Overview



Protestant teaching is founded on Sola Scriptura which states that the Bible is the final authority in matters of faith, yet:

  1. There are many biblical passages which are contrary to Protestant doctrine and practice, and
  2. Sola Scriptura itself assumes that there is an authority outside of the Bible.

This article highlights the biblical passages which clearly contradict the doctrine, teaching, and faith of the Protestant denominations. These contradictions are explained away by theologians using various justifications:

  1. They interpret the passage from a pre-conceived perspective — they know what it means ahead of time.
  2. They claim that the passage is cultural and doesn't apply today (but how can they know this if the passage doesn't say this?)
  3. They claim that the passage is difficult and therefore must be interpreted in light of "clear" passages (but most of these passages in question actually are clear and stand on their own).
  4. They simply ignore the contradictions.

Some Protestants may wonder why this is even a problem. Here's why:

  1. If the Bible really were all that is needed (Sola Scriptura), and
  2. If Protestant theology really were correct, then
  3. There should not be any contradictory passages.

But since there are many such passages (as this article demonstrates), then both premises above are untrue. Therefore, Protestant theology is unbiblical (this is not to say that every Protestant doctrine is untrue; many are true — but this is because the Protestant "Reformers" preserved many pre-reformation Catholic doctrines).

I readily admit that there are many Biblical passages which do support Protestant theology, but I am not discussing these because the purpose of this article is to highlight those passages that contradict Protestant theology. And if there are passages that contradict Protestant theology, then an honest seeker of truth should be willing to reconsider his or her views regarding Sola Scriptura in particular and Protestant theology in general (since it is founded on Sola Scriptura).

For Catholics these passages pose no problem whatsoever for two reasons:

  1. These passages do match well with Catholic doctrine, and
  2. Catholics do not accept the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Catholics look to the teaching magisteriumof the Catholic Church to provide authoritative interpretation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (I do not accept all Catholic doctrines.)

The focus of this article is Protestant teaching and the Catholic Church. I limit my discussion to conservative Christianity which acknowledges the foundational doctrines of the early creeds. I am not considering:

Bible quotations are from the New Testament books of Acts through Jude. (I exclude the gospels because some Protestants claim these were written in the Old Testament "dispensation." I exclude the book of Revelation because it is highly symbolic and symbols are subject to various interpretations).

See also here and here.


Index ...

The Church | Unusual Passages | Conclusions

  1. Doctrines the Bible Contradicts

    Sola Fide (Faith Alone) | Calvinism | Sin | Sacrifice | Justification | Suffering | Conscience | End Times

  2. Teaching and practice which doesn't match the Bible
    Church Authority
    Clergy / Laity
    Church Life
    Church Traditions
    Self-Ordination
    Liturgy
    Liturgical Calendar
    Male Ministers
    Marriage
    Women
    Gender Roles
    Virginity
    Fasting
    Charismatic Movement
    Laying-On of Hands
    Healing
    Evangelism
    Slavery
    No One is Righteous
    Religious Life
    Segregation
  3. Doctrines with NO Biblical support whatsoever — must be merely assumed as true

    Self-Ordination | Liturgy

  4. Anti-Catholic claims that the Catholic faith is NOT in the Bible — but Bible passages say otherwise
    Pope
    Priests
    Sacraments
    Eucharist
    Church Forgives Sins
    Anti-Catholic
    Purgatory
    Saints
    Relics
    Virginity
    Religious Life
    Liturgy
    Sacrifice
  5. Ways in which the Protestant Reformation nullifies Biblical passages (thereby demonstrating that the Protestant Reformation itself was un-biblical)

    Excommunication | Church Councils | Unity | Division


Doctrines the Bible Contradicts


This section highlights various biblical passages contradicting Protestant teaching. Shouldn't we be willing to admit our cherished doctrines are in error if they contradict the Bible?

I should note that the doctrines of the Catholic Church match these passages very well.

Suppose I wanted to discover which denomination has correct doctrine so I could convert to it. How would I determine this? For example, suppose I wanted to join the denomination having the true views regarding baptism. Would I become a Baptist? But alas, there is no basis for choosing one denomination over another. For example, the authority which Baptists have for interpreting scripture is no more divinely-inspired than any other denomination. Regarding the doctrine of baptism in particular, denominations have contradicting views about what the Bible teaches about baptism. And there are biblical passages which contradict some of these views.

Sola Fide (Faith Alone) | Calvinism | Sin | Sacrifice | Justification | Suffering | Conscience | End Times


Teaching and practice which doesn't match the Bible


This section highlights various inconsistencies between the Bible and Protestant teaching and doctrine. But based on the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura there should not be any inconsistencies. If the Bible is the only authority for faith, teaching, and practice; then Protestant doctrine and teaching should exactly match the Bible. There would be no place for doctrinal development and no notion of biblical passages which are merely cultural.

Church Authority
Clergy / Laity
Church Life
Church Traditions
Self-Ordination
Liturgy
Liturgical Calendar
Male Ministers
Marriage
Women
Gender Roles
Virginity
Fasting
Charismatic Movement
Laying-On of Hands
Healing
Evangelism
Slavery
No One is Righteous
Religious Life
Segregation

Doctrines with NO Biblical support whatsoever


Some may be surprised to learn that certain Protestant doctrines and practices have no biblical support whatsoever but were invented by the Protestant "Reformers" or by later developments of Protestantism. But this violates the doctrine of Sola Scriptura in which the Bible is to be the only authority for faith, teaching, doctrine, and practice.

