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Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodox. The Church gone astray. US Church Demographics. Roman Catholicism: Progressive Apostasy. Introduction Did Christ found the RCC, or did He found it upon Peter? Why do Evangelicals consider RCC countries a mission field?

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Roman catholicism and greek orthodox

Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodox

The Church gone astray

Roman catholicism progressive apostasy
Roman Catholicism: Progressive Apostasy

  • Introduction

    • Did Christ found the RCC, or did He found it upon Peter?

    • Why do Evangelicals consider RCC countries a mission field?

    • There are more than 900 million nominal RCC today. Are they a valid mission field?

    • RCC has been a gradual development over centuries moving away from true Christianity, thus desperately in need of evangelism

Reality check
Reality check

  • There are born-again believers in the Catholic Church

    • The gospel texts are in the Mass, catechism teaching and convert instructions (at least the elements of the Gospel)

    • Doctrinal basis to build on: God is one God in three persons, Jesus is the Son of God, He died on the cross for the sins of the world, resurrected and is to return to earth someday

  • What is not in the Catholic Church is the personal aspect: we need to personally receive the grace-gift of salvation

    • Taught that a baptized Catholic is enough to be in the family of God

    • Taught that Jesus opened the door, but our good works will get us there. Thus Jesus + good works might result in salvation – a vague hope that our good will out weighs our bad.

    • Taught there is no assurance of immediate salvation, but eventual salvation after purification in purgatory

  • Remember: Nominal Christianity is having a basic knowledge of the elements of the Gospel, but no personal appropriation nor exclusive trust in the work of Christ and no trust in our own merit. Nominal Christians are lost! Matt 7:22

Origins of roman catholicism claims
Origins of Roman Catholicism: Claims

  • Jesus made Peter first Pope by giving him the keys of heaven, calling him the Rock on which the church was to be founded

  • This is seen as the power of absolution from sins delegated to His priests (Mt 16:18-20)

  • Confirmation seen in the 3 commands to feed His sheep (Jn 21:15-19), which is passed down by “apostolic succession”

  • However, Christ Himself is the Rock and keys are not to heaven, but keys to the kingdom of heaven!

    • Peter used the keys 3 times to open the door of faith to the Jews (Acts 2), Samaritans (Acts 8), & Gentiles (Acts 10) through preaching the Gospel

  • RCC does not allow individuals to interpret Bible—the Pope alone has the final say on what Church doctrine is to be

  • Bible is just a part of the traditions of the RCC, and not superior to the rest of their traditions

Historical development
Historical Development

  • Immediately after the apostles expired “church fathers taught false doctrines:” (Olson)

    • Loss of a grace-salvation for a merit-salvation

    • Fetishism

    • Sacerdotalism (Pastor as priest)

    • Ritualism

    • Allegorical interpretation of the Bible

    • Bishop’s right of absolution

  • Edict of Toleration AD 313 and conversion of Constantine secularization, paganization (images, saints, Mariolatry) and politicization invaded the Church.

  • Leo the Great, bishop of Rome (440-461) Council of Chalcedon gave Bishop of Rome equal authority with Bishop of Constantinople

  • Gregory the Great (590-604) secured allegiance of Roman Emperor and submission of British and German churches to authority of Rome

More historical development
More Historical Development

  • Hildebrand became Pope Gregory VII (AD 1073-85) freed the church of interference of laymen (including kings) to force civil rulers to act in favor of papacy– made Emperor Henry IV humiliate himself by waiting barefoot in snow at Canossa

  • After Protestant Reformation RCC started Counter-Reformation to recoup what they lost

  • Pope convened Council of Trent (AD 1546-47)

    • to make tradition equal to Scripture

    • To accept the Apocryphal books as part of the canon

  • 1854 Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception of Mary (not the virgin Birth of Christ)

  • 1950 Pope Pius XII declared the bodily assumption of Mary into Heaven making her the main intermediary between men and God

Vatican ii council 1962 65
Vatican II Council (1962-65)

  • Liberal voices were heard by Pope John XXIII to bring change to the church

  • Church is torn in 3 directions: traditional, liberal and charismatic factions

  • The single most significant phrase that came out of the pages of this declaration was the way that Protestants were to henceforth be addressed: “separated brethren.”

  • Many RC’s no longer submit unquestioningly to the authority of the Pope

Doctrines common to rcc and evangelicals
Doctrines common to RCC and Evangelicals

  • Canonical Scriptures are channel of Christ-centered divine revelation

  • Triune God as sovereign in Creation, providence and grace.

