God and the church
Jesus Christ says:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."
(The Bible: Matthew chap. 7, Verse 21 )
Most people associate the terms “God” or “Jesus” with the traditional churches and prayer houses of our time. Many associate "faith" with religion, the teachings of the church or attending so-called "worship events". Some people, when they hear about God, must first think of the painful events of the past which are connected to the history of the church. Manies do not differentiate whether the deeds of the church respectively of those who acted in the name of God ac-tually correspond to the will of God or not....
Very few people are aware that there are considerable differences between the Bible - the Word of God - and the teachings of many churches today. On the other hand, there was NO “church” in the early days of Christianity as it is widespread today and as most people know it.
Jesus Christ says:
"For where two or three gather
in my name, there am I with them."
(The Bible: Matthew chapter 18, Verse 20)
In the original sense, the term "church" describes neither a particularly holy place nor a specific building dedicated to God, but the community of people who believe in God and Jesus Christ (see: Who is Jesus Christ?).
The assemblies of the first Christians were characterized by a constant communion oriented towards the teaching of their risen Lord Jesus Christ, in which they served God and others - especially poor, weak and sick people - day after day with full devotion and through all kinds of good Deeds.
For example, Christians founded hospitals as well as women's shelters and orphanages to look after people in need. All medical sanitary and emergency services that save numerous lives every day have Christian origins, as do most of the aid organizations that are active around the world to help people in need. And much more.
Love and loyalty to God, service to people and the proclamation of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ have been the most important pillars of Christianity from the beginning. Only under the influence of the Roman emperors in the third to fifth centuries AD the Christian faith was - after many years of cruel persecution - declared the state religion in the course of a political act. In this context, the saving message of Christ was mixed up with various pagan traditions and worldviews, and the simple and clear truth of the Bible was more and more replaced by church dogmas.
The Roman Emperor Constantine, who was al-so Pope of the Roman Catholic Church at the same time, had a significant influence on this development, although he remained a pagan idolater to the end of his life. The simple mee-tings of the first believers were increasingly replaced by ritualized worship services, mag-nificent church buildings and secular hie-rarchies. In this way, the Church became the institution that is today spread around the world and the life-giving faith more and more a dead religion....
Jesus Christ says:
"Beware of the false prophets (...)."
(The Bible: Matthew chap. 7, Verse 15)
Jesus warned people from the beginning about deceivers who would introduce ungodly teachings and abuse the name of God and his saving gospel message for their selfish inte-rests, which would dishonor the name of God and dissuade many people from the path of truth. Above all, the Catholic Church imparts a multitude of doctrines that do not agree with biblical truth. This includes:
Catholic Church as the highest spiritual authority
Worship of angels
worship of dead saints, especially Mary (mother of Jesus)
Ascension of Mary
Celibacy (prohibition of marriage for bishops and monks)
Adoration of the Host
the priestly service for persons ordained by the Church
Doctrine of the Seven Sacraments
canonization of dead people
Worship of images and relics
Pope as God's representative on earth
infallibility of the pope
Doctrine of Purgatory
Ecumenical movement e.g.
In addition, the Pope places his authority and the teachings of the Catholic Church above God and His Word, and at the same time declares the Church - instead of faith in Jesus - to be the only and true way to salvation.
While Jesus taught consistent renunciation of violence and instead calls all people to love their neighbors and even their enemies instead of fighting them, the Roman Catholic Church - like Islam - committed wars and crimes "in the name of God" on behalf of the Popes and so Brought disrepute in God, his word and the Christian faith in general. The aim behind it was solely to consolidate the rule of the papacy in the world, to which thousends of people fell victim in the course of history (see crusades, indulgence trade, inquisition, burning of witches, etc.).
The papacy did not shy away from murder or torture in order to fight its enemies - including many sincere Christians who have remained faithful to God's truth - and to enforce its anti-God intentions. Various well-known reformers of Christianity such as Martin Luther or Johannes Calvin are also guilty of the persecution and murder of believing and non-believing people.
While Jesus exemplified an attitude of humility, goodness and frugality, the works of the papacy testify primarily to rampant greed for wealth and power. In addition, there are the terrible abuse scandals within this institution, which are now and then reported on radio and television....
The terrible atrocities of the Catholic Church and other spiritual personalities under the guise of faith have contributed significantly to the fact that many people today have a distorted image of God. All of these facts show that the works and teachings of Catholicism are in many ways clearly opposed to the will of God.
God, the Lord says:
"Come out of her, my people (...)."
(The Bible: revelation chap. 18, Verse 4)
The incumbent Pope and leader of the Catholic Church, Francis, says he is striving for the "unity of all world religions". In this context, Francis asserts that all human beings are "children of God", regardless of which god they believe in or which religion they belong to. The Bible, on the other hand, makes it clear that faith in Jesus alone is the path to salvation and that there is no other truth than what Jesus revealed to us (see: God and Religions).
