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"Why I Left the Roman Catholic Church"  by James Beller

This testimony is divided into six sections:

INTRODUCTION
I. THE CATHOLIC TEACHING ON SALVATION.
II. THE PRIESTHOOD AND CONFESSION.
III. THE PONTIFF.
IV. THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF ROME.
CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER

The entire six sections are posted here......including the
EPILOGUE

Author's note: Growing up on the south side of St. Louis, I was a part of the St. Pius V Roman Catholic parish on Grand Avenue. I received my confirmation and first holy communion in the mid-1960's and attended the grade school on Utah street. It was in this parish that I made my first confession and penance. My knowledge of the Catholic faith, its sacraments, and dogmas were first revealed to me in grade school.

                        *          *          *          *          *

By the time I reached junior high school, I was having a real problem with sin. Being Roman Catholic, I would attend confession, do penance and then before much time had elapsed, sin again. I really wanted to be good and the thought of going to Hell, or at best, purgatory really bothered me. I remember lying awake at night wondering if I were really a Christian or not, worried I might go to Hell or purgatory if I died during the night. I recalled hearing the priest call the people of our parish "Christians". When I heard that during mass, I leaned over and asked my mother, "Am I a Christian? Is that what I am?"

Over the next few years, I kept thinking about that question, "Am I a Christian? Is that what I am?" God was merciful to me and sent people to me to win me to the Lord. He dropped gospel tracts into my mother's car. He drew me and convicted me of my sin. It became abundantly clear to me that I was a sinner, bound for Hell, and could not save myself. I began to understand that Jesus took my punishment and I needed to trust only Him.

I read these verses: Revelation 20:14-15: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. And John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And Romans 5:8: But God com-mended His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And I knelt in the back yard of our house on Harris Lane in Arnold, Missouri and asked the Lord Jesus to be my Saviour in obedience to Romans 10:13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I became convinced that I truly was saved as I read and reread the scriptures. I found that faith in Christ and His shed blood put you in right standing with God according to Romans 5:1-9. I saw that the Holy Spirit made His permanent abode the bodies of all believers in Ephesians 1:13. For more information on how to be saved and know it, read Appendix A in the back of this booklet.

After my salvation, I began to read as much as I could about the grace of God and belief. I was now 17 years old, and I could not understand how I could have missed the simplicity of salvation in my religion and catechism classes. I even called the 700 club to ask them where to go to church since I had recently been born again. When they suggested that I return to the Roman Catholic Church, I began to study the sacraments and canon law.

I went to the shelf in our living room and pulled down our huge family Bible. It was a beautiful thing, full of old smells and brilliant art work. It was a Confraternity Version, used often as presentation bibles of Holy Mother Church in those days. In the back of the "bible" were listed some doctrines. I began to study these and many other documents and compare them to the scriptures. It was this study that led me to leave the church of my childhood.

WHY DID I LEAVE THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH?

I. THE CATHOLIC TEACHING ON SALVATION. [BACK]

Catholic dogma teaches that there are seven sacraments that a good Catholic must follow in order to have a chance at eternal life. They are: Baptism (sprinkling or christening) Confirmation, Communion (Holy Eucharist), Confession (Penance), Extreme Unction (the Anointing of the Sick), Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

Their literature of the early 1970's told me that both priests and sacraments were instruments which Christ wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification.

You see, according to the Roman Church, Jesus gives salvation, but He gives it through the sacraments and priests of "the church". This violates scripture, namely:

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and THOU SHALT BE SAVED and thy house.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED.

In my study for the truth, I learned that this idea of working the sacraments for salvation came from a reckless translation of the Greek word mysterion which the apostle Paul used to describe the soul winning work of the new testament local church. It is properly translated mystery in the majority text of scripture used by the first four centuries of Bible believers. The corrupt Latin Vulgate of Jerome mistranslates it sacramentum. Sacramentum refers to the oath of allegience taken by the soldiers who filled the ranks of the Roman Legion. How mysterion, which by definition is, " a hidden plan which becomes revealed", can become sacramentum" an open oath of allegiance", is a mysterion to me.

