QUESTIONS EVERY ROMAN CATHOLIC SHOULD ANSWER

These questions are not asked to stir up any strife or ill feeling but asked in sincerity and love. Any replies to these questions are expected to be ventured in the same spirit.

The Apostle Peter told the NT Christians that they should "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh of you a reason of the hope that is in you in meekness and fear."
(1 Peter 3:15)

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THE HOLY BIBLE

QUESTION 1
The creed of Pope Pius IV tells us that the Bible is to be interpreted only according to the "unanimous consent of the Fathers" - How can this be since (in the words of Father Chiniquy: "The Fathers are unanimous in only one thing: which is to differ from each other in almost everything." [See below under Mary (Q18) where we take up this theme a little more]

QUESTION
2
Does John 21:23 ("Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?") not show that even a tradition that was directly linked to the very Apostles was fallible?


QUESTION
3
Is "Church tradition" not simply a wax nose that can be twisted as needed, when needed?


QUESTION
4
If "church tradition" contradicts the Bible (as it does) then who am I to believe - God or the Church?


QUESTION
5
If the Jews, to "whom were committed the oracles of God" (Romans 3:2) were able to bring in false traditions which "transgressed the commandment of God" (Matthew 15:3) then what is there to stop Rome from doing likewise?


QUESTION
6
Is not the promise of Matthew 28:20 "Lo, I am with you always until the end of the world" not conditional upon the previous words: "Teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you?"


QUESTION
7
T
he "ecclesiastical tradition" which Rome adds to the Bible as her rule of faith and practice includes all of the following: Numerous volumes of the Pope's bulls, 51 folio volumes of the actions and words of the saints, 35 volumes of the Greek and Latin Fathers whose "unanimous consent" is held to determine the meaning of scripture. Have you personally read and studied them carefully so that you know just what you are actually required to believe?


QUESTION 
8
If not…how can you assent faith? Are you not being easily led?


QUESTION
9
If the Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation and the man of God perfect (2 Timothy 3:15-17) … why then do we need tradition at all?


QUESTION
10
Do the words of Father Abraham in Luke 16:29-31: "If they hear not the words of Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead/" not show the sufficiency of the Scriptures? Surely that the Scriptures were considered to be of more force than one dramatically rising again from the dead must speak volumes?


QUESTION
11
In Acts 17:11 the Bereans were commended by the Holy Spirit as being "more noble" when they decided to subject the teaching of the Church (as seen in the witness of Paul) to the Scriptures? Should you not be doing likewise?


QUESTION
12
Why must the words of 2 Peter 1:20 "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" be taken to mean that we cannot read the Bible independently of the Church - does it not refer (as the context bears out) to the origin of the Bible i.e. it is not the thoughts of even holy men, but the work of the Spirit of God?


QUESTION
13
Why does Rome count the apocrypha (Jewish History) books as part of the word of God, when according to Josephus, (the Jewish historian) the Jews to "whom were committed the oracles of God" (Romans 3:2) did not regard them as inspired?


QUESTION
14
How can the Church be considered to be the "mother of the Bible" when the Bible is the eternal word of God? If the Church is made up of the faithful and "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17) then surely the word of God would have to come before faith? Instead of "No church - no Bible" it is more accurate to say: "No Bible - no church"


QUESTION
15
When Chrysostom wrote: "All things are plain and simple in the Holy Scriptures; all things necessary are evident" (2 Thessalonians Homily 3) - surely he is teaching the doctrine of sola Scriptura i.e. the Sufficiency of the Scriptures alone for all necessary matters? Likewise, when he wrote in his commentary on 2 Corinthians 6 (Homily 13): "You have an exact standard and rule of all things. I beseech you, do not regard what this or that man thinks, but enquire all things of the Scriptures."


QUESTION
16
When Athanasius wrote: "The Holy and Inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the truth" (Cont. Gentiles i,1) - surely he also is teaching the doctrine of sola Scriptura i.e. the Sufficiency of the Scriptures alone for all necessary matters?


