Results of Papal Tyranny?
The Italian people themselves had tired of the pope's depravity and barbarism and patriot Giuseppe Mazzini denounced Pius IX and his predecessor popes in this manner:Papal Pomp v Christ-like behaviour?
The Gospel whispers universal love and brotherhood, but you have sown discord, you have inspired hatred ... You who should have protected the weak against the oppressor, you who should have encouraged peace among citizens, you have summoned the paid assassins [from Spain, France, Austria and Naples] to whet their murderous daggers upon the very stone of the altar, while you have warned your citizen slaves 'do not dare to arise.'
In a delicious irony, almost two months to the day after Vatican I had confirmed the pope's infallibility (September 20, 1870) he was finally deposed as the ruler of the province of Rome as his combined papal, French, and Austrian armies failed to resist the Italian freedom fighters under General Cadorna and they battered their way through Rome's walls near the Porta Pia. The plebiscite (a referendum or ballot question which is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal, such as the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official, or simply a specific policy) confirmed, by an overwhelming vote, Rome's annexation to a United Italy.
Pius IX was allowed to retain the Vatican in self-imposed imprisonment from which he ranted in non-Christian fashion at enemies such as King Victor Emmanuel:
'wherever he may be, whether in the house or in the field ... in all the faculties of his body ... damned in his mouth, in his breast, in his heart ... may heaven, with all the powers that move therein, rise up against him, curse him and damn him!'
More than 130 words made up Pius' rant which run utterly contrary to the Word of God he supposedly represented: 'Bless them that persecute you; bless, and curse not ' (Romans12v14). How come the infallible could be so fallible?
'With the authority of Almighty God, of the holy apostles Peter and Paul ... all those ... who have perpetrated the invasion, usurpation and occupation of the provinces of our domain, or of this dear City [Rome] ... have incurred major excommunication and all the rest of the censures and ecclesiastical penalties, covered by the sacred canons, apostolic constitutions and decrees of all the general Councils, especially the Council of Trent.'
The Italian people cared little for his moronic rants and Rome has continued under the control of the Italian government to this day; only the Concordat with Mussolini (in 1929) salvaged autonomy over the ludicrous city-state, the Vatican. This monstrosity has been allowed equal status with the nations of the world (by all who seek the votes of 1 billion Roman Catholics!) and the pope's influence around the globe continues in a more subtle manner.
Did Luther teach that each individual can interpret Scripture as he 'sees fit'?
When we know that the true apostle of Christ, Peter, declared that Christ had left us 'an example that [we] should follow his steps' (1 Peter 2v21) and that church leaders were not to act as 'lords over God's heritage' but, like Christ, were to be 'examples to the flock' (1 Peter 5v1-3), it is crystal clear that the popes have seriously strayed from His Word. When we examine the examples of popes trying to force their despotic, richly decadent, and ludicrously over-privileged lifestyle over the poor masses we can easily recognise that they are as far from the example of Jesus and the apostles as you could possibly get! The popes' attempts to 'lord it' over the nations of the world are a constant insult to the God of the Bible. As de Rosa wrote:
From the Donation, it is plain that the Bishop of Rome looked like Constantine, lived like him, dressed like him, inhabited his palaces, ruled over his lands, had exactly the same imperial outlook. The pope, too, wanted to lord it over church and state.
Only seven hundred years after Peter died, the popes had become obsessed with power and possessions. Peter's [alleged] successors [became] not the servants but the masters of the world. They ... dress in purple like Nero and call themselves Pontifex Maximus.
Watching the poor, duped, bootlicking reaction of those who find themselves fortunate enough to meet the pope in person, to shake his hand or reach out and touch him, makes it obvious where blinding and destructive pride at supposedly belonging to a cult claiming to be 'the oldest and largest ... the one true Church, outside of which there is no salvation' will lead. It can only be conceited spiritual pride that blinds devout Catholics to the obvious failings in their Church and keeps the 'pope' in power.
The Papal Roman Catholic Church has replaced Christ as Saviour, claiming that the offices of the pope, the saints, and especially Mary will eventually get one to heaven if your surviving relatives pay for enough Masses to be said in the name of the deceased. Of course it is just too bad for those who don't have the cash or property to pay for these privileges. To teach that Christ paid for our sins on the cross, but Papal Rome dispenses the 'graces and merits' He won has absolutely no place anywhere in the Bible. Not that this has ever stopped Rome inventing any doctrine or claim (e.g. 'infallibility') to prop up these delusions.
The ability of Papal Rome to flip-flop on important issues multiple times makes it transparently clear that claims to infallibility cannot be taken seriously. Remember when it was a mortal sin to eat meat on Friday - but not any longer! Remember the multitude of medals and statues of St. Christopher, 'patron saint of travellers' worn on chains or displayed on dashboards and in elevators for protection? Sadly Rome proved him to be more a myth than apostolic succession! All the superstitious travellers who relied on their 'saint' for centuries, under the delusion that he was protecting them, were deluded according to the comparatively recent ruling by the hierarchy.
