This may seem like an unusual blog post, but is it really? True biblical and reformed doctrine should always warn of doctrinal error. If you have ever read the "Institutes of the Christian Religion" by John Calvin or the writings of English puritans such as Thomas Watson, you will have noticed that they are replete with warnings regarding the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.
The title of this blog post is taken from Jeremiah 13:23 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil". The principle taught in this verse, is that without true and genuine repentance, a people or a religious system will continue as corrupt as ever. This was true of the professing people of God in Jeremiah's day, as it is true of the Roman Catholic Church today. (This does not mean that all branches of Protestantism are today without error, because some forms of Protestant liberalism bear no mark of biblical Christianity either.)
Rome has appointed a new Pope, one who comes across as a nice man, someone who can relate to the ordinary man or woman, but the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is as dangerous as ever.
Let me give five areas of false teaching by the Roman Catholic Church which reveal that they continue to be a false church, one whose "Spots" have never changed".
1. The Roman Catholic mass claims to involve a physical change of the bread and wine into the literal physical body and blood of Jesus. Protestants have taught for centuries that this teaching is heresy, one that is utterly false and this is also a denial of the gospel of God. Priests do not and cannot repeatedly offer up Jesus on an altar. Listen to Hebrews 10:14: "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified".
2. The office of the Pope as being the supreme bishop over the church is false. The church is to be governed by elders, under the guidance of the Scriptures and teaching that is in accord with the church's creeds and confessions.
3. The idea that the Pope is the alone infallible interpreter of teaching for the church is false.
4. Praying to Mary and the Saints is idolatrous. At the inauguration of Pope Francis, he publicly prayed to Mary while then also praying the Lord's Prayer. Such confusion is utterly and totally wrong. For a professing Protestant Christian to consider the Roman Catholic Church as harmless or as equally valid to a biblical church, is to wholly misunderstand the teaching of the Bible. The First and Second Commandment states that we will shall have no other gods and that we shall not make a graven image. Bowing down to altars, statues and to the mass itself is tantamount to idolatry.
5. The preaching of true doctrine is altogether absent in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a works based religion founded upon works based righteousness which enslaves people to a cycle of confession to a priest, with a repeated coming to the Eucharist administered by a Catholic priest, for perpetual renewed justification. This is darkness and it is system that fails to lead people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, as Jesus is offered in the gospel.
I guess that many professing evangelicals in the West have bought into a post-modern view, whereby there is no absolute truth and this has blurred the discernment of many. Our aim is to win Roman Catholic followers to the gospel, but a warning must be sounded in each generation to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Listen to Paul in writing to the Galatian Church.
Galatians 1:9 "As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed".
Galatians 2:16 "Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified".
Let us be content with blessings of the gospel and also be warned of the mysticism and superstition of the Roman Catholic Church.