In the absence of biblical support, Protestant denominations typically feel justified to invent whatever practices and traditions they choose. But there is no biblical justification to do this for those who hold to Sola Scriptura.

Self-Ordination | Liturgy

It is difficult to give many examples of these from the Bible because of the very fact that the Bible is silent about them. Instead I list a few topics that the Bible is silent about and challenge Protestants to find passages that validate their practice and doctrine.


Anti-Catholic claims that the Catholic faith is NOT in the Bible


Many Protestant critics of Catholicism strongly assert that the Catholic faith is not in the Bible but the following biblical passages support Catholic doctrine while at the same time contradicting Protestant theology. When given the choice between a system which matches the Bible verses with one which contradicts them, the choice should be clear. How can these Protestants justify their positions? Clearly, Sola Scriptura is not really the guiding principle after all.

Pope
Priests
Sacraments
Eucharist
Church Forgives Sins
Anti-Catholic
Purgatory
Saints
Relics
Virginity
Religious Life
Liturgy
Sacrifice

Ways in which the Protestant Reformation nullifies Biblical passages


In this section I highlight passages which the Protestant Reformation itself nullifies. I need to explain this a bit. From the perspective of the historical Catholic church, the Protestant Reformation was a schismatic and unbiblical movement (and continues to be so even today). As a result of this schism itself there now are certain biblical passages which simply cannot be followed anymore by Protestant denominations. These passages, therefore, demonstrate that the Protestant Reformation at its very foundation is unbiblical.

Excommunication | Church Councils | The Church | Unity | Division


Church Authority


The basis for Church Authority is an important topic. Such questions as:

  1. Who may be ordained? What are their qualifications?
  2. Is a chain of succession necessary?
  3. Who may ordain others?
  4. Who has teaching authority in the church?
  5. Who has the Holy Spirit-inspired authority to stand against heresy and represent correct doctrine?

The Protestant "Reformers" broke away from the Catholic Church in a very contentious schism and claimed that they had the authority to do so. They based this (1) on their claim that the Catholic Church was apostate, and (2) that they themselves were the modern prophets of God who had discovered the truth (although they did not say it this way). But the Catholic Church disagrees with their assessment.

There are difficulties with the Protestant views of Church Authority even before we consider what the Bible has to say about the matter. Many denominations have very strong views regarding the importance of Church Authority and that the church members are obligated to submit to and obey their leaders. The pastors of these denominations are ordained and believe they have a Biblical mandate for their authority citing such passages as 1 Timothy 3:2-13 and Titus 1:5-9 to support their views. A handful of disgruntled Protestants have chosen to reject Church Authority altogether (or so they say) and to form into house churches (but not all house churches are anti-authority).

Some of the difficulties with the Protestant views of Church Authority:

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee. (Titus 1:5)

Ordain elders — We can wonder whether the apostle Paul would have sent Titus to ordain Martin Luther for the task of splitting the church as he did? Or would Paul, rather, have preferred that Martin Luther work to reform the church? After all, this is what Paul himself did when faced with the Corinthian church which was in need of reform.

The fact is that the Reformers practiced self-ordination as do the founders of every Protestant Denomination. But this practice is unbiblical.

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen. (Acts 1:2)

Giving instructions to the apostles — This verse indicates that the authority and mission of the apostles was given by Jesus. There is also the implication that this authority must be passed on from the apostles to their successors. Protestants must of necessity accept the notion of "self-ordination" since the founder of each new denomination must appoint himself or herself as the leader. But Jesus intended that church authority be passed on through ordination.

A chain of succession is necessary to preserve sound teaching and doctrine. Certainly this policy served the early church well. The chain of succession:

Jesus      Apostles      Subsequent church leaders      Next generation of church leaders      and so on . . .

Each new generation of church leaders are chosen via ordination by validly-ordained bishops from the previous generation.

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:6)

How can we apply this verse today? Which denomination represents the "us"?

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. (1 John 2:8)

John, as an apostle, had a new commandment for the church which they were to obey. The church is to have authority over Christians. It is important that only validly-ordained ministers assume this kind of authority.


Self-Ordination


The founders of Protestant Denominations of necessity must practice self-ordination. This is because there is no one in that new denomination yet who could ordain them.

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee. (Titus 1:5)

Ordain elders — We can wonder whether the apostle Paul would have sent Titus to ordain Martin Luther for the task of splitting the church as he did? Or would Paul, rather, have preferred that Martin Luther work to reform the church? After all, this is what Paul himself did when faced with the Corinthian church which was in need of reform.

The fact is that the Reformers practiced self-ordination, as do the founders of every Protestant Denomination. But this practice is unbiblical.

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen. (Acts 1:2)

A chain of succession is necessary to preserve sound teaching and doctrine. Certainly this policy served the early church well. The chain of succession:

Jesus      Apostles      Subsequent church leaders      Next generation of church leaders      and so on . . .

Each of these links in the chain is via ordination.


Clergy / Laity


Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)

The laity is to obey the clergy (the elders).


Excommunication


The fact of excommunication implies a unified church (or else the person could merely change denominations).

And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. (1 Corinthians 5:2)


Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

Protestants can't practice excommunication (except in closed societies such as Calvin's Geneva and the Puritans). This is because someone can merely switch denominations.

Excommunication for Protestants has no meaning since the person can simply find another denomination to take him in.

The practice of excommunication matches well with Christendom of the Middle Ages. In fact, the Protestant Reformers practiced their own variation of excommunication.


Male Ministers



For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? (1 Timothy 3:5)

Ministers must be male. Many denominations allow female ministers in violation of Sola Scriptura preferring instead to take their lead from modern culture.


