Roman Catholic Doctrine Examined by the Bible
We should scrutinize every teaching, and every group, to see whether they align with God’s Word. We are commanded in the Bible to “Prove (i.e. test) all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) The Roman Catholic Church (from hence referred to as “the RCC”) opens itself up to scrutiny for an additional reason that some groups do not: It claims that the decisions given by the RCC Councils, and the decrees of the Pope on matters of faith and morals, are infallible. Any group that doesn’t claim infallibility isn’t necessarily lying if it’s in any way wrong in its doctrine. Yet when the group which claimed infallibility for itself is wrong on anything it was supposed to be infallible on, then it is not only wrong, but also lying.
Most practicing Roman Catholics freely acknowledge that they don’t agree with the RCC on everything, yet they have no problem staying in the Roman Catholic Church. The RCC claims that the Pope is “The Vicar of Christ” (meaning in the place of Christ- think of the word “vicariously” to get an idea of the weight of this claim). If the Pope really is the “Vicar of Christ” then he should be believed and followed wholeheartedly in everything- because that is how we are obligated to respond to Christ Himself (Ephesians 5:23-24). Yet if the Pope isn’t who he claims to be, then he is an imposter, whom it would not be improper to call an anti-christ. It makes no sense to say that you believe that the RCC is Christ’s church and that you accept the Pope- and yet disagree with the RCC at all in matters of faith and morals. If you disagree at all, you really are calling the church and the Pope liars. Most Catholics though have a religion that is a mixture of RCC teachings and their own opinions in matters where their own church’s teachings do not give room for such.
We’ll go on with an article by Robert Green from britannica.com (I italicized certain phrases for emphasis):.
“mass, the central act of worship of the Roman Catholic Church, which culminates in celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. The term mass is derived from the ecclesiastical Latin formula for the dismissal of the congregation: Ite, missa est (“Go, it is the sending [dismissal]”). After the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), the form of the mass changed greatly, most conspicuously in the use of vernacular languages in place of the traditional Latin.
The mass consists of two principal rites: the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. The first includes readings from Scripture, the homily (sermon), and intercessory prayer. The second includes the offering and the presentation of bread and wine at the altar, their consecration by the priest during the eucharistic prayer (or canon of the mass), and the reception of the consecrated elements in Holy Communion.
The mass is at once a memorial and a sacrifice. In the eucharistic prayer, the church commemorates Jesus Christ and his redeeming work, especially his sacrifice for the sake of all humankind through his crucifixion. The church also recalls the origin of the Eucharist in the Last Supper, when Jesus, anticipating his imminent death, offered his disciples bread and wine, saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you,” and, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood,…which will be poured out for you.” Jesus instructed the disciples to perpetuate this banquet in his memory.
According to church teaching, Christ’s sacrifice is not only recalled in the mass, it is made present. In the eucharistic prayer, the church asks God the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine on the altar so that by his power they may become the very body and blood that Christ offered on the cross (see transubstantiation). That change having occurred, Christ is offered anew to God the Father, and the church unites with him in that offering.
The community of worshippers, through participation in the mass, expresses unity and dependence upon God and seeks spiritual nourishment in the attempt to share the gospel, by word and deed, with all people. In the sacrificial banquet of the mass, the church accepts Christ’s invitation to eat his body and drink his blood under the appearances of the consecrated bread and wine. By partaking in this sacred meal, the members of the church join in intimate fellowship with Christ and with one another. Having taken Christ’s sacrifice into themselves, they are spiritually sustained and strengthened to make that sacrifice their own by serving God through serving others.” (End of article: Green, Robert. “mass”. Encyclopedia Britannica, Invalid Date, https://www.britannica.com/topic/mass-Christian-religious-service. Accessed 9 August 2022.)
