The One True Church
by Bartholomew F. Brewer, Ph.D.
Former Roman Catholic Priest
**All Scripture quotations and references are taken from the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Translation of the Catholic New Testament and the Douay Version of the Old Testament**
THE TRUE CHURCH
The Roman Catholic Church claims to be God's true Church and all members are to promise obedience to the Bishop of Rome, whom she claims is successor to Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles and Vicar of Jesus Christ.
The Roman Catholic Church is built on the assumption that in Matthew 16:13-19 Jesus appointed Peter the first pope and so founded His Church and established the papacy. If this is true, then all true Christians must become Catholic, if it is false, the whole Catholic religion is false and cultic and no true Christians could be identified with such a system. We must, then, search the Scriptures in order to know what is true. The Scriptures are not merely the writings of men, "But holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:21). "All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for instructing in justice; that the man of God may be perfect, equipped for every good work: (II Timothy 3:16-17). "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words (the Bible) shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). Both Scripture and history testify to the authenticity, reliability, efficiency, and sufficiency of the Bible. Though some translations are better than others, most are reliable enough for general study.
When Jesus, in Matthew 16:18, said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" He used the demonstrative "this" (taute), pointing to Peter's confession, "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God" as the rock. Jesus said, "Thou are Peter (petros, a stone - all believers are stones, see I Peter 2:5 and Ephesians 2:21), and upon this rock (petra, a huge rock foundation - the confession that Jesus is the Christ), I will build my church". He did not promise to build His Church upon Peter. Jesus would not have trusted such a precious possession as His Church to the leadership of even one fallible man much less a whole succession of them. The pope of Rome is called the Vicar of the Son of God (Vicarius Filii Dei). In the Bible we find that the Holy Spirit, not a pope, was sent to take the place of Jesus on earth. That is what Vicar means. The Holy Spirit was given to guide us into all truth (John 16:7-15) and the Scriptures were given for teaching, for reproving, for correction, and for instruction (II Timothy 3:16). Christ did not leave His Church to human leadership. Jesus Himself is still the Head of His Church. He speaks to us through His infallible Word, the Holy Scriptures, by His ever present and infallible Holy Spirit.
Let us remember that Christ is the Rock and only Head of the Church. I Corinthians 3:11. For other foundation no one can lay, but that which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 10:4. The rock was Christ.
Ephesians 1:22,23. Head over all the Church.
Ephesians 2:20. Christ Jesus... the chief corner stone.
Around thirty-four times in the Old Testament God is call a Rock or the Rock of Israel. You see, the Bible clearly teaches that when Jesus founded His Church, He was to be the only Head, the Holy Spirit the Vicar and Guide, and the Bible the only authority for faith and practice. All true Christians constitute THE TRUE CHURCH (those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, who believe and obey Christ's teachings). True believers were called "Christians", not "Catholics".
Acts 11:26 Disciples were first called Christians.
Acts 26:28 Persuade me to become a Christian.
I Peter 4:16 Suffer as a Christian
There were no Roman Catholics until Christianity was merged with paganism into a state religion around 315 A.D. The true Christians obeyed God's Word, they never joined in the pagan corruption. The gates of hell have never prevailed against the true believers, they are few, their way is narrow, they would rather suffer martyrdom than compromise the Word of God or deny their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. "Go out from her, my people, that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues" (Apocalypse 18:4). Believers must not be identified with compromising or counterfeit Churches!
The Pope is called "Our Holy Father". See encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII in the Douay Version of the Bible. He is also called "Our Most Holy Lord", Pope Pius X. See Cardinals Oath. Moreri, a famous historian said, "To make war against the Pope is to make war against God, seeing the Pope is God and God is the Pope". Decius said, "The Pope can do all things God can do". Pope Leo XIII said of himself, "The supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God himself." Pope Pius X said, "The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ himself hidden under the veil of the flesh. Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who speaks." Pope Pius XI once declared, "You know that I am the Holy Father, the representative of God on earth, the Vicar of Christ, which means that I am God on the earth." All this is blasphemy!
