I hesitate to put this grid up only because I do not want to needlessly assail the Catholic belief system in an offensive manner. However, I cannot help seeing the similarities between Catholicism and some of the cults.
Do I think Catholicism is a cult? No. But I do think it has some very serious theological problems bordering on apostasy imposed upon itself through its history of letting traditions seep into the fabric of biblical truth.
Leader on earth
(except, of course, Jesus)
|Source of Theology||Bible and Tradition||Bible and additional Scripture||Bible and Watchtower Organization||Bible|
|Sample of non-biblical teachings||Purgatory, Penance, Indulgences, praying to Mary,
|Many gods, god from another world, goddess mother, you can become a god.||Jesus is Michael the Archangel. No blood transfusions, no hell, 144,000 go to heaven||If it isn't taught here, I don't believe it.|
|Method of Salvation||Faith, grace, baptism, works||Faith, grace, baptism, works||Faith, grace, baptism, works||Grace through Faith|
|Their church organization is one true church.||Their church organization is one true church.||Their church organization is one true church.||All who are saved by grace through faith are in the true church.|
|Claim of Authority||Apostolic Succession||Apostolic Succession||Being the faithful servant||In Jesus alone|
|Assets||Great Wealth and Power||Great Wealth and Power||Wealth, not much power||Treasures in heaven|
|Goddess-like figure||Mary has godlike abilities: able to hear and answer all prayers of all people all the time, intercede with God.||Goddess Mother who has populated this world with spirits who inhabit human bodies||Not Applicable||Not Applicable|
|Images of God, or Jesus, or Mary, etc.||Used in worship in churches||Used in
temples and headquarters
|Not Applicable||Not Applicable|
There are many good things in the Catholic Church, but I find it disturbing to see the similarities between itself and the cults--regarding a final earthly authority, non-biblical teachings, claims to be the one true church, exaltation of Mary to semi-goddesshood, the use of images, and adding works to salvation. The Catholics, of course, will complain that this chart is not fair or does not focus on the dissimilarities. Well, they are right in that it does not focus on the dissimilarities which are many. But that isn't the point of this comparison, is it?
The Protestant Reformation happened for a reason: to get back to biblical theology and to be rid of extra-biblical teaching. The counter-cult movement has happened for a reason--to get back to biblical theology and to be rid of extra-biblical teaching.
Eternity is a long time to be wrong.