 2014, the Associated Press reported on an “oil weeping” statue of Mary in a small town in Northern Israel which attracted over 2,000 pilgrims.

There have also been stories of statues or icons of “Jesus” and the various “saints” weeping blood, oils or water, nodding, blinking, effective miraculous cures, or surviving a disaster.

When Catholic believers listen to these tales they punctuate the air with chants of “Holy Mother pray for us!” while deliberately piping down on their own critical faculties to deny obvious questions.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says that “through the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our heads and kneel, we adore Christ and venerate the saints whose likenesses they are” (8:636)

The Catholic Catechism (2132) also says: “The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, ‘the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,’ and ‘whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.'”

We need to ask: why would any Christian kiss or kneel to worship an image in the name of God?

How do Catholics know for sure that the images they venerate are really the “likenesses” and “prototypes” of the persons they portray? Have they physically seen Jesus, Mary or the “saints” before? Did they pose for a photo shoot?

If the honour or worship rendered to an image passes to its prototype, what then stops one from worshipping the rocks in one’s backyards since one can paint a supposed image of ‘Christ’ or the ‘saints’ on them?

Different portraits of Jesus or Mary have been produced by different artists in different nations at different periods of history. Certainly, all these artistic renditions can’t be representations of the persons alleged. This is a fraudulent development.

Church history shows how the cult of images developed. The early Christians while not adverse to art, had no images of Christ. This is evident in the writings of the early church fathers who denounced religious images. For example:

Melito (d. 180 A.D.): “We are not those who pay homage to stones, that are without sensation; but of the only God, who is before all and over all, and moreover, we are worshippers of His Christ, who is veritably God the Word existing before time” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers III, 579).

Irenaeus (c. 125-202 AD): “They style themselves Gnostics. They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them. They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world…” (Against Heresies 1:25:6)

Tertullian (145-220): “But some one says, in opposition to our proposition of “similitude being interdicted,” “Why, then, did Moses in the desert make a likeness of a serpent out of bronze?” The figures, which used to be laid as a groundwork for some secret future dispensation, not with a view to the repeal of the law, but as a type of their own final cause, stand in a class by themselves … It is enough that the same God, as by law He forbade the making of similitude, did, by the extraordinary precept in the case of the serpent, interdict similitude. If you reverence the same God, you have His law, “Thou shall make no similitude” (Of Idolatry, Ch. 5).

Origen (c. 185-254 A.D): “But Christians and Jews have regard to this command … ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me: thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath … It is in consideration of these and many other commands, that they not only avoid temples, altars, and images but are ready to suffer death when it is necessary, rather than debase by any such impiety the conception which they have of the Most High God” (Against Celsus, 7:65)

Lactantius (c. 250-325 A.D.): “Wherefore it is undoubted that there is no religion wherever there is an image. For if religion consists of divine things, and there is nothing divine except in heavenly things; it follows that images are without religion, because there can be nothing heavenly in that which is made from the earth” (The Divine Institutes, 2:19).

Notice from these quotes that the only groups of people who venerated images purported to be of Christ were heretics who had mixed Christian elements with occult Gnosticism.

The Synod of Elvira (305/306) prohibited images as a hindrance to the spiritual worship of God.

Ambrose, Jerome and Eusebius made references to people making images of “Christ” or “saints” in their time but they were seriously frowned upon. Epiphanus for instance, wrote:

“…I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, and learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ’s church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person” (Jerome’s Letter, 51:9)

Catholic scholar, Ludwig Ott noted that: “Owing to the influence of the Old Testament prohibition of images, Christian veneration of images developed only after the victory of the Church over paganism” (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Tan Books: Illinois, 1974, 320).

Even when images were introduced, several emperors condemned their use as heresy and ordered them destroyed.

In 784 A.D. Tarasius who was an advocate of images, became the Patriarch of the East and the Synod of Nicaea in 787 ascribed reference to images and worship to God through them.