QUESTION
17
Writing against the Arian, Maximinus, Augustine says: "I ought neither to adduce the Council of Nice, nor you that of Ariminum, as if to prejudge the question. I am not determined by the authority of the latter, nor you by that of the former. Founding on the authority of Scripture not peculiar to either, but the common witness of both, fact contends with fact, plea with plea, reason with reason." (Against Maximus the Arian II 14:3) Does this not show that Augustine did not feel himself to be under the authority of the Council of Nice but under the Scripture alone?

QUESTION 18
In the famous quotation, so beloved of Rome, where Augustine wrote: "I should not believe the gospel itself, if the authority of the Church did not move me to do so" Why can we not say that the Church is an authoritative witness of the Bible as opposed to an authoritative judge as argued by Rome? How can a Church sit in judgement over God as He has revealed Himself in His word? If the Church is a witness to the truth of the gospel as revealed in the Bible, I am happy to accept her testimony. Just as the Samaritans received the testimony of the woman to the Messiahship of Christ... but were also able to say: "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves..." (John 4:42) i.e. the ultimate reason we believe is that we have heard Him for ourselves

THE POPE

QUESTION 1
If Peter was Bishop of Rome - or even in Rome - why does Paul not even mention him among the twenty eight (no mean number) individuals who are named in the last chapter of his epistle to that congregation?

QUESTION 2
Paul wrote several letters from Rome - again why no mention of Peter if he were Pope?

QUESTION 3
If Peter was the Apostle to the Jews (Galatians 2:7- 8) why should he be the Bishop of Gentile Rome?

QUESTION 4
Does the following expanded but legitimate paraphrase of Matthew 16:18 not cast serious doubt on the teaching that Peter is the Rock on which the church is built? "Thou art Peter [or "petros" meaning a "stone/pebble"] and upon this rock ["petra" meaning "an unmoveable rock"] I will build my church…" RC Archbishop Kendrick named over 40 Church Fathers who thought so.

QUESTION 5
When the disciples disagreed over who among them was the greatest, surely the Lord Jesus would have said: "Peter is the greatest…he is my vicar etc.," (Mark 9:33-34)

QUESTION 6
If Paul twice considered himself to be on equal par with even the chiefest of the apostles (2 Corinthians 11:5/12:11) … then you cannot argue that Peter was superior than Paul. Obviously Paul did not think him to be superior when he withstood erring Peter to his face because Peter's conduct brought the very essence of the gospel into disrepute.

QUESTION 7
Christ said: "Call ye no man your father upon the earth" (Matthew 23:9) i.e. in religious matters. How can you even use the term "Pope" which means "Father"?

QUESTION 8
When Christ prayed in John 17, He addressed His prayer to the "Holy Father" (v11) Was He praying to the Pope? If not…what does this tell you?

QUESTION 9
If Jesus was not praying to the Pope - how many "Holy Fathers" are there?

QUESTION 10
When the Apostles held a Church Council (Acts 15) why did James and not Peter sum up (v13ff) Compare with a similar gathering in Acts 21:18-19 "James and the brethren"

QUESTION 11
When Paul lists the different offices in the Church (Ephesians 4:11-12) why does he not mention "Supreme Pontiff" or some other distinct reference to the Pope?

QUESTION 12
Does Christ in John 16:13 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" not indicate that the Holy Spirit alone in His vicar or representative?

QUESTION 13
Why is Peter in Galatians 2:9 referred to as a pillar or indeed effectively a joint pillar when Rome believes him to be the foundation?

QUESTION 14
The official list of Popes has been revised again and again - some were dropped because they were later deemed not to have existed at all - in the light of such confusion how can Rome strongly claim that she has an unbroken line of succession back to the Apostles? Especially when (according to Rome) so much hinges upon this?

