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Roman Catholicism
"Just Another Expression of Christianity"?

What We Must Do To Be Saved

Edited and expanded extracts from the book by Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald,
Alpha - the Unofficial Guide: World, (2003), Part Two, Chapter 9

Roman Catholicism: Index of Articles


Our Burden

What does the Word of God teach about salvation?

“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” (Ephesians 2:8-9).   See also Galatians 3:26 and Romans 3:28.

Saving faith means certain hope for our souls:

“For we are saved by hope…” (Romans 8:24).

“[We belong to] Christ … if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Hebrews 3:6).   See also 1 Timothy 1:1.

By this faith we can be 'hidden' in Christ and thus saved.  To be hidden in Christ requires that our sins be forgiven, which demands that we sincerely repent of them.  Only then can we be "washed in the blood of Christ" and made clean and presentable to the Father.  We need to stand firm on the truth that Christ was never tainted by sin; that He was therefore fully able to pay the price for us and, moreover, that He did so.  We must have faith in this.  In other words we must "believe on" (i.e. trust in, cling to and rely on) Jesus Christ.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47).

“…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

It could be noted that the Greek scriptures frequently use the 'present continuous' tense when referring to these things.  So, for example, 1 John 1:9 teaches that, if we go on confessing our sins He will go on forgiving and cleansing us.  In other words, we are to keep trusting in and keep clinging to Him and keep right with Him.  One way of putting it is that we must "abide" in Him:

Abide in MeIf a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:4a&16);   “…abide in Him” (1 John 2:28).   See also John 15:5-6; 1 John 2:1-7,24; & 3:24.

We must continue with Him to the end.  That is part of what 'being faithful' means:

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).   See also Matthew 10:22.

“If ye continue … then ye are My disciples” (John 8:31);   “Hope to the end” (1 Peter 1:13) [1].

This point can be illustrated by likening Christ Jesus to a lifebelt which has been thrown to us.  It is only the lifebelt that can save [2].  (Unfortunately, the enemy offers bogus routes to safety, including imitation 'lifebelts' that cannot save.)  It is evident from Scripture that we are saved only by God's grace, through faith in His Son.

The malefactor on the cross next to Jesus (Luke 23:39-43) gives yet more evidence that we are only saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the space of three verses this man did everything necessary to be saved: He recognized his evil deeds and repented toward God of them; he recognized Christ Jesus as (a) sinless and therefore able to bear the sins of the world, and (b) the promised Messiah of Israel, and (c) God; he trusted in Him; and, finally, he cried out to the Lord that he might be saved.  This is exactly what was preached in Acts:

repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).

To underline the point about salvation through faith alone, here are two more clear-cut scriptures:  According to Romans 5:1, we are "justified by faith" (see also Galatians 3:11b), and 2 Timothy 3:15 says we obtain "salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (see also Galatians 2:16 and Philippians 3:8-9).  The faith being described here is a real, sincere, deep faith in what Scripture teaches about Christ.  (A summary of the full gospel is supplied here.)

Any such true, living faith will inevitably show itself in the life and behaviour of the person, hence the teaching in James' epistle that our works prove our faith (James 2:14-26).  Nevertheless, it is only determined faith toward the Lord that will save us - by His grace.  (Although the "sheep" in Matthew 25:31-46 superficially appear to have been saved by their works, the Lord is careful not to say this.  They were saved because their faith was real and it thus produced works, i.e. service to God's People, as a by-product [3].)  Man's works cannot add anything to the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus on the cross.  To believe otherwise is to insult God (and call Him a liar).

But what of Rome's teaching here?  (We all need to understand the position of Rome, the largest religious group in the world.  Whether we have been brought up in a Catholic household, or have Catholic acquaintances, or might gain some in the future, we all need to be informed about this.)  Is 'salvation through faith alone' what Rome teaches?  It is not.  Catholicism teaches a doctrine of salvation in which many requirements - including the 'Sacraments' of the Mass (Eucharist), Baptism and Penance - are added.



