Why I Left
the Catholic Church
—Joseph C. Malone
This sermon was delivered by Joseph C. Malone in a lectureship program at Vickery Boulevard Church of Christ, Fort Worth, Texas, in 1949. He was one of nine speakers during this series of sermons. Each had left a denominational church and his assignment in the lesson was to tell the audience Why I Left.
These sermons were put into a book by that title and have enjoyed favorable comment and wide distribution over these intervening years.
Many of our students and national preachers in Third World countries have asked for such material to be used in their work of evangelizing their countries. They seem more sensitive to the need of refuting false doctrine than brethren have in this country the last few years. In fact, their correspondence indicates an urgency that most of us do not feel.
Since this sermon was delivered there have been many significant changes in the doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church. These items show plainly that they do not accept the Bible as the inspired word of God. They believe that the pope/cardinals of the Catholic Church have the authority to make make changes in their doctrine and practice without regard to what the Bible may or may not have said. Some striking examples are given. The following items are only examples from a longer list:
It is believed that the distinctiveness of the Lord's church pictured in the New Testament requires that differences between truth and error be clearly delineated. The thousands of national preachers and Christians in other nations have told me that one of the most pressing needs confronting them is to be able to reply to false teachers with Bible truth. With that task they ask for help. Where such Biblical information has been furnished them they have converted thousands of their people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is hoped that such tools as this written sermon will prove to be a useful instrument to assist them in evangelizing their countries.
I left the Roman Catholic Church because of its disregard for the Word of God. Should any be inclined to take issue with that statement relative to the Catholic Church, let me remind you that the Catholic Church maintains that "the Bible is a dead letter and unable to interpret itself." Yet, in the Bible, whether Catholic or not, we read, "The word of God is living and powerful [quick and active], and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). That is Heaven's pronouncement in regard to the matter. Further, the Catholic Church asserts, "We do not in anywise presuppose that the books of the New Testament are inspired, but, rather, they are only genuine, authentic documents written by honest men." John, one of the writers of the New Testament, wrote, "Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, 'Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on'" (Revelation 14:13). That is either an inspired statement or John was dishonest and, in either case, the Catholic Church would be in error.
Paul, another one of the writers of the New Testament, wrote, "If any one thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord" (I Corinthians 14:37). The attitude of the Catholic Church is the attitude of Diotrephes, "... but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words" (III John 9, 10).
The Bible becomes a "dead letter" to those whose doctrine it condemns; but, in the words of Paul, here is the attitude toward the Bible of those who respect heaven's way. "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" (II Timothy 3:16, 17).
Not only does the Catholic Church contend that the Bible is a "dead letter" and the New Testament is uninspired, but it maintains that the apostles appointed a "divine, infallible apostolate" to direct us. That is essentially the way the Catholic Church endeavors to make room in the realm of religion for papal edicts and the decrees of Romanist councils. But consider this: "For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first spoken us through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard" (Hebrews 2:2,3). Those who heard the word were the ones to confirm it, and that is in keeping with the following statement of Peter, "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." This was said in regard to one "... to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell" (Acts 1:21, 22, 25). Can this so-called "divine, infallible apostolate" qualify? And, after the word has been spoken and confirmed, what purpose could such an office serve?
I submit to you that the means of direction from earth to heaven is thereby fixed, complete and final. Listen to the apostle Paul, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation
of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:6-12). Thus, we are caused to better understand why the same apostle declared, "Now these things, brethren, I have transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written ..." (I Corinthians 4:6).
In keeping with that statement is this declaration of John's with its awful consequence, "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, does not have God" (II John 9). In closing the Book of God, John said in the last chapter, "For I testify unto everyone who hears the words of prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18, 19).
That statement, as already shown, is consonant with the tenor of the whole New Testament. Hence, this very vital conclusion is sustained: the Word has been spoken and confirmed; it is fixed, complete and final; and there is, therefore, absolutely no place or purpose in God's design for a so-called "divine, infallible apostolate." Please remember this conclusion. It is essential to a proper understanding of what we shall say henceforth. The weight of that conclusion, as it is readily arrived at in the Scriptures, might well account for why the Catholic Church contends that the Bible is a "dead letter." Now, perhaps it can be better understood why the Council of Trent, in its twenty-fifth session, decreed that a council under the pope should draw up and publish an index of books which were to be prohibited in the church. Among these is the Bible, which is said to have been first prohibited in the Council of Toloso. In the fourth of the ten rules, concerning the prohibited books as set forth in the Council of Trent, license to read the Bible is put under control of bishops and inquisitors. He that presumes to "read without such license cannot receive absolution of sins."
Recently, I had a conversation with a young lady who had been a government engineer and a Catholic. She is now employed in
a vital capacity with the American Bible Society, a non-profit organization which has as its purpose the distribution of Bibles and Testaments. Last year, that institution, in the pursuit of its noble course, distributed throughout the world some twelve million bibles and twenty-nine million New Testaments, and remember, without cost to the recipients.
Several months ago that young lady went to confession. While there, the priest asked her where she was working. She told him that she was working for the American Bible Society. He said, "You'll have to stop that." She inquired why—adding that she thought it was wonderful to spread God's Word. His answer was that such furthers Protestantism. If the distribution of Bibles and Testaments free from anything other than the Word of God furthers Protestantism, what can you say for Catholicism? Could there be any stronger indictment of the Catholic Church as a man-made religious organization that that? Incidentally, you might be interested to know that I baptized that young lady into Christ.
My father was a Catholic and was largely educated by the monks. My mother, who survives him, was not and is not, a Catholic. However, she permitted him to rear us children as Catholics. We attended a parochial school in the beginning of our formal education. We went to confession, took communion, attended mass and studied the Catechism. But my mother encouraged our study of the Bible and I recall quite well that often she gave us Bibles as presents and the text would be King James version. For where I am today, I owe much to her through the grace of God.
If memory serves me rightly, the first thing that caused me to suspect the fallacy of the Catholic Church and, consequently, the beginning of the "why" I left that apostate body, is this reading which I found in the Bible: ". . . Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven'" (Matthew 19:14). Though but a youth
who was otherwise little informed on the Scriptures, I could not reconcile Catholic doctrine of little children being born depraved with the statement of Jesus to the effect that the kingdom of heaven is of such as little children. I have grown some since then and now let me expound that matter a little further.
In the Bible we read, "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, 'See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?' Then Philip said, 'If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God'" (Acts 8:36, 37). When the eunuch asked to be baptized, Philip, by the inspiration of God, laid down a provision to be met: "If you believe with all your heart, you may." Whereupon the eunuch confessed his faith in Christ and was baptized.
Now this question: can a baby do that? In Hebrews 11:6 we read, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." He that comes to God must believe that God is. Can a baby qualify?
Now, we can readily understand this verse: "Then those who gladly received the word were baptized" (Acts 2:41). Who were baptized? They that gladly received the word. Well, that eliminates babies, does it not? Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16). That word and is a coordinating conjunction. It connects words, phrases or clauses of equal importance. Therefore, belief is just as essential to your salvation as is baptism and baptism is just as essential to your salvation as is belief. It is a case of two plus two equals four. It takes everything on the left-hand side of the equation sign to equal that which is on the right-hand side. Therefore, we are not saved by faith only, neither are we saved by baptism only. We are saved by faith plus baptism and that eliminates babies.
