Understanding Roman Catholicism

Salvation Through The Church

Roman Catholicism teaches that salvation is available only through the Catholic church:

"The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: 'For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.'" Pg. 215, #816

Here, the 1994 catechism reaffirms the existing teaching of Vatican II, that salvation can be obtained only through the Roman Catholic church. The catechism leaves no doubt that the Catholic church is necessary for salvation:

"...all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation..." Pg. 224, #846

Past popes have taught this doctrine, as have previous catechisms and church fathers. Here is but one example…

On May 7, 2001, Pope John Paul II told 2,000 youth gathered at the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of Damascus that "you cannot be a Christian if you reject the Church founded on Jesus Christ."1

Catholic friend, you personally may not believe this, but your pope does. And it is an official doctrine of your religion.

If you check God's Word on this subject, you will not find a single verse requiring one to go through a church to be saved. In fact, the opposite is taught:

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the full price for the sins of all mankind. According to God's Word, anyone can go directly to Him for salvation. Jesus Himself announced that:

"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." John 3:36

Jesus preached:

"He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life…" John 5:24

"He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John 6:47

Jesus repeats this message in John 3:16, 3:18, and 6:40. If the Catholic church really is necessary for salvation, then Jesus Christ is a liar.

The Apostle Paul gives step by step instructions on how to be saved:

"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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10

Notice, no church is required. So if Catholicism is right, then the Apostle Paul is also a liar. And since he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is a liar as well.

"But as many as received (trusted in) him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12

John says you become God's child by believing in Jesus Christ. If this Catholic doctrine is true, then John's name must be added to the list of liars.

But John is not a liar. Jesus never requires a church for salvation:

"To him (Jesus) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43

The key is belief in Christ, not a church:

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…" Romans 1:16

According to Paul, Timothy needed faith in Christ to be saved, not a church:

"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:15

When the Philippian prison guard asked Paul, "What must I do to be saved?," did Paul answer, "You must become a member of the Roman Catholic church?" No, he responded:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…" Acts 16:31

Remember when Jesus was hanging on the cross? The thief on the cross next to Him cried out:

"…Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Luke 23:42

When that dying sinner uttered those words of faith, Jesus responded by saying:

"To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43

Salvation is in Christ… not in a church.

The catechism claims salvation comes "…through Christ's Catholic Church alone…" But God's Word says it is obtained through Jesus Christ:

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

"… God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9

Only Christ can offer us salvation because He alone shed His blood for us:

"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." Romans 5:9

No church can offer salvation. Only Jesus can:

"Neither is there salvation in any other (except Jesus): for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:10, 12


Since the Bible and Catholicism clearly disagree, here are some questions you must answer:

If the Catholic church is necessary to escape hell and reach heaven, would not God have clearly stated it in His Word… at least once?

Why would Jesus repeatedly lie by saying that salvation is available through faith in Him?

Are you willing to call Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John all liars? For your religion to be right, you must.

For centuries, Bible believing Christians have contended that this unbiblical doctrine was created to keep members in bondage. Was it?

Lastly, you must again answer the question, "Which will I obey and serve, the traditions of men, or the Word of God?" You cannot say "both" because each says the other is wrong.

Someday you will stand face to face with Jesus Christ. You will look Him right in the eyes. You might want to start thinking about how you are going to tell the Lord that you rejected His teachings and obeyed the traditions of sinful men because you assumed He was lying.

"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…" Mark 7:8

1From article "Pope Meets with Youth of Various Christian Confessions," Vatican City, 5/7/01 (VIS) reported by the Catholic Information Network, 5/9/01, N. 86

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