Firstly, Rome declares its baptism to be of "absolute necessity for salvation" (Rome only permits two very extreme exceptions) - so much so that even a child dying without Roman Baptism "cannot be admitted to glory".  Baptism is an important part of our Christian life; any true believer will out of obedience to their Saviour endeavour to be baptized.  But baptism is not a prerequisite to salvation - it is symbolic of the repentance already made (see Acts 8:26-39, especially verses 36 and 37 [4]).

Rome insists that the effect of baptism is to "regenerate us ... making us children of God" [5].  (Taken on their own, a few scriptures like Acts 2:38 do imply that baptism is essential to salvation.  But others, e.g. Luke 23:39-43, can be read as teaching that baptism is optional.  We must not swing to one extreme or the other.  The position that explains all the relevant verses is that baptism is a fundamental sign of the salvation already received and that anyone with a living faith will desire to, and - if possible - will be, baptized [6].)  In all the unambiguous references to Christian baptism in Scripture, it is a step taken deliberately by a person to show others what God has already done for them.  Rome is in direct conflict with Scripture regarding baptism.

This error of 'Baptismal regeneration' is found amongst Hindus and Brahmins, as well as in the pagan religions of Scandinavia and Mexico.  The concept is ultimately derived from Babylon where baptism was often the mode of initiation before instruction could be received in the Chaldean Mysteries; in fact, the whole Roman Baptism ceremony is lifted straight from the Babylonian original.  Cardinal Newman admitted, for example, that "holy water" (i.e. water "consecrated" with salt), along with many other things, were "the very instruments and appendages of demon-worship" [7].

The Roman Church claims merely to have adopted these things, but why should God's church feel the need to adopt pagan practices, going so completely against His Word in the process.  Hasn't He given us everything we need already?

“And they rejected His statutes, and His Covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them” (2 Kings 17:15).   See also Jeremiah 13:10.

“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jeremiah 10:2a).   See also Romans 12:2.


While Rome believes that the sacrament of Baptism cancels out original sin, the Christian is still prone to commit post-Baptismal transgressions - and the sacrament of Penance (self-punishment, as imposed by a Roman priest) exists for the remission of these sins:

“‘For those who after Baptism have fallen into sin, the Sacrament of Penance is as necessary unto salvation as is Baptism itself for those who have not yet been regenerated’ … Penance, therefore, is not an institution the use of which was left to the option of each sinner so that he might, if he preferred, hold aloof from the Church and secure forgiveness by some other means, e.g. by acknowledging his sin in the privacy of his own mind … the power granted by Christ to the Apostles is twofold, to forgive and retain, in such a way that what they forgive God forgives and what they retain God retains [8].

This idea comes from John 20:21-25 which includes these words of Jesus to His apostles:

“Peace be unto you: … Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained”.

Rome takes this to mean that those people she ordains to her 'priesthood' have the power to tell God whom He should, and should not, forgive.  (Rome would claim she ordains men only in the sense of confirming God's ordination of them, but she refuses to accept that this very concept has direct application to the above verse and thus undermines her view on penance - as we shall see in a moment.)

If this passage really means what Rome thinks, then it flies in the face of many other parts of Scripture.  For example:

  • David went to God for forgiveness rather than to man, and said to the Lord "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned..." (Psalm 51:4).  How can anyone but God possibly forgive sins against God?
  • Jesus said that the publican in Luke 18:13-14 was justified not because he confessed to a priest but because he confessed his sinfulness to God and cried out to God for mercy.
  • When Simon sinned, even Rome's beloved Peter did not say "I forgive you, so God will"; instead he directed Simon to go straight to God to seek forgiveness from Him (Acts 8:22).
  • The Lord's prayer does not read "Our Father which art in heaven ... obey our priests when they instruct you to forgive us" or "forgive us our sins when we've confessed them to somebody else".  Jesus instead taught "When ye pray, say Our Father which art in heaven, ... Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth ... And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us..." (Luke 11:2-4).  He closed the prayer with some other very relevant words: "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen" (Matthew 6:13).  The power is God's.
  • Even the Lord Jesus Himself, despite being God and having the authority to do so, is never recorded as saying, "I forgive your sins against God"; He simply passed on the news that His Father had forgiven the person:  "He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:48), "He said unto the man, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee" (Luke 5:20).
  • See also verses like Psalm 25:18, 86:5, 1 John 1:7-10, Exodus 32:32, and the Lord's wonderful words on the cross (Luke 23:34), all of which likewise make Rome's interpretation untenable.

