|Adding to the Gospel...
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. (Romans 16:17) The council of Trent was key in solidifying many of the errors of the church and making them "unchangeable" or "irreformable." For more on Trent click here.
|Please, compare the
following with what you find in the searchable Roman Catholic Catechism, which is
provided at the following site:
Chief Errors of the Roman Catholic Church—why it is not the same church that Christ founded
Dogma—formally defined required for belief doctrines that go far beyond the word of God—far beyond the early church
Over the years, certain arrogant men have decided that it would be okay and even "necessary" for them to add teachings to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Though Jesus plainly told us that what was necessary is that we believe in him as the Son of God, these men decided otherwise. They insisted, you must also believe in them as "pope" and in their formal teachings--teachings that went far beyond the Nicene Creed which was formulated on the basis of the Bible. What's more, they claim to have made their teachings "irreformable," that is--these teachings cannot be changed--they will always be required for salvation, according to them.
Because they tell us these teachings are indeed required for our salvation, they also necessarily claim that these teachings are actually part of the "gospel" their church teaches and preaches. In fact, they use an illustration to tell us how these truths began as mere acorns, hardly visible in the early church, and have now grown into large oak trees, clearly visible to all who hold the true faith, clearly revealed by God himself and thus necessary to our salvation.
During the time of St. Paul, there were certain Jews who professed to be followers of Christ and had similar convictions about a certain essential for salvation.. For instance, they were convinced that in order to truly follow Christ, the males of a family absolutely must be circumcised. They began teaching this to the Gentile Christians in Galatia, trying to get them to see how "obvious" it was that this "oak tree" of circumcision should be an essential or required part of their faith--something absolutely necessary for their salvation.
The issue of requiring circumcision was only one, seemingly "slight" difference, between the "gospel" these professed Jewish Christians taught and the Gospel that Paul taught. But, the true Jewish Christian, Paul, let them know in very certain terms that this single error of theirs made the difference between heaven and hell.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than that which you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:8-9)
As we can read, Paul, speaking the word of God, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, warned them well that, because of their erroneous teaching requiring circumcision, they were preaching a "different gospel" and that those who continue to preach a different gospel from the one that he preached will be condemned to hell. He also made the true Gospel very clear: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved--you and your household." (Acts 16:31)
What has become of that Gospel? In the Roman Catholic Church it has long been buried under a massive grove of "artificial oak trees." The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church now claim these artificial oaks of their own making are necessary and revealed by God for salvation! The largest of these so-called oaks is their obstinate rejection of the biblical Gospel of salvation through faith alone at the Council of Trent. They have also elevated their tradition (which includes themselves through the so-called "Magisterium") to equality with the word of God and they have added a myriad of additional requirements, all of which, they insist are necessary for the salvation of the faithful. (The following references to Catholic Catechism are listed by paragraph number, for example CC#1395). Yes, let us walk now through this dense forest of their own making and describe these "artificial oaks" of error as we meet them. (Check catechism references at http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm)
The Roman Catholic Church tells us all of these teachings and more are required for the Christian believer if he or she hopes to enter heaven--regardless of whether or not they believe Christ is indeed their Lord and Savior.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441:
“Therefore the Holy Roman Church condemns, reproves, anathematizes and declares to be outside the Body of Christ, which is the Church, whoever holds opposing or contrary views [e.g. heretics].” (Denz. 705)
Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896:
“The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the
unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside
Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would
recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her
Yet the above listed Roman Catholic teachings and many others are all clear additional requirements to the one that Christ taught us as necessary for our salvation: “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47)
For those who may not believe that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that these are required for salvation, please read the following excerpts from texts of the three major dogmas that have been "formally defined" in the last 200 years of the church. Each of them includes an "anathema" which is a condemnation to hell for those who continue in their unbelief of these teachings of the Roman Church.
· The Immaculate Conception (Ineffabilis Deus) of Mary
Constitution issued by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854...
