Suppose you and I were to set up a test of sorts. We would pour blue Gatorade, windshield wiper fluid, blue Powerade, Windex, and blue mouthwash into five clear plastic cups. Then, say we took those 5 cups, put them on a table, and put that table on your street corner for people to guess which is which. At first glance, all 5 of these liquids would look borderline identical. The average passer-by would most likely do more than just look before perhaps tasting one of the cups of mystery blue liquid. Maybe they would swirl the liquid, smell it, and perhaps even dip their fingers in to see if they could feel a difference. As they proceed with their investigation, some blue drinks would be more easily disqualified from being taste-tested. You could deduce that they would narrow down to at least the Powerade, Gatorade, and mouthwash through basic reasoning. Even then, one of the liquids would be considered not intended for recreational drinking. After this test with the unfortunate public that decides to engage, we would most likely conclude that more than just a surface-level view was needed to determine which liquid was edible. I say all of this to set us up for success when discussing the differences between Roman Catholicism and Christianity and why it matters.
A handful of movements, religions, and supposed "sects" of Christianity look similar to authentic Christianity. So, let's take the blue liquids...smell them, swirl them, and see if we can't spot some differences to save ourselves from drinking windshield wiper fluid.
Here are some points of contention between biblical Christianity and Catholicism:
The Roman Catholic Church's teachings on salvation, assurance of salvation, good works, baptism, prayer, priesthood, sacraments, confession, and Mary differ from what the Bible teaches.
1. The Catholic Church believes that salvation is achieved through baptismal regeneration and the maintenance of sanctifying grace through sacraments unless a willful act of sin is committed. In contrast, the Bible teaches that salvation is attained through grace received by simple faith and that good works result from a change of heart that occurs during salvation.
2. The Catholic Church also teaches that salvation cannot be guaranteed or assured, while the Bible assures believers of their salvation through scriptures like 1 John 5:13.
3. Regarding good works, the Catholic Church believes they are necessary for salvation, while the Bible teaches that Christians are saved by grace through faith and not by works.
4. Regarding baptism, the Catholic Church teaches infant baptismal regeneration, a practice not found in Scripture. The Bible shows that baptism is practiced after saving faith in Christ and is not the means of salvation.
5. The Catholic Church encourages praying to Mary and the saints for their prayers, while the Bible only teaches praying to God.
6. The Catholic Church distinguishes between the clergy and laypeople, while the Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers.
7. The Catholic Church also teaches the infusion of grace upon reception of the sacraments, a teaching that is not found in Scripture.
8. The Catholic Church teaches the practice of confessing sins to a priest, while the Bible teaches the confession of sins to God.
9. The Catholic Church believes Mary is the Queen of Heaven, a perpetual virgin, and the co-redemptress who ascended into heaven. However, the Bible portrays Mary as an obedient servant of God who became the mother of Jesus and does not support the other attributes mentioned by the Catholic Church. Additionally, the idea of Mary being a co-redemptress and another mediator between God and man is not found in Scripture.
Upon inspection of these points, we can see the unbiblical nature of the Roman Catholic "Church." It is essential to highlight that some within the catholic church could believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. However, this would be in spite of the Catholic church…not because of it. I have heard of those within the catholic church who do not support the catholic view of some or even all of the points mentioned above, but to them, I always have the same question, "Then why would you stay? Why not go to a biblically-based church?" The answers range from "I'm comfortable here." to "I can still serve God here." Playing with fire is a guaranteed way to be burned. Peaceful co-existence with false doctrine is enmity with God.
What are your thoughts? Is there anything I said with which you disagree? I look forward to hearing from you!
Grace and Peace,