Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3

Tradition or Truth?

Colossians 2:8


·         This is going to be a little bit of a different message this morning

·         If you have been paying attention to the news reports you have heard about the latest wave of Roman Catholic priest sex scandals.

o   NY Times reporting: “Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years [as reported by a grand jury in Pennsylvania.] The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.”

·         I felt burdened to address this specific topic this morning in hopes that we can make clear what God’s plan is for Christianity. The Bible makes that very clear because it is the Word of God! I’d also like to help us in evangelizing this community.

·         I have many friends and loved ones who are Roman Catholic. They are kind, hard-working people, many share convictions that we have (i.e. abortion, religious liberty), many are very devout and sincere in their religious pursuit. However, all of that means nothing if you are standing on a shaky foundation!

·         Illustr- Leaning tower of Pisa

·         My message this morning is: Tradition or Truth? Which are you standing on?

·         This morning I want to address the root, the foundation- I believe the RCC is a very shaky foundation, and is not solid ground for believers! Now, I know when dealing with this subject many get upset because it’s almost like attacking their mother! But my goal is to deal with foundations. Which will it be: Truth or Tradition?

·         Jesus said: Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth!

·         “Traditionalism is the dead faith of those still living.”

·         This is not about taking off your Catholic cap and exchanging it for a Baptist cap, this is about standing on the truth of God’s word!


I.                    Brief overview of Church History

a.      In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build my church.”

                                                              i.      No matter how hard men have tried to stamp out Christianity or snuff out its light- Jesus Christ is still building His church!

b.      Christ is the Founder of the NT institution called the Church

                                                              i.      Church: local assembly of baptized believers carrying out the Great Commission

c.       Study Matthew 16:13-18

                                                              i.      Note Christ is the Founder, and also the Foundation of the Church

                                                            ii.      Who is the Rock?

                                                          iii.      Peter is just a stone

                                                           iv.      So the teaching that Peter was the most important Apostle, and the First Pope is tradition not truth. Mathew 8:14-15 he had a mother in law!

d.      But how does Christ build His church?

                                                              i.      One answer is suggested inside the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, in letters six feet tall, where Christ’s promise is written in Latin: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church . . “emphasizing the authority given to Peter’s heir who sits upon the papal throne.

                                                            ii.      Even Catholic historians admit there is no straight line from Peter down to the current Pope. Just look up how many times there were 2 Popes!

e.      Papal system

                                                              i.      According to Catholic teaching, WHO IS THE POPE? Here is their answer: "The pope is Christ’s representative on earth as the lawful successor of St. Peter and visible head of the church. Just as a human body has one head, so does the Church have one Head who is Christ. The Pope is His Vicar, or representative, on earth, the visible head of the church" (Baltimore Catechism).

                                                            ii.      It took time for power to be consolidated into what we know as the Pope today with most people settling on Leo I in 440 AD as the first true Pope (called himself pontifex maximus, etc.)

                                                          iii.      But to understand how this happened we have to go back a little further

                                                           iv.      The early church had the Apostles which laid the foundation for the Church as they were directly commissioned by Christ. Churches continued to grow but they were severely persecuted in the Roman Empire

                                                             v.      It wasn’t until Constantine, where he supposedly converted and made Christianity an accepted religion. Soon it would become Rome’s primary religion and his subsequent investment in church institutions, placed Roman bishops at the center of Roman life. They soon became affluent and politically engaged rulers.  The bishop’s political influence increased when Constantine transferred the capital of the empire to Constantinople in 330, a move that left Rome’s bishop as the single most important individual in the city.  

                                                           vi.      Now, Christianity became accepted and even popular! Unfortunately, when studied closely this new version of Christianity was really just Christianized paganism. Believers had always worshipped on the first day of the week, and called it the Lord’s Day- but now it was officially called “Sun”day to also honor the Sun god.

