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Friday, September 14, 2007

Not Everyone who says "Lord, Lord.."

I have had some questions lately as to why I believe the Catholic doctrine is false, and I have put together the answers and decided to post them so that I don't have to answer it repeatedly. There are many Catholic teachings with which I disagree, though not all of them I would call false doctrine, and not all of them are matters I would consider to be pertinent to salvation. I have covered here just the handful of verses that talk about false teachers.

Q: How can you say that Catholics have false teachings when they believe in Jesus? I don't understand how people can be so hateful toward such loving and devoted people...

A: I also have no hatred toward Catholics, and I so wish to see them brought to salvation. But I do believe they are blinded and deceived, and their salvation is not dependant on Christ ALONE as the Bible teaches, but through a series of other hoops and other people. They are sincere, but in my studying, they are sincerely wrong. And maybe all Catholics do not agree with these teachings, but they have declared themselves part of a church that holds to them as true, so it is "guilt by assocication" even if they don't live by it.

If you read through history before the reformation, especially in the time of the crusades, catholics generally did what they were told out of blind faith. After the reformation and the World Wars and women's liberation, and a host of other cultural upheavals, the church started to change.

You brought up the debate on another page that cites 1 John 4, which states we will know true believers by their profession or denial of the truth that Christ came in the flesh. And that is one way to determine. Someone is obviously not teaching truth if they do not teach Christ for who he really was. But that is not the whole of determining it. James 2:19 tells us that even the demons admit to who Christ is, so we cannot take one verse out of context and use it to determine true and false doctrine. We have to, in fact, weigh the teachings against the whole of scripture to see if it fits. Here are a few that I believe answer the question of whether the Catholic doctrine can be reconciled to the Bible:


1 Timothy 4:1-3 "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."


*Catholics do not allow their priests to marry, admitting that it is a doctrine of man and not expressly forbidden in the Bible

*Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. It used to be every Friday through the year, but this is an example of one of the many tenants that chaged due to pressure from Catholics who wanted a more 'normal' life.


2 Peter 2:1-2 "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."


*I think this verse speaks of the 'apostasy' the Catholic church has had to embrace in order to allow all other churches to be saved, even if it is a defunked salvation, as well as leaving the door open for those who have never believed on Christ to be saved by default. There cannot be levels of salvation. They have made Christ's sacrifice of no merit. Here is a very scary but interesting read about the 'one world church' theory being played out before our eyes. What about 1 John 2:23?


Acts 17:10-11 "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."

*This says that we will know false doctrine if we cannot find it in the scriptures!
Note how the argument at the other site keeps going to the Catholic Catechism, or the church cannon, or the pope. I have not seen actual scriptural backing for these things being discussed. In fact, as I looked for links that had the info in them so I would not have to re-type everything out of the Catechism book, that was all I found in articles defending the teachings.


Ephesians 4:14-15 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."

*I believe this is not just a warning to watch out for false doctrines, but also a way to recognize them. At the end of 15, he says that Christ should be the head of the church. Not a man. Previously in the chapter he talks about how teachers have been sent, but that they are not to be the head, Christ is. It is false teaching to place a man in the role of head of the church. Christ is head.


2 Corithians 11:12-13 "But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ."

This whole chapter talks about following false doctrine, but especially 12-15 for me, where he is saying that men who come and say they have equal revelation with the apostles who were chosen by God and heard his voice were false prophets. The Roman church claims that each pope is chosen by God to be a 'prophet' and that is why they give him the power to change the Word.



1 Timothy 1:3-7 "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."

Paul warns here about those who would worry about geaniologies, or more like family name status (like Kennedy or Rockefeller) or the supposed AGE of their church as a way to know that it is the right church. But Paul says that your background means nothing to whether you are teaching the truth. As an interesting side note, the Catholic popes are required to chose a new name upon the moment of their 'installment' so that they are a party of the previous lines of church fathers (geaniology!). This is also why nuns are Sister Mary ______, after the mother of Christ.



Titus 1:10-11 "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."

This passage from Titus talks about those who would make up their own teachings for the sake of making money. Like paying for a mass to get someone out of an imaginary demi-hell? The story of the rich man and Lazarus is our proof that we get one chance, and when we die, our chance is over. There is no having the living pray us out of our situation, and there is no scripture that teaches pergatory. And if a priest is sacrificing everythign to live for Christ, why should people have to pay for masses? Do nuns get paid for their hours of prayer? I thought the popint was a lif eof poverty for the sake of Christ.