This practice was sanctioned in the West through the Synod of Frankfurt in 794. Even then, several emperors, Catholic bishops and others were still opposed to image and relic worship. After 850, the cult of image worship began to grow in churches along with stories of “miracles” performed through them.

In 1188, it was declared that a denial of images was a denial of God. In 1225, it was said that Christ was not Christ unless He was graven.

Thomas Aquinas said in Summa Theologiae that an image of Christ claims the same veneration as Christ Himself. At the Council of Trent (1551-1552) idolatry was finally made a dogma (compulsory belief) for Catholics and so it remains till date.

What the Bible Says

In Scripture, none of the inspired writer ever mentioned the use of images in worship to God in the tabernacle or temple rites except when Israel was backslidden and served pagan gods.

The Bible denounced religious images as the works of man’s hands; imitations of creations, made of dead materials and a foolish worship (see Lev. 19:4 2 Kgs. 18:4 , Isa. 44:8-20; 46:6-7 etc.). The second commandment in the Decalogue says:

You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them” Exodus 20:4-5 (New American Bible)

This commandment has been slyly eliminated from the Catholic Catechism because of its implications on Catholic dogma. To properly bury the verse in the rat’s nest, they split the tenth commandment into two – making the part about not coveting your neighbour’s wife into the ninth and the rest, servant, etc. was grouped together to form the tenth.

Catholic doctrinal books also intentionally use the review of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy instead of the original giving of the commandments in Exodus.

These efforts prove that Catholic leaders too are aware that God’s commands condemn their use of images in worship.

You saw no form at all on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire. Be strictly on your guard, therefore, not to degrade yourselves by fashioning an idol to represent any figure, whether it be the form of a man or a woman…” (Deut. 4:15-16 NAB)

I shall pronounce my judgements on them because of all their wickedness, since they have abandoned me, offering incense to other gods and worshipping what their own hands have made” (Jer. 1:16 New Jerusalem Bible)

To whom could you liken God? What image could you contrive of him” (Isa. 40:18 Jerusalem Bible)

These were directives given to God’s people in the OT denouncing images made of God or any divine figure. In the NT, the same commands were given to Christians forbidding them from “Christianized” image worship:

Therefore, my beloved, avoid idolatry 1 Cor. 10:14 (NAB)

Others must stay outside [heaven]: dogs, fortune-tellers, and the sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and everyone of false speech and false life” (Rev. 22:15, NJB).

God doesn’t need to go into semantic acrobatics or manipulation of terms. His Word is clear that any worship or veneration offered to an image is idolatry. Plain and simple. We spurn His commands only at our own peril.

During a discussion with an ex-Catholic friend, Rita, years ago, I asked, “What was the main factor that led you to reject Catholicism?” She answered, “Every time we prayed towards an image, something in me would ask, ‘Is this not idolatry? Is this not an abomination before God?’ Sometimes when I voiced out my inner protests, they would defiantly tell me it’s not idolatry. But their explanations couldn’t drown my inner voice. It was when I looked into the Bible, that I realized that God had been tugging at my conscience all along.”

This “Christian” idolatry persists because many religious people want to walk by sight rather than by faith. They want God or Jesus to be portable and manageable; in a form that they can see, touch and kiss rather than serving Him in spirit and truth.

The cult of image worship is simply a continuation of the traditions of pagans who made images of their deities.

The Catholic Encyclopedia‘s article on ‘The True Cross’ says:

“[I]n the first ages of Christianity, when converts from paganism were so numerous, and the impression of idol-worship was so fresh, the Church found it advisable not to permit the development of this cult of images, but later, when that danger had disappeared…the cult developed freely.”

The bigger the tales of miracles wrought through these idolatrous images, the bigger the income generated for Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy and the greater the number of souls led into spiritual bondage.

But God must be worshipped as He has prescribed in His Word not as we insist He should be worshipped.

What makes Catholicism so Attractive?

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Every cult has its attraction and the type of people it easily attracts. The Jehovah’s Witness cult for instance, attracts people who have been disgusted by the lethargic, hypocritical disposition of organized religion. Roman Catholicism also has its attractions that make it appealing and popular.

