word "holy" is always used one way in Scripture concerning
God, who is holy in and of Himself; and in another way for created
mankind, creatures and things which can only be called
"holy" when set apart by God for His use.
was called to be "an holy people unto the Lord" (Dt 7:6;
14:2; 21, etc.), different from all others. God commanded them (and
us today), "be holy; for I am holy" (Lv 11:44,45; 1 Pt
1:16, etc.). The Aaronic priesthood was a holy priesthood (even
their garments were said to be holy - Ex 35:21; Lv 16:4). In
contrast, all Christians are "a holy priesthood" who offer
"spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ"
(1 Pt 2:5), "the sacrifice of praise to God
continually...." (Heb 13:15).
children of Israel were called "saints." That this
designation was given to them while they were still alive on earth
and not after their death is clear: "But to the saints that are
in the earth...." "O God, the heathen...have laid
Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they
given...unto the fowls...the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of
the earth..." (Ps 16:3; 79:1-2, etc.).
broke its covenant with God before Moses came down from the mount,
and that is why he smashed the tables of stone (Ex 32:15-19).
Graciously, God promised to make a "new covenant with the house
of Israel and with the house of Judah" whereby His law would be
written not in stone but in their hearts (Jer 31:31-33). Christ will
rescue Israel from her enemies at Armageddon (Zec 12:10-13:1);
"all Israel shall be saved" (Rom 11:26) and never disobey
or displease God again (Ezk 39:7,22,29; Zec 14:9-11,20-21). These
promises will be fulfilled when Christ returns to rule the world
from David's throne in Jerusalem.
the meantime, both Jews and Gentiles are called by the gospel of
Jesus Christ into the church, which He has "purchased with his
own blood" (Acts 20:28) "out of every kindred, and tongue,
and people, and nation" (Rv 5:9), Jew and Gentile having been
made "one new man" (Eph 2:15). Where there once were two
divisions of mankind (Jew and Gentile) there now are three: Jews,
Gentiles, and the church of God (1 Cor 10:32). These
"Christians" (Acts 11:26) are so called because they have
been bought with Christ's blood: "...ye are bought with a
price" (1 Cor 6:19-20; 7:23), even"the precious blood of
Christ" (1 Pt 1:19).
all Christians are saints is declared in the clearest terms. Ananias
said, "Lord, I have heard...how much evil he [Saul of Tarsus]
hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem" (Acts 9:13). Later Paul
admits, "many of the saints did I shut up in prison"
(26:10). We are told that Peter visited "the saints which dwelt
at Lydda" (9:32). Paul declares that Christians should be
hospitable and generously provide for "the necessity of the
saints" (Rom 12:13). He refers to "the poor saints which
are at Jerusalem" (15:25-26), and to "all the saints which
are in all Achaia" (2 Cor 1:1), and writes his epistles
"to the saints" at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, etc.
are saints because they are "born of the [Holy] Spirit"
(Jn 3:8; Gal 4:29) and sealed with that Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13;
4:30). Each Christian's body is a "temple of God" and
"temple of the Holy Ghost" (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19). Christians
are called to live as saints who are empowered for holy living by
the Holy Spirit dwelling within. Anyone who is not indwelt by the
Holy Spirit is not a Christian (Rom 8:1-9).
Roman Catholicism insists that only the dead can be saints. The
Pocket Catholic Dictionary says that all Christians were once called
saints, but that this was "early restricted to persons who were
eminent in holiness...and whom the Church honors as saints...by a
solemn definition called canonization...[and] that they may be
publicly invoked [prayed to] everywhere." "Early
restricted" by whom?
Word says that all Christians are a holy priesthood with access to
the throne of God (Heb 10:19-22) through Christ who alone is the
"one mediator between God and men" (1 Tm 2:5). But Rome
claims that only a special class of celibates are priests who
mediate between God and men. The same Dictionary describes a
"priest" as "An authorized mediator who offers a true
sacrifice...in expiation for...sins...men who are specially ordained
as priests to consecrate and offer the body and blood of Christ in
the Mass." "Authorized" by whom? Not by God! By what
authority is God's Word set aside?
