I.                    Introduction

A.                Formal principle of its theology (source)

1.                  The Holy Scripture (including Apocrypha).

2.                  Divine Tradition.

3.                  Reason.

B.                 Material principle (central idea)

1.                  Man’s soul directly from God and remains good.

2.                  Man’s body is sinful and alienated from God.

3.                  Progressive justification.

4.                  Through sacraments, man enters “state of grace” and observes commandments imposed by the hierarchy.

C.                Allegiance to pope – “works righteousness”.


II.                 A List of Roman Errors (Our Church and Others, p. 46)

A.                List shows how doctrinal system developed over centuries.

B.                 Partial list, with approximate dates:

1.                  Purgatory (593).

2.                  Temporal power (754).

3.                  Greatest mass divorce in history forced on clergy:

a.                   By Gregory VII.

b.                  1075

4.                  Money for masses (1100).

5.                  The Inquisition (1184).

6.                  Sale of indulgences (1190).

7.                  Transubstantiation (1215).

8.                  Adoration of the host (1226).

9.                  The Bible put on Index of Forbidden Books.

a.                   By the Council of Toledo.

b.                  1229.

10.              Papal bull Unam Sanctam (1302): see Lesson 6, IV.B 5 c (1).

11.              The cup denied to laymen.

a.                   By the Council of Constance.

b.                  1415.

12.              Tradition made equal in authority to the Bible.

a.                   By the Council of Trent (see Lesson 6, IV.B 1)

b.                  Made all other previous errors of Rome official.

c.                   1545.

13.              Condemnation of justification by faith alone.

a.                   Rome’s greatest error.

b.                  1545.

14.              The invention of scapulars (straight piece of cloth, with hole, worn over head)

a.                   The wearing said to save people from hell.

b.                  1600.

15.              The immaculate conception of Mary (1854).

16.              The separation of church and state condemned (1864).

17.              Papal infallibility (1870).

18.              Assumption of Mary (1950).


III.               Specific Doctrines

A.                Doctrine of God.

1.                  Confesses the Trinity.

2.                  But, places an undue emphasis on God’s sovereignty and justice.

a.                   They do also speak of God’s love.

(1)               But define it as that attribute which prompts God to communicate His treasures to man as a reward in accord with man’s works.

(2)               Not as a free gift!

b.                  Present a system based on a contract between God and man.

3.                  God is viewed as Judge, whose primary attribute is justice.

a.                   Includes the existence of limbus infantum:

(1)               Saying that because of His justice, unbaptized children, tainted with original sin, can not come into His presence.

(2)               But nor can they be damned since they have committed no actual sin.

(3)               So, God, prepares for them a “‘state of perfect natural happiness.’” (quoted by F.E. Mayer, p. 49).

b.                  Causes them to view grace as that infused supernatural quality whereby man can perform “supernatural” works which are rewarded “supernaturally”.

c.                   Causes them to also teach that:

(1)               Though God remits eternal punishment of sin,

(2)               His justice requires some compensation, to be rendered in the form of satisfactions.

4.                  Discussion Points:

a.                   Jn 3:16.

b.                  1Jn 4:16.

c.                   Gal 3:13,14.

d.                  Gal 3:23-29.

e.                   Gal 5:1.

f.                    Gal 6:14



B.                 Doctrine of Man

1.                  God created man with a free will to do good or evil and with immortality (image of God) – his natural constitution.

2.                  But, in order to have man holy, God gave man “supernatural gifts” – his supernatural constitution.

a.                   Includes perfect control over concupiscence (his sensuous desires or interest in, and love for, the beauties of creation).

b.                  Council of Trent declares concupiscence to not be sin, though it may lead to sin.

c.                   Also includes immortality of the body.

d.                  Includes chiefly “sanctifying grace” which enabled Adam to attain the similitude according to both body and spirit. (i.e. a share in the nature of God Himself).

3.                  He also bestowed on Adam extraordinary gifts, e.g. happiness in Paradise and freedom from suffering and death.

4.                  Rome takes no official position with regard to manner of creation, whether by process of evolution or otherwise.

5.                  Man can not lose his natural constitution, including free will and reason, even after Fall:

a.                   Lost only supernatural and extraordinary gifts.

b.                  Lost nothing essential when he fell into sin.

c.                   Does not admit the depravity of our human nature.