Isaias 44:8 Is there a God besides me?
Matthew 23:9 Call no one on earth your father.
Ephesians 4:5 One Lord.
Philippians 2:11 Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
I Peter 5:3 Nor yet as lording it over your charges.
I Peter 5:1-4 I, your fellow-presbyter.
Peter called himself a presbyter (pastor), not a pope. He refused honor (Acts 10:25,26) saying "Stand up for I myself also am a man". The apostles argued regarding who was greatest in the kingdom (Matthew 18:1) which indicates that even they did not accept Peter as head of the Church. The wealth and power of the Roman Popes could have come to Peter or any of the apostles. They had charisma, they could heal and raise the dead and perform many other miracles. They could have accumulated gold and land and conquering armies, but they gave away all that was placed at their feet (Acts 4:37, 3:6). They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 5:41). How could anyone be so naive as to think that the papacy evolved out of such humility and simplicity. The office of Pope is of pagan origin and cannot in any way be substantiated in Scripture. Because of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit, such an office is not necessary or even desirable.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ ordained the twelve apostles to the priesthood at the Last Supper and that the powers of the priesthood were handed down during the past two thousand years. This teaching is clearly contrary to the Word of God.
In the Old Testament the work of Christ was prefigured under the three offices of prophet, priest and king. The nation of Israel had each office. With the coming of Christ each of these offices found its fulfillment in Him. Thus in the New Testament there is no need for a human sacrificing priesthood.
John 19:30. It is consummated.
I Timothy 2:5. There is one God, and one Mediator...Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 7:24. Because he continues forever, has an everlasting (non-transferable, intransmissible) priesthood.
Hebrews 7:25. He lives always to make intercession.
Hebrews 7:27. He does not need to offer sacrifices daily.
Hebrews 9:12. Having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews 10:10. We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
I Corinthians 12:28. God indeed has placed some in the Church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers...(no mention of sacramental priests).
Ephesians 4:11. He Himself gave some men as apostles, and some as prophets, others again as evangelists, and others as pastors and teachers...(again no mention of sacramental priests).
I Peter 5:1-3. I, your fellow-presbyter and witness...(Nothing about being a priest).
The office of priest is not the same as minister. The concept of a mediating, sacrificing priesthood originated and developed under Cyprian, the theological authority in the West until the time of Augustine, and was part of the merger of paganism with Christianity. Nowhere in the Scriptures will on find evidence of a mediating, sacrificing priesthood after Christ.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It also teaches that the Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross. Both are against God's teaching.
Hebrews 7:27. He died once for all.
Hebrews 9:11-15. He entered once for all.
Hebrews 9:26. Once for all.
Hebrews 9:28. Christ offered once.
Hebrews 10:10. Once for all.
Hebrews 10:11,12. One sacrifice for sins.
Hebrews 10:14. For by one offering.
Hebrews 10:15-20. There is no longer offering for sin.
If Christ is offered again by Roman Catholic priests as they claim, then the above Scriptures are not true. There are more than 100,000 Masses said all over the world every day. Jesus suffers the terrible agony of Calvary at least 100,000 times every twenty-four hours instead of "once for all" as the Scriptures teach. We must believe the Scriptures. If we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ and seek to follow His Word, we will have no regard for the teaching that the bread and wine are "changed" into the body and blood of Christ and then presented to God as a sacrifice by which God is appeased and atonement o sin is made. When Jesus said, "This is my body" or "blood", He did not "change" the substance, but was explaining that He is the one "represented" by the Passover bread and wine. Jesus did not say touto gignetai, this has become or is turned into, but touto esti, which can only mean this represents or stands for. Just as the Passover was a remembrance, so is Communion of the Lord's Supper a remembrance until He comes. The Roman Church, in advocating the doctrine of transubstantiation, departs from the literal sense of Scripture. May we be able to say with the Apostle Paul: "We at least, are not, as many others, adulterating the Word of God." (II Corinthians 2:17)
CONFESSION OR THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that her priests exercise the power of forgiving sins by hearing confession of sins and granting pardon for them as ministers of God and in His name.