QUESTION 15
Even if an unbroken line could be traced back to Peter, how does this prove that the Church today actually believes what the Apostle's believe? The Jews claimed to have a direct line back to Moses…but the Lord Jesus reminded them: "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me." (John 5:46)

QUESTION 16
Was Pope Gregory I right to say that the title of "Universal Priest" is "profane, superstitious, haughty and invented by the first apostate?"

QUESTION 17
Pope Liberius was an Arian and condemned Athanasius. Pope Honorus was a Monothelite who was condemned by three ecumenical councils (Pope Leo II suggested that he be damned in hell) Pope Boniface denied the Trinity and the immortality of the soul. Are you seriously saying that these men were the vicars of Christ on earth and that (in the words of the Roman Creed) those who refuse to be subject to such are damned?

QUESTION 18
One of the Papal titles is "Lord God the Pope" - Surely this is blasphemy? Did Peter ever take this title?

SIN AND SALVATION

QUESTION 1
Rome divides sin up into two categories: mortal and venial sin. Surely all sin is mortal? See Romans 6:23 "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" and James 2:10 "Whosoever shall keep the law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." We accept that there are some sins more heinous than others, but even the "least" sin is mortal i.e. brings death.

QUESTION 2
If salvation is by baptism…then how could the dying thief on the Cross be saved (Luke 23:43) since he was not baptised nor partook indeed of any sacrament?

QUESTION 3
How can the human soul - said in Ephesians 2:1 to be "dead in trespasses and in sins" - contribute to its own salvation?

QUESTION 4
How can my good works either save me or even contribute to my salvation, when according to Isaiah 64:6 all my "righteousness' are as filthy rags" and Romans 3:10 emphatically declares: "There is none righteous, no not one."?

QUESTION 5
Do verses like Romans 3:20/3:28/Galatians 2:18/Ephesians 2:8-9 (please look up these verses) not utterly condemn the thought of salvation (at least in part) by keeping the law?

QUESTION 6
How can I hope to earn grace when Romans 11:6 declares: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

QUESTION 7
How can I ever hope to add to what Jesus did on Calvary when He cried "It is finished" or as it is in the old Catholic Douay Version: "It is consummated" (John 19:30)?

QUESTION 8
When James declared: "I will shew thee my faith by my works" (2:18) is he not saying that faith is the fruit or evidence of salvation, rather than a contributory cause?

QUESTION 9
Rome believes that justification consists of an imparted righteousness. But the Bible (Romans 4:6) declares that "David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." Does 1 Corinthians 1:30 not show that it is the righteousness of Another ("Christ is made unto us…righteousness") which is imputed to us i.e. reckoned to our account? It is not what we do but what Christ has done perfectly that accounts us as righteous.

CONTINUING IN THIS SECTION ON SIN AND SALVATION, WE WANT TO LOOK AT THE LITTLE KNOWN BUT VITAL RC DOCTRINE OF INTENTION.

"Whosoever shall affirm that when ministers perform and confer a sacrament, it is not necessary that they should have at least the intention to what the church does, let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, Session 7, canon 11)

QUESTION 10
If a RC priest performs the mass without having the intention of the church, the bread must remain bread and the wine must remain wine. Surely then if you were to worship the host in these circumstances, then you are guilty of idolatry which is a mortal sin? Cardinal Ballermine - one of the greatest theologians Rome ever produced to defend her doctrines - wrote concerning this doctrine of intention: "No one can be certain with the certainty of faith that he has a true sacrament, since the sacrament is not formed without the intention of the minister, and no one can see the intention of another." (Vol. 1 p488)

QUESTION 11
Taking the above observation a little further, if the man who ordained Pope John Paul II lacked the intention, then the latter's ordination was false as indeed was every single mass he ever performed and his elevation to the office of Pope is null and void. Why do you think that Dens (another prominent RC theologian) admitted that it was a matter of speculation that whether a modern Pontiff is the vicar of Christ? (Theologia Vol. 2 p19-22) Since you are basically relying on your church for salvation, does this not leave you trusting on a broken reed which will not only piece your hand but damn your soul?

