Telling arguments against Roman Catholicism
from the Epistle to the Hebrews

The Scripture, God’s truth, stands opposed to the apostasy known today as Roman Catholicism.

1. Romanism teaches that Christ instituted a priesthood within the church, as mediators, and in distinction from the Christian people. “Through that sacrament priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head....They are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 1563,1564, italics in original). The Roman priest is alter Christus, another Christ in a real way, and ministers on his behalf by offering a propitiatory sacrifice (the Mass).

This fable is exploded by the whole tenor of Hebrews, where Christ is presented as the true and eternal priest who by Himself fulfils His task in presenting a propitiatory sacrifice to God, effective and applied to believers. The contrast between the old order of things and the new as inaugurated by the appearance of Christ is very telling: “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood” (Hebrews 7:23-24). The word ‘unchangeable’ can also be translated ‘intransmissible,’ that is, it need be and cannot be transferred to someone else. While all believers are priests in virtue of their access to God and in offering the sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving and well-doing to God, they are in no sense propitiating priests. Leaders in the church as described by various terms but never by the term ‘priest’.

2. Rome give no assurance of final and complete forgiveness, and indeed in the Mass it is claimed that Christ’s sacrifice is re-enacted and re-presented, to make Calvary relevant and applicable for the faithful. Christ’s sacrifice is carried on and perpetuated on Rome’s altars, as it is blasphemously claimed. Hebrews presents a totally different picture. Christ’s sacrifice is ephapax, once for all, non-repeatable. It accomplished what it meant to accomplish, the redemption of God’s people, and therefore makes no sense to have it re-enacted and perpetuated. "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin" (Hebrews 10:17,18).

3. Rome introduced a fictitious place in the after-life where departed souls undergo purification for their sins, before they are able to enter heaven. Historically this place is called purgatory, that is, a place of cleansing or purification. Since Rome teaches a system of salvation by faith and works, mixing grace with human merit, purgatory fits in nicely.

But not according to the author of Hebrews! In his epistle we are given a glorious account of Christ’s finished sacrifice, leaving us in no doubt as to the state of believers in so far as their sins are concerned: “When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3). The believer is not only justified by also sanctified by Christ’s righteousness: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (10:14). According to Hebrews, we already enjoy forgiveness and are called “holy brethren.”