ROME'S LONG WAR ON THE BIBLE (AND GOD'S PEOPLE)
It's long been my belief that the church of Rome reluctantly gives the Bible mere lip service, and if the truth were known, are more than capable to function and exist without the word of God.
"The Church, then, affirms that all Scripture is the word of God, but at the same time it maintains that there is an unwritten word of God OVER and ABOVE Scripture" (1, p. 78).
The following four points need to be made:
Now this first statement is nothing new for Rome to affirm, for they have always held to this, especially after the Reformation of the 16th century. However the Bible is never silent when it comes to vain men and their false religions, not only seeking to reach God in their own private way (Gen. 11:1-9; John 10:1), but also states categorically, how God has put His written word above His name (Ps. 138:2).
...."It is the duty of a Christian to receive the one [oral tradition] and other [written word] with equal veneration and respect" (1, p. 78).
Such a declaration as this may all sound fair and proper to the average naive Catholic or ignorant Protestant, but what happens when the two clash and contradict one another?
Tragically this duel authority is also found in Mormonism (book of Mormon and the Bible), Judaism (the Talmud and the Tenach) and the Jehovah's Witnesses (Watchtower Magazine and their corrupt NWT Bible.)
"For twenty years after our Lord's ascension, not a single book of the New Testament was written, and all that time no Christian could appeal, as many Protestants do now, to the Bible and the Bible only; for the simple reason that the New Testament did not exist" (1, p. 78).
Some scholars have actually dated the gospel of Matthew to 37AD (3, p. 993), James to 44AD (2, p. 1924) and 1 Corinthians to 55AD (2, p. 1726), so the above statement is downright dishonest. One must also keep in mind that the apostles used the Old Testament extensively during this period too.
Irenaeus took the dangerous and erroneous position that: "The apostles had left no Scripture at all. In this case, he says, we should still be able to follow the order of tradition, which the Apostles handed down to those into whose hands they committed the churches" (1, p. 78).
May I say that such a view as this could have terrible repercussions, (just look at the damage men like Jim Jones and David Koresh did, when they offered their "God-given calling" to ignorant people), for the simple purpose that if one took the words of men to be the word of God, who could ever know for sure, whether or not this was so. One would be forever in bondage to such men and such a precarious position as this, would cause much anxiety and concern.
The late Leonard Ravenhill once said the following: "Either the Bible is absolute or it's obsolete."
And that's our view entirely!
"A popular Protestant theory makes it the right and the duty of each individual to interpret the Bible for himself and to follow his own religion accordingly; the Catholic, on the contrary, maintains that it belongs to the Church, and to the Church alone, to determine the true sense of the Scripture, and that we cannot interpret contrary to the Church's decision, or to the unanimous consent of the fathers, without making shipwreck of the faith" (1, p. 78).
There is much in this paragraph that needs to be highlighted and then refuted.
Firstly, the Scripture always commends people who take the initiative to read it to check to see if it lines up with apostolic teachings (Acts 17:11); to help the child of God understand God's word (2 Tim. 2:15); to fully equip the saint to be perfectly able to walk and live the Christian life (2 Tim. 3:16) and finally to allow a universal blessing to all who read and believe it (Rev. 1:3).
Secondly, the diversity within the many strands of true Biblical Christianity, only goes to enrich the universal method of worshipping God; such groups therefore are not ones "own religion" but just different emphasises and interpretations of divers theological positions. To make this erroneous statement about ones "own religion" is either wilful ignorance or intentional smearing.
And thirdly, one needs to read this section very carefully again, for what has just been said is this: you, Mr or Mrs Catholic, are not allowed to have your own view as to what the Bible teaches. Your opinion must line up totally with "the unanimous consent of the fathers" and if they went wrong, woe be unto you (Matt. 15:14).
"It is not necessary for all Christians to read the Bible" (1 p. 79).
This subject has long been a bone of contention between Catholics and Bible believing Christians, because the latter have long believed that such a medieval view does indeed do much damage to the average Catholic, for ignorance of Scripture, according to "infallible" pope Benedict XV, is "ignorance of Christ." You can't have it both ways.
"Clement XI condemned the proposition that the reading of Scripture is for all" (1, p. 79).
Such a statement as this therefore is deeply offensive and insulting, not only for the men and women that shed their blood and even died for the word of God, but also to Scripture itself.
Jude would also say how one "should earnestly contend for the faith which was ONCE delivered unto the saints" (Jude 4).
"....The Councils of Toulouse (1229) and Tarragona (1234) forbade the laity to read the vernacular translations of the Bible. Pius IV required the bishops to refuse lay persons leave to read even Catholics versions of Scripture, unless their confessors or parish priests judged that such reading was likely to prove beneficial" (1, p. 79).
The Scriptures, according to Paul, have the power to make anyone wise unto Salvation (2 Tim. 3:15).
Also keep in mind that for centuries the clergy were more than happy to keep the laity illiterate and therefore totally dependent of them and "holy mother" church.
"The popes have warned Catholics against Protestant Bible Societies, which distribute versions (mostly corrupt versions) of the Bible with the avowed purpose of perverting simple Catholics" (1, p. 79).
Their statement "simple Catholics" is a most honest one, for most Catholics are indeed simple to the real meat of the word of God; unfortunately for them, that is how their church likes it.
And while on the subject of "corrupt versions," may I share two rather embarrassing and own goals from the church of Rome:
"That it [the Vulgate] has many defects has never been denied" (Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. XV, p. 370).
"It [Douay-Rheims Bible] certainly had great faults, for it is disfigured by uncouth and sometimes scarcely intelligible language" (Catholic Dictionary, p. 28).
And yet more double standards is then offered, only to those that could read of and pay of course, when we read this: "Leo XIII granted indulgences to those who devoutly read the Scriptures (1898)" (1, p. 79).
Catholics discovered reading the Authorised Bible, without permission of their masters, were nearly always excommunicated (The Index, Canons after Art 10; Council of Trent, Paris edition, 1832).
"Infallible" pope Clement VIII ordered all Catholic Bibles to be burnt, even though "infallible" pope Sixtus V had officially sanctioned their existence (Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. II, p. 411-412).
In 1548, one lady in Leeuward was unfortunately discovered by the Catholic Gestapo to have a copy of a Latin Testament; she was put on the rack, tortured and then beheaded. Why? Because she had no right to read this book, without "permission" (Thomas Armitage, A History of the Baptists, p. 412).
The next account is a most sad one, when a Christian individual is treated with utter contempt and religious bigotry: "Dirk Willemzoon was a Bible believer that had been sentenced to death for being a Christian. One day he managed to escape from his Catholic guards and nearly drowned in a freezing lake. However he was able to swim to the shore but one of the guards chasing him fell in and started to drown. Willemzoon quickly pulled him free, only to then be re-arrested by the guard and his other colleagues. The following day he was burnt alive at the stake"!
The following facts only go to degrade the Catholic church even further into a hostile Bible rejecting institution.
It was once said that when the AV translators came together to translate the word of God into the King's English, the one thing that each of them knew firsthand, was the fact that they had lived long enough to remember the terrible purges that Rome had ordered in Britain, therefore this new and masterful text, would forever separate the Whore of Rome from the true Body of Christ.
1. A Catholic Dictionary, St John's Seminary, Wonersh, 1961
2. The Macarthur Study Bible, 1997
3. The Scofield Reference Bible, 1909
1st October 2006
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