What every Catholic should know

Taken from a great tract written by Richard Bennett.

Every good Catholic wants to please God is this present life and, when life on earth is over, hopes to live with Him forever. It is a noble goal based on personal beliefs about God and how to know Him.

However, noble intentions and personal beliefs about God do not guarantee results-or eternal life.

I urge you to do what I did after 22 years as a Dominican priest; make sure your beliefs have a solid foundation in the Bible. These questions will help you do that.

Whose word is truth?

The Catholic Church teaches....
The Popes word is truth
"The Supreme Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possess infallible teaching authority...." (Canon 749)

The Bible teaches....
Every word of God is true.
Jesus prayed to God His Father, "Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17)

Jesus said "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4)

"All scripture is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Holy Bible stands alone as a God-breathed book. Christ Himself warned that to elevate other writtings and traditions to the level of God's word is to "nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on." (Mark 7:13)

The written word of God is the only sure foundation for saving faith. Therefore, since salvation and the scriptures are inseparable, the issue is of supreme importance. One who counts on the power and absolute trustworthiness of God shall be confident that he will receive the things God has promised. 

Should we have sacred images?

The Catholic Church teaches....
"The practice of displaying sacred images for the veneration of the faithful is to remain in force..." (Canon 1188)

The Bible teaches....
No, we are not even to make sacred images!
"You shall not carve idols for yourselves....you shall not bow down before them or worship them" (Exodus 20:4-5)

Yet, the Roman Catholic Church encourages "veneration," the act of bowing down to sacred images, which the Pope himself does.

Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man; two natures in the unique God-man: unchangeable, inseparable, and unconfused with each other. Thus, we cannot separate His humanity from His divinity for the sake of an image. Any picture of Him is a picture of God, and thus forbidden by the Second Commandment (Exodus 20:4-5).

Is the sacrifice of the cross to be continually offered?

The Catholic Church teaches....
Yes, it is.
"Remembering that the work of redemption is continually accomplished in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, priests are to celebrate frequently..." (Canon 904).

The Bible teaches....
One person offered one sacrifice once for all, and is now seated in glory.
"When Jesus had taken the wine, He said 'It is finished.' And bowing His head, He handed over the spirit." (John 19:30)
"Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one (Jesus Christ) offered one sacrifice for sins, and took His seat forever at the right hand of God." (Hebrews 10:11-12)

It is extremely important to understand that the sacrifice of Christ, His Son, is God's highest achievement! The absolute perfection of the sacrifice of Christ is because of His divine nature. It was the God-Man who obeyed, suffered, and died. Nothing equal could again be offered, as it was the one and only sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is there a need for priests?

The Catholic Church teaches....
Priests are necessary.
"They are in fact sharers of the priesthood of Christ Himself...to celebrate divine worship and sanctify the people. (Canon 835)

The Bible teaches...
All believers are part of the royal priesthood to bring praise to God and to serve Him faithfully.
"You are a royal priesthood...so that you may announce the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)

Other than this "royal priesthood" of all true believers in Christ, there is no office of priesthood in the New Testament.

Every believer has direct access to God and needs to intermediary but Jesus Christ, our High Priest.
"There is one God. There is also one mediater between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Does baptism save?

The Catholic Church teaches....
Salvation begins at bapism.
"Baptism, the gate to the sacraments, is necessary for salvation in fact or at least in intention, by which men and women are freed from their sins, are reborn as children of God, and configured to Christ..." (Canon 849).

The Bible teaches...
Faith in Christ alone will save you, not your good works!
The work of reconciliation was completely finished by Jesus Christ when He died on the cross and rose again. Nothing we add to what God the Son has already done could merit Gods favour. 
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

"This is the work of God, that you may believe in (Jesus), the One He sent" (John 6:29)
"But if by grace, it is no longer because of works; otherwise, grace would no longer be grace." (Romans 11:6)

Trust-absolute faith in God's way of salvation as the only way-is the necessary key of saving grace. Unbelief is the damning sin. Baptism is an ordinance that follows faith, testifying to saving faith.

How then can we be saved?

The Bible says...
Recognise that by nature you are a sinner and unrighteous.
"We are sinful (before God); all of us have become like unclean men, all our good deeds are like polluted rags" (Isaiah 64:4-5).
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

Admit that you are separated from God because of your sins.
As a result, we are spiritually dead, separated from God, and condemned forever.
"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23)
There is nothing of merit within us that could ever help earn our salvation.

Acknowledge your need for a substitute.
Once and for all time, Christ took the death penalty for our sins.
"Crist Himself bore our sins in His body upon the cross" (1 Peter 2:24)
He must be believed in as your righteous substitute or you cannot be saved.

Cry out to God for His free gift of salvation.
"All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24).
If you are convinced that salvation is only through trusting in Christ's substitutionary death in your place, based soley on what the Bible says, express your heart felt belief directly to God.
"This is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." (1 John 5:11)

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