Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 4, 1998
Last Updated :
February 15, 2012
Man Worship, Pope Worship, RCC And Paganism, RCC - Robber Of The Poor, RCC And Materialism, RCC And Sexual Perversion, RCC And Alcoholism, Doctrinal Dogmatism Flexibility and Unity, Corruption Of The Gospel, Spoon-fed Christians, Spiritual Growth, Faith and The Word, Our Children's Faith, Golden Faith
Sad to say, despite all of these clear examples of humility found throughout the Bible, there are some people today who claim to represent the Lord, and who claim to teach the true Word of God, who manifest absolutely no signs of humility whatsoever. As Jesus said, they love to wear long robes, and to receive the praises of men; just like the Scribes and the Pharisees of the New Testament era:
"Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation."
Luke 20:46-47, KJV
"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
John 12:42-43, KJV
I am reminded of the Roman Catholic pope who is carried around on his "sedia gestatoria", that is, the portable throne which is used in certain ceremonies such as during the coronation of a new pope, during the pope's entries to St. Peter's Cathedral, and during other public functions as well. This man is praised and worshipped by millions of Catholics around the world! This act of wanting to see the pope when he is driven around in his pope-mobile is nothing short of man worship. It is putting faith in a man, instead of in God where it really belongs; but then, this is truly the way of the world as I point out in such articles as "The Only Credentials You Need!".
Knowing the evil which lurks in the heart of man, one can only wonder how the pope can possibly receive so much praise and attention without being corrupted by it. After having his hand kissed so many times, one would think that the pope would have to either find the act totally repugnant, and be totally humbled by such admiration and praise, or else he would have to be wholly given over to his pride and vanity. Personally, despite the false claims made by the Roman Catholic hierarchy of "apostolic succession", I cannot imagine for a moment, the Apostle Peter having ever sat upon such a throne. It certainly wouldn't follow Christ's example of washing each other's feet, or any of the other examples of humility which I cited previously.
What some of you might find interesting, is the fact that this custom of carrying the pope on his portable throne appears to have connections with the ancient Roman "sedia curulis" on which newly-elected consuls were carried through the streets of Rome. As I point out in other articles, many Roman Catholic traditions are adopted directly from pagan practices and beliefs which were later integrated into Christianity when Emperor Constantine the Great declared it a "religio licita", or legal religion. This was done in order to appease the masses, and to bring as many people as possible under the umbrella of the "holy mother church". Thus, contrary to what was actually taught by Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic Church has always been more interested in power and numbers, than in preaching the pure undefiled Gospel of Salvation. Even today the "holy mother church" allows the "natives" to continue with some of their local practices, as long as the "mother church" can control their minds and hearts.
Returning to the previous Scriptures, notice how Jesus also said "which devour widows' houses". If there is one thing which greatly disturbs me, it is the fact that in many of the messages supposedly received by so-called Catholic visionaries and charismatics, poverty is often stressed as being an important virtue. It is also a well-known fact that a large percentage of the Roman Catholic following consists of many of the poor people of the world who basically live a hand-to-mouth existence. Despite their lowly condition, these poor people are made to feel a moral and spiritual obligation to tithe to the "holy mother church". Partially through the worldwide act of tithing, the Roman Catholic Church has grown into one of the richest financial empires in the world! Truly, she has devoured widows' houses! This unhealthy desire for worldly abundance, or power, popularity and plenty, is in direct contrast to Jesus' own teachings in the Gospels when He said such things as the following:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:19-21, KJV
". . . My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36, KJV
The Apostle Peter, from whom the Roman Catholic hierarchy claims all popes have succeeded, also wrote the following lines which clearly expose the Roman Catholic Church's sin of a love for wealth and materialism at the expense of their poor flocks:
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
1 Peter 5:2-3, KJV
How can the Roman Catholic Church possibly justify its beliefs and practices in light of the Scriptures? Surely, if ever a religious organization perfectly fit the description of the church of Laodicea found in the Book of Revelation, it has to be none other than the Roman Catholic Church. Consider part of the message delivered to John by the Angelic Messenger:
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"
Revelation 3:15-17, KJV
James also clearly pointed out that the people who are truly rich, are those who are rich in faith, and not in material abundance. Through his words, we see that just like today, even in the First Century Church there were those who were partial to the rich, while neglecting the spiritual needs of the poor:
"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor . . ."
