A “Teaching Office” or Broken Cisterns?

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“An unexamined faith is not worth believing.” This maxim rings true considering how many Catholics give a blind allegiance to the “infallible” and “indefectible” Church of Rome.

The institutional certainty of  Roman Catholicism boils down to a single code: “We are infallible and indefectible because we say so!” But such nostrums fly in the face of reality.

For one, almost every speech from Pope Francis elicits a litany of articles by Rome’s apologists who struggle to “clean up” the mess he creates. It’s like trying to dress up a monkey as a dove while its ugly face and hairy tail keep popping out. Like Merida’s efforts in Brave, to prevent others from seeing that the Queen had changed to a beast.

The Israelites were in a similar condition in Jeremiah’s time. Their prophets were mediums of Baal and the people had replaced God with idols. They had forsaken God, the Living Water and had dug for themselves “broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer. 2:13).

They only had fig leaves to cover their spiritual nakedness. It appealed to the physical senses and human wisdom, but it was an empty religious system lacking divine approval and spiritual refreshment.

This aptly fits Roman Catholicism. Its theological landscape is a strange one – full of unexpected detours, inconsistencies and surprisingly contradictory backwaters. Let’s look at some examples:

1. The ecumenical and “infallible” Council of Florence decreed:

It firmly believes, professes and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart ‘into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock … no one … even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church” (Denzinger, 714).

Yet, another “infallible” Council says the opposite:

Those who can attain to salvation [are those] who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God” (Vatican II, Sec. 16)

Then the Catholic Catechism says:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth is necessary for salvation...” (# 846).

But in his message on the feast of St. Cajetan, Pope Francis was asked “Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic?” He answered “No, no, no” (Catholic News, August 7, 2013).

But this view flies against that of Pope Pius XII who said:

For those who do not belong to the visible Church … none can be assured of eternal salvation” (Mistici Corporis, June, 29, 1943).

2. “Retired” Pope Benedict XVI said:

“Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith” (November 30, 2005).

Pope Francis echoes this during this year’s Feast of Epiphany:

Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only once certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God” (Catholic News Agency, Jan. 7, 2016).

But six months later, Francis tweeted:

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Now, if everyone is God’s children, then no one really needs the Gospel.

Yet this same Francis appointed Shellen Huber, an atheist, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and was chosen by him to present his encyclical on the environment in May 2015.

If we go by his tweets, we can infer that Francis is not following the Lord and doesn’t have His presence in his life.

3. Pope Eugene IV declared that “there is hope that very many from the abominable sect of Mahomet [Muhammad] will be converted to the Catholic faith” (Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, 1:479).

But the Catechism now says: “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims...” (Sec. 841)

On May 14, 1999, Pope John Paul II bowed and kissed a Quran presented to him. He later said: “May Saint John the Baptist protect Islam” (Vatican News Mar. 21, 2000).

In contrast, Pope Benedict XVI in his Regensberg lecture quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel Paleologus who said:

Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword of the faith he preached” (Faith, Reason and the University, Sept. 12, 2006).

This statement blew the turbans off the heads of several Muslim leaders in different countries. But that same month, Benedict XVI publicly received a Quran and said:

My personal view of the Qur’an for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion.”

Since his installation, Francis has called for Islamic prayers and Quranic readings at the Vatican and has visited the Blue Mosque in Turkey to pray to the god of Islam.

The views of Catholics opposed to Islam notwithstanding, it’s no more an “abominable sect” to Rome.

4. The Catechism says:

The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death, the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire‘” (1035, 615).

But in 1998, Pope John Paul II says hell is figuratively “the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God … Rather than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitely separate themselves from God, the source of life and joy … [It is] a condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life … The thought of hell and even less the improper use of biblical images must not create anxiety or despair” (Vatican News, July 28).

The Catechism says:

Jesus often speaks of ‘Gehenna’ of ‘the unquenchable fire’ reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost” (1034, 612).

But the Vatican-approved La Civilta Cattolica quenched hell’s flames:

Hell exists, not as a place but as a state, a way of being of the person who suffers the pain of the deprivation of God” (Los Angeles Times July, 31, 1999).

5. The Catechism defines sin as “an offense against reason, truth and right conscience … It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law” (1849, 121).

But Pope Francis wrote in his biography:

I often say that the only glory we have, as Saint Paul says, is that of being sinners … That’s why, for me, sin is not a stain I need to clean” (Conversations, 2014, 120, 121).

When asked if he approves of homosexuality, Francis, like a good Jesuit, toe-dances the question:

Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of the person with love or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being” (The American Magazine, September 30, 2013).

6. The Catechism declares that Satan is real and “may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and indirectly, even of a physical nature – to each man and to society” and is “permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history” (No. 395).