6.                  Man now needs the supernatural gifts, grace:

a.                   Then man can do perfectly good before God so as to be saved.

b.                  Man receives these through the sacraments and through obedience to the church.

7.                  Discussion Points

a.                   Man is totally corrupt with no free will to do good.

(1)               Is 64:6.

(2)               Ro 3: 9-23.

(3)               Ro 8:5-12.

(4)               1Co 2:14.

b.                  Image of God is perfect righteousness and being perfectly holy before God.

(1)               Gen 1:26,27.

(2)               Gen 5:1,2.

(3)               Ecc 7:29.

(4)               Eph 4:21.

(5)               Col 3:10.

c.                   Man lost the image of God.

(1)               Gen 3:6-10.

(2)               Ro 5:12,18.

(3)               Ro 6:23.

d.                  Image restored to man as a gift of forgiveness in Christ.

(1)               Ro 6:22.

(2)               1Co 1:30.

C.                Doctrine of Sin.

1.                  An irreconcilable clash with Lutheranism.

2.                  Luther defines that original sin “is the capital sin and ‘is so deep and thorough a corruption of nature that no reason can understand it.’” (F.E. Mayer, p. 51)

3.                  Council of Trent.

a.                   Did not really define the essence of original sin.

b.                  Views it primarily as deprivation and not as total depravity.

4.                  Declares that concupiscence is not really sin but only an incentive to sin which remains in man to exercise.

5.                  Views sin as voluntary transgression.

6.                  Deal with individual sins.

7.                  Thoroughly atomize the concept of sin.

8.                  Has fixed categories of sin, e.g.:

a.                   9 foreign sins.

b.                  6 sins against Holy Spirit.

c.                   4 sins which cry for vengeance.

d.                  7 mortal sins.

9.                  Particularly distinguishes between mortal and venial sins, which really only refer to the gravity of sins committed by the “faithful”.

10.              Has been unable to find a fully satisfactory definition of mortal sin, but catechisms give three elements.

a.                   A sinful act in an important matter.

b.                  Committed with full understanding of the evil.

c.                   And with the entire consent of the will.

11.              Discussion Points:

a.                   Note that Rome’s teaching denies the absolute need of a divine Redeemer.

b.                  Note that ascribes to man the ability to cooperate in his own salvation.

c.                   Gen 6:5.

d.                  Gen 8:21.

e.                   Ro 3:28.

f.                    Ro 5:12-21.

g.                   Ro 6:23.

h.                   Ro 7:18.

i.                     Eph 2:3

D.                Doctrine of Christ’s Person and Work

1.                  Rome teaches He is the Son of God, both true man and true God.

2.                  Teaches that by His life and death, He:

a.                   Set man free from original sin (the “satisfaction”).

b.                  Made it possible for man to have from God again the “supernatural gifts, grace” through man can once again make himself holy before God (the “sacrifice”).

c.                   Set man free from the power of Satan and sin so that man is now again able to live unto God (the “redemption” and the “merit”).

d.                  i.e., their theologians understand this to mean that man enabled to acquire own holiness and salvation by works.

e.                   He removed original sin; man has obligation re: actual sin.

3.                  His “superabundant” merit, like those of other saints, deposited in the “treasury of the Church” and dispensed by the church to its members.

4.                  Describes His Work as two-fold:

a.                   To redeem (see above).

b.                  To teach; equally important for justification.

(1)               He is “the ‘new Legislator’” (quoted, F.E. Mayer p. 53)

(2)               He is the example.

(3)               Man effects his own ultimate union with God.

5.                  Discussion Points

a.                   He died for all men’s sins, both original and actual.

b.                  Through Him, we have a perfect forgiveness, righteousness, and everlasting life.

c.                   We add nothing.

d.                  Is 53:4.

e.                   Ro 3:23,24.

f.                    Ro 6:23.

g.                   Ro 8:1,2.

h.                   2Co 5:19-21.

i.                     Gal 4:5.

j.                    Eph 1:7-9.

k.                  Col 1:20; 2:13,14.

l.                     Tit 2:14.

m.                 Heb 9:23-28; 10:14.

n.                   1Pe 3:18.

o.                  1Jn 1:7, 2:2.

E.                 Doctrine of Justification

1.                  Rome teaches man is saved (justified) by:

a.                   Faith in Christ.

b.                  and by good works.