James 2:1-6a, KJV
What an accurate depiction of some worldly churches today which are more concerned with appearances, than with helping the physically and spiritually poor of the world. Aside from the Roman Catholic Church, I am thinking of certain American churches which are rich, white, and very prejudiced in their views. If all of these things weren't enough, consider the shocking news stories we often read concerning homosexuals, lesbians and pedophiles which have been knowingly permitted to perform their sinful deeds within the Catholic structure for years without ever receiving any kind of reprimand or demotion in their position. Thank God at least a few of these perverts are now being brought to justice. Consider this news capsule from the American news service CNN, that is, the Cable News Network:
----- Begin Quote -----
PRIEST CONVICTED IN DALLAS SEXUAL ABUSE CASE
"A former priest was convicted in Dallas Saturday of sexually abusing three altar boys in a case that already has produced the nation's largest civil judgment for clergy sex-abuse allegations. Jurors found Rudolph Kos, 52, guilty of three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one of indecency with a child. According to testimony during a civil trial last summer, Kos sexually abused boys from 1981 to 1992. That trial led to a $119.6 million judgment against Kos and the Catholic Diocese of Dallas."
----- End Of Quote -----
All of these terrible acts could have easily been avoided had the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy simply followed some of the advice given by the Apostle Paul two thousand years ago when he said:
"But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."
1 Corinthians 7:9, KJV
Truly, due to their willful disobedience to the Scriptures in not allowing their priests and nuns to marry, the Roman Catholic Church has fulfilled one of the very things which the Apostle Paul prophesied would happen during the Endtime when he wrote to Timothy:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
1 Timothy 4:1-3, KJV
Many too are the stories of alcoholic priests who have gotten drunk while at a certain feast or public gathering where they are supposed to perform a certain function. If you can believe it, some priests are even said to have performed mass while in a drunken state, totally ignoring the following sound advice given in the Scriptures:
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."
Luke 21:34, KJV
"Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying."
Romans 13:13, KJV
"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;"
1 Timothy 3:2, KJV
"For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;"
Titus 1:7, KJV
While it may appear to some that I have a preoccupation with exposing the hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic Church, I should point out that all of these things are not limited to that organization alone. Some Protestant and other non-Catholic denominations are guilty of the very same things. This is indeed a sad situation; for while there are some spiritual leaders within organized religion who do take their position seriously, and who do try to faithfully feed their flocks with their current knowledge and understanding of the Holy Scriptures, these problems with materialism, hypocrisy, unbridled lifestyles, and imposing a double standard upon their flocks, have given them, and organized religion in general, a bad name. Thus, it should come as no surprise that a growing number of people who have a sincere faith in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Bible, simply don't want to have anything to do with organized religion any longer.
As I mentioned towards the beginning of this article, another problem which currently exists within Christianity, concerns those people who have felt the call to be teachers of the Holy Scriptures. Contrary to the attitude of humility which I described earlier in this article, there are those who obviously believe that their word, or their doctrine, or their interpretation, is etched in stone, as if it were the direct Word of God. These people tend to be very rigid and totally inflexible in their views. Due to their own pride, they have elevated themselves to such a position, that if anyone should dare to question their interpretation of the Scriptures, they are looked down upon and condemned.
Personally, while I desire with all of my heart to fully understand the mysteries of the Word of God, particularly those Scriptures which deal with Endtime prophecies, and while I do my best to study and compare Scripture with Scripture, as I stated earlier, I must humbly admit that I can make no claim to having interpreted anything in the Bible with one hundred per cent accuracy. I feel that we all need to remain conscious of the fact that we are prone to error, simply because we are human, and not adopt a position of extreme adamancy as some people have done.
Of course, with everything I say, there is a balance. I am not suggesting that we should not stand firm concerning what we believe the Lord has truly shown us in His Word; however, we should possess the humility to admit when we are wrong, and the flexibility to change our views when additional study of the Scriptures reveals that we are mistaken, or a little off-center in our interpretation. No one can deny that trying to understand eschatological events is a very complex issue. I am sure that the Lord, by His Holy Spirit, tries to help all of us to understand the same things in His Word, particularly in regards to the Endtime prophecies. I am reminded of something the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth:
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV
Tragically, because we did not live during the times of Christ and His First Apostles, and because we didn't learn from them directly, and because almost two thousand years have passed since the original Gospel and revelations were given, there has been plenty of time for many false ideas, doctrines and practices to creep into our belief system; just as I have shown with the example of the Roman Catholic Church. As I explain in other articles such as "The Book of Enoch: Truth or Heresy?", some of these things crept in due to simple human error and misunderstanding, while others were intentionally and purposely meant to pervert the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, thus making it less ineffective. Additionally, this corruption of the Gospel was a result of compromise between the political and religious systems during the first centuries of the Christian era. It is for this reason that even the writers of the Epistles issued warnings to the Believers of their day such as in this example from the Apostle Paul:
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Galatians 1:6-9, KJV
The end result of all of this manipulation is that today, the Truth has been buried under a lot of theological rubble, erroneous traditions of men, philosophical meanders, and in some cases, outright lies. Due to these various factors, as well as to our own pride and resistance to change, our minds and hearts are sometimes filled with preconceived ideas, long-held cherished doctrines, and influences from others which prevent us from receiving a clearer understanding of what it is the Lord is trying to show us in His Word. I can speak from personal experience regarding these matters. For many years, I too embraced certain ideas which I have since discarded. This is because, like many people in organized religion today, I blindly accepted what was being taught to me without question. I was a spoon-fed Christian; however, once I began to really study the Scriptures on my own with the Lord's help, instead of having the Truth served to me, I began to see and understand some things in a new light. At the same time, let me again remind you that there is a balance to this view; for as we are told in the Word:
"A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight."
