In response to Sean McManus letter in your paper (August 8) it was interesting to note that in all his condemnation of me he never once referred to the Bible to prove any of his points.
Sean seems more interested in what our elected representatives think than what the Bible says.
If the 39 Articles, in their condemnation of the doctrines of Rome are right, then the Church of Rome is wrong, fundamentally wrong.
However the root of this debate is what does the Bible teach?
We can all differ on minor points but when it comes to the fundamentals of the faith there can be no compromise, and the Church of Rome has erred in the fundamentals of the faith.
The fact is that every major doctrine of the Church of Rome is contradicted by the Word of God.
Let us consider some of what Rome teaches in contrast to what the Scriptures teach.
The Roman Catholic Catechism asks the question: “Is the holy mass one and the same sacrifice with that of the cross?” (Q279)
The answer states: “The holy mass is one and the same sacrifice with that of the cross, inasmuch as Christ, who offered himself, a bleeding victim on the cross to his heavenly father, continues to offer himself in an unbloody manner on the alter, through the ministry of his Priests.”
However, the Bible teaches something completely different.
In Heb.10v12 it says: “But this man (speaking of Christ) after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” also c/p Heb.10v14, 18.
Rome also teaches that salvation is found in the Catholic Church alone. They state that Mary is the way to heaven. Bishop Alphonse de Ligouri says in his book, the Glories of Mary, “Mary is called ... the gate of heaven. Because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through Her.
“The way of Salvation is open to none otherwise than through Mary; and since our Salvation is in the hands of Mary ... He who is protected by Mary will be saved, he who is not protected by Mary shall be lost.”
However the Bible teaches that salvation is found in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. In John 14v6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me.”
Then in Acts 4v12, Peter says of Christ, “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
The Roman Catholic Church states that the worship of saints and images is right. Let me quote from the Catechism of the Council of Trent which has the official blessing of the Church of Rome.
“It is lawful to have images in the church and to give honour and worship unto them. Images are put in churches that they may be worshipped.”
However, the Bible says something completely different. In Exodus 20v4,5 and Deuteronomy 4 v15-23 we read: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image ... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.”
Rome teaches that there are many mediators between God and men. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church published in 1994, which, according to the last Pope “is given ... hat it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine.” It states: “We should pray to saints in heaven and ask them to intercede for us.”
And also it says concerning Mary that she “is invoked ... under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix”. (go between)
However the Bible contradicts this. In 1 Tim 2v5 we read: “For there is one God, and ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Also c/p 1 John 2v1,2
Nowhere in the Bible do we read about purgatory, rather the Bible teaches that if we are God’s children we will go straight to be with Christ at death forever (Phil 1v23) but if we are not saved by God’s grace we will be lost in hell forever. (Matt.10v28)
In the Catechism of the Catholic church published in 1994 it states in (P235 No 1031) that: “Purgatory is NEVER mentioned in the Bible.” Therefore according to Rome herself this doctrine is man made and not Bible based.
The Catholic Church teaches that the priest has the power to forgive sins. In the book called ‘Instructions for Non-Catholics’ Rome states: “The priest does not have to ask God to forgive your sins, the priest himself has the power to do so in Christ’s name.
“Your sins are forgiven by the priest the same as if you knelt before Jesus Christ and told them to Christ himself.”
However the Bible once again contradicts this. In Mark 2v5-11 the question was asked by the scribes: “Who can forgive sins, but God only?”
The scribes of course were right, but what they failed to realise was that The Lord Jesus was God and thus had the power on earth to forgive sins. Therefore apart from Christ no earthly man, whether priest or preacher can forgive sins.
Again the Catechism of the Catholic Church states in P259 No1129 “the Sacraments are necessary for salvation”.
However the Bible teaches something different. In Eph 2v8,9 it says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast.” c/p also Titus3v5 with Rom.4v6.
If Sean McManus expects me or any other Bible-believing Protestant to disregard the Bible and embrace popery he should think again.
The hierarchy of the Church of Ireland who now want to set aside their 39 Articles and more importantly the Word of God in order to court the Church of Rome need to stop calling themselves a Protestant Church.
Some have criticised me for condemning the doctrines of the Catholic Church and they say that I have no love for Roman Catholics by doing this.
Surely the best way to show true love to anyone is by telling the truth. Paul said: “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Gal.4v16.
My earnest prayer is that both Catholic and Protestant alike would come to a knowledge of sins forgiven and assurance of a home in heaven.
Therefore I would exhort the Protestant and Catholic people to read their Bibles for themselves and not to depend on priest, pope, canon or Archbishop to interpret it for them.
As Martin Luther found out when he read in the Scriptures “The just shall live by faith.”
Yours in Christ name,
Rev John Gray, Bethel Free Presbyterian Church, Enniskillen