For the past few weeks, it has been hard not to notice the news concerning the resignation of the Pope. As I watched an interview with a Catholic priest a few days ago, something very obvious caught my attention. This priest, in the interview, referred to the Pope as the “Holy Father.” I immediately turned my wife, without hesitation and said, “There is only one Holy Father.” I have heard the Pope referred to in this way before but in that instant, it seemed more magnified than other times. I respect this man for the decision he has made and I guess he deserves respect for his position as the top guy in the Catholic Church but, he is not the Holy Father. When I see video shots of priests kissing his ring or lying prone on the floor before him, I cringe.
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sister who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus” Rev. 19:10 NLT www.bible gateway.com
These verses are clear that we should not bow down to anyone except God the Father nor should we address anyone here on earth in that capacity. We have only one Holy Father and He resides in heaven. Given its somewhat spotted history, the Catholic Church is on very shaky ground when it refers to the Pope as the Holy Father (referring to the position); with the Pope serving as the God-man, here on earth, and with the history of some of its atrocities when dealing with true Christians, who refused to recant their faith, the Pope is far from bringing glory to God for those type of activities. Read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs¹ for an accurate account of these executions. John Foxe (1516-1587) published this book in English in 1563 and copies of it are still available today. These events cannot be swept under the carpet and ignored. This church has a very ugly past history. In more recent time, this church has been guilty of covering up the molestation of boys by priests in the local churches. Many times, these priests were not defrocked but instead relocated to preserve the reputation of the church. The following excerpts are from a Reuters article dated February 1, 2013 and concerns the Archdiocese of Los Angles and Cardinal Roger Mahony,
“When he had real power, and abused it horribly, he should have been demoted or disciplined by the church hierarchy, in Rome and in the U.S. But not a single Catholic cleric anywhere had the courage to even denounce him. Shame on them,” he said.
Those documents showed that Mahony, 76, and Curry, 70, his top adviser, both worked to send priests accused of abuse out of state to shield known molesters in the clergy from law enforcement scrutiny in the 1980s.
The Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement in 2007 with more than 500 victims of child molestation in the biggest such agreement of its kind in the nation, and Mahony at the time called the abuse “a terrible sin and crime.”
This, in no way, resembles the work of the real Holy Father who resides in Heaven, who is the creator of the universe and in the deepest sense of unconditional love, sent His only Son to the cross to die in our place. Jesus died on the cross to pay the debt for sins such as these, committed by the Catholic Church.
I have friends who have been raised in the Catholic Church and have been saved by the blood of Jesus after leaving that church. They were astounded to discover how easy and simple it is to become a Christian, a follower of Christ. No bells and whistles. No pomp and circumstance. No classes to learn how to follow Jesus. No confessing sins to a man. I work with a young man now who is one of these and has never bought into all the legalistic tradition of the Catholic Church. After spending a brief time talking with him and allowing him to see Jesus for who He really is, this man knew the real Jesus and took Him as his Lord and savior. There many people out there who meet this typical conversion from the traditional fallacies of the Catholic Church to the absolute truth of Jesus. The many traditions or doctrines of the Catholic Church are not found in the Bible, well, in the true interpretation of the Bible. Purgatory² is found nowhere in true Biblical interpretation. Actually, the Bible is very clear about events after death,
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, Heb. 9:27 NKJV
Another of the doctrines which this church incorporates is the idea that Jesus is still on the cross, paying the price for our sins. This is obvious from the crucifix which is present in every Catholic Church. Jesus died once, for all time, for the sin of all mankind including every person ever born and every person who will be born. But, He is not on the cross and He doesn’t put Himself back on the cross.
And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice Heb. 9:25-26.