Pope


The New Testament has passages which indicate that there is to be a pope and that Peter is the first to hold this position.

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. (Acts 1:16)

Peter declares that Psalm 109:8 needs to be fulfilled and elects a replacement for Judas.

Let his days be few; and let another take his office. (Psalm 109:8)

Protestant teachers sometimes claim that Peter was being brash, arrogant, and presumptuous in initiating this action. But notice that all the brethren go along. This supports the Catholic view that Peter was given a special role of leadership over the church by Jesus and that this leadership role provides the foundation of the papacy.

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (John 21:15)

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:18,19)

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words. (Acts 2:14)

Peter represents the twelve apostles as their spokesman.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them... (Acts 4:8)

Peter was clearly the leader of the apostles.

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (Acts 5:3)

This passage states that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit. He did this by lying to Peter. Thus, Peter is equated with the Holy Spirit (using the same argument that is used to support the doctrine that Jesus is deity in passages such as):

He that hateth me hateth my Father also. (John 15:23).

Thus we see that Peter has the unique role of being the first Pope and represents Christ in this role.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. (Galatians 1:18,19)

Paul's ministry was validated by Peter, the first Pope.


Church Life


The Protestant denominations consider the doctrine of Sola Scripture (scripture only) to be foundational. They claim that the Bible is to be the sole authority in matters of faith, doctrine, belief, and practice; and that traditions are to be rejected. But in reality Protestant Denominations have many traditions of their own. In addition, there are many things that Protestant denominations do and believe which are contrary to the Bible.

And all that believed were together, and had all things common. (Acts 2:44)

Protestant teaching is based on Sola Scripture or scripture only as their rule of faith. Yet few Protestants have the practice of all things in common and they give various reasons for this. But the point is that they base their rejection of this on some authority outside of scripture.

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. (Acts 6:1)

What Protestant denomination takes care of their widows as the early church did? And of those that do, do they only take care of members of their own denomination? In this verse there is no distinction between denominations.

Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. (1 Timothy 5:5)

How could a widow even do this in most denominations? Continual prayer is not practiced in most denominations. This practice is comparable to the religious life of a Catholic convent in which a widow could live and fulfill this Biblical injunction. At the time of the Protestant Reformation the "reformers" destroyed all the monasteries and convents and forbid having such things in their denominations. As a result of this, it is simply not possible for widows to follow the practice given in this verse.


Religious Life


The New Testament provides some hints of the religious life of the early Christians.

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)

The Catholic tradition of Monastic life fits this verse rather well. The Protestant reformers rejected this and disbanded Catholic monasteries and convents.

Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. (1 Timothy 5:5)

This is a good description of the lifestyle of a Catholic sister or nun.

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:32,33)

This is a very good justification for the religious life of Catholic priests, monks, friars, sisters, and nuns. The Bible states that it is desirable for religious people to be unmarried so they can practice a religious life without distraction. The Protestant Reformers did away with monasteries and convents.


The Church


The Protestant Reformers changed the doctrines concerning what the church is.

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. (Ephesians 3:10)

The NIV translation: His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 3:10)

Notice that the church is more than merely the set of all believers. This verse establishes the teaching authority of the church. The church is both a human and a Divine institution. Certainly this passage doesn't refer to denominations. The Baptist denomination (for example) is the not the church referred to in this passage.

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)

The gift was transmitted through laying on of hands. This is an example of the power contained within the ministers of the church.

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

3,000 people were added — What were they added to? Merely the invisible, mystical body of Christ? No, but to a visible institution later called the church (and called the Catholic Church very early, by 108 A.D.) How could this verse be applied today? Which denomination would they be added to? Some denominations don't even consider people in other denominations as saved at all. And many Protestants consider Catholics as unsaved. The Protestant Reformation has created disunity in the body of Christ and has made a travesty of verses such as Acts 2:41.

Many Protestant denominations emphasize adding members into their denomination but this passage says nothing about denominations because there were no denominations at the time, only the church. This verse emphasizes becoming members of the church founded by Jesus. Since then there have been many schisms and divisions of the church as well as heretical groups. But the church Jesus founded has no divisions. Instead, Christians have varying degrees of unity with His one, true church: The Catholic Church.


Church Councils


As a side-effect of the Protestant Reformation the church today can't have ecumenical councils of the whole church such as described in Acts chapter 15. Many denominations cannot even have councils with other Protestants as the disunity runs too deep.

And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. (Acts 15:6)

The essential doctrines of Christianity were developed by councils. But Martin Luther and the other reformers acted by themselves in developing their new doctrines. This violates the spirit of Acts chapter 15 in which important matters of the faith be addressed by church councils.

For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things. (Acts 15:28)

Notice that the Holy Spirit works through councils. However it should be noted that Martin Luther's reform of the church via schism was not done through a council.


Church Traditions


The Protestant Reformers did away with many traditions of the historical Catholic Church and substituted new traditions of their own. Based on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura they claim that Christians should not have traditions but should defer to scripture for everything. However, the Bible indicates that the various traditions of the Catholic Church are valid.

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. (1 Corinthians 11:2)

Notice that Paul is commanding them to keep the traditions which he shared with them. Notice also that he did not write down what these traditions are. Therefore, the only way Christians can obey this verse is to keep the traditions of the Church which are passed on from generation to generation.

