What Does A Biblical Christian Believe?
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Roman Catholic Church (“The Catholics”)

- Founded via Great Schism - 1054 A.D.

The word “Catholic” simply means “worldwide” and indeed the first organized group of Christian churches were worldwide and utilised the term “One Catholic and Apostolic Church” in the Nicene Creed but this in no way referred to a delineation of one church vs any other. During the early years of Christianity, there weren’t denominations and therefore no need to refer to a church by a particular tag: Lutheran, Catholic, etc. The Church was decentralised in government but unified in doctrine. Each congregation was generally denoted by its geographic location. i.e. the church at Ephesus, the church at Antioch, etc. Each region was led by a Bishop which means overseer or “elder” or “presbyter” it was not part of a hierarchy of Bishops leading to an Arch-Bishop and certainly not leading to a “Pope” of any kind. By the fourth ecumenical council there were churches all over the world that had (and still have) no affiliation whatsoever to the Roman Catholic Church. Churches like the Coptic Christians, Syriac Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, St Thomas Christian Church of India, and Church of the East. All of these were either formed during the time of the Apostles in the first century AD or were formed via disagreement over the 4th ecumenical Council resolution on Christology.

Over the course of nearly 750 years, a small crack would slowly divide the larger, more-centralised church which formed around the time of Constantine in the early 4th century AD. This visible earthly organisation would slowly but surely split into two branches: The Roman Catholic branch and the Eastern Orthodox branch. Both branches would claim to be the "true church" and would accuse the other of apostasy even up to the twentieth century. Today, there are active ecumenical efforts to arrive at a peaceful, harmonious co-relationship between the two.

Writings of Ignatius and Ireneaus (Against Heresies) would begin to erroneously extol the Apostle Peter as the first “Bishop of Rome” and the preeminence of the Roman See over all other regions - this was hotly contested as there was no Scriptural nor Apostolic support for any “pre-eminent” centre of the Christian faith. There was strong leadership from Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, and Jerusalem to a much lesser and fading degree.

Where the “POPE” Comes From:

The term “Pope” which was derived from the Greek word “Papa” or “Pappas” was not used until the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries to denote the premier Bishop or “Father” over all Bishops.

It was much later that the Roman Catholic Church began to claim an “unbroken line” of Popes dating back to Peter, even though the first “Pope” was self-designated by Leo I in the 5th century. The Scripture used (centuries later) to justify the power grab would be
Matthew 16:15 “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Peter made it clear in his writings that he was not the “rock” that Jesus was speaking of but that the “Messiah, Son of the Living God” whom Peter identified is the Rock upon which the church is built which is consistent with the rest of Scripture. Furthermore Peter refers to believers as “living stones” being built up into a “Spiritual House”. Despite this, the Roman Catholic Popes have through history clung to the notion that not only is Peter the first Pope as the “Rock” but they are also his successors and that they (the popes) have the keys of the kingdom of heaven - which is what resulted in them selling indulgences whereby a donation would cause them to utter a prayer that releases a soul from burning purgatory. This ridiculous heresy is what would ignite the Reformation nearly 1100 years after Leo I would declare himself “Pope” of the Church.

The idea of an emerging, strong, and centrally governed church was taken even further by Augustine, a Bishop of Hippo. Augustine believed a strong Church government was necessary for survival and ultimately defeating heresy. Unfortunately, this introduced abuse by the hierarchy of the governing church against those that would question the unbiblical doctrines introduced by various church leaders. i.e. immaculate conception and assumption of Mary, prayer to the saints as intermediaries, etc. John Hus, and others would be labeled “heretics” and would be martyred for their boldness and desire to live and preach the Scriptures instead of tradition and Thomas Aquinas. To further assert authority over the masses the doctrine of Papal Infallibility would be added to this list of errors. Papal infallibility was introduced primarily (and surprisingly) by theologians like Theodore Abu-Qurrah, Thomas Aquinas, and John Peter Olivi, and not by the Popes themselves, as many assert today. During the Vatican I council in 1870, the dogma of the infallibility of the pope was officially codified and is still preached and practiced today.

Doctrinal Differences from Biblical Christianity:

There are scores of Roman Catholic “dogmas” or doctrine that has been developed over 1500 years that are apart from and often times contradictory to the Bible here are a few of those doctrines (many of which are embraced also by the Eastern Orthodox churches as well):
  1. Separation of Clergy and Laity specifically by way of elaborate clerical vestments ( in violation of Matt. 23:5-6).

