Jesus describes the Catholic Church?

I am Mexican so almost by default I was born into a Catholic* family. Baptized as an infant, did my first communion, though did not make it to confirmation (so I guess I cannot even describe myself as a lapsed Roman Catholic).

By God’s grace I was born of the Spirit in 2003. My wife (2001), mother (2001) and one of my sisters (2002) preceded me into Christ. We continue to pray for the regeneration of our unregenerate family members.

In Matthew 23:1-36, Jesus is exposing Pharisaism for the sham that it is. The folk who like to think of Jesus as ‘non-judgmental’ might do well in reading this text and perhaps see a side of Him they deny even exists.

Anyway, since conversion I have always thought of Catholicism when reading Jesus’ words against the Pharisees, men more interested in external acts of piety than in internal transformation.

Here are a few examples of why, at least in my mind, Catholicism could be described here,

Matthew 36:2-3

The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses;

therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.

You can substitute ‘Moses’ with ‘Peter’; All that they tell you could be, “Jesus died for your sins” (which is true)

Matthew 36:4

They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.

The Catholic Catechism, ever read it?

Matthew 36:5

But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.

Ah, the grandeur of the Vatican, without equal

Matthew 36:6-9

They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues,

and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.

But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone

on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

Substitute “Rabbi” with “Monsignor” or “Cardinal” or any other such title; The “father” part is self-explanatory, if not, Catholic Priests are called “Father”

In Matthew 36:13-36, Jesus lists 8 woes against the Pharisees for various transgressions, perhaps I will leave these for another post.

* I use this term in the way most people understand and not in the literal sense (“universal”). The True Universal (or Catholic) Church is unseen by human eyes, after all “the Lord knows those who are His.”

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18 Responses to Jesus describes the Catholic Church?

  1. oxysmoron says:

    Well said. Elevation/Pharaseism/gods

    you can see it more clearly now that Jesus has shown you through your new spiritual eyes.

    I too see it… in many denominations… Elevation/Pharaseism/gods.

    they worship each other.
    they give praises to men more than they do God.
    they withhold Truth to their members…
    they make them twice fold children of the devil
    how dark is the light within themselves.
    they are haters of the Word… haters of the Cross of Christ
    haters of the True Body of Christ.
    they are not Christians… yet they call themselves Christians
    they are Wolves… dressed as sheep
    they do not have to devour your pocketbooks…
    they devour your spirit… they are spirit murderers.

    Blessings be upon you in the name of our Lord Jesus.

  2. CovenantBride says:

    great post…a really good revelation…be bless… -g-

  3. tIMOTHY says:

    I concur with Oxysmoron in that it doesn’t describe the Catholic Church but certain members of the Catholic Church, as it also describes members of other Christian denominations and local churches as well.

    >”The Catholic Catechism, ever read it?”

    Yes. The Catechism is one of the greatest gifts that God has given the world through His Church. It organizes 2,000 years of Christian doctrine, explains the doctrines in clear language, and provides Biblical and historical citations for all.

    >”By God’s grace I was born of the Spirit in 2003″

    Excellent.

    Christ is unifying His Church. Its time to return to your Catholic roots and help wake up the Pharisees. Good catechists are hard to find. RCIA starts next month. You could be confirmed next Easter with the million plus people entering the Catholic Church that night.

    God bless…

  4. vivator says:

    You concentrated on the word “Pharisees” and missed the message Christ intended to convey “do and observe what they [Pharisees] tell you”. Christ did not say “you do not need them, just read Scripture and interpret it yourself”. Private interpretation of the Bible is nowhere taught in the Bible.
    There were, are and will be bad members of the Catholic Church, be they layty and/or clergies, including bishops, cardinals and even popes. In the parable of the weeds Christ predicted their existence. So if you cannot find them in your new “church”, then either Christ told a meaningless parable or your church does not belong to His kingdom.

  5. Laz says:

    Thank you all for your input.

    Tim,
    You have a lofty opinion of a human product which states the following,

    The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 841

    God didn’t give us the catechism but He did give us this,

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

    By the way, do you know when this bit about Muslims (Paragraph 841) was added to the Catechism?

