· 由於我們的信仰是唯獨基於聖經，基督教宣稱自己是古代教會的正統繼承者（正如基督教的中文譯名是「更正教」或「復原教」）。相對地，羅馬天主教會則採納一些源自教會傳統卻不合聖經的教訓。我們堅持唯獨聖經（Sola scriptura, by Scripture alone，不倚靠傳統)、唯獨信心（Sola fide, by faith alone，單單因信稱義）、唯獨恩典（Sola gratia, by grace alone不倚靠功德或好行為）。
· Eastern church: In 1st-c, Christianity was mostly confined to the Eastern empire and the majority of the believers were Jews. The main churches were in Jerusalem and Antioch. In 2nd-c, expansion was rapid among the Greek-speaking Gentiles. The church in Alexandria became the chief church of Egypt.
· Western church: In 3rd-c, the Gospel spread to the Latin-speaking Gentiles in the western empire. The church in Carthage was the chief church and intellectual centre in North Africa. By 300, there were 5-10 million Christians, 5-15% of the population of the empire of about 50-75 million.
· Decline of other churches: Some of the 5 important bishops of the church (Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, Rome) lost their seat of authority, e.g. destruction of Jerusalem, Montanist schism in Ephesus near Constantinople, Arianism in Alexandria.
· Trend to dominance: Between 313 and 450, the Roman bishop came to be acknowledged as the first among equals. The claim of supremacy began after Leo I became the bishop of Rome . He claimed that the pope, as heir of Peter, has inherited all the authority given to Peter by Christ. (In Roman law, the heir takes the place of the deceased.) All the other bishops derive their authority from the pope and he can remove them at will. So the pope governs the whole worldwide church. Leo also believed that the pope’s status is legal and does not depend on the personal holiness or merit of the pope.
· Leadership of the church: After Constantine moved the capital to Constantinople, the bishop of Rome was the most powerful person in Rome. The popes saved the city by negotiating with invaders.
· Ecclesiastical recognition: The Council of Constantinople  recognized the primacy of the Roman see. The patriarch of Constantinople was the next, because Constantinople was the New Rome.
· False documents: Pope Nicholas I [858–867] used a collection of historical documents to reinforce his authority. These documents, the False Decretals, were later proved to be forgeries.
· Murder of popes: Because of the increase in power in the papacy, the election of the pope involved bribery, deceit, or even violence. Pope John VIII [872–882] was murdered. Then, pope followed pope in rapid succession. The papacy became the prize that rival parties in Rome and in the empire fought for. At times, there were two popes, even 3. Between 882 and 1048, there were officially 44 popes, averaging 3 years 9 months; and 14 of them lasted less than one year. Pope Benedict VI [973–974] was deposed and strangled. John XIV [983–984] died of starvation or poison in the dungeon.
· Nepotism: Pope Sergius III [904–911] was supported by the Italian family of Crescentius whose daughter Marozia was Sergius’s lover. After 5 intermediate popes, Marozia managed to put his son from Sergius III on the papal throne as Pope John XI [931–935]. Later, Marozia’s grandson became Pope John XII [955–964]. After that, her cousin became Pope John XIII [965–972].
· Changing control: For a while, Emperor Otto III controlled the selection of the pope. He named his 23-year old nephew Pope Gregory V [996–999], and also Sylvester II [999–1003]. When Otto died, the Crescentius family gained control naming 3 popes [1003–1012]. Then the counts of Tusculum gained control naming 3 popes [1012–1032], the last one being Pope Benedict IX.
· Benedict IX: He became pope when he was 15 years old . In 1045, he abdicated on a financial reward and the Crescentius family named Pope Sylvester III. Then Benedict IX withdrew his abdication but sold the papal throne to his godfather who became Pope Gregory VI. So there were 3 popes at the same time. Emperor Henry III of Germany intervened; he called the Council of Sutri  which deposed all 3 popes and named Clement II. Clement II died shortly thereafter and Benedict IX became pope again for the third time . He was finally deposed and excommunicated .