  2. Adoration, prayer, and veneration of Mary - Theotokos - even referring to her as the “Queen of heaven and earth” (Contrary to Luke 11:27-28 - the title “Queen of Heaven” is not new to religion nor is it unique to Roman Catholicism as it has been a famous designation of a false goddess of near eastern mystical religions and paganism).

  3. Only those Roman Catholics specifically trained by the Roman Catholics can be “priests” before God ( According to 1 Pet. 2:5,9 all believers in Jesus are a “Royal Priesthood”).

  4. Strict compulsory observance of Catholic-created religious days/periods like Ash Wednesday, Lent, etc ( Compulsory observance of one day over another is a fleshly/worldy (sinful) ordinance Gal. 4:9-11).

  5. Only special Roman Catholics who have had 3 confirmed miracles by a Roman Catholic Pope can be considered a “saint” and thereby canonised (apparently the miracles considered exclude card tricks) (According to 1 Cor. 1:2 all true believers are referred to as “saints”).

  6. The creation of, veneration and bowing to images, pictures, statues, and icons is actively encouraged as a form of Roman Catholic worship (This is contrary to Ex. 20:4-5 where the Lord forbids such pagan practices among all who are called by His name - Christians).

  7. Infant baptism by sprinkling is considered a legitimate initiation into the Church, the Body of Christ (In Scripture, baptism is clearly communicated as an act of volition by an adult of consenting age and the Baptism doesn’t save a person, but is a public declaration that the baptised person has repented of their sinful rebellion toward God and have received forgiveness for their sins via Jesus death on the cross - Col. 2:12).

  8. Priests must be called "father" and the Pope “Holy Father” (Blatant disregard for Matt. 23:9 which forbids us to refer to anyone as Father save God the Father).

  9. Peter is the foundation of the Church and the First Pope of Rome (1 Cor. 3:11 says that NO one can lay any other foundation for the church besides the only foundation Christ Jesus - not Peter! And in Luke 22:24-27 Jesus says the leaders of the church are to be servants or “least” to be considered first - this has never been the approach with the Roman Catholic hierarchy).

  10. All dead saints and Mary are to be prayed to as “mediators” in the spirit realm to God (Praying to the dead is a form of pagan necromancy and Scripture is clear that there is to be only one mediator between God and man the Man Christ Jesus - 1 Tim. 2:5).

  11. Priests Bishops and Clergy are forbidden to marry (Contrary to 1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5 where Bishops are explicitly instructed to be married in order to be an overseer. Also, we are warned in Scripture that heretical doctrines would creep into the church which forbid Christians to marry ITim 4:3).

  12. Transubstantiation where the bread and wine literally becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus who is sacrificed over and over each week for our sins. (This violates Jesus words on the cross when He said, “IT IS FINISHED!”. Also it is a literal interpretation of Jesus illustration that he will be broken as a provision of life to men (bread) and His blood will be poured out for those who partake of Him - like the wine into the cup.)

  13. There is a temporary holding place after we die called “purgatory” where we supposedly have our uncleansed sins burnt off. (This is a bizarre doctrine in so many ways and has been used to manipulate the masses of people to cowtow to the whims of the Pope who alone (not Christ) can save them from purgatory - in Luke 16:26 Jesus tells of a great fixed chasm whereby there is no crossing over from the sinful separated and the forgiven redeemed sides. Also The Apostle Paul speaks of being “absent from the body, present with the Lord” for those who are true Christians 2 Cor 5:8).

  14. The practice of indulgences whereby a person can donate money to the Catholic Church and the Pope will then pray to have that person’s relative released from purgatory (There is no purgatory in Scripture and there is not “buying” souls into or out of an eternal state. This is a profane practice which drove Martin Luther to nail his 95 thesis to the door at Wittenberg and ignite the Reformation.

  15. Repetitive multiplication of words over beads via the Rosary (This is a pagan practice strictly forbidden by Jesus in Scripture when He says “When you pray do not pray as the pagans do, they believe that with a multiplication of words they will gain a hearing…” Math 6:7. It is also a pagan practice of Eastern false religions like Hinduism and Buddhism to pray over beads one at a time with a series of mantras - which perfectly describes the Roman Catholic practice of repetitive prayers and the Rosary)
I’ve listed the key events which were the “cracks” that developed into a full blown chasm between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox church by 1054 AD. This event in Church History is known as the “Great Schism”:

  1. Language Differences: The Eastern church spoke Greek, the western church spoke Latin which made for an inescapable division in communication from the start.

  2. Early Schisms: Nestorian, Non-Chalcedonian, etc. demonstrated to the Eastern church that there was something wrong with the influence and authority being commandeered and exerted by the Western Roman Church over all who disagreed with their extra-Biblical doctrines.