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. (Hebrews 9:9,10)

The phrase "present time" ("time then present" in the KJV) refers to the church age. This passage clearly states that in this church age there are to be gifts, sacrifices, food, drink, ritual worship, and regulations of flesh. This is a good description of the liturgical worship of the Catholic Church. Many Protestant denominations have done away with these things.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Just as Old Testament Israel was a chosen and holy nation; so is the church, as this passage indicates. We should expect many similarities between the church and Old Testament Israel. The Catholic Church matches this passage very well.

Other topics: Virginity, Women.


Unity


The church should be in unity. But since the time of the Protestant Reformation the church has been in division with contradictory doctrines, fragmented authority, and divisive attitudes. Many Protestant critics of Catholicism consider Catholics as unsaved and the Catholic Church considers Protestants as the "separated brethren." This is all a result of the Protestant Reformation.

These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. (Jude 1:19)

This is what the Protestant Reformers did

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

The Protestant Reformers did this. The Catholic Church was right in excommunicating them.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

The Protestant Reformers violated this passage.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

Since the time of the Protestant Reformation there has been no peace within the Christian Church.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

Note that these converts join the church, not a denomination. Yet today at evangelical meetings preachers ask new believers to join their denomination. This is a result of the Protestant Reformation which fragmented the unity of the church.


Division


The Protestant Reformation was an extreme example of conflicts in the body of Christ. The Bible commands against this. The divisions persist even today and therefore Protestants (as a group) are guilty of disobedience to these verses:

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? (James 4:1)

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies... (Galatians 5:20)

And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. (1 Thessalonians 5:13)

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. (Hebrews 12:15)

These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. (Jude 19)

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. (1 Corinthians 11:18)

Certainly the Protestant Reformers were guilty of this, yet Protestants consider these men as great heroes and prophets of God who fixed the church. But would God use rebels in this role?

What should we do today? The Bible calls us to peace.

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (Romans 14:19)

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)

Yet many Protestants continue to be anti-Catholic and to misrepresent and distort what the Catholic Church teaches.


Liturgy


The Bible hints at a developed liturgy during the church service and other religious gatherings.

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is. (Acts 4:24)

There must have been either (1) scripted words which the people knew, or (2) call and response. Nowhere does the Bible teach what a worship service should be like. Rather than conclude that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is wrong Protestant denominations typically decide that anything not in the Bible can be done however they want. But the Bible doesn't need to address certain topics because the church leaders were addressing them.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2)

This reference to sprinkling sounds like they have a regular liturgical practice of some sort involving sprinkling along the lines of the sprinkling of the blood as specified in the Old Testament rites. It is difficult to see how this could fit the practice of those Protestant denominations which have done away with all liturgy in favor of a long sermon.


Liturgical Calendar


The Bible refers to holy days and feast days. Many Protestants Denominations do not have a liturgical calendar but the practice is Biblical.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. (Colossians 2:16)

Festivals and religious celebrations are okay. Some Protestants seem to think that such things are bad.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. (Romans 14:5)

Protestant critics of Catholicism typically are against the Catholic liturgical calendar but this verse indicates that having preferences for certain days is biblical.


Marriage


There are discrepancies between the Biblical passages regarding marriage and the belief and practice of some Protestants.

But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:11)

But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. (Matthew 5:32)

These are the only two cases in which divorce is permitted in the New Testament. Protestant teachers who have added other cases have added to the Bible in violation of Sola Scriptura — they need an authority other than the Bible to justify doing this.

The Bible only specifically allows for divorce in two cases:

  1. The husband becomes a Christian and the wife initiates a divorce (1 Corinthians 7:11).
  2. The other partner commits adultery (Matthew 5:32).

If Protestant teachers truly believed in Sola Scriptura they would allow for divorce for these two cases only. Most Protestant teachers allow for divorce for other cases but there is no biblical basis for this.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. (1 Corinthians 7:5)

The Bible suggests that married couples refrain from sex from time to time to facilitate prayer. As a Protestant I never heard anyone ever teach this or even mention it. But how can they justify ignoring a passage like this?

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife. (1 Timothy 3:2)

Bishops must be married only once. Many Protestant teachers interpret this passage to forbid polygamy but it actually clearly refers to no remarriage if a wife dies. It is almost unheard of for Protestant ministers to apply this verse as having any significance for today. But this is because they have taken their moral direction from the "modern" culture rather than the Bible as they claim.


Women


The topic of women is one in which few Protestant teachers follow the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, preferring to accept modern culture instead of the words of the Bible. Many would claim that these passages are cultural but the passages themselves don't say that they are merely cultural — this knowledge must come from outside of the Bible in violation of the principle and doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

The topics with clear Biblical teaching:

Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. (1 Corinthians 11:9)

This verse indicates that there is a distinction between men and women in the church. Note that this passage is not talking about husbands and wives but, rather, about men and women in the church community.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided [braided] hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array. (1 Timothy 2:9)

Women are to be very modest and humble in the clothing they wear.

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. (1 Timothy 2:11)

Note that this passage does not claim to be cultural, nor is it referring to a wife submitting to her husband.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (1 Timothy 2:12)

Some Protestant Denominations have women pastors and some allow women to teach. Some claim that this passage refers merely to the issue of women having authority over men, but the passage itself doesn't say that. It also doesn't specify that it is okay for women to teach children. Nor is there any linkage between the authority over men and teaching. The verse says merely that women should not be allowed to teach, period.

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. (1 Peter 3:3)

Which Protestant Denomination does this?

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. (1 Corinthians 11:5,13,15)

These verses state that women should have their heads covered in church and that they should have long hair. Most Protestant teachers ignore these verses; typically by declaring that they are cultural. But on what basis do they make that claim? The passage itself doesn't claim to be cultural. In doing so they are following an authority outside of the Bible and thereby violating the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. (1 Corinthians 14:34)

Which Protestant Denomination does this?