Obviously people have the ability to forgive trespasses committed against themselves, and this fact explains many verses that discuss the subject of believers forgiving each other, but it clearly does not cover the sole passage above to which Rome clings.  So what does that verse mean?

It is important to note that, when the Lord spoke about sins being remitted/retained, He did NOT use the words "forgiven" or "unforgiven", nor did He say those sins would be "remitted/retained in heaven".  The true sense is the same as the one regarding "binding and loosing"  - viz. church discipline...

The people to whom the Lord was speaking were men who had just been given the Holy Spirit and who would soon be tasked with founding the New Testament Church.  As such, they were furnished with the authority and ability [9] to determine if a wayward believer was to be "forgiven" in the context of church discipline.  This accords perfectly, for instance, with Paul's comments in 2 Corinthians 2:7-10.  "Forgiving" someone in this sense just means allowing them back into fellowship.

We can now return to the above quote from Rome.  As can be seen, this 'sacrament' brings us again to the issue of 'binding and loosing'.  In Rome, the sinner is required to confess his wrongdoings to his priest who then exercises the 'power of the keys' - firstly, by 'binding' the sinner with a suitable punishing burden, then 'loosing' him by forgiving him his sin.  Without this priestly "absolution", the sinner remains unforgiven or 'bound'.  It is sobering here to note what the Lord Jesus had to say about the religious leaders of His day who did similarly:

“The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat: ... they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers … But woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:2,4,13).

The sacrament of Penance contradicts (on several counts) James 5:16 which says:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another [10].

It is by this verse that the Romish idea of 'confession of sins to a priest' is supposedly justified.  However, the verse says we should confess to "one another", yet Rome's priests do not confess to the unordained.

According to 1 Peter 2;5 and 9, we are all priests:

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. ... ye are ... a royal priesthood,... (1 Peter 2:5, 9).

Rome argues that the clergy represent a special 'type' of priest, despite no such idea being in the New Testament [11].  We are all to confess our faults, not our sins, and we are to confess them to one another in the body, not to 'special' believers like Roman 'priests'.  We may wish to admit a sin to the person we trespassed against (unless telling them would hurt them), but we only need to confess sins to God who, when we do so, is:

“faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

The confessional gives priests unrestricted access to incredibly private (and potentially incriminating or embarrassing) information.  This makes it a tremendously powerful tool with which to control the people.  It has been used to great effect in manipulating influential national figures - even Catholic Kings.  No Christian has the right to control another (John 8:36, Matthew 23:8-11, Revelation 2:6, Matthew 20:25-27) and should not be tempted to [12].  Charles Chiniquy, a priest in the Roman Catholic Church for many years, exposed the evils of this practice in his book The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional.  As the reader may have guessed, the use of Roman-style confession was initiated in Babylon.



Rome teaches that Michael the archangel holds the balance of God's justice in his hands and that a Christian's merits and demerits are weighed at his death to decide whether he has done enough good works to counteract his sins.  Therefore, according to the Council of Trent, "no man can know with infallible assurance of faith that he has obtained the grace of God".  A corollary of this lack of assurance of one's salvation is the idea of Purgatory: a 'halfway house' between Earth and Heaven - or Hell - wherein outstanding sins (other than especially serious "mortal" ones) will supposedly be purged from the believer.  Rome describes Purgatory as being:

“[W]here the souls of those who die in the state of grace but not yet free from all imperfection make expiation [payment] … and by so doing are purified before they enter Heaven” [13].

Ever since the Council of Trent, and like many other Roman doctrines, belief in Purgatory is not optional:

If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in Purgatory before the gates of Heaven can be opened, let him be anathema” [Council of Trent] [14].