In Roman Catholicism, Yesterday and Today, author Robert A. Burnes makes this amazing statement in defense of the sacramental application of salvation:

In the third century, the Christian writer Tertullian referred to baptism as a sacrament in order to emphasize the commitment one made to Jesus when one was baptized. By means of the sacraments, a Christian is helped to "put on a new man," that is, take up a new life-style dedicated to Christ.1

Amazingly, there is not one goat's hair of evidence in ANY of Tertullian's writings that he was sacradotal in any of his beliefs. He very powerfully illustrated that baptism by immersion, in the audience of others, is a grand statement of a personal decision (impossible for an infant) to trust Christ as Saviour. This public display of obedience reminded Tertullian of the Roman soldier's public oath. Augustine embellished the rest.

A miniscule study of history indicates that sacraments were used to convert the masses by man-made means. At the threat of starvation, banishment, the stake, torture rack, pinchers, waxings, beheading, dissection and countless other monstrous inventions, people were forced to accept the sacraments and membership in the sacerdotal church for the salvation of their souls.

Has the belief in performing the acts of the sacraments for the salvation of the soul been abandoned? Far from it. From the 1994 edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose and gives us the Holy Spirit. By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance.2

 

As a young student of the word of God I took notice that this dogma violated plain, simple scriptures:

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

These verses just sprang at me and arrested my soul, and I could see that they contradicted the idea of sacradotal redemption.

Of course I realized now that I had stumbled upon the same doctrines the independent local churches had during the first through third centuries, and on through the dark ages. These people were driven into hiding. I realized I had come across the same crucible the reformers of the 14th and 15th centuries had encountered. It was BELIEF that gave a man eternal life. Salvation is by GRACE (free gift), paid for by the gruesome, bloody death of Jesus Christ on the cross. I began to realize that I had been lied to about the reasons and results of Jesus' death and resurrection. I determined that I was going to know what God's word said about faith.

I began to think back on my first holy communion. We were late arriving, and as a first grader, I was terrified that I might be consigned to purgatory (found no place in the scriptures) for being late. I remembered being "slapped" at the altar by the Cardinal (a position found no place in the scriptures) when I was confirmed. I remembered in second grade, while I was in confession, I admitted missing mass on Easter. Weeping like a baby, I actually felt as though I had sinned beyond hope. The priest severely reprimanded me. It was a tramatic time of penance, and if you have ever re-turned from a damnation session in a confessional booth, you never forget the experience. Penance did not seem to be enough.

As I studied and remembered my experiences, I began to wonder out loud, "What do these practices have to do with:

John 3:36: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

or John 3:17:For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

or Acts 16:31: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

or I John 1:7: ... the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Dear friends, I was so ignorant of BIBLE doctrine and could not understand why. It became clearer after reading this scripture:

Isaiah 8:20: To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

I had attended a religious grade school and mass all of my life. The contradiction between what God said about salvation and what my church said about it, caused me to leave her. Notice Proverbs 19:27:

Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.

And there were other things that forbad me ever to return.

II. THE PRIESTHOOD AND CONFESSION
[Back]

When confronted with this scripture: "For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"--I Timothy 2:5; it is easy to see that mediation of sin is done directly by the Son of God. Mary has no say in this. There is no need for an unscriptural go-between such as a priest who hears your sins and then exercises tremendous control over you. Go to God for salvation, and then confess your sins to Him through the power and authority of Jesus Christ Himself.

I John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And IF ANY MAN SIN, we have AN ADVOCATE with the Father, JESUS CHRIST the righteous:

I read this in I Timothy:

I Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

and the idea of The Reverend Father of our parish being forbidden to marry became bizarre until I read in I Timothy 4:1-3: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; FORBIDDING TO MARRY, [and commanding] TO ABSTAIN FROM MEATS, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Then I realized that an obvious, blatant rejection of scripture was taking place. Dear Christian, still in the system of Rome, can you not see that the scriptures have been supplanted by the dogmas of hierarchy? This unscriptural practice of Roman celibacy has lead to generations of sexual sin in the ranks of her clergy.

It may interest you to know that the scriptures describe all born again believers as saints and priests:

I Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, CALLED [TO BE] SAINTS, with ALL THAT in every place CALL UPON THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST our Lord, both theirs and ours:

II Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, WITH ALL THE SAINTS which are in all Achaia:

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to ALL THE SAINTS IN CHRIST JESUS which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

I Peter 2:9 But YE [ARE] A chosen generation, a royal PRIESTHOOD, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Dear saint of God, why not trade your unscriptural religion and unscriptural priest, controlled by the powers of the Vatican in for a man of God and the old time religion--

I Timothy 6:11 But thou, O MAN OF GOD, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Instead of a priest, why not have a man of God who pastors a local, Bible believing independent church and answers to the God of Heaven? Mark 3:14: And HE ORDAINED twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach...

