While Jesus fulfilled Old Covenant laws and regulations, the Bible is still very clear with it’s guidance when it comes to what’s right and what’s wrong on many issues.
As Christian believers then, if we are to follow Jesus, surely it makes sense to follow those guidelines, or at least attempt to.
Sure, he may not force us to do it (we can’t work our way into heaven) but if you love someone, why would you want to do the opposite of what he asks?
Here are just a few examples of how man has consistently taken God’s word and literally turned it on its head.
While this section does focus on one particular church (and that church has and does continue to do good things as well), please be assured that others have no reason to feel self-righteous.
As we will see in later chapters, no man-made church is perfect. Error abounds everywhere.
Man’s way, not God’s way
The Bible is very clear that man-made laws should not replace God’s law, yet that didn’t stop the Jews, and it didn’t stop the Roman church either.
Firstly, it changed the sabbath from the last day of the week to the first, then it altered the 10 Commandments to remove references to idolatry and God’s instructions regarding a seventh-day sabbath.
Over the centuries man has introduced thousands of ideas and traditions that are often the polar opposite of what the Bible commands.
For instance, the Bible is clear that the only way to erase sin is through Jesus Christ.
Jesus also taught the need for true repentance (turning away from our sin), so to teach that you can continue in your sin if you confess it (even if you intend to carry on sinning) is a serious false teaching.
Even more importantly, the Bible never speaks of a man taking Jesus’s place as a ‘the vicar of Christ’.
In fact, it says we are all equal as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Repetitive prayer and other ways to God
The Bible makes it very clear what it thinks of repetitive prayer:
“When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking”
Reciting the Lord’s Prayer as a chant is one example, but the Rosary is of particular concern, because it also adds in two other elements: praying to Mary when the Bible tells us Jesus is the only way, and the use of counting beads, which are heavily connected to several other eastern religions, such as Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Avoiding confusion in this area is particularly important given that the Roman church rose up during a time when pagan goddess worship was so rife. When church images of the Virgin Mary are so similar to images and statues of pagan gods such as Isis (pictured above for comparison) and many others, you have to be concerned about their origins.
In fact, many Roman statues and paintings were simply rebadged when followers of pagan religions were converted to Christianity in ancient Rome and, of course, statues of ancient false gods such as Neptune and Zeus still litter Rome and were commissioned by Popes throughout history, including the famous Trevi Fountain.
A puzzling sculpture of Moses with horns can be found in San Pietro in Vincoli (apparently due to a miss-translation of scripture).
But the Bible is clear – there is one mediator between God and man and it is his son, Jesus Christ. What would God think of Christian temples literally full of idols, some that aren’t even of Christian characters?
Other things to consider are that, while the Bible certainly does say that Mary is blessed among women, and though she is clearly someone we love as Christians, there is absolutely zero evidence of the immaculate conception of Mary.
There is also nothing in the Bible to say she needs to mediate between us and Jesus. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus is the only mediator between us and God and that he is totally approachable, not least through the Holy Spirit.
Add to that the fact that Jesus said his mother and family should be treated the same as all his other followers (Mark 3:32) and the case for venerating her as the Queen of the Universe or the Queen of Heaven isn’t great.
In fact, one Bible verse refers to the Queen of Heaven as being an Old Testament pagan goddess:
“See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven.”
Introducing the wide road to salvation
The Bible tells us there is but one way to the Father – through his son, Jesus Christ.
This, sadly, is not what the current pope, Pope Francis, seems to be suggesting in this article, saying that ‘good atheists go to heaven’.
Contrary to all Biblical evidence, he is now falsely teaching that even non-believers will be saved ‘if they are good people’, as in this recent example he gave to a young boy.
According to the Pope, there is no longer a need to accept Jesus at any point in your life, or even to believe that God exists. But what does the Bible say about that?
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’. They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is not one who does good.”
