The Truth About Roman Catholicism

by Marion H. Reynolds, Jr.
©Fundamental Evangelistic Association

The Roman Catholic Church is by far the largest and wealthiest of all the so-called Christian denominations. It has always falsely claimed to be the only true Church—the Church which was founded by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. In recent generations, the Roman Catholic Church has embellished its image and attracted and held members by claiming to be the one Church that has never changed. However, all such claims are false. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church has done an about-face, actually boasting of the many changes it has instituted to meet the changing needs of Catholics and non-Catholics alike in this modern age

Is the Roman Catholic Church the one true Church? Are its past and present teachings and practices Scriptural? Of course not! How has the Roman Catholic Church changed through the centuries? How much has it changed in our lifetime? Have these changes been foundational or superficial? Where is the Roman Catholic Church headed today and in the future.

The purpose of this article is to turn the spotlight of truth upon Roman Catholicism, examining both its past history and present teachings. Our sincere desire is to be of help to Catholics, many of whom are well aware that, in recent years, their church has instituted many changes that have left them confused, uncertain, and deeply troubled. For the first time in their lives, many Catholics are raising serious questions about their Church, its leaders, its teachings and its practices. They now realize that their church is not united but divided over issues such as birth control, abortion, divorce, celibacy for priests, women clergy, gay clergy, Papal infallibility, prayer, worship, music, purgatory, confession, Marioltry and even the meaning of the Mass. The moral degeneracy and financial scandals that have rocked the Charismatic movement have also been exposed in the Roman Catholic Church, from the Vatican to the local parish. Confusion reigns supreme and Catholics who take their religion seriously don't know which way to turn.

A source of further confusion for many is the fact that for centuries Roman Catholics were taught that all those outside their membership were heretics to be shunned, persecuted or even killed. It was not until the middle of this century that the Roman Catholic Church modified and softened its stand by calling non-Catholics, "separated brethren." More recently, even that negative connotation has been eliminated. Today, Catholics are taught to consider "all Christians" to be "brothers and sisters in Christ."

However, these changing outward attitudes on the part of Roman Catholics toward non-Catholics and their increasing usage of evangelical terminology has unfortunately resulted in many evangelicals mistakenly believing that the basic false doctrines and heresies of Romanism have changed, something that simply is not true. Thus, both Catholics and non-Catholics alike should take a fresh look—a Biblical, historical and current look—at this world's largest, supposedly Christian denomination. If it is the one true Church, as it claims to be, then every believer in Christ should become a part of it. But if it is a false church, as it actually is, then all who truly believe the Bible and trust Jesus Christ as Saviour should separate from it, warn about it, and urge others to do likewise.

Through our extensive radio and literature ministries, it has been a great blessing to hear from many former Roman Catholics who have been delivered from the bondage of the false doctrines of Romanism. They experienced the new birth by faith in Jesus Christ alone and are now attempting to reach their Catholic loved ones and friends with the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the same time, it has been a real heartache to realize that so many non-Catholics who profess to know Christ as Saviour have been deceived by the new attitudes and evangelical vocabulary of Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Church is now being accepted by many evangelicals as a sister church with only minor differences rather than a false church which preaches "another gospel"—a false gospel.

The Truth About the Roman Catholic Church is that it always has been and continues to be a false church. Those Biblical doctrines it professes to believe and teach are vitiated by Roman Catholic dogma based upon tradition that contradicts the Bible, God's infallible Word. Error is never more deceptive than when it is presented with a veneer of truth. The leaders of the Catholic Church have always fit the description of the false teachers who God warned in advance would come on the scene in the last days, deceiving many by their "feigned" (pretended or hypocritical) words—their "great swelling words of vanity," as described in 2 Peter 2:1-3,18,19.

Before examining and refuting some of the well known false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, it is essential to understand that two basic false teachings of Roman Catholicism (even apart from its many other errors), clearly classify it as a false cult rather than a true church. These two basic errors are:

First, Roman Catholicism, although teaching that the Bible is the Word of God, adds the spurious apocryphal books to the Scriptures, and also elevates church tradition and the edicts of popes and councils (the words of men), to the same or an even greater level of authority than the Word of God. This amounts to adding to the Word of God, thereby placing Roman Catholicism under God's curse. Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18,19.