Romans 16:17-18 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."

I hear this one explained in light of Catholic teachings as their use of so many 'extras' being the stumbling blocks in the way of people finding the truth. They have extra books, extra requirements for salvation, extra prayers, extra large churches (when the money should be going to the poor at the Bible says) and on and on. Can you honestly find a verse to back up the extra practices of Catholicism?


2 Timothy 3:5 "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

They will have a form of godliness but deny its power. That to me sounds a lot like 'Christ died, but we still have to work for our salvation and then spend some time in a semi-torturous state to pay for our sins'. There is not enough faith in the power of Christ over sin.


Matthew 7:15-16 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

This one has been used to try and prove to me that the Catholic church must be true because they are very charitable and give so much to disaster relief. But what fruits is Jesus talking about here? It can't simply be good deeds, because there are many people who donate money, time, and talents to charity, and are still atheists or agnostics. He didn't say by their deeds we would know them, but by their fruit. We are told that the fruits of a spirit-filled Christians (and we HAVE to be filled with the spirit to truly be Christians) are "...love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." (Galatians 5:22-23). The main ones that jump out at me are joy and peace.

When you teach a doctrine that tells people that cannot truly know they are saved, and that they will have to be punished for their sins regardless of the sacrifice of Christ to cover sins, how can they possible have peace?

We have peace and joy because of the ASSURANCE of our salvation:

Luke 1:76-79 "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Luke 7:48-50 "And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Now these men were about to face persecution, struggle, and death. What possible peace could he have been talking about? Not of the world, as he stated, but intheir assurance that he was coming to take them to heaven with him. John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Hebrews 10:22 "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."


Ephesians 2:13-15 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace."


Acts 2:27-28 "Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance."

Romans 5:11 "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."

8 comments:

Kelly said...

You've thrown a lot of things here at once, and I'm going to be writing on some more in depth on the other blog. But I did want to toss out a few things that won't take too long.

"1 Timothy 4:1-3 "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.""

I've always thought this was regarding the Manichean heresy. Have you ever read anything about it? It started in the mid-200's.

I think this verse speaks of the 'apostasy' the Catholic church has had to embrace in order to allow all other churches to be saved, even if it is a defunked salvation, as well as leaving the door open for those who have never believed on Christ to be saved by default. There cannot be levels of salvation. They have made Christ's sacrifice of no merit.

I don't see how you could have gotten this out of what I wrote. I guess in some respects our viewpoints are so different that it makes understanding each other difficult. I said nothing about levels of salvation, and quoted the Church as saying that all salvation is through the sacrifice of Christ.

This says that we will know false doctrine if we cannot find it in the scriptures!

This verse says that they searched the scriptures, which at that time was the Old Testament, to see if what they said was true, meaning, if Jesus was the Messiah.

Supposing it does mean what you say, this might be a good time for me to ask you yet again, for the verse which says that the Bible alone is our sole authority.

The Catechism is trotted out a lot on the other site because we are trying to clarify what the Catholic Church really teaches. If someone says that the Catholic Church believes that Mary and Jesus are both Mediators, then I will produce the Catechism to show that the Catholic Church does not teach that.

I am happy to quote the Bible in defense of the Catholic faith, and I have referred you several times to http://www.scripturecatholic.com/ for that reason.

Many Catholic apologetics sites quote the early Church fathers to prove that the Catholic church didn't invent most of its doctrine in the Middle Ages, but that even in the first three centuries, you can find the Father's attesting to transubstantiation, the papacy, Mary's perpetual virginity, etc.

The Roman church claims that each pope is chosen by God to be a 'prophet' and that is why they give him the power to change the Word.

Again, the Pope cannot contradict or change scripture.

Paul warns here about those who would worry about geaniologies, or more like family name status (like Kennedy or Rockefeller) or the supposed AGE of their church as a way to know that it is the right church. But Paul says that your background means nothing to whether you are teaching the truth.

At that time, geneologies were very important in Judaism. That is why Matthew supplies a full geneology for Jesus. I didn't see age listed anywhere in the verse.

As an interesting side note, the Catholic popes are required to chose a new name upon the moment of their 'installment' so that they are a party of the previous lines of church fathers (geaniology!). This is also why nuns are Sister Mary ______, after the mother of Christ.