QUESTION 12
Does the mechanical fashion in which Jesuit missionaries baptised heathens - often without any instruction whatsoever - calling them "Christians" not differ fundamentally from the NT manner of the Apostles? Incidentally, this practice still takes place. One RC priest on RTE (Irish Television) recently spoke about doing it and referred to it as "supermarket style"

QUESTION 13
Was Paul presumptuous to say: "We are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but who believe to the saving of the soul." (Hebrews 10:38) How did Paul know that he was not one of those who draw back unto perdition?

QUESTION 14
When Christ said to the woman in Luke 7:50 "Thy faith hath saved thee" the Greek tense (the perfect indicative) is the same as that when the angel said concerning the resurrected Christ: "He is risen" i.e. although rooted a past action, it has ongoing results. This woman could say that she was saved relating back to a definite experience in the past but having present ongoing connotations. Where does that leave Rome who says that no one can say on this earth that they are saved? Does such not contradict verses like: John 10:28-29/Romans 8:1/Romans 8:29-39/1 Peter 1:4-5?

 THE VIRGIN MARY

QUESTION 1
How can Mary be called the "Mother of God" when God is eternal and cannot be predated? Augustine observed wisely: "Why, then, said the Son to the mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come ?" Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man. According as He was God, He had not a mother; according as He was man, He had…." (Homily 8 John's Gospel on the Wedding Feast of Canaan) We happily accept the deity of Christ i.e. Christ is God, but this phrase "Mother of God" is used to elevate Mary, not exalt the Lord Jesus.

QUESTION 2
If Mary never sinned, why did she offer a "sin offering" (Cp Luke 2:23-24 with Leviticus 12:2) especially when in this offering, blood was shed? Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission [of sin]"

QUESTION 3
If Mary never sinned, why did she die? Death is the wage of sin (Romans 6:23) Do you not think that Augustine came to the conclusion that Mary died due to sin when he wrote: "For to speak more briefly, Mary who was of Adam died for sin, Adam died for sin, and the Flesh of the Lord which was of Mary died to put away sin."? (Second Discourse on Psalm 34)

QUESTION 4
If Mary is only a created being, how can she do so much - protecting all, hearing all and answering all who seek her, whenever they seek? Only God Almighty could do all that is said of her.

QUESTION 5
Why do Roman Catholics have recourse to Mary, when in John 2:5 she pointed all to her Son? Surely, we can just go to Him direct like so many others did in the gospels?

QUESTION 6
Again at Canaan, what actual line of scripture can you produce as evidence that the folk at the Wedding Feast actually approached Mary to act on their behalf? In the absence of such, surely you could just as easily argue that Mary saw the need and acted on her own initiative without hearing any pleas? Is it right to build a doctrine upon silence?

QUESTION 7
How can Mary be our Mediatrix, our advocate, our gate to Heaven, when such offices in 1 Timothy 2:5/1 John 2:1/John 10:9/John 14:6 clearly belong to the Lord Jesus alone?

QUESTION 8
In Brother Leo's supposed vision of two ladders (as recorded in the Chronicles of St. Francis) those who climbed the ladder to Christ were turned back - those who sought Mary were not. Does this not make Mary to be more merciful than Christ?

QUESTION 9
St Thomas Aquinas - fondly known in Rome as the Angelic Doctor - wrote: " Even if the parents of the Blessed Virgin were cleansed from original sin, nevertheless, the Blessed Virgin contracted original sin." (Sacred Theology Q.27 Art 2) What did he mean by these words?