(3) 天主教教廷曾經被法國控制68年 [1309-1377]
· Clement V [1305–1314]—The pro-French party won and elected a French as pope. He was a weak man of doubtful morality. During his entire reign, he stayed in France and did not visit Rome even once. He named 24 cardinals; 23 were French. Several of them were his relatives so nepotism was revived.
· Babylonian Captivity: Clement V began to reside in Avignon [1309-1377] at the border of France and under the watchful eye of France. For the next 70 years, the bishop of Rome would mostly remain in Avignon. They willingly served as tools of French policy, called “Babylonian Captivity of the Church”.
· John XXII [1316–1334]—The cardinals could not agree on the next pope so for 2 years, there was no pope. They finally elected a 72-year old man but he survived much longer than expected. He wanted to assert the power of the papacy in Italy by fighting wars. To finance the wars, the pope developed an elaborate system of papal taxes that produced widespread resentment.
(4) 有100年曾經有兩個教皇 [1080–1180]，之後有39年再出現兩個教皇[1378–1417]
· Early schism: After the clash between Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV , rival popes continued to be appointed by the emperor for 100 years until 1180, 12 rival popes were called anti-popes.
· Great Western schism [1378–1417]: For the first time, there were two popes elected by the same cardinals. Different countries supported the Avignon pope or the Roman pope.
· Council of Pisa [1409–1410]:
· Third pope: The council declared both popes deposed and elected a new pope Alexander V .
· Third pope again: Both reigning popes rejected the decision. When Alexander V died, the cardinals elected John XXIII  who sought refuge with Emperor Sigismund of Germany.
· Status of John XXIII: In 20th-c, there was another Pope John XXIII [1958–1963]. The reason is that the RCC accepts only those popes residing in Rome during the schism. Further, today’s papal policy is against the conciliar movement, so the papacy do not accept the popes elected by the Council of Pisa. They call Alexander V and John XXIII “Pisan popes” and consider them anti-popes.
· Council of Constance [1414–1418]:
· New council: Under the pressure of Emperor Sigismund, John XXIII called the council which declared its right to supreme authority in the Roman church.
· Removal of 3 popes: John XXIII was forced to resign and the Roman pope Gregory XII abdicated . The Avignon pope Benedict XIII was officially deposed but he continued to claim that he was the legitimate pope until his death . The cardinals elected Martin V [1417–1431].
· Problems in the papacy: There was widespread moral corruption in the church. People clearly saw the discrepancies between the church in the New Testament and the RCC at that time. There were widespread absenteeism (absent from church posts), and pluralism (holding many different posts, thus receiving the salary but not doing the work).
· Lay investiture: The appointment and the investiture (installation) of bishops and abbots by nobles, kings, and emperors put the church under the control of civil authorities.
· Simony: The buying and selling of ecclesiastical posts was perhaps the worst evil to be eradicated.
· Corrupt moral: Many clergy took concubines or indulged in illicit love affairs with the women from their congregations. Some gave more attention to their children than to their clerical duties.
· Nepotism: Bishops and priests lived openly in sin or kept concubines. They had illegitimate children and openly practice nepotism—appointing them as abbots and abbesses. Celibacy of the clergy was promoted for centuries but was never turned into a universal rule until the Council of Lateran II .
· Luxury: High clergies and abbots enjoyed luxurious living and drunkenness.
· Vatican II, 1962-1965:
· Liturgical renewal: The use of vernacular languages is authorized in most occasions. The importance of laity was recognized. They were encouraged to read the Bible.
· Religious freedom: All religious groups have the right to organize according to their own principles “as long as the just requirements of public order are not violated.” Protestants were described as “separated brethren” rather than as schismatics and heretics as in the past.
· Emphasis on the Bible: The laity is encouraged to study the Bible. Catholic Biblical scholarship is encouraged. But it is to be “under the watchful care of the sacred teaching office of the church.” The Gospel is the one source of all saving truth. It is transmitted in two ways—by tradition and by Scripture. The concept of inerrancy of Scripture is qualified.
· Affirmation of extra-Biblical traditions: These included papal infallibility, past affirmations about Mary, 7 sacraments, and the authority of tradition (as Scripture and tradition together form “one sacred deposit of the Word of God”).
