Why I am not a Roman Catholic

Source of Authority

The basic difference between Roman Catholics and Protestants is their source of authority.  For the Protestant, our authority is solely from the Scriptures.  For this reason I have quotations from the Scriptures below.

We do need to use our minds to sensibly figure out what the Scriptures are saying, and we also use the results of that have been obtained by previous generations as our guide in doing that, but the Scriptures are the ultimate standard.  For this reason I am also happy to quote from the Thirty Nine Articles of the Anglican Church, finalised in 1562, which confirm that my understanding of the Scriptures is not my own invention.

2 Timothy 3:14-17:

[14] But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, [15] and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. [16] All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [17] so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Article 6 – Of the Sufficiency of the holy Scriptures for salvation

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

Article 20 – Of the Authority of the Church

The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

But Roman Catholics add the authority of the pope/ church hierarchy and tradition. Basically they put the church in authority over the Scriptures, rather than the other way around.  Because of this all sorts of unscriptural doctrines and practices have been added.

How are we reconciled with God?

The most important issue flowing from that is the answer to the question of how we are reconciled with God:

According to the Scriptures, Jesus death dealt with all sins for all time for those who are his, and no more sacrifices are required.

Hebrews 9:26-28:

But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. [27] Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, [28] so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Hebrews 10:12-14:

[12] But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. [13] Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, [14] because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

But the Roman Catholics say that sins still need to be purged after we die, and that they perform a sacrifice for sins at the mass.  This means that we need to perform good works and have no assurance that we ultimately will be acceptable to God.

Article 31 – Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross

The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

According to the Scriptures, the way that we receive forgiveness is simply by putting our trust (faith, belief) in Jesus, not by any works (law keeping) that we do.  We then receive forgiveness as an undeserved gift.

Romans 3:21-24

[21] But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. [22] This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 3:27-28

[27] Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. [28] For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

Galatians 2:15-16

[15] “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ [16] know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 3:11

[11] Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”

Article 11 Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort

The Role of Good Works

Genuine faith will show itself by the way we live.

Ephesians 2:8-10

[8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— [9] not by works, so that no one can boast. [10] For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Article 12 – Of Good Works

Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s Judgement; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

And that is why James says that faith that does not express itself in works is dead faith.

James 2:17b, 24, 26

faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

[24] You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

[26] As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

However Roman Catholics say that we need to add to what Jesus has done for us. Ultimately they are saying that we are not saved by trusting in Jesus death, but instead by our own efforts.  This is denying the sufficiency of Jesus’ death on the cross and devalues it (and him).

Other Issues

Secondary issues that flow on from their rejection of the authority of the Scriptures is their view of Mary as being other than just a normal woman, and their practice of praying to the saints.

Article 22 – Of Purgatory

The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping, and Adoration as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

A more minor issue is their requirement for clergy to be celibate.  The Apostle Paul explicitly condemns this in 1 Timothy 4:2-3.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *