(John A. Cupp is a longtime family friend of Gary Davenport and this material is presented for your edification)
At this time I would like to thank each and every one of you assembled here this evening for coming out. I know there are a lot of places you could be that might be a lot more entertaining than here, but I am thankful to God that there are some who would come out tonight to listen to this lesson as we study from the word of God.
As we begin our lesson, I want to take the title itself and examine some of the implications that are contained therein. First, why I left the Roman Catholic Church or just the Catholic Church will be sufficient. The title implies that I did leave it, but before you leave anything you must be a member of that body, group or organization that you are about to leave. I have papers in my pocket tonight that can prove to anybody that I was baptized (and I use that term loosely at this point) I was baptized into the Catholic Church at the age of our days. Second, I want to tell you that I did leave the Catholic Church. In the first place, if I didn’t leave it, I wouldn’t be her tonight, and in the second place, I want you to know assuredly that I did leave it and I was not put out. Sometimes people think, as soon as you’re going to speak or preach about leaving the Catholic Church, that you are a reprobate and they kicked you out.
I can prove to you that nobody kicked me out, but I left of my own accord, and I thank God everyday of my life that I did leave.
Before we get into the main discussion of the lesson, I want to say with the exception of approximately fifteen people in this audience, the rest of you are total strangers to me. Of that number I do not know how many of you are Roman Catholics, with the exception of maybe one. Friends, I want to assure you of one thing tonight, whether you are a Christian, whether you are a member of some denomination, whether you are a Roman Catholic or not, I am going to treat you just like I would want you to treat me, because it hasn’t been too many years since I sat in the same seat—not in this city or state—but I sat in a meeting house similar to this and heard the Gospel for the first time. I guarantee you one thing right now, had the preacher said something about the Catholic Church which was untrue, I would have walked out and wouldn’t have listened to his sermon. Everything I’m going to say tonight, I’m going to read to you verbatim from these books I have on this stand that deal with the teaching, or the doctrine of the Catholic Church. I want you to do me a favor, If you are here tonight and are a Catholic and I misrepresent you, I want you to tell me about it, because I find that people sometimes unconsciously misrepresent denominations and the Catholic Church.
These books to which I will refer in my lesson, and from which I will quote, are official books of the Catholic Church. I have one book here “The History of the Church” by a man named Birkhasuser. This particular volume is designed for use as a textbook in Catholic seminaries. I have another book here called “Religion, Doctrine and Practice”. This man calls himself “Father” or “Reverend” Cassilly, and is one of the best writers of the Catholic Church, and a member of the Jesuit Society. I am going to refer to Mr. Cassilly in that manner. Another book here is called “Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice” and another one “A Baltimore Catechism Number Three”. These three last books mentioned aren’t used in seminaries, but rather, they’re the textbooks that are used in the parochial schools, grammar and high schools.
I want you, if you have a Bible, to turn to Galatians the first chapter. I’m using the King James Version and reading to you verses six through ten. I want you to carefully listen and see if this applies to this meeting tonight. Paul, an inspired writer of God, says in Galatians the first chapter, verse six, writing to the Church at Galatia, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel.” Now Paul is about to rebuke them for something that is being done. He goes on in verse seven and explains what this is. Notice this, “Which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ, but though we, or an angel from Heaven,” (Now notice this wording) “Though we”, an inspired man of God – as Paul was, “or an angel from Heaven”, as he goes on to say, “preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that y have received, let him be accursed. For do I persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I shall not be the servant of Christ.” That is Galatians the first chapter, read out of the King James Version. A version that is studied perhaps more than any other version by people of the world who are non-Catholics. As I study this writing of the Apostle Paul, he warned over nineteen hundred years ago to look out for something. He said that there are some among you who would pervert the Gospel, and that’s a warning, and then he goes on and warns us to be careful and to look out for them. He also tells us, if anybody, ANYBODY even and angel from heaven, preach any other doctrine that he is to be accursed!
I have in my hand another Catholic book. This is a Revision of the Challoner-Rheims Version of the New Testament. You read your King James, and the Catholic that reads his New Testament will read this. I want you to listen carefully as I read to you the official Catholic interpretation of this scripture. To be perfectly honest with you, I like this translation better than the King James, as it does no injutice to the Greek in this test. When I read it, you will see what I am talking about. Here’s the Catholic interpretation: Paul speaking: “I marvel that ye are so quickly deserting him who called you to the grace of Christ, changing to another gospel; which is not another gospel, except in this respect, that there are some who trouble you, and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from Heaven should preach a gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema!” Then he goes on to say, “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone preach a gospel to you other than that which ye have received, let him be anathema. For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please men? If I am still trying to please men, I should not be a servant of Christ.”