Word is "for ever...settled in heaven" (Ps 119:89). Jesus
said that not "one jot or one tittle" could change in His
Word (Mt 5:17-19). What shall we say, then, of a Church which casts
aside Christ's holy words and revises the clear teaching of the
Bible by its tradition and forces this error upon one billion souls?
it is claimed that these unbiblical priests turn wafers into the
body and blood of Christ to offer Him in a perpetual sacrifice on
their altars for the sins of the world. Thereby they deny the
completeness of Christ's sacrifice and His own triumphant words on
the cross, "It [the sacrifice for the sins of the world] is
finished" (Jn 19:30)!
Roman priesthood has created a distance between its followers and
God which it claims it alone can bridge. The salvation the Bible
offers through simple faith in Christ, and a personal relationship
with Him, are denied to Catholics. They are kept in bondage to the
priesthood from whom they must continually receive another portion
of grace to move them a step closer to heaven. This unbiblical
religious system is a tragedy which ought to break the heart and
consume every true Christian with a passion to tell these deceived
people the good news of the gospel.
rebuked the rabbis of His day for loving "the chief seats in
the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of
men, Rabbi, Rabbi" (Mt 23:6-7). In contrast, He told His own,
"But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even
Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon
the earth [with the obvious exception of one's father by birth, who
is to be honored (Ex 20:12; Eph 6:2)]; for one is your Father, which
is in heaven" (Mt 23: 8-11).
Christians may call God their Father and He alone is to be so
biblical truth that God is the Father only of Christians, all of
whom are saints, derives directly from the fact that Christians are
"born...of God" (Jn 1:13); have been "born
again" (Jn 3:3-8) into the family of God, and are "all the
children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:26). God's
Spirit confirms this fact to every Christian: "The Spirit
itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of
God...heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom 8:16-17).
in flagrant disobedience to Christ's clear command, Rome dares to
insist that its unbiblical priests be called "father." He
who said we are to call no man on earth our father declared that to
disobey His Word was to reject Him: "He that rejecteth me, and
receiveth not my words...the word that I have spoken, the same shall
judge him in the last day" (Jn 12:48).
deceived by this false priesthood are robbed of salvation as the
free gift of God's grace, which can only be received in faith and
can neither be earned nor dispensed through men or a Church. They
are robbed of the relationship they could have with God through
Jesus Christ, and of the priesthood of all believers which Peter and
Paul and Christ himself taught.
the popes have usurped the title that belongs to God alone,
"Holy Father." We tremble for their souls! That phrase is
found only once in the entire Bible, in the verse beginning this
article. It is the way Christ addressed His Father: "Holy
Father." What motive could drive mere man to take this title to
himself? Tragically, through honoring the Pope with this title and
looking to Catholicism's false gospel Roman Catholics are kept from
knowing the only true "Holy Father" in heaven.
prayer in John 17 to His "Holy Father" was that Christians
might all be one. That prayer was answered. All who are the children
of God by being born again into God's family through faith in Christ
and in whom the Holy Spirit dwells are united on that basis. Jesus
prayed to the Holy Father that His own would be "one in us...I
in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in
one..." (vv 21-23). That family relationship is the only basis
for Christian unity. We are exhorted by Paul to "keep the unity
of the [Holy] Spirit in the bond of peace" (i.e., to express in
our lives the unity which God has established). Never are we told to
make or to work towards unity, for those who are Christ's are
already united in Him and with His Holy Father.
in rejection of the clear teaching of Scripture, we find appeals
such as the following in Roman Catholic periodicals: "Our Holy
Father asks that we pray for Christian Unity. 'It is essential...to
be more committed to prayer for Christian unity....' John
hope of establishing this unbiblical unity under the Pope has
captured the minds of the entire religious world. The ecumenical
movement daily gathers momentum. Even evangelicals have been caught
up in this delusion, as we have documented. An elite priesthood of
mediators between God and man, and a pope who claims to be the Vicar
of Christ and is called "Holy Father," are allegedly
justified by the claim that Christ founded the church upon Peter and
that the popes are his successors through "apostolic
succession." But, sadly, calling the popes "Holy
Father" or "His Holiness" hardly fits the unholy
lives lived by most of them.
a few examples. Pope John XII (955-64) had numerous mistresses, ran
a harem in the papal palace, raped women visiting St. Peter's,
blinded and murdered friend and foe alike, toasted Satan at St.