QUESTION 10
In one paragraph alone, St Thomas Aquinas observed:

"Furthermore in Matthew's text [12:47] Behold thy mother and thy brethren are standing outside seeking thee" that Chrysostom commented: 'It is obvious that they did this out of vain glory.' Or on John's [2:3] They have no wine, he says that she wanted to do them a favour and at the same time make herself look good at her Son's expense. She thus perhaps succumbed to human weakness just as his brethren did when they said: 'Show yourself to the world. He adds further on that she had not yet come to believe in him as she should. Sin is involved in all this. The Blessed Virgin then, was not kept from all sin." (Summa Thelogia 3a.27,4)

Is not Chrysostom of the opinion that Mary sinned?

QUESTION 11
Pope Innocent III said: "Eve was produced without sin but she brought forth in sin. Mary was produced in sin, but she brought forth without sin." (De Festo Assump. Second sermon) What is the Pope saying here about Mary? How does it tie in with Rome's doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?

QUESTION 12
Cardinal Cajetan said: "If the Scriptures be duly considered, and the sayings of the Doctors ancient and modern, who have been most devoted to the Glorious Virgin, it is most plain that she was conceived in sin." (De. Loc. Theol. Part 1 c.2) Where is the unanimous consent of the Fathers now in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception? Where is the Immaculate Conception?

QUESTION 13
St Alphonses de Ligouri wrote a (in) famous book entitled: The Glories of Mary. (Redemptorist Fathers publish it) Just for the record, Ligouri's writings were pronounced by Pope Pius VII and Pope Leo XII (1803 and 1825 respectively) to be without error. At his death, some fingers from his right hand were removed in what is termed pious mutilation to be preserved because he had written so acceptably in the cause of Rome. He cannot be easily dispelled as some might desire to do. In The Glories of Mary, Ligouri gave the Virgin Mary a divine attribute: "Jesus has rendered Mary omnipotent…" Is this not clearly a case of the greatest blasphemy…not only in the one who dared write these words, but in those who endorse it? My copy of this book carries notification that it has been edited…surely the fact that these words survived the editor's purge, show that this teaching is still held by some? Lest, I should be accused of making one an offender for a word (Isaiah 29:21) i.e. a slip of the tongue, Ligouri repeats this statement again and again (p181-182/p216/p626)

QUESTION 14
Ligouri also wrote: Mary has been elected from all eternity as mother of God that she might save by her mercy those whom her son in justice cannot pardon." (p153) Surely this makes her mercy unjust?

In the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Wambierzyce (Poland) there is a crucifix with Mary instead of Jesus. Ligouri wrote: O Lady…thou wast on the Cross itself, crucified with thy Son…" (p485) This shows how dangerous books like Ligouri's prove to be. They are taken seriously. We could easily spend much time bringing forth the horrible blasphemies of this book - that Mary brought out of hell those who had died impenitent (p226-228) - that Mary can do what she wills with God (p198) - etc., but we will forbear. Surely this book which was a standard text book in Roman Catholic seminaries and is still sold in many RC Bookshops - is a grave embarrassment to any Roman Catholic who has any Bible knowledge?

QUESTION 15
If Mary needed to be sinless in order to bear a sinless child (Christ) then surely Jochim and Ann (traditionally reported to be Mary's parents) also needed to be sinless? Is not this being consistent?

QUESTION 16
When the Lord Jesus said that there is none good, but one and that was God (Mark 10:18) - where does this leave Mary?

QUESTION 17
Mary is said to be "Blessed among women" (Luke 1:28) Is Jael who is said to be "Blessed above women" (Judges 5:24) to be considered as higher?

QUESTION 18
If Christ rebuked Mary as He did in Matthew 12:48 (repeated again in Mark 3:33) does this not denote sin on her part? Augustine evidently thought so for he considered that Mary sought to hinder His ministry: "Nor, again, should we be moved by the fact that, when the presence of His mother and His brethren was announced to Him, He replied, "Who is my mother, or who my brethren?" etc. But rather let it teach us, that when parents hinder our ministry wherein we minister the word of God to our brethren, they ought not to be recognised by us." (Faith and the Creed: Ch 4) *

* We freely admit that Augustine also taught that Mary was given grace to overcome sin.
[Treatise on Nature and Grace Ch. 42: "We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin."]
This does two things. First of all…it leads to confusion. Either she sinned or didn't. In Faith and the Creed quoted above, Augustine has her hindering her Son's ministry of the word of God. In Nature and Grace, she had grace conferred upon her to resist doing just that very thing and indeed every particular. Which Augustine do you want to believe? Secondly…it shows how farcical the whole notion of the unanimous Consent of the Fathers really is. Here Augustine, one of the greatest of the Fathers, is inconsistent with himself - how can we hope for agreement with the other Fathers?

