The Pope has made his first trip to the U.S. Everyone is making such a big deal about it. It seems that it is getting the same amount of attention as when the British royalty. It appears that we should be fawning all over this person but it does not make sense to me. The troubling thing about this visit is that professed evangelicals appear to be excited about the visit. They have joined together in support of this man’s visit. I have a few problems with people who claim to be products of the Protestant Reformation and seem embrace the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). The reason I have these concerns is because the RCC does not believe in faith alone in Jesus Christ for salvation and the doctrine they hold that the pope can speak words that are infallible.
Faith alone in Christ and the sufficiency of His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead is the prominent issue that caused the Reformation. Martin Luther applied to himself all the RCC taught regarding the purging of yourself for your sins. The RCC taught that works plus faith plus dedication to the RCC was what a person needed for salvation. Luther read “the righteous shall live by faith” and the proverbial lightbulb went off. He had it all wrong and the RCC had it all wrong. Following the years after he posted his 95 Theses on the church in Wittenburg, the RCC denounced the sola fide of the Reformation as an anathema and those who held to that belief were to be persecuted.
We cannot add anything to the work of Christ. The cross was sufficient for all the sins of man. We cannot add to it, pay any of it back or in some way become worthy of the salvation and gifts of grace and mercy we received. We are only found worthy in Christ’s death and resurrection and that only by faith which is supplied by the Father. We cannot come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ unless we are drawn to it by the Father. The RCC denies this teaching which is central to the gospel the apostles preached, including the alleged first pope Peter.
The RCC’s doctrine on Mary the mother of Jesus is a teaching of concern. She was a virgin when she bore Jesus so that Jesus was born without sin. She was not without sin before nor was she without sin after. But after that, she and Joseph, her forgotten husband, had a family that is referred to in the Gospels and two of Jesus’ brothers wrote epistles which are part of the NT canon. She was not raised up to heaven nor is she a mediator for sinners. The RCC has made her to be equal to Jesus, which either means that they believe she is the fourth person of the Godhead or that part of the Trinity that is the Son of God was split between Mary and Jesus, because Mary performs all the same functions as Jesus in the RCC doctrine.
Mary was a woman in need of a savior like the rest of humanity. She was privileged to be the woman chosen to carry the Son of God in her womb, the seed of the woman pronounced in Genesis. She is not God nor was she promoted to the Godhead.
I cannot partner with a religion that holds to those doctrinal beliefs. To consider them as true followers of the teaching of the gospel would be tragic error. I do not think anyone belonging to the churches of the Reformation should join the RCC in any kind of partnership. We should remain separate and consider them a mission field.