Someone may yet ask, "Well, what of babies? What if they die without being baptized?" My friends, you cannot be s-a-v-e-d until you are l-o-s-t; a baby is s-a-f-e. Remember, Jesus said, ". . . of such is the kingdom of heaven" Matthew 19:14). This is when one reaches an age at which he or she can understand the gospel of Christ as it concerns the primary steps of obedience, faith, repentance, confession and baptism.
Before we pass from the consideration of this subject, let me say that the Catholic Church ordered sprinkling or pouring of water upon one's head as baptism about A.D. 1311. Thirteen centuries after God's order was given to the world the practice of sprinkling for baptism was commanded by the Catholic Church and every religious body under heaven which practices such is merely aping the Romanist church. Here is God's definition of baptism: "Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him . . ." (Colossians 2:12).
As my conviction mounted that the Catholic Church was in error, I began to grope for the truth elsewhere. I eliminated certain churches from consideration on the basis that their names seemed, even to me, to be foreign to the Scriptures and to the church which I was persuaded that Christ had established. It was on such a basis that I eliminated the Baptist and Methodist churches. Since then I have found there is overwhelming justification for maintaining there is something in a name. How can one read in the Bible that God changed Abram's name to Abraham and Sarai's name to Sarah and Jacob's name to Israel and named Jesus and John before their births—and yet contend that the names by which the church is called in the New Testament have no significance! I have learned of other disparities in the religious bodies mentioned as time has passed, but I still maintain that the name being wrong is, in itself, sufficient error.
One Sunday afternoon in September, 1928, as I was sketching at the Dallas Zoo, three young ladies approached. One of them lived in my neighborhood and we had attended the same high school. She introduced the others, who proved to be her sisters, to me. Toward the close of a none too lengthy conversation, one of the sisters invited me to Bible school and church. I inquired, "Where?" She named a church of Christ meeting in south Dallas. I attended the following Sunday. Truth compels
me to say that I was not very much impressed with the Bible class and its study seemed to make no lasting impression, but I was very much impressed with the young lady—that may, or may not, account for the lack of impression otherwise. Anyway, several times thereafter I attended the worship there with her, but the preacher's sermons, to me, seemed to carry little force and less clarity and conviction. In due course, the young lady suggested that we begin to read the Bible together. It was agreed and we began the study of the New Testament.
Then, in the spring of 1929, while in the home of a certain young man, I listened to a radio sermon which he had seemingly flipped to just in order to employ my time while he took care of some household chore. The sermon was a plain exposition of the Scriptures with frequent reference thereto and it was masterfully delivered. The young man remained away until the entire sermon had been preached and congregational singing in the form of an invitational hymn had been sung. Then, I learned that I had been listening to the broadcast of the regular Sunday morning worship of the Pearl and Bryan Streets Church of Christ in Dallas with preaching done by C.M. Pullias.
This was a pioneering venture in religious broadcasting in Dallas, or, perhaps elsewhere, for that matter. The fruits of it in magnitude only eternity itself will disclose. My own experience impresses on me its possibilities for others. I am an advocate not only of the pulpit, for which there is not and can never be a substitute, but also of the press and radio and various new and usable means of visualization which are now being introduced for the promulgation of the gospel. The casual way in which I became a part of the audience of that radio sermon might suggest to many that it strictly a matter of chance. I do not share that view. Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8). I was seeking the truth; I had no personal axe to grind religiously and, by this time, I had little interest in attempting to exonerate the religious views of others. In short, I wanted to know what God would have me to do. I believe implicitly in the providence of God; and I, for one, am quite persuaded that the instance of which I now speak is an example of it, for which I give thanks to the Father of lights.
After hearing that sermon, I suggested to the young lady that we attend the services of the church of Christ at Pearl and Bryan Streets in Dallas. She was agreeable. We attended. The truth I learned in our Bible study together was augmented and clarified frequently by what I learned from the pulpit there. That young lady, to whom I owe so much, was formerly Miss Glendelle Myers, but for the past eighteen years she has been Mrs. Joe Malone. Coming to a knowledge of the truth and recognizing my responsibility before God, I was baptized into Christ on April 22, 1934, by C.M. Pullias, to whom I owe a profound debt, at Pearl and Bryan, where a congregation meets which I shall ever hold in grateful remembrance.
One's conversion is, in its nature, a personal matter and to it we have given some attention; but when I am called upon to speak with regard to "Why I Left The Catholic Church," the motives which prompted my conversion are brought into focus; and those motives, which constitute the "why" with me, far transcend mere personal experience and localized circumstance. Broad principles of truth are unalterably opposed by the Catholic Church. When I expose the error of the Catholic Church and show the danger therein, I am setting forth why I left the Romanist Church. Others are welcome to whatever seems plausible to them, but Catholic error is the "why" with me. Hence, let us examine that error in the light of the Truth as it is reflected in the Bible; and as we do, let it be borne in mind that thus I am continuing to establish why I left the Catholic Church.
When I speak of examining the church in the light of the Word, the Catholic Church will immediately contend that the church is authority for the Word and not the Word for the church. Jesus said, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). Let those contend that the Catholic Church is authority who will, but, as for me, I am
going to accept that authority by which I shall be judged in the last day: the Word of the Lord. Remember that He said, "All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). Jesus said of those whose religion is based on the tradition of men, "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." A bit later in the same connection He said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted" (Matthew 15:8, 9, 13).
Again, the Catholic Church relative to the Bible is prone to say, "If you accept the Bible, you must accept us for the Bible has been preserved by us and has come to you through us." My friends, the Lord is responsible for the preservation of His Word. As He said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My Words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31). Should it even be granted that the Catholic Church was the agency through which the Word was preserved for a season, what would it signify? Further, should one be ready to concede that the Bible was handed to us, in a sense, by the Catholic Church? Does it follow that we must believe in the Catholic Church in order to accept the Bible? If I must reposses the newspaper from the mouth of my neighbor's dog, does it follow that I must believe in my neighbor's dog in order to accept what I read in the paper? Those who accept the Bible and Bible alone plainly show that they reject all else.
Also, the Catholic Church is very prone to say (and she has a host of allies in this matter) that the force of any scriptural argument which is brought to bear upon her fallacy is "merely your interpretation." That reminds me of that classic poem about an owl critic. He proceeded to criticize an owl over the open door of a barber shop while the barber went on shaving. The critic pointed out that the fellow that stuffed that owl should have considered a live one. He said it was hunched over unnaturally, the expression on the face was all wrong, its claws were out of
shape and so on and on. Finally, the owl, with some to-do, left its perch and flew out the open door. Thus, some will profess the Bible to believe and yet deny the very thing they see, and, we might add, others will read the Bible with their father's spectacles upon their heads and see the thing just like their father said.
The Catholic Church would have the people think that they cannot understand the Scriptures and they must rely upon the priest for the proper "interpretation." Thus, millions of people are kept in the bondage of ignorance and are coached to say, "That's just your interpretation" when some passage from the Bible is brought to consideration in opposition to Catholic error. Here is the point: let the Bible speak for itself and when you see it in the Book believe it for what it says. Paul said of Timothy "From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures . . ." (II Timothy 3:15). If a child can understand it, can't you?
