Summary: This is a sermon series that explores the beliefs of different religions and comapres them to what the Bible says.
What Do You Believe? Catholicism
A. Today we are finishing our series called “What do you believe?” We
have been talking about some of the major false religions that we are
faced with today such as Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, Scientology and
Islam and why Christianity is different from them. Many Christians today
are confused about what they believe. They are not sure if other
religions are okay or if they are the same as Christianity. Many
Christians have bought into the lie that there are many ways to God and
Christianity is just another one of those ways.
B. We have been using what I am calling the three S’s as a way of
determining whether a religion is true or false. They stand for Savior,
Salvation, and Scripture. All false religions differ from the Christian
view on these three major issues.
1. Savior: All false religions change who Jesus really was. They do not
believe that He is the ‘only way’ to heaven. Usually they follow
another prophet or holy man who is considered as good as Jesus.
2. Salvation: All false religions teach that a person must ‘earn’ their
way to heaven. They don’t believe we are saved by grace, God’s gift.
3. Scripture: All false religions teach that the Bible
is ‘incomplete/outdated’ and there are ‘other’ holy books which
are ‘more’ important.
C. Today we are going to talk about Catholicism.
A. Just a little comedy about the Catholic practice of confessing their
sins to the priest. I grew up a devout Catholic, confessed my sins to a
priest for many years. I attended Catholic school from kindergarten
through eighth grade. I am not here today to “Catholic bash” just as I
did not intend to Mormon bash, or JW bash. My intention today is to help
you get a better understanding of what Catholics believe. There is a lot
of confusion about the Catholic Church. Although it is a very large
church claiming over one billion followers, when we pray the Apostle’s
creed, originally written between 100 to 200 AD, and we come to the part
that says, “We believe in one, holy, catholic, apostolic church.” We are
not saying we agree with the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic means
universal believers, united. We are saying we believe in the Church
worldwide. We have discussed changing the wording, but then it would not
be the Apostle’s Creed. It would be the ‘Vineyard creed.’
History of Roman Catholic Church
A. The Catholic Church claims to trace its beginnings all the way to
Peter when Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” But the
truth is Roman Catholicism as we know it today started as an association
of churches around 300 AD.
B. At that time there were literally hundreds, even thousands of
Christian churches all over the world. Christianity was spreading in
Europe and in Asia. There was no official organization of churches. They
just called themselves Christian churches. Each church was autonomous,
meaning independent. What really kept them together was an agreement on
the Apostle’s creed. There were no associations with area overseers or
bishops over groups of churches.
C. Around 300 AD, Constantine, who was the ruler in Rome, was going out
to battle and just as he did, he claims he saw a vision of the cross of
Jesus Christ. He instantly converted to Christianity, had the cross
painted on all the shields and commanded all of his men to become
Christians. They won that battle and when Constantine came back to Rome,
he decided that Christianity was going to become the religion of the
state. Whereas in previous years Christians had been persecuted, fed to
lions, burned at the stake and thrown into prison as enemies of the
state. Now Christianity was mandated, everyone was told to convert to
D. As a result the Christian Church in Rome became the largest church in
the world. It also became the richest church in the world, as
Constantine gave it all the land and buildings that had been used by the
pagans as temples. With all this wealth and power came corruption. The
Church of Rome, encouraged by Constantine, declared itself the leader of
all Christianity and began organizing all the churches around the world
to join up with them. Some churches joined, many did not, and this
started the Roman Catholic Church.
How does Catholicism differ from Biblical Christianity?
A. As we have been using the three S’s, let see how Catholics measure up
Catholics teach the same things about Jesus that the Bible teaches. This
is what separates the Catholic Church from the other false religions
that we have covered, such as Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Islam and