What is the
great divide between Bible Protestantism and Roman Catholicism? It is the
office and nature of the Priest.
In this issue Bible Protestantism goes one way and
Roman Catholicism goes the opposite way. There is on this vital subject the
fork in the road. Between the Anglican and the Free Churchman the contention
is also the priest.
The struggle is on the one hand the priest and on the
other the family. To Rome, marriage and the family are inferior. The
priest represents celibacy, confession and the sharing of the secrets of
marriage love to a third person.
Roman Catholicism exalts the priesthood. It raises
the priest to the standing of God and gives to Him the power to create God in
Roman Catholicism is priestism. It is reversal and
that means degeneration.
The whole idea of the Roman priesthood is one of
development. The Roman priesthood grew on to the church. It had a false
start, which led on to greater and greater apostasy.
The Roman Priesthood is not in the New Testament. It
has no place whatever there.
The New Testament knows everything about the
priesthood of all believers. The true and spiritual office of the whole
church is a nation of priests. Neither the name nor the position of the Roman
Priest has a place anywhere in the New Testament.
The Church has but One Priest and that is our Lord
Jesus Christ. Christ has only one spouse one bride and one wife. There are no
sacrificing priests in the New Testament but One Great High Priest, Jesus the
The early Church held to this truth. Augustine
asserted, ‘All are priests as members of the One Priest’.
It was Tertullian, about 200 AD who says, ‘Where there
are three there the church is, if they be but laymen’.
The Roman priesthood turned the early Church like a
tide. It was the intrusion into the Church of the priesthood of paganism.
It was Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage who pushed the
universal priesthood of all believers aside and fastened upon the church the so-claimed
magical priesthood of Rome.
The evolution of the pagan priesthood in the Papist Church grew apace.
No better course could be adopted in order to discover
the real nature of Rome’s Antichristianity than to examine a text
book which is a ‘must’ for her priests in preparation for their priesthood.
Such a textbook is ‘Dignity and Duties of the
Priest or Selva’. (A collection of Materials for Ecclesiastical Retreats.
Rule of Life and Spiritual Rules) by St. Alphonsus de Liguori.
Just how high Alphonsus is reckoned in the scale of
precedence of Roman saints can be seen from the 'Notice' which appears in the
preface to the volume. It concludes with this eulogy ‘LIVE JESUS, MARY, JOSEPH
JESUS DIED TO INSTITUTE THE ROMAN
“Jesus has died to institute the priesthood. It was
not necessary for the Redeemer to die in order to save the world; a drop of his
blood, a single tear, or prayer, was sufficient to procure salvation for all;
for such a prayer, being of infinite value, should be sufficient to save not
one but a thousand worlds. But to Institute the priesthood, the death of Jesus
Christ has been necessary. Had he not died, where should we find the victim
that the priests of the New Law now offer? a victim altogether holy and
immaculate, capable of giving to God an honour worthy of God. As had been
already said, all the lives of men and angels are not capable of giving to God
an infinite honour like that which a priest offers to him by a Single Mass.”
The above statement is a hideous blasphemy. ‘Christ
died for the ungodly.’
‘God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake
in time past unto the fathers by the prophets’.
‘Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son,
whom He hath appointed heir of all things by whom also He made the worlds. Who
being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and
upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged
our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.’
‘But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for
sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.’ The purpose of the Blood‑shedding
on the Cross was not to institute the massing priesthood of Rome but to purchase the redemption of the people of God.
Any system which holds such an unscriptural view of
the Work of the Cross as Rome does is plainly not a Christian system at
all but is part of the system of Satan and Antichrist.
THE ROMAN PRIEST EQUAL TO CHRIST
“Were the Redeemer to descend into a church, and sit
in a confessional to administer the sacrament of penance, and a priest to sit
in another confessional, Jesus would say over each penitent, ‘Ego te absolvo,’
the priest would likewise say over each of his penitents, ‘Ego te absolvo,’ and
the penitents of each would equally be absolved.”
THE ROMAN PRIEST GREATER THAN GOD
“Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called
the creator of his Creator, since by saying the words of the consecration, he
creates, as it were, Jesus in the sacrament, by giving him a sacramental
existence, and produces him as a victim to be offered to the eternal Father. As
in creating the world it was sufficient for God to have said, Let it be made,
and it was created. He spoke, and they were made, so it is sufficient for the
priest to say, ‘Hoc est cnim corpus meum,’ and behold the bread is no longer
bread, but the body of Jesus Christ. ‘The power of the priest,’ says St
Bernardine of Sienna, ‘is the power of the divine person; for the
transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the
“With regard to the mystical body of Christ, that is,
all the faithful, the priest has the power of the keys, or the power of
delivering sinners from hell, of making them worthy of paradise, and of changing
them from the slaves of Satan into the children of God. And God himself is
obliged to abide by the judgment of his priests, and either not to pardon or to
pardon, according as they refuse or give absolution, provided the penitent is
capable of it.”