The prominent Catholic spokesman, Tom Forrest, says:

“As Catholics – now I love this one – we have Purgatory. Thank God! I’m one of those people that would never get to the Beatific Vision without it. It’s the only way to go…” [15].

But Scripture states that:

“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment [i.e. not the Purgatory]” (Hebrews 9:27).

Our works will certainly be tested by fire, but we ourselves are sanctified only by abiding in the truth (Acts 15:8-9, 1 John 3:2-3).  How else could the Lord say to the malefactor on the cross:

“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise”? (Luke 23:43).

The only purifying fire that Christians suffer is the heat of earthly tribulation (as in Mark 4:5-6, 16-17, and Romans 5:3-5) [16].  Again, Babylon had the concept of purgatory, but the Bible does not [17].  Only the blood of Jesus Christ is pure enough to cleanse us from our sins.

The idea of merits (obtained by Masses and Indulgences) and demerits (paid for with Penance and Purgatory) becomes a 'works-oriented' salvation.  It seems that the cross of Christ is simply not enough for Rome.  But the Epistle to the Galatians is one of several places in Scripture where this type of 'gospel' is strongly denounced [18].

The dreadful 'flipside' to the idea of Purgatory is that it can lead a desperate man to succumb to the temptation to commit some heinous act - since he believes he can 'make up for it' later.  Rome teaches that, provided enough good things are done to 'tip the balance back' (or provided one is prepared to put up with a longer time in Purgatory), then such a sin will not unduly affect one's ultimate chances of salvation.

Doctrines such as Purgatory have yet more dangerous implications.  Once they are accepted, they can be used as the foundation for all manner of further falsehoods.  The combining of false teachings can lead to some truly bizarre notions.  Below is just one example of what can result from this:

Here are the ingredients.  Begin by taking the once-for-all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and allow it to be degraded through the idea of an oft-repeated 'bloodless re-sacrifice'.  Add in the possibility of a co-redeemer.  Finally, mix in the concept of Purgatory and leave it to stand.  The result?  An astonishing piece of necromancy:

“One of … Roman Catholicism’s greatest modern heroes was Padre Pio [made a saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002]. As a novice monk, he asked and was granted permission by his superior to suffer for the sins of the world – a clear denial that Christ fully paid for our sin by His suffering on the cross. Pio manifested the stigmata (bleeding) from hands and feet for 50 years [19].  He testified that multitudes of spirits of the dead came to visit him on their way to Heaven to thank him for paying for their sins with his sufferings so they could be released from Purgatory [20].

Many sincere Catholics - even popes - reportedly suffer the most dreadfully anguished and spiritually tormented deaths (in stark contrast to the graceful deaths of the men and women of God in Scripture), strongly suggesting they are being dragged off by demonic forces to the depths of Hades.  The doctrine of Purgatory is an extremely convenient way for Rome to deal with these agonized deaths.  They can be explained away as the faithful merely being taken into the temporary fire of purification.

Of course, this entire teaching from Rome flies in the face of numerous scriptures.  It is so poisonous, so blasphemous to the finished work of Christ, and again we find that the true root of such teaching is from Egypt and, before that, Babylon.  For an excellent treatment of this whole matter, the reader is encouraged to go to Chapter IV, Section II of Alexander Hislop's book The Two Babylons (please see our Recommended Materials page for details of this book).



Despite Rome's claims that we can never be certain in ourselves that we have 'obtained the grace of God', we can have true assurance of our salvation - from faith in the scriptures combined with the direct witness of the Holy Spirit to our spirit as soon as we become children of God:

“And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth … He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself” (1 John 5:6b & 10a).

“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us…” (Hebrews 10:15a).

Once regenerate, our conscience bears witness to our spiritual state (unless we have damaged our conscience through repeated sin after God has restored it):

“…my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 9:1, see also Romans 2:15).

“Holding faith, and a good conscience…” (1 Timothy 1:19a).

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience…” (Hebrews 10:22).

If we have never known an abiding inner peace, it is unlikely we were ever saved [21].  Or, if we lose our peace and inner joy, it is a sign that we are not abiding in Him [22].

