Roman Catholicism


Unless otherwise stated the articles are by David W. Norris



A timely message from the past …



Dr J. C. Ryle, First Bishop of Liverpool (1816-1900)

No intelligent observer can fail to see that the tone of public feeling about Romanism has undergone a great change. There is no longer that general dislike, dread, and aversion to Popery which was once almost universal in this realm.

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How paganism entered the Church and remains there to this day

In studying the life and work of Martin Luther much consideration is generally given to the superstitious beliefs and practices of the Roman Church and rightly so. Less attention is devoted to what are in fact the sources of the theology that spawned them. Roman Catholic theology to this day attributes to fallen human reason and to the human will autonomy they do not possess. This teaching was strongly opposed by Luther using the Scriptures but also the teaching of the early Church Fathers. The ground of this rationalism can be found in Scholasticism. As it formed the foundation of the Church’s theology at the time of the Reformation, without looking at this system we will acquire only a partial picture of what the Reformation was about and how the errors of the Church of Rome are to be answered. ... Many evangelicals seek to join forces with Roman Catholics in their defence of Christian belief. ... The truth is that they also share many of Rome’s errors, Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism have often carried over into their theology much that is derived from Rome and thereby much that is pagan because of its origins in Greek philosophy.

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A reflection of today



When we speak of ‛Christian’ Britain, what must not be forgotten is that we are talking about Britain as a protestant country. The struggle with the Roman Catholic Pontiff began not with Henry VIII as is widely supposed, but was dragged out throughout many previous centuries. Even the term Anglican Church preceded Henry by several centuries. The eventual break with Rome, when it came, had really been inevitable almost from the moment Christianity itself first reached these shores. England’s relationship with the Papacy was always awkward and conflict frequent. Two things we need to note. First, the independent spirit of the English Church sat uneasily alongside the absolute authority of the Pope. From the New Testament we know that missionaries had already reached Spain. Similarly, missionaries at the time of the Roman occupation of Britain first brought the Gospel to our people. The later missionary expedition sent by Gregory, with its dependence on Rome, did not fit well with what remained of indigenous Christian testimony. Second, genuine Christian testimony did not exist only outside the institutional Church after the Christianisation of the Empire by Constantine. There is much historical evidence of Gospel testimony within the Roman Church right up until the Reformation. After the Council of Trent (1545 to 1563) teachings such as that of justification by faith were anathematised. The Church of Rome set its face irrevocably against the biblical Gospel, against the absolute authority of Holy Scripture replacing it with its own. It was, in fact, taking formally into Church law what had been the ruling for many centuries. Nevertheless, those wishing to maintain biblical truth and apostolic testimony to the Gospel had always found themselves in difficulties to the point of laying down their lives. Today the Roman Catholic Church has no place at all for such people within its fold. Only by serious compromise of the teaching of Scripture is association with Rome possible and it will always be on its terms.

To this day, the Anglo-Saxon spirit rebels at high taxes levied upon us and laws imposed from abroad without our agreement.


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Ein' feste Burg, the Castle Church Wittenberg

Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott,
Ein gute Wehr und Waffen;
Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,
Die uns jetzt hat betroffen.
Der alt’ böse Feind,
Mit Ernst er’s jetzt meint,
Gross’ Macht und viel List
Sein’ grausam’ Ruestung ist,
Auf Erd’ ist nicht seingleichen.

A safe stronghold our God is still,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He’ll help us clear from all the ill
That hath us now o’ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell
Hath risen with purpose fell;
Strong mail of craft and power
He weareth in this hour;
On earth is not his fellow.

With force of arms we nothing can,
Full soon were we down-ridden;
But for us fights the proper Man,
Whom God Himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, who is this same?
Christ Jesus is His name,
The Lord Sabaoth’s Son;
He, and no other one,
Shall conquer in the battle.

And were this world all devils o’er,
And watching to devour us,
We lay it not to heart so sore;
Not they can overpower us.
And let the prince of ill
Look grim as e’er he will,
He harms us not a whit;
For why? — his doom is writ;
A word shall quickly slay him.

God’s Word, for all their craft and force,
One moment will not linger,
But, spite of hell, shall have its course;
’Tis written by His finger.
And though they take our life,
Goods, honor, children, wife,
Yet is their profit small;
These things shall vanish all:
The City of God remaineth!

Martin Luther