Letter to Catholics 4 OF 5
HEB 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
The Glories of Mary: "Mary, says Saint Antonius, is that throne of grace to which the Apostle Saint Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews, exhorts us to fly with confidence, that we may obtain the (p.230)
The Scriptures: HEB 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
CONCERNING PRAYER: How are Catholics taught to pray? For one thing, they are taught to pray the rosary in which memorized repetitious prayers are prayed mostly to Mary as a mediator. But, how did Jesus teach his children to pray? Jesus informs us in Matthew 6:7, "But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Did you know that in pagan religions men use prayer beads and repeat prayers over and over. It is unscriptural to repeat prayers over and over thinking the more you repeat them, the more benefit it will bring. Jesus said that is what the pagans do.
I can remember as a young lad praying to different saints, for we were taught to pray to a particular saint for a particular need. Danny Thomas prayed to St. Jude, the patron saint of those suffering from desperate cases of illness, such as cancer; and now has helped erect a hospital in Jude's name, because he thinks St Jude had something to do with answering his prayer. I appreciate what St. Jude's hospital has done for young people suffering with cancer, but Jesus commands his children not to pray in such a manner. The heathen pray that way! The heathen have different gods for different needs.
CONCERNING IMAGES: As far back as I can remember, in the Catholic Church, we always had and prayed to images. When non- Catholics would ask me why we prayed to images, I would always tell them, "Well we don't really pray to those images, but they are just there to remind us of who we are praying to." That may sound like a good explanation and one that would justify such a practice, but it is a practice that directly violates the commandment of God to His people. Exodus 20:4 states, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:"
CONCERNING SIN: As a Catholic, I was always taught that I could commit certain sins that were only venial sins, while others were mortal in nature, and the mortal, if left unconfessed, would damn my soul to hell, while the former would only result in temporal punishment, if they were left unconfessed. But how can this be true in the light of James 2:10; "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." If I would be saved by keeping the law and yet offend it in one point then I am deserving of everlasting punishment. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). I cannot be eternally saved by keeping the law, for by it is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20), but only by trusting that the Lord Jesus Christ made an efficacious and vicarious atonement on my personal behalf. He must be my substitute or else I perish. I do not keep the law in order to be saved, but because He has quickened me to life and has written the law in my heart. "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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10).
If any man will see God, it will be through the imputed righteousness of Christ; that is, the righteousness of Christ being put to his account, and not because some priest has absolved him of his sins. I cannot stand before God in my own righteousness, for the Scripture tells me that all of my righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God (Isa. 64:6), but if I stand, I must stand clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Christ was made sin, not a sinner, but was made sin and became a curse for me; that is, He took my sins upon Himself and bore them on the tree and suffered the wrath that was my due, that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21 and Gal. 3:13). Salvation is entirely and wholly of grace from start to finish. Salvation is of the Lord. Confessing your sins to a priest will not take them away; they must be taken away by the effectual work of Christ, for He is the only scapegoat. Oh yes, I should confess my sins, but it should be to my Father in heaven, and not in order that I may go to heaven , but because He is my Father and I have offended Him and sinned against Him and I desire for Him to forgive me as a father does his son, and have that sweet fellowship restored.
CONCERNING BAPTISM: The Catholic Church states, "Baptism is the sacrament by which the soul is freed from original sin and is reborn through water and the Holy Spirit. The church places this sacrament first since it is a necessary means of salvation and is the gateway to all other sacraments."
When my first child was born to me, I had her baptized by a priest. About the only utterances from her mouth, at that time, was in the form of crying, and she had no ability to understand and consent to what was taking place. And when the priest baptized her he did so by pouring a small amount of water on her head. I put forth the question, is this Scriptural? In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 8 verses 36-39, after Philip had preached Jesus Christ to the Ethiopian eunuch and he believed on Him, it is recorded thus, "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing." And then in John 3:23 it is recorded, concerning John the Baptist, "And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized."
Two conclusions can be drawn from these two passages of Scripture. First, that the candidate for baptism must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with all his heart, and then he or she may be baptized. This is an impossible thing for an infant to do. But the Scripture teachs that baptism is to be a believer's baptism. Secondly, that the mode of baptism is to be immersion. It does not take much water to simply pour water on one's head, and one does not need to go down into the water to have water poured on their head. The Greek word from which "baptize" comes means to "cover wholly with a fluid, to dip." Do not these verses of Scripture indicate that? How can pouring picture the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? But true baptism does.
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Call no man your father upon the earth-Matt 23:9