So far, we’ve examined:
- one needs only the written Bible
- If you are saved, you should be able to simply read and understand the Bible. If you cannot understand it, this is a warning sign you may not be saved.
- The commandments in the NT are so easy, one does not require a Magisterium to understand it
- The RCc has no proof whatsoever for a Magisterium.
- The Bible was once delivered to the saints, and at the close of the canon in AD 95, anyone who adds to it is under a curse.
- The Roman Catholic views of the Bible
- The laity and the ownership/study/reading of the Bible
- The Magisterium refuted
- Salvation by faith alone vs. works
- infant baptism refuted
- baptismal regeneration refuted
It’s been quite the survey, and we’ve just barely gotten started! There’s so many areas to cover, such as Maryolatry, Papal Infallibility, the Apocrypha, the Sacraments, purgatory, oricular confession, penance, the priesthood, the mass, transubstantiation and the host, indulgences – I think the first problem I ran into is this:
Roman Catholicism is so unScriptural in so many areas, I hardly know where to start!
Since I started by dealing with the Magisterium (probably in more depth than my readers wanted to know), I’ll turn next to the issues of the Apocrypha.
Back in the ’90’s, I worked very briefly with a Catholic, who was very aggressive in his outlook and demeanor. He demanded to know, triumphantly, that “If the Bible says cursed is he who takes away from the Bible – why did Protestants remove the Apocrypha from the Bible???”
I think he was a little at a loss when I explained that the Apocrypha was never part of the canon. Indeed, in the earliest lists of canon from the pre-Nicean fathers, they are not mentioned.
Nor are they quoted by any of the Pre-Nicean church fathers – at least, those before AD 200.
In addition, the apocryphal books are not accepted as Scripture by the Jewish people. They are indeed ignored in all lists of canon. It’s possible they were accepted by a few fringe groups of Jews (such as the Qumran scribes) but mainstream Judaism never accepted them. They were always considered extra-canonical, and the writings of men as opposed to Scripture which was the writing of God.
In addition, David Cloud writes in his Way of Life Encyclopedia of Christianity and the Bible:
“They were not received as inspired Scripture by the churches during the first four centuries after Christ.” (WOL Encyclopedia, Pg. 32)
he also writes,
“They were not written in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and prophets of the O.T.” (WOL Encyclopedia, Pg. 32)
Another, and more telling point, is that the Apocrypha, much of it written before the New Testament was written, is never quoted once in the New Testament.
So, to answer my Roman Catholic co-worker – we didn’t take them away. You added them. When?
it wasn’t until 1546, at the Council of Trent, that the Apocrypha was added, in conjunction to an Anathema pronounced against anyone who does not accept them as Scripture. Literally, a damning to Hell.
Not to beat a dead horse – but again, why nothing mentioned of the apocrypha in the lists of Scripture until over four centuries later? Why did it take 1500 years to pronounce them Scripture, if they were?
Finally, the Apocrypha does not have a single incident of “Thus sayeth the Lord.” You can read the Bible and know it is the Bible, the word of God. However, the Apocrypha reads like what it is, the writings of various Jewish apocalyptic groups. The time of the Maccabees was a time of the organizing of many apocalyptic groups of Jews, such as the Essenes, the Qumran scribes, the various groups described in the Gospels such as the Pharisees, the Saducees, the Herodians, the disciples of John the Baptist, The zealotes, the Hellenists, the Alexandrians, and the sons of Light (possibly a reference to the Essenes).
Many rose, wrote spurious literature to support their claims, and quickly withered away and vanished, leaving only a few copies of their works. The Pseudopigrapha contains many examples of their works. A cursory study of the Pseudopigrapha compared to the apocrypha presents the same general feeling and impression – these are the works of fallible men. And returning to the Bible gives an unmistakeable feel of – the Bible is the preserved, inerrant word of God.
Notice also that they teach many unScriptural things, such as magic.
Then the angel said unto him, Dost thou not remember the precepts which thy father gave thee, that thou shouldest marry a wife of thine own kindred? wherefore hear me, O my brother; for she shall be given thee to wife; and make thou no reckoning of the evil spirit; for this same night shall she be given thee in marriage. And when thou shalt come into the marriage chamber, thou shalt take the ashes of perfume, and shalt lay upon them some of the heart and liver of the fish, and shalt make a smoke with it: And the devil shall smell it, and flee away, and never come again any more: but when thou shalt come to her, rise up both of you, and pray to God which is merciful, who will have pity on you, and save you: fear not, for she is appointed unto thee from the beginning; and thou shalt preserve her, and she shall go with thee. Moreover I suppose that she shall bear thee children. Now when Tobias had heard these things, he loved her, and his heart was effectually joined to her. Tobit 6:15-17 (KJVApocrypha)
Does this sound like Scripture? Does this sound like “Thus sayeth the Lord”? Obviously not.