Second, Roman Catholicism, although teaching that faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation, actually denies the truth of the Gospel by adding sacraments, good works, and purgatory as additional requirements for forgiveness of sin and for eternal life. This amounts to the preaching of a false Gospel which places the Roman Catholic Church under God's curse. Gal. 1:6-10.

Thus, by Scriptural standards, the Roman Catholic Church is a false church that can only expect God's judgment, not a true church that can claim God's blessing. No amount of outward change should be permitted to obscure this fact.

As for the claims of the Roman Catholic Church that its history can be traced back to Jesus Christ, Peter, or any of the other apostles, such claims lack both historical and Scriptural support. The true Church of Jesus Christ was not founded upon Peter, but upon Peter's confession of Christ's deity as recorded in Matthew 16:16: "...Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter was not the first pope, nor is there any Scriptural justification whatever for such an office. Peter's own inspired testimony as to his position and ministry is given in 1 Peter 5:1-4. He then identifies himself in 2 Peter 1:1 as "a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ..." History confirms the fact that there were no popes in the early church nor even in the Roman Catholic Church during the first centuries of its existence.

Furthermore, the long-held claim that the Roman Catholic Church was the only unchangeable church is not supported by church history—not even Roman Catholic history. How sad to realize that this false claim influenced so many to join or to stay in this false church, which actually is the product of centuries of changes. Most of these changes resulted from the Roman Catholic Church's yielding to heathen customs and practices that were subsequently incorporated into Roman Catholic teachings and worship. The following is a partial list of heathen, unscriptural practices that became a part of Roman Catholic dogma over a period of seventeen centuries. Some of the dates given are approximate. In many cases, these heresies were even debated for years before being given the status of required beliefs:

1. Prayers for the dead ....300 A.D.
2. Making the sign of the cross ....300 A.D.
3. Veneration of angels & dead saints ....375 A.D.
4. Use of images in worship ....375 A.D.
5. The Mass as a daily celebration ....394 A.D.
6. Beginning of the exaltation of Mary; the term, "Mother of God" applied at Council of Ephesus ....431 A.D.
7. Extreme Unction (Last Rites) ....526 A.D.
8. Doctrine of Purgatory-Gregory I ....593 A.D.
9. Prayers to Mary & dead saints ....600 A.D.
10. Worship of cross, images & relics ....786 A.D.
11. Canonization of dead saints ....995 A.D.
12. Celibacy of priesthood ....1079 A.D.
13. The Rosary ....1090 A.D.
14. Indulgences ....1190 A.D.
15. Transubstantiation-Innocent III ....1215 A.D.
16. Auricular Confession of sins to a priest ....1215 A.D.
17. Adoration of the wafer (Host) ....1220 A.D.
18. Cup forbidden to the people at communion ....1414 A.D.
19. Purgatory proclaimed as a dogma ....1439 A.D.
20. The doctrine of the Seven Sacraments confirmed ....1439 A.D.
21. Tradition declared of equal authority with Bible by Council of Trent ....1545 A.D.
22. Apocryphal books added to Bible ....1546 A.D.
23. Immaculate Conception of Mary ....1854 A.D.
24. Infallibility of the pope in matters of faith and morals, proclaimed by the Vatican Council ....1870 A.D.
25. Assumption of the Virgin Mary (bodily ascension into heaven shortly after her death) ....1950 A.D.
26. Mary proclaimed Mother of the Roman Catholic Church ....1965 A.D.

Although some of the preceding Roman Catholic heresies are now being questioned by many individuals inside and outside the church, none have been officially repudiated and all continue to be practiced by millions of Catholics around the world. The urgent need today is for Roman Catholics, as well as all who claim to be Christians, to examine their own beliefs and the teachings of their churches by the only sure standard—the Bible. Whatever contradicts, adds to or subtracts from the sixty-six books of the Old and the New Testaments, is error no matter how many may cling to it.

