Church Of Rome’s Gospel Of Sacraments
In this Apprising Ministries article we give you a quick overview of the seven sacraments of apostate Roman Catholicism. From the official Catechism Of The Catholic Church (CoCC), linked from the Vatican website itself, here are the seven so-called “sacraments of the New Law.” In section 1113 we read: “The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. (n.29) There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony (n.30).” It’s important to point out that note 30 references the Council of Trent, which anathematized the Gospel, to bolster the authority of this teaching (:DS 1601).
As we look to define what the Roman Catholic Church considers each of these sacraments to be we move along to section 1212 which tells us:
The sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist – [which] lay the foundations of every Christian life. “The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. the faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity (Online source, emphasis mine).
As I have showed you in previous articles here at AM that, in Roman Catholic theology, baptism is considered the “new birth.” And in section 1213 of the CoCC we read: “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), (4) and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: ‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.’ ” This is all really pretty clear; any way you slice it, the Church of Rome teaches baptismal “regeneration,” which means that these infants who are baptized have been born again.
In his fine little book Roman Catholic Tradition: Claims And Contradictions William Webster adds this salient point regarding this issue of baptism:
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that baptism by water is the means of regeneration and forgiveness of sins. [This is] yet another error, the same as that of the Jews under the Old Testament dispensation when they taught that an individual entered into God’s spiritual covenant and became a child of God through the rite of physical circumcision. This was a teaching repudiated by the apostle Paul, who taught that though one may be circumcised physically and made part of the visible nation, that did not guarantee a spiritual circumcision or part in God’s spiritual kingdom (54).
The Division With The Church Of Rome Concerns The Very Gospel Itself
At this point we shift our focus away from the sacraments for a bit and zero in on the central thesis of this work: A different gospel cannot also be the same gospel. While I am thankful AM is aligned with a few of them, there are nowhere near enough Protestant evangelical ministries that deal with the issue of the Roman Catholic Church. And as a result, the point being missed by most evangelicals in this discussion about Roman Catholicism is we are talking about the very heart of the Gospel itself here. How disgraceful that the Body of Christ can’t even stand for that anymore! If it were as simple as their fictitious priesthood or devotion to Mary—as bad as that is—it would be more understandable why Protestant evangelicals would struggle with this issue. But men and women, this is the Gospel itself, and I shudder to think where God would ever find a Martin Luther today.
But the Bible is more than clear enough that God’s Gospel is by His grace alone; through faith alone; in the finished work on the Cross of Christ alone. Consider Romans 4:12-15 — [Abraham is] the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Notice in verse 12 the steps of that faith and again in verse 13 the righteousness of faith.
And now for the conclusion of what God the Holy Spirit is telling us through His vessel Paul in verse 16 — Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all. Can you see; Therefore — [On account of this; what we have just read in verses 12-15, God tells us] — Therefore — [i.e. in light of what I have just told you] it is of — [or for, “all of you who are working in cooperation with God in order that you may actually become righteous?” No! It is ] — of faith, that it might be by grace — [meaning God’s unmerited favor] — to the end the promise — [which for Abraham was that he will have his son, but for us it’s salvation by God’s grace] — might be sure to all the seed — [to all those who accept God’s gracious salvation] — which is of the faith of Abraham.
So you see, it’s not a favor based on human merit at all; but rather by God’s grace, which is His unmerited favor. For those who will see, it really couldn’t be stated any more plainly within the very text of Holy Scripture itself; true biblical theology—the Reformed Protestant position—is the proper view of justification. And that’s why, in the series discussing the egregious Evangelicals And Catholics Together document, Dr. R.C. Sproul was right when he said on The John Ankerberg Show: “the only righteousness that has the merit necessary to meet the requirements of the holiness of God, is that righteousness that was achieved and performed by Jesus Christ—and by Jesus Christ ‘alone!’ There is where the word ‘alone’ comes in…because all Protestants have acknowledged, historically, that the phrase, ‘justification by faith alone,’ [is] shorthand for, ‘Justification by the righteousness of Christ alone—that only His righteousness is sufficient to save us.’ ” (Online source)
But It’s The Gospel Itself That Has Been Perverted
Men and women, this is precisely why the Church of Rome is an apostate form of Christianity, and why Roman Catholicism is “Christian” in name only. The time has arrived where you’d best come to grips with what God the Holy Spirit revealed through the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6-9 — I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Yet today, despite the fact that the Church of Rome hasn’t changed her soteriology one iota, we even see corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM)—rooted in the Counter Reformation spirituality of e.g. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the spiritual Gestapo unit the Jesuits—masquerading as the so-called Spiritual Formation ala Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin Dallas Willard, now growing within the mainstream of the evangelical community.
However, it’s the practices of CSM—most particularly Contemplative/Centering Prayer—flowering in the anti-biblical monastic traditions of Rome that would eventually lead to the Reformation in the first place; and Rome’s anathematizing of the Gospel itself. With this in mind, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Dr. James Montgomery Boice makes this insightful comment about the above passage of Galatians 1:
At this point Paul would normally introduce an expression of praise for the Christians of the church to which he is writing, followed sometimes by a mild suggestion of that which is not so praiseworthy. But here, instead of an expression of praise, there is an abrupt and indignant cry of astonishment at what seems to be happening among the Galatians. Paul had delivered to them the one gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. They had received it.