According to Rome, having a definite assurance of salvation is one of the two most serious sins a Catholic can commit.  But it is not surprising that Rome tells its faithful not to expect assurance of salvation.  If we believe Rome's teaching that Christ did not make full atonement, but that we have to do some work ourselves in order to help 'bridge the gap', then we are denying the truth about Christ's sacrifice and thus we are not saved.  Hence we receive no assurance.

All false religions deny the true Christ and instead teach salvation by works.  This mistake was made first by Cain when he gave the fruit of his own labour to God in place of a lamb as offered by Abel.  Cain's offering was not accepted by God, but rather than repent, Cain gave the world the first martyr: his brother (see Genesis 4 and 1 John 3:12).  Note that the false church has been martyring true believers ever since [23].


No Salvation Outside The Roman Catholic Church

For Rome, it is not a real and living relationship with God that is the vital thing, but being part of the Church of Rome - as the following official pronouncements confirm:

“The Church ... is necessary for salvation ... Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by God through Jesus Christ, would refuse to enter her or to remain in her could not be saved” [Vatican II] [24].

“For it is through [the] Catholic Church alone, which is the all-embracing means of salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained” [Vatican II] [25].

It is important to realize that Catholicism does not, and never has, encouraged her 'laity' [26] to have an individual (i.e. personal) relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  For Rome, salvation comes only through the Church.  By 'Church', Rome means only the visible Roman Catholic Church - and, within that, strictly only the pope, cardinals, bishops, and priests (for these alone can distribute the sacraments through which 'salvific' grace is supposedly dispensed).  But it is not being in a visible church that matters [27]!  A visible church may look the part, but it is being in Christ that matters...

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

But what of the 'Catholic Charismatic Movement' that has become so widespread within the Roman Church in recent decades?  Many Protestant Pentecostals and Charismatics assume that the existence of such a movement proves that Rome is changing and that God is blessing her.  But let us take a closer look at the testimonies emanating from Catholics who have received the Romish version of the charismata:

“The initiation  into this new experience … is referred to as being ‘baptized in the Holy Spirit’. The following effects have been experienced: A greater appreciation for the Mass...” [28].

“Nothing has happened to the great Mother of God [since I became a charismatic Catholic]. She still remains Queen of Heaven and earth [29].

Traditional devotions such as those to Mary have become meaningful to us. The sacramental life of the church has become more meaningful, particularly the sacrament of penance which we both use now...” [30].

Some readers may suspect these are one-offs by 'loose cannons' trying to discredit the movement, so let us see the testimony of someone who was present at the very beginning of the modern Catholic Renewal movement, and who spends much time promoting it:

“Did you know that 30 years ago when the Charismatic Renewal was born on the Duquesne Weekend, Mary was there? After all, she is the … Mother of the Church. When we students from Duquesne gathered in the chapel … our first activity was a meditation on Mary … [Since then] I’ve asked Mary to be my mother and teach me to pray … Mary … [was] standing near the Cross … receiving from the lips of Jesus her new mission to be mother of us all … ‘Spouse of the Holy Spirit’: this is the title for Mary used by many … Like any spouse, she has an infinite knowledge of the One who loves her” [31].

“When I was first asked to contribute this teaching on continuing in the Spirit, my mind turned naturally to those traditional means of spiritual growth: … the sacraments, ... devotion to Mary and the saints. ... Yes, Mary, give us your own faith [32].

But let us be certain.  Let us focus now on the original leader of the modern Catholic Charismatic movement: Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens.  His words will be even more authoritative.  What did he have to say?...

“Let me share with you one secret, how to receive the Holy Spirit in the best way. The secret of our unity with the Holy Spirit is our unity with Mary, the Mother of God [33].

“Since I have had this [charismatic] experience, my allegiance to the holy Father as the Vicar of Christ in the world has been heightened and strengthened. My appreciation for Mary as the co-redemptress and mediatoress of my salvation has been assured. My appreciation of the Mass as the sacrifice of Christ has now been heightened [34].

