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Like the Pope, such statements are seen by Christianity as a falsehood (Shelly, 1982).
Baptism is another point of contention between Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Christianity teaches those who listen to the gospel and believe in the Holy Spirit are a part of God, and that their eventual salvation is due to their joining with God (Ephesians 1:13; John 1:13). Thus, according to Christianity, man is an extension of God, and since God is saved, man in saved. Conversely, Roman Catholicism teaches baptism is the reason for salvation (Gendron, 1996). According to their Doctrine, salvation without baptism is not possible, and those individuals who are unbaptized must be cleansed in purgatory prior to salvation.
Salvation based on faith is another difference between the ideologies. Biblical Christianity notes in both Ephesians 2:8 and Psalms 49:7 that no man can save another. It is only though one's faith in God and in Christ, and through the gift of God's grave that salvation is possible. Ephesians 2:9 also notes that man should not boast of good works, since these works do not alter one's chances for salvation.
Conversely, Roman Catholicism teaches salvation though good works and faith. One is able in this religion to secure their own salvation through good works and indulgence avoidance while at the same time assisting their brothers and sisters. While faith is required, it is not enough to ensure salvation (Gendron, 1996).
Perhaps one of the most vast differences between biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism is the belief in Hell. Thessalonians 1:8-9 of the Bible states that "those who do not know God...will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his Power." Thus, Christianity does not mention Hell, but simply the absence of God's love, power, and presence. On the other hand, Roman Catholicism notes "immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer eternal fire (Gendron, 1996, p. 1035). In this passage, Roman Catholicism notes a punishment of fire in a physical location. This vastly differs from the Christian view of punishment through the absence of God. This difference is substantial, in that Christian belief stems from the idea that the absence of God is the ultimate form of punishment. The Roman Catholic Church Doctrines clearly see this punishment as not enough, and translate the Word to include physical punishment as opposed to only spiritual punishment.
The two ideologies also differ on their views of justification. Justification pertains to "the act of pronouncing righteousness or acquittal" (Hunt, 1994, p. 34). This process differs greatly between the two faiths. For biblical Christianity, justification is the action of God's forgiveness of man for his faith. Because of Christ's righteousness, believers are accepted by God. This process allows God to see even the unjust as just, and justification cannot be increased since all are just because of Christ's love and his sacrifice. It is a permanent verdict that is not affected by sin, and comes at the moment of acceptance of Christ. In biblical Christianity, the emphasis is on God's verdict (McDowell and Stewart, 1980). In Roman Catholicism, justification is God's act of making man righteous because of their goodness and good works. The sacrament is the process by which the believer is made acceptable by God. Justification is only granted when the believer becomes just through good works or purgatory, and can be increased through the sacrament. Justification is affected by sin, and is not determined until death, at the time of judgment (McDowell and Stewart, 1980).
Clearly, the differences in the process of justification are vital to the conflict between these faiths. The entire process of forgiveness is altered, thereby changing the way followers of each faith live their lives, and prepare for death. Seemingly small differences when examined on the surface, such drastic differences have caused countless individuals to completely change their existence (McDowell and Stewart, 1980).
In addition to these differences, there are several further Roman Catholic Doctrines that have violated the scriptures of biblical Christianity. The belief that baptism regenerates the soul, the concept of Mass as a re-sacrifice of Jesus, the concept that sins must be purged, the direction of prayer to Mary, the Saints, and the angels, the worship of the cross and other symbols, the canonization of the deceased as saints, the concept of Mass as a mandatory requirement for salvation, the requirement of priestly celibacy, the invention of rosary prayers with beads for forgiveness, the Inquisition, the selling of indulgence to reduce time in purgatory, transubstantiation, and the institution of confessionals all go against the basic teachings of biblical Christianity.
It is clear that the religion of Roman Catholicism shares much with the base premises of biblical Christianity. The concepts are similar, in that man is forgiven pending particular circumstances, is seen as acceptable by God in given circumstances, and is allowed into God's grace. Many of the moral teachings, stories of the Bible, and values are similar between the two ideologies, as well.
However, there are also clear fundamental differences in these religious beliefs that make even these similarities pale in hindsight. The entire premise of biblical Christianity, that of God's forgiving grace, the death of Christ to forgive man, and the concept that all who accept Jesus Christ are saved is altered by Roman Catholicism, in that in this faith, God's grace is distributed by good deed, man must suffer for his sins individually, and that only those who accept Roman Catholicism, attend Mass, and are baptized may enter Heaven. Thus, while the basic concepts are the same, it is clear that Roman Catholicism has been developed into a religious ideology that differs greatly from biblical Christianity.
1996 Proclaiming the Gospel: Roman Catholicism, Scripture vs. Tradition. Proclaiming the Gospel Publications, Plano, TX.
1994 a Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, or.
McDowell, Josh and Stewart, Don.
1980 Answers to…[continue]
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