1. Roman Catholicism attracts people seeking an authoritarian structure to mould their lives. Many people are afraid to think for themselves, they want someone to do it for them, and that is one of the conditions of being a good Catholic.

Vatican II states: “[T]he faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind. This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given…” (p. 379).

This is the policy of every cult: check your mind at the door and accept whatever the authority (guru, prophet or organization) is saying.

Our carnal nature enjoys (and can be addicted to) surrendering our brains and critical thoughts – whether for a promise of “enlightenment” or absolution or a sort of package deal for the hereafter.

As long as a Catholic loves being told with ‘infallible certainty’ what to believe and thinks that would evade his personal responsibility before God, he/she will remain shackled to Rome. But they must realize that their decision to submit to the alleged infallible authority of Rome is in itself, a fallible one.

Everyone – including the pope – will stand before God, therefore, Rome’s claims not be blindly believed. They must be tested and judged. And God holds us personally responsible for what we believe.

2. In the last few decades, Roman Catholicism has stepped up its public relations to improve on its public image.

Pope Francis has perfected this art even to the point of sparking critical voices from some Catholic quarters. He recently apologized for the Catholic persecution of Italian Pentecostals prior to WWII.

A recent article in Christianity Today says that Vatican II Council made Roman Catholicism adopt “a more biblical approach, transforming its worship and fundamentally changing its relation to modern secular culture.”

In reality, Vatican II only did a good cosmetic job. It allowed the Mass be said in languages other than Latin; the priest now faced the congregation and Protestants were called “separated brethren” instead of “heretics.” But it didn’t change the rot within.

If Rome has truly adopted a more Biblical approach, then they should stop worshipping the wafer god, renounce the false “Mary” they venerate, throw away their rosaries and images, reject purgatory and subjugate their traditions and the Magisterium to the authority of the Bible.

When they do all these, then we’ll agree that Catholicism has changed. In fact, Catholicism is still her old self. She masks her hideous face with philosophies and dons a robe of piety, but beneath that glamour is a diabolical masterpiece waiting to trap more souls.

3. Many Evangelical immigrants/converts to Rome have brought along a certain amount of contraband theology stashed away in their luggage. They are training lay Catholics on arguments and Bible texts to use in confronting Protestant objections.

As a result of these efforts, Catholics who used to run to the hills with the parting shot, “I’d go ask my priest” when confronted with Scripture, are now using the Bible to try prove Catholic doctrines.

The main intention of these modern apologists is to erect a sort of “Evangelicaloid” bridge, like one which unwary Evangelicals can use to cross over to Rome. When many of these convert apologists write or speak, their target audience are primarily Evangelicals.

They use their media to present an artificially Evangelicalized version of Catholicism to them – like building a house with a heavy coat of Evangelical paint on the outside while the inside surface of the door has a Catholic coat of paint.

This brings a sense of familiarity to their audience. There’s a shock of recognition; like a twin separated at birth. A fence-straddling Christian who is not grounded in the truths of Scripture, or is ignorant of the errors of Rome easily falls for the ploy and concludes: “This is what we’ve always believed!” and swims over to Rome.

But a Christian who doesn’t rely on emotion, who fully understands what Rome’s teachings are and how they are antithesis of Scripture, won’t fall for her seductive calls.

4. A certain lay Catholic apologist (who was formerly Protestant) stated his reasons for embracing Catholicism:

Catholicism retains the sense of the sacred, the sublime, the holy, and the beautiful in spirituality. The ideas of altar, and “sacred space” are preserved. Many Protestant churches are no more than “meeting halls” or “gymnasiums” or “barn type” structures … Likewise Protestants are often “addicted to mediocrity” in their appreciation of art, music, architecture, drama, the imagination, etc.

This highlights the main attraction of Catholicism – appeal to the physical senses.

When a Catholic talks about “the sense of the sacred” or the “beautiful in spirituality,” he is speaking of the dazzling attraction of the liturgy, the colourful priestly vestments, the bells, the sculptors, the stained glass icons, the incense, lights, golden chalice, the chants, and the acrobatics (the kneeling-sitting-standing).