"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds
that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her
conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God,
in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was
preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by
God and therefore to be believed firmly and
if anyone shall dare--which God forbid!--to think otherwise than as has
been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned
by his own judgment;
that he has suffered shipwreck in
the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and
that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established
by law if he should express in words or writing or by any other outward
means the errors he thinks in his heart.
· On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman pontiff
…8.But since in
this very age when the salutary effectiveness of the apostolic office is
most especially needed, not a few are to be found who disparage its
authority, we judge it absolutely necessary to affirm solemnly the
prerogative which the only-begotten Son of God was pleased to attach to
the supreme pastoral office.
faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the
christian faith, to the glory of God our saviour, for the exaltation of
the catholic religion and for the salvation of the christian people,
with the approval of the sacred council,
we teach and define as a
divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX
that is, when,
1.in the exercise of
his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,
2.in virtue of his
supreme apostolic authority,
3.he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, he possesses by the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals,
Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable. So then should anyone, which God forbid, have the termerity to reject this definition of our; let him be anathema.
Pope Pius XII
defining "ex cathedra" (from the chair of Peter) the dogma of
the Blessed Virgin
.....by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. 45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith. 47. It is forbidden to any man to change this…If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Making things clear
If you still might have any lingering doubt as to whether the Roman Catholic hierarchy continues to require belief in these particular dogmas and doctrines, consider the following. In his book Catholicism, Father Richard McBrien tried very hard to raise a serious question as to whether Catholics really had to believe the Marian dogmas (Immaculate Conception, Assumption) in order to be counted among the faithful. Pope John Paul II eventually responded, quite definitively, to McBrien and other like theologians by inserting certain norms into the Code of Canon Law which made the pope's answer crystal clear.
In a document entitled Ad Tuendam Fidem, issued in January of 1989, the Pope first reminded the faithful that an existing Canon, Canon 750, already stated that "Those things are to be believed...which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church (Pope and curia) or by its ordinary universal Magisterium (bishops and priests in agreement with the pope)..."
Next, John Paul II added the following paragraph: "Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitely by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held:....therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitely sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church."
Finally, the Pope added some "teeth" by inserting the following in Canon 1436 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches the following: "Whoever denies the truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith or who calls into doubt, or who totally repudiates the Christian faith, and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished as a heretic or an apostate with a major excommunication; a cleric moreover can be punished with other penalties, not excluding deposition."
In summary, the Roman Catholic Church does indeed require, under penalty of condemnation (the eternal fires of hell), for all its faithful to believe the dogmas of Papal Supremacy and Infallibility as well as the Immaculate Conception of Mary and her Assumption in addition to all the other teachings listed above and more. That means you can believe that Christ died for your salvation, that he truly is the Son of God and God in the flesh and put your full trust in him but still end up in hell, according to the Roman Catholic hierarchy, if you fail to believe all these other teachings as revealed truths from God. Could this be the real reason that "faith alone" in Christ alone, just doesn't work for the pope and his bishops?
The truth of Christ, who said: "Truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life." (John 5:24) simply does not fit the Roman Catholic "system."
How can any thinking Catholic agree to the many erroneous beliefs listed above? Only if they are totally ignorant of the word of God, the Bible. How can we begin to equate teachings involving this man called the "pope" or even Christ's mother as somehow affecting the salvation that only Christ himself won for all who believe? His mother was indeed graced by God to bear our very Savior but when did Christ or any of his apostles teach that our salvation should depend on any aspect of her life? The answer is: they did not.
And what would the "true" Peter say of all of this? He has already spoken (and interestingly enough it again involve "circumcision") at the first Council in Jerusalem, and his words were inspired by the living God:
"Some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, 'The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.'"
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." (Acts 15:5-11)
And the words of God, spoken by the Holy Spirit through St. Paul, echo all the louder in agreement with the true Peter: Romans 11:5-6 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
The Gospel is a Gospel of grace. Find out more about this gift and how through his grace alone God provides us with the gift of faith. We are saved by the grace of Christ through his gift of faith alone. Click here to read more about Faith Alone!
For more on the core errors of the Roman Catholic Church, go to The Tragedy of Trent.
"For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." (Romans 10:2-4) –Bro. Jim