Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 8, 1964
NUMBER 22, PAGE 5,10b

Is The Catholic Church The True Church?

Billy W. Moore

The Knights of Columbus have an ad in the local newspaper entitled: "How Can We Be Sure It's The TRUE Church?" Of course they sought to prove that the Catholic Church is the True church. First they said, "Like fingerprints that distinguish one human being from another, there are marks that set Christ's true Church apart from all others. Four such marks are specifically described by our Lord Himself ... and should be regarded as the 'fingerprints' of His Church. "Christ's true Church must be One. It must be Holy. It must be Catholic. It must be Apostolic."

Thus Catholicism gives the standard of determining which church is the True church. Now I readily agree that "there are marks that set Christ's true Church apart from all others," but I just as quickly deny that the Catholic Church meets those marks. Notice that it is said that "four such marks are specifically described by Our Lord Himself," but the entire article is without a single New Testament reference. Yet the Lord Himself specifically described four marks of the church. Let's consider their "four marks."

(1) Christ's church must be One. Jesus promised to build his church. (Matt. 16:18). The church is his body (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22). There is One body (Eph. 4:4; I Cor. 12:20): therefore, there is but one church of Christ. But this is not the Catholic Church. The Catholic church is not once mentioned in the scripture. Why? For she did not exist in the days of the New Testament. The church of Christ was established and the saved were added unto it. (Rom. 16:16; Acts 2:47). The church of Christ is the one church of the New Testament, not the Catholic Church which came into being years later.

The Knights are right in saying, "It must be one in the sense that there cannot be two or three or more — and all His true Church." But the Catholic Church has suffered divisions. A major division dates back to the early part of the 11th century, resulting in the Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic churches. Now which of the two Catholic churches is the true Church? Roman Catholicism has many divisions, differences in teaching and practice from generation to generation, and all under the guise of being headed by an "infallible" pope.

It is said that "it must also be one in the unity of doctrines and beliefs." Catholicism capitalizes on the divisions that exist in the so-called Protestant world. But the fact that the "protestants" are divided does not make Catholicism the true church. In fact, Catholicism does not have unity in doctrines and beliefs. The Catholic of today must believe many things that the Catholic of 'five hundred or one hundred years ago did not believe ... yet they claim to have unity of doctrine. One would think from their words that they had always taught the same thing. Such just is not true.

(2) In discussing the claim that Christ's true Church must be holy it is argued that, "It must be holy by virtue of authority divinely conferred, and by the presence of Christ Himself in the sacraments it administers." Thus the Catholic Church claims to be "holy" by virtue of the authority divinely conferred upon it. But who says authority has been divinely conferred upon her? Only the Catholic Church! God has not so stated! God's word does not once mention the Catholic Church. The Lord has never conferred any authority upon the Catholic Church. She has assumed the authority she boasts. She has not received it from God.

Catholicism claims to be "holy" with the claim of the presence of Christ Himself in the sacraments it administers. She speaks of "Christ's Seven Sacraments In The World Today" (title of a booklet published by the Knights of Columbus), but the Bible does not mention a "sacrament." Isn't that strange? Catholicism teaches: "For our birth into the Christian life, He left us baptism; for our Christian Coming of age, He left us Confirmation; for the nourishment of our Christian life, the Holy Eucharist; for the restoration of that life lost by sin and for the cleansing of the guilt of sin. He left us penance; for those who choose the married state, He raised Matrimony to a sacrament; for those who would be His ministers, He left the Sacrament of Holy Orders: Finally He established Extreme Unction — the last anointing, to comfort the souls of dying Christians and to prepare them for a speedy entrance into Heaven" (Christ's Seven Sacraments, page 5 emphasis mine BWM).

There is no Confirmation, no Holy Eucharist, no Penance, no Matrimony raised to a Sacrament, no Holy Orders, and no Extreme Unction mentioned in the New Testament. Furthermore, Catholicism has changed the action of baptism from a burial to sprinkling or pouring, and originated the doctrine of baptizing babies, which is foreign to God's word. She is "holy" only in her own claims! Not because God has conferred any authority upon her. Not because Christ is with her, for he is not. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God! (2 John 9), Catholicism transgresses the doctrine (teaching) of Christ, therefore, Christ is not with the Catholic Church! She is "holy" only in her own eyes.

(3) The Knights tell us that the true church "must be Catholic in the sense of its universal mission to all peoples, of all generations, in all nations and places." The Lord speaks of the church in a universal sense. But the church is not universal in organization as the Catholic Church is. There is no universal organization of the TRUE church, other than the fact that Christ is the head of the church. Let the Knights present the scripture which teaches the organizational structure of the Catholic Church. They cannot do such.

(4) Finally it is said that the true church "must be apostolic." I readily agree that the true church must be apostolic, but I quickly deny that the Catholic church is apostolic. To be apostolic the church must be as it was under the guidance and instruction of the divinely inspired apostles. The Catholic Church is not remotely similar to the church of the New Testament. The worship, doctrine, work and practice of the Catholic Church is not akin to the New Testament church. The Catholic Church is not apostolic! Except in Her claims.

It is true that there are marks that set Christ's true church apart from all others. The TRUE church will be of the same origin, wear the same name, teach the same doctrine and practice the same things as the church of the New Testament.

I believe that the church of which I am a member, church of Christ, is scriptural in name, origin, doctrine and practice. I deny that the Roman Catholic Church is scriptural in name, origin, doctrine or practice. Without meaning to be rash, or unkind, I challenge the local Catholic priest or the Knights of Columbus to defend the claim that the Catholic Church is the True church. Will they do it?

— Box 204, Butler, Mo.