The local, scriptural pastor derives his power from the Holy Spirit, the words of God, and the ordination of the Heavenly Father. The scriptures teach that this combination produces a growing, fruit-bearing Christian in a growing, fruit-bearing congregation. Notice:

John 15:16: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

III. THE PONTIFF
[Back]

I suppose that office of the Pope of Rome is the greatest factor that disqualifies the Roman Catholic Church from legitimacy. Without controversy, there is no scriptural grounds for the office of the pope. There exists no Bible basis for his position, no Bible basis for his power.

In the first century, churches were led by God called men of God known as elders. These men were publicly set apart for service: Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them eldersin every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. These men were the pastors in the churches of the primitive church. One of these elder in each church was the bishop of that church (I Timothy 3:1). The bishop was the elder who was the overseer in each individual church. As "undershepherd", he answered to God for the work of the local church. He was to rule (I Timothy 5:17), lead (I Peter 5:3), and feed (Acts 20:28) the flock. This was a very simple structure. Under this simple chain of command, other preachers of the gospel were to recommend men of God to their positions in the local churches. Notice Timothy's ministry:

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

However, in the first century, the office of the bishop began to be distorted. Powerful men began to influence control over flocks other than their own. In some circles, a bishop would mean someone who ruled not just one church, but several. Because of the influence of the city of Rome, the bishop of the new testament church at Rome began to exert a greater influence. The title pope was first applied to any bishop of a local church, but by the year 300 A.D., it referred exclusively to the bishop of Rome. It was by no means universally accepted. The attempt at popish lordship over individual churches was protested by Tertullian and the Montanists and other independent Christian churches.

In 296 A.D. Christianity was a hated and hunted sect, its blood being spilled in buckets by pagan Pax Romana. But by 313 A.D., the emperor Constantine had issued the edict of toleration and Christianity (the states's version) became the religion of the state. This wedding of church and state eventually corrupted the local churches into one universal state sanctioned church.3 By 378 A.D., this church was already talking about the bishop of Rome holding the power of the keys, making him Pontiff.

What was this power of the keys? We see the keys on the sleeves of His Holiness robes. The greek dieties, Janus and Cybele each bore a key4, according

to Tooke's Pantheon:

It was these two gods (Janus and Cybele) that had the power of heaven and earth.5

The pagan Roman priesthood (before the birth of Jesus Christ) had a sovereign pontiff who held the keys. The goddess Cybele was also worshipped as Cardea, and the college of Cardinals was named for her. The bishops of Rome had time on their side to eventually convince the masses that Peter held the keys and that they, the popes had been granted their power by inheritance from Peter. Never mind that history reveals no visit to Rome from Simon Peter. Simon Peter's presence in Rome could be believed by faith I suppose; however, the popes absence from scripture cannot be denied. The pope is not in the Bible. His office does not exist.

As I studied, I could not believe that such an important officer in the life of Christ's church such as "the Pope" could be absent from the Bible when deacons, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and bishops were present. The office of the pope is a hoax because, as I discovered, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God--Romans 10:17. If the office of "the Pope" is absent from the scriptures, it cannot be a part of the household of faith.

One title the bishop of Rome enjoys is Vicarius Filli Dei, which appears on his dagonesque mitre cap. This title corresponds with the English Vicar of Christ mantle. Has anyone but a handful of scholars ever bothered to look up what the word vicar means? It means substitute, replacement, or anti. By definition, Vicar of Christ is a Christ replacement or anti-Christ.

By 431 A.D., the bishop of Rome had publicly laid claim to the possession of Peter's keys. The dark ages had begun.

IV. THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF ROME
[Back]

Near the end of His ministry, Jesus Christ began to ready his disciples for His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascent into Heaven. He promised that He would return to them in like manner (Acts 1:11). A study of the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, will reveal that Jesus was most definitely founding a New Testament church. Jesus Himself was the pastor or bishop; the church had disputes to settle (Matt 18:15-17); the congregation had a treasurer and they sent their members out to win the lost to Christ (Luke 10). This church had prayer meetings (Matthew 26:38), and baptized by immersion its converts. Notice:

Matthew 3:13-16 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

Jesus also commissioned this church:

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

In the midst of this great task, the Lord Jesus began to warn his local church of their future persecution and suffering.