· “Nowhere in church history outside of Scripture has God added anything that he requires us to believe or to do. Scripture is sufficient to equip us for ‘every good work,’ and to walk in its ways is to be ‘blameless’ in God’s sight.”
· “The fact that these books were included by Jerome in his Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible (completed in AD 404) gave support to their inclusion, even though Jerome himself said they were not “books of the canon” but merely “books of the church” that were helpful and useful for believers.”
· “Thus the writings of the Apocrypha should not regarded as part of Scripture: (1) they do not claim for themselves the same kind of authority as the OT writings; (2) they were not regarded as God’s words by the Jewish people from whom they originated; (3) they were not considered to be Scripture by Jesus or the NT authors; and (4) they contain teachings inconsistent with the rest of the Bible…. Therefore, they have no binding authority for the thought or life of Christians today.”
· “The traditional Roman Catholic understanding of justification is very different from this. The RCC understands justification as something that changes us internally and makes us more holy within. ‘According to the teaching of the Council of Trent, justification is “sanctifying and renewing of the inner man.” In order for justification to begin, one must first be baptized and then (as an adult) continue to have faith: ‘The instrumental cause…of the first justification is the Sacrament of Baptism.’ But ‘the justification of an adult is not possible without Faith…. Baptism is the means by which justification is first obtained, and then faith is necessary if an adult is to receive justification or to continue in the state of justification. Ott (Catholic theologian) explains that ‘the so-called fiduciary faith’ is not enough—meaning that the faith that simply trusts in Christ for forgiveness of sins is not enough. It must be a faith that accepts the content of the teaching of the Catholic Church, ‘theological or dogmatic faith (confessional faith).’
· “The Roman Catholic view may be said to understand justification as based not on imputed righteousness but on infused righteousness—that is, righteousness that God actually puts into us and that changes us internally and in terms of our actual moral character. Then he gives us varying measures of justification according to the measure of righteousness that has been infused or placed within us.
· “The result of this Roman Catholic view of justification is that people cannot be sure if they are in a ‘state of grace’ where they experience God’s complete acceptance and favor. The Catholic Church teaches that people cannot be certain that they are in this ‘state of grace’ unless they receive a special revelation from God to this effect.
· “To this statement Ott adds the comment, ‘The reason for the uncertainty of the state of grace lies in this, that without a special revelation nobody can with certainty of faith know whether or not he has fulfilled all the condition which are necessary for the achieving of justification. The impossibility of the certainty of faith.’
· “Moreover, since the RCC views justification as including something that God does within us, it follows that people can experience varying degrees of justification. We read, ‘The degree of justifying grace is not identical in all the just’ and ‘grace can be increased by good works.’
· “Finally, the logical consequence of this view of justification is that our eternal life with God is not based on God’s grace alone, but partially on our merit as well.
· moral and venial sins: “In Roman Catholic teaching, a venial sin can be forgiven, but often after punishments in this life or in Purgatory (after death, but before entrance into heaven). A mortal sin is a sin that causes spiritual death and cannot be forgiven; it excludes people from the kingdom of God.
· “The Roman Catholic separation of sins into the category of ‘mortal’ and ‘venial,’ calling some sins (such as suicide) ‘mortal,’ while calling others (such as dishonesty, anger, or lust) ‘venial’, leading to excessive fear, despair, and inability ever to have assurance of forgiveness.”
· “The invisible church is the church as God sees it. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin were eager to affirm this invisible aspect of the church over against the Roman Catholic teaching that the church was the one visible organization that had descended from the apostles in an unbroken line of succession (through the bishops of the church). The RCC had argued that only in the visible organization of the Roman Church could we find the one true church, the only true church. Even today such a view is held by the Roman Catholic Church.”
· Luther and Calvin disagreed said that the RCC had the outward form, the organization, but it was just a shell. Because they had departed from the true preaching of the gospel, their visible organization was not the true church.
· church government: The RCC has a worldwide government under the authority of the Pope.
· church officers: “The Roman Catholic Church has its officers appointed by a higher authority: the Pope appoints cardinals and bishops, and the bishops appoint priests in local parishes. This is a “hierarchy” or system of government by a priesthood that is distinct from the lay people in the church. This system claims an unbroken line of descent from Christ and the apostles, and claims that the present priesthood stands as Christ’s representatives in the church.”
