9.) The true church teaches that Mary was a very godly woman (Lu 1:48), although John the Baptist was greater than she (Mt 11:11). Mary needed to have Christ as her “Saviour” (Lu 1:47) because she was a sinner like every other descendent of Adam (Ro 3:10, 23; 5:12, 19). The gospels record her bringing a sin offering for her uncleanness (Lu 2:21-24; Lev 12:1-8). Jesus was her “firstborn” son (Mt 1:25; Lu 2:7), after which God blessed her marriage to Joseph with many other children (Matthew 13:55-56; John 7:5 + Psalm 69:8; Ac 1:14; 1 Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19). She does not have special access to the Lord Jesus (Mt 12:46-50; Lu 11:27-28) and praying to her, saying she is the queen of heaven, making her a mediator between God and man, and all other additions to Biblical teaching about her are abominable idolatry (Deut 12:32; 1 Ti 2:5; Is 48:11).
Catholicism teaches that Mary “was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life . . . the Church [confesses] Mary’s real and perpetual virginity . . . The Church rightly honors the Blessed Virgin with special devotion . . . the Immaculate Virgin . . . when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things . . . her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 411, 498, 971, 966, 969).
10.) The true church teaches that all believers are “a royal priesthood” (1 Pet 2:9) and “kings and priests unto God” (Rev 1:6; 5:10). Christ is the great High Priest (Heb 4:14), and there is no special sacrificial priesthood in the New Testament. The only two church offices are pastors/bishops/elders (different names for the same position) and deacons (Php 1:1; 1 Pet 5:1-2; Ac 20:17, 28; Tit 1:5-7). Bishops/pastors are often married with children (1 Tim 3:1-5), just as the apostle Peter and other apostles ministered with their wives (1 Cor 9:5; Mt 8:14; Mr 1:30), for “marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled” (Heb 13:4). On the other hand, “the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils . . . forbidding to marry” (1 Tim 4:1-3). Christ also forbade the use of “Father” for a spiritual office (Mt 23:9), the Bible only calls God “reverend” (Ps 111:9), and Peter, who did not start the church at Rome (Rom 1:7; 16:1-16) and certainly had no successors there as a pope, was by no means infallible (Mt 16:22-23; Gal 2:11-14). The Bible predicted the coming of “that man of sin [the Antichrist, 1 Jo 2:18, 22; 4:3] . . . the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th 2:3-4), the leader of a religion “full of names of blasphemy” (Rev 17:3). The Lord says to every such Satanically energized man who affirms, “I am a God, I sit in the seat of God,” that “thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God . . . because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God . . . they shall bring thee down to the pit” (Eze 28:2, 6, 8).
Catholicism has priests, archbishops, monks, cardinals, friars, primates, abbots, rectors, and other “reverend Fathers” not found anywhere in the Bible, who are forbidden to marry, and states that “And if any one affirm, that all Christians indiscriminately are priests of the New Testament, or that they are all mutually endowed with an equal spiritual power, he clearly does nothing but confound the ecclesiastical hierarchy . . . If any one saith, that, in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy by divine ordination . . . let him be anathema” (Trent, 23rd Session, chapter 4; canon 6). “When the Roman pontiff [pope] speaks ex cathedra . . . he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter . . . infallibility . . . should anyone . . . have the temerity to reject this . . . let him be anathema” (Decrees of the First Vatican Council (1870), Chapter 4:4). Catholicism says to the pope, “thou art our shepherd, thou art our physician, thou art our governor, thou art our husbandman, thou art finally another God on earth” (Address of the Fifth Lateran Council, Session IV, to the pope), and the pope declares, “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty” (Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII on the Reunion of Christiandom, June 20, 1894). The “chief Pontiffs [are] the vicars on earth of Christ” (Bull for the Resumption of the Council of Trent, Under the Sovereign Pontiff, Julius III). The word vicar signifies in Latin one “in the place of” another, corresponding in meaning to the Greek preposition anti (cf. Lev 24:18, Latin Vulgate “vicarium,” Greek LXX anti). When the pope calls himself “vicar of Christ,” he claims to be “anti-christ.” 11.) The true church teaches that the Greek word “church” means “assembly,” a way it is translated in the Bible (Ac 19:32, 37). A church is a local, visible congregation of saved and scripturally baptized saints (a term for all God’s people, including those alive on earth, 1 Cor 1:2; Col 1:2). One must be justified by faith before he can join the church by baptism, so church membership cannot be essential to salvation. The Bible never speaks about Christ’s church as a “universal church.” While churches may choose to work together, each congregation is independent and self-governing, without any hierarchy (Mt 18:15-18; 1 Cor 5). The only world-wide “church” entity is the universal religious system centered in Rome prophesied about in Revelation 17-18, where it is called “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev 17:5).