21 October, 2006

What the Bible says about "Purgatory"

The Roman Catholic church teaches that the souls of God's people may go to a place called 'purgatory' after death, which is a half-way house between 'heaven' and 'hell'. They teach that it is a place of purging, in which the soul will suffer for a while before being fit to gain salvation in heaven. The prayers, candle-burning and financial gifts to the church of a person and his friends is supposed to shorten the length of time that the soul suffers in 'purgatory'. The gross error of such ideas should be established from the following:

• The Bible is silent concerning the existence of such a place.

• The soul refers to our body, rather than to some immortal element within us.

• 'Hell' is the grave rather than a place of punishment.

• The righteous are never promised salvation in heaven. The granting of salvation will be at the judgment seat at Christ's return, rather than at some time after death when we supposedly leave 'purgatory' (Matt. 25:31-34; Rev. 22:12).

• All the righteous receive their rewards at the same time, rather than each person gaining salvation at different times (Heb. 11:39,40; 2 Tim. 4:8).

• Death is followed by complete unconsciousness, rather than the activities suggested by the doctrine of purgatory.

• We are purged from our sins through baptism into Christ and developing a firm faith in his work during our present life, rather than through some period of suffering after death. We are told to "purge out therefore the old leaven" of sin in our lives (1 Cor. 5:7); to purge ourselves from the works of sin (2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 9:14). Our time of purging is therefore now, in this life, rather than in a place of purging ('purgatory') which we enter after death. "Now is the day of salvation...now is the accepted time" (2 Cor. 6:2). Our obedience to God in baptism and development of a spiritual character in this life, will lead to our salvation (Gal. 6:8) - not to the spending of a period in 'purgatory'.

• The efforts of others to save us through candle-burning and other donations to the Catholic church, will not affect our salvation at all. "They that trust in their wealth...none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him...that he should still live for ever" (Ps. 49:6-9).

18 October, 2006

False Doctrine Words of the Day - "Mary, Mother of God"

As taken from a number of sources:

The Immaculate Conception: The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. In other words, Mary wasn't born into sin and she never committed sin for the duration of her life. She was perfect.

Co-Redemptrix: Mary is not only a special person in God’s eyes but also a faithful servant that is a “co-worker” in winning us our salvation and the salvation of the entire world. Pope Pius XII dedicated the entire human race to Mary in 1944.

Hail Mary: Each time that we say the Hail Mary we are repeating the very same words with which St. Gabriel the Archangel saluted Mary on the day of the Annunciation, when she was made Mother of the Son of God. Many graces and joys filled the soul of Mary at that moment. Now when we say the Hail Mary we offer anew all these graces and joys to Our Lady and she accepts them with Immense delight. In return she gives us a share in these joys.

Ever-virgin: Mary never had sexual relations with her husband, before or after the birth of Christ.

Mother of the Church: This title was given to Mary by Jesus when he was hanging on the cross.

Mediatrix: By definition, "a woman who mediates". Another title of Mary. She is our guide and intercessor.

Assumption of Mary: Having completed the course of her earthly life, Mary was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. This means that Mary was transported into Heaven with her body and soul united.

I'll be honest, when I think of the millions of deluded people out there who worship Mary (although they'll say they don't worship her, they only pray to her), I feel ill. Why anyone, in their right mind, would elevate Mary to be virtually equal with Christ simply defies logic. And that's just ignoring that fact that every single one of these beliefs listed above isn't found, or hinted at in Scripture (something which the Catholic Church openly agrees with).

We shouldn't be praying to Mary, we shouldn't be worshipping Mary. It's overwhelming in its simplicity.

09 October, 2006

The Political Might of Catholicism

Extremely interesting news regarding the rise and influence of the Catholic church's political might:

05 October 2006

Catholicism will become the most practised denomination in New Zealand within five years – and the Catholic Church is already wielding political power, an expert says.

Peter Lineham, head of Massey University's School of Social and Cultural Studies, says current trends show Catholics will overtake Anglicans as New Zealand's most dominant religious group by 2011, with total numbers reaching 489,000.

The prediction, based on a 20-year trend in census figures, shows the Catholic Church has survived a Christianity crisis that has seen other religions bleeding adherents at a rate of almost 12,000 worshippers a year.

"The number of Catholics isn't really increasing much at all, it's just that the number of Anglicans and Presbyterians is dropping so dramatically," Lineham said.