· “Roman Catholics argue that Peter had greater authority than the other apostles from the beginning, but the NT evidence does not bear this out.”
· sacerdotalism: “there is a special “priesthood” of ordained people within the church who have a special authority or ability to extend God’s grace to people in the church.”
· “The RCC has traditionally believed that God’s ‘grace’ comes to people only through the official ministry of the church, particularly through the priests of the church. Therefore, when it specifies the means of grace (what it calls the ‘sacraments’) that are available to people within the church, it has in view activities that are supervised and/or performed by only the priests of the church.”
· Luther denied the 5 “sacraments” designated by the RCC: confirmation, holy orders (ordination to the priesthood or diaconate), confession (penance), extreme unction (anointing those gravely ill, could be administered up to a few hours after apparent death), matrimony (marriage).
· On penance: Gregory I (540–604) was more concerned with how we are to offer satisfaction to God for sins committed. This is done through penance, which consists of contrition, confession, and the actual punishment or satisfaction. Priestly absolution confirming the forgiveness granted by God is required.
· The belief arose that, not only eternal punishment, but also temporal punishment was due for sins. God’s forgiveness would remove the former but not the latter. Unless “satisfaction” were made for this temporal punishment, the soul would go to purgatory. Satisfaction might be made by prayer, church attendance, fasting, pilgrimage, almsgiving, or other good works. However, the Bible teaches that when God forgives He forgives completely (Hebrews 8:12). Also, confessions of sin should be made “to one another” (James 5:16), not just to the priest.
· “This view that there is blessing that comes automatically from participation in the Lord’s Supper is the Roman Catholic doctrine of ex opere operato (“by the work performed”),”
· baptism: “Roman Catholics have a clear answer to this question: Baptism causes regeneration.”
· RCC insists that only properly ordained clergy should baptize in ordinary circumstances (though exceptions could be made in unusual circumstances).
· “The RCC teaches that baptism should be administered to infants. The reason for this is that the Catholic Church believes that baptism is necessary for salvation, and that the act of baptism itself causes regeneration.
· transsubstantiation: “According to the teaching of the RCC, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ. This happens at the moment the priest says, “This is my body” during the celebration of the mass. At the same time as the priest says this, the bread is raised up (elevated) and adored. This action of elevating the bread and pronouncing it to be Christ’s body can only be performed by a priest.
· “When this happens, according to Roman Catholic teaching, grace is imparted to those present ex opere operato, that is, “by the work performed,” but the amount of grace dispensed is in proportion to the subjective disposition of the recipient of grace. Moreover, every time the mass is celebrated, the sacrifice of Christ is repeated (in some sense), and the Catholic Church is careful to affirm that this is a real sacrifice, even though it is not the same as the sacrifice that Christ paid on the cross.”
· immaculate conception of Mary: “But why did Jesus not inherit a sinful nature from Mary? The RCC answers this question by saying that Mary herself was free from sin, but Scripture nowhere teaches this, and it would not really solve the problem anyway (for why then did Mary not inherit sin from her mother?) A better solution is to say that the work of the Holy Spirit in Mary must have prevented not only the transmission of sin Mary.”
· doctrine of the Assumption of Mary: the end of Mary’s earthly life was bodily ascension into heaven so she was preserved from corruption of the body in death
· Purgatory: “In Roman Catholic teaching, purgatory is the place where believers go to be further purified from sin until they are ready to be admitted into heaven.
· “The RCC has found support in the writings of the Apocrypha, particularly in 2 Maccabees 12:42-45:… ‘Therefore, he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.
· “Here it is clear that prayer for the dead is approved, and also making an offering to God to deliver the dead from their sin. But in response it must be said that this literature is not equal to Scripture in authority, and should not be taken as authoritative source of doctrine…. Finally, this passage in 2 Maccabees is difficult to square even with Roman Catholic teaching, because it teaches that soldiers who had died in the mortal sin of idolatry (which cannot be forgiven, according to Catholic teaching) should have prayers and sacrifices offered for them with the possibility that they will be delivered from their suffering.”
