Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Reminds me again of why I left the Roman Catholic Church

At least four people sent me links to the Pope's recent comments affirming pre-Vatican II dogma concerning Christians who were outside the Roman Catholic Church. Very simply, Pope Benedict has contradicted the decision of the Vatican II Council by stating non-Roman Catholic Churches were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation." Benedict states, "Christ 'established here on earth' only one Church," The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession -- the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles -- and therefore their priestly ordinations are not valid.

Such comments strike at the reason I chose to leave the Roman Catholic Church. Quite simply, I think the office of Pope has no biblical basis and so just as Benedict questions the legitimacy of non-Roman Catholic Churches, I also question the legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church. I'm certainly not suggesting there are not genuine believers in the Roman Catholic Church, just that the church is unbiblically governed and fraught with theological error.

The Roman Catholic insistence and affirmation of some sort of "apostolic succession" is what ultimately renders the Roman Catholic Church erroneous. I believe the Church of Christ is to be governed by Apostolic authority, however, this refers to the deposit of revelation God gave to His Prophets and Apostles, otherwise known as the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures, therefore, are the locus of authority for the Church- not a Pope. I take seriously the aims of Christ's prayer concerning the Church in John 17:20-21 where He prays-

"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

To what does "their word" refer? It's the Word of the Apostles, ultimately, the Word of God- the Bible. Unity, yes. At the expense of the truth, no. The Roman Catholic church is so riddled with biblical and theological error that it seems beyond repair. I'm all for reform, however it would start with the Pope repenting and divesting his office forever. There cannot be unity among Christians without agreement on something as simple as authority. Who has it, the Pope or the Scriptures?

Very simply, when I made the cognitive choice to leave the Roman Catholic Church, here are some of the main points of biblical disagreement that prompted me toward the Reformed Church:

- Salvation is by grace alone through faith, and not by our own good works.
- The Bible alone is the authoritative Word of God for our lives—not church tradition or what the Pope says.
- All believers are priests of God, anointed in Christ to serve him always, everywhere, in all they do.
- God gave us two sacraments, baptism and communion, which are signs and seals of God’s promises (not seven).
- A clergy’s blessing of the communion bread and wine do not really turn them into the actual body and blood of Christ.
- The original sinful condition in which we are born as well as our actual sins are all fully washed away by Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross.
- Prayer should be directed to God alone through Christ, not to or through "saints" or Mary.

Pope Benedict can certainly say what he wants to say, he's the Pope. That's the way it works in the Roman Catholic Church.

He's following a long Papal tradition, one called error.


Benjamin P. Glaser said...

AS I stated on a separate blog this is really an interesting development for many reasons. My Catholic friends all assured me that the election of Pope Benedict XVI was purposefully a step to start rolling back the reforms of Vatican II and it looks like they were right.

TB said...

It’s sad that one person or rather a chain of people think they can overrule what God says.

Without any education or bible study, I realized that no man has the authority to permanently withdraw communion from a person because of somebody else’s actions. I will not even bother with the rest - the list just goes on and on.

I am not sure if I should admit that I am seriously considering attending Avila University for a graduate program.

AJF said...

This is true, however, Benedict is almost 80. He won't "reign" long. It will interesting to see who takes his place.

Qayaq said...

Maybe next will be a resurgence in the sale of indulgencences...

Frontier Forest said...

Such false and heretical claims, from one of the most influential men in the world, are deeply disturbing. Since I had such high hopes for this man, I am truly saddened by such remarks. He seems steadfast and unbending in so many crucially important social issues. But now his words are strong/wrong and bitter medicine! For the millions who look to this man (not Man) for guidance, his every word and untimely comments are doing exactly the opposite of what he intended. Far from uniting the body; such thoughts will continue to confuse and divide. Jesus said, “Sanctify them in the truth; THE WORD is truth!” John 17:17

Qayaq said...

I wonder what this does for the ECT ?
(Evangelicals and Catholics Together)

AJF said...

ECT is/was a mistake.

Rick Calohan said...

Tony your post was not only timely but also rooted in Grace and Biblical truth. My cousin (a former Catholic) has also been witnessing to his Catholic friends for quite some time on the perils of Rome. My cousin also forwarded a similar news item, to his Catholic friends and to me. I have forward this link and links to Redeemer PCA and your sermons to this same email group and it is my prayer that they too shall see the errors of Rome and come to know the Redeemer through the authority of Scripture. I also pray that your own witness of your transformation and sound apologetics shall be used for God’s Glory and bring many a lost sheep home.

However, I am mindful of the Elect and the un-elect; my wife Dorothy was raised Catholic but in the almost three years of knowing one another she too has seen the errors of Rome that you and many former Catholics have pointed out and has embraced the five solas of our faith. That for us is Amazing Grace that God has Chosen his Elect and molds and shapes us in the truth and knowledge of His Holy Word. This is not to say the only way to reform a Catholic is to marry one, but keep in mind other Catholics pre-Reformation reformers Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, the reformers Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox were all former Catholics who found the truth in Scripture and the heresies in the man made traditions of Rome.

On personal note I am pleased to announce that my wife Dorothy is now with child (6 weeks pregnant) so with God’s will we shall have a child rooted in Grace and knowledge of our risen Lord through our Reform faith or as the Pope would proclaim, “Oh my another heretic and schismatic shall be born on or about March 4, 2008.”

Rick Calohan

Salvation is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in the Scripture alone to the Glory of God alone! Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria!

M. Jay Bennett said...

Check out this article and the discussion it prompted in its as well as subsequent articles' comments sections.

Very misinformed perspectives from notable evangelical scholars.

JDogg said...

Sure he's wrong and all, but man! That's a wicked-cool hat he's got.