"Whom Do Ye Say That I Am?"
Jesus obviously felt it was important for his disciples to know his true identity. This is probably the most the most important issue in the Bible (Matthew 16:13-20). Although the Roman Catholic Church professes to believe in Jesus Christ, we will see that they actually deny most of the essentials of : A) Who he is (substance and ancestry); and B) What he has done. If anyone redefines who Jesus is or what he has done they have a different (false) Christ. For example, if I were to teach that, " Jesus was born in Japan in 1830, He killed 24 people, He even lied to many people during His lifetime, and finally died in 1902 of old age," I would be teaching a false Jesus. At the least, I would be denying his birth place, his Jewish ancestry, and his death on the cross. If I were to teach this about Jesus Christ, it would be enough to define a different (false) Jesus Christ. By definition, anyone who professes a false Christ denies the true one.
Who is the Real Rock?
Jesus himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). In Matt. 16:13-20, Jesus asked his disciples a very important question, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus is asking the key question of the Bible: he is asking us to correctly identify him. This is the question that inspects the very foundation of the Christian faith. If we do not now who the real Jesus is, then we can not be saved. We can not get to the true Heaven with a false Jesus. The real Jesus of the Bible is the true foundation (rock) of the Christian faith. He is the rock of salvation. Even Peter claimed that Jesus is the rock, the cornerstone that the builders rejected (Acts 4:10 & 1 Peter 2:1-6). Paul says, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ... ‘the rock was Christ.’”(1 Cor. 3:11 &10:4).
The Roman Catholic Church claims that Peter is the rock that the church is built on. They say that Peter is the first Pope who stands in the place of Christ. This position is known as the Vicar of Christ. This is the lineage through which the present Pope receives his authority. Today, the Pope is still the rock that the Roman Catholic Church is built on. The Roman Catholic Church declares. “...that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff [Pope].” (Pope Boniface VIII, 1302 AD in an ex cathedra in his Bull Unum Sanctum). Pope Pius IX said about himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. By the office of the Pope, the Roman Catholic Church denies Jesus his rightful place as the foundation of the true church.
Jesus’ Body and Blood
Jesus said when he broke the bread that “this is my body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of me.” After the meal, he took the cup (of wine) and said, “this cup is the new testament in my blood” (Luke 22:19 & 20). As often as we do this, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again. These are symbols of his body and blood just as when he said, “I am the door.” His body was not really made of wood with hinges and a latch. In the same way, the Passover feast was symbolic of the first Passover feast in Egypt where the blood of the Lambs saved the first-born of the Jews in bondage in Egypt. The bread and wine are symbols of Jesus, our Passover Lamb.
However, the Catholic Church says that the bread is actually the real body of Jesus. After the priest blesses the bread (wafer), he raises it up before the congregation and says, “Behold, the lamb of God”. When he gives it to the members he says, “The body of Christ.” Catholicism teaches that “the Eucharist is a sacrament which really, truly, and substantially contains the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. It is the great sacrament of God’s love in which Christ is eaten, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge is given to us of future glory.” (Question & Answer Catholic Catechism #1214). “The Eucharist is necessary for salvation.” (Q&A Catechism, #1217).
True Catholics believe that when you eat the bread and drink the wine you are actually eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood, even though it tastes like bread and wine. The Roman Catholic Church uses the word “transubstantiation,” which refers to the communion bread and wine turning into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus when blessed by the Catholic Father (Q&A, #1224). “Christ is present in the Eucharist not only with everything that makes him a man, but with all that makes him this human being. He is therefore present with all his physical properties, hands and feet and head and human heart. He is present with his human soul, with his thoughts, desires, and human affections.” (Q&A, #1223). The Roman Catholic Church proclaims that its members are literally eating their Jesus.
Because of this false interpretation of the scriptures, the Catholic Church is encouraging false, idol worship of these inanimate objects. The Roman Catholic Church sets up inanimate objects (the bread and wine) as objects of worship and adoration. Because they worship and adore these objects they qualify as idols. Since Jesus said, “I am the door,” and “I am the true vine,” this most holy Catholic sacrament is the same as worshipping a door or a vine as if it were Jesus himself.