Do other such leaders of Catholic Charismaticism concur?  They most assuredly do.  The Italian charismatic priest Serafino Falvo wrote the first Italian book on the subject.  He says:

“We exclude in the most categoric way, that this is a movement tending to change, [or even] modify … the present structures of the [Roman] church”[35].

Regarding Mary, Falvo goes on to say:

In the charismatic renewal, the Virgin Mary occupies an essential place alongside the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can not do other than bring one to Mary … wherever Mary is, the Holy Spirit falls” [36].

The spirit behind Rome's Charismaticism is patently a deceiving one.  It has unfortunately fooled many Protestants too who think these people are sound because they have experienced a spiritual outpouring - and that the spirit involved must be of God.  They argue that 'God is prepared to give this movement His Holy Spirit because they use the Bible.'  But this is not Scriptural...

God does not give His Holy Spirit to those who simply possess, or even use, the Bible.  Mormons use the Bible, but do not have God's Spirit.  So do the Jehovah's Witnesses.  The Pharisees likewise.  The Lord gives His Spirit to those who believe and obey Him:

“…we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32);

“If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you … the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:15-16).

Despite all the above material to which most Protestant ministers of the Gospel have full access, there are still those who, like the leader of a well-known evangelistic course, argue that the Catholic Church is "just another denomination of the Christian faith" [37].  But if, as this minister also says, we can test and identify cults by putting their beliefs "alongside the Bible", rejecting them as "heresies" if their doctrines" are found to be "not consistent with the teaching of the New Testament" [38], then why the inconsistency when applied to Rome's beliefs?

For those who imagine that Rome is changing, please consider that, before he became Pope Benedict XVI, the man in charge of Rome's doctrine, Cardinal Ratzinger, stated that Protestant churches are not true churches because they are not part of Rome and deny transubstantiation:

“[T]he Catholic Church ... is the single Church of Christ ... the Catholic Church governed by the successor [singular!] of Peter [39];

“[Those ‘churches’] which have not preserved … [the RC belief in the] substance of the Eucharistic Mystery, are not churches …” [40].

Consider also these words from a Roman Bishop, published on the Catholic section of the website of the aforementioned evangelistic course:

“There is indeed a danger that [if] we make no use of the Course, Catholics will go to [those] run by Protestant churches and perhaps even end up in those churches [41].

What "danger" is there, unless Rome doesn't think Protestant churches are real churches?

We provide further examples of Rome's intransigence in other articles, but for now, please note that Vatican II, the Council that updated Rome's image post-WWII, not only failed to repeal a solitary edict from the 16th century Council of Trent, but actually re-affirmed the whole of that Council and all the curses it pronounced on biblical Christianity. 



[1]  Some other relevant Scriptures here include Luke 12:42-46; Romans 11:21-23; Hebrews 2:3, 3:14; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Galatians 6:8-9; 1 John 1:24-28; 1 John 4:16; Revelation 2:10-11 and 3:5&21.

[2]  The authors’ present understanding of God’s Word on the possibility of a Christian losing their faith is that, although faith is a gift from God, it still needs exercising, and that ‘keeping the faith’ – as Paul put it – is not a ‘work’ (Galatians 2:16; Romans 4:5; 9:32).  For more about about living by faith, see Luke 21:19; Romans 11:20-23; 1 Timothy 6:10-12; 2 Timothy 4:6-7; Revelation 3:3-5; etc.  The lifebelt analogy illustrates the position we believe reconciles all the many disparate scriptures on this issue: consider a lifebelt floating next to a person in the sea.  The lifebelt represents our Saviour.  Choosing simply to cling tightly and tenaciously to the belt (i.e. until actually pulled home), far from being something to boast about, is a clear admission of total helplessness, and the person is making no attempt to get a single inch closer to the shore by his own effort... The person is saved through humbly maintaining his belief that the lifebelt is his only hope.  He holds on because he trusts that the lifebelt alone will rescue him.  Indeed, Scripture seems to tell us to “hold on” like this (e.g. in 1 Timothy 1:19; and Hebrews 4:14).  (Who could ever boast if everyone else had done exactly the same and if the Saviour had actually died to save us?)  But whatever one’s stance over whether we have been granted the freedom to “shipwreck” our faith (1 Timothy 1:19) or “cast off” the gift (1 Timothy 5:12) after having truly believed on Christ previously, there can be no question from Scripture that we are only saved by God‘s grace – and only through an enduring faith (1 Peter 1:13; Galatians 5:1-5; Hebrews 3:14).