Catholicism is psychologically designed to impress the flesh. Notably, the terms “holy” or “sacred space” are subjective. Holiness is a quality and it can’t be physically quantified.

Roman Catholicism emphasizes arts, drama and imagination (like the ancient Greek mystery cults) at the expense of salvation of the immortal soul.

All these dazzling liturgies may give many goosebumps, but they don’t impress God. They may attract Rome’s new comers for a while, but with time, they become meaningless and empty. When the harsh realities of life stares one in the face, the religious excitements wane.

Our spirits long to fellowship with God. It’s an innate longing in man that “smells and bells” can’t satisfy. God “dwells not in temples made with human hands” (Acts 17:24); He lives in His people.

It matters little whether you are in a barn, gymnasium or hall, what matters is your relationship with God, your spiritual state, and most importantly, your eternal destination.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in His people far outweighs the thrills that religious liturgies deploy to make up for His absence. Once you take away those buildings and robes, what they will have left is a puff of smoke!

6. This same apologist also wrote:

Catholicism has the most sublime spirituality and devotional spirit, manifested in a thousand different ways, from the monastic ideal to the heroic celibacy of the clergy … the Catholic hospitals … countless saints – both canonized and as yet unknown and unsung, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II ,… the events at Lourdes and Fatima ,… elderly women doing the Stations of the Cross or the Rosary… This devotional spirit is unmatched in its scope and deepness … in Protestant and Orthodox spirituality.

Let’s break it down:

most sublime spirituality and devotional spirit” Like crawling on the steps of Marian shrines or kissing the skull of Ivo of Kermartin? That’s sublime idolatry.

“manifested in a thousand different ways” Why not a million? How did faith in the Lord of Jesus Christ mutate into a thousand different ways?

monastic ideal, to the heroic celibacy of the clergy” What about those ideal expressions of priestly sodomy and heroic concubinage?

countless saints” Why do we need to pray to created spirits when we have an omnipotent Creator?

Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II” This is a fallacy of appeal to personalities. Why should we join the Catholic religion because of a closet agnostic and a universalist Pope?

the events at Lourdes and Fatima.” From a Biblical standpoint, they are demonic.

elderly women doing the Stations of the Cross or the Rosary.” I’ve also seen nude elderly Hindu priests blessing their followers. So why didn’t he join Hinduism?

This devotional spirit is unmatched in its scope and deepness” This is subjective. A Buddhist, Taoist, Animist or New Ager would also say the same thing. Notice that the core issues of repentance and faith in Christ or assurance of salvation are missing from his attractions to Rome.

7. Catholicism adapts to the pagan cultures of wherever it spreads. That was how it appeared to have gained converts in its early stages. In the East, it integrates with Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern cults.

In Latin America, it integrates with local pagan customs and traditions. For instance, there’s a saying that Haiti is 85% Catholic and 110% Voodoo. New Orleans, known as one of the key centres of Witchcraft, also doubles as the most Catholic city in the U.S.

Jesuit scholar, Peter Kreeft’s wrote:

“Catholicism agrees with paganism more than Protestantism in being robustly sacramental. Catholicism is more like African religion than Scandinavian religion … Catholics believe pagans are right and Protestants are wrong” (Ecumenical Jihad, Ignatius Press, 1996, p. 150).

That is straight from the horse’s mouth. The unregenerate loves a religion that approves of the worst in him and yet makes him appear pious.

He wants a religion with a package deal that caters for him from the cradle to the grave without renewing him. The unsaved loves a religion that makes him feel like a seraph on Sunday even though he lives like the devil all through the week. But that is not true worship.

What is Wrong with Roman Catholicism?

 

Many people wonder why Bible believing Christians attack many teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.

After all, respected Evangelical leaders like Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Rick Warren, Hank Hanegraaff, and even entire denominations like the Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army and the Assemblies of God have embraced the Catholic Church as a true Christian church with maybe just a “tiny little bad history.”