Roman Catholics who read the Bible will soon discover that many Catholic teachings and practices are specifically forbidden by Jesus Christ Himself. Note carefully the following warnings given by the Lord Jesus Christ to the religious leaders of His day concerning vain worship, vain tradition and vain repetitions. All of these are particularly applicable to Roman Catholicism today.

Vain Worship – In Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus said, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." All worship is indeed vain when it is based upon the commandments of men rather than the Word of God.

Vain Tradition – In Matthew 15:6b, Jesus said, "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." Valid tradition is based upon Scripture and confirms it. Vain tradition is based upon man's teachings and violates it. In Roman Catholicism, tradition is consistently elevated above the Scripture. This results in vain worship (no matter how sincere) and makes the commandment of God of no effect—a very serious matter.

Vain Repetitions – In Matthew 6:7, Jesus said, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." A basic part of Roman Catholic worship is the frequent repetition of The Rosary. Its origin is clearly tied to heathen religions such as Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. Roman Catholics should listen to the words of Christ rather than use the vain repetitions of the Catholic Church.

During the past fifty years, at least three important trends in the Roman Catholic Church are clearly observable. These are: (1) A greater emphasis upon the place of Mary, (2) A major emphasis upon ecumenical activities with a view to seeking the full visible unity of all religions, (3) The acceptance of the so-called Charismatic renewal within the Church with new emphasis upon the claimed "ministry of the Holy Spirit." There is every reason to believe that all of these major trends will continue and will even increase. They are all very deceptive, very dangerous, and unscriptural.

The place bestowed to Mary in the Roman Catholic Church is not Scriptural nor is it new. It cannot be denied that during the last one hundred years, veneration of Mary has dramatically increased. Note in the historical chart given earlier in this article that the exaltation of Mary and the term "Mother of God," became official Catholic dogma in 431 A.D. with prayers to her proclaimed in 600 A.D. Note also that the "Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary" was not proclaimed until 1854 A.D.; her "Assumption" not until 1950 A.D.; and her title "Mother of the Church" not until 1965 A.D.

Some Roman Catholic observers believe it may not be much longer until Mary is officially proclaimed "Co-redemptrix with Christ." In fact, the premier issue of the Roman Catholic publication Catholic Heritage displayed a front page with the title: "Mary, Mother of the Church." In a Question and Answer column the question is asked, "At the foot of the cross, Mary shared in the mystery of the passion. True or False. Answer: True. Mary united her sorrows to those of her Son. The sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary bled with her Son for all of mankind. For this reason, we invoke her under the title of Co-redemptrix."

During the past forty years, each pope has done his part to increase Mary's influence in the Roman Catholic Church based completely on tradition rather than upon the Bible. In the August 28, 1975, issue of the official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Paul VI, speaking of the ceremony celebrated the day before in honor of the Madonna at the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, said, "Her venerate image, known as 'Salus Populi Romani', was carried in procession from St. Mary Major's as part of the Holy Year ceremonies, so that the overflow crowd of pilgrims, coming from all parts of the world, could see it and thus increase their devotion to her. In this way we should all be reminded of the meaning and practice of the cult of Mary, inseparable from the unique and central cult of Christ ... Let us pray to her with humble, trusting and childlike faith."

The present pope, John Paul II [died April 2, 2005], has dedicated himself completely to Mary. During his visit to Vancouver, B.C. in 1985, the special souvenir edition of B.C. Catholic carried a full page color photo of the pope under the caption of, Totus Tuas which, in Latin, means "all yours." The following explanation was then given, "When Karol Wojtyla [John Paul II] was consecrated bishop of Cracow by Pius XII in 1958 he took, 'Totus Tuus' (all yours) as his motto, thus presenting himself to Mary. In his first Urbi et Orbi message immediately after being elected pope he said, 'At this difficult hour, full of fear, we must turn our thoughts with filial devotion to the Virgin Mary who always lives in the midst of Christ and exists as his mother. We must repeat the words, Totus Tuus which 20 years ago were inscribed into our heart and soul.'"