This teaching is not from the Bible.
I Esdras 10:11. Now make confession to the Lord the God of your fathers.
Mark 2:7. Who can forgive sins, but only God.
Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other.
Acts 8:12. Repent...and pray to God. (Peter did not hear his confession and forgive him, but said, "pray to God".)
I John 1:7. The Blood of Jesus Christ...cleanses us from all sin.
I John 1:9. If we acknowledge our sins. (To God, not to a priest - automatic confession and absolution.)
I John 2:1. If anyone sins we have an advocate (Jesus) with the Father.
Throughout the Bible remission of sin and salvation are connected with faith in Christ, nowhere with priestly absolution. In order to support her tribunal upon earth, the Roman Catholic Church mis-interprets Matthew 16:19, "I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven". Also Matthew 18:18, "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven". And John 20:23, "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained". First of all, the "keys of the kingdom" refers to the authority to proclaim the terms of salvation in Christ. This is the privilege and duty of all Christian believers. The authority to bind and loose is first and foremost the commission to proclaim the gospel which liberates those who believe it, and consigns to bondage those who reject it. The Roman Catholic Church misinterprets this text in order to support the practice of confessing sins to a priest. The Biblical context clearly indicates, however, that the words of Matthew 16:19, 18:18, and John 20:23 were not only spoken to the apostles but also to those believers who were with them. Christian ministers are to preach repentance, but nothing is said about hearing confession and the granting of absolution (forgiveness of sins).
The most important question pertinent to religion is, "how may a man obtain the forgiveness of (his) sins?" Here is where the most significant deviation occurs. The Bible teaches that "faith" secures the remission of sins (Acts 10:43) while Roman Catholicism teaches that the "sacraments" (in addition to faith) do. We must be very precise here for the Apostle Paul said that any different way of salvation, even if given by an angel, would be accursed. Jesus said that the seed sown on good ground "understood" the way of salvation (Matthew 13:23). We urge you to embrace the Lord's way and let go of the former way. The Scripture says, "Having been justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). One Catholic writer is defending his Church made a statement that we all should heed. He said that if faith alone saves "the whole traditional structure of Christianity is a needless empty show, the Mass, the sacraments, the sacrificing priesthood, the teaching hierarchy, the papacy, practices of penance, asceticism, habits of self-restraint, prayer. Nay, these things are a hindrance, an enormous sham, a terrible system of lies, and therefore to be utterly swept away and destroyed." Philip Hughes, A POPULAR HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, p. 176. True Biblical Christianity rejects the notion that salvation is a moral process, that the sinner is "made" just, or "works out" his salvation by his own deeds.
Heed what God teaches in the following texts:
John 3:3. Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that those who believe in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
John 5:24. He who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has life everlasting, and does not come to judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other.
Romans 4:5. but to him who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the impious, his faith is credited to him.
Romans 4:6. David declares the blessedness of the man to whom God credits justice without works.
Romans 3:28. We reckon that a man is justified by faith independently of the works of the Law.
Romans 5:1. Having been justified therefore by faith.
Romans 10:3. Ignorant of the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to the justice of God.
Titus 3:5. Not by reason of good works that we did ourselves, but according to his mercy...
Prayer: Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus I ask forgiveness of my sins. I give my life to you that I may receive the Son and that the Holy Spirit may work in me to will and to do of His good pleasure. Because your Word says so, I believe that You have heard my prayer and have forgiven my sins. I promise to study and obey the Scriptures so that my knowledge and faith can increase. Amen.
