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Catholic

How Catholicism differs from Biblical Christianity

Justification

This doctrine constitutes the legal declaration of the believer's absolute righteousness before God on the basis of his personal faith in Jesus Christ, proving that our perfect standing before God is not dependent upon Church teaching, sacraments, personal character, or good works, but solely upon personal faith in Christ alone.

A brief evaluation of the above doctrines illustrates a central concern: As a result of its tradition and/or interpretation of Scripture, the Catholic approach to biblical doctrine is characteristically colored in a nonbiblical fashion.

As a brief response to those who argue that the subject of theology/doctrine is either "divisive" (something that divides rather than unites the Church) or that it is something really not taught in the Bible and that Christians should simply unite and "love one another" but not discuss doctrine, check out the following three points.

First, historically, theology is something that has united the true church in common confession, and not something that has divided it. Theology only becomes divisive when unbelievers or schismatics in the church refuse to accept what the Bible clearly teaches, or when theology itself becomes dry, academic intellectualism, or when theological positions are carved out and made tests of orthodoxy when Scripture itself is not clear on such a position. But none of these are the fault of theology itself-only of the people who are perverting it for their own purposes. In essence, if the church does not identify itself by what it believes (doctrine), it is impossible to identify what it means to be a Christian.

Second, anyone who takes the time to examine all the biblical usages of the word "doctrine" in the New Testament will prove personally that God is very much concerned about correct doctrine. Therefore, His people should also be concerned. For example, "Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.... Exhort in sound doctrine and ... refute those who contradict.... Speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:2,3; Titus 1:9; 2:1 NASB).

All doctrine is, is biblical truth. Because God is a God of truth who has honored His name by revealing the truths of doctrine to us, God's people should also honor correct doctrine in their own lives.

Third, the following example from the book of Ephesians could be duplicated from most books in the New Testament. This proves that doctrine is a major component of biblical teaching and something that cannot be ignored by any Christian who loves God's Word. Notice how many doctrines are covered in the first chapter of Ephesians alone (additional references from later chapters are sometimes added).

Ephesians

1:1 -union with Christ (1:3,4,7,10,13,22,23; 2:6,7,13,15,21; 4:5; 5:8,30)

1:2 - grace (1:6,7; 2:5,7,8; 3:2,7,8; 4:7; 6:24)

1:2 - reconciliation (2:14-17; 3:12; 6:15,23)

1:4 - election (1:5,11)

1:4 - sanctification (2:10; 3:17; 4:1-3,12-16,22-25; 5:1; 6:18)

1:4 - glorification

1:5 - adoption

1:7 - redemption (1:14; 4:30)

1:7 - propitiation (2:13,16; 4:32; 5:2,25)

1:7 - atonement (2:13,16; 4:32; 5:2,25)

1:11 - eternal security (1:14)

1:12 - glorification (5:27)

1:13 - conversion (faith and repentance)

1:13 - sealing (4:30)

1:15 - faith (1:19; 2:8; 4:5,13; 6:16)

1:18 - calling

1:20 - resurrection (4:8,10)

1:22 - the church (2:14,16,19-22; 3:10; 5:23-29,32)

2:1-3 - depravity (2:5; 2:12; 4:17-19; 5:8)

2:5 - regeneration (2:10; 3:16; 4:24)

6:14 - justification

6:18 - perseverance

As the above illustration reveals, it is wrong for anyone to argue that theology/doctrine is irrelevant to New Testament study and the individual Christian life.

Go To Part 2 "Kinship with the Pharasee"

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