Further, if you say that you cannot understand it, you are charging God with requiring of you more that you are able to perform, for we read, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). We urge you to follow the example of the Bereans: "These were more fair minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).
Now, it is greatly hoped that we are ready to consider Catholicism in the light of God's Word and, in doing so, we will understand why I left it.
Hardly had the second century begun until certain people though they saw the wisdom of setting one man over an entire congregation and designating that man as priest. All Christians are priests, for Peter plainly states that such compose a "royal priesthood" (I Peter 2:5, 9). But, as to the oversight of an entire congregation of people, let us see what the scriptures say. In I Timothy 5:17 we read, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." The elders then are to rule in the church. We
might add, they rule, "Not as Lords over God's heritage, but as examples to the flock" (I Peter 5:3). What is the extent of their rule? In Acts 14:23 we learn that elders were ordained in every church. Thus, we are caused to know that there is to be a plurality of elders in each individual congregation. Since the elders rule jointly in every local congregation, it is evident that no one man is to appropriate all such authority unto himself. Furthermore, you do not read in the New Testament of any man, or set of men, having more authority under heaven in the church of the living God than do the elders in the church. That means that, in the manner of organization, there can be nothing larger than the local congregation with the oversight under a plurality of elders.
More time passes and some people thought it prudent to bring many local congregations in a given district under one head and so the bishop was introduced. The name "bishop" is synonymous with elder in the Scriptures and, as for the office given to the one so designated by the Catholic Church, there is absolutely no grounds in the Bible. With the passing of additional time, it was thought to be a part of wisdom to bring all the districts in a state or province under one head and so the archbishop was introduced. Both name and office are unscriptural and anti-scriptural. With the passing of further time—in fact, in A.D. 606—old emperor Phocus, who was himself a murderer and an adulterer, appointed Boniface III as the first pope. Should anyone be inclined to call that in question, being mindful as I am that Romanism proposes a certain lineage from the time of Peter, I think this one argument is enough to settle the matter: for the first six centuries there was no ecumenical council called but what was called by an emperor—never by a pope! The decisions of those councils were considered authoritative and nowhere in them was there the slightest or barest allusion to a pope. Why not? If there had been such, quite obviously, there would have been acknowledgement of the same.
Now, we have reached a vital juncture in our consideration. A pope has been appointed. The pope is supposed to be the successor of Peter; and yet, is it not strange that Peter, in neither of his epistles, recognized the eminence of that office? Rather, he referred to himself as a servant, as an apostle, as a fellow-elder. Further, is it not strange, as recorded in Acts 8, when it was desired to have men sent from Jerusalem to Samaria that they might lay hands on certain ones, that Peter and John were sent? Have you ever heard of a pope being sent anywhere? Can you, in the greatest stretch of your imagination, conceive of the present pope being sent on a mission by anyone? Does then Peter, being sent to Samaria, indicate the preeminence which is ordinarily attached to the office of pope? Something more: in the council held in Jerusalem as recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Acts, was it not James, if any one at all, who presided? Was it not James who handed down the the finality of the decision? Did not Paul say, "For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles." Does not Paul in the Galatian letter tell of withstanding Peter to his face, because he stood condemned? Peter associated with the Gentiles in Antioch before the coming of the Jewish brethren, but when they came, Peter withdrew himself from the Gentiles. Paul condemned Peter because he would have Gentiles live as did the Jews. Does that indicate the preeminence of Peter? You have heard it said that the Catholic Church never changes. Peter had a wife, as shown in Matthew 8:14. The Catholic Church would have you think he was the first pope. Can his successor take a wife? Peter being right, the Catholic Church is wrong. He was certainly not in harmony with it.
Let us consider, just for a moment, this matter of papal lineage. Did you know that after the papacy was introduced there was a period of seventy years in which there was no pope at all? Did you know that for another period of fifty years there were two lines of popes? And, did you know that, at one time, there were three popes? They were Benedict XIII, Gregory XII, the French pope, and John XXIII, the Italian pope. Where does all this leave papal lineage and infallibility?
When the pope is declared to be the pope, on his head is placed a three-tiered tiara, or triple crown, which means, according to Romanism, that he is the father of kings and princes, ruler of the world and vicar of Jesus Christ. The Prompta Bibliotheca, an official Roman Catholic almanac published by the press of Propaganda Fide in Rome, in its article under the heading of "Papa" states: "The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but, as it were, God, and the Vicar of Christ. The Pope is of such lofty dignity that, properly speaking, he has not been established in any rank of dignity, but rather has been placed upon the very summit of all ranks of dignities. He is likewise the Divine Monarch and Supreme Emperor, the King of Kings. The Pope is of so great authority that he can modify, explain or interpret even divine law." Pope Gregory said, "The Pope is the representative of God on earth; he should then govern the world. To him alone pertain infallibility and universality; all men are submitted to his laws, and he can only be judged by God; he ought to wear imperial ornaments; people and kings should kiss his feet; Christians are irrevocably submitted to his orders; they should murder their princes, fathers and children, if he commanded it; no council can be declared universal without the orders of the Pope; no book can be received as canonical without his authority; finally, no good or evil exists but in what he has condemned or approved." Now, my friends, I ask: "Is there, or has there ever been, in all professed Christendom, a parallel to the foregoing in arrogance and presumption?"
Let us see now if you do not quickly recognize a certain prophetic description which we shall read from the Word of God: "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:3, 4). Who is the man of sin, the son of perdition? He is the one who, as God, sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. If you were required to
describe such an imposter, could you possibly do it more completely than is done by that apostate church herself in the description of her head?
But, let us read from the Bible further beginning with the next verse: "Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:5-12). You notice that Paul states there was something which restrained, at that time, the revelation of the man of sin, even though the "mystery of iniquity" was already at work, but you will also note that the restraining force would be taken out of the way.
Now, let us turn to the thirteenth chapter of Revelation. There we read, "And I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. ... And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. All the world marveled and followed the beast. ... Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. ... Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He
performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads. ..."
On the basis of these various verses from the chapter stated, and bearing in mind the apostle Paul's description of "the man of sin" in the second chapter of II Thessalonians, let us consider a striking parallel as it is reflected in recorded history.
The empire of pagan Rome, like unto a cruel beast, truly wore the name of blasphemy. It was called the Holy Roman Empire. Can an empire be holy which killed the saints and supported with all its strength a worship of force and idolatry? There is blasphemy! As long as pagan Rome was in the ascendancy, her crowned heads claimed divine powers. Sufficient proof of this is seen in the fact that every ecumenical council for the first six centuries was called by an emperor. The cruelty of pagan Rome shows that she derived her power from the dragon, the devil
When the barbarian hordes swept down from the north in A.D. 476, the empire seemingly was "wounded to death." Babylon fell to rise no more. The Kingdom of the Medes and the Persians fell to rise no more. Apparently that would be the lot of Rome. But not so! The "deadly wound was healed" and "all the world wondered after the beast." Paul declared that the "man of sin" would not be revealed until that which restrained was taken away.