That is the Catholic translation of that verse of scripture, and I want you to notice what the Apostle Paul is warning every Catholic who reads that verse today. “If we, or an angel from Heaven should preach a gospel to you, other than that which we have preached to you, let him be Anathema.” Now somebody says, “What does Anathema mean?” Let’s have the Catholics explain it, because they’ve got a footnote on it. “Anathema: i.e. cursed, excluded from the Kingdom of God.” Paul wrote this and it will be the basis of my lesson.
Paul warned us, and I warn you tonight, that God gave us a gospel, God gave us a doctrine. He gave it to us over nineteen hundred years ago, and here one of his inspired writers warns us, pleads with us—that if anybody else, even an angel from Heaven (now how much higher could you get) if they preached any other gospel unto you than the New Testament gospel they are to be anathema, accursed, or cut out. Friends, I studied that verse of scripture a number of years ago, and as I studied it, I had to make a decision. The Apostle Paul either meant what he said, or he didn’t mean what he said, and I think as we continue in this lesson tonight we will see from the word of God, that everything an inspired man has ever put in the Bible, God put there because he wanted his people to follow it, because he wanted them to believe it, and because it was needful for the good of man.
It might be interesting at this point to give you some background in my life. As I said before, I became a member of the Catholic Church at a very young age. As a matter of fact, I became a member of the Catholic Church on April the 12th after I was born on April 8th. Somebody doesn’t see a thing wrong with that, and says, “Well, what are you making a statement about that for? After all, that happens to all Catholics. Because the Catholic Church teaches that a child should be baptized as soon as possible. To put off the sacrament for 3 or 4 weeks, and even longer, without very grave reasons, may be a grievous sin.: * (*Klauder, Rev., Catholic Practice, p. 25.)
This is their official teaching. My mother knew this teaching and she wasn’t taking any chances. They even say a week or two after birth, and she beat them to that. She got me there after four days, and had me “baptized” into the Catholic Church. Previously, I said I used the word baptism loosely. I wasn’t baptized into anything! I was: poured” into the Catholic Church. That’s all they did to me. They poured a little water over my head, called me John Andrew, and I officially became a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and my name is recorded on the books at Saint Columbus Church, in Youngstown, Ohio. Somebody might say, “Well, why didn’t you consider that baptism:” Friends, if you study the New Testament you would know that’s not baptism. You know there are certain things that I have to do before baptism. I want to ask you, what child of four days old ever had anything to repent of except keeping his parents up half the night: I had to repent of something* (* Acts 2:38) the Bible just says so. They baptized me, or poured me, and I had done nothing for which I should repent. That sounds funny, but it’s very serious, because from the very beginning they were not following the teaching of the scriptures.
You are probably wondering just what my early life in the Catholic Church was. Well, I went to Catholic schools all my school-life—with a couple years exception. Nearly every day of my life in the Catholic school we went to Mass (usually at eight in the morning), and were special devotions, we would go to Communion. I didn’t live next door to the Catholic Church; in Youngstown I lived about three miles from the Church! Hence, when I went to Mass, I didn’t just cross the street, but traveled the distance on foot! (And in the Catholic Church one doesn’t eat before Communion.) Let it be remembered that in Ohio the snow gets pretty deep, and for boys and girls in the first and second grades it can make travelling pretty difficult!! Nevertheless, we would go to church and Communion, then we ate a sandwich for breakfast and a couple of sandwiches for dinner, and we didn’t think a thing in the world of it. As a matter of fact, we were glad to do it.
That brings me to a point that I want to bring to you. I believe that the New Testament has the truth, and if we follow the New Testament we have the truth. The Catholic Church is not following the New Testament, but you know they go to church and do a lot of good works that put us to shame. I’ve heard people say, “Now why should I take my children to Bible study on Sunday morning? You mean I’ve got to get up an hour earlier, and dress all of them and get them there?” If you were in the Catholic church, you would have them to church every morning during some months, and would be happy to do it. Yet we will stand up and shout to heaven “we’ve go the truth” and we’re too lazy to do anything about it. If you want to talk about people that have zeal and will put us to shame in many cases, it’s the Catholic. Just because they have zeal and can put us to shame, still if they don’t follow God,* (Matthew 7:21-25) Matthew the seventh chapter has an answer to that particular situation.
When I was in the Catholic (or parochial) schools I became an altar boy. I believe this is the desire and wish of every young Catholic boy, and every mother and father want their son to become an altar boy. Why is that so important to a Catholic? Let me tell you. The Catholic church teaches that, especially during the transubstantiation of the mass, that the host and the wine that the priest holds up actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Here’s the priest as he offers it and holds it up on the altar during the transubstantiation. It is the privilege of the altar boy to hold the vestment of the priest as he kneels and stands. They will tell you, and will impress it upon your mind—just think!—you are holding the garments of the one who is holding Christ in his hands. Friends, I’ll tell you, with arguments like that, you want to learn your Latin and become and altar boy. You want to get to serve mass because if you love God, you want to be by him. I loved God, and I wanted to be by him.