ROMAN CATHOLIC INVENTIONS
1. Presbyters first called priests by Lucian 2nd c. 2. Sacerdotal mass instituted by Cyprian 3rd c. 3. Prayers for the dead A.D. 300 4. Making the sign of the cross A.D. 300 5. Wax candles A.D. 320 6. Veneration of angels, dead saints, and images A.D. 375 7. Mass became a daily ritual A.D. 394 8. Beginning of exaltation of Mary, term "Mother of God" first applied to her by Council of Ephesus A.D. 431 9. Priests began to wear special clothing A.D. 500 10. Extreme Unction (Rite of Healing) A.D. 526 11. The doctrine of Purgatory by Gregory I A.D. 593 12. Latin used in worship A.D. 600 13. Prayers offered to Mary, dead saints and angels A.D. 600 14. First man to be proclaimed Pope (Boniface III) A.D. 610 15. Kissing the Pope's feet A.D. 709 16. Temporal power of Popes, conferred by Pepon, King of the Franks A.D. 750 17. Veneration of cross, images, relics authorized A.D. 786 18. holy water, mixed with pinch of salt, chrism, and blessed by a priest A.D. 850 19. Veneration of St. Joseph A.D. 890 20. College of Cardinals begun A.D. 927 21. Baptism of bells instituted by Pope John XIII A.D. 965 22. Canonization of dead saints by Pope John XV A.D. 995 23. Fasting on Fridays and Lent A.D. 998 24. The Mass developed gradually as a sacrifice, attendance made obligatory 11th c. 25. Celibacy of priests declared A.D. 1079 26. Rosary adopted (pagan) by Peter the Hermit A.D. 1090 27. The Inquisition instituted by Council of Verona A.D. 1184 28. Sale of indulgences A.D. 1190 29. Seven Sacraments, defined by Peter Lombard 12th c. 30. Transubstantiation, defined by Innocent III A.D. 1215 31. Auricular confession (Rite of reconciliation) of sins to a priest instead of God, instituted by Innocent III A.D. 1215 32. Adoration of the wafer (called the Host), decreed by Pope Honorius III A.D. 1220 33. Scapular invented by Simon Stock of England A.D. 1251 34. The cup forbidden to the laity at communion by Council of Constance A.D. 1414 35. Purgatory proclaimed as a dogma by the Council of Florence in A.D. 1439 36. Tradition declared of equal authority with the Bible by the Council of Trent A.D. 1545 37. Apocryphal books are added to the Bible by the Council of Trent A.D. 1546 38. Creed of Pope Pius IV imposed as the official creed in place of the original Apostolic Creed A.D. 1560 39. Immaculate Conception of Mary (not virgin birth) proclaimed by Pope Pius IX A.D. 1854 40. Syllabus of Errors proclaimed by Pope Pius IX and ratified by the Vatican Council; condemned freedom of religion, conscience, speech, press and scientific discoveries which are disapproved by the Roman Church; asserted the Pope's temporal authority over all civil rulers A.D. 1864 41. Infallibility of the Pope in matters of faith and morals proclaimed by the Vatican Council A.D. 1870 42. Assumption of Mary proclaimed by Pius XII A.D. 1950 43. Mary proclaimed the "Mother of the Church" by Pope Paul VI A.D. 1965
Cardinal Newman, in his book, THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, admits that "temples, incense, oil lamps, votive offerings, holy water, holidays, and seasons of devotion, processions, blessings of fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure (of priests and monks and nuns), images .. are all of pagan origin." (p.359) Yet, we are told that to practice these traditions is to make void the Word of God (Matthew 15:16), to worship in vain (Matthew 15:9). Also see II John 9-10.
The Bible itself declares that the way of salvation is so plain that even "fools shall not err therein" (Isaias 35:8). When the blind lead the blind, both fall...(Matthew 15:14). The urgent need of our day is to search the never changing Scriptures to see if what popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, minister, and teachers tell us is the truth or not. In apostolic days this was done: "Now these were a nobler character than those of Thessalonica and they received the word with great eagerness, studying the Scriptures every day to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Those who do not teach and preach the Gospel as it is found in the Scriptures are under the curse of God. "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema!" (Galatians 1:8). Do not be deceived by false teachers. See Colossians 2:8. Test everything! (I Thessalonians 5:21)
These Biblical truths are offered in a spirit of true Christian love. We ask you to consider them objectively so that with the Psalmist you can declare, "I have chosen the way of truth" (Psalm 118:30).