But now, according to reports that had come to him, Paul has reason to believe that the Christians of Galatia are on the point of turning from the gospel of Christ to embrace something that was no gospel at all, but only legalism. So in this brief expression of his feelings, Paul declares his astonishment at this almost inconceivable turn of events, pronounces a judgment upon any who would pervert the gospel of grace, and reiterates that there is only one gospel that makes salvation possible… The agitation Paul feels is shown by the tone and vocabulary of these verses. (Galatians, CD Rom).
Then Why Aren’t We Agitated By Rome?
Now let’s tie this type of “agitation” about the perversion of Christ’s Gospel to one of the clearest example that we have from the history of the ancient Christian Church concerning what was actually being taught. Dr. Luke reports on this for us in chapter 15 of his Book The Acts of the Apostles in verses 1 and 2. These Judaizers here are preaching the exact same kind of false gospel that Paul has just anathematized in Galatians 1. Did you think it was just a fortunate accident that God would happen to preserve this for us in Holy Scripture? And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
Such a different reaction from what we see today, conditioned as we are, to a false understanding of tolerance. As you are coming to see, it can easily be demonstrated that the Church of Rome is teaching a “different gospel” than the one Paul preached; but why then, do so many today not apply the anathema of Galatians 1 to the Roman Catholic Church? Holy Scripture clearly shows our Lord, Christ Jesus of Nazareth Himself, opposing the self-righteous religious system of the Jewish leaders of His day; then why, as His disciples, aren’t we also opposing religious systems of self-righteousness? As you’ve just seen, the Bible does show that Christ’s initial inspired Apostles themselves opposed a self-righteous system of salvation; i.e. one that is not the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite how “Christian” that false gospel might have seemed, Paul and Barnabus vehemently opposed those early Judaizers of the circumcision group; and now as disciples of the Master, it’s also our task to do the very same thing with the apostate Church of Rome.
Beloved in Christ, whether we like it or not the mandate of our unchanging God’s eternal Word in the Bible tells the true Christian that when anything, or anyone, obscures and adulterates God’s glorious Gospel of salvation then we are to oppose it no matter the cost. Luke tells of another such instance in Acts, this where the Sanhedrin attempted to restrict Peter and John’s work for Christ, and the Apostles told them — But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye (Acts 4:19). And the pristine clarity of the text in the Bible itself, as I pointed out above, makes it abundantly clear that the Gospel of salvation is by the grace of God alone; through faith alone; in Christ Jesus alone. Well, you will hear your Protestant evangelical leaders and theologians say this all the time. So I must then ask: What has changed? Certainly not Rome; in fact she can’t, because to change her dogma she would have to admit her popes were not infallible after-all.
The So-called Sacraments Of “Christian Initiation”
With a sharper focus on what’s truly at stake here, now we move back to close out our discussion of the sacraments of the so-called “New Law” promulgated by the apostate Church of Rome. Next we come to Confirmation, usually of the young adult, where much like the Jewish custom of Bar-mitzvah one receives the rite of passage, so to speak, into the Church as an active member. Here is section 1285:
Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. (n.88) For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” (n.89)(Online source, emphasis mine)
Then from section 1303 we read:
From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
– it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!” (n.115);
– it unites us more firmly to Christ;
– it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
– it renders our bond with the Church more perfect; (n.116)
– it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross: (n.117) (Online source, emphasis mine)
The Actual Presence Of Christ And The Sacrifice Of The Cross
Next we come to the sacrament of the Eucharist (Greek, “thanksgiving”) in section 1322 “The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.” Further on in section 1333:
At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread….”
“He took the cup filled with wine….”the signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, (152) fruit of the “work of human hands,” but above all as “fruit of the earth” and “of the vine” gifts of the Creator. the Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who “brought out bread and wine,” a prefiguring of her own offering. (153) (Online source, emphasis added)
Then in section 1366:
The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:
[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper “on the night when he was betrayed,” to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit. (187)
1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.” (188) (Online source, emphasis mine)
Here now the true Protestant arrives at a major difference with the Church of Rome, as if the repugnant words we’ve just read aren’t enough, the doctrine of transubstantiation. As you have just seen Roman Catholic theology teaches that the communion wafer and the wine literally become Christ’s body and blood. Section 1374:
The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” (199) In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” (200) “This presence is called [a] “real” – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be “real” too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.” (201) (Online source, emphasis mine)
It’s not my intention here to do any more at this point than to clearly document for you, in order that you may read it for yourself, just what it was that the Reformers were reacting against. Men and women, you simply must come to understand that absolutely nothing has changed in the Church of Rome regarding these matters since Martin Luther initially raised his hammer. And the fact is, the Roman Catholic Church teaches these sacraments are necessary for salvation; by their use of the word necessary, in regard to salvation, they are now adding to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So the only question left is: Why is it today, that not only is there no reaction like that of Paul and Barnabus or Martin Luther, but instead more and more within the Protestant evangelical community are actually running with outstretched arms to embrace this long apostate system.
As case in point, consider The Manhattan Declaration Of Christian Conscience; and then there’s the following from the Emerging Church Group TransFORM, which is a social network created by “Kingdom Journalist” Steve Knight of Emergent Village (EV). EV is a very key group within the postliberal cult of the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity. As I have said recently e.g. in Christian Soldiers Standing Up For Jesus?, there are very rough spiritual waters dead ahead in the church visible specifically because of the now widespread acceptance of this EC cult within mainstream evangelicalism. You need to know that the EC—which at its heart is a rebellion against Sola Scriptura—has been busy embedding itself within the leadership structures of mainstream denominations, in its seminaries, and its publishing houses.
TransFORM just tweeted:
Yet the Lord has already told us:
They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:19)