History plainly shows that as long as pagan Rome was in the ascendancy, papal Rome was held in check. In the fourth century Emperor Constantine recognized his version of "Christianity" as the true religion; and, by his gifts to the church and at
the point of the sword, he gave impetus to that movement which resulted in the ascendancy of papal Rome. As pagan Rome declined, papal Rome ascended. Out of the casket of pagan Rome emerged papal Rome! Thus the second beast makes his presence felt for, "He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence" (Revelation 13:12).
And, let me say just here that all the pageantry and display and pomp and ostentation of the Roman Catholic Church as is evidenced in her ornately decorated altars, the flowing robes and richly embellished garments of her priests and the tapers and incense—all of this—constitutes but relics of pagan Rome. And, speaks convincingly, itself, of the origin of papal Rome. And yet, the uninformed are taken in by such stuff, thinking that it is the mark of the true religion. How unlike Christ who, in the midst of Roman pageantry, was born in a stable and placed in a manger and who, some two years before his death, said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the son of man hath not where to lay his head." And, how unlike Peter who said, "Silver and gold have I none" is that one who sits pompously in the midst of the vast wealth of the Vatican while without the walls the impoverished Italians beg for bread; and yet many of them continue to pay allegiance to that imposter who, in no small degree, is responsible for their sad plight. Thus, the "strong delusion" works of which Paul spoke. Why cannot people see that, on the very face of it, such pageantry cannot be a part of the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ? We say with the apostle Paul, "I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (II Corinthians 11:3).
Further, this second beast is described thus: "He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon." How fitly that describes the Roman Catholic Church! Her outward appearance presents the meekness of a lamb, but her papal bulls and edicts disclose the voice of the dragon. "He does great wonders ... and deceives them that dwell on the earth, by means of those miracles which he had power to do. ..." Or, as Paul states in describing the man of sin, "whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." The so-called
"miracles" of the Catholic Church, such as those of the scapular, are sufficiently familiar to most of you to continue this striking parallel. "... As many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive the mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. ..." Romanism is intolerant when and where that church has the ascendancy. Consider the Inquisition; consider the slaughter of Huguenots; and, even today, consider the rank intolerance in Catholic dominated and benighted Spain as she struggles under Franco, the henchman of the pope. Also think, if you will, of the intolerance in Portugal and reflect upon the cruel suppression of the activity of other religious bodies in many South American countries—particularly such countries as Argentina under the papal servant, Peron—as the intolerance there has been brought to light time and time again by the protest of those religious bodies in the American press.
What has happened and is happening in other countries would happen here if the Catholic Church were in the ascendancy—that is my firm conviction. By their fruits, you shall know them! All of this stems from the idea that the pope should govern the world. Do not be deceived. The Catholic Church still entertains that hope. Hear her own spokesman, Cardinal Gibbons, in The Faith of Our Fathers, page 150: "For our part we have every confidence that ere long the clouds which now overshadow the civil throne of the Pope will be removed by the breath of a righteous God, and that his temporal power will be reestablished on a more permanent basis." (This quotation is taken from the 83rd revised edition of the above book, published in 1917.) Further, Paul tells us of the "deceivableness of righteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." Jesus tells us that God's Word is truth (John 17:17). The Bible contains that Word and yet those in bondage of Romanism permit themselves to be persuaded that "the Bible is a dead letter and cannot interpret itself." "... And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
What has been said plainly shows that the Catholic Church bitterly opposes the separation of church and state. When Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21), He forever separated the church, on the one hand, from the state, on the other. That period of spiritual degeneration, so aptly called the "Dark Ages," was the awful result of the merger of church and state.
Concerning this matter of the separation of church and state, one point which has been brought under very subtle attack is our public school set-up. As you perhaps know, some time ago the United States Supreme Court granted permission by a vote of five to four for parochial school children to be carried on public school buses. Later, Paul Connell, a lawyer in a school district in Pennsylvania, endeavored to force the local public school board to carry his daughter to a parochial school in a public school bus. The public school board refused. The matter was taken to the county court which sustained the decision of the school board. It was taken, in due course, to the state supreme court which upheld the former decision. Ultimately, it reached the United States Supreme Court which, but its action, gave support to the decision originally arrived at by the school board itself. But, do you not see the pattern? First permission is received and then compulsion is striven for. Catholics will argue that they pay taxes and, therefore, they are entitled to the use of the public school buses. They are entitled to the use of the public school buses on the same basis that every other taxpayer is: that is, that their children might be carried to some public school. Everyone welcomes their use of the public school buses on that basis. But, when any school—and I mean any school—teaches a peculiar religious dogma, it forfeits the right to state support and it thereby forfeits the right to the use of public school buses. Indeed so!
There are those, some of whom ought to know better, who are urging that the study of the Bible be introduced into the public schools. The public school is a state institution, being supported
by public funds. To argue that the Bible be taught therein is to waive the principle laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ concerning the separation of church and state. To contend that the Bible should be taught in public schools is also to waive the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Further, let it be borne in mind that all people who pay taxes support the state schools and if all tax-paying religionists did not have a voice in the particular course proposed for study, could not the slighted taxpayers say with Henry, "Taxation without representation is tyranny!" And if, on the other hand, all religionists did not have a voice in the course of study, tell me what kind of course would it be? Far better that there be no course than to have such a travesty. But the United States Supreme Court has ruled in this very matter and I have here the decision as reported in the United Press dispatch dated Tuesday, March 9, 1948: "Washington, March 8th—The Supreme Court ruled Monday that religious teaching in public schools, even on a voluntary basis, is unconstitutional." The eight to one decision was made in a case challenging the voluntary religious instruction system used in the Champaign, Illinois, public schools. The majority opinion, written by Justice Hugo L. Black, was based on the separation of church and state as provided in the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Justice Stanley F. Reed was the lone dissenter. Black held that the First Amendment "has erected a wall between church and state which must be kept high and impregnable." He added that the Champaign plan "falls squarely under the ban of the First Amendment."
It might not be amiss just here to read the language of some of our men of state concerning this very matter.
James G. Blaine presented this article in the House of Representatives as a Constitutional Amendment: "No state shall make any law representing an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by school taxation in any state for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund thereof, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised, or land so devoted, be divided among religious sects or denominations." It was stated by
Senator Blaine, as a matter of history, on the 15th day of February, 1888, that the defeat of this amendment was brought about by the Jesuits. Who are the Jesuits? A former Catholic priest has referred to them as "that society of storm troopers and mischief-makers of the Roman Catholic Church."
President James A. Garfield said, "Next in importance to freedom and justice, is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained. It would be unjust to our people, and dangerous to our institutions, to apply any portion of the revenue of the nation, or of the state to the support of sectarian schools. The separation of church and state, in everything related to taxation, should be absolute."
General U.S. Grant declared, "If we are to have another contest in the near furture of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon, but it will be between patriotism and intelligence on one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other. In this centennial year, the work of strengthening the foundation of the structure laid by our forefathers one hundred years ago, should be begun. Let us all labor for the security of free thought, free speech, free press, and pure morals, unfettered religious sentiments, and equal rights and privileges for all men, irrespective of nationality, color or religion. Encourage free schools, and resolve that not one dollar appropriated to them shall be applied to support any sectarian school; resolve that any child in the land may get a common school education, unmixed with atheistic, pagan or sectarian teachings; keep the church and state forever separate."