From these passages we see that Protestant denominations have taken their lead from the culture rather than from the Bible. They have somehow determined that these passages are cultural. But how did they determine this since the Bible doesn't say that these passages are cultural? Thus, Protestant teachers willingly violate the doctrine of Sola Scriptura whenever it suits them and worse, they don't seem to be aware that they are doing so.


Gender Roles


Most Protestant denominations have adopted the gender roles of our modern culture. But based on the Bible they should instead resist the culture and base these roles on clear Biblical passages. But many who claim to base their faith on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura have somehow determined that these passages are cultural and therefore not for today although the passages themselves do not say that they are cultural. Thus, they have an authority outside of the Bible which assists them with their Biblical interpretation.

Based on the following passages, we learn that men should not have long hair; and that women should (1) have long hair, and (2) cover their heads in church. Note that Paul is very clear and direct about this and that this is the practice of the church.

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:4-5,13-16)


Virginity


In our modern culture a life of celibacy is looked on with disdain. And even Protestant Christians question why anyone would want to consecrate themselves to a celibate life. Yet the extended teaching from Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter seven holds the practice in high regard. Of note:

There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:34)

This verse states that in order to be holy in body one must be celibate.

Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. (1 Corinthians 7:37,38)

This is a very peculiar verse. It seems to suggest that a man and a woman who were engaged can enter into a relationship in which they are still bonded in some way but in which they remain celibate. Of course, this is what the priests did in the early centuries of the church before the Catholic Church finally required priests to be celibate.


Sin


The Protestant Reformers added doctrines regarding sin (see Calvinism, Council of Trent).

If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. (1 John 5:16,17)

From this passage we see that (1) sin has degrees, and (2) some sin is "unto death." Many Protestant teachers consider all sins as equally repulsive to God. They do not distinguish between mortal sins (sins unto death) and venial sins (other smaller sins).

Protestant teachers typically claim that the phrase "sin unto death" refers to rejecting the gospel, but that simply cannot be. This is because the passage mentions committing this "sin unto death" as if it were a sinful action which can be performed at will. Also, this "sin unto death" is contrasted with the "sin not unto death." They must interpret this "sin NOT unto death" to refer to either:

The typical Protestant interpretation of this passage is very contrived. I was always very troubled by it when I was a Protestant.

By contrast, the Catholic interpretation perfectly matches the text. The phrase "sin unto death" refers to a mortal sin and the phrase "sin NOT unto death" refers to a venial sin. The context is given in 1 John 5:14-15 concerning God's promise to answer our prayers which are in God's will. You can pray for your brother who is only sinning venial sins but don't bother praying that God will forgive a mortal sin, as (1) these sins are very grave, and (2) the salvation of a person committing such sins cannot be restored simply through the prayer of a brother (intercessory prayers for mortal sins are outside of God's will, so He won't answer these prayers).

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (1 John 5:18)

Catholics emphasize that we are to strive to not sin, and that it is possible to achieve this. Notice that believers are in some mysterious way kept safe from the consequences of sin. Of course, Catholics can receive forgiveness from Jesus through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) which is required for mortal sins.

In the typical Protestant view, believers sin constantly, perhaps many times per minute. They would say that the reason they don't sin is because Christ's sacrifice covers their sins, so in God's eyes it is as if they don't sin at all (even though they really do sin). But in spite of this there is a strong emphasis on trying to not sin (even though it can't be done). In many Protestant sermons the preacher strives to exhort the congregation to attempt to not sin. See Justification.


Sacrifice


Protestant teachers typically claim that there is no longer any need for regular sacrifices now that Christ has sacrificed Himself on the cross. Yet they also recognize that the Bible speaks of sacrifice, and so they offer up metaphorical sacrifices of praise, worship, service, and good deeds. However, there are a few passages that make it clear that the Old Testament sacrificial system has not been abolished for Christians.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

(1) Sacrifices are still for today, and (2) this is more than just a metaphor. Protestant teachers must interpret this passage metaphorically but there is no basis for doing so.

For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? (1 Corinthians 10:17,18)

It is significant that Paul refers to the Old Testament sacrifices in a passage about communion.

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

Protestant teachers consider that the Church is a holy priesthood but yet they ignore the various duties and responsibilities of priests which we read about in the Old Testament. But why would Peter refer to us as priests and then ignore what it means to be a priest?

Protestant teachers have various ideas about what it means to offer up sacrifices, but by and large they interpret it to be a metaphor for prayer or singing in church; or for living a holy life. Rarely do they refer back to the Old Testament offering up of sacrifices, but by the time Peter wrote this letter a liturgy along the lines of the Catholic mass had developed in which communion was the focus.

This verse states that all believers are a holy priesthood. Protestant teachers often use this verse to support the anti-Catholic notion that there should not be Priests. They say that since all believers are priests there is no clergy. But this objection ignores the biblical passages which define various roles among believers (see 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11). Peter is clearly not intending to deny that there are Priests.

This verse refers to believers offering up spiritual sacrifices. This is what Catholics do in mass. Protestant teachers consider this phrase as merely a figure of speech since they don't really believe that there is a priesthood anymore. They interpret the word "spiritual" to mean a merely metaphorical sacrifice.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13,14)

Old Testament believers were sanctified by their offerings of sacrifices. This passage states that in like manner Christians must regularly offer the sacrifice of Christ's blood to cleanse our consciences. This is exactly what is done during the Catholic mass in which Christ's once-for-all sacrifice on the cross is re-presented (Protestant critics of Catholicism typically misrepresent what occurs in the mass).