So, while Pope Francis’s promise of false hope seems a nice idea to the world, it is totally contrary to the Bible and, consequently, we can assume such teaching will lead many to destruction.
The Bible is clear that salvation is by faith alone, and this will be naturally evident in believers through good works. Both elements mark someone out as truly saved.
So, is offering someone false hope truly showing them the love of God? Or is it the equivalent of happily waving someone off on the road to destruction telling them it’s all going to be OK?
The issue with idols
Idolatry – you can remove it from the 10 Commandments, but there are still multiple examples in the Old and New Testament to prove God hates idolatry.
“You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.”
And it doesn’t just apply to the idols of foreign gods, it also includes the idols the Israelites used in their worship to the One True God.
“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone — an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world.”
Indeed, the New Testament confirms several times that God’s hatred of idols did not end with the introduction of the New Covenant through Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say … Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”
1 Corinthians 10:14, 19-22
So, the question has to be: why are so many churches full of idols?
The use of a language in church that the congregation does not understand is another issue. How can people know what is being said when it is spoken in a dead language, such as Latin?
Purgatory and indulgences are another non-Biblical teaching. Claiming someone can work off their sin after death or pay a fee to the church to have their sin wiped from the record is not mentioned in the Bible. In fact, it tells us that only Jesus has the power to erase sin.
Indeed, any works-related teaching (telling people that they must do things through the church to be saved) has no grounding in scripture.
Worship of the dead
This is called Necromancy in the Old Testament and, while there is an example in the Old Testament of bones healing people, it is clear that this is an exception. God makes it clear that worshipping or consulting the dead is not acceptable.
A thing of the past? Well, here’s Pope Francis ‘venerating’ what are supposedly St. Peter’s bones. These practices are going on now, and regularly so.
Examining the Eucharist
Yes, Jesus did certainly ask us to remember him by eating bread and wine, but in no way did he ever say this was a literal re-eating of his body and blood, only possible by the magic work of a Catholic priest.
This is simply another assumption made without Biblical evidence.
What makes the ceremony more troubling for me is the translation of mass (meaning dismissal) coupled with the sun shaped bread disc and sun-design of the monstrance that ‘Jesus’s body’ is supposedly literally held in (pictured, below).
Signs, wonders and superstitions
Considering God tells us in the Bible that worshipping idols is an abomination, it seems strange that he’d associate them with so many miracles in his ‘one true church’. From healing grottos or crying statues, it sure isn’t Biblical.
We need to be careful not to be dragged into the realms of legend and superstition.
For instance did you know that the Church of the Nativity is on the site of a former pagan shrine? Or that there is no evidence that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the actual place of Jesus’s burial?
Equally, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is supposedly built over the tomb of St. Peter, but there is no evidence of this being his actual resting place, bar a vague notion that the bones found are from roughly from the same century.
Other unverified claims include the Holy Stairs or Scala Sancta, which the church claims are the real steps that Jesus ascended on his way to trial.
Here, people are invited to climb the steps on their knees while praying in a quest for forgiveness.
Unsurprisingly, this practice is another works-based concept rooted in ancient mysticism.
Or there’s the ‘Holy House’ in Loreto, Italy, which ‘legend has it’ was transported by angels from Israel, via two stops enroute. It is now a major Catholic shrine.
And this kind of superstition isn’t confined to ancient history.
In 2016-17, Pope Francis declared a ‘Jubilee year’, during which he opened up the ‘Holy Door’ at St. Peter’s Basilica, saying anyone who went through it would have their sins forgiven.
Catholic churches across the world also made their own ‘Holy Doors’ for people to pass through.
This sort of teaching is the opposite of Biblical and it shows that things have not changed. Sins can only be forgiven by Jesus, not wiped out by man, or a Holy Door, or a statue!
This is weird stuff and, as usual, Jesus is rarely to be seen.
So, we have to ask ourselves, when does Christianity cease to be Christianity and begin to become more like the religions of Ancient Babylon?