Abraham Lincoln stated, "As long as God gives me a heart to feel, a brain to think, or a hand to execute my will, I will devote it against that power which has attempted to use the machinery
of the courts to destroy the rights and character of an American citizen. But there is a thing which is very certain; it is, that if the American people could learn what I know of the fierce hatred of the generality of priest of Rome against our institutions, our schools, our most sacred rights, and our so dearly bought liberties, they would drive them away, tomorrow, from among us, or would shoot them as traitors. ... The history of the last thousand years tells us that wherever the Church of Rome is not a dagger to pierce the bosom of a free nation, she is a stone to her neck, and a ball to her feet, to paralyze her and prevent her advance in the ways of civilization, science, intelligence, happiness and liberty. ... I do not pretend to be a prophet. But though not a prophet, I see a very dark cloud on our horizon. And that dark cloud is coming from Rome. It is filled with tears of blood. It will rise and increase, till its flanks will be torn by a flash of lightning, followed by a fearful peal of thunder. Then a cyclone such as the world has never seen, will pass over this country, spreading ruin and desolation from north to south. After it is over, there will be long days of peace and prosperity; for popery, with its Jesuits and merciless Inquisition, will have been forever swept away from our country. Neither I nor you but our children will see those things." The beloved Lincoln made the statement just given at the conclusion of the trial of Mr. Chiniquy, author of the book, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome.
According to the book, American or Rome, Christ or the Pope by John L. Brandt, it was published in the various papers that Lincoln was born a Catholic, baptized by a priest and therefore was considered a renegade and an apostate. Although this was false, Mr. Chiniquy said to Lincoln at the time, "That report is you sentence of death."
The book further records that Lincoln's murder was planned in the home of Mrs. Surratt, a Roman Catholic. Booth, the murderer, was a Roman Catholic. Mr. Lloyd, who had the carbine that Booth wanted for "protection," was a Roman Catholic. Dr. Mudd, who set Booth's fractured leg, was a Roman Catholic. Garrett, in whose barn Booth tried to hide, was a Roman Catholic. The death of Lincoln was announced by Roman Catholics several hours before it occurred in St. Joseph, Minnesota, forty miles from a railroad and eighty miles for the nearest telegraph station. This fact is established in history.
After being apprehended, Booth said, "I can never repent. God made me the instrument of punishment."
Prominent government officials said, "We have not the least doubt that the Jesuits were at the bottom of the great iniquity." Mr. Chiniquy, Colonel Edwin A. Sherman and General Harris, friends of Lincoln, investigated the matter and unequivocally affirmed that Rome was the instigator of Lincoln's assassination.
I realize I have dwelt at considerable length on this matter of separation of church and state—but I consider it most vital and I am persuaded that the great principle involved is, in this great nation of ours, being subjected to constant and insidious attack. As for our public schools, I salute them as a bulwark of democracy. The Catholic Church charges that our public schools are Godless and inept. I answer, by their fruits you shall know them. Contrast the United States, the land of freedom and great achievement, with her public school system and high literacy standard with those countries burdened with Catholic education: benighted Spain and Portugal, backward Ireland, prostrate Italy, debauched France and the groping countries of South America. There you have sufficient answer! If we would maintain democracy as we know it, let us maintain our public school system as it is!
Now, let us proceed with our consideration of Romanist doctrine and thus continue to establish the disregard of God's Word as reflected therein, and thereby further set forth why I left the Catholic Church. The introduction of "Holy Water" could easily have been the first departure from simple New Testament teaching. Where, pray tell me, do you read in the gospel of Christ of Holy Water? Peter tells us that God has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness (II Peter 1:3), but God has not given us anything that pertains to Holy Water. Therefore, Holy Water is no part of life or Godliness. Furthermore, let it be constantly borne in mind that, as already established, the
revelation of God as it concerns our duty to Him is fixed, final and complete. As Jude would say, it has been "once delivered unto the saints." Hence, beloved, to teach or practice something not authorized therein is to fall under the indictment pronounced by John in these words: "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God" (II John 9). So, a little Holy Water becomes a violation of a great principle.
And, then there is the Latin Mass. Wherever you go upon the earth—in this country, Canada, England, France, Germany, the countries of South America or Africa or Asia—the mass is said in Latin, a dead language. Yet, the apostle Paul declared, "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say 'Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue" (I Corinthians 14:14-19). Let the Roman Catholic Church contend that the world-wide Latin mass is a mark of her universality and a sign of cohesion; the truth remains that it is a flat violation of the teaching of the apostle Paul which has just been given. Thus, again, the Catholic church disregards the Word of God.
Let us now take a look at the Sacrament of Penance. According to this point of Catholic doctrine, which is everywhere embraced, acknowledged and studied by Catholics, when men sin they incur the wrath of God and when they repent and received the Sacrament of Absolution, they are forgiven—but not altogether! The Council of Trent sets forth: "If any man shall say that the whole penalty is always remitted by God, together with the guilt, and that the only satisfaction of penitents is faith
whereby they embrace that Christ has made satisfaction for them: let him be accursed." Thus, the Catholic Church teaches that there are two punishments for sin, the eternal and the temporal. Now, by the Sacrament of Penance, the eternal punishment is remitted, but the temporal punishment remains due. Man must do something to appease the wrath of God regarding the temporal punishment. The priest determines what is sufficient to satisfy God in this matter. In Peter Dens' Theology, a long list of suggested works of satisfaction practiced in the Romanist Church is given: fasting, rising earlier, enduring cold, praying, reciting litanies, reading the penitential psalms, hearing masses, visiting churches, wearing sackcloth, making gift of food, clothes, money and so on. Let us see the gross offense to God's Word in this. First, it makes God's forgiveness incomplete. But hear the Lord in the matter: "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).
Second, it makes Christ only a partial Savior—the ministry of the priest is altogether essential; he must determine what more is necessary in order to satisfy God. But we read of Christ: "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Get it, my friends! Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him!
Finally, as already stated, it makes the priest an absolutely necessary mediator and in this we see the design of the Catholic Church to bind the people to herself through her system of priests and sacraments which they alone can administer. But, hear the apostle Paul in this matter: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5). There is one mediator; that mediator is Jesus Christ—and that eliminates the Catholic Priest from God's order.
Let us now have a look at the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. The first council that mentions the subject of purgatory is the Council of Florence in A.D. 1438. It decreed, "If any true
penitents shall depart this life in the love of God, before they have made satisfaction by worthy fruits of penance for faults of commission and omission, their souls are purified after death, by the pains of purgatory." In the Douay Catechism, we read: "Whither go such as die in venial sin, or not having fully satisfied the punishment due to their mortal sin? The answer: To purgatory, till they have made full satisfaction for them, and then to heaven. What is purgatory? The answer: A place of punishment in the other life where souls suffer for a time, before they go to heaven."