Pope John Paul II has visited many of the major Shrines to Mary. He attributed his escape from death at the hands of a would-be assassin and the overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe to the intervention of Mary. Millions of Catholics are making pilgrimages to the various Marian shrines, seeking and often claiming miracles of healing and answers to their prayers to Mary. New apparitions of Mary and special messages from her are being claimed in various parts of the world. Yet, there is absolutely no Scriptural foundation for any of these beliefs or practices. Mary was indeed a virgin in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy that Christ would be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14). She was a godly woman, but not sinless. As with all true believers in Christ, when Mary died, her soul and spirit went to heaven, but her body awaits the resurrection. She did not bodily ascend to heaven as did Jesus Christ. Nothing in Scripture indicates that prayers were ever offered to Mary nor that she was worshipped by anyone. Most of Roman Catholic teaching concerning Mary is based entirely on human tradition and contradicts God's Word.

The present ecumenical emphasis and activities of the Roman Catholic Church are also of recent origin. When Vatican Council I was held in 1869-1870, the Orthodox Churches refused to participate even though they were invited by the pope. His public appeal to "Protestants and all non-Catholics" to "return to the only true fold" also received resentful refusals. However, in the intervening years, it became increasingly obvious to the Roman Catholic hierarchy that their church needed some serious updating, particularly with regard to relationships with other churches. In 1960, Pope John XXIII established the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity; and in 1962 he convoked Vatican Council II which he called "An ecumenical council for the universal church."

Less than a year later, Pope John XXIII died. His successor, Pope Paul VI, attended four sessions of Vatican II before becoming pope and did everything possible to continue and expand the ecumenical emphasis. He said the Roman Catholic Church could best demonstrate the validity of its teaching, not by condemnation or severity, but with the "medicine of mercy." He emphasized "working for the full visible unity in truth among all Christians" and that this unity should extend also to non-Christians. This new approach of Vatican II was successful in gaining the cooperation of the major Orthodox Church bodies as well as 38 delegated observers from almost all the major Protestant denominations. Of course, Pope John Paul II has apparently expanded the ecumenical emphasis in the Roman Catholic Church to unprecedented heights. While this has received high praise from religious leaders and denominations, the kind of unity sought by the Roman Catholic Church is contrary to the Bible. All unity purchased at the expense of doctrinal purity is satanic and deceptive. 2 Cor. 6:14-18, Eph. 5:11, 2 Tim. 3:1-17; 4:1-8. All who join hands in ecumenical fellowship with those who preach a false Gospel are under God's curse. Gal. 1:6-10.

The Roman Catholic Church was infiltrated by the false teachings and unscriptural practices of the Charismatic Movement in the early 1960's. Its influence within Roman Catholicism is growing rapidly. As always, the devil has a very clever way of compounding error while giving the results a more respectable appearance. Space limitations prevent a more comprehensive consideration of its past and present approaches but we have prepared other articles providing important details to all who might be interested in knowing why the Charismatic Movement and its teachings are so deceptive and dangerous. Once this movement became entrenched in the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic leaders were quick to see that it would be to their advantage to encourage these teachings rather than to oppose them. They discovered that they could use the Charismatic doctrines and practices to help build the Roman Catholic Church by considering such practices a logical and needed "renewal movement within the church." This "renewal" would come because those who had supposedly experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit felt a greater love and respect than ever for the Roman Catholic Church, including the Mass, the other sacraments, the veneration of Mary and all the other false teachings of Roman Catholicism. Many people are attracted to the displays of healings, miracles, and other supposed demonstrations of Holy Spirit presence and power, not realizing that if this were a true ministry of the Holy Spirit it would lead them to a recognition and repudiation of the false teachings of Roman Catholicism. The Charismatic Movement, both within and outside of the Roman Catholic Church is not a movement of the Holy Spirit, but of a false spirit. John 16:7-14; 2 Cor. 11:13-15.

