Is the Roman Catholic Church the pillar of truth?

No, the Roman Catholic Church is not the pillar and foundation (bulwark) of the truth, even though it claims to be (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par 171).  The truth is that the Christian church as a whole (comprised of true, regenerate believers) is the pillar and foundation of the truth.  It is not a particular "denomination."  Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church says that the one true religion " . . . subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church," (CCC 2105).  It also claims for itself authority under the guidance of the Pope (CCC 883, 895) to interpret scripture (CCC 100), that it has authority to reconcile sinners (CCC 1444), that its authority moves people to believe the gospel (CCC 119), that it has the authority to represent Christ (CCC 1548), and that it is necessary for salvation (CCC 846).  When appealing to Scripture for support of their position, they go to 1 Timothy 3:15 which says,

"but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15).

There is nothing in the text which says the Roman Catholic Church in particular is the true church.  Such a claim is nothing more than a claim advocated by a church that has obviously failed to properly represent God and Scripture.  Please consider the following teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as evidence of many of its false teachings.

  • Become gods, (CCC 460), "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."
  • Observe the commandments to attain salvation, (CCC 2068), "the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments."
  • Salvation through Catholic Church alone, (CCC 816), "The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.
  • Mary is 2nd only to Jesus: "Mary has by grace been exalted above all angels and men to a place second only to her Son," (Vatican Council II, p. 421).
  • Mary made atonement for the sins of man: " . . . Mary, by her spiritual entering into the sacrifice of her divine son for men, made atonement for the sins of man and (de congruon) merited the application of the redemptive grace of Christ. In this manner she cooperates in the subjective redemption of mankind." (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ott, page 213).
  • Mary delivers souls from death, (CCC 966), " . . . You [Mary] conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death."

If the Roman Catholic Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, then why does it contradict Scripture and teach that we can become gods, that we have to observe commandments to attain salvation, that salvation is only for the Catholic Church, that Mary helped make atonement for sins, and that she delivers our souls from death?  Are these really biblical teachings?  Of course not.  The Roman Catholic Church is obviously not the pillar and foundation of the truth.


Cited paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

  • CCC 100, "The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him."
  • CCC 171, "The Church, "the pillar and bulwark of the truth", faithfully guards "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints". She guards the memory of Christ's words; it is she who from generation to generation hands on the apostles' confession of faith."
  • CCC 2105, " . . . The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.
  • CCC 883, "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff."
  • CCC 895, "'The power which they [bishops] exercise personally in the name of Christ, is proper, ordinary, and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately controlled by the supreme authority of the Church.' But the bishops should not be thought of as vicars of the Pope. His ordinary and immediate authority over the whole Church does not annul, but on the contrary confirms and defends that of the bishops. Their authority must be exercised in communion with the whole Church under the guidance of the Pope."
  • CCC 1444, "In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ's solemn words to Simon Peter: 'I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' 'The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.'"
  • CCC 119, " . . . For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God.' But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me."
  • CCC 1548, "In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis: It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi). Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ."
  • CCC 846, "How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation . . . "

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.