Sunday, August 25, 2013

Idolatry, dogmas, the Word and personal holiness

 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9 NKJV)
It has been one year ago that my book, The Shift,  was published. I used this very quote from Paul's letter to the Galatians at the top of chapter one. For nearly a year  I've been participating on a Christian apologetics forum and in the past several weeks I have been awestruck of just how important Marian doctrines-- including a petition drive to establish a brand new 5th Marian doctrine-- are to  Roman Catholic apologists.
There are  currently four Marian doctrines. That Mary was a virgin when she conceived by the Holy Spirit is the only one which non-Catholics accept, for it is the only one explicitly taught in the scriptures. The other three are Mary's perpetual virginity, her Immaculate Conception (free from original sin) and her Assumption into heaven. The latter two beliefs became official church dogma following  petition drives by the Catholic faithful and clergy in 1854 and 1950. Pius the IX proclaimed the Immaculate Conception dogma in 1854 and  Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption as dogma in 1950.
The new fifth Marian dogma petition drive asks the Pope to proclaim as dogma that must be believed that Mary is:
1. Co-Redemptrix of the human race
2. Mediatrix of all graces
3. Advocate for all humanity
The first two titles are reserved for Father, Son and Holy Spirit alone. Scripture says the following:
   Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
"I am the Lord your God,
(Isaiah 48:17 NKJV)
Isa 49:26
I, the Lord, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
(Isaiah 49:26 NKJV)

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
(1 Timothy 2:5-6 NKJV)
 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 9:15 NKJV)

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
( 1 John 2:1-2 NKJV)
Mary is also  given titles such as "Morning Star" and Helper or Comforter amongst others, titles reserved solely for Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So why is this important? Does it really make any difference if  the Catholic Church proclaims a new set of doctrines?
It does you believe in scripture as the rule of faith. It matters if you accept scripture as the standard by which all doctrines are measured.  It mattered to the apostle Paul when writing to Timothy and Titus that they be solid in their doctrine. Here is what Paul wrote to them.

Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
( 1 Timothy 4:16 NKJV)

 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)
Titus 2:1-2
But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:
( Titus 2:1-2 NKJV)
The scriptures were the standard used by Jesus when confronting the ecclesiastical authorities of His day. He quoted the scriptures, not man-made traditions. The apostle Paul commended the Bereans for searching the scriptures daily to see if what Paul was telling them was correct (Acts 17:2-17). Even the earliest of the church fathers said scripture was to be the standard by which doctrines were measured to combat error. It wasn't until a few centuries has passed that philosophical reasoning and "traditions" became equal with scripture and a different gospel began to be proclaimed. It is a different gospel that the Roman Catholic Church today proclaims than what was taught in the first century.
Jesus was no longer sufficient. He needed help from His mother. His mother needed to be sought by prayer and petition before Jesus could act, despite what the scriptures say in John 14:6. All graces flow through the mother of Jesus, not the Triune Godhead. It is false teaching and doctrine that is being foisted upon the biblically ignorant compelled by a  church to accept whatever is proclaimed. It is trust in an institution instead of the living person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church has elevated Mary to god-like status and worships her as well as other "saints". Catholics make a distinction  by having three levels of worship-- latria reserved for God alone, hyperdulia for Mary  and dulia reserved for saints. However, the only way to tell them apart, according to Catholic apologists, is to whom the prayers, songs and praises and prayers are directed, even though the same words may be used.  It is a philosophical dance that doesn't hold water. Scripture says to worship God alone. Pure. Simple. Readily understandable. All the rest is idolatry. 
It is compromise of the scriptures in any area that eventually chips away at foundations of the faith. We see the results all throughout Christianity today. Sin once taught against is embraced,  cheap grace is proclaimed and personal holiness is ignored in most pulpits in the name of reaching the lost in the seeker-friendly church movements. Compromise takes many forms.
I am just as guilty and the Holy Spirit through conviction in my own heart and through the written Word of God,  has asked me to pay attention to what I believe, not compromise those beliefs and get down to business with Him regarding obedience in all areas of my life. Through compromise, I have slowly but surely made idols in my own life just as the Catholic Church has made Mary into an idol who must be worshiped.
 For me, it starts with the Word of God and prayer-- multiple times daily. Compromise is the start of a journey departing from the narrow road God asks me as a believer to walk onto the broad highway where anything and everything is accepted. 
What is your standard by which you live life?  Do you rationalize and philosophically accept little compromises that scripture says you should not?  Is it important what you believe?
All the answers to life and doing things God's way are found in the sacred scriptures-- the Bible.  It begins with knowing Jesus as Savior and then making Him Lord. That process begin with repentance from doing things your way and accepting Jesus into your heart and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you from the written word of God as Jesus promised.
God bless.