For Phoebe and Joseph.
Phoebe has made the claim that the RCC is a cult. Joseph responded that it was not. Phoebe’s response is below. So that both don’t take over the comments section of the Top 10 Hymns, I’m posting Phoebe’s comments here, so they can respond on this post.
I welcome both of their input to the topic. However, I don’t wish to engage right now. This is not my battle.
The following is Phoebe’s response:
Joseph, I just noticed your comment:
>If you’re going to call Catholics a “cult,” anyway, you should have a precise understanding of how you’re using that word. What about the Catholic Church do you suppose makes it a “cult”? I do hope you have something more in mind than “people we disagree with.<
I always try to have a reason for any opinion, Joseph.
In recent years there’s been an explosion of new–usually highly-attenuated–definitions of what constitutes “a cult of Christianity”, most of them clearly tailored by one group or another to exclude itself . But in my day–I am 77–there was just one venerable, consensual (among non-Catholics) five-point definition; any one of the five points being a red flag, all five inarguably defining the accursed “another Gospel” of Galatians 1:6-9.
I’ll leave it to you to decide if the RCC fits the classic definition.
1) Extra-Biblical Revelation accorded authority equal to or greater than the Bible’s’;
[“Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God . . .” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 97)
“The apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority.'” (Par. 77).
“This living transmission, accomplished through the Holy Spirit, is called tradition…” (Par. 78).
“Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (Par. 82).]
2) Leader[s] claiming supernatural powers, knowledge, authority via a special or unique relationship with God;
[Re: Papal infallibility. Here’s what catholic.com has to say about it (I won’t give the link lest I run into the “too many links” problem):
“As Christians began to more clearly understand the teaching authority of the Church and of the primacy of the pope, they developed a clearer understanding of the pope’s infallibility. This development of the faithful’s understanding has its clear beginnings in the early Church. For example, Cyprian of Carthage, writing about 256, put the question this way, ‘Would the heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter whence apostolic faith is derived and whither no errors can come?’ (Letters 59 , 14). In the fifth century, Augustine succinctly captured the ancient attitude when he remarked, ‘Rome has spoken; the case is concluded” (Sermons 131, 10).
So the 1870 dogma of papal infallibility was simply rubber-stamping what “Christians” had long accepted? Not according to this fascinating account of Vatican 1:
3) Subtracts from the Bible: Denial of one or more central doctrines of NT/apostolic Christian faith;
4) Adds to the Bible: dogma foreign to or in contradiction to the NT.
[Too much to list: infant baptism, purgatory, indulgences, Mariology (“co-Mediatrix”, etc.), confession, celibacy of priests & nuns, sole authority to correctly interpret Bible, calling priests “father…..
“In the 1490’s an Oxford professor, the personal physician to King Henry the 7th and 8th, Thomas Linacre, decided to learn Greek. After reading the Gospels in Greek, and comparing it to the Latin Vulgate, he wrote in his diary, “Either this (the original Greek) is not the Gospel… or we are not Christians.”]
5) Claims to be the one true, essential-for-salvation church.
[According Pope Benedict in 2007, “Protestant and other Christian denominations [are] not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore [do] not have the “means of salvation.”
It is MY position that the Roman Catholic Church is apostate and not a cult. Our history as Protestants is in the Roman Catholic Church, but out of a desire to be true to the Bible and standards found in Scripture, Protestants felt a need to pull out of the RCC and press on for His glory apart from the pope, bishops, Mary worship, saint worship, etc. But this post is more for the benefit of Joseph and Phoebe.