"(The Catholic) religion instils a social identity.

In Catholicism you live it through schools and social networks. It is very strong and it is almost like once a Catholic, always a Catholic. You always identify with it."

Based on Lineham's predictions, Anglican numbers would have dropped to 452,000 by 2011 and Presbyterians to 357,000. The number of Anglicans has dropped by an average of 66,000 between each census, while the number of Presbyterians has dropped by 30,000 every five years.

Lineham said assuming the position of the most dominant religious order meant the church would naturally become a powerful political force – something that was already being felt.

"It does mean that the Catholic Church will have to be clear about its views because from now on people, politicians and media, will begin approaching them and asking them to speak on issues.

"And the church will have to be careful because its dominant position may mean that they end up speaking on behalf of not just Catholics, but Christianity as a whole."

Lineham said Cardinal Tom Williams, the Archbishop Emeritus of Wellington, was already heavily involved in Government processes and the church would continue to be a significant political force..."

The prophecies in Revelation and the symbolism of Daniel's image (iron & clay) are becoming more and more of a "this is actually happening in our lifetime" reality, especially when one considers the recent Catholic-Lutheran initiatives at developing stronger ties and general decline of other mainstream Christian groups. The Roman Catholic church is swallowing up Christians fast and furious.

06 October, 2006

A State of Limbo For Limbo

From BBC Online:

The Pope may be about to abolish the notion of limbo, the halfway house between heaven and hell, inhabited by unbaptised infants. Is it really that simple?

Pope Benedict XVI's anticipated pronouncement on limbo will have been informed by the International Theological Commission - a group of leading Roman Catholic theologians who have been meeting to consider the issue.

The Pope, himself, has been quoted in the past as saying that he would let the idea of limbo "drop, since it has always been only a theological hypothesis".

He was quoted as saying that limbo has never been a "definitive truth of the faith".


No kidding!!!! Mainstream Christianity take note: Doctrines founded on tradition instead of Biblical truths is an unsubstantiated belief system (see purgatory, infant baptism, immortal soul, etc.). All those religions who reject limbo, including Christadelphians, suddenly don't seem quite as bizarre and far-fetched, do they?

02 October, 2006

The Worship of Angels

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

So goes a prayer posted online by a Catholic priest. How this isn't angel worship is beyond me. Not only this type of worship unfound in the Bible, we're also never instructed to pray to angels. Where do people get this stuff from? I'm amazed at how these false doctrines are so easily passed off as truth by the hundreds and hundreds of Church 'authorities'. Col 2:18 makes it abundantly clear: "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." The NIV is even more direct: "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions."

The response from the priest?
"A quick lesson in one very important aspect of Catholic theology.

Latria--the supreme worship, which may be offered to God alone.
Dulia--the veneration given to the saints as servants of God.
Hyperdulia--the veneration offered to Mary as the most exalted of creatures.

Catholics in general may not know the terms, but we do know the difference between worship, veneration, reverence, honor and respect, as experienced in our lives."

On closer inspection however, using Catholic resources, the only real difference between latria and dulia is the object of worship. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

There are several degrees of...worship:
• If it is addressed directly to God, it is superior, absolute, supreme worship, or worship of adoration, or, according to the consecrated theological term, a worship of latria. This sovereign worship is due to God alone; addressed to a creature it would become idolatry.
• When worship is addressed only indirectly to God, that is, when its object is the veneration of martyrs, of angels, or of saints, it is a subordinate worship dependent on the first, and relative, in so far as it honours the creatures of God for their peculiar relations with Him; it is designated by theologians as the worship of dulia, a term denoting servitude, and implying, when used to signify our worship of distinguished servants of God, that their service to Him is their title to our veneration.

As is plainly seen from the above, the term "worship" is used for angels. This is downplayed by excusing it as simply "subordinate worship" but this little bit of trickery doesn't get around the problem: worshipping angels is inappropriate and wrong. I wonder, when praying to an angel, how the worship is made subordinate. Is it a feeling? Does it depend on the choice of words?

At any rate, this additional quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia doesn't help the Catholic cause: "Etymologically, however, there is no reason why latria should be preferred to designate supreme honour; and indeed the two words were often used indiscriminately."

The discussion was quickly put to bed with a blunt, but sadly amusing comment: "Sorry. Comments left by apostates, heretics, heathens, pagans, and unrepentant sinners must now be monitored."