They would be hated and pursued:

John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

They were going to be killed as a service to God:

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will

think that he doeth God service.

Jesus gave no indication that this would ever cease to be the case with his "little flock" (Luke 12:32). In fact, the apostle Paul reinforces the reality of the world persecuting the people of God:

II Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

In the 4th century, in the writings of Augustine of Hippo we see an altering of the very personality of the type of local church Jesus told us about, notice:

He (Augustine) firmly believed that heretics should die, as their presence among believers was dangerous.6

This awful belief was in direct violation of scripture:

II Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient

Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

These scriptures correct Augustine:

Matthew 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, or hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Luke 9:5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

If the gospel message was rejected, Jesus instructed His believers to simply go to another place and preach the Gospel, NOT to force belief or sacraments at the edge of a sword. Take note of Saint Augustine's words:

... better that men should be brought to serve God by instruction, than by fear of punishment, or by pain. But because the former means are better, the latter must not therefore be neglected. Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants by the rod of temporal suffering.7

This philosophical violation of scripture contained the necessary venom to propel the vehicle of persecution and martyrdom for sixteen centuries. In looking at the history of the church of Rome, it is important to see four events that led to her persecution of "heretics":

1.The embracing of baptism as the means to salvation.

Despite, Paul saying in I Corinthians 1:17:

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

and Galatians 2:16:

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

The Roman church continues to insist that the works of baptism saves. The first 300 years after Jesus Christ walked this earth, His true local church bishops insisted on BELIEVER'S BAPTISM. Note:

Acts 8:35-39 Then Philip opened his mouth,

and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

2. The edict of toleration by Constantine in 313 A.D.

Immediately, a hierarchy and alliance was formed. The invisible union of churches was now visible and Constantine (for a season) became the head of the church. (Interestingly, Constantine would not be baptized until just prior to his death, so that the water would surely save him.)

The alliance of churches under the state violated Jesus' teaching in Mark 12:17, Luke 20:25, and II Corinthians 6:16-17.

Even though the plain teaching from God's word forbid the marriage of church and state, Holy Mother Church embraced it.

3.In 384 A.D. the title Pope was officially adopted.

This title was given to Siricius, Bishop of Rome. In 385 A.D., in a shadow of things to come, the Spanish bishop Pricillian and six of his followers were accused of heresy, tortured and beheaded at the direction of the Roman Bishop Ithacus. Augustine's writings supported the action.

4. In 416 A.D., the doctrine of infant baptism was established by law.

This was stated in Canon Two of the Council of Carthage.

However, an infant cannot believe, (I knew I sure hadn't) and so is innocent until there is a proper understanding of the need of salvation This happens through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Father's drawing:

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

and the administering of the scriptures: I Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

So, infant baptism as a means of salvation is in the canon law from henceforth (416 AD). It is interesting to note that Patrick, that beloved patron saint of Ireland, baptized several thousand adult men --by immersion-- in the years of his life and ministry (381-461 A..D.) St. Patrick reports no infant baptisms. He recorded none because the false belief of regeneration by baptism did not hit the British Isles until the self proclaimed Arch-bishop of Canterbury transplanted it there in 597.8

By the fifth century, pockets of persecution and death became the norm for groups of independent Christians like the Montanists, the Bogomils and the Paulicians. Hundreds and thousands of them died during the doomed years of the dark ages.

Rome muscled up and sent the well-named Augustine (not the writer from Hippo) as Archbishop of Canterbury to Britain with the backing of the Frankish army under Clovis in 597 AD. Their goal was to convert the British Isles to Catholicism by the edge of the sword. Through fear and intimidation, they succeeded for the most part.

Now the beliefs of the Roman Catholic institution began to spin out of control. The Cult of the Virgin Mary (Mariolatry) had its beginnings at Calcedia in

451 A.D. Image worship, veneration of relics, statues,

and other holy regalia had approval in 787 at the 7th council of Nicea. Prayers to the saints also had its beginnings at Nicea in 787.

The veneration of statues and the like is a direct violation of the commandment in Leviticus 26:1:

Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

and the second commandment recorded in Exodus 20:3-5:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

This is reiterated in the New Testament in 1John5:21:

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

In 869, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholicism split. So much for the universal church. This heated up the anger of the papists and by the end of the ninth century the Cathari, independent Christians from the south of France, were persecuted and murdered by agents doing God service and approved by the Roman Catholic Church. I plunged headlong into reading about these independent churches and their sufferings.

