Roman Catholicism versus the Bible

How Do They Differ?

In these last days, the spirit of ecumenism is on the rise. It is not uncommon to hear phrases such as "Oh, but all us Christians just need to get together!" or "How can you attack your Christian brothers?". These exclamations find their basis in the notion that anyone and everyone claiming the label of "Christian" is, or ought to be accepted as, a follower of Christ. However, this notion is flat wrong. Not everyone who wears the label really is a Christian. How do I know? From the Bible. Our Lord said, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:20) This means that we will be able to surmise pretty well from a person's actions and beliefs whether they are a true follower of Jesus Christ or whether they are a wolf in sheep's clothing. So, what makes a person a follower of Christ? Is it good works, or being a nice person, or caring for others? Not hardly. I will readily agree that a Christian ought to be zealous toward good works and living rightly with others. However, these alone make not a Christian. A Christian is a person who has been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, without their trying to add anything else to the salvation experience. A person who says they are a Christian because they were baptised is not. A person who thinks they are a Christian because they take sacraments is sadly mistaken. A person who is trusting in their church membership or confirmation to get them into heaven is in for a rude awakening one day. Only through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ may a person be saved and become a Christian, and their fruits from the Spirit will be known by their faith in the Word of God, their obedience to the Word of God, and their longing to become more Christ-like.

Likewise, a religious organisation trying to claim the mantle of Christianity must conform to the Bible, and only to the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God, given by God to man through the unique process of divine inspiration, rendering the Bible inerrant and entirely authoritative. Any human system which attempts to replace Biblical authority with anything else, or which denies the inerrancy of the Bible, is not a true Christian outfit.

This brings me to the question at hand. Is the Roman Catholic church really "Christian"? Can it claim to represent Christ on this earth, or is it lying to its members and leading millions of souls astray? The way to answer this question is to stack Roman Catholic teachings up against what the Word of God says. Like the plumbline in Amos used to measure individual adherence to God's Word, let us lay down a perfectly straight rule of Biblical doctrine, and see how the Roman church measures up.

The Mass

Roman Catholicism: Teaches that the wafer and the wine become the literal body and blood of Christ when ingested, a process known as transsubstantiation. Believe that Jesus Christ must be resacrificed daily for the sins of the congregation, which is what occurs when the priest (refered to as "another Christ") offers the body and blood of Christ to the worshippers.

Bible: "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.....But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God," (Hebrews 10:10,12)

"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." (Hebrews 9:12)

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ died once for our sins, offering Himself up once and for all time as an entirely effectual sacrifice for sin. The Bible clearly shows that He does not need to be resacrificed day after day after day. Claiming to do so denies the effectual power of Christ's blood to wash away sin.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL

Mary as Co-Redemptrix

Roman Catholicism: Encourages prayers to and worship of Mary. Historic, traditional Roman Catholicism has venerated Mary and held her to be the "Queen of Heaven" and viewed her as a co-redemptrix on par with Christ for centuries. The belief is that she can save human beings and intercede on their behalf with God

Bible: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus," (I Timothy 2:5)

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." (John 14:6)

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is the only mediator, the only intercessor, between man and his God. Likewise, only through Jesus Christ is salvation found -- it cannot be had by trusting in Mary.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL

Doctrinal Authority

Roman Catholicism: Teaches that doctrinal authority is derived from both the Bible and manmade church tradition, as set forth by a body known as the "Magisterium".

Bible: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8)

The Bible lends binding authority over the Christian to itself only. By the Word of God is a man made PERFECT, and THROUGHLY furnished unto ALL good works. The Bible plainly says that no doctrine of man, no findings of a council nor decisions of a heirarchy are of any spiritual authority. Doctrines and commandments of men are called "vain", including those of the Magisterium. When the philosophies of men and churches run contrary to the Bible, those philosophies are false and wrong.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL


Roman Catholicism: Teaches that infant baptism is effectual towards salvation.

Bible: "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." (Acts 18:8)

"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:41)

The Bible gives example after example of baptism, which only takes place AFTER a person has trust Jesus Christ as his or her Saviour. Baptism is not effectual for a small child, since how can an infant exercise the rationality to place faith in Jesus Christ and trust Him as Saviour? Only after believing should a person be baptised. The act is a symbol of a person' identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of the regenerative power which has been exercised in their life. Baptism doesn't save, it only serves a public expression of a saved person's identification with Christ.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL

Grace Vs. Works Salvation

Roman Catholicism: Teaches that salvation must be at least partially earned through a person's own efforts, that sacraments, baptism, good works, etc. are needed to help Jesus save someone.

Bible: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:5-7)

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

The only means for salvation ever set forth by the Bible is through repentence of sin and faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. In his mercy, God withholds from men what we justly deserve - eternal punishment in hell. In his grace, God gives to men what we do not deserve - forgiveness of our sins and eternal new life. But, this only happens when a person answers the calling God places upon them and surrenders their life to the Lord Jesus Christ, admits he or she is a sinner, and asks out of faith for forgiveness of their sin. There is absolutely no other way. No church can give salvation, no sacrament can give salvation, and no good work can give salvation. Jesus' blood ONLY is effectual to wash away our sin, and it is FULLY effectual!