Protestant teachers typically claim that Christ's sacrifice did away with the need for regular sacrifice, but as this passage indicates, such is not the case. It is still necessary to offer Christ's sacrifice on a regular basis. What is done away with is the sacrifice of animals now that the true sacrifice of Christ has been offered — Christ's sacrifice takes the place of all other sacrifices. Thus we no longer need to offer any other sacrifice except His sacrifice on the cross. This is done in the Catholic mass in which His sacrifice is re-presented.


Fasting


And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (Acts 14:23)

Many Protestants don't fast. Notice that in this verse fasting was part of their prayer. How many Protestants would consider fasting as a form of prayer?

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. (1 Corinthians 7:5)

This passage highlights fasting as a spiritual practice.


Charismatic Movement


Based on the Bible there are two misuses of the spiritual gifts:

  1. Too much charisma. In 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 Paul is clearly trying to restrain the use of the gifts of the Spirit in public worship and he emphasizes prophecy. But many Charismatic Protestants simply ignore Paul's admonitions.

    Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)

  2. Many Protestant denominations deny the validity of the charismatic gifts of the Spirit. For example, some denominations and teachers teach that the gifts are not for today and use the verse "when the perfect has come . . ." (1 Corinthians 13:9,10) as biblical support. But based on Sola Scriptura, Paul's statement "do not forbid . . ." (1 Corinthians 14:39) should be sufficient.

    Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:39)

    Based on this verse there is no Biblical basis for any denomination to reject the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues.

    For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:9,10)

    This verse is used by those who do not believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for today to "prove" their position. But the coming of that which is perfect refers to Christ's coming at the parousia. Once He comes there will no longer be the need for a church on earth.


Laying-On of Hands


In the New Testament there are two basic reasons for practicing the laying on of hands:

  1. Ordaining ministers by the bishops:

    Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (1 Timothy 4:14) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)

    The gift was transmitted through laying on of hands. These references concern ordination by validly ordained ministers.

    Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. (Acts 6:6)

    They are ordained for ministry and sent off by the laying on of hands.

  2. Administering the sacrament of Extreme Unction by the elders:

    Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14)

    Some denominations have everyone pray for the sick but here it is only the presbyters — it is as if they have a special role and duty not shared by the laity. This fits the Catholic priesthood.

In some denominations it is the practice for the entire congregation to lay hands on people but this is not specified in the Bible. For those who have Sola Scriptura as their foundation there is no basis for practice the laying on of hands in any other manner than that specified by the Bible. The practice of having the congregation lay hands is not specified in the Bible.


Healing


And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. (Acts 3:16)

This passage and many others refer to faith healing. Although some charismatic denominations believe in miraculous healing other denominations do not, but there is no biblical basis for rejecting it. The Catholic church has a rich tradition of healing and miracles.


Justification


The Protestant Reformers made significant changes concerning the doctrines of justification. In response, the Council of Trent defined the Catholic view in detail.

Justification | Council of Trent

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

Not merely a covering of sin but actual cleansing. This matches the Catholic doctrine of justification.

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (1 John 5:18)

It is possible for believers to not sin.

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (2 Peter 1:9)

His sins were not merely coveredbut were actually purged. This matches the Catholic doctrine of justification.


Sacraments



Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:14-16)

In this passage two Catholic sacraments are referenced: (1) Extreme Unction, and (2) Reconciliation (Confession).


Eucharist



And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)

The early church devoted themselves to the breaking of bread. Few denominations do this but this verse indicates that this practice was central to their corporate community worship.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? (1 Corinthians 10:16-18)

By partaking of the bread of communion we become united with Christ's body and with one another. The Eucharist is clearly more than just a symbol: it is a sacrifice along the same lines as the Old Testament sacrifices. But in the Eucharist Jesus Himself is the sacrifice which is re-presented in mass.

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:26-31)

The Eucharist is not a mere symbol. People were getting sick and even dying for taking communion in an unworthy manner. Certainly a mere symbol does not have this kind of power. In addition, people who were not in a state of grace were damned by their taking of communion. This all fits very well with the Catholic doctrines regarding the Eucharist. A Catholic must be without mortal sin in order to partake of communion or this in itself is a mortal sin.

Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. (1 John 3:12)

His evil works consisted in bringing an offering to the Lord that wasn't pleasing to Him. For many Protestants they have no way to bring offerings to God because they have no liturgy in their worship services.


Church Forgives Sins


The Catholic Church teaches that the church has been given the power to forgive sins on God's behalf. Protestant teachers have rejected this doctrine but there are Biblical passages which support the Catholic view.

And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. (Acts 7:60)

Stephen prays that God will forgive their sins. We should not forget that Stephen was ordained as a deacon.

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:15)

The person's sins are forgiven by the prayers of the presbyters. This doesn't fit Protestant theology and doctrine at all.


Unusual Passages


The passages in this section are very troublesome for Protestant teaching. Typically these passages are merely ignored or explained away with very contrived explanations. However, they are not problematic in Catholic theology.

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:15)

James 5:13-16 provides the basis for the Catholic Sacrament of Extreme Unction. James 5:16 provides the basis for the Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). Note that in verse 15 there is prayer to save someone.

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)

Believers can add to Christ's work on the cross on behalf of the church. Protestant teachers typically claim that Christ did it all and that we can do nothing.

