by Frederick Hoehn, copyright 2013. |
At the time of this writing, the Catholic Church is without a Pope. Probably they’ll select their new Pope within a few weeks.
I am not, however, expecting that the new Pope will be asking for my advice. I am nobody in the Catholic Church, and have no desire to be a somebody with them. I’ve always been a Protestant.
Do you see the word “protest” in the word “Protestant?” Probably about the first Protestant was Martin Luther.
Luther had been a Catholic priest himself, who studied the Bible, as priests ought to do, and everyone else, for that matter. (“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil 2:12)
Luther found “95 Theses,” or, 95 items on which he disagreed with the Catholic Church theologically, based on Luther’s studying of the Bible.
Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Catholic Church, and left the Catholic Church. I believe he did right in the sight of God, and will be rewarded for that on the coming Judgment Day.
A Lutheran organization on the radio offered to send the 95 theses to people who asked for them. I did, and they sent them. But it was apparently a rather obscure translation from the German (Luther was German) into a rather archaic form of English that I found difficult to follow, and I’ve done above average on intelligence tests.
But without delving into all 95 issues, it’s not at all difficult to find a handful of issues regarding the Catholic Church.
It seems there’s a saying among Catholics that Peter was the first Pope. That’s wrong. There was no such thing as the Catholic Church at the time of Peter (or any of the other original Apostles.)
The word catholic means universal. An important man of God was Smith Wigglesworth, an Englishman, who used to say, “I’m catholic, but not Roman Catholic.” My mother heard Wigglesworth speak when she was a young woman in the early 20th century.
When I refer to the Catholic Church here, I mean the Roman Catholics, with headquarters at Rome, Italy. Or, perhaps they would say, “Vatican City,” which is at Rome.
But there was a Christian Church before there was a Catholic Church. Looking at the letters of the Apostle Paul, he wrote to the Church at Corinth, and the Church at Philippi, and the Church at Colosse, and the Church at Ephesus, etc.
The Catholics have taught that there’s a place they have referred to as “Purgatory.” But that’s wrong, and is not supported by scripture. That fictitious Purgatory place was supposed to be where you could somehow work things out if when you died, you didn’t qualify to go to heaven. There is no such place as Purgatory.
What there are, after death, are two places. You’ve probably heard of them: heaven, and hell. The very much more desirable place is heaven. The very much less desirable place is hell, where “their worms don’t die, and where the fire is not quenched, where there’s crying and gnashing of teeth,” says Jesus. People gnash their teeth when they’re angry.
An expression I first heard in the U.S. military is, “That torques my jaws,” which is a close approximation to the gnashing of teeth.
And Jesus, the greatest teacher who ever walked the face of the earth, the virgin-born Son of God, the Alpha and Omega (the beginning and the end) of the book of Revelation, said that most people go to hell.
In fact, hell is the default destination for everyone. The only way you avoid hell is to get “born again” (see John chapter 3, and Romans 10:9,10).
From Matthew chapter 7:13,14 “Enter in at the restricted gate, 'cause wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many that go in there, Because the gate is restricted, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Many go to hell; few go to heaven, says Jesus, who can’t lie.
Here’s another scripture that strikes a death-blow to Purgatory: “…it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27)
Do you see it? You get one life on earth in which to get right with God and stay right with God and make sure you’re born again. But if you don’t accomplish that in your one life on earth, then your destination for the rest of eternity (forever) is hell.
My Mother accomplished that; my Dad did not, though I made efforts to get him saved. But you can’t force anyone to go to heaven. Everyone in hell wishes they weren’t there, but it’s too late for them.
That same scripture (Heb 9:27) also does away with reincarnation, like the Hindus incorrectly believe in. No, you don’t either get a 2nd or 3rd or 4th life—you get just one life in which to get straight with God.
If you know anything about computers, you know they come from the factory with default settings. After you purchase your computer, you’ll have opportunity to change a lot of settings to what your preferences are.
I said hell is the default destination for everyone because you have change the default setting by getting born again to avoid going to hell.
An exception, I’m sure, would be little babies who die before they’ve reached the age of accountability. Before they can tell right from wrong (which is probably not the same age for all children.)
I believe the Catholic Church has made a very serious mistake by requiring their priests to take an oath of celibacy and not marry a wife. I suppose the idea is being more dedicated to God.
Unfortunately, many of those priests don’t seem to be able to keep that oath of celibacy, and we’ve heard a lot in the news about paedophile priests who misbehave with young people.
And then, I’ve heard that some of their superiors, instead of kicking them out of the priesthood, and preferring charges against them in criminal court, have covered up the wrong doing, and transferred such priests to other parishes, where they can then molest other young people.
Surely God will hold those superiors who have done so to be co-conspirators with the wrong-doing priests.
What’s wrong with God’s invention, marriage? God said, “It is not good that man should be alone,” so He made Eve, for Adam to have as his wife. Abraham had Sarah. Isaac had Rebecca, and so forth.
Did God make the Old Testament priests take a vow of celibacy and refrain from marrying. No, they had wives, and children, and that’s how you got your next generation of Priests and Levites, because the Old Testament Priests and Levites married, and fathered children. It’s the natural thing.
“…to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” (1 Cor 7:2)
Fornication can be any kind of sex perversion, including paedophilia. Is that passage not found in the Catholic Bible?
Now let me refer to a prayer the Catholics have called the Rosary. I can’t quote the Rosary, but I know it starts out, “Hail, Mary, mother of God.”
The prayer is addressed to Mary. To pray to Mary is, I believe, to commit the sin of idolatry. God says, “Thou shalt have no other Gods…” (other than him, see the Ten Commandments in Exodus chapt. 20) Thus, praying to Mary is not allowed. There is nowhere in the Bible where anyone legitimately prayed to a woman.