  • Faith in Jesus Christ as God incarnate, mediator between God and man

  • See Christians as a family of forgiven sinners … empowered for godliness by the Holy Spirit

  • See the Church as a single supernatural society

  • Sacraments of baptism and Communion as necessities of obedience, gestures of worship and means of communion with God in Christ

  • Practice of prayer, obedience, love and service

  • Deal appropriately with personal reality of evil

  • Expecting death and final judgment to lead to endless joy of heaven with Christ.

Faith and practice
Faith and Practice

  • Though all 3 branches of Christendom (Roman, Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism) agree on Trinity, person of Christ, but the concepts of salvation are radically different

  • Sacramental salvation

    • RCC sees salvation as piecemeal, trust in the sacraments and merited by human good works

    • “Grace” is not unmerited, but is earned from saints and Mary do enough penance

    • Salvation is mediated by the church through sacraments

    • Five of seven sacraments have to do with salvation: (Marriage and Ordination) –Baptism (new birth and cleanses original sin), Confirmation (sealing of Spirit), Penance (absolution from sin), Mass or Eucharist (transubstantiation), and Extreme Unction (last rites)

Fundamental issue of justification
Fundamental issue of justification

  • Are we saved by faith PLUS works or by faith alone? Is justification imputed or infused? (Are we declared righteous or made righteous?)

  • Council of Trent, convened by the RCC in late 16th century, anathematized those who believe “that faith alone in the divine promises is sufficient for the obtaining of grace” (Trent, sess. 7, canon 8).

  • This is the main issue in contemporary ecumenical dialogue – but likewise it is the main focus of evangelizing Roman Catholics

Today s catholic diversity
Today’s Catholic Diversity

  • Charismatic Catholics see their mystical experience as confirmation of their infant baptism

  • Liberal theology has grown since Vatican II – some borrowed from Protestant liberals, especially the evolutionary philosophy of Jesuit writer, Pierre Tielhard de Chardin.

  • Liberation Theology, esp. in Latin America by Gustavo Gutierrez in 1970’s – a revolutionary Marxist movement to overthrow oppressive government– spread especially to Philippines

  • Catholicism is a mission field because of the false doctrines corrupting this ancient church

  • Like Phariseeism, Romanism put human tradition above the Word of God (Mat 15:1-9) – one of the main issues of the Reformation was Tradition that contradicted the Scriptures

Greek orthodox church

Greek Orthodox Church

The Eastern Church (Constantinople) was forced to split from the Western Church (Rome) over major issues

Eastern orthodoxy catholicism s sister
Eastern Orthodoxy: Catholicism’s Sister

  • Today is the third largest branch of Christendom with 215 M followers

  • Splits off the Eastern Orthodox or Greek Orthodox, became Armenian, Syrian and Coptic churches

  • Western church (Rome) used Latin, Eastern church (Constantinople) used Greek

  • Eastern church had to confront Muslim’s hatred of idolatry, which stirred up Iconoclastic Controversy between East and West

  • The sacking of Constantinople by Crusaders (1204) so weakened the Eastern Empire that city fell to Muslims Ottoman Turks in 1453.

  • Eastern church remained under Muslims until WWI

  • Conflict in Balkans between Muslims, Catholics, and Orthodox are continuation of conflict

Doctrines of orthodoxy
Doctrines of Orthodoxy

  • Accept the doctrine of Trinity, deity of Christ as Nicene Creed (325) resulting in splits in the Eastern Church

  • Differences with RCC:

    • Rejection of papacy and papal infallibility

    • Marriage of lower clergy

    • Communion in both kinds

    • Threefold immersion of infants

    • Use of vernacular languages in worship

    • Rejection of Immaculate Conception of Mary

    • Rejection of purgatory

Significant divisions in church
Significant divisions in Church

  • 5th and 6th century:

    • Oriental Orthodox churches split off on theological issues (deity of Christ): churches in Iran and Iraq called “Nestorian” or “Chaldean” churches

    • Also in this split the Coptic Church in Egypt and Syrian Church of Antioch separated

  • 11th century: Eastern and Western church

    • Language difference (Latin and vernacular languages); legal mindset vs. mystical mindset; cultural difference

    • Barbarian invasions and establishing Holy Roman Empire

    • Issues:

      • First: power of the pope in Rome (previously considered all bishops equal) –

      • Second: theological issue whether the Spirit came from the Father or from the Father and the Son. West wanted both, East wanted the Father alone. Resulted in the Bull of excommunication in 1054 separating the two churches

      • Icons instead of statues

      • Deification of man or theosis. God becomes part of man in salvation, thus man is deified and thus man becomes an icon

Doctrines of orthodoxy1
Doctrines of Orthodoxy

  • In 1961 joined the World Council of Churches

  • Orthodoxy teaches a sacramental salvation through the church, not a personal relationship with Christ

  • Practice of Mariolatry, veneration of relics and a works salvation leaves this church as a mission field