As to the nature of the punishment, Peter Dens states that it is two-fold: one of loss and one of sense. The punishment of loss is merely a delay of the beatific confession and punishment of sense in purgatory is caused by material fire. Bellarmine maintains that the punishments of purgatory are more severe, grievous and bitter than the greatest punishment of this world.
Damien, along with others, teaches the inhabitants of purgatory pass rapidly and painfully in baths ranging from cool to tepid, from torrid to frigid, from freezing to boiling. Thurcal tells us that among other things, the sufferers have to pass over a bridge studded with sharp nails with points upturned; the souls have to walk barefoot on this rough road and many ease their feet by using their hands; others roll with the whole body on the perforating nails until, at last, bloodily pierced, they complete their way over the painful course. Thus, in due course, they escape to heaven. Such are some of the visions of purgatory depicted by some of the Romanist theological writers. Such tales are as silly as pagan mythology. In fact, Plato, Homer and Virgil taught the same doctrine. Protestants of today have so exposed these absurd notions that Roman Catholics are sometimes hesitant to acknowledge such a portrayal of purgatory. Yet, the time was when the pope, the cardinals and their coworkers upheld such rigidly and to deny it was a mark of heresy. Their modern writers still maintain the punishment is extremely severe and is caused by material fire.
As to where purgatory is, Catholic authors cannot decide. Gregory the Great thought it to be in the earth's center and he
considered the eruptions of Vesuvius and Aetna as flames rising from it. Bellarmine thought purgatory between heaven and earth with the demons of the air. Damien, with others, concluded it might be in some flaming cavern or icy stream. The truth is, of course, that there is no such place. It is but the figment of Catholicism and is used to fatten the purse and bind the people to the ministry of her priests, as we shall see in our consideration of indulgences invented to release the sufferers from the imagined purgatory and transport them to paradise. Beloved, the Word of God very plainly teaches that our eternal destiny is sealed at the time of our physical death. Paul declares, "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (II Corinthians 5:10). We shall be judged by what we do in the body and James sets forth that "the body without the spirit is dead" (James 2:26). Hence, when we die in the body our eternal judgment and destiny are sealed! This, of course, is absolutely fatal to the theory of purgatory, a supposed place of future cleansing.
Listen to Jesus, whose native home is the other world, as He gives us the account of the rich man and Lazarus. "So it was that the beggar [Lazarus] died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torment in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.'" Now, take notice: "'And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, not can those from there pass to us'" (Luke 16:22-26). After death, there is a great gulf fixed between them which cannot be crossed, and—mark it!—that is before the final judgment, for later the rich man pleads that Lazarus might be sent to his father's house in order to testify to his five brethren. Remember, too, the account reads, "... The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in
Hades, he lifted up his eyes. ..." That is the sequence. So we see that after death there is a great gulf fixed that cannot be crossed. What purpose, then, can purgatory serve? It is not strange that Catholicism rejects the Bible; to accept the Bible would be to destroy Catholicism.
As soon as the Catholic Church had invented purgatory, she devised means of affording a fictitious key, namely indulgences, to unlock the door of that fictions prison called purgatory. The Catholic Church tells us that "an indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment of our sins, which the Church grants us outside the sacrament of penance. Can indulgences be made use of to the soul in purgatory? Yes, all indulgences that the Pope has indicated for that purpose." Pope Leo X stated, "We have thought proper to signify to you that the Bishop of Rome is able to grant to the faithful in Christ, indulgence either in this life or in purgatory—out of the superabundant merits of Christ and his saints." The bishop may grant indulgences in his diocese and the archbishop throughout the whole province, but the pope is the supreme dispenser of indulgences. An indulgence may be received by a man before he enters purgatory and so be happy. Or, an individual might operate retroactively in regard to certain works of alms, prayers and the like performed by someone for another. For example, a Catholic with sympathy for his relatives in purgatory might obtain an indulgence in the form of commutation of their sentence in that fiery region, securing in such a case an indulgence of a certain number of days or years.
According to a Catholic book of devotion, this brief petition, "Sweet heart of Mary, save me!" gives three hundred days indulgence every time it is repeated. From the infallibly authorized Book of the Scapular, we take note that: To those who wear the scapular during life, Mary makes this promise; "I, their glorious mother, on the Saturday after death, will descend to purgatory and deliver those whom I shall find there and take them up to the holy mountain of eternal life." To visit a Carmelite church on Saturday procures eighty-seven years of indulgence and the remission of two-sevenths of all sins; to wear a blue scapular gives full indulgence, cancels all sins and gives a free ticket to paradise.
Indulgences have been used to prompt crusaders to rise up against those who have opposed Catholicism; they have been used to purchase the remission of sins and to deliver souls from purgatory.
Mr. Chiniquy, in chapter twenty-five of his book Fifty Years in Rome, states that more than ten million dollars are expended annually in North America to help souls out of purgatory. At the time of writing, he stated that masses were said in Canada at twenty-five cents each and in many part of the United States at one dollar each, and that it was, therefore, a common practice for the bishops in the United States to have masses said in Canada for the departed souls and thereby make seventy-five cents on each mass. For many years it was a common practice for the bishops of Canada to send to Paris to have masses said at five cents each by the poorer priests there, thus saving twenty cents on each mass they were paid to celebrate.
When Martin Luther was serving as a priest in Whittenberg, Germany, Johan Tetzel, a Dominican priest, came through the region selling indulgences and telling the people that if they would buy those indulgences and couple with them severe penance, they would have the remission of their sins.
That seems to be the incident that prompted Luther to put his ninety-five objections to the Catholic Church on the door of the church building and then defy the whole Catholic hierarchy, pope included, to debate the merit of his objections.
I might add that the money thus obtained by Tetzel was going to complete the building of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. There was no scruple about this business of selling indulgences. Tetzel went so far as to proclaim that he had saved more souls from hell by his indulgences than the apostle Peter had converted to Christianity by his preaching. If that is not making merchandise of religion, pray tell me, what is it? Coming to a knowledge of the truth and being honest with myself, I could not stay in the Catholic Church. That is why I left.
The Catholic Church practices what she terms "extreme unction." She describes it thus: "Extreme unction is a sacrament in which by the anointing with holy oil and by the prayers of the priest, the sick receive the grace of God for the good of their souls, and often also their bodies. ... It [extreme unction] increases sanctifying grace; it remits venial sins, and those mortal sins which a sick person repents of; it strengthens the soul in its sufferings and temptations; it often relieves the pains of sick persons, and sometimes restores him to health. ... We should receive extreme unction when we are in danger of death from sickness." This is a shining example of Catholic arrogance and presumption. Not only is there no mention whatever of such a practice in God's Word, but for the first eleven hundred years of this Christian era there is no record of its ever being practiced among the people of earth. In the Converted Catholic Magazine of several months ago, there was an article, if I mistake not, having to do with the grave misgivings on the one hand, or the fears on the other, of Catholic youth engaged in World War II, who, on the eve of actual combat, reflected on the impossibility fo Catholic chaplains being anywhere present to administer extreme unction. Protestant youth understand that there is one mediator, Jesus Christ, and that He is truly omnipresent and hence, they are not concerned about the feigned mediation of one who, like themselves, has feet of clay.