In addition, all Christian churches are to be united within the framework of a so-called "ecumenism" chaired by the Catholic Church with the Pope as the head. The Pope's plan is finding growing support around the world, even in christian circles. The strongest ad-vocates include the Evangelical Lutheran Church and many of the largest Charis-matic and Pentecostal churches.
While this project is viewed by some as a step forward, it is in fact a serious step back-wards, since it eclipsed the achievements of the Reformation of Luther and others who died in part as martyrs for their rebellion against the religious system of the Catholic Church, and make them nullified. It also em-powers the pope while accepting the clearly unbiblical teachings and traditions of Ca-tholicism as correct.
Instead of seeking union with the Catholic Church, the Scriptures specifically urge all believers to separate themselves from this anti-Christian system and hold to the Bible as the sole basis of faith.
Jesus Christ says:
"You will know them by their fruits."
(The Bible: matthew chap. 7, Verse 16)
There are many people in the world who call themselves Christians. The Bible defines how to recognize a Christian. In this context, it is not a question of external signs, nor of the con-fession of Jesus alone, nor of belonging to a specific faith community. Rather, Jesus makes it clear that a true Christian is only one who shows it through his actions, which are always in accordance with God's will, in a pure and unselfish disposition. A faith that neither res-pects God's will nor can show good works re-mains dead and therefore useless (see: Life in freedom and peace).
In contrast to us humans, God cannot be fooled. Because God knows the heart and the true motives of each individual. He knows exactly which people genuinely love him and who only confesses him with their lips or merely serves him in appearance, while in truth he is only concerned with selfish intentions. The innumerable offenses of the papacy up to the late Middle Ages particularly emphasize this fundamental difference.
All those who admittedly to God outwardly, but willingly disregarded his commandments and shamelessly misused God's name for their own evil purposes, will in the end be con-demned for their deeds and forever excluded from the eternal life....
"For the time will come when they will not take the true teaching; but, moved by their desires, they will get for themselves a great number of teachers for the pleasure of hearing them (…)."
(The Bible: 2nd Timothy chap. 4, Verse 3)
The Bible predicts that in the last days of this age - before Jesus returns to judge mankind - more and more churches will turn away from God and the truth of the Bible. As a result, they can no longer do justice to their actual role model function - which God intended for his community. Instead of calling people to repent of their sins and live godly lives as is their commission, the church will increa-singly respond to the spirit of the times and to society's values, which are largely against the Word of God and His commandments. In-stead of preaching the truth, even if it makes many uncomfortable, they will teach what people want to hear.
As a result, more and more people will leave the straight path that leads to life and there-by miss the goal - their salvation. In addition, the church will also open itself more and more to the influences of philosophy, huma-nism, spiritualism and other religions that deny the central and crucial truths of the gospel and Jesus Christ as the only Savior. In this way it will lead many people to fall away from God and ultimately to perdition....
That's why in the end there will only be a few who hold on to the unadulterated teaching of Jesus and proclaim it to people - despite rejection and persecution by society - so that everyone who hears and accepts it will be saved.
Jesus Christ says:
“You are the light of the world (...).
Let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven.”
(The Bible: Matthew chap. 5, Verses 14-16)
Unlike the Catholic Church, which tried to achieve its political goals by means of coercion and persecution so that people submit to their religious system of rule, Jesus taught his followers to draw people's atten-tion to God through truth and good works, and to set an example to others in how God wants us humans to live.
With the help of the Bible - the word of God - every person can find out for sure what the will of God is. The teaching and command-ments of Jesus, which are handed down to us in the New Testament, serve as guides for our lives. At the same time, they give us the decisive indication of whether a person or a church really acts in God's favor or not. So instead of judging God by the church, the works of the church must be judged by the Bible.
Therefore, each person is called to examine his life in the light of God's Word instead of relying solely on church teachings and traditions. For much of what was proclaimed and practiced in many church houses both then and now does not spring from the word of God, nor does it have God's approval, even if it gives the appearance to some outwardly.
Only through the various Reformation move-ments since 1517 could the wrong teachings and customs of Catholicism, which the Ca-tholic Church still adheres to today, be partially uncovered and corrected. At the same time, God's Word was increasingly brought into focus again.
Even if the Catholic Church successfully withhold the pure and wholesome truth of the Holy Scriptures from people for a long time through the destructive influence of the papacy by means of violence and oppression, thanks to God's grace and many courageous Christians it has been preserved to this day and can be found by anyone who sincerely seeks her.
Jesus Christ says:
“Sacrify them in the truth.
Your word is truth.”
(The Bible: John chap. 17, Verse 17)