    I think of what Mohammed CLAIMS the angel Gabriel told him when I read this in Galatians,

    But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

    I’ll have to pass on confirmation, what it can add to being born from above, I do not know, though I’m sure that the imaginations of others are far more creative and religion-minded than mine.

    Vivator,
    Actually you missed what I said in regards to that part of Jesus’ condemnation. The Catholic Church affirms that Jesus is God as do Protestants, in that I suppose we observe what they tell us. The Apostle’s Creed is proclaimed by both Protestants and Catholics, so what’s your point?

    I never claimed that private interpretation of the Bible is taught within the text (though it might be). It is imperative to study the Bible in community with others who belong to the Church universal, but that does not mean that we are forbidden from reading and studying the Word on our own.

    Did I ever say that ‘bad members’ were absent from my church or any other church? My friend, you must be privy to some sort of knowledge if you can make the following statement with a straight face,

    your church does not belong to His kingdom

  6. vivator says:

    Study and interpret the Bible by oneself sounds appealing but what happens if there are contradicting interpretation of your Bible (66 books)? A good example is five point of Calvinism and Arminianism are diametrically opposed to each other. They cannot be both correct, either one must be wrong, but which one? Using the Bible as arbitrator does not work because both parties can cite verses from the same Bible to support their belief. We do need authority, be it the Church (as for Catholics) or pastor/oneself (that’s what you practise). Again the Bible nowhere teaches private interpretation. If you admit there are bad members in your church then you should read and comtemplate on Matthew 7:3 – 5.

    As for you comment on CCC 841, Scripture says Christ came to save the lost (Matthew 18:11) and sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Does “lost and sinners” include Muslims? CCC 841 says “plan of salvation”, not “salvation”. God does include everybody on earth in His plan of salvation. Scripture says: For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). For the Grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men (Titus 2:11). Those who end up in hell do so because they, using their freedom, reject His Grace.

  7. Laz says:

    Viv,
    So because there are “contradicting interpretations” (and there are) that means that we should not interpret the Bible? Does that extend to reading it as well?

    I lean more towards Reformed Theology. You?

    Again, I never said the Bible teaches private interpretation. To be sure, Acts 17:11 deserves a careful examination. Admittedly the Bereans might have searched the Scriptures in a group. I hope that when I teach, and I am in error a brother will search the Scriptures and talk to me about it.

    Viv, there have been ‘bad members’ in every church since the inception of the church at Pentecost.

    So you wouldn’t say that a person who dies a Muslim doesn’t reject His Grace?
    I know that Muslims can and do escape this path and become believers in Jesus Christ and thus are saved.

  8. Roy says:

    To Viv and Laz

    The CCC 841 states that Muslims “hold the faith of Abraham” impling that their faith in Abraham is the same that Chistians hold true about Abraham. This is false. Study it…Islam believes Abraham worshiped Allah, that Allah called him in a dream and wanted him to sacrifice Ishmael but then at the last second Allah stopped him for it was only a test. They believe Abraham spent his life converting people to Islam. This is not the same man (Abraham) that we know of from the Bible!

    The CCC 841 also states, “with us they adore the one, merciful God”. The Catholic Church correctly teaches the Trinity (CCC 233). But they cannot teach both #841 and #233. It is an obvious contradiction on their part! Read CCC 233…it says there is one name (singular) under which we are baptized – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (three parts).

    Muslims reject the Trinity and Christ’s diety(godhood). They do not worship the Christian God. Muslims blaspheme God when they reject Christ. The Catholic Church blasphemes God as well by stating Christians share the same God as Islam. They’re rejecting the deity and importance of Christ (let alone it’s own dogma!).

    God’s word is for all. We are supposed to study it (Acts 17:11, 1Timothy 4:13) and pray all the time (1 Thess. 5:17)! By doing so, we can understand -God will direct our hearts (2Thess 3:5). We will come to the knowledge of truth through prayer (1Tm. 2) and study. God’s Word makes the simple wise (Psalm 19:7, 2Timothy 3:15-17).

    God bless.

  9. Laz says:

    Well said Roy. The RCC is in error with what their catechism says regarding Muslims (and many other things).