Lest we are considered to be too critical of Augustine's inconsistency - let us remind ourselves that many of the great commentators on the Bible have contradicted themselves. John Calvin, arguably the greatest of all the exegetes, conceded in his Institutes of the Christian Religion the possibility that Peter could have been in Rome (taking the line "So what?") whilst in his commentary on 1 Peter 5:13 he describes the teaching that Peter was in Rome as "error" . However the difference is this: No one uses Calvin as a kind of official interpreter of the Bible. He is not part of a select band called the Church Fathers whose fabled unanimous consent must be sought before we can rightly interpret God's word. One of the arguments which Rome uses to taunt Protestants is their difference of opinion over some interpretations of the Scriptures. If Rome insists on hogging the Church Fathers for themselves, may we not reply: "Physician, heal thyself?" Although we have wandered a little from our questions about Mary, yet it just goes to show how you are to view Mary simply as the Bible reveals her: a sinner in need of a Saviour (See next question)

QUESTION 19
Mary said: And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. (Luke 1:47) Being aware that Rome teaches that Mary was preserved from ever partaking in any sin - the same way that a barrier saves you from falling over a cliff - as opposed to being delivered from the consequences of sin (as Saul of Tarsus etc., was) - what clear scripture can you bring forth to justify this interpretation? If none, why can we not simply conclude that Mary rejoiced in her Saviour because having come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10) i.e. to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) - she was a prime candidate? - remember…the fathers are not unanimous on this subject.

THE MASS
We have already covered this subject in the article entitled:

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC TEACHING OF THE MASS EXAMINED IN THE LIGHT OF SCRIPTURE AND COMMON SENSE.

 One question, not covered in the other section:

QUESTION 1
Rome points to John 6 and particularly v 53 as scriptural proof for transubstantiation. In his treatise: Christian Doctrine (3:16) Augustine wrote: "If the sentence is one of command, either forbidding a crime or vice, or enjoining an act of prudence or benevolence, it is not figurative. If, however, it seems to enjoin a crime or vice, or to forbid an act of prudence or benevolence, it is figurative. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man," says Christ, "and drink His blood, ye have no life in you." [John 6:53] This seems to enjoin a crime or a vice; it is therefore a figure, enjoining that we should have a share in the sufferings of our Lord, and that we should retain a sweet and profitable memory of the fact that His flesh was wounded and crucified for us." Do you agree with Augustine that Rome's interpretation which is literal enjoins a crime or a vice? What is that crime or vice envisaged by a literal reading?

 IDOLATRY

QUESTION 1
Why is the Second Commandment (as found in Exodus 20:4-6/Deuteronomy 5:8-10) omitted from many Church catechisms without any explanation? Surely very truth is being sacrificed (at best) for the sake of "brevity"? Is it not because these commandments condemn the use of images so prevalent in Roman Catholic Churches?

QUESTION 2
Why did the Church Councils of Eliberius (AD 306) and Constantinople (AD 730) condemn the use of images?

QUESTION 3
Why did the 2nd Church Council of Nicea (AD 787) favour the use of images?

QUESTION 4
Aware of the distinctions in worship between latria - hyperdulia - and dulia and that the saints are worthy of dulia, what am I to make of the Matthew 6:24 where I am told that I cannot serve God and mammon? The Greek word for serve in relation to God is duleuin from which the word dulia is derived. Surely dulia is reserved for God alone?