But in his book, In the Beginning, Benedict XVI dismisses the existence of demons from which human may protect themselves from because eternal Reason underlies all of creation (1995, p. 9).

In 2006, he exhorted Catholics “to say ‘yes’ to Christ, who destroys the power of evil with the omnipotence of Love. We know that only hearts converted to Love which is God, can build a better future for all” (Immaculate Conception Anniversary).

Then in 2012, it was reported in the news that this same Benedict XVI “exorcised two men in the Vatican” – with what, sweet love?

Conversely, Francis his successor talks about demons so much that some Catholics are now having goose pimples.

7. Pope John Paul II told a large Hindu audience in India:

“Indeed, India’s greatest contribution to the world can be to offer it a spiritual vision of man. And the world does well to attend willingly to this ancient wisdom and in it to find enrichment for living” (L’Osservatore, Feb. 10, 1986).

But in his encyclical Dominus Iesus he says:

“The Church’s constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de factor but also de iure (or in principle). As a consequence, it is held that certain truths have been super-ceded … For this reason, the distinction between theological faith and belief in other religions, must be firmly held” (par. 4-5).

Now, Papa Francis says:

“I am respectful of all new spiritual proposals … Surviving the passage of time is the major test of spiritual purity” (On Heaven and Earth, p. 236).

Using this logic, witchcraft would also be “spiritually pure” since it has survived the passage of time.

Recounting his visit to a Buddhist temple in Columbo, Sri Lanka, in January 2015, the Vatican News reports Francis saying:

“In this temple there were relics of two disciples of the Buddha that for them are very important. These relics were in England and they managed to get them there, and they took them out so we could look at them.”

Try to imagine apostle Paul praising the “ancient wisdom” of Greek paganism “to find enrichment for living” or apostle Peter on a surprise visit to the Temple of Diana in Ephesus to view their special relics.

8. When Francis became pope in April 2013, he was praised by the Grand Masters of the Grand Orient Freemasonic Lodges of Italy and Argentina who had publicly supported his election. An interesting twist, considering how Masonry is publicly denounced by Rome.

In the picture, Francis gives what looks like a sign of the master of the second veil in Masonry. Indeed, some of Francis’ statements are in tune with Masonic/pagan beliefs.

In an address, he declared: “Muslims, Jews, Orthodox, Catholics and others. We are all brothers and sisters! We all adore the One God! Never ever let there be separation among you” (L’Osservatore, May, 22, 2015).

Similarly, his tweet on June 20, 2016 says: “We are all on a journey to the common house of heaven…” These are closer to Masonic beliefs. Not everyone is serving God or on the path to a “common heaven.”

In his speech at the United Nations, he said:

“[T]he Earth never forgives. Protect our sister Earth, our Mother Earth, so that she does not respond with destruction” (L’Osservatore, Nov. 28, 2014, 16). This is rooted in a Pagan/New Age concept of earth as a living goddess.

Catholics generally avoid questioning whatever Rome says. Even when compelling evidence are stacked against the Magisterium, they still put their trust in it. “The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus and He won’t allow it to fail,” they argue. This is self-deceit.

If the “living teaching office” that is supposed to safeguard you from heresies has become a purveyor of spiritual confusion and death, your reliance on it is misplaced. “God is not the author of confusion” (1Cor. 14:33). Discard the broken cisterns and place your faith solely in Jesus, the Living Fountain and follow His Word.

The Sufficiency of Scripture

The sufficiency of Scripture, or sola Scriptura, is often a focal point of attack by Rome’s apologists, which is understandable, since the Bible alone is a big blow to Catholicism. Thus, there’s a need to be enlightened about this fundamental doctrine.

What is Sola Scriptura?

The term “sola Scriptura” is an oblative from Latin meaning “by Scripture alone.” The doctrine states that the Scriptures alone are sufficient to function as the rule of faith for the church. In essence, all that one must believe to be a Christian is found in Scripture and in no other source.

Consequently, the Scriptures are not in need of any supplement and its authority is as a result of its nature as God-breathed revelation. The Bible’s authority is not dependent upon man, church or council. Therefore, the Scriptures are self-interpreting, self-consistent and self-authenticating. This is a historic, orthodox principle of Bible Christianity.

Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox have this habit of misrepresenting sola Scriptura as “taking the Bible as the only authority” or “holding to the Bible alone as our guide.” That is solo Scriptura, not sola Scriptura.

Sola Scriptura means taking the Scriptures as the only infallible authority and the only infallible standard of truth and morals. It does not mean that one cannot appeal to history, tradition, councils or reason in arriving at truth, rather, the Scriptures alone carry the highest authority.

What Sola Scriptura is Not:

1. It is not a claim that the Bible contains all knowledge. “Jesus did many other things as well. If everyone of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books…” (Jn. 21:25)

The Bible is not exhaustive in every detail and it doesn’t have to be, in order to function as the sole rule of faith for the church. We don’t need to know details about all the miracles Christ worked, the apostles’ dress codes, or where they were buried.