The Bible declares on the other hand that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is unique in what it accomplished; and also in that it never will be (nor needs to be) repeated again. Hebrews 9:24-28: “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 10:11-14: “And every priest (referring to the Levitical Priests under the Old Covenant) standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
The Priesthood: The RCC is based entirely on its hierarchy and could not function without its Priesthood. The people receiving the sacraments is essential to the Roman Catholic faith; and these must be administered by RCC priests. There are two established Priesthoods spoken of in the Bible. The Priesthood of Aaron, Moses’ brother (aka: The Levitical Priesthood) and the Priesthood of Melchizedek. You can see the two established Priesthoods of Aaron and Melchizedek compared in the Book of Hebrews chapter 7. The Priesthood of Melchizedek is reserved for none other than Jesus Christ, as a simple reading of Hebrews chapter 7 shows (by the description of Melchizedek there it is also obvious that the Old Testament character of Melchizedek was a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ). This Priesthood has now negated the need for the Levitical Priesthood, which was a necessary institution for Israel until the fulfillment of God’s promises in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, should be a reality. And even if this Levitical Priesthood were still valid, it was only open to male physical descendants of Moses’ brother Aaron (see Numbers 16:40). Anyone who is not a natural Israelite, descended from the tribe of Levi through Aaron, would automatically be disqualified from this Priesthood anyway. In the Bible men were put out of this Priesthood simply for not being able to prove that their genealogy qualified them for the Levitical Priesthood (see Nehemiah 7:61-65). So where does that leave the RCC priesthood? It is utterly foreign to Scripture. There is also the truth that God’s people as a whole are called a royal priesthood (see 1 Peter 2:9) and priests unto God (see Exodus 19:6 and Revelation 1:6). Yet these passages are obviously speaking in a very general sense and apply to anyone who is a part of God’s people, rather than to an established group of priests.
The Eucharist/Communion: There is no doubt that Jesus established Communion (aka the Lord’s Supper) as an act whereby His church was to remember His death until He comes again. As was seen from the Britannica article above, the RCC considers the Mass to be an actual repeated offering of the body and blood of Christ. The Catholic worshipers are then said to be literally eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ through the bread and wine. This is “receiving Jesus” by the RCC definition. Below is basically the most common passage which the RCC uses to justify their equation of taking its communion bread and wine with receiving Jesus.
John 6:51-58: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”
Given the proof from Scripture which we looked at before that Jesus offered His body once and for all for sins, and is in heaven until He comes again, and considering the lack of Biblical validity for the RCC Priesthood, the concept that the communion bread and wine at the RCC Mass is literally turned into the body and blood of Christ (i.e. the concept of transubstantiation) could not possibly be true. Consider also that Jesus would go on to say later in the same chapter in John 6:62-63 “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth (i.e. gives life); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
RCC apologists will say that Jesus turned the bread and wine at the last supper into His very blood and body. They quote Matthew 26:26-28 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” What they are not likely to quote is the very next verse, Matthew 26:29, which proves that He had been speaking figuratively in the previous verses. “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” The bread and wine represent His body and His blood; they are not His actual body and blood. Here are some parallel passages showing what it means to eat and drink Christ’s body and blood in truth, spiritually speaking (as Jesus said He intended to be understood).
John 15:1-6: I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
1 John 4:13-14: “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” (Reference also Romans 8:1-17).
We know that verse 13 of Romans 8 goes on to talk about the Garden of Eden principle. To have the life that Adam and Eve lost through the Fall we can’t live by the same principle which caused them to lose that life. We have to abandon the independent attitude which reasons somehow that there is a better way for us than to live by what God has spoken and commanded. There is no shortcut around this. God’s grace makes provision to be saved from past guilt in relation to this; and to live out the righteousness which God requires in the present in a way that is acceptable to Him. It doesn’t offer shortcuts around this though- and whatever alternative may be sought as a way around this, it leaves those who seek it ineligible for God’s grace and in spiritual death. And though in the lasts 60 or years or so, many Roman Catholics have become evangelical and went after men like Billy Graham who preach, you might say, a Protestant or Evangelical insurance to complement the Roman Catholic System, which is basically “come to the altar, accept Jesus Christ, and now you’re saved forever”, this really only confuses things more. They are both together, and both taken individually, alternatives to an obedient, living faith which submits to God’s Word, dies to self daily and crucifies the sinful patterns of the flesh, and thus forsakes the lusts of the world in order to live unto righteousness in, and through, the real Jesus of the Bible.
Romans 8:13: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Proverbs 21:16: “The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.”
John 14:21-24: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”
Luke 9:23-26: “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
We need to partake of the life of Christ; and independently of Him we cannot live spiritually. We need to die to ourselves and obey His Word in subjection to His authority in order to be justified through His High Priesthood and live to God through His Holy Spirit. No ritual nor trip to the altar to “accept Jesus” can replace nor replicate this!
Ultimately, in contrasting RCC teaching with the Bible’s teaching on these matters, the RCC is revealed to be an alternate authority to Christ which offers an alternate pattern of justification before God in contrast to His. Many already know that the term “anti” can refer to being in the place of; opposition by substitution. There is only one Gospel which can save. That is why it is not improper to call the whole RCC system anti-christ, as it is not improper to also call the Pope who represents it anti-christ.
