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The problem many people have with the Catholic Church is that they teach things that are non-biblical.
- OK — On what basis do you conclude that something has to be biblical to be believed?
After all, the Bible itself testifies that Tradition is of equal weight. Paul praised the Corinthians for following tradition (1 Corinthians 11:2). In 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Paul says,
|15 Hold fast to the traditions which you received, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.
The pillar and foundation of the Truth is not the Bible. It's the Church (1 Timothy 3:15), which is founded, not on the Bible, but on the Apostles and Prophets (Ephesians 2:20). The faith was entrusted once for all to the saints (Jude 3), not to the Bible.
Now the Bible, it is true, is inspired and inerrant, but it has to be interpreted correctly, because people distort it to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).
What is really unbiblical — indeed, contrary to Scripture — is to insist that only those things taught in Scripture are authoritative, as I've shown above.
- Catholics pray in vain repetition when Jesus clearly said do not pray in vain repetition, . . .
Jesus said not to pray with vain repetition. He did not say, not to pray with repetition. There is a difference. What Jesus is referring to is pagan prayer. Let's look at a few translations of this verse:
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Matthew 6:7 (KJV) 1900
7 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Matthew 6:7 (ESV)
7 But when you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the pagans, for they think that because of their many words they will be heard.
Matthew 6:7 (LEB)
The Greek word used is as follows:
βαττολογέω battŏlŏgĕō, bat-tol-og-eh´-o; from Βάττος Battŏs (a proverbial stammerer) and 3056; to stutter, i.e. (by impl.) to prate tediously:—use vain repetitions.
Strong, James, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 18
Note the reference to babbling and empty phrases.
This refers to a specific type of prayer that the pagans used, where they made a lot of noise at length, thinking they could wear their gods down by the sheer volume of their words, but that's not what Catholics are doing. Ironically, the counter-example of good prayer that Jesus uses here is the Lord's Prayer, which is part of the Rosary that you are referring to.
- What if you are not convinced?
Our Lord Himself repeats His prayers. For example, in the Garden of Gethsemane we are told:
44 leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. (Matthew 26:44)
As blood was streaming from the face of Our Lord in the midst of His agony, no one could accuse His repetitious prayer of being vain or meaningless. In fact, Scripture teaches that in the Heavenly liturgy, where we will worship God in spirit and truth, the angels and saints pray the same words over and over,
"Holy, Holy, Holy!!":
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! (Revelation 4:8)
(Martin, Curtis, "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary," in Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God, ed. by Scott Hahn and Leon J. Suprenant Jr., Second Edition (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2004), p. 26)
Certainly we would not accuse the angelic hosts of vain repetition simply because they repeat their words. [emphasis mine]
- Jesus never told us to pray to his mother but Catholics continue to pray to Mary. They use the excuse "Well, she's just interceding for us." The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the Great Intercessor and when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray He strictly told them. He never told them to pray to his mother . . . not even in the Book of Revelation which is in the future.
Actually we are commanded to intercede for one another in 1 Timothy 2:1. Jesus is not the only intercessor; He is the Chief Intercessor. Yes, Jesus told the disciples how to pray, as I mentioned, by offering the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) which we pray in the Rosary and which you reject.
- Jesus never told us to rely entirely on Scripture, either, right?
Sure, he condemned "traditions of men" and traditions that nullify the Word of God, but not ever tradition, is a human tradition, and not every tradition, nullifies the Word of God. In fact, Jesus specifically bound his disciples to follow a tradition. In Matthew 23:2-3, Jesus says,
"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."
Moses' Seat was a tradition. One of the priests held it as an office and he made decisions for the whole community which were binding.
Anyway, I digress. Mary elicits Jesus's first miracle through her intercession, the Wedding Feast of Cana, (John 2:1-12) so we know she is a powerful intercessor. James 5:16 says that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. In any case, I am sure there are lots of things you do, that Jesus never told you to do.
By the way, Mary does make an appearance in Revelation chapter 12. She wears a crown because she is the Queen of Heaven. In verse 17 we are called her offspring.
In Psalm 45, she makes a prophetic appearance:
12"the people of Tyre will court your favor with gifts, the richest of the people with all kinds of wealth." (She will be an intercessor.)
16 "Instead of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth."
(We are her offspring, and she will do favors for us.)
17 "I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you for ever and ever."
(Luke 1:48b: "For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.")
- So what was that again about Jesus never telling us to ask his mother for her intercession?
I was baptized at Baptism though it is not required to be saved.
Then how do you interpret:
1 Peter 3:20-21:
"Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ..."?, and
"He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. The saying is sure."
So He saved us by the washing of regeneration (which is Baptism), so that we might be justified and have eternal life. It doesn't say we were justified, so that we might be baptized, but baptized, so that we might be justified.
[Baptism] is an outward sign of an inward change . . .
OK, Mr. Bible Believer,
- Where does the Bible say that Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change?
The Scriptures say:
The Israelites were "baptized into Moses" (1 Corinthians 10:2)
- Was that an "outward sign of an inward change", or did it actually free them from the power of evil?
Romans 6:3 states:
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" Romans 6:3
- Does that sound like an "outward sign of an inward change"?
Not, "all of us who have been baptized into his death have been baptized into Christ Jesus."
That would be your belief. Or this:
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
As for the thief on the Cross, just because he was in a situation where he couldn't be baptized doesn't mean that no one needs to be baptized at all. That would be like saying because a policeman gives you a warning (or doesn't pursue you at all) that it is always OK to speed. We don't believe that Baptism is absolutely necessary; God is not bound by the sacraments. We believe that someone who wants to be baptized, but through no fault of their own, cannot before they die, dies with the grace of Baptism. (And by the way, we don't believe that everyone goes to Purgatory.)
- Speaking of Purgatory, what do you make of this portion of Scripture:
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15
Our works are going to be tried by fire. Those who don't build with gold, silver, and precious stones will see their work burned and shall suffer loss, which wouldn't happen if they go to Heaven, but they shall be saved, which means they don't go to Hell.