The Roman Catholic Church practices and thus teaches, the use of mechanical instruments of music in the worship. Everyone who is a member of a religious body using mechanical instruments of music in its worship has no higher authority for the use of the same than the Romanist Church. The New Testament teaches us to make melody in our hearts (Ephesians 5:19) with the fruit of our lips (Hebrews 13:15). It further teaches us that this melody, our singing, is to be with the spirit and the understanding (I Corinthians 14:15). Can an insensate, mechanical instrument of music quality? You may read your New Testament very, very carefully and you will not find the remotest hint of authority for the use of them. What does that mean? It means that whoever practices it in the worship goes beyond the
authority of Christ and John states that he "does not have God" (II John 9). Of course, instrumental music is not wrong in itself; if that were true, it would be wrong anywhere at any time. But, remember one thing; it is wrong to introduce into what is professed to be Christian worship when God has not commanded us to do so. We cannot infringe on the silence of the scriptures.
When Pope Vitalian II introduced instrumental music into the worship in A.D. 666, it created such a furor that it had to be removed for about a hundred years. The matter of objection thereto, and division as a result thereof, has always followed in its wake. Indeed so!
Let me speak briefly of auricular confession and the arrogant contention that the priest can forgive sin. There is a curtained recess or box which is called the confessional in every Catholic Church. The penitent Catholic on bended knee there meets the seated Catholic priest and, as the priest questions, the penitent recites his various misdeeds since they last met. This is called "auricular" because it is made into the auricle, or ear, of the priest. It is but one of not a few abominable practices introduced during the medieval period. In fact, learned Romanists do not deny that auricular confession became a practice of the Catholic Church at the council of Lateran, A.D. 1215. Pope Innocent III, of the merciless Inquisition, was its founder. Catholics, generally, do not know that. Here is one reason why they do not: the Council of Trent declared, "Whoever shall say that the mode of secrecy confessing to a priest alone, which the Catholic Church has always observed from the beginning and still observes, is foreign to the institution and command of Christ, and is a human invention; let him be accursed...."
My friends, here is God's way: first, for the alien sinner—when, in Acts 2, the believing Jews cried out, "... 'what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:37, 38). No command here to confess to any priest or any other man for the purpose of obtaining absolution.
Now concerning God's way for those in the church: when Simon, after his baptism as recorded in Acts 8, had committed a grievous sin, Peter directed him as follows: "...Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you ..." (Acts 8:21-23). Peter did not direct him to confess his sins to a priest in order to obtain absolution. James, in giving instructions to those in the church, said, "Confess your trespasses one to another, and pray one another, that you may be healed" (James 5:16). My friends, that states, "Confess your faults one to another." It does not say to a priest.
Concerning another aspect of such a practice, Mr. Chiniquy, an ex-priest of good authority, says: "I have heard the confession of more than two hundred priests, and to say the truth, as God knows it, I must declare that only twenty-one had not to weep over the secret sins committed through the irresistibly corrupting influences of auricular confession. I am now more that seventy-seven years old, and in a short time I shall be in my grave. I shall have to give an account of what I now say. Well, it is in the presence of my Great Judge, with my tomb before my eyes, that I declare to the world that very few—yes, very few—priests escape from falling into the pit of the most horrible moral depravity the world has ever known, through the confession of females."
Let us look, just for a moment, at this question, "Does the Catholic Church really teach that the priests can forgive sin?" In Deharbe's Catechism, page 150, we read, "Question: Does the priest really forgive sins, or does he only declare them forgiven? Answer: The priests really and truly forgives sins through the power given him by Christ." How is the little child, or ignorant adult, or the one educated in a Catholic school, going to recognize how much the Scriptures are perverted by this statement? To forgive sins is God's perogative and He has never delegated it to any priest! "He as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself to be God." Such Blasphemy!
While speaking of the usurpation of that which belongs to God, let us consider the fact that the priest is called "Father." Jesus said, "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven (Matthew 23:8, 9). The usual Catholic quibble is, "You call your paternal parent 'father'." Yes, and Jesus speaks of the earthly parent in that manner, but here it plainly has a religious designation as the context shows.
Now let us briefly consider the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. The Council of Trent declared, "Whosoever shall deny that in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist are contained, truly, really and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, the entire Christ; but shall say that he is in it only as in a sign, or figure of virtue; let him be accursed." From one of the Catholic Mission Books comes this: "Question: How and when are the bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? Answer: This change is wrought by virtue of the words of consecration pronounced by the Priest during the Holy Mass." Thus, the Catholic Church teaches that the priest has the power to change the bread and wine into the very body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ; and then, permit us to add, the priest proceeds, along with his fellow communicants, to eat the very Lord whom he professes to have thus brought into being. This absurd doctrine and practice was no doubt what prompted Crotus, the Jew, to say, "Christians eat their God." The cannibal never eats the object of his superstition, but the Roman Catholic eats the object of his adoration.
Mr. Chiniquy, the ex-priest, declares, "The world in its darkest age of paganism has never witnessed such a system of idolatry, so debasing, impious, ridiculous and diabolical in its consequences as the Church of Rome teaches in the dogma of transubstantiation....It seems impossible that man can consent to worship a God whom the rats can eat...."
In instituting the Lord's Supper, Jesus took bread and said of it, "This is My body." When our Lord made that statement, He was very much in the flesh of His body and the blood was coursing through His veins. Yet, He used the present tense of the verb in declaring, "This is My body." Now this question: if the bread thus became the very body of Christ, what became of the One whose hand held the bread? Remember, He has but one body. Jesus also said, "I am the door and I am the true vine," yet none of us have any difficulty understanding that Christ is not a literal door or vine. Why then should anyone have difficult in understanding that Christ, in the body, said of a piece of bread, "This is my body"; that He did not literally become that piece of bread? Paul tells us,"...that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me [Christ]'" Now, can the bread be, at the one and the same time, the memorial and the thing memorialized? Paul tells us that the Lord's Supper is a memorial of the death of Christ until He shall come (I Corinthians 11:26).
Usually the Catholic will strive to justify his position by turning to the sixth chapter of John and reading, "Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you...For my flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed'" (John 6:53, 55). Where is the Lord's Supper mentioned in that chapter? That was spoken before He instituted the Supper. To take a text from the context becomes a pretext. Continue to read the chapter and Jesus gives this meaning: "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life" (verse 63).
In Deharbe's Large Catechism, we read: "Have we to drink of the chalice, to receive the blood of Christ? No, for under the appearance of bread, we receive also the Blood of Christ, since we receive His living body." Let the very words of Jesus refute that Catholic teaching, "Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you'" (Matthew 26:27). And, when we read in Mark 14:23, "Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them and they all drank from it."
Let us view for a short while the Catholic doctrine of celibacy. The Council of Trent decreed: "Whoever shall say that the clergy constituted in sacred order, or regulars, who have solemnly professed chastity, may contract marriage and that the contract is valid: let him be accursed....Whoever shall say that the marriage state is to be preferred to the state of virginity, or celibacy, and that it is not better or more blessed to retain virginity, or celibacy, than to be joined in marriage: let him be accursed." The Catholic Church imposes celibacy on the pope, the cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops, the priests and the nuns. Yet, God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him" (Genesis 2:18). We read in Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage is honorable among all...."