Jesus is not only the only way to the Father (John 14:6); there are also many false ways to Jesus which will end in destruction, leaving those who take them rejected by Him and outside of His kingdom (Matthew 7:13-27, 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, etc). We’ll now analyze some more RCC practices and beliefs which are incompatible with God’s Word. I’ll note though here that not everything the RCC believes and does is unbiblical. It could not even be an effective counterfeit if that were so. Some people try to throw out doctrines like the Trinity because the RCC teaches it. Yet the doctrine of the Trinity is illustrated and proven by the Bible. Our goal should not be to differ from the RCC. Our goal should rather be faithful alignment with God’s Word in everything.
Confession of Sins to a Priest (and this applies to Last Rites and prayers to so-called Saints as well): Jesus Christ is the only acceptable advocate and intercessor for man before God the Father. We must go to God through Him on His terms with a heart and mind which is totally broken over our sin, utterly contrite and alienated from it so that the principle of gratifying self is renounced and our principal aim is to now please God. The common pattern in Christendom (not just in the RCC, but also in Protestant and Evangelical Christianity) of sin today, confess it tomorrow, and then go and do it again will be broken when we truly do this. That does not mean that it is impossible to sin again nor that it is impossible to ever turn back from true repentance and faith in Christ. Yet it does mean that when there is true repentance and faith in Christ there will be true cleansing and a new life in the right direction of glorifying God and obeying His Word from the heart, with power over sin which was not there before. We can and must go directly to God through Jesus Christ for these things. No man can give them to us nor declare that we have them. This does not negate the fact that faithful church leaders must draw lines between what is righteous and unrighteous- and keep the church pure along those lines. Nor does it mean that true repentance and new birth can’t be discerned by others who are judging based on the Word of God. But since we are talking about mediation and intercession, it does mean that we must deal with God directly through Christ in order to get right with Him and stay right with Him. The only valid witness that one is justified before God and reconciled to Him is when He comforts that individual by His Holy Spirit; and gives them further leading along the path of righteousness in line with His Word.
1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..”
Acts 15:8-9: “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”
Hebrews 7:23-28: “And they (the Levitical Priests of the Old Covenant) truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.” (Reference also Matthew 9:6 and 1 John 2:1-4).
Infant Baptism: This falsely makes people think that they’ve been a Christian “as long as I can remember” or “from when I was a baby.” The Bible does not teach such a thing nor can any example of this be given from the Bible that does not involve much speculation and reading unwarranted conclusions into the text. When Jesus said “suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God”, He was not teaching infant baptism. He was teaching that we should value children and that they have certain qualities which reflect God’s kingdom that adults need to learn from and emulate in order to inherit it The basic requirement necessary for Christian baptism to be valid and significant in God’s eyes is something which children, especially infants, do not have the mental capacity to exercise- a good conscience towards God (see 1 Peter 3:21 in its context).
The Pope: The Bible never mentions any kind of Pope-figure whom people must acknowledge in order to be faithful Christians. It’s interesting that the New Testament would be silent about such a monumental position of authority. Catholic apologists will cite Matthew 16:13-19 here. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)
Everyone should read that entire chapter and see how shortly after the verses just mentioned, Jesus would call Peter “Satan” (Matthew 16:23) because of the attitude he expressed about Christ’s mission. The Bible says that there is no other rock except the Lord (Psalm 18:31, 2 Samuel 22:32). Jesus Christ Himself is the rock, the chief cornerstone, that His church is built on. The Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Peter would repent and recover from this moment, as well as from his eventual denial of Christ, to go on to be a great Apostle. Yet in his epistles of 1 Peter and 2 Peter he would never call himself more than an Apostle (1 Peter 1:1) and an elder (1 Peter 5:1). In Acts 15 we have the record from a council of the leaders of the early Christian church at Jerusalem. There we find no special title or honor given to Peter, though he did speak at that council. The early disciple James would give the final sentence at that council instead of Peter (see Acts 15:19). We also see many clear-cut differences between the Apostle Peter and the RCC Pope. Peter had no silver and gold (Acts 3:6) unlike the RCC Pope, who has plenty of silver and gold (that’s an understatement). Peter forbade a man from bowing to him (Acts 10:25-26), while the RCC Pope doesn’t do that. Peter was married to a wife (Mark 1:30, 1 Corinthians 9:5), while the Pope is absolutely forbidden from being married at all. Another reason then that the RCC could not be Christ’s church, even if Peter had been the first Pope, is because the RCC does not follow Peter’s teachings and example in his faithfulness to Christ.