In 1095, the infamous crusades, an attempt by Rome to force the Holy land to submit to popish authority began. The crusades lasted until 1212, when 30,000 boys and girls perished in what was known as the Children's Crusade. Even the terrified subjects of the Roman See could not support such madness and the crusades were abandoned.

However, other madness was just beginning. The Latern council of 1123 made the celibacy of the priesthood canon law. This despite the fact that the scriptures require a bishop to be a husband and head of a family to be a sound example to the local church he is pastoring (see I Timothy 3:2).

At about this time, the Petrobrussians, and the Arnoldists were condemned by Pope Innocent II in 1139. The founders of these independant Christian groups, Peter of Bruys and Arnold of Brescia, held that infant baptism had no effectual power. They believed that a person must personally believe before baptism (see Acts 8:36-37).

Peter of Bruys was burned as a heretic, and Arnold was hung, his body burned and his ashes thrown in the Tiber river. Their followers were hunted down and banished, not allowed to own property, and in many cases were murdered by agents doing God service.

The religious sect of the Manicheans existed since the second century, but Holy Mother Church tended to lump this mystic group with independent Bible believers in the south of France. Because their general location was close to the town of Albi, these heretics became known as the Albigensians. The people of God in this lumped group rejected the Catholic Church's claim to authority over salvation, basing their beliefs on the scriptures alone. They rejected infant baptism as regeneration.

In 1198 Pope Innocent III declared war on the Albigenses. For twenty years, Innocent (Innocent?) burned them, their properties, and their books. Go to any American public library for the truth about this. Some Albigenses survived by fleeing to the Alps and became the seed for the future Waldensian and ana-Baptist movements.

The Poor men of Lyons were a sect of believers founded by Peter Valdez or Waldo. In 1150, Waldo, concerned about his salvation, sold all of his property and sought to know the scriptures and the God of Heaven. He began to memorize the scriptures and preach them. Many disciples gathered around him and Waldo was banished from the diocese of Archbishop Gyichhard in 1177. Peter then appealed to the pope himself, and while he was received by Alexander III, he was forbidden to preach the Gospel.

However, the Waldenses (as they were now known) did not cease to preach the Gospel, and they began to multiply in great numbers. They believed in the sole authority of the SCRIPTURES, and that baptism does not profit infants since they cannot believe. They rejected the idea of purgatory. For all this they were anathematized in 1183 at the Council of Verone. Their final condemnation took place at the 4th Latern Council in 1215.

The Waldenses were virtually exterminated, being the primary target of the inquision, which was founded in 1232. Again, a day at the library can reveal these facts. We can credit the Dominicans, founded in 1214 by Saint Domingo for the satanic cruelty perpetrated on these people. Jean Plaidy tells us:

He (Gregory IX) immediately turned his attention to the extirpation of heretics and was delighted with the work which was bieng done by those two mendicant orders founded by Francesco Bernardone and Domingo de Guzman. These two men had been great friends of his and Gregory had, before his election, often delighted to go among their followers, simply garbed as they were, and discuss with them matters of theology and the great need to wipe heresy from the face of the earth. Gregory canonized Francesco, who became St. Francis of Assisi on July 16, 1228; and the same honor was accorded to Domingo on 13th July, 1234.9

The Inquisition was the epitome of the fulfilment of Jesus' words in John 16:2 when he warned His church that they would be delivered to the councils for degradation and death. All in the name of doing God service.

Secular historian Plaidy goes on to tell us on page 40 of The Rise of the Spanish Inquisition:

It was in the year 1232 that Gregory established the Inquisition. In his Bull he declared that all heretics should suffer excommunication. Those who were condemned should not suffer their punishment at the hands of the Church but be handed over to the secular arm that sentence might be given and carried out by that body. THE PUNISHMENT FOR THE UNREPENTANT WAS BURNING AT THE STAKE; and even those who, having been found guilty of heresy, wished to repent, must suffer punishment, though not that of death. They should be condemned to perpetual imprisonment. All those who helped heretics in any way should suffer excommunication.10

Consider the words of John Foxe, in his Book of the Martyrs in describing the most famous of all inquisitors, Tomas de Torquemada:

Torquemada was chief inquisitor until his death, and during the eighteen years he ruled the Holy Office, ten thousand two hundred and twenty persons were burned alive, and ninety seven thousand three hundred and twenty-two punished with loss of property, or imprisonment - numbers so large as to seem incredible, but which are given by Llorente, the Spanish historian of the Inquisition, who was well qualified to judge of their accuracy.