It was during this time as an altar boy, that I had the privilege (and then I considered it a deep privilege) to serve such men as Cardinal Mooney. Cardinal Mooney was from my hometown of Youngstown. He advanced to one of the highest offices in the Catholic Church,–and I had the privilege of service Mass for him. Another cardinal that I had the privilege of serving mass for was a man by the name of Mindszenty. He came over from Hungary one year and went about the United States making speeches to different Catholic religious organizations. It was when he was in Youngstown for a Labor Day speech, I served in the ceremony with Cardinal Mindszenty. Somebody says, “What does this have to do with the story?” Simply this: I had to opportunity then of coming in very close contact with the priests, bishops and even cardinals. As a matter of fact, I have a letter (now I’m not saying this to brag, I’m just giving you some background). I have a letter in my files that will prove to you that I was one of the main altar boys who served Bishop McFadden when Youngstown was made a diocese of the Catholic church. I had then the opportunity to come in contact with the priests and the bishops when they were serving God, according to the teachings of their church. It made me happy, and I couldn’t help thinking how wonderful it would be if I, John Cupp, could become a priest and help to serve all these people.
LIFE IN THE SEMINARY
It was while I was thinking along this line that I met a priest a Father Carroll, as he called himself, who was a member of the Maryknoll Missions. Maryknoll Missions are a group of Catholic priests, nuns and brothers, who go into foreign lands, and preach the gospel to the poor heathens. Well, I listened to his story, and I talked with him. After talking to him and another priest by the name of Harrington, I decided to go to the Seminary and study to be a Catholic priest. After preliminary investigations, physical examinations and such, I was sent to Buffalo, New York, to Saint Joseph’s Seminary. There I began the study of the Catholic Church that was offered to the young men who were going to spend their next eight years in the Seminary studying to be Catholic priests.
It was then I began to ask questions. Previous to this I had been too contented to ask any questions. I wasn’t worried about anything. After all, if we (The Catholic Church) were doing it, it must be right and what else was there to do. Every Thursday afternoon we had what they called orientation periods. It was at that time the Monsignor in charge of the Seminary would take us up to the third floor of the school in the auditorium and there he would lecture to us about some of the things that we could expect after we were finally ordained priests. The first meeting we had, he made a statement that stuck with me. He said to us at that meeting—(there were about sixty-two of us in the class)—”at the end of this course, if we get two priests out of the sixty-two, we’re running a good average”. Do you know what I said, when he said that? I said to myself, “Father, if there are two priests that come out of this group, Cupp’s going to be one of them”. Somebody says at this time, “Well if you went to the Seminary and left, you weren’t sincere in the first place”. I want to go again to this Catholic Testament, and read to you the statement that won me admission to the Seminary in Buffalo, New York. I want you to listen to it and see the way I was thinking then. This is what I wrote to gain admission. “I want to become a Maryknoll Missionary because I have heard and read of their works. I feel on the advice of my priest, that this is the way I can spend my life, in knowing, loving and serving God. Only in this way, do I help others to save their souls. I know it is a life of many hardships, but I hope to depend on the grace of God to give me the ability to carry on.” I wrote that a long time ago. I didn’t come across it until about two years ago. So then when somebody says, “You weren’t sincere in the first place”, I beg to differ with you. That’s why I read that statement.
The priest began to lecture and tell us about some of the things we could expect after we were ordained. He told us about a young man who had been ordained in May. He said this particular man was sent to a parish. As he went to work with this parish, it was his duty on Sunday afternoon to go out and baptize the infants. Every Sunday afternoon at home they baptized the infants. He went out and came back in a little while and was crying. The old Monseignor was kneeling in the sacristy saying his office, that is the prayers that they have to say every day. He looked at the young man and said, “What’s the matter?” The young man answered, “Father, that baby I baptized—its father was a priest.” He used to say to us, “Many times this collar will choke you.” He had the white collar on that you have all seen. I didn’t know then what he was talking about—I didn’t understand him. When he began to warn us about some of these things I began to understand.
I want to say something at this point, I said that he said (and he did) that the father of that baby was a Catholic priest. Just about now somebody is thinking, “You know, that bears out a story I heard from so and so from such and such a place about Catholic so and so and such and such. Friends, I want to say this to you. You have heard a lot of stories about the Catholic Church. I’ve heard some that would curl your hair. But I want to let you in on a secret. The Catholics have heard stories about you that would curl your hair too. Catholics talk about Protestants and Protestants turn around and talk about Catholics and when you shuck it all down and examine what they are both saying, there is usually about one-tenth of one percent of truth to what either side is saying. This reminds me of a game we played at parties when I was a child. We sat in a circle, somebody would start a story, and would pass it around the room from person to person. You know what had happened when it got back to the person who had started it? Nine cases out of ten, it was so jumbled up he didn’t recognize it as the story he started with. That is what happens when we start to talk about the Catholics and the Catholics begin to talk about us. Friends listen, there are some cases and I know of one case personally in my own family, (when I say my own family I know what I’m speaking of) where priests and nuns have gotten out of line, but I want you to know this; that is not the common practice. There are some people in the Roman Catholic Church tonight as sincere as any Christian has ever been. But still, because they are sincere and reject the work of God, we can’t make excuses for them.
