Jesus Christ did not found many denominations! Christ said, “I will build my Church.” He did built it! One Church, commissioned to preach and to publish His Gospel — the very Message He brought from God — to all the world!
But what do we find today? Hundreds of different and disagreeing sects, all founded by men, each professing to teach the truth, yet contradicting and disagreeing with all the others — a modern religious Babylon!
But what is a “sect”? According to Webster, it is “a group that has broken away from the established Church.” Who established the Church? — Christ! Today’s host of sects or denominations have broken away from that established parent Church — they teach different doctrines and observe different practices!
The religious sects of Jesus’ day were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Samaritans. They had broken away from the true parent Old Testament Church established by God through Moses. Jesus joined none of them. On the contrary, He called His disciples out of them! The Greek word “ecclesia,” translated “Church” in English, has the meaning of “called-out ones.”
Is The True Church Political?
Very few really know what the true Church is, namely the collective body of individuals, called out from the ways of this present world, who have totally surrendered themselves to the rule of God, and who, through the Holy Spirit, become the begotten sons of God (Rom. 8:9). Jesus has purchased this Church by shedding His own blood for it (Acts 20:28).
The true Church is not some politically organized denomination which one joins or becomes a member of in order to be “saved.” Jesus did not die for some one religious organization called a church. Joining a local church congregation does NOT put you into God’s Church.
You can’t join the true Church; only God can put you into it by His Holy Spirit. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into (put into) one Body” (I Cor. 12:13). God makes you a member of His Church — if you surrender your life to Him — even if you have no local church with which to fellowship.
The Church is called the body of Christ because it is a spiritual organism whose living, active Head is Jesus Christ, in the same sense that the husband is head of the wife (Eph. 5:23,31). How does one enter this true Church of God? — this spiritual union? Notice:
When God’s Church first began on the day of Pentecost, Peter gave the answer to this question. Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Then we are promised the “gift” of the Holy Spirit to guide us in obeying and following Christ — our real Lord and Master. This gift puts us into the Church, as we read in I Cor. 12:13.
Today, one of the largest, and most powerful sects in the world is the Catholic Church. It proclaims itself to be the Church that Jesus Christ built through the apostles. but even a cursory reading of the New Testament reveals this notion to be false. There is no mention in scripture of the papacy, worship/adoration of Mary (or the immaculate conception of Mary, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the assumption of Mary, or Mary as co-redemptrix and mediatrix), petitioning saints in Heaven for their prayers, apostolic succession, the ordinances of the church functioning as sacraments, infant baptism, confession of sin to a priest, purgatory, indulgences, or the equal authority of church tradition and Scripture.
Another important point to consider: While most people today suppose that the true Church of God was rapidly to grow big, to become a powerful organization, exerting powerful influence on the world, making this a better world, becoming the stabilizing influence of the world’s civilization, actually Christ founded His Church for no such reason.
Christ’s instruction to His Church, through the New Testament, was NOT to participate in this world’s politics and affairs in an effort to make this world a better world. Instead, His command to His Church is, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” (II Corinthians 6:17).
In His final prayer for His ONE Church, Jesus prayed: “I pray for them: I pray NOT for the world … Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. I have given them thy word, and the world hateth them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world. even as I am not of the world” (John 17:9-16).
Notice it – the world hates them. Why? because of the message of the word of God, rather than a focus on the messenger. Jesus did command His body — the collective body through which the Spirit of God does the work of God — to go into all the world and preach and publish His Gospel. But those of His Church are described as being strangers and foreigners in this world — as ambassadors for Christ — representing His Kingdom which is foreign to the world — yet never being of the world!
None of this can be said of the catholic Church. So, if the origin of the Catholic Church is not biblical, where do we look?
For the first 280 years of Christian history, Christianity was banned by the Roman empire, and true Christians were incredibly persecuted. This changed after the “conversion” of the Roman Emperor Constantine who “legalized” Christianity at the Edict of Milan in A.D. 313. And the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, was an attempt to unify Christianity.