QUESTION 5
Every Roman Catholic Church must have a relic of the true Cross which is buried by a Bishop inside the main altar. How many RC altars are there in the world and could Jesus Christ have carried the cross if each bit was genuine?

QUESTION 6
Two Spanish Cathedrals both boasted to have the head of John the Baptist on display at the same time. Evidently at least one of these churches were deceiving the people?

QUESTION 7
In 2nd Kings 18:3-5, good King Hezekiah disdained and destroyed the actual genuine brass pole on which Moses had lifted up the serpent (Compare Numbers 21:9 with John 3:14-15) on account of the religious devotion which the Israelites gave to it. Surely the Roman Catholic Church would consider Hezekiah's act to be sacrilege?

QUESTION 8
If "No man prays or worships looking on an image without being impressed with the idea that it is listening to him" (Augustine: Epistle 49) then surely Roman Catholics are guilty of idolatry? Note…whatever distinctions you may maintain exist on paper - can you be sure that they get carried over into practice? If not…you are facing the charge of idolatry and "No idolater hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ." (Ephesians 5:5)

QUESTION 9
The disciples distinctly asked the Lord Jesus: "Teach us how to pray" (Luke 11:1) If the use of images are an aid to help the faithful pray, why then did the Lord Jesus not make mention of them at this time? Why do you think the whole New Testament never once encourages the Lord's people to use images in prayer especially when it has so much to say about the subject?

QUESTION 10
Augustine observed concerning Varrow: "Wherefore, when he … thinks that the rites of religion would have been more purely observed without images, who fails to see how near he has come to the truth?" (City of God 4:31) Surely Augustine here is effectively saying that images tend more to corrupt the things of God than help it?

PURGATORY

The Roman Catholic Church leans very heavily upon 2 Maccabees 12:40-46 for its teaching of purgatory. Protestants agree with Jerome: "As therefore the Church doeth read Tobias, Judith, and the Books of the Maccabees, but doth not receive them into the canonical Scriptures…" (Prologo Proverb) i.e. that this passage is uninspired and therefore "not to establish the authority of ecclesiastical principles." (Jerome: abid)

Now under the coats of every one that was slain they found things consecrated to the idols of the Jamnites, which is forbidden the Jews by the law. Then every man saw that this was the cause wherefore they were slain. All men therefore praising the Lord, the righteous Judge, who had opened the things that were hid, Betook themselves unto prayer, and besought him that the sin committed might wholly be put out of remembrance. Besides, that noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forsomuch as they saw before their eyes the things that came to pass for the sins of those that were slain. And when he had made a gathering throughout the company to the sum of two thousand drachms of silver, he sent it to Jerusalem to offer a sin offering, doing therein very well and honestly, in that he was mindful of the resurrection: For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should have risen again, it had been superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And also in that he perceived that there as great favour laid up for those that died godly, it was an holy and good thought. Whereupon he made a reconciliation for the dead, that they might be delivered from sin. It is therefore a good and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they might be loosed from their sins. (2 Maccabees 12:40-46)

QUESTION 1
These dead, for whom prayer was to be made, had died in the act of idolatry as the passage makes clear…if this is a mortal sin, then they went (according to Rome's teaching) straight to hell and not to purgatory at all. Why was a good and wholesome thought to pray men out of hell if God says that there is no escape from hell? (Luke 16:26/ Hebrews 2:3)

QUESTION 2
In 2 Maccabees 15:38 (39), the writer apologises for defects in his writing, something which no inspired writer ever does:

"And if I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired: but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto." (2 Maccabees 15:38 (39)

How do you know that the teaching of purgatory is not one of these self confessed defects? As noted in question one, he cuts right across your Church's teaching on "mortal sin"

QUESTION 3
How could the dying thief in Luke 23:43 bypass purgatory when he was never baptised and practically ignored Mary at the Cross? If purgatory is so beneficial to us as taught by Rome, why was he denied its benefits? Whichever way, you look at it…I think I'll follow his footsteps, look simply in faith to Christ, and go to Heaven immediately when I die!