· Limbo: “Some have said that, although the souls of believers since Christ’s resurrection go immediately into God’s presence in heaven, the souls of believers who died before Christ’s resurrection did not enjoy the blessings of heaven but went into a place of waiting for Christ’s work of redemtion to be complete. Sometimes this is called the limbus patrum, or simply limbo.”
· “Strictly speaking, Roman Catholic theologians have held that there are two limbos, a place where unbaptized infants go when they die called limbus infantum, and a place where OT believers went when they died called limbus patrum. The Latin word limbus means ‘border’; these were thought to be places on the border of hell where people were excluded from the presence of God but also did not experience conscious suffering. There is no explicit support in Scripture for either doctrine.
(1) 教皇有絕對權力可以決定全教會一切absolute authority of the pope
· Innocent III [1198–1216] Most powerful pope: He became the most powerful pope in church history. He believed that he was the vicar of Christ, with supreme authority on earth. He believed that kings derived their authority from him. He would use excommunication (against the individuals, denial of sacraments) and interdict (a sort of general strike by the clergy, against the whole region, forbidding the clergy to perform any but the most essential services—no mass, no preaching, no burial on consecrated ground). He used and threatened to use the interdict 85 times. He published an authoritative edition of the canon law called the Decretum . It supported the idea of centralization of authority in one individual. He called and controlled the Council of Lateran IV  to affirm his absolute power.
· Jacobus Latomus (1475–1544)—This Flemish theologian was a theological advisor to the Inquisition. He believed that it was sufficient to understand the Bible perfectly with Latin alone, so he argued that there was no need to study the Bible in Hebrew or Greek.
· Accessibility to the Bible: By emphasizing the Bible as the final authority and the right of private interpretation, the Reformation encouraged the translation of the Bible into the vernacular.
· prohibition of the Bible: the Synod of Toulouse  forbade laymen to read vernacular translations of the Bible so that the comparison between the NT church and the RCC could be avoided (encourage catechism written by theologians)
· “In Catholic teaching, because the elements of bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ, the church for many centuries did not allow the lay people to drink from the cup of the Lord’s Supper (for fear that the blood of Christ would be spilled) but only to eat the bread.”
· To say that Christ’s sacrifice continues or is repeated in the mass has been, since the Reformation, one of the most objection Roman Catholic doctrines from the standpoint of Protestants.”
· Beginning (of the Crusades): Urban II proclaimed at the Council of Clermont  that God wanted the crusades. He offered plenary indulgence to those who participated in the struggle. Others went further by promising eternal life to the participants, and not only to them but also to their parents and to all those who contributed to the efforts of the Crusaders. Earthly advantages promised to Crusaders were exemption from debt and freedom from taxation and payment of interest.
· Leo X [1513–1521]—He was a patron of the arts. His great dream was to complete the great basilica of St Peter in Rome. The sale of indulgences became the main tool for collecting the money needed.
· Abuse of indulgences: abuse of the indulgence system was the proximate cause of Reformation.
· A form of penance: This satisfaction might be a pilgrimage to a shrine, a payment of money to a church, or some meritorious deed. The indulgence was a document that could be bought for a sum of money and that would free one from temporal penalty of sin.
· Theory behind indulgences: It was believed that Christ and the saints had achieved so much merit during their earthly lives that the excess merit was laid up in a heavenly treasury of merit on which the pope could draw.
· Scandalous claims: When John Tetzel, a Dominican monk working for the archbishop of Mainz in pushing indulgences, made many outrageous claims:
· Indulgences make the sinner “cleaner than when coming out of baptism” and “cleaner than Adam before the Fall”.
· “The cross of the seller of indulgences has as much power as the cross of Christ.”
· “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
· Repentance was not necessary for the buyer of an indulgence.
· The condemnation of Pope Honorius had serious repercussions on the question of papal infallibility (an excellent evidence against papal infallibility), which was first discussed in 9th-c.
· Pope Honorius [625–638] declared himself a monothelite—a heretical sect (believing in two natures of Christ but only one will).