The purpose of the Scripture is to record all that is necessary for us to be saved and which pertains to “life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3).

2. Sola Scriptura is not a denial of the church’s authority to teach the truth. The church can have its creeds, councils or confession of faith, but these are subordinate to the God-inspired Scriptures, and are subject to correction.

Thus, the church is being refined and purged by Christ and since the church hears the voice of her Shepherd from the Scriptures alone, the church does not add revelation or rule over Scripture (Rev. 1:19).

3. Sola Scriptura is not a denial that God’s Word was at a time spoken orally before they were committed into writing. Not everything the prophets spoke was written down however, because, not everything they said was inspired. That which God wanted preserved was carefully recorded

During the writing of the NT, the apostles could still appeal to an authority outside the Bible because at that time, God was still giving normative (standard-setting) revelation for the faith and morals of Christians.

This revelation was first communicated orally to the Believers alive at the time, and finally committed to writing for the believers today. Sola Scriptura applies to the normative stage of the church which we are in.

4. Sola Scriptura is not a denial of the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and enlightening the church. That one adheres to sola Scriptura doesn’t mean one has rejected revelation from the Holy Spirit. There is a relationship between the Word and the Spirit – a balance that must be maintained – as Abraham Friesen notes in his work, Wonders of the Word:

“The Word was not merely a ‘testimony’ or ‘witness’ to the experience of the Spirit. Any experience, even one of the Spirit could not be self-authenticating; it need always to be tested by the revealed Word of God. Not the experience but the Word was the final arbiter of God’s truth.”

Objection I: “Nowhere does the Bible teaches sola Scriptura.”

Now, whether one is Catholic, Protestant or Eastern Orthodox, the basic truth we all agree on is the divine inspiration of the Bible. It is on this basis that the Bible authenticates itself. God doesn’t need men’s authority to be Who He is. In other words, the supreme authority of the Bible rests on its inspiration.

Lutheran theologian, Francis Pieper pointed out that: “The divine authority of Scripture rests solely on its nature, on its theopneusty – that is, its character as ‘God breathed’.” It is a travesty of Christian theology when people attempt to subjugate God’s inspired Word, the Bible, to traditions or a church magisterium.

From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2Tim. 3:15)

The “sacred writings” being referred to are the written words of Scripture. This indicates that the words of God which we have in Scripture are all the words of God we need in order to be saved; these words are able to make us wise “for salvation.” There is no justification for limiting this statement to the OT as Catholic apologists do. It is inconsistent to claim that the OT is sufficient, while the NT is not.

That passage says that God gave Scripture in order that we may be “complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:17) The Bible is sufficient without traditions. The Greek adjective translated as “complete” is artios. Vine’s Expository Greek work defines artios as “fitted, complete.”

Louw and Nida Greek-English Lexicon defines it as “qualified.” Greek scholar, Richard Trench in Synonyms of the New Testament explains that artios implies that the man of God is “furnished and accompanied with all which is necessary for the carrying out of the work appointed.”

In other words, all that a believer needs to be complete, qualified and capable in the faith is in the Scriptures.

Ps. 119:1 says “Blessed are those whose walk is blameless who walk in the law of the LORD!”

This verse shows an equivalence between being blameless and walking in the law of the Lord. All that God requires of us to blameless before Him is recorded in His written word.

As mentioned earlier, sola Scriptura is a norm for the readers of Scripture, not its writers, so it would be anachronistic to expect that a NT writer would make a systematic appeal to the NT to advance a claim.

Notwithstanding, the sacred authors appealed to prior revelations, even though they could speak on their own authority. Jesus and His apostles for instance, appealed to the Hebrew Scriptures as the final court of appeal. The phrase “it is written” appears 90 times in the NT (e.g Mt 4:4, 7, 10, 5:22, 28; 31, 28:18 etc). By this, they emphasized the principle of sola Scriptura.

John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

This means that a person could take John’s gospel account, read it, believe it and receive eternal life just like that. The other gospel accounts have a similar purpose. They were written for us to read, believe and have eternal life. Since the Bible admits not to contain everything, it has said enough to us to believe and be saved (Heb 9:5, Col 4:7-9).

Objection 2: “There is no such thing as ‘Scripture only’ in the Bible

Let this be clear: sola Scriptura is a negative claim. It is saying that there is nothing else like Scripture. To equate a human tradition to the level of Scripture, you will first have to prove that it’s inspired like Scripture. “God forbid; yea let God be true but every man a liar.” (Rom 3:4).

Paul warned the church not to go beyond what is written – what is written? The Scriptures (1Cor. 4:6).