But these are minor bloopers compared to Rome's failure to admit to the horrors of the Inquisition, the mistreatment and massacre of tens of thousands of Jews, the martyrdom of millions of Christians, the slaughter of 1 million Serbs during World War II, and the smuggling of tens of thousands of Nazi war criminals into safe havens. Those who claim that John Paul II 'apologised' miss the truth known to history students - this 'infallible' leader pinned the blame on Roman Catholics in general but the facts show that all of these atrocities were instructed by the 'popes' and took place with full papal authority!
Now you know why we are totally confident that we can easily answer the questions you raised: 'Rome is the whore of Babylon?' and who 'has made Christianity a great scandal to unbelievers'? The answer is an emphatic 'Papal Rome and its 'popes'!
Luther and 'The Mass and the Ordination of Priests'?
You wrote: 'Whether you acknowledge it or not, you are the spiritual descendants of Martin Luther, who taught that each individual has the 'right' to interpret the Scriptures as he sees fit, a teaching which has made Christianity a great scandal to unbelievers, with 30,000 denominations all claiming to have the Truth of God.'
TCE: We would have hoped you noticed our opening statement on our home page - 'We seek nothing less than a New and Thorough Reformation' - which hints strongly at our view of the Reformation and the work of Martin Luther et al. Genuine Protestants, whose churches came from the Reformation, such as Anglicans, Lutherans and Presbyterians, also believe the myth that the Reformers rediscovered the Gospel when, in actual fact, Wycliffe's Lollards, Waldo's Waldensians and Huss's Brethren never lost it and were persecuted, tortured, and killed by Rome and its off-shoots for daring to stand for the truth! Whether you acknowledge it or not!
In the city of Constance on the Bodensee, that large and beautiful lake that lies between Germany and Switzerland, stands a huge stone. A short walk from the house in which John Hus lived, this monument marks the place where he was burned at the stake in 1415 for his evangelical faith and his belief that the Bible is our final authority and that every Christian has the right and responsibility to allow the Holy Spirit to interpret it to them, as Christ decreed:
John16v13: 'Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.'
Whereas we have amply shown that the popes have had an unerring ability to contradict themselves and try to make Scripture say what they want it to say, the orthodox Christian denominations outside Rome have interpreted the Bible and come up with extremely homogenous doctrine. Of the many Catholics who began to see these same truths, but who struggled to totally overcome the error that Rome had indoctrinated them with, Luther would write one hundred years after Hus: 'We were all Hussites without knowing it'. In the cathedral that still stands in the centre of the town, Hus (ordained a Catholic priest in 1401) was tried and found guilty by the Roman Church whose 'celibate' priests, in that very diocese of Constance alone, were fathering about 1,500 illegitimate babies a year! These priests remained in the good graces of the Church by paying a 'crib tax' for their sexual promiscuity, while Hus was burned to death for advocating holiness and the true priesthood of all believers. In his last letter to his friends, Hus wrote, 'Finally, I entreat you all to persevere in the truth of God.' Hus, and thousands of others like him, became literal human torches burning for truth and freedom of conscience, and we owe them a great debt. The Protestant Reformation which followed such martyrdom involved vital issues and eternal truth for which the Reformers laid down their lives, e.g Anneken Jans spoke these last words to her infant son on the eve of her execution in Rotterdam:
'Where you hear of a poor, simple cast-off flock which is despised and rejected by the world, join them, for where you hear of the cross there is Christ.'
Your ignorant rant against 'Protestants' is easily undone by checking dictionaries and encyclopaedias which affirm that the words 'Protestant' and 'Protestantism' never existed until the sixteenth century, when the Protestant movement was birthed at the Reformation. The term refers specifically to those former Roman Catholics who protested against the evils and heresies of Rome and as a result were excommunicated or came out for the sake of conscience. While the term was used thereafter of those who followed in the footsteps of the Reformers and who belonged to so-called Protestant churches, it was never used of Christians who had previously existed apart from Rome and who had comprised the true church which, before the Reformation, had been persecuted for centuries and slaughtered in their millions by Papal Rome. Those Christians never called themselves Protestants because they had never been part of Papal Rome. Nor have we ever been part of it, or of any off-shoot of Luther, nor do we call ourselves by any other name than 'Christian,' as the disciples were designated and hence our opening statement:
'The Christian Expositor is a non-denominational, orthodox evangelical Christian group ...'
Since all of the doctrines we believe in are easily proven and defended from the Scriptures which Rome has so neglected, we find that your final accusation falls, again, on rocky ground.
You wrote: Luther has left Protestanism [sic] with another dark legacy, also. He was a prolific writer, and some of his writings were very damaging to his cause of rebellion against the God-given authority of the Catholic Church. One of Luthers' writings that almost no Protestant has read is The Mass and the Ordination of Priests. In that writing Luther claims that Satan appeared to him one night and spoke against the Mass, Mary, and the saints, and spoke with approval of Luther's new doctrine of justification by faith alone! That admission alone should be enough to make any Protestant think long and hard about opposing the Catholic Church.