Proverbs 11:1, KJV
When we are still young in our relationship with the Lord, what the Bible refers to as being babes in Christ, it is only natural that we need someone else more spiritually mature than ourselves to feed and instruct us in the ways of Truth. Both Jesus and the Apostle Peter exemplified this very well when they said:
"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 19:14, KJV
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
1 Peter 2:2, KJV
Eventually, however, there comes a time when all parents expect their children to learn how to feed themselves, how to clothe and care for themselves, and how to eventually go out on their own as young adults in order to start their own families. As mature Christians, the Lord also expects us to learn how to feed ourselves, or perhaps better said, how to be fed directly by Him through a faithful study of His Word, so that we can be firmly established in the faith. In other words, when we are young in the Lord, just as with physical children who accept what they are taught by their parents, we also believe and accept what we have been taught by our priest, pastor, minister or Bible teacher. In a sense, our faith is really their faith, because we are believing as they believe, and understanding the Scriptures as they understand them. While this may be good and well for a time, what the Lord really desires of us is that we are fully persuaded of these things for ourselves. We must act and work according to our own faith based upon our personal knowledge of His Word. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote the following concerning the eating of meat:
". . . Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
Romans 14:5b, KJV
"Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth."
Romans 14:22, KJV
So as you can see, our faith must not simply be based upon what we have heard from others, but rather it must be based upon a certain knowing; and the only way that knowing comes is through a personal diligent study of the Word of God. This is how we each become fully persuaded of the Truth; for real faith comes only through hearing, or reading and studying, the Word of God. If our faith is only built upon what we have heard from others, then we may falter when the storm comes. Following are a few more verses which help to clarify these thoughts:
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:17, KJV
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV
"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Acts 17:10-11, KJV
For those of you who have young children, this concept is particularly important. As Christian parents, we desire with all of our hearts that our children will grow up possessing a fear of the Lord, and a love for His Word; thus, in the few short years that they are with us, we try our best to fill their minds and hearts with the knowledge of the Lord. However, despite our best efforts, we must all realize that the day will come when our children will reach the age of accountability. At that time, they are going to have to decide on their own what they choose to believe. In that day, their faith is going to have to be based upon their own belief in, and acceptance of, the Word of God, because we will no longer be standing next to them saying "This is the Truth. This is what you must believe because I believe it." They are going to have to be fully persuaded of these things for themselves of their own free will, and not just because mom and dad say so. If we have been faithful shepherds during their formative years, hopefully, our children will make the right choice despite any opposition they may receive from antagonistic school friends, atheistic teachers, or anyone else who may come along in their lives and question their beliefs. Hopefully, as it is written in the Book of Proverbs, they will not depart from the Way they have been taught:
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6, KJV
Hopefully, our children will be so filled with the Word and the Spirit of the Lord, that they will easily and readily be able to humbly yet convincingly provide the proper answers regarding their faith straight from the Bible:
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
1 Peter 3:15, KJV
As I have now made clear, the key is faith based upon a diligent personal study of, and an understanding of, God's Word. This is truly the only way that any of us can be fully persuaded of what we believe. This is the only kind of faith which will endure the storm and pass the hardest test. It is the faith of gold tried in the fire as mentioned by the Apostle Peter:
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"
1 Peter 1:7, KJV
With this last thought, we have now come full circle in this discussion; for you see, in order for one to be a faithful and an effective Messenger or Prophet of the Lord, he must be firmly convinced of what he believes, and in Whom he has believed; precisely as the Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy:
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1:12, KJV
This is why the Prophets and holy men of old were able to endure the things which they did; for they knew in Whom they believed. There must be no room for doubt or vacillation whatsoever; for if there is doubt, the enemies of Christ will surely find it out and make use of it. We must know what we believe, and why we believe it; otherwise, we may be devoured by the roaring lion:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
1 Peter 5:8, KJV
"Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."
2 Timothy 4:17, KJV
If you wish to remain safe from the jaws of the lion, and his demon-inspired emissaries in this perverse generation, you must faithfully read, study, believe in and memorize the Word of God! In this way, and in this way only, you will be founded upon the Rock, and you will not be ashamed in the Evil Day. You will keep the Heavenly Vision right up to the very end, despite anything they may try to do to stop you:
"He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock."
Luke 6:48, KJV
"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
1 Corinthians 10:4, KJV
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
Ephesians 6:13, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
"But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:16, KJV
He's coming soon! Be thou faithful unto death, and He will surely give you a Crown of Life! I pray that this article has been a blessing and an inspiration to many.