In his farewell speech today, Sky News reported that outgoing Pope Benedict said,
“Pope Benedict told the 50,000-strong crowd he was not “coming down from the Cross”, but would remain in the service of the Church through prayer.”
It is not a misprint.
The Papacy is an office whereupon the occupier of it sees himself as a substitute for Christ. That is what the name of the papal office “Vicar of Christ” means, substitute.
Lest one believe that it is a mis-translation, or that the Pope did not really mean it, let’s look at some of the Catholic Position Papers.
In the Catholic position paper titled the “Nature of the Papal Primacy” we read that
“In his chief ministry the Pope is obliged by the objective rules of faithfulness which derive from the revealed word of God, from the fundamental constitution of the Church and by Tradition.' He has the necessary divine assistance to carry out his office. But this does not relieve him of a very grave responsibility before Christ whom God has appointed to judge everyone, alive or dead (Acts 10:42). It demands of the holder of the office of bishop of the Catholic Church humility, prudence and holiness and of the faithful continual prayer to God for the head of the Church on earth.”
“However, and this is important, on earth there is no external tribunal, neither in the Church nor in civil society to which one can appeal against his decisions. The Pope must look for advice, take the steps which prudence demands in the delicate function of governing the Church, listen to the opinion of his brother bishops, etc., but ‘the judgement of the apostolic See, whose authority is unsurpassed, is not subject to review by anyone, nor is anyone allowed to pass judgement on his decisions.”
“We reach here, perhaps, the nerve center of all teaching about the primacy. … ‘The relation of the primacy to Christ is not only historical-causal, but also actual-causal, for in the activity of the Pope Christ himself is audible and visible. Of the Pope it can truly be said: he acts in the person of Christ.’ With theological wisdom St. Catherine of Siena called the Pope the ‘gentle Christ on earth’ but at the same time, conscious of the moral responsibility of the Pope, she urged him to exercise with fortitude his ‘service of unity’ in the Church, that is to say, to be faithful to his most important mission.”
“The Pope,’ writes Cardinal Ratzinger, ‘is not just someone who speaks in the name of the bishops, a kind of mouthpiece they give themselves and which is there to do their bidding. The Pope is where he is, with a direct responsibility before God, to take the place of the Lord,”
You note the last paragraph, there is a quote by a young Cardinal Ratzinger, who we now know as Pope Benedict XVI, confirming what he said today in 2013 as he did in 1969 and as Catholic dogma states- the pope is in the place of Christ on earth. They really believe the pope is Christ audible and visible.
Over a billion Catholics are in spiritual bondage to this heinous religious system. There are many things they lack spiritually but I can think of three to address that we can point them to. First, we can point to Christ and the bible to help them overcome what it is they lack: knowledge of grace, assurance in their salvation, and trust in Jesus to fulfill all He has said.
The simple truth at the center of a born again believer’s faith is surrounded by Grace- that Jesus descended from heaven, lived as fully man and fully God for 33 years, died on the cross as the lamb sacrifice for our sins (taking upon His shoulders the wrath of God), was buried and three days later rose again. This is the Gospel.
Any person who believes these facts, and confesses them, is saved. (Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8). It is a free gift of Christ due to His work on the cross.
The RCC has overlaid so much on top of these simple facts, and corrupted the Gospel so thoroughly, it is hard to untangle unless a person does one thing- looks at Christ. He is the giver of grace and it is grace through faith that you are saved. A struggling Catholic can be led to these verses and sermon on these verses. More on Grace, defined and explained, here. Bible verses on Grace, here, and still others, here.
Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
One way to help a Catholic is to point them to grace. They need to be drenched in the facts of grace to cut through the demonic noise in their spirit. Share with them essays and sermons that speak of the Grace of God.
A Catholic has no assurance of their salvation. First, they are taught they need to work to maintain it. Salvation in the Catholic system is something you earn “by those very works which have been done in God, fully satisfied the divine law according to the state of this life and to have truly merited eternal life.” (source)
It must be spiritually disquieting, to say the least, to know that they must rely on our own selves to attain or to maintain salvation- and to never know where you stand for sure. Committing a “mortal sin” constitutes a rupture in a person’s link to God and they become unsaved. It is the worst thing to happen, but there is a chance they can go to Purgatory after death for a period of time to have the mortal sin cleansed out of them. Purgatory is another made-up doctrine that provides a safety net as a last chance effort. Either way, a Catholic is never completely assured of entering heaven. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified”. The grace of God and the work of Jesus on the cross was not enough you see. The gap is supposed to be filled by the Catholic.
We not only have assurance, Jesus IS the assurance. Hebrews 11 is a record of that very thing, the assurance we have that is in us and that IS Christ.
Faith, hope, grace… Gills Exposition says- “And were persuaded of them, and embraced them; they had a full assurance of faith, that what was promised would be fulfilled; and they took a kind of possession of them before hand, as Abraham did of the land of Canaan, by sojourning in it; as did also Isaac and Jacob; and all of them by faith embraced the Messiah, and dealt with, and laid hold upon his blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and grace, by which they were saved, as New Testament saints are.”
Send them to verses which speak of assurance. Here is a page listing them.
If you put faith in a man, no matter how many assurances he gives you, man will let you down. Popes die. Popes resign. Priests sin. Bishops fall. Trusting in a religious system will become a stumbling block. The born again believer’s faith is a relationship with the One who is perfect, loving, and steadfast in His promises. He cannot fail. However, since a Catholic is taught that the atonement of Jesus was not enough, it makes it hard to fully trust a savior who did not complete the work and left it to fallible man. It is one reason that Catholic dogma states that popes are infallible. But as we can see, they are.As a matter of fact, the Catholics install Mary as co-redemptrix, needing two saviors to get the job done. No, wait, three; Mary, Christ, and pope. No wait, four, Christ, Mary, Pope, and Catholic person working toward eternal reward.
And since unregenerated man populates the halls of the Vatican and on down through Cardinals, Bishops, and priests, they sin because they are under bondage to satan. We have seen, oh, how they sin. Scratch the veneer of holiness and the corruption will come out.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27).
How earth-shaking it must be for a Catholic to put trust in a system that depends on man, and then those very men are seen to be homosexuals, pedophiles, money-launderers, and much more. If they cannot trust an altar boy with a priest, how will they trust their everlasting soul to the Pope?
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1 NIV)
Solomon wrote words to the wise, saying “That your trust may be in the Lord,” (Proverbs 22:19). It is wise to trust the Lord!
Isaiah 12:2 says, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
Help a Catholic whose world is rocked by misplaced trust in unregenerate men to once again turn to the Lord and trust Him. Once they see that the Lord never lets them down they can begin to renew their trust in their regenerated brethren.
Pastor-Teacher John MacArthur is writing a blog series of the facts of the heresies of the Roman Catholic Church. This is so that as the Pope and the RCC is in the news, we can witness clearly and with understanding of why and how the RCC is a false church. Here are the blog entries so far, in order–
Each entry is concise and biblical. Please take a moment to review them, and see for yourself what the egregious errors are from this longest-running false church on earth are about.
You cal also read more here at Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry’s main page on Roman Catholicism.
This moment in time is an opportunity. Never before has the Catholic Church been so prevalent in discussion and in the news. People are listening, wondering. Our opportunity is that as ambassadors of Christ, we can be His light and share the truth. We share the truth in love, that the RCC is false, and we share the Good news, that there is a way out- the simple Gospel of Grace.