With the heretics handed over to the proper authorities for death, (the holy see claims to have never put anyone to death DIRECTLY), the only way to prevent future heresy was to forbide the laity to read the Bible for themselves. This was done at the Council of Toulouse in 1229. I was astounded at reading about the ban. Compare the ban on Bible reading with these words of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 5:39:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:and they are they which testify of me.

and the admonition in Joshua 1:8a:

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:

Jesus' rebuke in Matthew 22:29 is an eye opener in our subject:

Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, NOT KNOWING THE SCRIPTURES, nor the power of God.

My study of history revealed that the desire to know the scriptures--and therefore know the Lord--could not be quenched by fire, sword or council. England's John Wyclif preached salvation by grace through faith in the 14th century. He was spared the stake because of the natural barrier of the English Channel, although his body was later exhumed, burned and the ashes thrown in the river, along with his writings.

John Hus of Bohemia, was not so fortunate, he was burned in the early 15th century, his books banned and burned. Savonarola was burned in Italy for preaching a personal faith only for salvation, condemned at the end of the 15th century. But the Reformation was well under way.

The ancestors of the Waldenses and Albigenses multiplied across Europe from 1300-1500. Their legacy was inherited by the French Hugenots, reformers, and ana-Baptists. The ana-Baptists rejected baptismal regeneration, infant baptism and sacramental salvation. They believed in salvation by grace through faith and would baptize only believers. Hence the name ana-Baptist or re-baptizers. They fell into the hands of the inquisition (as did Jews and Muslims), but grew mightily.

The growth of the reformers, Huguenots, and ana-Baptists gave rise to the Council of Trent (1546-1565), and the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. The Council of Trent provided the canon law necessary for the Roman Curia to control the Holy Roman Empire, and the Sons of Loyola (Jesuits) provided the political and military clout to carry out the Pope's wishes. The Inquisition was horrible, but

the religious movements of armies bring their own special kind of terror.

In 1528, Charles V, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, made re-baptism a crime punishable by death, sealing the fate of hundreds of thousands of ana-Baptists, persecuted by the armies of Europe.

In January of 1547, at the Sixth Session of the Council of Trent, the Church of Rome gave us no less than 24 anathemetized declarations concerning justification. Here are two examples from Trent:

Can. 9. If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.

Please note that Can. 9. is apostacy from Romans 4:2-5:

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Can. 12. If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.

Please note that Can. 12. is apostacy from Hebrews 10:35:

Cast not away therefore your CONFIDENCE, which hath great recompence of reward.

and I John 5:14:

And this is the CONFIDENCE that we have IN HIM, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

and Ephesians 3:12:

In whom we have boldness and access with CONFIDENCE by the faith of HIM.

On August 24, 1572, several thousand French Hugeunots came to Paris for the wedding of the protestant, future king of England, Henry of Navarre. He was to wed Margaret of Valois. Supported by the documents of Trent, the Catholic King Charles IX of France sent thousands of troops into the city for a night of terror and death. Over 10,000 were liquidated in what has since become known as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. It was perfectly right to do since the unarmed Huguenots were heretics.11

It became apparent to me that the doctines and dogmas of Rome forced her into her unscriptural practices. I could not mistake the disregard for the simple truth of God's word. I could not further associate myself with this unbelief.

I realize, dear reader, that the winds of change among so called evangelicals are calling for dialog and even out and out unity with the church of Rome. I understand that our current pope even made an attempt at an apology for past atrocities commited by the "church". However, even though famous evangelicals such as Bill Bright (who ought beware when ALL MEN SPEAK highly of him), Jack Van Impe, Chuck Colson and Promise Keeper's Bill McCartney fan the flames of ecumenical unity, THE COUNCIL OF TRENT STILL VIOLATES MY BIBLE! When will the pontiff REVERSE TRENT and embrace Ephesians 2:8-9? or John 17? or John 3? or Romans 4:5? or Romans 10:9-13?

THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
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Has there been any real change in Catholicism?

There have been two major Councils since Trent. The first, Vatican I, was held in 1869-1870. Its opening paragraphs say:

I embrace and accept the whole and every part of what was defined and declared by the holy council of Trent concerning original sin and justification ... and whatever heresies have been condemned, rejected and anathematised by the church, I too condemn, reject and anathematise...this true Catholic faith, outside of which NONE CAN BE SAVED (my emphasis)...is what I shall steadfastly maintain and confess...

