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The Catholics and Protestants alike use many of the same words.  However, the Catholic definitions of these words is often different than the Biblical definition understood by evangelical Christians.  Therefore, before delving to far into exploring the beliefs of Catholicism, it is important to understand the different definitions.  Below are some common terms, and how the Catholic definition differs from the Biblical definition: Furthermore, it should be pointed out, that in order to justify the Catholic Church's doctrines of prayers for the dead, the Mass, invocation and intercession of the saints, the worship of angels, purgatory, the redemption of souls after death, and other doctrines, the Church added new portions to the Old Testament books of Esther and Daniel, plus seven additional books:  Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Ben Sirach (or "Ecclesiasticus"), Baruch, and Wisdom.  The Catholic Church refers to these extra books as "deuterocanonical works".  This means that they are scriptural for Catholics, but not part of the Jewish Bible.  Protestants call these additions "The Apocrypha," and have never considered them part of inspired scripture due to their historical, geographical, and chronological errors, as well as for their heretical doctrines.  In fact, the Catholic Church itself did not add the Apocrypha to the Bible until the Council of Trent (held in the 1500's). 


BibleGod's disposition toward mankind, wherein He expresses His mercy and love, so that the believer is now treated as if he were innocent and righteous. 

CatholicismA power - separate from God - which is placed into a believer.  This power enables the believer to perform works that will earn him or her the "right" to heaven. 


Bible:  The instantaneous reception of an irrevocable right-standing before God.  Salvation is secured by faith, through the grace of God.  It is not given only to those who have lived in a worthy way.  Romans 3:23 tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  No, salvation is given to those the Bible describes as "ungodly," "sinners," "enemies," and "children of wrath." 

Catholicism:  The lifelong process whereby God and men cooperate in the securing of forgiveness of sin.  This is achieved only after death (and/or cleansing from sin in purgatory), and is dependant on man's personal securing of objective righteousness before God; otherwise, there would be no salvation. 

Reconciliation (atonement for sins)

Bible:  All sins are forgiven at the point of salvation, because Christ's death satisfied all God's wrath against sin.  (See Colossians 2:13,14)

Catholicism:  Sins are only potentially forgiven, and so must be worked off through a process mediated by the Church and its sacraments over the lifetime of the believer.


Bible:  The instantaneous imparting of eternal life and the quickening of the human spirit, making it alive to God.

Catholicism:  The lifelong process of infusing grace (spiritual power) to perform meritorious works (in part).


Bible:  The legal declaration of Christ's righteousness reckoned to the believer at the point of faith, solely as an act of God's mercy.

Catholicism:  Spiritual rebirth and the lifelong process of sanctification which begins at the point of the sacrament of baptism.

information above was obtained from the Catholic Encyclopedia.  As you can see, the Catholics view participation in the sacraments as necessary.  They go on to say that anyone who disagrees (singling out Protestants, except for Episcopalians and Anglicans) is anathema, meaning "cursed."  Let's explore the seven Catholic sacraments:

1 - Baptism cleanses from original sin, removes other sin and its punishment, provides spiritual rebirth or regeneration, begins the process of justification, and is necessary for salvation.

2 - Confirmation bestows the Holy Spirit on the Catholic, leading to an increasing of sanctifying grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as other spiritual power and a sealing to the Catholic Church.

3 - Penance removes the penalty of sins committed after baptism and confirmation.  Thus, mortal (deadly) sins are remitted and the justification lost by such sins is restored as a continuing process.

4 - Holy Eucharist is where Christ is resacrificed and the benefits of Calvary are continually applied anew to the believer. 

5 - Marriage is where grace is given to remain in the bonds of matrimony in dictates with the requirements of the Catholic Church.

6 - Anointing the sick (formerly extreme unction) bestows grace on those who are sick, old, or near death and helps in forgiveness of sins and sometimes the physical healing of the body.

7 - Holy orders confers special grace and spiritual power upon bishops, priests, and deacons for leadership in the Church as representatives of Christ for all eternity.

The Catholics maintain that these sacraments are necessary, but not all are necessary for each person.  For example, Holy orders would only be necessary for those in Church leadership.  The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on to say this about the sacraments:


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