The practice of the Roman priesthood submerged the
universal priesthood of all believers and the only real and active assertion of
the believer is priesthood in the world today is in Biblical Protestantism.
The Reformation purged out the pagan priesthood and
banished the title “priest” as the name of the Christian minister of the Word
Well may we ask, what is the real nature of the
universial priesthood of all believers? We as Bible believing Protestants do
not reject the priesthood. That is something which is inherent to the entire
church of all believers. We are a nation of priests – a royal priesthood.
The Church, the whole church, is a priesthood. The
Church has not got a priesthood but is a priesthood.
While acknowledging the priesthood of all believers Rome goes on to virtually destroy the New Testament
priesthood and to elevate its conceptions of its own pagan priesthood.
The Council of Trent is specific and plain, I quote:-
‘The outward priesthood belongs not to all the
faithful, but only to certain men, who are instituted and consecrated by the
imposition of hands and the due rites of the Church to a specially sacred
ministry. And the power of this outward priesthood is the power of offering to
God the great sacrifice of the Church for the living and the dead – the Mass.’
While acknowledging the priesthood of all believers Trent exalts far above it her own unscriptural pagan
priestly cult and what is more, empties the universal priesthood of all belief
as the result of the pretended magic of baptismal regeneration.
teaches plainly that the priesthood of all believers is not theirs by virtue of
their faith but in virtue of their baptism, so that the inward priesthood is
wholly dependent on the pagan priests of Mother
Moreover it is not necessary, for the power of the
outward priesthood should have the grace of the inward. The outward priest has
all the power of the priest no matter how filthy he may be in his everyday
living, because his priesthood rests not in his personal faith and holiness but
on his appointment.
He does not need to be the truly regenerated
man, he only requires to be the Church created priest.
Power and sanctity are not joined. They may be
entirely divorced but the man is still a priest because his priesthood is not
attainment but appointment.
The Roman priest may be as filthy as sin but that does
in no way hold against the validity of his priestly powers. He can live in sin
but his powers are unchallenged and unchallengable.
Roman Catholicism makes the assent of the Church an
instutution instead of the Gospel. It believes in a church rite rather in
‘The two priesthoods have, in fact, nothing in common
except the name. They are not an essential and spiritual connection. The
cleric is above the Church; he becomes the Church; he is described as a God.
He draws his official power directly from God. His is the sole medium of grace
for believers, who become and remain such only through the sacraments in his
hands. And yet he need not be a personally holy man.’
Bible Protestantism is in clear antagonism to Roman
pagan sin- practising priests.
The individual believers have no mediaterial place,
Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
Luther declared a simple truth when he said:-
‘We take our stand on this. There is no other Word of
God than that whose publication is enjoined on all Christians’
The temper of the hour in which we live is to a large
extent pagan priestliness. It longs for the material, that which is seen in
its worship. It has rejected the teaching of Christ. ‘He that worships Him
(the Father) must worhsip Him in spirit and in truth’. No wonder the Reformers
rejected the worshp of Rome. The penitents in the worship of today
dress up. The penitents in the Bible rent their clothes.
We hear a lot about cultured Protestantism today.
Cultured Protestantism is Protestantism without the Gospel!
There are those today who are more content to be in a
cultured Church than in a true Church. They respond to the amenities of a
cultured society better than to the vigour of the Christian faith.
‘The real roots of the Roman reaction lie in the
unrealised Romanism of Protestants. And the Protestant root of a mass
priesthood is the idea so dear to the English mind, so central to a rational
broad Churchism in every Church, and so plausible as the ethical movement – the
idea that the best action or conduct is contributory to salvation instead of
produced by it. This is the Pelagian and Synergistic (man helping God to save
himself), faith of medieval Catholicism reappearing in the circles of humanist
Protestantism. Nothing is in more distinct contrast with the Protestant
doctrine of justification by faith alone, nor in contrast more fatal. To adopt
it is in principle to renounce the Reformation, whether it be done on agnostic
or on Catholic lines. The Reformation had to break away for its life both from
the Catholics and from the humanists. These, as I have said, took up Luther,
but he outgrew them’.
‘It was not mere sacramental works that the Reformers
denied to have saving value, but ethical no less. It was not the mere ritual
of worship that Paul fought when he led Luther’s way, but that of conduct as
well. Man can contribute nothing to his own salvation. “Work out your own
salvation, for it is God that worketh in you.” Yes, but God the Redeemer.
What works in you is the redemption which you have already apprehended by faith
alone. The words were spoken not to the natural conscience but to the redeemed.
Any form of Synergism (man’s ability to help God in saving him) is fatal to
justification by grace alone, which is the base of the true Protestant
priesthood of all believers’.
Christianity is a religion and a faith before it is an
ethic. It is ethical because of its faith in the supreme and all-inclusive
ethical act of God in the Redeemer.’
There is much we must learn and there is much we must
To be taught of God is to unlearn much and to grow in
grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What must I do to be saved?
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and
thou shalt be saved. Acts 16:31.