It is possible that in a way the rock which Jesus said His church would be built upon is the instruction and power of God that was recognized by Peter, revealing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. This would not be inconsistent with Jesus Christ being the foundation of His own church, since it is an essential aspect of bringing individuals to savingly know Him and to to be part of His true people. Peter surely understood himself and other faithful Christians to be small stones; and Jesus Christ Himself to be the Great stone who is the foundation of His Church. 1 Peter 2:4-8a: “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense…”
Priestly Celibacy: Another obvious way the RCC contradicts Scripture is in forbidding marriage to its leadership. God never in the Bible forbids marriage to the leaders of His people. In 1 Corinthians chapter 7 the Apostle Paul made it very clear that every man and woman is permitted to marry. He did recommend singleness to all who were still single (which is something that many other churches totally ignore), but insisted that all are permitted to marry (see 1 Corinthians 7:1-9). If this wasn’t crystal-clear enough, shortly after in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, Paul spoke of his rights as an Apostle. He would go on to cite Peter and the other Apostles as a precedent of the right that Gospel ministers have to marry (1 Corinthians 9:5). The Bible actually calls forbidding to marry a doctrine of devils (see 1 Timothy 4:1-3). It also says in Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
Praying to Mary, devotion to Mary, etc: There is absolutely no precedent for this in Scripture. The concept that Mary is a matriarchal figure to Christ now in heaven (The Mother of God), and the concept that Mary is a mediatrix between man and Christ, are deceitful and damning. Some of the reasons for this have already been looked at. The RCC Hail Mary Prayer (quoted only for reference purposes): “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” Never does the Bible give Mary a more exalted position than a great woman of faith nor command that she be prayed to or sought as a mediatrix. Like all praying to Saints that the RCC endorses, this is idolatry, since it is assigning powers to mere humans which belong to God alone (even though most Catholics will not admit to worshiping Mary, they might as well be by the powers they credit her with). Again, 1 Timothy 2:5 quoted above. Some key points about Mary which the RCC doesn’t adequately recognize:
– Mary is praying with Jesus’ disciples in Acts 1:14. They are not praying to her.
– Mary offered a sin offering in Luke 2:22-24 (Leviticus 12:6-8 proves that is so). This also proves the concept that Mary was conceived immaculately to be false. And if Mary had to be conceived immaculately to conceive Jesus without sin, then Mary’s mother would have had to conceive her immaculately too. And that cycle would have to continue backwards, which is ridiculous.
– There is a lot of debate over whether Mary conceived other children besides Jesus, but a prophecy that the Gospels apply to Christ shows that she indeed did. Psalm 68:8-9: “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. 9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” Compare this with John 2:16-17.
– Mary gave the best counsel to the servants at the wedding in Cana. John 2:5: “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”
– Jesus basically said that being His disciple who obeys His Word is a greater relation to Him than the natural relationships He had with His earthly family (reference Matthew 12:46-50). Mary’s relationship to Jesus as His disciple is greater than her relation towards Him as His earthly mother was.
Bowing before images, veneration of statues, etc: The RCC may not require such things, but it sure permits and encourages such. They will not confess to worshiping these things, but God said in Scripture that to represent Him by a statue or an image is a form of idolatry; and bowing down before images is idolatry, period. It is no wonder that the RCC eliminates the 2nd commandment, and substitutes for it by dividing the 10th commandment about not coveting that which is your neighbor’s, in two. Exodus 20:4-6: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
No matter how upright a Catholic may seem, they are at the very least involved in a system which practices idolatry and promotes an alternate justification system to the one which God appointed in the Bible.
The Sufficiency of Scripture: The RCC doesn’t believe in this- otherwise it would not regard the decision of its Councils and Popes as authoritative on the same level of Scripture, like it indeed does. 2 Timothy 3:15-17: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Matthew 4:3-4: “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Can someone live by every word of God and esteem God’s Word appropriately while being Roman Catholic?
Deuteronomy 4:2 “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”
Isaiah 8:20: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Deuteronomy 13:17-18: “And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers; 18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.”
When the Bible speaks of cleaving to the traditions of the Apostles, it is speaking of cleaving to the traditions of the Apostles. We surely have these in the writings of the Apostles (remember that Christ’s Apostles wrote the four Gospel accounts too). It does not command adherence to extra-biblical tradition. 2 Thessalonians 2:15: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Yet the Bible does talk about extra-biblical tradition- harshly (reference Mark 7:5-9).
True Christian unity cannot be separated from agreement with, and adherence to, God’s Word. John 8:31-32: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 17:17-21: Sanctify (i.e. set them apart as holy) them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
You cannot obey His voice and keep His Word if you are heeding a stranger who is not sent by the Chief Shepherd. John 10:1-5: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”
And the most deceptive strangers are those that come in the Shepherd’s name, yet have another agenda and offer another protocol, an alternative which borrows a lot of language from the Shepherd’s protocol, yet when examined, is very different and at odds with it. Matthew 24:4-5: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”