                                                         vii.      As you can well imagine, many heathen customs and practices crept into the church. The pagan images and statues were still honored, but they were given "Christian" names such as Peter or Mary. Artemis (Diana) worship was changed to Mary worship. Also Isis, the Egyptian goddess was easily transformed into Mary. Worshippers of Isis called her "the Great Virgin" and "Mother of the God". Some surviving images of Isis holding the child Horus are in a pose very similar to that of some Mary statues (showing Mary holding the infant Jesus). Heathen temples were consecrated and changed into churches. Heathen feasts were given Christian names. It was just the same old paganism or heathenism under a new name! The church had not conquered the world. THE WORLD HAD CONQUERED THE CHURCH!  Paganism had put on new clothes but it was the same old paganism.

f.        It seems as if in the early centuries Satan tried his best to persecute and destroy Christianity, now he used a different strategy: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!”

g.      Now, of course God always has a remnant of true believers through the ages that separated and would not compromise. We as Baptists trace our heritage through them

h.      The rise of the Roman Catholic Church

                                                              i.      The word Catholic means universal. There was a strong emphasis on total unity at all costs

                                                            ii.      Emphasizes visible unity (universal church)

                                                          iii.      Emphasizes religious hierarchy by misusing terms- bishop, priest, etc.

                                                           iv.      Power became so consolidated that eventually true salvation comes by means of the church. Bible interpretation, worship, all spiritual practices were only under the auspices of the Catholic Church! Anyone not conforming to this huge conglomerate and system was not a true part of Christ

i.        Now, last year we celebrated 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the church door in Germany which sparked the Protestant Reformation

                                                              i.      This was a rediscovery of truth that had been hidden to most people for centuries! Sola Scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia, etc.

                                                            ii.      Baptists, or even Protestants were not just Catholics who got angry and started a new religion.

j.        We need another reformation! Another revival!

II.                  Problems with the Catholic traditions


b.      They say when a priest is ordained he becomes some new sacred entity that is different from other people. This is not biblical! The NT teaches every believer is a priest with Christ as our High Priest!

c.       Rev. George Zirwas (priest) and 3 other preists lured a boy out and filmed child pornography- but they were not removed as priests. He was later found dead strangled in Cuba. Cardinal Archbishop Donald Wuerle spoke at Zirwas’ funeral described as a “kind man” also saying “a priest is a priest once he is ordained, he is a priest forever.” This is rooted in the RCC catechism “Sacrament of Orders.”  It is clear that these bishops had a full time job in covering up a sex abuse ring of perverts, and simply transferring priests instead of removing them or reporting them.

d.      God established a priesthood for Israel in the Old Testament.

e.      But God did not establish a priesthood for the church in the New Testament (I Timothy 3 only pastors and deacons!).

f.        Bishops (elders or pastors) are to be "blameless, the husband of one wife" (I Tim. 3:2).  This would disqualify just about every RC priest.

g.      "Forbidding to marry" is a demonic doctrine (I Tim. 4:1-3).

h.      In the Old Testament, priests offered up sacrifices to God (cf. Ex. 29:10-14).

i.        Christ's sacrificial death on the cross marked the fulfillment and end of the priestly ordinances of the Old Testament.

j.        John 19:30 says Christ cried out, "It is finished." And He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.

k.       This leads to my next point, that the Mass is unscriptural

l.        Hebrews 10:18 says, "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin."

m.    Through His priestly offering on the cross, Christ "by Himself purged our sins" and "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3; cf. 10:12-14).

n.      The Lord’s Supper is symbolic- not transubstantiation

o.      The New York Catechism of the RCC says, “Jesus Christ gave us the sacrifice of the Mass to leave to His Church a visible sacrifice which continues His sacrifice on the cross until the end of time.  The Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross.  (cited by Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholicism).

p.      The biggest problem: the works based sacramental system for salvation

q.      Rest completely in Christ, not tradition!

III.                The Sufficiency of the Word of God

a.      The church’s true foundation has always been the Living Word and the Written Word

b.      Peter said in his epistle regarding the scriptures: (II Peter 1:19-21) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy.”

c.       The questions we must ask: is the word of God truth, and is it enough?


·         This message is to explain why we ourselves are not Catholic and do not identify with them as brethren in Christ.

·         We must pray that God opens their eyes as we witness. Through the years we have seen many RC understand the true gospel and get saved. Pastor Barker, many of you, etc.

·         Most memorable to me is the testimony of Richard Bennet, wrote the tract we carry “From Tradition to Truth.”

·         This is not about taking off your Catholic cap and exchanging it for a Baptist cap.

·         Many unconverted people have beliefs which are similar to true biblical faith, and yet they do not have true faith. Certain people exhibit religious feelings which have the warmth of spiritual love, but are quite empty of God’s grace - Charles Spurgeon

·         There are traditions, and men sitting in a place that only belong to the Lord Jesus Christ!

·         Which will it be for you?