The popes aren't required to take a new name, but it is a pretty established custom at that point. The name has nothing to do with what we call the apostolic succession. What is important is that he was ordained by a man who was ordained by a man (repeat over and over) who was ordained by Jesus.

Some nuns take a religious name, and some do not. Mary is not required to be one of those names, although it is certainly one of the most popular. :)

motherofmany said...

Kelly,
I was not going on what you wrote as far as the apostate doctrines, but rather on the reading I have done about Catholic inclusionism.

Also, the references for the papal infallablity are from my reading of the ex cathedra. I know you will say that it is hardly ever used, but that does not take away the fact that the Pope is given the authorty to change church doctrine if he sits in 'the seat of Peter'.

There are so many verses that make me sure of sola scriptura, but there are too many to list. So I will direct you to this article and cite my favorite as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be PERFECT, THOROUGHLY FURNISHED unto all good works." If we are thoroughly equipped b y the scripture, why would we need anything else? We cannot hold the traditions of men, even the early church fathers, above the Word of God, especially when the traditions of men can be changed.

http://homepage.mac.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/aahsolascrp.htm

I read several articles about how the Pope is to chose a new name, because when God did someting big in many Bible characters' lives (especially Peter), he changed their names. Apparently, they chose the name based on what former rule they wish to continue or emulate.

I do think this is covered by the verse mentioned because of the claim by the Catholic church to exclusive apostolic succession. Geaniologies were very important to the Jews, and sometimes to Gentiles, and Paul was saying none of that mattered. Age of the church is not listed in that verse, but it is a similar point because the Catholic Church claims to be the one church both because of the apostolic successiona nd the 'foundation' of the church from the time of Christ.

http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/576/Benedict_XVI_What_s_in_a_Name_.html

Manichean teachings did not carry very far in numbers as to the number of followers they had compared to other churches, but the verse does not say that it is about any one church. I would say any church that teaches these doctrines would be covered.

Swylv said...

John Bavere says this in his Heart Ablaze series...."ok Lord if not everyone who says to you Lord, Lord is going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then whose going to Heaven?" The answer is in the last part of Matthew 7:21 - Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.


Isn't that cool. HE tells us right there. What a wonderful Saviour we have! The name of Yeshua be praised!

Kelly said...

Also, the references for the papal infallibility are from my reading of the ex cathedra. I know you will say that it is hardly ever used, but that does not take away the fact that the Pope is given the authority to change church doctrine if he sits in 'the seat of Peter'.

Fair enough. But I will say, that as a Catholic, I take very serious Jesus' promise that he established a church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Looking over the checkered history of the Church, there were times that there was bad popes. Yet, the Holy Spirit restrained them from using their power to make changes to the Church, which is a miracle in and of itself. Every time the Church starts to get off track, the Holy Spirit nudges it to get back on course. My personal theory is that God intended Martin Luther to be a great reformer within the Church, but that his pride got the better of him.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be PERFECT, THOROUGHLY FURNISHED unto all good works." If we are thoroughly equipped by the scripture, why would we need anything else? We cannot hold the traditions of men, even the early church fathers, above the Word of God, especially when the traditions of men can be changed.

We believe that the Bible is inspired and is profitable for many things. That the Bible contains what we need to be thoroughly equipped does not, to me, rule out using Tradition to interpret the Bible. Especially when other verses point to that.

Look further in the context of Timothy. First, the scripture that he speaks of here is the Old Testament. It contains everything that you need to know that Jesus was the Savior. How can the New Testament be complete when Paul wrote, as it wasn't written yet?

In 2 Tim 2, Paul tells Timothy "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

He says, those things that you heard me preach, you preach those same things to others. That is the passing on of ORAL TRADITION. He told this to Timothy twice, because he said in 2 Tim 1:13 "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."

I read several articles about how the Pope is to chose a new name, because when God did someting big in many Bible characters' lives (especially Peter), he changed their names. Apparently, they chose the name based on what former rule they wish to continue or emulate.

I wouldn't disagree with that statement. I think it is also to emphasize the break from the person that they were before. You aren't supposed to think of it being Joseph Ratizinger up there, he is a different person now.

So why is it that I keep running into fundamentalists who point out to Catholics that they aren't going to be saved because "Not everyone who says 'Lord, Lord'. . ." but they never seem to see themselves falling under that. That verse doesn't say "Catholics who say Lord, Lord" or any other denomination. Why does everyone see someone else there, but not themselves?

motherofmany said...