Peter's altar and was killed by a husband who found him in bed with
his wifea fate suffered by more than one pope. Pope Gregory XII's
(1406-15) first pontifical act was to pawn his tiara for 6,000
florins to pay his gambling debts. Upon purchasing the papacy,
Alexander VI (1492-1503), who had committed his first murder at age
12, shouted, "I am Pope, Pontiff, Vicar of Christ!" Though
he scarcely pretended to be a Christian, he was, like all the popes,
deeply devoted to Mary. The crimes of this Borgia pope are beyond
calculation. Sixtus IV (1471-84) licensed Rome's brothels for an
annual fee and taxed the clergy for their mistresses. He invented
the idea of applying indulgences to the dead. Catholic historian Von
Dollinger said of Popes Paul II, Sixtus IV, Innocent VIII and
Alexander VI that each tried "to exceed the vices of his
contrast to Christ, who was homeless, whose kingdom was not of this
world, and whose followers didn't fight (Mt 8:20; Jn 18:36), the
popes have long lived in palaces of more than 1,000 rooms each and
fought with their own armies and navies to build a worldwide empire
of unparalleled wealth and power. Michelangelo wrote, "Of
chalices they [the popes] make helmet and sword and sell by the
bucket the blood of the Lord." Pope Innocent III killed more
Christians in one afternoon than all Roman emperors combined.
Millions were tortured and killed by the popes.
did such power arise? In the winter of 755 Pope Stephen III,
desperate for protection from the besieging Lombards, crossed the
Alps to seek help from Pepin, king of the Franks. The Pope showed
Pepin the Donation of Constantine, a newly created fraudulent
document (as Catholic historians admit). It claimed that
Constantine, the Roman Emperor, had given his "palaces, the
City of Rome, and all the provinces, places, and cities of Italy and
the regions of the West" to the popes.
by this lie, Pepin routed the Lombards and gave the papacy about 20
cities and much land along the Adriatic coast. It was the beginning
of the papal states over which the popes would rule for centuries as
prosperous cities in its possession from which huge revenues came by
heavy taxation, the papacy was a prize over which rival factions
fought. Powerful families (Colonna, Orsini, Annibaldi, Conti,
Caetini, et al.) fought to place one of their own on the alleged
"throne of Peter." (See A Woman Rides the Beast.) Popes
fought and killed one another for "Peter's Chair,"
excommunicated and even exhumed one another to do so. Yet each one
is called the "Holy Father, His Holiness, Vicar of Christ"
and is considered to be a link in the long chain of apostolic
succession supposedly going back to Peter.
popes were put in office by a mother-daughter pair of prostitutes:
Theodora (wife of a powerful Roman Senator) and her daughter,
Marozia. In Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon
writes, "The bastard son, the grandson, and the great grandson
of Maroziaa rare genealogywere seated in the Chair of St.
Peter." This is "apostolic succession"?
decades the papacy was under the control of a powerful family of
warlords, the Alberics of Tusculum, who would eventually boast of 40
cardinals and 13 popes issuing from that one family. It would be a
mockery to say that the wealth and power that produced this
remarkable familial network of popes had anything to do with
apostolic succession; yet there they are on that official Vatican
list of Vicars of Christ today.
foregoing is only part of the appalling heritage by which John Paul
II today claims God's title, "Holy Father." For his own
salvation, he needs to renounce such pretense and "believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ" who died for his sins. May we lovingly
bring the true gospel to those whom Rome has deceived. And may we,
who are His rejoicing children through faith in Christ, love, serve
and obey the only "Holy Father."
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