This ecumenical tide has made it become “politically incorrect” to attack an institutional church endorsed by such great evangelists.

Furthermore, most people speaking against Roman Catholicism nowadays are dismissed as rank Jehovah’s Witnesses or wild-eyed anti-Catholic fundamentalists who have had too much caffeine.

Therefore, it must be emphasized that the evangelical disagreements with Roman Catholicism areare  based on irrational or uninformed hostility but an adherence to the infallible authority of Scripture.

Unfortunately, most cult experts today have omitted the inclusion of Catholicism from their assessments.

In the book, The Agony of Deceit (edited by Michael S. Horton) written by different evangelical leaders to address false teachings in the church), we read:

The Catholic church resisted the mounting heresies with regard to the Person of Christ, and … Protestants would continue to affirm Catholic Christology” (p. 111)

From my study of Romanism so far, this statement is untrue. One of the key doctrines of the Christian faith is what the Bible teaches about Christ (Christology). At a casual glance at Roman Catholic doctrines, it seems we both agree on this aspect, but looks can be deceiving.

Let’s examine the Christology of Roman Catholicism in contrast with God’s Word:

1. The Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ

According to Catholic doctrine, the communion wafer (host) becomes the body, soul and spirit of Jesus Christ when the priest ‘blesses’ it during Mass.

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” (Catechism, 346 #1374).

The summary of what happens at the Catholic mass was summed up by Catholic priest, John O’ Brien:

When the priest announces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from his throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man” (The Faith of Millions, p. 255).

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper with the disciples, He took bread and said “Take eat; this is My body.”

The fact that He was still literally there with them and didn’t appear as bread and wine clearly shows His words here were figurative.

And after He blessed the cup, He still called it “the fruit of the vine” – not literal blood (Matt. 26:25-29).

Paul the apostle emphasizes what Jesus said: “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me … This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1Cor. 11:23-25).

Since the communion was to be done “in remembrance” of the Lord, “to show the Lord’s death until he comes” (v. 26), certainly, He is not literally present in the bread and wine, body, soul or spirit.

It’s a memorial and symbolic observance. Moreover, God’s Law also forbids cannibalism and vampirism (Lev. 11, Deut. 12:16, Acts 15:20), thus it would be abominable for Christ to physically take His own flesh and blood.

Jesus is in heaven in a glorified body that can never die. He doesn’t need to offer Himself in daily sacrifice like the Old Testament priests “for this He did ONCE when He offered up himself” on the cross (Heb. 7:27).

Jesus Christ is spiritually present “where two or three are gathered in His name.” He doesn’t become pieces of wafer on Catholic altars (Mt. 18:20).

2. Replacing Jesus with Mary

Roman Catholicism subtly relegates Christ and exalts Mary in His stead. This is where Catholicism deviates from Bible Christianity, because true Christianity is based on Christ, while Romanism is based on Mary.

(a) The titles of Christ have been transferred to the Catholic Mary. Just as Jesus is the King, Mary is called “the Queen.”

Jesus is our Lord, Mary is called “our Lady.” As He is the Second Adam, Mary is also called “the Second Eve.”

The Genesis 3:15 in the Catholic Douay-Rheims bible was rendered to say: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: She shall crush thy head, and thou shall lie in wait for Her feet.”

This is blasphemy

(b) The attributes of Christ have benyn transferred to the Catholic Mary. Christ is sinless, Rome too teaches that Mary was sinless.

Just as Jesus ascended to heaven, Mary too was declared to have assumed into heaven.

Just as Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, they teach that Mary also sits at the right hand of Jesus.

(c) Denying the exclusive Mediator-ship of Christ by teaching that Mary is a co-mediatrix with Christ. AA docto of the Catholic church, Alphonsos de Liguori, wrote:

There is no doubt’ the saint adds, ‘that Jesus Christ is the only mediator of justice between men and God … but because men acknowledge and fear the Divine Majesty… it was necessary to assign us another advocate, to whom we might recourse with less fear and more confidence, and this advocate is Mary, than whom we cannot find one more powerful…” (The Glories of Mary, p. 195)

This statement is false. Jesus’s role as our mediator is essentially and necessarily different.