QUESTION 4
Paul speaks of the "whole family [of God] in Heaven and earth" (Ephesians 3:15) Why should he leave out the millions in purgatory? Or perhaps he does not believe in it?

QUESTION 5
How can Christ by Himself purge our sins (Hebrews 1:3) if I have to purge them as well? If you answer from 2 Corinthians 7:1 "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" [Please note, in all my debating with Roman Catholics, I have never heard any quote this verse. I just mention it to show that I have studied the subject, looking at it from both sides of the argument] then how do you answer the thought that he is addressing the living and not the dead?

QUESTION 6
Rome sometimes points to the words of Matthew 5:25-26 as evidence:

"Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."

Apart from the obvious that there is no mention of purgatory in the passage - although I suppose it could be read in as indeed any human fancy can be - what does the condition of paying the utmost farthing mean to a totally bankrupt sinner who has absolutely nothing to pay? The idea that the saints have earned abundant merits which not only cover themselves but all who seek them is void of New Testament teaching which tells us that when we have done all that is commanded us, we are still unprofitable servants.

The drift of the argument in the above text is that the word "till" puts a time frame on it, thus ruling out the possibility of the Lord referring to hell which is eternal. However, in the Bible the word "till" or "until" does not necessarily carry that meaning. Consider the words of David to his son Solomon: Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD (1Chronicles 28:20) Would God forsake Solomon the moment the last brick was laid? Obviously not. God has said: "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5)

QUESTION 7
If you listen carefully at Roman Catholic funerals, the priest usually at least implies that the dear departed one is happy with the angels or other similar words, all giving the impression that they are in Heaven. Why then do they still accept money for masses for their release from purgatory?

QUESTION 8
How do you know when a soul gets out of purgatory? Could it be that you are paying money to no avail? I'm not trying to be funny or insulting - but are there refunds?

QUESTION 9
The Church has at last said "goodbye" to Limbo - although to hear many talk , you would think that Limbo never really existed in the first place. Do you think one day they will let purgatory quietly slip away also?

QUESTION 10
If purgatory should come to an end, as Rome says, at the Day of Judgement, how will those be purified who may still be alive or recently dead if purgatory is so essential?

QUESTION 11
If, on the other hand, purgatory should continue after the Day of Judgement, how will it fare with those who may be fated at that time to spend centuries or whatever in its sufferings, seeing that there will be no more priests or masses whereby they may be released?

THE GREATEST QUESTION OF ALL

Many more questions both on the subjects covered and other subjects related might have been asked. Those commencing with the question: "Where in the Bible…" (which is but a modern rendering of the apostolic phrase: "What saith the Scripture…") are endless. I trust that there is more than enough food here for thought in the questions quoted above.

QUESTION 1
One question asked in the Bible concerns us all, no matter what "side of the fence" we are on. It was asked in Acts 16:30 "What must I do to be saved?" Your soul is immortal. The wrath of God abides upon you (John 3:36) because of your sin. You cannot save yourself or contribute to your own salvation. Good works, pilgrimages, fastings, tears etc., all avail nothing - God concludes you "under sin" (Galatians 3:22) "that which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6) and "cannot please God" (Romans 8:8) But don't despair! Jesus said that He came specifically to "seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10) - for "sinners" even the very chief (1 Timothy 1:15) When He went to Calvary, He "gave Himself a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28) and because the debt is paid - paid by Christ alone - you can be saved by simply returning in repentance from your sins and by calling in faith upon His name alone: Mark 1:15/Acts 16:31/Romans 10:13/Acts 4:12) Christ will keep you safe forever (John 10:28/Romans 8:35-39) No matter what religion you are or of none, the good news is that whosoever will may come and drink freely of the water of life. (Revelation 22:l7) Millions have come. Why not you? Why not now?

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