Origins Of Catholicism:
In his Essays and Sketches, the 19th-century Roman Catholic cardinal John Henry Newman indicates the origin of many teachings of his Church, saying: “The phenomenon, admitted on all hands, is this:—That great portion of what is generally received as Christian truth is, in its rudiments or in its separate parts, to be found in heathen philosophies and religions. For instance, the doctrine of a Trinity is found both in the East and in the West; so is the ceremony of washing; so is the rite of sacrifice. The doctrine of the Divine Word is Platonic; the doctrine of the Incarnation is Indian.” Then, replying to a critic who argues, “These things are in heathenism, therefore they are not Christian,” the cardinal says: “We, on the contrary, prefer to say, ‘these things are in Christianity, therefore they are not heathen.’” But their source is the Babylonian and Greek teachings that existed centuries before the birth of Roman Catholicism. Moreover, they are not to be found in God’s Word, the Bible.
That the great apostasy went back to pagan religion for its teachings and ceremonies is further confirmed by Cardinal Newman’s comments in his book, “The Development of Christian Doctrine,” where he writes: “Constantine, in order to recommend the new [Roman Catholic] religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed in their own.” Then, after listing many of the practices of his church, the cardinal admits that these “are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church.”
‘The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: “The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.”—(1967), Vol. XIV, p. 299. That’s just one of the many cherished doctrines of the Catholic church, The New Catholic Encyclopedia shows to be completely unscriptural.
Rank Pagan Rites
Years after his invasion of Rome in 312 C.E., Constantine the Great, Roman emperor of the fourth century. made it known that, on the eve of his conquest, he saw the vision of a flaming cross, with the motto “By This Conquer.” This he inscribed on his standard. He adopted the foundations for the Roman Catholic religion apparently to gain support in furthering his own political ends, and he fused into the “Christian” religious system the pagan beliefs that were still nearest to his heart.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica says of Constantine: “Paganism must still have been an operative belief with the man who, down almost to the close of his life, retained so many pagan superstitions. . . . Constantine was entitled to be called Great in virtue rather of what he did than what he was. Tested by character, indeed, he stands among the lowest of all those to whom the epithet [“Great”] has in ancient or modern times been applied.” This is demonstrated in that he stooped even to the murder of several of his own family members. His pagan title, “Pontifex Maximus,” was later transferred to the popes of the Roman Catholic Church.
Down through the Dark and Middle Ages, the popes of Rome ruled much like kings on earth. They did not wait for Christ to set up his millennial rule from the heavens. They wanted a “kingdom” then, for their own selfish advantage. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes it in these words: “One of the earliest causes of the corruption of Christianity was the attempt to translate the Christian kingdom of God into a visible monarchy in which the saints inherited the earth in a literal way.” It was no wonder that honest persons wanted to take issue with such “corruption of Christianity”! However, the cruel Inquisition, which took hundreds of thousands of lives, long served to keep so-called heretics in check.
Of course the Roman Catholic Church denies the pagan origin of its beliefs and practices. The Catholic Church disguises its ancient pagan beliefs under layers of complicated theology. The Catholic Church excuses and denies its pagan origin beneath the mask of “church tradition.” Recognizing that many of its beliefs and practices are utterly foreign to Scripture, the Catholic Church is forced to deny the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.
There are so many pagan traditions, rites, and practices in the Catholic church, there is scarcely enough paper to write it down. The origin of the Catholic Church is the tragic compromise of Christianity with the pagan religions that surrounded it. Instead of proclaiming the Gospel and converting the pagans, the Catholic Church “Christianized” the pagan religions, and “paganized” Christianity. By blurring the differences and erasing the distinctions, yes, the Catholic Church made itself attractive to the people of the Roman empire. One result was the Catholic Church becoming the supreme religion in the “Roman world” for centuries. However, another result was the most dominant form of Christianity apostatizing from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and the true proclamation of God’s Word.