"You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God." (Lev 26:1)
"Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. " (Isa 2:8)
"so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth," (Phil 2:10)
I have recently been thinking about the reasons why I am not a Catholic, in light of the Frank Beckwith situation. I honestly have never seriously studied Catholicism in depth but I have enough of an understanding to know that over half of the practices and doctrines are not remotely Biblical. I mean I see images like the one above and then I read scripture like the citations above and I see something is wrong. There is simply no way you can read a passage like Leviticus 26:1 and then go bow down before a statue of Mary and not see a problem.
The whole notion that you do not set up a figured stone and bow down to it is pretty straight forward. Yes I know there will be semantic word plays with honor and worship and dulia and latria when it comes to Mary. I can't see that stuff as anything other then word games to justify something that is radically out of step with the teaching of the Bible.
I will give a brief list of Catholic doctrines and my reason why I don't believe it...you should see a pattern here, I will start with some of the Maryology because it is just so out there.
1.) Catholics believe in praying to Mary, many will stress that they DO NOT worship Mary though. She just carries their prayers to God for them.
RE) Where in the Bible do we see anybody pray to Mary? Where in the Bible do we see any of that stuff talked about?
Also, how does Mary hear and respond to millions of prayers given to her every hour across the world? If somebody asked me how God can do this, well that is simple, God is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent...Mary is Omni-nothing, finite. So how is this possible?
2.) Mary was a virgin all her life. "Perpetual Virgin", her and Joseph never had sex or other children.
RE) No the Bible implies Joseph and Mary had sex AFTER Jesus was born, and that they had children:
"When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus." (Matt 1:24-25)
"And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you."" (Mar 3:32)
3.) Mary was taken up into heaven like Christ, "The Assumption of Mary".
RE.) Not in the Bible anywhere.
4.) Mary was sinless.
RE.) Not taught in the Bible anywhere. In reality the Bible implies she was sinful because she offered a sacrifice at the temple after giving birth, it was a sin offering that was to be made. Only sinners need sin offerings.
"And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22-24)
NOTE!) Now out of all of this it is not my goal to drag Mary down, I am just trying to strip her of her divinity. Mary is not divine, she was a regular person, one who happened to be chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. As such Mary does have a place of honor in Biblical Christianity. However we don't pray to her, bow down to pictures and statues of her, or make up stories about her talking about her sinlessness and how she ascended into heaven.
5.) Prayers to the saints in general is a good practice.
RE.) Again not Biblical. Paul never prayed to anybody but God in the name of His Son, though there certainly were men and women of old who certainly were "saints" in the Catholic sense. None of the apostles ever prayed to anybody but God, Peter never said "Father Abraham! I need you to intercede for me!". If they didn't do it and they constantly said to follow their example maybe it's a bad idea for me to make images of dead godly men and bow down and pray to them...maybe.
Finally, I just want to add the main reason for my rejection of Catholicism, which is based on the nature of the gospel. The gospel Jesus preached was not the mass, or absolutions, or relics. The gospel Christ preached was His sacrificial death sufficient to save those who looked to Him ALONE, by faith ALONE. The gospel is by it's nature monergistic as one hymn writer put it:
"Nothing in my hand I bring
simply to Thy cross I cling
naked come to Thee for dress
helpless look to Thee for grace
foul I to the Fountain fly
wash me Savior or I die"
Catholic doctrine teaches a faith in Christ plus my own merit, again there is much semantic word play here but that is really what it boils down to. I have heard countless people say what's the big deal? Why do we need to be divided from Catholicism? My simple response is this: because we love the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now I could go on but that would get into the more technical areas of the mass the need of a priesthood and the papacy itself, none of those things are scriptural. I do not want to take them up now simply because each of these subjects is like a rabid dog running loose at a buffet table it will get messy trying to pin him down.
So perhaps in the future I will tackle these more central issues, as it is all I have done is chop a few of the fingers off of the errors in Catholicism, I have yet to thrust my sword into the heart of the errors. My goal with this post was to show the clear pattern that one sees when he starts to question Catholic practice...they are unbiblical at best and in direct antithesis with Scripture at worst.