The Jesus of the Roman Catholic Church is a dead victim (an idol) who is sacrificed on their altar and eaten by true Catholics at masses world wide. Thus, Jesus’ work of salvation was not finished on the cross, but is an ongoing work of sacrifice on their altars. The Jesus of the Bible declared his work of atonement to be completed on the cross: “It is Finished!” (John 19:30). Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for sins, offering his body once for all (Hebrews 10:10-12). The real Jesus is no longer hanging dead on the cross but was resurrected from death to life. Because he has eternal life, he can never be sacrificed or die again (Romans 6:9-10). The real Jesus can not be eaten. Because the Roman Catholic Church is eating their Jesus, they have identified and are following a phony Jesus.
Catholicism defines a False Mother
Because the Roman Catholic Church considers sex as something somewhat unholy, they have elevated celibacy and demoted sex in marriage. Although they teach that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, the Church has redefined who she is.. The Catholic Church says that the virgin Mary did not inherit original sin from her human parents like all other descendants of Adam and Eve. They say that the virgin Mary’s mother and father did not pass on sinfulness to their daughter. What they call the “immaculate conception” refers to the conception of Mary, not Jesus. This is a direct contradiction of scripture (Romans 3:23, 3:10). Mary herself recognized her need for a Savior (Luke 1:47). Why would Mary need to be saved if she wasn’t a sinner? Catholicism also redefines Mary’s life by claiming that her sinless body and soul were taken up to heaven without dying (assumption). The virgin Mary is also said to have been a virgin her entire life, even though the Bible says that Joseph never knew her until after she gave birth (Matt. 1:25). The Bible says that Jesus’ Mother and brothers came to see him. The people of his own town said “Who does he think he is? Isn’t he the son of Joseph, and aren’t his sisters with us?”(Matt. 13 :54-56, Mark 6:1-3). The book of James starts, “James the Lord’s Brother...” The Catholic Church denies Jesus’ mother by redefining her as being born like Jesus without original sin. This make the Catholic Jesus born of a phony mother.
Save Me, Holy Mother!
The Catholic Church gives an elevated position to the Virgin Mary, calling her “Queen of Heaven” because she rules over the Church with Jesus Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church Par. #996). They also say that she is “The All Holy One. She is the model and source of holiness” (CCC # 2677). Mary had to be willing to give her consent to be pregnant with Jesus or there would be no salvation (CCC #2030). Mary is considered to be co-redeemer with Jesus which means that she also is our savior. Catholics believe that Mary’s prayers and good works redeem us (CCC #1477). Even though the Bible says that Jesus is our only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), the Catholic Church teaches that Mary is our mediator (mediatrix) and co-redeemer (co-redemptrix) with Christ and that no grace can be applied to man except through her (CCC #969). They also say that she has “saving office...to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation” (Documents of Vatican Council II Vol. 1 p. 418). The Catholic Church does not discourage their members from venerating Mary “higher than all other women and all other humans.” Rosaries are used by Catholics as a tool to help them to pray to Mary (and God the Father). All over the world, Catholics are worshipping Mary with the Pope’s full knowledge. If this were happening in Biblical Christian Churches, these people would be excommunicated for false worship.
A False Priesthood
“The primary ministry of a priest is to consecrate and offer the Holy Eucharist (bread and wine), and to forgive sins.” (Q&A, # 1488). “The Sacrifice of the Cross is continued on earth through the Sacrifice of the Mass...It is the Sacrifice in which Christ is offered under the species of bread and wine in an unbloody manner.” (CCC # 1367). The Roman Catholic Church teaches that eating the body and blood of Jesus Christ makes one holier. In the sacrifice of the Mass, Christ is offered over and over again as a victim of an unbloody holy sacrifice. So the question is, when the priest blesses the wine, does it turn into Christ’s real blood or is it unbloody? (Hebrews 9:22) The Catholic Church has invented a priesthood which supposedly performs a miracle every time the priest blesses the bread and wine (turning them into flesh and blood). If this is true, why are Catholic priests so helpless to perform any other miracles?