  3. Political Division of the Roman Empire: Prior to Diocletian’s decree in 280 AD to divide the massive Roman empire into an East and West, there were clear and obvious separate authorities of state and of church. This political division would add further to the language differences already straining the relationship between the primary church Sees of Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome

  4. Methodological World View Differences: The Greek approach to conduct and approach is one of a philosophical “betterment of man and correcting of mind”. Greeks placed an emphasis on proper thought leading to proper behaviour. The Roman approach to life is one of an authoritarian correction of behaviour and betterment of society by bringing man into line. Romans placed an emphasis on strong authority in order to command proper behaviour from its citizenry

  5. Difference of External Challenges: The Romans were challenged (and eventually overcome) by Germanic Nomads known as Barbarians, Goths, and Visigoth tribes of Europe. The Greeks were not threatened by this group but were more threatened by the Muslims nearly 200 years later. A threat which wouldn’t affect the Roman empire until well after it fell in the 5th century.

  6. East West Authority Dispute of the Council of Chalcedon: The Roman Emperor declared Constantinople of the east to be of equal importance and authority to Rome in the west. This was highly opposed by the Roman church contingency and the decision was reversed. This left a very bad taste in the mouths of the Eastern church as it became clear that Rome was attempting to usurp the current authority of the church and claim itself as the pre-eminent authority over the church. Note: this is in direct opposition to the teaching of Jesus who said we are not to seek to be in power over one another but if one seeks to first he must be servant of all. He is not to “lord his authority” over others as the gentile pagans do.

    1. At this same council, Leo I, who was the current Bishop of Rome , argued for the primacy of the Roman see and subsequently the Bishop of Rome as the primal Bishopric or “papacy”. It is believed that the term “Pope” was, for the first time, used as a descriptive title to describe the primary papacy of the church, which was established for the Bishop of Rome by the Bishop of Rome! This was unequivocally a grab for power that wouldn’t be wrested from Rome until the Reformation over a thousand years later.

  7. East West Dispute over the Iconoclastic (image destroyer) Controversy: In the early 8th century, there arose a bit of a “mini” reformation to rid the church of the worship of paintings, statues and pictures of holy images and so-called saints and even of the Lord Himself. This was an horrific practice that slipped into the church by way of pagan influence in the western and eventually eastern churches. The weak argument “for” icon veneration was that these pictures and images supposedly provided a “window” to worship God, a tangible representation of who God is to “help” the worshipper. This is decidedly against Scripture whereby Almighty God declared “Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven images whether of things in heaven above nor on earth below, nor shall you bow down to them nor worship them. This icon worship is still practiced today in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches as many bow down to statues of Mary and of Peter, kissing their feet and even lighting candles to them. The Catholics even went so far as to change the reading of the Ten Commandments whereby the above commandment was removed and replaced with another reading altogether.

    1. In the East, the Eastern Emperor Leo III in 730 AD declared veneration (worship) of icons illegal and set about destroying them even attacking Bishops and Arch Bishops who supported icons veneration. These that supported and carried out Leo III’s command were called “Iconoclasts” which means “image destroyers”.

    2. In the West, Pope Gregory III held a Synod where he condemned the iconoclasts and sent an envoy to excommunicate them from “the Church”. This envoy was arrested by Byzantine (eastern) authorities and this clash of religious authority would cause an even greater rift to develop between east and west. Even though many in the east were, themselves, against iconoclasts. This controversy would be the first altercation between the two big bullies of the religious playground and forever the question would reside in the mind of both eastern and western churches would remain: who is in charge here?

    3. Finally, Irene, the mother of Eastern Emperor Constantine VI asked Pope Hadrian I to convene a council in 787 to address this issue – (7th ecumenical council) where the practice of iconoclasm was officially condemned and icon worship would forever be etched in the ecclesiology (church practice) of both the Western Roman Church and the Eastern Church. In fact, Orthodox churches everywhere today celebrate the iconoclastic defeat on the first Sunday of Lent and statues of dead saints and Mary are prayed to and kissed and have candles burnt to them.

  8. East vs West Papal Primacy and East vs West Power of the State 800 – 870 AD: This series of squabbles and confrontations between church and state authorities based on geographic lines of east and west would be the deep seated rift of nearly 500 years bubbling up to the surface, where they would never submerge again.

    1. In 800 Pope Leo III took it upon himself to crown Charlemagne, a Frankish King, as Emperor of the “Holy Roman Empire” which was nothing more than the Western European empire as Rome was weak, useless, and in shambles politically at this time. Charlemagne was considered an “intruder” by the East, he was not accepted by the Byzantine authorities as the appointment was considered an insult to them and a violation of ecumenical authority. This was the pinnacle and peak of Roman Papal power - for the first time, a so-called “head of church” appointing a “head of state”.

