Roman Catholic DoctrineQUESTION: Roman Catholic doctrine - What are the basics?ANSWER:
Roman Catholic doctrine, as with any other organization, political party or religion, are its beliefs, tenets, principles, or teachings. It is through these beliefs or teachings that they base their practices. Councils, committees, or governing assemblies, decide upon doctrines. In the case of Catholics, the government of the Vatican has decreed their doctrines. That means they are subject to (and have implemented) change.
Basic practices (or traditions) vary within the Body of Christ. But the foundation of each Christian denomination is the same. God's divine Word is the blueprint for all Christian faith. "Christian" means follower of Jesus Christ. According to Ephesians 2:20 Jesus is the chief corner stone of God's household! And Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." His doctrines will never change.
The Word of God proclaims that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God whose purpose on earth was to die and be raised again as atonement for the sins of all mankind. This is the basis for all Christian Doctrine. The Catholic Church proclaims these doctrines:
- Teaching that Jesus is the Son of God sent to die for the sins of the world
- God is a triune God, consisting of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
- In accepting Jesus and serving Him, believers are granted life eternal.
- Members must accept the church as having the fullness of revelation, and according to Roman Catholic catechism is the only Christian body that is "holy, universal and apostolic"
- Apostolic succession is key in the faith, saying that the pope and bishops have varying degrees of authority from Jesus.
- Penance and the Eucharist are required at least once a year
As in all denominations, it is important to study the Word of God for yourself. When studying the above doctrines, you will discover that not all of them come from and have a basis in the Bible. In Hosea 4:6 God says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [of God and His Word]. . ." Know His Word and keep these two passages in mind when examining any doctrine:
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ" (Colossians 2:8).
"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold on to the teachings (traditions) we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter (epistles)" (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Paul knew that we would face false teachings and worldliness to waver from truth. He reminds us to hold onto the truth of Christ's teachings (doctrines). Therefore, be sure your practices are based on truth and from your own heart with sincerity (Hebrews 10:22).