· Council of Constantinople III [680–681]—This is the 6th ecumenical council. It condemned monothelitism, and condemned Pope Honorius. The council declared that in Jesus Christ are “two natural wills and two natural operations, without division, without change, without separation, without confusion.” In other words, that the two wills of Christ exist in Him in a harmonious unity in which the human will is subject to the divine will. The main argument was that without a human will, Jesus would have had an incomplete human nature and would not have been truly man.
· He (Pius IX) proclaimed the dogma of Immaculate Conception of Mary . The dogma states that Mary, by virtue of her election to be the Mother of the Saviour, was kept pure from all taint of sin, including the original sin. (This dogma was later made infallible by invoking ex cathedra papal infallibility in 1870.) All the faithful were to accept this doctrine as part of the dogma of the RCC that one must believe in order to be saved. This was the first time ever that a pope defined a dogma on his own, without the support of a council. It was like a testing of the waters to see how the world would react. Since it did not meet much opposition, the stage was set for the promulgation of papal infallibility.
· Dogma: In 1870, the Council of Vatican I [1869–1870] promulgated the dogma of papal infallibility: “…the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians,…he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church,…is possessed of that divine infallibility…that therefore such definitions are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church.”
· Conditional: The specification of “ex cathedra” is added to exclude the case of Pope Honorius who was judged as a heretic in 680. But the dogma gave the pope the power to overrule the whole church, to overrule the Bible, or to interpret the Bible in whatever way he chooses. Even worse, in theory, the faithful must accept this dogma in order to be saved.
· Without tradition: For a long time during the Middle Ages, the pope’s judgment was not irreformable until it received the consent of the church, and the general council was the highest authority. In 19th-c, this idea was in decline and many believed that the pope was the absolute monarch in the church. Pope Pius IX’s attitude was caught in his response to a question at the council: “Tradition? I am the tradition.”
· The vote: In the council, 522 bishops voted in favour, 2 against, and over 100 abstained. In Holland, Austria, and Germany, some withdrew from the RCC and founded the Old Catholic Church .
· Application: Since then, the authority has only been used once in 1950 when Pius XII promulgated the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary, stating that the end of Mary’s earthly life was bodily ascension into heaven so she was preserved from corruption of the body in death.
· Extra-Biblical beliefs: The dogma about the assumption of Mary is the foundation of other beliefs about her, including:  She is the “Mother of God”  and the Queen of Heaven.  Mary was declared sinless in the Council of Trent .  Mary is the Mediatrix of grace, who mediates between us and God, and the co-redemptrix of Christ. Pope Leo XIII stated in an encyclical : “nothing is bestowed on us except through Mary, as God himself wills. Therefore as no one can draw near to the supreme Father except through the Son, so also one can scarcely draw near to the Son except through his mother.”  Adherents of the RCC were told to pray to Mary and receive help from her treasury of grace . Pope Leo XIII stated in another encyclical: “she stands high above all the orders of angels and men and she alone is next to Christ.”  In a spiritual and mystical way, Mary is “the Mother” of all Christians, according to Pope Pius X .  Mary was immune from all sins; she now reigns in heaven with Christ, according to Pope Pius XII .
· Neither Bible nor tradition: All the beliefs about Mary have no support from the Bible, nor from the earliest tradition. This latest dogma on the ascension of Mary demonstrated the dangerous tendency of the RCC ’s ability to proclaim dogma on the basis of her own authority, without the support of Scripture or early tradition.
(6) 天特大公會議的錯誤Council of Trent [1545–1563]
· On the Vulgate: The Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, was declared to be authoritative in matters of dogma; in opposition to the Protestant emphasis of the authority of the Bible in its original languages.
· On tradition: Tradition has authority parallel to the Bible; in opposition to the Protestant emphasis of sole authority of the Bible (sola scriptura).
· On sacraments: There are 7 sacraments; in opposition to the Protestant acceptance of only 2 sacraments instituted by Christ.
· On the mass: The mass is a true sacrifice; it can be offered for the benefit of the deceased; in opposition to the Protestant rejection of the repetitive sacrifice in the mass and prayer for the dead. (The Catholic cross showing the body of Christ on it represents a symbolic opposition to the Protestant cross without any body, as Protestants believe that the sacrifice of Christ is now complete.)