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL

Papal Authority

Roman Catholicism: Teaches that the Pope, when speaking ex cathedra from his throne in Rome, gives authoritative and binding doctrine, which every Catholic is beholden to obey lest they be branded a heretic. This authority is claimed to derive from Matthew 16:18-19 ("And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I 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."). It is claimed that Peter was set up by Christ as the first Pope, and was given spiritual authority over the church to determine all manners of things, including doctrine and salvation.

Bible: "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?" (Romans 11:33-34)

It is incredibly arrogant for any man to claim infallibility, especially when claiming this as he adds or revises doctrine for a church. "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall ADD UNTO these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall TAKE AWAY from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (Revelation 22:18-19). God's Word specifically says that no man can add to or take away from the commandments and doctrine of the Bible. The Bible cannot be tampered with, countermanded, or augmented by the words of any man, even (or especially) the Pope.

Matthew 16:18-19 does not indicate that Jesus was giving Peter independent authority to make determinations about what was to be bound or loosed. The construction of the Greek in this verse indicates that what was being bound or loosed was pre-determined in heaven, and that Peter was given authority to act upon determinations already made by God. Peter was free to follow God's commands. Further, the keys given to Peter indicated that it would be Peter who brought in the kingdom of God to all people of the world, by bringing the news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He opened the doors of the Gospel first to the Jews (Acts 2) and then to the Gentiles (Acts 10).

Additionally, Peter could not have been the first Pope, as the Roman church says. He was married (Matthew 8:14, I Corinthians 9:5), he was bishop over the church in Babylon, not Rome (I Peter 5:13), and there is no historical evidence he was ever even in Rome before his martyrdom.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL

Assurance of Salvation

Roman Catholicism: Teaches that a person can never know for sure whether they are going to heaven or not. Thus, more works must be trusted in to try to get ever nearer to earning a way into heaven.

Bible: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:28-29)

The Lord Jesus Christ said in the Bible that all to whom He gave eternal life (through faith and by His grace!) were assured of keeping that eternal life. To take away a believer's eternal life, their salvation, would require one to wrestle that believer's soul away from God Himself, which is impossible.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL


Roman Catholicism: Teaches that many souls will go to a place called purgatory in which they will suffer the punishments for their venial sins in fire, after which they will enter into heaven. Living relatives, priests, and saints can pray for souls in purgatory, shortening the time they have to stay in this place. It is also possible for friends and family members to pay indulgences to the Church to lessen the time spent by a departed soul in purgatory.

Bible: "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." (Matthew 13:30)

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27)

Throughout the Bible, the point is reiterated again and again that there are only two judgments available to mankind: to be judged as an unrepentent sinner and sent to hell, or to be judged faithful and justified by Christ's blood, and be allowed into heaven. As Hebrews 9:27 above says, once a man dies, there is judgment. There is no temporary place of cleansing which then leads to a later judgment allowing a soul into heaven. There is absolutely no scriptural evidence for any sort of place such as purgatory. Rather, the concept originated in the early Dark Ages because the Roman Church needed money, and the ignorant peasants who couldn't read, and had no Bibles to read anywise, didn't know any better but that their priests and higher-ups told them they could buy their loved ones out of punishment and into heaven. The doctrine of purgatory is a prime example of some of the more outlandish Catholic superstitions.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL

Praying the Rosary

Roman Catholicism: Teaches the praying of repetitious prayers (most often to Mary and the Saints), aided by a device known as a rosary.

Bible: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Matthew 6:7)

Jesus taught that we were to pray with a purpose in mind, a reason in our hearts. We are not to go before Him in prayer and chant repetitious prayers which we may not even be thinking about as we say them. Prayer is communication WITH God, and involves two-way fellowship. It is not to be degraded down to a mere chanting of prayer formulas as if they were magical invocations.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL


Roman Catholicism: Says that icons can aid in worship, by giving a person a visible item upon which to focus their attention, supposedly to direct that attention then to God (or Mary or a Saint). Roman Catholic meeting places are often decorated with large numbers of intricately crafts icons representing Christ on the cross, Mary, angels, or various Saints.

Bible: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any grave 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:" (Exodus 20:4)

The Second Commandment explicitly forbids ALL sorts of icons from use in worship, whether they be used explicitly to worship false gods, or whether they be used in supposed worship of God. This is because icons (read: idols) quickly become the object of veneration themselves, as can be seen happening in the Roman church. There are literally hundreds of Roman Catholic shrines all over the world which have statues of Mary or of saints which supposedly weep, shed blood, heal the sick, or other fairy tales, and which themselves have become the object of worship and veneration from the people who visit those sites.

Roman Catholicism (Pass or Fail): FAIL

The Bible is clear, and the verdict is in. The plumbline has been dropped, and the wall of Roman Catholicism tilts so greatly it seems about to fall over.

To any Roman Catholics who are reading this page: Please do not take this page as an attack upon you personally. Instead, think about what you've read, and about how the doctrines of the Roman Church do not conform in many important respects to that presented in God's unchangeable, inerrant, holy Word, the Bible. Salvation can ONLY be found by admitting that you are a sinner, as we all are, and repenting of that sin, and asking Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins. He has promised in the Bible to do so, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37). Trust Jesus and be saved today, and be assured that you are accepted back into the family of God!