There are numerous differences between the protestant reformed Church and the Catholic Church but the doctrines which teach salvation are most significant. The Bible teaches us that we cannot do anything to earn our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). These verses tell us we would boast about how we earned our salvation, if we could earn it. God knows us; He knows how we would make a big deal about how we each earned our salvation and got our ticket to heaven punched. He knows how prideful we can be and how we would go about bragging of this accomplishment. That is why He has saved us by His grace and not by our merits or work. The Catholic Church believes in salvation by grace and works and this has been an ongoing debate for many, many years. It is a simple matter of Bible interpretation; the Bible is clear on this matter and we are not going to debate it here. If you are a Catholic, this writing is not about bashing the Catholic Church; it is about knowing the truth. How many Catholics carry a Bible to Mass with them? How many read and study the Bible on their own throughout the week? Yes, I know, there are many Protestant Christians who fall into this category also. But I also know most of these Christians are encouraged to read and study on their own. I truly believe there is a traditional understanding that just showing up for a Mass sometime during the week will keep a person in God’s good graces and everything will be alright. I don’t say this because it is what I think, I say it because that is what I have been told by Catholics or those who claim to be Catholic and those who have left the Catholic Church and are now saved by the grace of God.. I have always said that a true and right relationship with Jesus lies in the practice of three things, an active prayer life, Bible study and fellowship with other Christians. Now, I also know there are many in the Catholic Church who fall into this group of believers. They are strong in their Christian faith and they love Jesus and they know who the real Jesus is. They don’t believe in all the doctrines of fallacy in the Catholic Church but they, for one reason or another, feel a strong obligation to the Catholic Church. Anything I write here is not intended to criticize those who attend the Catholic Church but instead, to point out the errors of truth concerning the Church doctrines and its government. I knew a man who was a traditional Catholic and grew up under the title of Catholic. He never attended the church much but his family carried the title of Catholic, like so many others, so he did too. He was saved and believed he owed an obligation to the Catholic Church so, therefore he began to attend. He also attended a Bible study I was teaching in the secular work place and he was an avid Bible student. He couldn’t get enough of the Bible and I used to love spending time in fellowship with this guy. I questioned why he continued to attend the Catholic Church and he said he was obligated and I informed him that he would one day realize he had to leave since he would not be receiving the teaching he needed as an avid Bible student and vibrant young Christian. He told me that would probably never happen. Sometime later, he informed me that he wasn’t comfortable in the Catholic Church anymore. He said he didn’t feel anything when he attended Mass on Sunday mornings. I simply acknowledged what he said and smiled; he knew what my gesture was referring to.
I ask for those who take the time to read this, to understand I am not a Catholic basher. I believe in the truth of what God’s word tells us. I believe we know this by studying His word and using the correct methods of interpretation. In Acts 17:11, we are told how the Bereans checked out what Paul was teaching them. The Apostle Paul, probably the most powerful teacher/preacher of God’s word, was checked out by these people. They did the right thing! If you are attending the Catholic Church, do you know if you are saved and how? Do you know how to study the Bible or has anyone ever taught you how? Some may think these are ignorant questions but there are many “young in their faith” Christians who are not given this instruction. I say all this, concerning the Catholic Church, because it has been so prominent in the recent world news lately. There are many people out there who don’t know Protestant from Catholic from the Masons. Many Christians who float along in a weak faith will catch this fad and run with it and get caught up with something they really know nothing about but could be very dangerous to their belief. I am all about truth; the truth of God’s word, the truth of who Jesus really is, the truth about our salvation and eternal security, the truth concerning God’s sovereignty and the truth about our spiritual destination after physical death. I am not concerned with who will be the next Pope; it has no effect on my Christianity.
Salvation is by grace alone, not by works. It is a personal decision you must make; believing that Jesus died for our sins, He paid the price we couldn’t pay so we can spend eternity in heaven with Him. It is that simple; no special things to do, no penance to pay, no works at all! It simply requires a person to call out to Jesus and tell Him you believe He died for you and ask Him to forgive you for you sin and He will do it and your life will change. If you haven’t done this and you are attending Mass each week thinking you’re safe or OK, well you’re not. Going to Mass will not make anyone a true Christian any more than going to McDonald’s once a week will make you a hamburger. Remember, there is only one Holy Father and he is not the Pope, He is the Holy Father, God in heaven. Never substitute any man or person in the place of God since the Bible many times refers to this as idol worship. Are you worshiping the Pope, your pastor or anyone else? This is idol worship and is a sin. Put your eyes on Jesus and He will set you free.
 Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Barbour and Company, Inc., 1985
 Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm On-line Catholic Encyclopedia