In the summer of 1946, a young lady who was a Catholic and who was preparing to become a nun attended the last service of a meeting in which I was preaching in Stratford, Oklahoma. Afterwards, she asked to talk with me. During our conversation, I pointed out that, if she became a nun as she planned, she was going to pervert the course that God would have her follow, and then I quoted this statement made by the apostle Paul, "Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully" (I Timothy 5:14). I am happy to say that, after some two hours of our considering the Bible versus Catholicism, I had the very great pleasure of baptizing that young lady into Christ.
In the Theology of Ligori, Volume 8, page 444, we read, "A Bishop, however poor he may be, cannot appropriate to pecuniary fines, without license of the Apostolical See. But he ought to apply them to pious uses. Much less can he apply those fines to anything else but pious uses, which the Council of Trent has laid upon non-resident clergymen, or upon those clergymen who keep concubines." Think of it! If a clergyman of the Catholic Church marries, he is excommunicated, but if he keeps a concubine, he merely is subject to a fine. Indeed, it is a strong delusion that can ensnare people in a religion that teaches such!
It is no wonder that the St. Louis Republican of June 20th, 1887, printed a letter from Bishop Hogan of the Catholic Diocese of St. Louis in which he gives a list of twenty-two priests received into his diocese the fifteen years prior to 1876 whom he was compelled to dismiss on account of immoralities. About the middle of the past century, Bishop Vandeveld, of Chicago, said of the conduct of priests in his diocese: "...they are all either notorious drunkards, or give to public or secret concubinage." Finally, concerning this matter of forbidding to marry, listen to this language from the Bible: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth" (I Timothy 4:1-3). If ever God, in His Word, points the finger of inspiration at a religious body and brands it apostasy, He does in this instance. Which body? That one which forbids to marry and commands to abstain from meats. But, with Catholicism, the Bible is a dead letter. No wonder!
The Roman Catholic Church had considerable difficulty deciding that her pope is infallible, and the matter required much time. In fact, it was not until the Vatican Council of 1870 that the infallibility of the pope was adopted. Here is the result of that council's vote on the matter: For 451, against 88, 62 would accept if modified, and 70 did not vote at all! On the basis of that, a fallible cardinal becomes infallible in the administration of his office when appointed pope. Who can believe such? And, remember, this was adopted more than eighteen hundred years after Christ had given to the world His fixed, final and complete revelation of what constitutes acceptable service to Almighty God.
The use of relics and images by the Catholic Church is common knowledge. Suffice it to spend a few moments on
the matter. About 601, Gregory the Great condemned the use of images in the strongest terms. He very highly commended the Bishop of Marseilles for breaking the images to pieces. Yet, at the Council of Trent, A.D. 1545, a decree was pronounced and is authoritative today, to the effect that "images were to be retained and due honor and veneration to be given them as representing those whose likenesses those images bear." Thomas Aquinas said, "The same reverence is to be paid to the image of Christ, as to Christ himself."
Did you ever see a Catholic statue supposed to be a likeness of the adult Christ in which his hair was not shown as long—dropping, perhaps, to the shoulders? The apostle Paul declares that even nature teaches that it is a shame for a man to have long hair (I Corinthians 11:14). Do you think that Jesus would violate that declaration which He moved Paul to record? Did you ever see a statue of Jesus in which He was not portrayed as being beautiful in body? Yet, Isaiah said of Him, "...when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2).
I have said the foregoing in order to point out this statement: no one knows how Jesus looked in the flesh and I submit to you that here is sufficient grounds for withholding such from man, "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you may not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord, your God am a jealous God..." (Exodus 20:4, 5). It is no strange thing that the Catholic Church has entirely eliminated the wording of this second commandment of the Decalogue from its versions of the Catholic Baltimore Catechism, taught in all its parochial schools. The Bible becomes a dead letter to that religion which it condemns.
Life magazine, reporting the ceremonies in Ottawa, Canada, in June 1947, at the Marian Congress, pointed out that a great procession of devout people knelt and kissed the foot of the giant statue of Mary "until the paint wore off its toes." Pictures in L'Europeo, an Italian newspaper, of April 5, 1947, shows that devout Catholics in Naples continue to crawl at full length on their stomachs before the images of their Madonnas and lick the ground with their tongues on their way to the statues. Some
years ago, the New York Department of Health was compelled to put a stop to this practice among the Italian people in the Bronx, because it resulted in so many cases of tetanus. Such idolatry!
Catholics pray to Mary, to their saints and here is a prayer found in the Breviary for the 14th of September, addressed to the cross as if it were living: "O cross, more splendid than the stars, illustrious throughout the World, much beloved by men, more holy than all things, who alone was worthy to bear the treasure of the world, bearing sweet wood, sweet nails, a sweet burden, save this present multitude assembled this day in thy praise."
As for prayers to Mary, in a book published by the Excelsior Publishing House, New York, 1891, and which book is entitled Glories of Mary and which was approved by the Archbishop of New York, on page 84 we read, "Sinners receive pardon only through the intercession of Mary." In the rosary, Catholics call on our Father some fourteen times and upon Mary some fifty-three times. The Bible teaches that "...whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).
Nowhere in God's Word are we taught to pray unto anyone other than God, and nowhere is His Word are we taught to pray through anyone other than Christ, who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
Catholics exalt Mary thus: "Thou art called the Mediatrix of all grace, the Refuge of afflicted hearts, the Advocate of desperate causes, the unfailing succor of all in need. It is through Thy maternal Heart that all benefits come to us. Filled with confidence in Thy Immaculate Heart which we venerate and love, we come to Thee with our pressing needs and many supplications...."
The Catholic Church addresses Mary as the "Mother of God" even though the first four words of the Bible declare that it is not so. On occasion, Catholics pray "five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys"; and, at such time, they pray the same prayers though five times in undelayed succession. But listen to Jesus, "When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words" (Matthew 6:7).
According to a recent issue of the Time magazine, next year on the occasion of the present pope's fiftieth anniversary of entry into the priesthood, the Catholic Church is going to proclaim the ascension of Mary as a tenet of Catholicism! (This sermon was in November 1948.) And, Catholics will accept it! Thus Catholicism, like paganism, has her high priestess! Now, listen to the Bible: "And it happened, as He [Jesus] spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!' But He [Jesus] said, 'More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it'" (Luke 11:27, 28).
The Catholic Church gains her adherents through three principal channels:
How can a man or woman find such attraction in one of the opposite sex as to be willing to consign their unborn children to such an apostasy?
Thus I have set forth why I left the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church disregards the Word of God and is not the church of the New Testament. I believe that I have established
that in the light of the truth. I thank God that I am a member of the church of Christ, which takes its stand upon the Bible.
Beloved, Jezebel, with her idolatry, is at work in the land. We see bowed forms before her in the press and on the screen. This is no time for weak-kneed Protestantism; this is a time for courageous, concerted action on behalf of truth. Cast out that evil influence, as was Jezebel of old! How? Exalt and spread the Bible's influence. No one can embrace Catholicism without rejecting the Bible. The sword of the spirit is the Word of God.
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