2.                  Through man, man receives the “supernatural gifts, grace”.

3.                  Then man uses his own power to do good work.

4.                  The good works save him and make him holy before God.

5.                  Trent vacillated between Scotist Pelagianism and Thomist Semi-Pelagianism.

6.                  Rome condemns forensic justification.

7.                  Rome distinguishes between:

a.                   Forgiveness (the eradication of sin), and

b.                  Justification (a moral change).

8.                  Discussion Points

a.                   Ro 1:16,17; 3:28; 5:1; 11:6.

b.                  Gal 2:16.

c.                   Eph 2:4-10.


IV.              The Sacraments

A.                Rome teaches Seven

1.                  Baptism

a.                   Water applied by immersion, or aspersion, or, most commonly, by effusion (sufficient water to warrant term “washing”).

b.                  If form changed, considered invalid.

c.                   Takes away not only the guilt, but the very essence of original sin, though not its consequences.

d.                  Infuses justifying grace.

e.                   Imprints the indelible character of obedience to the church.

2.                  Confirmation

a.                   Increases sanctifying grace.

b.                  To Lutherans, the chief thing is not the rite, but the careful instruction which prepares for a salutary use of the Lord’s Supper and for intelligent church membership.

3.                  Holy Communion

a.                   Transubstantiation.

b.                  Only the appearance of bread and wine remains.

c.                   Christ is said to be whole and entire under both the bread and the wine.

d.                  Says that He gives us His body and blood to be worshipped on her altar as a proof of His love.

e.                   The Mass:

(1)               Defined as the perpetual sacrifice of the New Law.

(2)               In which, Christ offers Himself in an unbloody manner.

(3)               Said to be His applying to us the merits and satisfaction of His death.

(4)               And at the same, says Mass is offered to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against Him.

f.                    Discussion Points

(1)               Mt 26:27.

(2) 1Co 11:27,28.

(3) Heb 9:27,28; 10:11-14.

4.                  Penance

a.                   For the forgiveness of sins committed since Baptism.

b.                  Rome applies Jn 20:21,23 to the priesthood alone.

c.                   Only the priest can forgive sins.

d.                  With satisfactory confession, priest:

(1)               Remits the eternal punishment.

(2)               Or by virtue of his office, reduces it to a temporal punishment.

e.                   Though absolved, the person must still suffer the temporal punishment here and in purgatory.

f.                    Discussion Points:

(1)               Mt 5:16; 16:19; 18:17,18,20.

(2)               Jn 15:5,8; 20:23.

(3)               1Co 10:31.

(4)               1Pe 2:9.

5.                  Matrimony

a.                   Bases it is a sacrament on Eph 5:32.

b.                  The translation “sacrament” in Roman Catholic Bible is incorrect.

6.                  Holy Orders

a.                   Special grace to discharge faithfully sacred duties.

b.                  Given power to perform the sacraments efficaciously.

7.                  Extreme Unction

a.                   By anointing with holy oil and prayers of the priests.

b.                  Sick said to receive His grace for the good of their souls and often also for their bodies.

c.                   May be administered to one in a coma or even dead for several hours.

B.                 Various Other Points.

1.                  Sacramentals (e.g. sign of the cross, holy water, candles, rosaries, etc.)

a.                   Established by the church, not Scripture.

b.                  Said to produce their effects.

(1)               Through the good dispositions they inspire, and

(2)               Through the prayers of the church that are attached to them.

2.                  Saint Worship

a.                   Honors by imitation.

b.                  But also by praying to them.

c.                   Discussion Points:

(1)               Mt 11:28; 21:22.

(2)               Jn 14:13; 15:16.

(3)               Jas 1:5.

(4)               1Jn 3:22; 5:14.

3.                  Mariolatry

a.                   Credited with things which Scripture ascribes to Holy Spirit.

b.                  Said to be sinless.

c.                   Referred to as Coredemptrix, not only as the Mediatrix.

d.                  Discussion Points:

(1)               Mary was also a sinner.

(2)               She rejoiced in God her Savior.

(3)               She saw her Son redeem her by His blood.

(4)               Lk 1:46-55.

(5)               Jn 19:25-27.

(6)               Ac 1:14.



Did you find this helpful?


Email Address:


Copyright ©  2001 CrossTies Counseling Ministries, Inc.
All Rights Reserved