Adding to the religious confusion of our day is the inconsistent, compromising position taken by the world's two outstanding evangelical leaders, Dr. Billy Graham and Dr. Bill Bright. Both of these men now praise and work with ecumenical apostates, charismatic deceivers and Roman Catholics. This represents a complete reversal of their original, biblical positions. Both are widely respected and have charming personalities, but their present willingness to work with anybody who "calls Jesus, Lord" completely ignores the warning Christ gave in Matthew 7:21-23. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." The pope and most Roman Catholics call Jesus, "Lord," but since they reject the one true gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, their profession is false. Today they are deceiving many evangelicals, but not God. Unless Roman Catholics trust Christ alone as Saviour before they die, they will one day be identified by Christ as those who were workers of iniquity even though they called Him "Lord."

When Billy Graham began his ministry 40 years ago, he recognized Roman Catholicism as a false religion and warned against it. Then, as Graham's crowds and popularity grew, warnings about Roman Catholicism ceased and those who made professions of faith in his crusades were sent back into the Roman Catholic Church. Later, Graham accepted Roman Catholics as counselors if they took his prescribed training course. Still later, Roman Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals were included in the Graham Crusade committees, and finally, Graham called Pope John Paul II one of the world's great evangelists—a false identification of a biblically defined evangelist if there ever was one!

True believers need to realize that the Mass is at the very heart of Roman Catholic theology and worship, but its observance is based upon Roman Catholic tradition, not upon the pure Word of God. We urge you to take the time to study the Roman Catholic teachings concerning the meaning and importance of the Mass, then, compare those teachings with the Scriptures and see the contradictions involved. After such a study, those who are truly born again and filled with the Holy Spirit—as Charismatic Catholics claim to be—will reject the Mass as a contradiction of Bible salvation and separate from the Roman Catholic Church in obedience to the Word of God, the Bible.

What does the Roman Catholic Church teach concerning the importance and meaning of the Mass? Notice the following official statements.

The following quotations are taken from THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1994 edition, which contains the written approval of Pope John Paul II and makes an appeal to Mary concerning the future in these words: "At the conclusion of this document presenting the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, I beseech the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word and Mother of the Church, to support with her powerful intercession the catechetical work of the entire Church on every level, at this time when she is called to a new effort of evangelization."

From page 334, Article 3: "The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch ... In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: 'Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.'"

From page 342, Article 4: "In the communion, preceded by the Lord's prayer and the breaking of the bread, the faithful receive 'the bread of heaven' and the 'cup of salvation,' the body and blood of Christ who offered himself 'for the life of the world.'

"Because this bread and wine have been made Eucharist ('eucharisted,' according to an ancient expression), we call this food Eucharist, and no one may take part in it unless he believes that what we teach is true, has received baptism for the forgiveness of sins and new birth, and lives in keeping with what Christ taught."

From page 344, Article 5: "The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice. 'The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.' 'In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner."'

From page 345, Article 5: "The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed who 'have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified,' so that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ."

But what does the Bible say concerning the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross? Hebrews 10:10-14, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man [Jesus Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

What a difference there is between what the Bible teaches and what Roman Catholicism believes and teaches regarding the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross! The supposed continual offering up of Christ by the priests negates His finished work on the Cross. The Bible says, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." 1 Peter 3:18.

What about the future of the Catholic Church? It is a false church, not a true one. It is a divided church, not a united one. Its present head, Pope John Paul II, is not one of the world's great evangelists, he is one of the world's greatest deceivers. He has done more to promote the false teachings of Roman Catholicism than any other pope in history. His mild, humble, reverent demeanor makes him especially valuable to Satan since he appears as "an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:13-15). His travels have taken him into almost every region of the world. His ability to speak fluently in several languages makes him an effective communicator. He is a master at the art of "double-talk," for he knows just the kind of language to use with certain groups—evangelical, ecumenical, charismatic, traditional Romanists or liberal, avante-garde Catholics. He has the unique ability to speak to large audiences that represent widely varying points of view religiously and politically. He knows how to give each of these groups some tidbits of encouragement even though they may disagree strenuously with his overall presentation. His recent statement concerning the continuing controversy between "science" and "religion" on the question of evolution vs. creation is but a further example of his ability to leave ample room for both views to exist within the Roman Catholic Church. The Bible clearly teaches creation, not evolution. Thus, those who teach evolution should be avoided according to 1 Timothy 6:20, 21.