Certainly it applies to anyone who is not doing the will of the Father (which I believe means adhering to the Bible) and I have seen it many times refernced when speaking of other denominatins (Jehova's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adevtists, etc.) and did not mean that it only applied to Catholicism. I could write an article about each church and what I see it doing in conflict with the scriptures, but so far haven't seen a need for it. I only answered about the Catholic doctrines because I was specifically asked.

And there are people in fundamentalist churches who are lost, because they are there to 'punch the time card', like God takes attendance, and they do not live by the word at all. Obviously only God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, but I would not want to follow teachings that are contrary to the word and hope that he knew I meant well.

Does that make any sense?

motherofmany said...

I forgot the rest!

I agree that the verse in Timothy that speaks of the scriptures is from the Old Testament because the New Testament wasn't written yet. God chose Paul to write down most of what would be the New Testament and gave him inspired instruction. Paul makes very clear the the words are not his. So then the words which he entrusted to all the churches through Paul were to be preserved for future generations. That is why seeking out the most acurate translation is important.

Oral traditions, on the other hand, would be forgotten or changed. If we look at the Old Testament, every time God gave them important instructions, they were written down. They made memorials so that they would remember (the pile of 12 stones). God knew they would be prone to forgetting or mangling (have you ever played the game telephone in a group? or even the prayer chain by the time it gets back to the beginning?) The people would not necessarily do it out of malice, but they would still mess it up. Everything that was necessary for living a godly life was written down and held in high esteem (look at the contents of the Ark of the Covenant). There were other writings, but they were historcal. No one would HAVE to read the history books for salvation. They are certainly interesting and can help put things into context, but the inspired words that were absolutely necessary for the future generatins to understand God were carefully guarded so as not to be lost.

Now, back to the New Testament, the new Christians had to check what Paul said against the scriptures because Jesus would have to perfectly match the prophesies about the Messiah. Had they listened to the oral traditions and teachings (the Pharisees and the temple teachers) they would have deemed Jesus a fraud and Paul a heretic, because the oral traditions had become so mangled that they no longer matched the truth of the word. That is why Jesus quoted to them so many times and showed that they were wrong in their representation of the Words of God. They were following their own interpreatations instead of the actual teachings. I feel the same is true of any early church writings which weren't inspired by God. Paul says to be warry of those who would make the word false with their traditions. If the word is sufficient to equip us, adding anything else is saying the word is not actually sufficient, and that is contradicting the Bible itself.

How can you check the accuracy of the early church traditions? What part fo the scriptures points tot hem as authoritative?

Kelly said...

And there are people in fundamentalist churches who are lost, because they are there to 'punch the time card', like God takes attendance, and they do not live by the word at all. Obviously only God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart, but I would not want to follow teachings that are contrary to the word and hope that he knew I meant well.

I guess I mean, I see that verse as saying that we do not have the assurance of salvation, or whatever the phrase is that means "once saved, always saved."

I grew up the in Bible belt, and most of my acquaintances at school would say that they were saved, but their actions did not say that they really were. As you said, they were there to punch the time card. Yes, because they were taught that once they said the sinner's prayer, they were guaranteed a seat in heaven, I don't know that they would ever really be saved. Their assurance assured that they would never really be saved, because there was never any self-examination.

If we look at the Old Testament, every time God gave them important instructions, they were written down. They made memorials so that they would remember (the pile of 12 stones). God knew they would be prone to forgetting or mangling (have you ever played the game telephone in a group? or even the prayer chain by the time it gets back to the beginning?)

Remember, the Jews do not see it this way at all. They say that God gave an oral Law, and a written Law. Over time, the Oral Law was written down. The same as Catholics, they see the Oral law as what is to be used to interpret the written Law.

The same arguments can be made against the written scriptures as you make against the oral traditions. Books have been written which say that because of scribe errors, or inconsistencies in the scriptures, that we cannot trust them as authoritative. Yet, if God was capable of preserving the written scriptures, He would also be capable of preserving oral Tradition.

What part of the scriptures points to them as authoritative?

Well, you mentioned the the Word of God was immediately written down in the Old Testament. Why wasn't that followed in the New? Why did Jesus put so much emphasis on preaching the Word? Why did it take so long for the Word to be written?

