Catholicism: Its Authority
(a sermon outline)
Text: 2 Timothy 3:16,17

Introduction:  The largest segment of what the world knows as "Christianity" is the
system of Roman Catholicism.  There is also Orthodox Catholicism, which is very similar
in many aspects.

Having grown larger and more complicated over 13 centuries, it is difficult to cover all
that Catholicism has become and continues to be without taking more time and space than
it deserves.  That is why, however, we shall take only three lessons to cover its erros:
Its Authority, 2) Its Organization,
and 3) Its History.

The primary error of Catholicism is its concept of authority.  Every error which has
arisen within Catholicism is the direct result of its concept of authority.  Catholicism
rejects the authority of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the apostles and prophets, in
favor of the authority of tradition, the "Church" and the "Pope."


  • "Divine Revelation comes down to us by two means: through Holy Scripture, written
    down under divine inspiration, and through Tradition, handed down orally from
    Apostolic times.  We read the Bible with great respect, for it is the Word of God.  We
    treat Tradition with as great reverence, for God speaks through Tradition as well.  It is
    wrong to believe the Bible alone without Tradition.  That is like believing the Word of
    God written in the morning and denying it spoken in the afternoon." [My Catholic Faith;
    P. 22]
  • "Akin to these divine laws is the purely ecclesiastical law or the law of the Church.  
    Christ sent forth His Church clothed with His own and His Father's authority ... To
    enable her to carry out this divine plan she makes laws, laws purely ecclesiastical, but
    laws that have binding force as the divine laws themselves. ... For Catholics, therefore,
    as far as obligations are concerned, there is no practical difference between God's law
    and the law of the Church" [Explanation of Catholic Morals; p. 26]
  • "It is that of having for a fundamental authority in all ages, for a means of deciding all
    doubtful points, not a book alone, or a book with authorized interpreters, but simply
    authorized interpreters of the faith such as the Apostles were, with a book perhaps to
    help them, but still not absolutely needing that book for the discharge of their office any
    more than the Apostles did for theirs" [Plain Facts; p. 33]
  • This denies the order of authority revealed in the Bible [1 Corinthians 11:3; 1
    Corinthians 14:37; Galatians 1:6-10]


  • "What is the ATTITUDE of the Catholic Church to the Bible?  1. The Catholic Church
    accepts the Bible as the word of God.  Because of this she gives it the highest respect,
    and has always tried to preserve it from being lost or corrupted in any way.  The Church
    has always encouraged the translation of the Bible into the various languages of man,
    and she has encouraged the faithful to read the Bible every day." [My Catholic Faith; p.
  • "The Bible was not intended to be a textbook of the Christian religion" [Catholic Faith;
    p. 50]
  • "Again, ithas ever been practically impossible for men, generally, to find out Christ from
    the Bible only" [Question Box; p. 70]
  • "In other spiritual books the truths of the Bible are presented more fully, and in a more
    modern and familiar style, so that we can hardly wonder that they are, as a rule
    preferred; and that though Catholic families generally have a Bible, it is more venerated
    than read" [Plain Facts; p. 154]
  • "On the contary we do not in any way presuppose that the books of the New Testament
    are inspired, but only that they are genuine authentic documents, written by honest
    men" [Question Box; p. 80]
  • "More than this, parts of the Bible are evidently unsuited to the very young or the
    ignorant, and hence Clement XI condemned the proposition that the reading of the
    Scriptures is for all.  These principles are fixed and invariable but the discipline of the
    Church with regard to the reading of the Bible in the vulgar tongue has varied with
    varying circumstances.  In early times the Bible was read freely by the lay people, ...
    New dangers came in during the Middle Ages ... To meet these evils, the Council of
    Toulouse (1229) and Terragona (1234) forbade the laity to read the vernacular
    translations of the Bible.  Pius IV required bishops to refule lay persons leave to read
    even Catholic versions of Scripture unless their confessors or parish priests judged
    that such reading was likely to prove beneficial" [Catholic Dictionary; p. 82]
  • 2 Timothy 2:15; John 12:46-50; Hebrews 4:12

Conclusion: The ultimate "authority" of Catholicism is its Patriarch, whether Roman or
Orthodox.  Second to this is Tradition.  Lastly, and least in the eyes of Catholicism, is the
revealed will of God given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Bible.  This, in and of
itself, shows the precarious position of popery and its unacceptability to be represented as the
religion of Jesus Christ.  It rejects the authority of the Creator in favor of that of the created.  It
rejects the authority of the Savior in favor of the sinner.  It rejects the authority of the Spirit in
favor of the unspiritual.  It rejects the authority of inspired men in favor of natural wisdom.  
Catholicism forgets, or rather rejects, the admonition of Jesus in the Great Commission:
Matthew 28:19,20.

Do you forget, or rather reject, the authority of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the
apostles and prophets?

A Letter to a Friend

Analytical Bible Study


Evidence of Inspiration

Is There A God?

Inspiration of the Bible

God has been left out!

Law vs. Grace

Living Together
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The Gospel of Judas

The History of
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The Manuscripts of
the Early Versions (chart)

The Old Testament Text

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