Pastor, Why? #22: Why is Catholicism Not Biblical?

Most religious and demographic studies include Catholicism as a Christian sect. However, distinct and serious doctrinal differences exist between Bible-based Christianity and the teachings of Rome. Catholicism should not be considered Biblical Christianity for these key reasons:

Catholicism has a different authority

The Vatican teaches that the Bible is not sufficient, insisting that church tradition and papal decrees are needed to supplement the Scriptures.

  • Church Tradition

“…it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty. Both sacred tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.” [Pope Paul VI, Dei Verbum, Nov. 18, 1965, par. 9]

  • Papal Decrees (“Bulls”)

-  “When Pope Pius XII defined this doctrine [‘The Assumption of Mary’--that Mary never died but was taken directly to heaven], he did not present explicit texts from Scripture or from Apostolic tradition. There is absolutely no clear and explicit testimony to the assumption in Scripture or in the writings of the Fathers of the first few centuries of the church’s life” [The Living Word in the Living Church, D. Murray, p. 24]. In other words, the Catholic author of this book admits that the pope dreamed up this doctrine, and since he was the pope and decreed it, it became so.

-  In A.D. 1616, Pope Paul V condemned the famous astronomer, Galileo, to chains and torture in the dungeon, declaring him a “heretic” because Galileo believed the earth revolved around the sun. In 1829 Pope Leo XII finally corrected the “inerrant” papal decree of Pope Paul V. Numerous other examples of foolish, yet supposedly infallible papal dictums are found throughout history.

       As with the cults, though Catholicism pays lip service to the Bible, the reality is that their traditions and directives take precedence whenever they contradict the Bible.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 7:7-9 - “...in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men.... Full well reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

Catholicism has a different gospel

The Catholic Catechism, official guide to Catholic Church beliefs, contains 2,865 numbered statements. The following quotations are taken from Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified, 2014:

  • Salvation is bestowed solely through the Catholic Church.“Outside the [Catholic] Church there is no salvation. All salvation comes from Christ through His Body, the Church, which is necessary for salvation....” [#846]  
    • i.e. - Salvation is bestowed only through union with the Roman Catholic Church, not through Christ alone. This contradicts the Bible (as well as catechism #1259 below).
  • Salvation is obtained through rituals and ceremonies

“The sacraments are necessary for salvation. Each bestows a special ‘sacramental grace’, by which the Spirit transforms the recipients” [#1129].

  • The Catholic “sacraments” are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. Catholicism teaches that each ritual, as well as the purchase of indulgences [1471-1473], shortens one’s time in Purgatory and moves one more quickly to heaven after death.
  • Jesus’ blood is not entirely sufficient to pardon our sins

“Those who die in God's grace but are not yet perfectly purified are guaranteed eternal salvation, but they must undergo purification after death to gain the holiness needed to enter heaven. This ‘Purgatory’ is totally different from the punishment of the damned. It is a cleansing fire” [#1030-1031].

  • i.e. Christ’s atonement is not sufficient to “perfectly purify” us.
  • Belief on Christ alone is not necessary for salvation

-   “Those who are ignorant of the Gospel and the Church, yet seek the truth and do God's will (according to their understanding) can be saved...." [#1259]

If any preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

Galatians 1:8-9

-   “God's plan of salvation includes all those who acknowledge the Creator. Among these are the Muslims who profess the faith of Abraham and believe in one merciful God as mankind's judge on the Last Day.” [#841]

  SCRIPTURES:   Matthew 7:21-23; John 19:30; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:5; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:27; 1 Peter 1:18-19;

Are Catholics Christians? The question might also be asked, “are Baptists and Protestants Christians?”, because the answer is the same. If anyone is trusting any church or any deed for salvation, he is lost. A truly born-again Christian might attend a Catholic church, but he cannot agree with Catholic dogma about salvation and be saved.