Over the past few days we have been comparing Roman Catholicism to what the Bible teaches on three main areas:
1. Salvation by grace through faith alone
2. The Bible
3. Jesus Christ.
In today's blog we are going to look more specifically at the person and work of Jesus Christ. Again we ask the question: Is the Roman Catholic Church departing from the Gospel in its teaching on Jesus Christ? Let's explore...
1. The Roman Catholic position limits Christ's ministry whereas the Bible affirms the uniqueness of Christ's Ministry
The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church spells out the following viewpoint about the relationship between Jesus Christ and Mary:
“Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest…Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and mediatrix”.1 In contrast to the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church, the scriptures says these words about there only being One Mediator:
a. 1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"
b. 1 John 2:1 "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous"
As Mediator, Christ ministers effectively to His people. He prays for them (Hebrews 4:15-16); feeds them by the scriptures (Ephesians 5:24-26); sustains them by the Holy Spirit (John 14:8-16; Romans 8:26).
2. The Roman Catholic Church's position limits Christ's Mercy whereas the Bible affirms Christ's Mercy
The Catholic Church teaches that Christ is the mediator, but also the judge to whom we must give an account. Being that the Judge can only deal with us in one way - Justice, the Roman Catholic Church insists upon a second mediator of mercy. In Roman Catholic thought,
Marys equips Christ to dispense mercy to those who pray to Him through Mary.2
To limit Christ to one activity, or to lessen His ability to show mercy, is to deny the very testimony of scripture about His sole ability and desire to dispense mercy to the Christian. (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15; 7:24-25; 1 John 1:9-2:1) Romans 3:25-26 give us the clearest evidence of Christ being equally Just and merciful: "whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
3. Roman Catholicism detracts from Christ's Majesty whereas the Bible affirms Christ's Majesty
When one reads through the Catholic Catechism, or hears messages delivered by the Pope, or reads documents produced from Vatican II, there is no doubt that Christ is viewed quite highly. However the Roman Catholic Church also venerates or pays homage Mary. To be fair, the Roman Catholics do not view Mary as being God along with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as seen in this quote:
However, by virtue of the fact that such high veneration is paid to Mary detracts from the glory that should only be reserved to Christ alone. Despite all attempts to avoid deification of Mary, the system itself logically and practically results in a diminishing of the Majesty of Christ. It leads the worshipper to the doorstep of idolatry. Whenever we add to Christ, we subtract from Him.
The Bible tells us that Christ alone is the full revelation of God's very being. (Hebrews 1:2-4) To make modifications to either His humanity or to His Deity marks any movement or person as seriously departing from the Gospel. (John 17:3; 2 John 2:7-9)
Conclusions: The Roman Catholic Church's adding of Mary alongside Jesus Christ has been shown to diminish His Ministry, His Mercy and His Majesty. In contrast, the Bible emphasizes that Christ alone can minister as the Believer's Mediator. Christ alone is the soul source of Mercy and Justice. Christ alone is Majestic, since being God He will not share his glory with any other creature. We must affirm the cry of the scriptures: by faith alone, in Christ alone, of the Bible alone can we put our trust.
1 Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pages 271-272
2. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Paragraph # 971
3. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Paragraph #971