TCE: We have made it clear that we are not part of the legacy of Luther but, despite his failings, he was part of the chain of history which God used to free His Word among the people again! If you read the Old Testament carefully you will find that God has used even the most despicable characters in preserving the lineage of David necessary for the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, to partake of human flesh as prophesied.
You say 'that almost no Protestant has read ... The Mass and the Ordination of Priests.' Have you read it? Luther's account of how he was once 'awakened at midnight and the devil began....[a] disputation with me in my heart' is in his 'The Private Mass and the Consecration of Priests' in 38:149ff. If you really are familiar with Luther's treatise you have not read it carefully.
In this "disputation" in Luther's heart during the night, the devil opposed Luther's consecration and consecrating of the Sacrament on the grounds that had "turned away from Christ and depended on Mary and the saints....". Luther was correct in much that he had much to say in opposition to the Rome's false veneration of Mary and the saints. He was at fault on a number of points which, nonetheless, do not pertain to justification by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone - which is easily proven from the Bible alone. You should compare Luther's worst faults and excesses with those of the popes, which we have elucidated here, and then see who is in greater error! You would do well to read the whole treatise and follow Luther's precise argument carefully before making use of this writing as a way of levelling criticisms against Christians.
Luther wrote of more than one appearance of the Devil to him, but we should not be surprised that anyone who has ever partaken of the un-Scriptural Roman Mass should be troubled by demonic elements appearing to them, just as the many demons claiming to be 'Mary' have appeared to the 'ignorant and unstable' (1 Peter 3v15-16) with 'another gospel' (Galatians 1v6-9). Scripture warns us all: 'Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men' (Mark 7v7).
Most evangelicals (other than former Catholics) are not aware of how Catholic beliefs and practices critically differ from the Bible's teachings. The Holy Eucharist is the antithesis of the Biblical remembrance of Christ's death and resurrection instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ. This Catholic ritual, referred to as 'the Sacrament of sacraments,' is a total rejection of who Christ is and what He accomplished on Calvary's hill. In the Mass the priest (and only a priest) is said to transform a wafer of bread into:
'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.' 'For in the sacrifice of the Mass Our Lord is immolated [killed as in a sacrifice] when 'he begins to be present sacramentally as the spiritual food of the faithful under the appearances of bread and wine.' ' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Wanderer Press, 1994, 346; Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, ed. Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, rev. ed.1988, 102-103).
The Catholic Church teaches that Christ is fully present in each of the wafers - millions each day - for as long as they exist (even though the leftover consecrated bread/body often putrefies - in direct contradiction to the Biblical prophecies that His body would never experience corruption - Psalms 16v10; 49v9; Acts 2v27). If you have ever wondered why some of the great teachers/preachers of Biblical faith have referred to the Catholic Mass and Eucharist as an 'abomination before God,' and why many saints of old chose to be burned at the stake rather than give credence to such a terrible perversion, I hope it's becoming tragically clear. What every Catholic is participating in is an occult ritual in which a man claims to be able to call down the resurrected and glorified Christ from heaven, change His body into a pre-crucified, pre-resurrected body, then turn bread into His body and blood, and supposedly kill this Christ on an altar! It is beyond ironic that Catholic priests daily do what their Church historically has blamed and persecuted the Jews for having done once! Since this Eucharistic ritual claims to 're-present' all that Christ suffered for our sins, Jesus must undergo the same experience millions of times every day. Worse yet than the unending brutality and mockery He must suffer is the continual experience of the agony of separation from His Father, which caused Jesus to 'sweat...as it were great drops of blood...' and to appeal to His Father to 'remove this cup from me' if it were possible (Luke 22v44,42). Hebrews is unequivocal in rejecting this ritualistic Catholic travesty:
'[Christ] needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice...for this he did once, when he offered up himself'; 'So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many'; 'By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all' (Hebrews 7v27; 9v28; 10v10).
'For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit' (1 Peter 3v18).
All Catholic communicants must believe they are eating the 'real' flesh and blood of Jesus, otherwise they commit a mortal sin:
'If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as a sign, or figure or force, let him be anathema.'(H.J. Schroeder, trans., The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent; Tan Books, 1978, 79).
One of the many reasons we cannot take John 6v53 literally ('Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you') - apart from the obvious fact that He was standing there in the same body at the time He was instituting the sacrament - is that doing so would constitute cannibalism and the drinking of blood, which both the Old and New Testament specifically forbid. Even Augustine, the father of modern Catholicism, rejected the literal interpretation for this reason. Finally, Catholics must worship the 'consecrated host' (wafer) as God:
'If anyone says that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored with the worship of latria [worship given only to God]....or is not to be set publicly before the people to be adored and that the adorers thereof are idolators, let him be anathema.' (Trent, op. cit., 80).
On the contrary, Galatians 1v6-9 makes it clear that anyone bringing such a ritual and gospel is accursed!
John's vision of 'the woman who rides the beast' is still remarkably accurate, though much remains to be fulfilled.
But the popes have shown us for all eternity that they are not Christians, never mind infallible!
We hope you will investigate these facts carefully and recognise that Rome has no answer to these questions and facts of history, for it is the Bible - the Word of God - that opposes the Catholic Church.
In Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour God
(Continued on page 268)