There is no change here, which may explain the continuation of the Vatican interfering with the affairs of nations during, and between both World Wars. Recently, it has come to the attention of journalists such as CBS' Dan Rather that the Roman Catholic Church had a hand in the rise of facism in Europe. A careful student of Balkan history will find Catholic Archbishop Stepinac praying at the Croatian parliment in 1942 for the Holy Ghost to come upon the sharp knives of the Catholic guerrilla army the Ustase.

What our media is failing to explain about Bosnia is that over 500,000 orthodox Serbs were massacred by the Holy Ghost knives of the Ustase. It is difficult to exact peace when your ancestory and religion were nearly annihilated by your enemy. Here is the documented evidence from The Jesuits, A History by David Mitchell:

...After the invasion of 1941 Yugoslavia had been partitioned: Serbia under German occupation, Croatia an Italian puppet state ruled by Ante Pavelic, whose nationalist organization, the Ustase, had since 1919 been agitating for independence from Orthodox Serbia. A fanatical Catholic- Fascist, Pavelic offered the two and a quarter million Serbs in Croatia the choice of expulsion, conversion, or death. In the next four years the papacy stayed silent while three hundred thousand Serbs, including Jews, were deported, more than half a million massacred and a quarter of a million forcibly converted. Pius XII received Pavelic and members of the Croatian SS, and in Civilta Cattolica, a Croatian Jesuit glorified "Catholic Crusaders" whose victims were lucky if they had their throats slit rather than being axed- hacked into mass graves or bound with barbed wire and buried alive. Archbishop Stepinac of Zagreb failed to indict the crusaders. A papal observer, Abbot Marcone, failed to restrain their zeal. Though the Franciscans were particularly prominent as terrorist leaders, MARCHING CRUCIFIX IN HAND AT THE HEAD OF THE COLUMNS, Jesuit chaplains too slaughtered and sacked their way through Bosnia and Ustase bands. During one of the most appalling civilian massacres on record, Ustase representatives from 'Holy Croatia' were careful to keep in touch with the Jesuit curia, which as one of them reported in June 1942, faithfully reflects the Vatican.12

Other sources tell the story of 2,000 children gassed at Bosnska Gradiska, mothers and children impaled on stakes, a mother catching the blood of her four sons as they had their throats cut before her very eyes in Kosinj, burnings, dismemberments, and hundreds of dreadful deaths at the hands of the Archbishop's troops.

Fast-forwarding into the mid-20th century, Vatican II, was hailed as a breakthrough for toleration. It was held in 1962-1965. Session 3, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy states:

4.Finally, faithfully in accordance with the tradition, this holy council declares that the church regards all duly recognised rites as having equal legal force and as to be held in equal honour; it wishes to preserve them for the future....

Not much change there, how about this statement from The Constitution on the Church :

14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is NECESSARY FOR SALVATION... for through baptism as through a door men enter the church.

Please note that statement 14 is a direct contradiction of John 10:9:

(Jesus speaking) I AM THE DOOR: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

The Constitution on the Church, Vatican II:

11....Fortified by so MANY AND SUCH POWERFUL MEANS OF SALVATION, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord, EACH IN HIS OWN WAY, to that perfect holiness whereby the Father Himself is perfect.

Please note the scriptures in John 14:6:

Jesus saith unto him, I AM THE WAY, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

and the powerful John 10:1:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

I was looking for it, but I found no renunciation of the Sixth Session of the Council of Trent in Vatican II. There is no revocation of the 1232 Bull of Gregory IX.

There is however, a weird statement found in Vatican II from The Declaration on Religious Freedom found in section 10:

It is one of the major tenets of Catholic doctrine that man's reponse to God in faith must be free: no one therefore is to be FORCED TO EMBRACE THE CHRISTIAN FAITH AGAINST HIS OWN WILL. This doctrine is contained in the word of God and it WAS CONSTANTLY PROCLAIMED BY THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH.

Section 10 is a rank lie. It breaks my heart just to read it. All the blood and suffering of those FORCED TO RECANT OR DIE are swept under the rug just like dirt.

In my study of the documents of Vatican II, I came across a passage that summed up the purpose of every council and canon for the last 1500 years. The passage is found in The Constitution on the Church 15:

In all of Christ's disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully UNITED, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. MOTHER CHURCH never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts HER CHILDREN to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth.