  10. vivator says:

    Dear Laz,
    If you re-read my earlier comment I wrote that we need an authority to determine which interpretation is the correct one – I did not write we should neither interpret nor read Scripture. If you recall your memory when you were Catholic, in Catholic Mass we have three readings, one each from Old Testament, Epsitle and Gospel (plus Psalms in between the first two). I attended a number of Protestant services from different denominations. The pastor may spend an hour or so in his sermon. How many verses of Bible does he read? Not many, most of his sermon is his own words, not words of God. Catholics hear more words of God in Mass, if they don’t fall asleep or day-dreaming.

    To answer your questopn, if a person is given chance to hear good news and God through His Grace moves his heart to believe, but he.she, in using his/her freedom refuses then he/she will be doomed. What happens to those whom NOT through their own fault do not hear the good news. If you believe they are condemned to hell then it contradicts the Bible (1 Cor 15:22, Titus 2:11).

    You wrote Catechism of the Catholic CHurch contains error. You are entitled to say so. Did you check what your church teaches in the same way you did to Catholic teaching? You wrote you lean more on Reformed theology or Calvinism. Then you should know Westminster Confession of Faith. Read Art III.3, V.6 and XVI.5 and compare them with Scripture.

  11. vivator says:

    Dear Roy,

    You jumped to conclusion a bit too fast. The catechism does mention “faith of Abraham” but it does not say “the same faith of Abraham”. For comparison Catholcis and Protestants use the same word “Bible” but you are aware that Catholic Bible has more books. The biblical word “Justification” has different meaning to Catholics and Protestants, though both use the same word.

    You got it right when you wrote the God is Islam is not trinitarian, i.e. he is not the same God described in CCC # 233, 249 etc. Muslims deny trui-one God, the deity of Christ and His death on the cross but they affirm His Virgin Birth, His prophethood and that He is the Messiah (whatever it may mean to them). Jews do not recognize a trinitarian God either even though Catholics and Protestants recognize God of the Old Testament and of the New is the same God, and Catechism # 237 explains why.

  12. Laz says:

    Thank you Viv for the ongoing discussion.

    The pastor may spend an hour or so in his sermon. How many verses of Bible does he read?

    This depends on which pastor we are speaking of. John MacArthur tends to use plenty of references to Scripture. However, if we are allowed to do so, let us examine how the Apostles preached in the book of Acts. Check out how many references Peter used in Acts 2 and how many Paul used in Acts 13. Admittedly, the quality of a sermon does not rest on the Biblical references but if I may make such a statement, Peter’s Pentecost sermon is one of the greatest ever preached. I will concede that sadly, many Protestant sermons do not model themselves after Peter’s. But neither do the masses I have attended.

    Catholics hear more words of God in Mass, if they don’t fall asleep or day-dreaming.

    I tell you what, the 3 Scripture readings were my favorite part of Mass when I attended. As for the rest of the liturgy, well there is a reason why you made the above joke. Again, the liturgy does not really reflect Peter’s (whom you believe is the first ‘pope’) way of preaching (see Acts 2).

    What happens to those whom NOT through their own fault do not hear the good news.

    I was not referring to this group of people Viv. Scripture is clear that those who have not heard (for whatever reason) will be judged according to what they know, I believe the ref. is Romans 2:14-16. I was referring to those who reject Christ after having the Gospel presented to them. Those who say he’s ONLY a great prophet (even born of a virgin) or ONLY a great moral teacher. You and I can agree that if Jesus is only a great moral teacher, some of the things He said are anything but moral.

    Viv, the Catechism of the RCC contains error because it is solely a human product. Do you also apply 2 Timothy 3:16 to the Catechism? The Westminster also has error because it is also solely a human product. I have not read it and do not need to read it to make such a statement. Do you know the difference between “leaning towards Reformed Theology” and “fully accepting every article of it?” I’m guessing no, by your response.

  13. vivator says:

    Dear Laz,

    You confused between liturgy and preaching. Peter and Paul in Acts 2 and 13 did not celebrate liturgy – you can see from the context itself. New Testament does not say in detail on how the first Christians conducted their Sunday worship.

    Again you did not read my comment carefully. Did I wrote that Muslims can be saved by believing Christ to be mere prophet, by His virgin birth?

    Catechism is indeed the product of the Church, the foundation of pillar of truth (1 Tim 3:15). I never stated that 2 Tim 3:16 is applicable to Catechism. If you lean towards Reformed theology means you are about to accept their teaching, so Westminster Confession of Faith is agood place to start. I did not write that you are Calvinist. It is your right to accept whatever teaching you like – all teachings are human product.