As Pope John Paul II has visited countries where raw heathenism prevails or where professed Roman Catholics are devotees of Voodoo or other forms of devil worship, he has somehow managed to speak words of mild rebuke while leading his hearers to believe that they need not give up their "cultural heritages" in order to retain their "Catholic privileges." He has successfully managed to forge relationships, not only with professed Christian bodies and individuals but also with leaders of heathen religions. Tremendous power and prestige reside in the pope as the virtual dictator of millions of Roman Catholics worldwide. This power, coupled with the untold wealth of Vatican holdings and resources which he controls, causes international leaders and heads of state to bow at his feet as they seek religious, political or commercial favors and, of course, the pope's "blessing." Fidel Castro of Cuba, a communist dictator, tyrant and oppressor of several million of his own people, is the latest to come to Rome to work a deal that will profit him economically and enable the pope to visit Cuba, something John Paul II earnestly desires.

What does John Paul II plan for the immediate future? His plans are clearly and concisely set forth in his latest book, "Celebrate 2000!: Reflections on Jesus, The Holy Spirit and the Father" by Pope John Paul II. On pages 8-10 of the introduction by Paul Thigpen, we read, "Pope John Paul II has announced that the Church will observe the year 2000 as a 'Great Jubilee': a particular year of God's favor, a sign of His unfailing love, a season to remember and rejoice that two millennia ago, Christ came to set us free from the bonds of sin. Like all Jubilee years, it will be, he says, 'a year of the remission of sins and of the punishments due them, a year of reconciliation between disputing parties, a year of manifold conversions and of sacramental and extra-sacramental penance' ... It's time to give our souls a bath, to dress in our spiritual best, and to take in our hands the gift of our will, wrapped in a fervent desire to see Christ's Kingdom come.

"To help us get ready for this grand party, Pope John Paul II has outlined his strategy in his apostolic letter of November 10, 1994, 'As the Third Millennium Draws Near.' He calls for preparations to take two phases. The first phase, extending through 1996, is to make Christians aware of the value and meaning of the Jubilee Year. The second phase- consisting of the years 1997, 1998, and 1999 is intended to turn the Church's attention to God Himself, to help us grow deeper in our knowledge of Him, our love for Him, our joy in Him. Each of these years is to be devoted to reflection on a particular Person within the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

Remember that all the teachings of Pope Paul II and the Roman Catholic Church (like all religious leaders, churches and organizations) must be carefully examined in light of God's Word, the Bible. Of course, some of the statements of the pope and a few portions of the Roman Catholic Catechism contain scriptural truths. This is why so many people are being deceived today. They do not realize that counterfeit religions, like counterfeit money, must resemble the genuine in order to deceive those who lack spiritual discernment or those who have not had the opportunity or taken the time to carefully compare all the major tenets of Roman Catholicism with the truth of God's Word. Only when one compares men's words with Scripture will it become obvious that Roman Catholicism is a carefully crafted counterfeit, not the pure, genuine, biblical faith.

Roman Catholicism makes salvation a long, complicated process with no assurance of eternal life and forgiveness of all sin. Baptism, the Mass, Confession, prayers to Mary and the Saints, good works, and purgatory are all added to faith in Christ. By contrast, the Bible teaches salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Eph. 2:8, 9; Titus 2:13. Bible salvation is God's free gift to any sinner who believes with the heart that Christ died for his sins and rose again for his justification. 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 10:9-13. Bible salvation gives immediate assurance of eternal life. 1 John 5:10-13. Carefully read and believe John 1:12; 3:16-18; 3:36; 5:24; 14:1-6; 20:30,31. No church ever saved anyone, but Christ can and will save everyone who will come and trust Him as their Saviour. Acts 4:12; John 6:37; 10:27-30. Membership or faith in a church does not secure salvation for anyone, but trust Christ and Him alone and you will be saved for all eternity!

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