[3]  The criterion for salvation is not that someone does good works – many unbelievers do lots of good works.  The criterion is a strong, genuine faith in Christ Jesus as our Saviour and Lord.

[4]  Acts 22:16 does not say that the act of baptism will wash away sins – it is the ‘calling on the name of the Lord’ that achieves this (see Romans 10:13).  Only the blood of the Lamb can wash away sins.

[5]  Bishop Hay’s Sincere Christian, Vol 1, p356, quoted in Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, (Loizeaux Brothers, 2nd USA edn., 1959), pp129,130.

[6]  Infant baptism obviates the need for a clear (and publicly recognizable) rebirth later in life.  The end result is to fill churches with the unsaved.

[7]  Cardinal J.H. Newman, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, (Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1878), pp351-353.

[8]  The Catholic Encyclopedia, ‘Penance’,, as at 02:Nov:2002.  See also Walter M. Abbott, S.J., The Documents of Vatican II, (Geoffrey Chapman, 1966), Bishops, point 30, pp418-419 and Priests, point 5, p542.

[9]  Authority or ability is sometimes translated “power” in the Bible.  The preceding words “Peace be with you” could thus be translated “remain in harmony with God”.  The point being that, if the apostles remained close to God then this would help them discern God’s judgment about a matter – enabling them to report it to others.

[10]  Sadly, some modern Bible versions have been influenced by Rome and have changed the Greek used here – and thence the English translation – surely in order to support their doctrine.

[11]  The Bible provides us with perfectly good and unambiguous words for whatever role a person has – e.g. ‘elder’ or ‘deacon’.

[12]  Some Christians advocate 'cell' groups requiring individuals to be 'accountable' to, and 'intimate' with, the cell leaders.  This has the distinct potential to become a proxy confessional and easily leads to control because the cell leaders will be in a position to blackmail members with the knowledge they have obtained.  Since each cell reports upwards, the one person at the very top of the hierarchy thus has control over every person in the entire structure.

[13]  The New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol XI, (Washington DC, 1967), ‘Purgatory’, p76.

[14]  The Council of Trent, Canon 30.

[15]  Tom Forrest, (1990), quoted in Dave Hunt, Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist, (Harvest House, 1990), p273.

[16]  See also passages like 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 which show the true state of believers after death and before meeting Christ.

[17]  See John 17:17; Hebrews 10:14; Ephesians 5:25-26 etc for more.

[18]  In this life, a criminal may be able to pay back a large fine, or serve a long prison sentence (akin to time in Purgatory) to ‘pay off’ the debt and then go free, but we can never repay God for our sinfulness.  If we do not accept God’s payment of the penalty through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ then we will ‘pay’ the penalty ourselves – in Hell for eternity.  It has to be eternal because no amount of time we spend in Hell will ever pay off the debt – only a spotless lamb can do that, and only Jesus is that lamb (the only person not tainted by Adam’s original sin).

[19]   We are certainly called to bear one another’s burdens, but only Christ was able to suffer bodily for others in God’s eyes.

[20]  Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and Church, (Harvest House, 1998), pp387-388.

[21]  “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1a);  “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13); “To be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).  (N.B. this peace is sensed in our spirit, not our soul.)

[22]  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee…” (Isaiah 26:3);  “[B]ecause of my sin … I am troubled … by … the disquietness of my heart” (Psalm 38:3b,6a & 8b);  “Renew a right spirit within me … Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation” (Psalm 51:10b & 12a); “And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us” (1 John 3:24).  See also Acts 5:32 and 1 John 4:13. 

[23]  Please see our Recommended Materials page for books, DVDs, online videos and articles, etc. about the persecution of the true church by the false throughout history.

[24]  Abbott, Documents, The Church, point 14, pp32-33.