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:29)

The believers were baptizing for the dead and Paul does not condemn the practice. To be true to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura Protestant teaching should include the practice of baptism for the dead, but that would be a horrific thought. This is because there is an authority outside of the Bible which tells them that the practice is very wrong.

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (1 Corinthians 7:14)

Protestant teachers must twist this verse to make it fit their doctrines. But Catholics have the concept of persons affiliated (under the wing) of the church as having special favor. Old Testament Israel also had this concept:

All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy. (Leviticus 6:18)

And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance. (Numbers 15:26)

Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant. (Isaiah 56:5,6)

What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? (Ezekiel 18:2)


Suffering


The view of suffering by the Word-Faith teaching represents the basic view of many Protestant denominations regarding suffering (although in an extreme form). As a result many Protestants simply endure or attempt to ignore their suffering. The Catholic Church, however, has a rich tradition of including suffering as a vital part of a spiritual life. The Bible supports the Catholic view.

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:13)

Share in the sufferings of Christ — this is a Catholic emphasis; mostly ignored by Protestant teaching but emphasized in the Bible.

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

We are to suffer with Christ.


Anti-Catholic


The passages in this section demonstrate that those who have anti-Catholic views have no Biblical justification for their position. The anti-Catholic attitude does not originate from scripture.

For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. (1 Corinthians 4:15)

Anti-Catholic teachers object to Catholics using the term father to refer to their spiritual leaders. But the apostle Paul established the tradition in the New Testament.

Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

Why is anti-Catholic teaching so quick to judge the Catholic Church? Based on this passage they should be more tolerant of other Christians. As I was investigating the Catholic Church before I converted I discovered that everything (and I do mean everything: I am not exaggerating) I was taught about the Catholic Church by anti-Catholic Fundamentalist Protestants was grossly distorted or untrue. Based on what the Catholic Church actually teaches no Protestant should have any cause to judge the Catholic Church as heretical or apostate.

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (Romans 14:19)

But of course the Protestant Reformation is by nature schismatic. It has as its historical basis a rejection of the Catholic Church and her teachings. How is it even possible for Protestant denominations to pursue peace with the Catholic Church?


Purgatory


There are passages in the Bible which refer to the doctrine of Purgatory. Protestant teaching must find alternate interpretations for these verses but it is a more natural to interpret them to support the doctrine of Purgatory.

If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:15)

This is a difficult verse for Protestant teachers. They must struggle to find a way to interpret it. But the passage clearly supports the Catholic doctrine of purgatory.

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:29)

Why would the early Christians be baptizing for the dead unless they believed in Purgatory? Notice that Paul doesn't correct their practice which implies that he had no objections to it. Certainly the church has never taught that you can be baptized to affect the salvation of someone who has died. The only other reason for being baptized for the dead is to assist them as they finish their stay in Purgatory by shortening it.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)

This trial by fire refers to Purgatory.


Saints


There are many passages in the Bible which refer to the notion of Saints as taught by the Catholic Church.

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (1 Corinthians 6:2)

Some Protestant teachers have interpreted this verse to refer to a time on earth after the rapture. But since this premillennial view can easily be refuted by the Bible, this verse refers to Saints in heaven who interact with our world and to whom we can pray.

To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. (Hebrews 12:23)

The phrase spirits of just men made perfect refers to the Saints. By the time this letter was written there were holy and Godly believers who had died.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

This cloud of witness seems refer to more than merely remembering those who have gone before. The fact that the word cloud is used brings to mind God's presence in the cloud in such passages as:

And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (Mark 9:7)

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:27)

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9)

And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. (1 Corinthians 10:2)

And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. (Mark 9:4)

The passage fits well with the Catholic doctrine of Saints.

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet [suitable] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:12)

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12)

In these verses the word "saints" seems to be more than merely a synonym for the set of all believers. These verses seem to be focusing our attention on what becomes of us after death when we ourselves become Saints in perfection as a result of our living holy lives while here on earth.

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height. (Ephesians 3:18)

This verse seems to refer to more than living believers.


Relics


Anti-Catholic teachers often objects to the Catholic tradition of using relics and other objects in connection with healing. But these verses provides the foundation for these traditions:

Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. (Acts 5:15)

And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11,12)


Priests


Anti-Catholic teachers typically claim that there is no Biblical support the notion of Priests, but this is not the case.

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

Peter affirms that one of the purposes of Priests is to offer sacrifices.

That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:16)

Paul, as a minister of the gospel, had a priestly role.


Evangelism


The Protestant Evangelical denominations have a strong focus on evangelism. All members are expected to constantly witness their faith if they consider themselves to be mature believers.

Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

Witness when asked — Fundamental Evangelicals emphasize that believers are to be constantly witnessing their faith and they use this passage to support this. But this verse doesn't support that emphasis.

With meekness and fear — All too often Evangelical Fundamentalists are anything but gentle in their witnessing. It's one of the things that drove me away so that I ultimately became Catholic.

Evangelicals share their faith whether or not someone asks and they expect all believers to do this. But that practice doesn't match this passage.


Slavery


The Bible does not condemn the institution of slavery yet modern Protestants are opposed to it. But on what basis? To be true to the foundational doctrine of Sola Scriptura Protestants should have the same opinion of slavery as the writers of the Bible.

In spite of this lack of opposition to slavery Protestant teaching has historically had the practice of slavery as part of their practice until modern times. Catholics, on the other hand, have always been opposed to the practice because the Church has declared slavery to be wrong.

These passages are not problematic for Catholics because they do not consider the Bible to be the only authority. The Catholic Church herself is guided by the Holy Spirit to provide a trustworthy and true interpretation of the Bible.