Is Mary the mother of God? I don’t think so. In the Bible, God usually means God the Father, who has no mother. Someone might say, but isn’t Jesus God? Well, sort-of, but more correctly, Jesus is the Son of God, the “only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16).
When did Jesus originate? Was it back about two thousand years ago at the time of Joseph and Mary?
No, the Bible says, “by whom He made the worlds.” The “by whom” is Jesus. The “He” is God the Father.
1 “God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in the past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds,” (Heb 1:2)
So then, Jesus was present at the creation. That makes Jesus thousands of years older than Mary. Jesus existed before the first woman, Eve.
When God fathered Jesus, prior to the creation of the world, there was no woman involved. No woman was yet in existence. Don’t you know that God speaks things into existence? God said, “Let there be light,” and the Sun, Moon, and stars came into existence?
So, how does Mary figure into the scheme of things? About two thousand years ago, God the Father said to his son Jesus, who had existed for thousands of years by then, “O.K. Son Jesus, it’s the time now that I’ve told you about, for you to go down to earth and live in a man’s body.”
Jesus got the man’s body because God’s Holy Spirit made the virgin Mary pregnant with Jesus. It was the first time in history that a woman gave birth to a son who had existed for thousands of years before the mother was born.
Mary was only the mother of the earthly body Jesus had for his rather short life on earth of about thirty three years, a drop in the bucket compared to the total duration of the existence of Jesus.
A man I knew in Illinois used the phrase “the virgin Mary” so many times in a conversation that I thought it appropriate to remind him that Mary was not a virgin when she died. He said, “What do you mean?”
I said Mary was a virgin until the birth of Jesus, but after that, Mary lost her virginity to her husband Joseph, and they had at least four sons and at least two daughters the normal way. The Bible doesn’t tell us the names of the daughters, but the sons were James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. (Simon, not Peter, and Judas, not Iscariot.)
In the Rosary, Mary is ascribed as being “full of grace.” Those words, “full of grace,” are in the Bible in John 1:14, but it’s not talking about Mary, it’s talking about Jesus. Someone got their theology wrong.
There has been a teaching among Catholics that the Pope is infallible; that he doesn’t make mistakes.
It is simply not scriptural to say that some man is infallible. Do you know any man who has never made a mistake? Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This word “all” would have to include every Pope that there has ever been. They’ve all sinned, and every sin is mistaken performance.
Among men, only Jesus never made a mistake.
A Catholic man recently asked me about confessing. I know that Catholics go to the confessional, but it’s not a requirement in the Bible that a person who has committed a sin go and confess to a priest. In 1 John 1:9, we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I confess my sins to God, not to some man. If you confess your sins to a man, that man is a sinner too. (Rom 3:23)
After Catholics confess their sins to a priest, the priest tells them they’re absolved. I don’t need a priest to forgive me of my sins, I need God to forgive my sins, and I leave the priest out of it. According to 1 John 1:9, after I confess to God, I’m forgiven.
I believe the Catholic Church is mentioned in the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible.
___Revelation chapter 17 1 And one of the seven angels came, who had the seven bottles, and talked with me, saying to me, "Come here, I'll show you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters, 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication."
There is a great whore that sits on the waters.
Three verses later, she is called: 5 And on her forehead was a name written, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Whores and Abominations of the Earth,"
The woman sits on seven mountains. 9 And here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits.
The waters under the woman are people. 15 And he said to me, "The waters that you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and languages.
The woman is a city. 18 And the woman that you saw is that great city, that rules over the kings of the earth."
The woman is a city on seven hills that controls people.
The only major city in the world that sits on seven hills that I’m aware of is Rome. And Rome is where the Catholic Church is headquartered.
In the next chapter, chapter 18: 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you're not partakers of her sins, and so you're not a victim of her plagues.
The Lord says to his people: “Come out of her.”
Now David Wilkerson wrote, “The Cross and the Switchblade,” which book was also made into a movie, with Pat Boone cast in the role of David Wilkerson. Wilkerson founded ‘Teen Challenge,” an organization that has helped teens get off drugs and become Christians.
Wilkerson also wrote the book, “The Vision.” Seems like that was the book in which Wilkerson predicted that there would be a merging of the Catholic Church with some of the Protestants.
If that happens, I won’t be one of those Protestants in that megachurch. I don’t say you can’t have a good megachurch, but if there is a good one, it won’t be this one Wilkerson predicted.
So, when Jesus says, “Come out of her, my people,” I believe he is either saying, “Come out of the Catholic Church,” or “Come out of (the Wilkerson) megachurch.
So then, are you one of God’s people? If so, I advise you to do like Martin Luther and be a Protestant.
While living in Houston, TX, my wife and I met and fellowshipped with Charles and Elizabeth Melton, whom we met at a Protestant church. We broke bread with them.
The Melton’s said, “When we were in the Catholic Church, we weren’t taught You must be born again, (like Jesus said in John chapter 3) we were taught that you’ll go to heaven if you’re a good Catholic.”
I guess that means you light a candle when you’re supposed to, you go to confessional when you’re supposed to, etc.
But the fact is, there is no church anywhere, by following whose rules, will get you to heaven, unless those rules include what Jesus said, “You must be born again.”
And you can get born again without a church by praying a simple prayer to God like this: “Father, I accept your Son Jesus as my savior, and I believe you raised him from the dead. Thank you that my sins are now forgiven, help me to live according to the words of Jesus. Amen.”
After becoming a Christian, the Bible says we should fellowship with other Christians, but make it a matter of prayer for divine guidance which church would be God’s will for you and your family.
Get baptized in water, and ask Jesus for the Baptism with the Holy Ghost with the speaking in unknown tongues. When you ask, believe that you receive. (Mark 11:24)
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