Subject: THE NT CHURCH 1/7 To: Mark Chance
From: Richard Yim Date: 8/16/94
MC> After all, isn't scriptural interpretation a completely personal matter ?
No, the Bible says the very opposite. Listen to the following.
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." 2 Peter 1:20.
The following is from the Christian Equippers Int'l (916-542-1509).
A RELIGIOUS SYSTEM OF BIBLICAL DISTORTIONS
Roman Catholicism is a system which is comprised of a mixture of truth and error. On the surface, it appears to many to be a brand of Christianity because it staunchly claims to embrace and defend the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. However, a closer examination proves that it is a system which actually nullifies and distorts scriptural truth by adding erroneous, man- made teachings which openly contradict the Catholic and non-Catholic Bibles.
For example, the Roman Catholic Church claims the inspiration of the scriptures, but dilutes the Word of God by exalting the authority of its own traditions, councils, and decrees above the Bible. Catholicism teaches the deity of Christ, but places Mary and priests as mediators between God and believers so that free access to Jesus is only possible through them.
It teaches the forgiveness of sin, but only through confession to a priest and the absolution given by him. Catholicism teaches salvation, but substitutes a system of grace plus works in which human works are more important. It teaches that Christ established the church, but exalts a man (the pope) as its head and invests absolute, infallible authority in him and his official decrees. These are just a few of the distortions we will further examine in this booklet.
The sacrament of penance involves the performance of good works which the priest assigns after confession. According to Catholic teaching, God does not cancel out all the punishment due the sinner when he is forgiven, and thus requires works of penance to help relieve the penalty. Those sins which cannot be fully paid by simple penance (such as "The Act of Contrition", the recital of a given number of "Hail Marys", "Our Fathers", or stations of the cross) must eventually be paid for by suffering in purgatory until the debt is cleared.
However, the scriptures say nothing about penance. God does not demand outward penance but inward repentance, and a turning from sinful practices: "Let the wicked man abandon his way...Let him turn back to Yahweh who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving" (Isa. 55:7, J.B.V; see also Prov. 28:13) The Bible clearly teaches that our sins are completely cleansed and forgiven through Christ when we repent directly to Him; "but if we acknowledge our sins, then God...will forgive our sins and purify us from everything that is wrong" (I Jn. 1:9 J.B.V.). God bases complete, unconditional forgiveness and cleansing upon sincere repentance and a forsaking of sin.
The main error in penance is the false assumption that Christ's sacrifice was insufficient to totally atone for sin and must be supplemented by human works. The Roman Catholic teaching that "penance is necessary for salvation"(1) and "whosoever shall affirm that men are justified solely by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ...let him be accursed"(2) is a blatant perversion of the biblical teaching of justification by faith apart from works.
The fundamental error of Catholicism is its unscriptural emphasis upon a complicated system of salvation by good works and human effort. Though good works are a natural outgrowth of genuine faith and salvation, they can never save us - they are the result, not the cause of salvation. No man can earn salvation by meritorious works. Only through the justifying grace of God through faith are we saved: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not from yourselves, for it is the gift of God: not as the outcome of works, lest anyone may boast" (Eph 2:8, 9, C.R.V.). Catholicism contradicts the truth that "Man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ...because by the works of the Law no man will be justified" (Gal. 2:16, C.R.V.; see also Rom. 1:17; 3:21. 22, 28; 5:1; 10:3; 11:6; Gal 2:21; Titus 3:5).
1 The Catholic Almanac, pp. 269, 559. 2 The Council of Trent.
Origin: COMPU-PAL Castro Valley, CA (510) 538-2040 ! Richard Yim Origin: FamilyNet Intl. Echogate  230-9068 (1:115/887)