2 Tim. 1:13 - oral communications are protected by the Spirit. They abide forever. Oral authority does not die with the apostles.

2 Peter 1:12, 15 - Peter says that he will leave a "means to recall these things in mind." But since this was his last canonical epistle, this "means to recall" must therefore be the apostolic tradition and teaching authority of his office that he left behind.

Phil. 4:9 - Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. This refers to learning from his preaching and example, which is apostolic tradition.

1 Thess.1:5 – our gospel came to you not only in word, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul is referring to the oral tradition which the Thessalonians had previously received. There is never any instruction to abandon these previous teachings; to the contrary, they are to be followed as the word of God.

1 Thess. 4:2 – Paul again refers the Thessalonians to the instructions they already had received, which is the oral apostolic tradition.

2 Thess. 2:5 – Paul yet again refers the Thessalonians to the previous teachings they received from Paul when he taught them orally. These oral teachings are no less significant than the written teachings.

2 Thess. 2:15 - Paul clearly commands us in this verse to obey oral apostolic tradition. He says stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, either by word of mouth or letter. This verse proves that for apostolic authority, oral and written communications are on par with each other. Protestants must find a verse that voids this commandment to obey oral tradition elsewhere in the Bible, or they are not abiding by the teachings of Scripture.

1 Tim. 6:20 - guard what has been "entrusted" to you. The word "entrusted" is "paratheke" which means a "deposit." Oral tradition is part of what the Church has always called the Deposit of Faith.

2 Tim. 2:2 - Paul says what you have heard from me entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. This is "tradition," or the handing on of apostolic teaching.

2 Tim. 3:14 - continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it (by oral tradition).

This is just a selection of what you can read here:
http://www.scripturecatholic.com/
oral_tradition.html

How can you check the accuracy of the early church traditions?

When they speak in union. As I mentioned before, there was one early church father who embraced heresy at the end of his life. The church had no trouble discerning which of his writings to consider authoritative, and which were "contaminated" by his later heresy.

It is similar to how you would answer the question of how the New Testament canon was formed. You can easily tell which were inspired.

You can find a very good and concise article on the early church fathers here. Feel free to skip down to the section on authority if you are pressed for time.

http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/
library_article/52/Early_Church_
Fathers_Overview__Snapshot_of_the_
Fathers_of_the_Church.html

Faithful Catholic said...

Amy,

I've started to read this post because you provided the link on Elena's blog.

I stopped reading though when I reached the part your wrote about Catholic priests not being allowed to marry and the part about eating meat on Friday, or not.

I stopped because these are two examples of things that people throw up all the time as "evidence" of "unbiblical" doctrine of the Catholic Church. You don't go any further. That is a shame because you have stopped researching. If you would go further, you would see WHY the Catholic Church, at the present time, does not allow priests to marry. The Church does not say that it is "dictated" as such. It is the norm for several very valid reasons. It is not "anti-scripture." I am certain that you have read Paul talking about the vocation of marriage, the vocation of single, celibate persons, yes? And, the Catholic Church does allow that some priests are married as in the Eastern Rite churches and also, converts who were married before converting who become Catholic priests. The fish on Friday thing, too, is very easy to understand if you look a little further. Do you know that the Catholic Church did not just stop mandatory abstinence from meat on Fridays? It's true. One may eat meat on Friday provided one has made some other worthy act of penance. Do you know why Catholics have abstained from eating meat on Fridays? Check it out. You will find that it is not "unbiblical" or contrary to scripture at all. Have you never fasted? Do you believe fasting to be "unbiblical?"

I will return to finish reading the rest of your post but, I stopped because I was feeling frustrated that I keep seeing the same things over and over and over again from people who hear or read part of the issue but, don't bother to research the whole truth of the issue.

I don't intend to come off as critical or nasty in any way. I am not trying to convert you. But, if you're intent is to prove part of the doctrine wrong, you at least need to know the doctrine. You can't rely on what you've heard or been told. It's not that difficult to find the actual source.

One of the bigger issues that I have with this type of "thrust and parry" is that there are so many denominations of Christianity out there and everyone believes his or her own to be "right" but, as far as I know there are very few who have any sort of catechism of their individual beliefs out there to read and understand what is basic to a particular denomination. Do you criticize other denominations? Do you believe any of them to be in error? You would necessarily have to admit, due to the shear number of them that they must be in error as they cannot all be in complete agreement with your version, wouldn't you?