    2. Several decades later, Ignatius the Patriarch of Constantinople in the East, confronted Caesar Barda, the uncle of Eastern Emperor Michael III, over his behaviour, and was thereafter removed from the patriarchy by Barda who, outside of obvious nepotism, shouldn’t have had the authority to appoint or oppose anyone, much less the eastern head of state.

    3. Photius, a relative of Eastern Emperor Michael III, was appointed to Ignatius’ post after being removed. This appointment was opposed by Western Church Pope Nicholas I who believed that appointing and removing Patriarchs was not the place of an Eastern Emperor (or his relatives) and so Nicholas had Photius officially deposed at the 8th ecumenical council which, in itself wasn’t much of a controversy as it was heartily accepted even by the Eastern Church who agreed that Emperor Michael should not have removed one of their officials.

    4. Pope Nicholas I, after the 8th Ecumenical Council, reinstated Ignatius as Patriarch of Constantinople in the Eastern Church. Photius then moved to have Pope Nicholas I excommunicated based on the grounds of the filioque (more about what this means in a moment), papal primacy, and the Bulgarian jurisdiction.

    5. Now, Basil the Macedonian replaced Michael III as the new Byzantine emperor and deposed Photius yet again in an effort to curry alliance with the Latin pope and Western Emperor which wouldn’t have been a bad thing for east west relations but it did cross the line of heads of state appointing and deposing heads of church - which was the bad thing.

  9. The Filioque: An addition to the Nicene Creed of 325 AD by the Western Roman Church whereby the Holy Spirit (Third Person of the Trinity) is said to proceed from the Father AND the Son. For 700 years prior to this, the Nicene creed (which was universally agreed that it could not be changed as it properly defined orthodoxy in Christian belief) stated that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father only. The etymology of the word filioque is Latin for “and the Son” which are the exact added words to the Nicene Creed. This clause was added with the intent to defend consubstantiality of Jesus the Son (2nd Person of the Trinity) with the Father (1st Person of the Trinity). Ultimately, the filioque can be perfectly defended by Scripture so there isn’t much damage done there. However, the fact that the Western Pope and Church took it upon themselves to “add” doctrine of supposed orthodoxy to the settled Nicene Creed acted as the final usurping of church authority which ignited a powder keg known as “The Great Schism” in 1054 AD

    1. The understood doctrine which originally constituted the Holy Spirit’s procession was best articulated by Tertullian in 216 AD when he stated that the Spirit proceeds from the Father THROUGH the Son as “fruit is the third from the root of a tree” Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 4:1

    2. Augustine of Hippo began to teach contrary to the Tertullian doctrine in 408 AD with a very early understanding of the filioque doctrine, he states: “If the Son has of the Father whatever He has, then certainly He has of the Father, that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from Him.” - Augustine, On the Trinity, XV:26,47

    3. The Western church already began to add the filioque to their ecclesiology and their version of the Nicene Creed long before the Roman Church did. The Spanish Church council of Toledo added the filioque to the creed in 587 and began to read it in liturgy with “and the Son”

    4. Even heads of state began to enter the fray which, to their credit, the Roman church didn’t cave. Charlemagne himself petitioned Pope Leo III to add the filioque and was soundly refused. Why the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire required this is uncertain.

    5. Even though the actual “Great Schism” didn’t occur until 1054 AD, The thread had long before snapped when the filioque was officially added by the Roman Church to the Nicene Creed by Pope Benedict VIII in 1024 AD. Part of the delayed explosion was due to the fact that this addition did not appear in official Roman liturgy for several years. Ultimately it would be 30 years before the true effect of this spark would be felt, when in one sour exchange we will see a Pope excommunicate an Arch Bishop and an Arch Bishop excommunicate a Pope and two massive denominations would emerge as separate Christian entities as a result.

  10. The Great Schism
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    Roman Catholic Church

    Pope Leo IX of the Western Roman Church – fought against the Normans in 1052 and was taken captive
    1. Prior to this, he suppressed Greek liturgy in his domain which didn’t sit well with the Eastern Church.

    2. He sent legate Cardinal Humbert (not the nicest and humblest of fellows) to Michael Cerlarius, the Archbishop (highest ranking leader) of the Eastern Church to give him supposed “evidence” from Constantine’s “donatio” which supposedly carried Constantine’s appointment of Rome as the primary See and its Bishop with primal papacy. This document was proven (even by the Roman Church) to be a forgery and a fake. Even if it were not a fake, Rome could not use it to claim primary “anything” as a head of state was not given the authority on earth bind/loose foundational doctrine for the church. This was given to the Apostles as they planted churches and were used by the Holy Spirit to compose Scripture. This authority was never given to a head of state no matter how big his empire happened to be.