Some Biblical passages which do not condemn slavery:

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. (Colossians 3:22)

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again. (Titus 2:9)

Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. (1 Peter 2:18)

Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. (1 Corinthians 7:21)

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. (Colossians 3:22)

Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. (1 Timothy 6:1,2)


No One Is Righteous (even Jesus?)



As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10)

A common Protestant interpretation of words such as "all," "every," "none," etc. is that they are strictly literal. But in this verse Jesus is certainly excluded since He is righteous. But this same verse is often used "prove" that the Catholic Marian doctrines are false, however, it can't be used this way since there is at least one exception to the "all." If there is one exception there could be two exceptions.


Conscience


As a Protestant I was taught that we are born with a fully-formed conscience which we are to obey. I took a Psychology course and was introduced to the idea that our consciences must be formed. There is compelling evidence that this view is correct. Later I learned that Catholics also agree that our consciences must be properly formed in order to provide trustworthy guidance.

Some Protestant denominations claim that conscience is given fully developed. But Psychology, Catholicism, and the Bible all disagree with the Protestant view. The conscience must be developed and placed in submission to truth.

But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof (1 Corinthians 10:28)

The contents of the conscience can have different contents for different people. (But this does not refer to relativism).

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. (1 Timothy 1:5)

The conscience can be developed.

Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:2)

The conscience can change based on our lifestyle and training.


Segregation



Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. (Romans 12:16)

As a Protestant I noticed that the people in my church were like-minded with me — the same race, socio-economic status, etc. But when living in North Carolina I was appalled to discover that the churches are segregated by race. Catholic congregations are generally very diverse which matches this passage.

Before the Protestant Reformation there was only one church to go to so there could not be segregation as there is today.


End Times


Many Fundamentalists and other Protestants denominations are premillennial but the Bible does not support this view (more info).

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. (Acts 2:16)

Many Fundamentalists who believe in premillennialism consider that quoted passage (Joel 3:1-5) to concern a future "great tribulation" and "1,000 yearmillennium." But Acts 2:16 clearly says that this passage refers to the event of the Holy Spirit coming upon the church. To address this objection, it is often said that this prophecy from Joel has a two-phased fulfillment, but this explanation seems contrived to me. The "last days" referred to by Joel in Acts 2:17 is the church age which began about 30 A.D. and will continue forever.

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. (Hebrews 12:22)

This verse refutes premillennialism. Mt. Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem refer to the church age. Note that this is specified in the present tense.

And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:27,28)

These verses refute Premillennialism. The kingdom is not a future earthly one. The things which are shaken (this current physical world) are removed.

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5)

The last time is the church age. Salvation in only finally revealed at the end of the church age, at Christ's parousia. Salvation is not a past event when a person first chose to accept Jesus. See:

Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. (1 Peter 1:20)

The phrase last times refers to the beginning of the church age. This verse refutes Premillennialism in which the last times refers to a time yet future.

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)

The end of all things is at hand; not in a future millennial kingdom.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. (2 Peter 3:10,11)

At the day of the Lord (Christ's parousia) it is the end of the world with a universal judgment. There is no 1,000 yearearthly millennium:

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)

In verse 11 there is an emphasis on our deeds. Passages about the day of the Lord should be inspiring use to live a life pleasing to God because we are judged for our deeds.

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2 Peter 3:8,13)

The new heavens and the new earth are equated with the phrase 1,000 years. There is no mention of a 1,000 year earthly millennium. The "day of Lord" is a time of judgment; there is no intervening 1,000 yearmillennium between the two events.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (1 John 2:18)

The phrase last hour refers to the church age. There is no 1,000 yearearthly millennium.

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)

Note the use of the word Antichrist: There is not merely one Antichrist at the end of the age but rather, there are many Antichrists throughout the church age.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which I consider to authoritative):

The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 676

Examples are Socialism, Communism, and other utopian visions.

The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 675

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)

The end of the ages is the church age.

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:16)

This verse seems to refer to judgment based on how well we ran and labored.

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. (Hebrews 9:9,10)

The phrase "present time" refers to the church age. In this age there are gifts, sacrifices, food, drink, ritual worship, and regulations of flesh. But when Christ cones again at the Parousia these will no longer be necessary.


Conclusions


Since studying Catholic teaching I am not troubled in the least by any of these "troublesome" passages for several reasons:

  1. Many of these passages which contradict Protestant doctrine and practice fit Catholic doctrine and practice rather well.
  2. Jesus intended His church to provide the necessary guidance for His flock of believers. The Church has been given the keys (Matthew 16:19) and is the proper authority for Christians as they determine how to live their lives in a way that is pleasing to God. This includes determining which Bible passages are cultural and which are true for all time.
  3. I trust much of the historical Catholic Church and the various Church Fathers throughout history. I do not have to try to discover when the church went bad as Protestants do.
  4. I trust the various Church Councils and their proclamations.

After converting to Catholicism from Protestantism, I find that the Bible makes more sense and is deeper and more meaningful. I do not have to waste my time trying to figure out why my interpretations contradict the interpretations of the great (Protestant) Bible scholars and theologians.

Before becoming Catholic, when I attempted to figure out how to interpret the Bible on my own (a valid procedure according to Protestant teaching) I came up with doctrines from the Bible that turned out to be rather similar to the Catholic doctrines. I did this experiment before I knew anything about Catholicism. When I was willing to free myself from the preconceived Protestant doctrines and see what the Bible really said, I came up with something that was more like Catholicism than Protestantism.