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that a person must confess to a priest privately and the priest himself forgives sins. He is then told then by the priest what suffering (penance) he must do (usually prayers) to make up for his sins. “Penance is the sacrament instituted by Christ in which sinners are reconciled with God through the absolution of the Priest.” (Q&A #1321). “If anyone denieth...that sacramental confession...is necessary to salvation,...or saith that the manner of confessing secretly to a priest alone,...is alien from the institution and command of Christ, and is a human invention; let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Canon VI “On the Most Holy Sacrament of Penance”). Hebrews chapters 7 to 10, discusses Jesus’ true priesthood. Catholic priests supposedly have authority to forgive sins; however, only God can truly forgive sins. The Roman Catholic Priesthood denies and replaces Jesus’ true Biblical priesthood.
Delusion in Biblical Christianity
Even though the Catholic Church agrees with the basic Biblical doctrines of the trinity, they deny it by adding to it with their own traditions We covered the two teachings about Jesus which are most foreign to the Bible (the person of Jesus- the bread and wine, and the work of Jesus-the savior and mediator). We have also covered only part of their works of salvation. Because Biblical Christians are generally not familiar with all of the strange teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, they many times claim that “there are many true Christians within the Roman Catholic Church.” The problem with this argument is that most Biblical Christians have not asked their friends the right questions. Without some knowledge of the Roman Catholic teachings, Christians have little chance of asking intelligent and discerning questions and thereby getting the whole truth. Like Mormonism, Catholicism sounds like Biblical Christianity on the surface. Like Mormonism, without in-depth investigative questions, it is impossible to see the whole picture. Only when we ask scrutinizing penetrating question do we learn the real truth. Next time you encounter a Roman Catholic ask him, “Can you eat your Jesus?” or “Can your Jesus mold?”. The answer you receive will be as different as these questions are.
The following quotes from some famous leaders show that even our leaders can become deceived if they aren’t asking the proper questions: “It’s time for Protestants to go to the shepherd (the Pope) and say, ’What do we have to do to come home?’” Robert Schuller (Los Angeles Herald Examiner, September 19, 1987, Religion page); “I’ve found that my beliefs are essentially the same as those of orthodox Roman Catholics.” Billy Graham (McCall’s, January 1978). We as Biblical Christians need to expose and refute any false doctrine which creeps into the body of Christ. (Eph. 5:11, Titus 1:9, Jude 3). You might say, “How can I tell what is true Biblical Christianity? There are two questions that summarize the essentials of Biblical Christianity:
|The Two Biblical Laws of Christianity|
|Law 1.. Who is God? .........
Law 2.. How are we saved?
Law #1: The Identity of God
Christology is the study of who Jesus is and what he has done. These two concepts are essential to establishing the true identity of the real Jesus. The first concept is his person (his nature and character). If you redefine who Jesus is then you have defined a false Jesus. The second concept is his work. If you redefine what he has done or is doing now, then you have defined a different Jesus. At what point would you acknowledge a phony Jesus? If I deny that he died on a cross, claim he didn’t raise from the dead, say he wasn’t born of a virgin, and didn’t pick any apostles; how many things he has done do I need to deny before you tell me that I redefined Jesus and no longer have the truth? Where do you draw the line? The Bible says, Jesus “by himself, purged our sins” and “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3). In Matthew chapter 16, Jesus asked:
Law #2: God’s Method of Salvation
We are saved by Grace, through faith alone (Eph. 2:8-10). God’s salvation is free. There is no way that anyone can earn it or become worthy of it. Catholicism has Jesus as a sacred victim n their altar, and his work is not all done by himself. The Church of Rome the true Biblical Jesus and his method of true salvation.
Marshall Almarode & Greg Hanson