    In your earlier reply you wrote “I hope that when I teach, and I am in error a brother will search the Scriptures and talk to me about it.” Suppose you teach Unconditional Election, then a brother who adheres to Calvinism will approve it but if he belongs to Arminianism he will reprimand you, both will use the Bible to justify their action.

  14. Laz says:

    Viv,
    In your opinion what is liturgy? What the root word (leitourgeo) refers to is the service which the Jewish priests performed within the Temple. This service could include but is not limited to cleaning up after sacrifices, the sacrifices themselves, or what have you. Whatever they did in service to God was leitourgeo. This same word is used in Acts 13:2 (the NASB has “ministering”, the NIV and the NAB have “worshiping”)

    In other words, it seems that Luke is applying leitourgeo to what these 5 men were doing at the church at Antioch. Preaching might be part of it, though of course, not the totality. We are all gifted in different ways to serve the Body of Christ, are we not (Eph 4:11-12)?

    I didn’t suggest that you are saying I suggested, please, by all means read my comment carefully. I think we are saying the same thing and have both fallen prey to a misunderstanding.

    Again, I did not state that you said that 2 Tim 3:16 applies to the Catechism. Notice that I asked a question and not attribute a statement to you.

    I’m glad you said that “all teachings are human product” for we can place the Catholic Catechism in the same category.

    He belongs to Arminianism? I thought we belonged to Christ, anyone who claims he belongs to Arminianism is somewhat confused (at best) or deceived (at worse).

  15. vivator says:

    Dear LAz,

    Paul’s words in Acts 13:16-41 was said in synagogue, not iniside church in Antioch (that was referred from Acts 13:1 to 3).

    The Church is governed by humans – I did write Catechism is product of Church but you missed the part that Scripture refers the Church as foundatioin and pillar of truth. Of course you may apply the same title to your church, subject to their acceptance of the honour.

    Lastly both who adhere to Calvinism and Arminianism and neither of these two claim they follow Christ. The point I want to raise is how do you know you are wrong or right, if all teachings (including yours) are human product and subject to error? At the end you can’t help relying on chosen authority, be it yourself or your pastor or your church.

  16. Laz says:

    Viv,
    I do not believe that the 5 men who are named in Acts 13:1 were in a synagogue. Read the text.

    Catechism is a product of the Catholic Church not THE Church. The true Church is unseen, and her members (true believers) are scattered throughout the different denominations.

    Actually Viv, I attend an “Arminian” church, though I don’t believe this viewpoint best represents Scripture. Then again I used to think that Calvinists didn’t believe in free will, which is not true once one takes the trouble to investigate it. Admittedly, I’m still trying to figure this out, LOL.

  17. Roy says:

    Viv,

    Do you (as a catholic) worship the same god that Islam worships? You never stated what you think.

    Catholic bishops want to use the word Allah in place of God during masses, popes kissing the Quran, and Benedict XVI, (the second Pope in history after John Paul II in Damascus in 2001) to set foot in a Muslim temple, and the first to pray publicly with a Muslim mufti (Nov. 2006)……what is going on!? If Christ were on earth today he would not allow such leniency! Why is the “vicar of Christ” doing just that?

    And I did not “jumped to conclusion a bit too fast” as you said I did. I wrote that it IMPLIES that it is the same……and Viv, when it (the CCC) goes on to say “with us they adore the one, merciful God”….the Catechism is saying we do!!

    God Bless,
    Roy

  18. Roy says:

    Viv – you said:

    “The point I want to raise is how do you know you are wrong or right, if all teachings (including yours) are human product and subject to error?”

    We should be going by what God’s word says. We should be reading God’s word daily. This is how we will know who is a false teacher. We should all use our own discernment, not just “going along” or believing what is being taught in church. Nothing should be added, we should not go beyond what is written.(1 Cor 4:6) That would then be an assumption. (perpetual virginity, Mary’s assumption) Find a good Bible church. There are churches whose pastors read directly from God’s word: chapter to chapter, verse to verse. That way you don’t miss anything! (it’s not just topical studies).

    God bless,
    Roy

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