Friend, surely you see that the "Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church" is no place for a Bible believer. She wants you to stay in to help in her plans for world unity. To stay with her is wrong. Consider these scriptures:

Revelation 17:4-6 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.(emphasis in the original text) And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

God commands us to be seperated from the religious system married to this world, drunk with THE BLOOD of the saints AND MARTYRS. Years ago, I left the Roman Catholic institution to be dependent upon God.

No, Mother Church, I will never come back to you. And millions of others who know the truth about you will never submit to your lies.

ENDNOTES

1Robert A. Burnes, Roman Catholicism, Yesterday and Today, Loyola University Press, Chicago, Illinois 60657, page 133.

2Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paulist Press, Mahwah, N.J. 07430, page 257:

3See The Martyr's Mirror, Trail of Blood, Cross and Crown, The Two Babylons.

4 Tooke's Pantheon, p. 153.

5Ovid , Fasti vol 3.1, p. 346.

6Jean Plaidy, The Rise of the Spanish Inquisition, by Citadel Press, New York, 1959, p. 20.

7 ibid.

8 Phillip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, W. B. Erdmans Publications, 1910, page 46.

9 Plaidy, page 40.

10 ibid.

11for a detailed account of the devish atrocity, see James B. McCabe, Cross and Crown, Jones Co., Philadephia, PA, 1874. p. 220-236.

12David Mitchell, The Jesuits, A History, Franklin Watts Inc., New York, NY, 1981 p. 268- 271:

For more information or help, call 636-464-7955. or email pfp1611@aol.com

EPILOGUE
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I was traveling across country one spring afternoon in 1995 and decided to do a little channel surfing on the AM band. I came across "one of America's most trusted authors" on a "Christian" radio station. I listened to his analysis of the news, which I found interesting. Then the "author of the decade" had a Washington correspondent give a commentary via the telephone which I found appropriately conservative.

The host opened the phone lines. One of the first calls was from a woman who had sent the host a copy of a book defending the authenticity of the King James Bible. The host had no comment, he simply did not have time to read the book as of yet. Next, the lady incurred the wrath of "the man of the hour" when she wanted his opinion on the obviously ecumenical March for Jesus campaigns (no reports of any salvation decisions as of this writing). She wondered aloud how any born again believer would want to join up with liberal protestants and Roman Catholics.

I was saying out loud to the radio, "Yeah sister, I can't understand it either," when the teacher of the "Christian" center rebuked us both. I was so ashamed of myself as he reminded us not to judge other "Christians".

I listened to this prophetical program several times after that day and I soon realized the host was having a bit of a battle justifying his employment of the

Washington correspondant. You see, the correspondent is a Roman Catholic who claims to be saved.

Now I do not pretend to know this man's heart and it sounded as though he had trusted Jesus and Jesus alone for salvation. But as one of the former slaves of the Vatican, I had a hard time understanding why a truly blood washed saint of God would remain in fellowship and support of Rome and its doctrines. After surely having ample time and opportunity to be taught, most Bible believers would have to take the Lord's admonition in Revelation to "come out":

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

The host sent a mixed signal across the country to many impressionable listeners.

In a casual perusal of evangelical books, tapes, radio broadcasts and television programming, I have been shocked at the current knitting process going on between evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Catholicism and all of its falsehoods, entanglements and snares does not seem to bother the likes of Chuck Colson, James Dobson, Hal Lindsey, and others like them. The current Promises Keepers craze is attempting to unite Christianity with an unwise unity message that supercedes doctrine. Even Jack Van Impe is gushing about some bishop document concerning the second coming of Christ, and speaking nonsense about the current pope's fear of the next pope being an "antipope".

This past year (1996) a group of evangelical authors, broadcasters, and leaders, including J. I. Packer, Bill Bright and officers of the home mission board of the Southern Baptist Convention, joined hands with a group of Roman Catholic scholars and leaders and signed what was in effect a concordant with Holy Mother Church. The document was called Evangelicals and Catholics Together and it recommended, among other things, a mutual respect of doctrine and a lessening of proselytizing attempts.

However, there are large numbers of Bible-believers that simply cannot ignore the glaring hangnails of compromise that beg attention. This is a problem older than the Reformation. It is a real problem for many ex-Roman Catholics to fraternize with Holy Mother Church. We know her too well.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

1996, 1999 Prairie Fire Press

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