· On transubstantiation: Communion in both kinds is not necessary (up to now, the laity received only the bread). The dogma of transubstantiation was reaffirmed; in opposition to the Protestant opposition to transubstantiation and the Protestant insistence for both kinds given to the laity.
· On justification: Justification is based on faith and subsequent good works done; in opposition to the Protestant teaching of justification by faith alone (sola fide).
(1) 有些人不明白天主教信仰錯謬Those who are ignorant of doctrinal issues
· I believe that most of the Protestants-turn-Catholics are of this kind. They do know about the wrong teachings of the RCC so that presume that the teachings in Protestantism and RC are the same. For them, after considering the advantages of being a Roman Catholic, they do not have hesitation to change. These may include those who wrongly believe that the teachings in the RCC are truth.
· Some of them may find out the truth later, but it is very difficult to change back.
(2) 有些人極不喜歡自己的宗派Those who have great dislike of their own denomination
· The dislike may come from wrong doctrines or heresies, or it may come from unbiblical teachings (such as supporting homosexuality). It may even come from knowing good Catholic people, perhaps simultaneously knowing bad people in their own church. For all these people, they may know of the wrong teachings in the RCC , but their dislike about their own church lead them to ignore this problem. That is why I see many examples of Anglicans turning into Roman Catholics.
(3) 有些人恐懼天主教關於救恩的教訓可能正確Those who are afraid that the Catholic teaching (on salvation) may be correct
· The RCC taught that Protestants are not saved until after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Today, they regard Protestants as “separated brothers” whose status in salvation is unclear. This comes from the RCC teaching that there is no salvation outside the RCC. They RCC also teaches that sacraments are effectual only if conducted by ordained priests of the RCC. If these teachings are true, then Protestants are possibly unsaved and their sins are mostly likely unforgiven. This may push some to accept RCC to make sure they are saved. However, this group may not be too large except I suspect that this may be the reason for some people in the next group.
· In contrast, very few Protestants teach that Roman Catholics are not saved. While from my experience, a majority of Roman Catholics are probably denominal Christians and not true believers, I believe that who truly accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord will be saved. The fear factor favours only the RCC .
(4) 有些人知道天主教信仰的錯誤，但決定不追究Those who know about wrong Catholic teachings but disregard the problems
· I know of some Protestant theologians who change into Roman Catholics. I am quite sure they know the problems of wrong Catholic teachings. But why do they still change? The possibilities include:
· (a) They believe that the favourable characteristics of the RCC and the unfavourable characteristics of the Protestant church outweigh the problems.
· (b) They subscribe to the wrong teachings of the RCC or believe that the errors are not serious.
· (c) They believe that they can bypass the wrong teachings, that is, they can ignore those errors and hold to their own faith. I believe this is wrong. We cannot put ourselves under a church authority that holds essential doctrinal errors.
· There are indeed good reasons why some Protestants decide to leave Protestantism. They main reasons are the lack of unity and lack of clarity. We have to remember, however, that as evangelical Christians, we may not have institutional unity, we are spiritually united. We may not be clear in non-essential doctrines (having many opinions) but we have a clear teaching based solely on the Bible.
· If someone truly despise Protestant disunity (such as the division between evangelical and mainline churches), perhaps he should change to the Orthodox Church as it has less errors than the Roman Catholic Church.
· On the other hand, we are witnessing millions of Roman Catholics changing into Protestants in South America and among Latinos in the U.S. The main reason is that they find the true gospel of salvation in Protestantism but not in the RCC .
· The real crux of the question is: Which church preaches the true gospel of Christ based on the Bible? Other characteristics are all of secondary importance.
· 由於我們的信仰是唯獨基於聖經，基督教宣稱自己是古代教會的正統繼承者（正如基督教的中文譯名是「更正教」或「復原教」）。相對地，羅馬天主教會則採納一些源自教會傳統卻不合聖經的教訓。我們堅持唯獨聖經（Sola scriptura, by Scripture alone，不倚靠傳統)、唯獨信心（Sola fide, by faith alone，單單因信稱義）、唯獨恩典（Sola gratia, by grace alone不倚靠功德或好行為）。