    3. Needless to say, the Donatio was rightfully refused by Cerularius and Pope Leo IX officially blew his top.

    4. Pope Leo IX sent Cardinal Humbert back to Cerularius to deliver a Papal Bull of Excommunication. Thereby excommunicating the highest authority of the Eastern Church and those that followed him from the Western Roman Church. Humbert laid this Papal Bull of Excommunication directly on the altar of Hagia Sophia (like the Vatican of the Eastern Church - see photo at top of page) as a blatant disregard for the Eastern Church’s leader, Cathedral, and followers. With one obnoxious act that followed nearly 800 years of obnoxious acts by the Roman Church - they effectively cut their numbers in half and a new denomination was born.

    5. Crime Against The Eastern Church - Roughly 20 years after the Massacre of the Latins by the East, the Roman Pope was still commissioning “Crusades” by his church which is now referred to as the “Roman Catholic Church”. These were decidedly unbiblical and to this day, true Christians are blamed for this heretical practice from an apostate church.
      1. The 4th Crusade which took place 1202-1204 AD was especially evil and bloody:
      2. Pope Innocent III of the Roman Catholic Church called for this crusade out of his desire to supposedly free Jerusalem from the Muslim Saladin’s rule. This decree completely ignored Jesus’ stern warning to the Apostle Peter that “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword” and again “Love your enemy, bless them, and do not curse them”. This Pope resorted to carnal methods to carry out a worldly conquest of a city that God Himself will liberate and establish at the conclusion of the 7 year tribulation He describes in Revelation.

      3. Innocent III’s Crusade began as a “commercial” venture to repay a massive Debt to the Venetians of Rome by way of killing Muslims and allowing the Venetian ships to capture booty for themselves. It didn’t turn out quite as it was designed.

      4. If something were to go wrong (and it did) and no conflict or invasion of Jerusalem were to take place (and it didn’t) Innocent III forbade his Crusading Venetian mercenaries from carrying out violence against their Christian “brothers”. They found no opportunity to invade and loot the Muslims of Jerusalem, they instead chose to ignore Pope Innocent’s commands and, having the massacre of the Latins, still fresh in memory, they instead chose to sack, loot, pillage, and rape Constantinople.

      5. These Venetian members of the apostate Roman Catholic Church behaved like savage beasts, raping Christian women, robbing and murdering Christian men, and ultimately desecrated the Hagia Sophia – something even the Muslims would not do. This was written about by Eastern Orthodox clergy who were eyewitnesses to this horror.
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    Eastern Orthodox Church

    Michael Cerularius – Archbishop of Constantinople occupied the highest level of religious authority in the East
    1. He suppressed western Latin liturgy in his domain and encouraged his parishes to only conduct services in the Eastern/Greek liturgy. This was one of the external manifestations of an internal East-West struggle that had taken place for nearly 800 years.

    2. Cerularius did the unspeakable for his time: He refused the Roman Pope’s envoy which carried the “Donatio” demanding the Archbishop of Constantinople’s recognition of the supremacy of Rome. This was an affront to the self-important Roman Bishop’s self-appointed primacy.

    3. In an act of “tit for tat”, Cerularius excommunicated Humbert and his envoy from the Eastern Church along with the dead Pope Leo IX. Both sides ultimately excommunicated each other giving full evidence to the world that the Biblical church that Jesus established was not evident in either the Western Roman Church nor the Eastern Greek Church. The real church would continue on, far removed from this carnal conflict of pride.

    Crime Against The Western Church - Although there were efforts at reconciliation between east and west and continual attempts at diplomacy, a few incidents would cauterise the wounds on both sides and make a rejoining of East-West impossible.

    A. The East struck the first blow with an incident which lives in historic infamy: The Massacre of the Latins took place in 1182 when the Constantinople populace who now identified themselves as the Eastern Orthodox Church (The “true” Church) killed or sold the Latin population of the city into slavery to the Turks. Ironically, it is these same Turks that would be the downfall of the Eastern Church nearly 300 years earlier.
    1. The widow of Eastern Emperor Manuel I was Latin (Roman). A nationality/culture that was by now, hated by the Eastern citizenry. She ruled as regent this was a thorn in the side of the people

    2. Andronikos Komnenos used violence and described his actions as “liberating” Constantinople from the Latins, He held a celebration and the people carried out murders of young, old, and Latin clergy.
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