[25]  Abbott, Documents, Ecumenism, point 3, p346.  See also The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism, (Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1981), Qn 413.

[26]  The word ‘lay’ or ‘laity’ in this context refers to unordained members of a church.  It is a tool to help control the masses (hence the term “Nicolaitan” as condemned in Revelation 2:6,15).

[27]  The word ‘church’ is biblically only ever able to mean a local group of believers or the worldwide body. 

[28]  Publication by the Church of the Transfiguration, 4325 Jarvis Ave., San Jose, CA, as quoted in Charismatic Catholics, (as at 23:Mar:2001).  This article is subsequently referred to as ‘CC’.  According to John V. McHale, in The Furrow, May 1973, this is “unanimous” among Catholic Charismatics and assures them of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the host, as quoted in David Cloud, Charismatic Catholics Love Error,, Way of Life website, 15 May 2002This web article is subsequently referred to as WL.  Rome admits that Catholic Charismatics “attend Mass more regularly” after this experience rather than steering clear of this attack on the cross [The Catholic Gospel, Vol. 14  #1, p4], as quoted in ref. WL.

[29]  Interview with “renewed” Catholics in Bombay, India.  Light of Life magazine, June 1979, as quoted in ref. WL. 

[30]  Bert Ghezzi, from quote in Catholic Pentecostalism, Kenneth Ranaghan, 1969, cited in Michael de Semlyen, All Roads lead to Rome? The Ecumenical Movement, (Dorchester House Publications, 1993), p28.

[31]  Patti Gallagher Mansfield, Blessed Is She Who Believed, ICCRS Newsletter, Jul – Aug 1997.

[32]  Patti Gallagher Mansfield, Continuing In The Spirit, ICCRS Newsletter, Mar – Apr 1999.

[33]  Cardinal Suenens, 1905-1996, address at the Seventh International Charismatic Congress at Notre Dame, as quoted in ref. CC. The same article cites dozens of other examples showing the true nature of the Catholic Renewal.  For instance, it notes that there are cases where tongues are being interpreted as ‘Hail Mary’ and that the RC journal Dialogue admits “Catholic Pentecostals tend to go back and cultivate all the avenues to God that they had abandoned: Rosary, visits to the Blessed Sacrament [i.e. Mass], devotion to Mary, [and] frequent confession”.  It also quotes a “recognized theologian of the RC charismatic renewal”, Priest O’Connor in the book The Pentecostal Movement in the Catholic Church, (Paulist Press, 1974), as saying “Rebaptism is unacceptable because at baptism one is reborn [rather than at the point of accepting the gospel and repenting!] … To undergo believer’s baptism is hereticalNo-one can receive the knowledge that he is saved”.

[34]  Cardinal Suenens, Charismatic Ecumenism: The Road to Rome, by Michael McCoskey, as quoted in ref. WL.  Perhaps it is not altogether surprising that Suenens was a Freemason [Bulletin de l’Occident Chrétien Nr.12, July, 1976, (Directeur Pierre Fautrad a Fye – 72490 Bourg Le Roi, as analysed by “The Enddays Ministry.  See also Cathy Burns, Billy Graham and His Friends, (Sharing, 2001), p22].

[35]  Serafino Falvo, Lora dello Spirito Santo, p186, as quoted in William C. Standridge, What’s Happening In The Roman Church? A Report From Rome, (Independent Faith Mission, 1975), p21.

[36]  Falvo, Lora, p197 & 204, as quoted in Standridge, What's Happening, p21.

[37]  Neil Richardson, Unmasked: Nicky Gumbel – A Tale of Two Cities, Part One: Rome, Vanguard, Issue 2, Jan 1997, p31. 

[38]  Nicky Gumbel, The Alpha Course, Talk 5, 1st Edn.

[39]  Cardinal Ratzinger, Dominus Iesus,, published 06:Aug:2000. 

[40]  Ratzinger, Dominus Iesus.

[41]  Ambrose Griffiths, “OSB” (“Order of Saint Benedict”), Bishop of Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, England, Alpha for Catholics website, as at 25:May:2002.


Elizabeth McDonald
January 2013





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