Objection 3: “How can the Bible be self-interpreting? Where does the Bible say this?”

This is based on the nature of Scripture itself. Since God has spoken through the whole of Scripture, one can understand what it says by taking one part in relation to the other. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#102) agrees:

“Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, that one and same Word of God extends throughout Scripture and one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables…”

This is why the Old and New Testaments fit in perfect. Jesus and the apostles appealed to the Hebrew Scriptures to interpret what they taught and the New Testament frequently appealed to the Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in Christ. Rome seeks to present the Bible as complicated or incomprehensible in order to hold people under her spiritual bondage.

Objection 4: “Sola Scriptura is bibliolatry nonetheless.”

Such an argument is self-refuting, because the very concept of idolatry has Biblical precedent. To accuse someone of it presupposes Biblical authority and Scriptural appeal. In the same vein, a person who looks up to an institution for salvation or as his final authority is guilty of idolatry.

Objection 5: “Sola Scriptura is a blueprint for anarchy. It has resulted in thousands of quarreling denominations with different interpretations.”

This argument has been addressed in another article refuting the 33,000 denomination harp from the Catholic echo chambers. It must be added however, that every denomination does not represent a different interpretation of Scripture and every difference doesn’t represent a disagreement.

Much of the denominational differences was due to nationalism or geographical distribution, particularly as monarchs and state churches arose. Liberalism is another reason. It is allowed (and necessary) for believers to split with a dying and liberal preexisting denomination overrun with heretics in order to serve God in truth.

In God’s plan, a variety of denomination works for His purposes. And it’s better to have a variety of young, growing leaves than a big, dead old rotten tree. Yes, there are false churches, but in this dispensation, we can’t weed out all the tares. They will continue to grow together with the wheat until the harvest (Matt. 13:24-30).

We don’t judge the condition of the field by the presence or even dominance of the tares. That some cults misuse the Bible doesn’t diminish its authority just as multiplication tables do not become wrong because a cashier uses it to defraud a bank.

If I write a book on Genetics, for instance, I won’t expect all my readers to arrive at the same degree of understanding. Some would read a little of my book and stop there. Some will read it and mix it with contents of another book by another author and some will memorise it without understanding. Will these diminish the credibility of my work? No. The same applies to Scripture.

The Catholic assumes his “church” is the standard by which all denominations are to be judged, so he glosses over the internal differences in Rome while he lauds the “scandal” of Protestant sectarianism and points his accusing knife at the Bible. This is hypocrisy.

Objection 6: “Sola Scriptura could not have been possible all through the centuries because most people were illiterate, and even if educated, couldn’t have had access to the Bible.”

This is a vapid line. From well-travelled 1st century Christians like Apollos, Paul, Philip, Aquilla and Priscilla, it’s clear that the early church had a good communicative network and the spread of the Bible couldn’t have been a problem.

On the other hand, how did the common people all through the centuries read or have access to the Papal bulls, Church missals or Council decrees? What was the express creed of the average Medieval peasant or village priest?

Folk religion and illiteracy were very common those times, so which core Catholic creed was mouthed by the masses? Or does the writings of Athanasius or Aquinas stand for the beliefs of the masses? Sola ecclesia entirely left out the laity and the lower clergy all through the centuries until the Reformation when Bible literacy and education were emphasized.

Respected theologian, Wayne Grudem, defines the sufficiency of Scripture as meaning that Scripture contained all the words of God He intended His people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting and obeying Him perfectly. He explained:

(a) We can find all that God has said on particular topics and issues by searching the Bible alone. We do not need to search through all the writings of Christians throughout history, or through all the teachings of the church or the subjective feelings or impressions that come to us, in order to find what God requires of us. We find God’s requirement by “examining the Scriptures” (Acts 17:11).

(b) At each stage of redemptive history, God’s word has always been sufficient. God has not spoken to mankind any more words He requires us to believe or obey than that we have in the Bible. Man cannot add any more words to what God has already spoken to His people.

(c) There is a strong warning not to add to Scripture and consider no other writings of equal value to Scripture (Is. 8:20, Gal. 1:8). This principle is violated by almost all cults and curious sects. Catholicism adds tradition and the Magisterium to the Bible. Christian Science adds Science and Health to it and Mormonism also adds the Book of Mormon and other false books.

(d) No modern revelations are to be placed on the same level as Scripture. We are to test visions or revelations with Scripture. There is a danger when a spiritual gift is directly or indirectly given a status that challenges the authority of Scripture in the lives of Christians (Is. 8:20).

(e) We are warned not to add more sins or requirements to those named in Scripture. Unless a specific teaching or general principle of Scripture is shown to prohibit an acitivity, if it’s not forbidden explicitly or by implication by Scripture, its not sinful (Ps. 119:44-45) (Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine, Inter-Varsity Press, 1999, 58).

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.