He has a ground to stand on as a mediator because He was “made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest…and that he might make an atonement for the sins of the people.”

No one, including Mary, possesses these attributes (Heb. 2:17).

Roman Catholicism misrepresents Christ as mean and inaccessible in order to justify looking up to ‘another advocate’, the “virgin Mary”, who is supposedly more merciful.

But the Word of God says that Jesus is our great High priest and we are all to come boldly to His throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace in the time of need (Heb. 4:16). Why look to anyone else?

(d) Making Mary a Co-Redemptrix

The Bible says we are redeemed through the blood of Jesus (Col. 1:14), but Rome exalts its Mary on the same footing with Christ by teaching that Mary also redeemed us with her blood and the agonies of her heart:

That Woman [Mary] is the mother alike of the Redeemer and of the redeemed. It was first from her veins that the blood was drawn which now lies scattered cheaply about, but which has ransomed the world” (The Legion of Mary, 1975, p. 144)

3. Denial of Salvation by Christ alone.

Pope Pius IX said:

Our salvation is based upon the holy Virgin…so that if there is any hope and spiritual healing for us, we receive it solely and uniquely from her” (The Encyclical of February 2, 1849).

One of the many prayers in the booklet Devotions in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help says “In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee do I entrust my soul” (p. 46).

But God’s Word says “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

God Himself says: “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22). Only God has the power to save. By attributing salvation to Mary, Rome elevates her to the status of a goddess.

4. Denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice.

This is seen in the belief underlying the Mass and by the teaching that Christians have always “carried their crosses to make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others…[to] help their brothers obtain salvation from God…” (Vatican II Council: The Counciliar and Post Counciliar Documents, Vol 1, 65)

Now, if “by one offering he [Jesus] hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” and “by his own blood he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” how can any man add to that perfect sacrifice let alone save another? (Heb. 10:14, 9:12)

5. Replacing Christ with Men.

Catholic priests are said to be “Sacerdotus alter Christus” (the priest is another Christ) and Popes are called “Vicarius Christus” which means ‘another Christ’.

A Catholic Dictionary says that the pope sits as Christ in the Vatican. Catholic priests are seen as representatives of Christ having the power to forgive sins and to re-sacrifice Jesus.

These are all false teachings that hinder Catholics from having a saving relationship with the real Jesus Christ. He has warned us against following false Christs (Matthew 24:5, 23-24).

6. Replacing the Living Christ with a dead one.

For example Catholic crucifixes having a “dead” Jesus on it, which Catholics pray to. Such objects are accursed (see Deut. 21:23).

The resurrection of Christ is one of the cornerstones of the Christian Faith, otherwise our belief is in vain (1 Cor. 15:13). If Jesus were to remain on the cross as Rome portrays, we would all be doomed. Other examples of false Christs in Catholicism are images of Christ and various “visions” of the “dying and agonizing face of Christ.”

Indeed, there are true Christians within Roman Catholicism who have been saved by believing the Gospel of the Bible “which is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16), but still remain in that religious inatiinstit for one reason or the other.

However, due to Rome’s false teachings, they are in a distinct minority. Logically, it’s impossible to believe two contradictory beliefs at the same time.

For example, how can one believe Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us is an accomplished fact of history and He is in heaven in a resurrected, glorified body and at the same time believe He is being literally “immolated in the sacrifice of the Mass?”

Or how can one believe Christ’s redemptive work on the cross is “Finished!” as He Himself said (John 19:30), and at the same time believe the Mass repeats Christ’s sacrifice?

Or how can one believe that by simple faith in Christ, one receives eternal life and assurance of heaven as a free gift of God’s grace and at the same time believe that God’s grace and merits of Christ, Mary and the saints are contained in the treasury of the Catholic church and is dispensed in bits and pieces for attending Mass, penance or saying the rosary?

It’s simply impossible. This is why true Christians who trust in Christ alone must renounce Roman Catholicism and its false gospel.