I began to ask a lot of questions after some of these lectures. One thing that bothered me in particular was confession. I wanted to know why I had to go to confession. (When we were in the seminary we had to go once a week and I began to ask questions about this practice.) About the best answer I ever got from the Monsignor was this, “Now, when you boys have been here long enough, these things will all come—they will all be revealed to you and you’ll understand. Well, I listened to that for so long that I simply got disgusted. I even stopped studying my Latin. I didn’t car what happened, and decided to go home.
What were the reactions of my parents when I returned home? Well, when I first got back to Youngstown, I started to think about what that priest said in the first lecture he gave us. Out of this class if we get two—or actually out of fifty he said, if we get two that’s a good average. I started to think to myself. Before I left the Seminary I could think of about seventeen boys that had left before me. I started to ask myself the question, “John, what happens to these boys?” Let me tell you what happens. Some of them come out and continue to live in the Catholic Church. Others come out and they join some denomination; soon, if they study, they find themselves as bad off as they were before. Still others, get to the condition I believe I was in—about to become an atheist.
You wonder why that was. When I came home, unknown to others, I began to go to other churches. I went to the Methodist Church in Youngstown, Ohio (I want you to know where these are). I went to the Baptist Church, The Presbyterian Church and the Episcopalian Church—and the Catholic Church. You know it was the funniest thing, everyone of them begged me to come, they were all going to save me. They were all going to get me to heaven, but they were all going to do it a different way! Now I couldn’t understand that. Why there was a just God in Heaven who would let a man in this pulpit and that pulpit and another and another were telling me that everybody else was going to hell, now there must have been something wrong. I wondered just what was missing. What was lacking that would lead a person into a mess like that.
Friends, if you have ever been in that position you know what I’m talking about. Well, I wasn’t too happy with anything about that time, but I would go to mass on Sunday morning for one reason—t keep my mother from reprimanding me for not going. It was during this period when I was so undecided and couldn’t make up my mind, when I had been studying these other religions and they were all so farfetched that it was impossible to believe anything, that I met a young lady who was a member of the Lord’s church. Soon after we met she asked me to go to church with her, but I refused. I was sick and tired of religion. I wondered what her denomination had to offer that everybody else didn’t have, and continued to refuse to go until she hit my weak spot. One Sunday afternoon she invited me home for lunch and I went with her, as I’ve never passed up a free meal yet. We were sitting there eating and the doorbell rang. She answered the door and ushered in a young man and lady who I imagined were friends she knew from a club or something. The man was about twenty-one and his wife was about the same age. They sat down and after dinner we got to talking shop. He said Mr. Cupp, what do you do? “Mr. Barnhouse, what do you do “well,” he said, “I’m preaching where Shirley goes to church.” I was astonished, here was a young man about twenty-one years old preaching to old people! Well, I went to church that night, and I’ll tell you why. I was just plain curious. After the sermon, the young lady asked me what I thought of it. I told her it was very interesting, but one thing struck me in particular, the way everything he said he took from the Bible. He didn’t use anything else. I couldn’t understand why he placed so much faith in one book, but as I began to study this book, I could see that this is what God had given us in the first place to make us united. As long as a person follows that teaching, he would be saved, if he would but do what Jesus Christ said, and leave man and his personal opinions out. I began to go to church regularly. I went for about four Sunday nights and about two Sundays, morning and evening. The next Sunday I walked up the aisle, March 5, 1950, and was baptized by Brother Jess Nutter, because at last I had found something that wasn’t arguing with itself, that would tell me the way to get to heaven. I knew if God was right, if this was his book, then what he said, I’d better do. For as sure as I could tell, I was headed straight for Hell.
You know, we Christians sometimes forget how lucky we are. Let’s just take this illustration, for example: When an average preacher, not a member of the Church of Christ, a denominational preacher or a Catholic goes to discuss religion with you, he has to take every book that every one of his intelligent men have written on the subject. Nine times out of ten he will debate with you, and he will find one man saying in 1890 what another man contradicted in 1945, so he just doesn’t know which way to turn. When you start talking about God, all you need to have is the word of God. God gave you in the Bible everything you have to know.
He gave you the plan of salvation. He tells you how to live and what to do after you have obeyed the gospel. Friends, that is what I had been looking for for a long time. God wasn’t cruel—He hadn’t forgotten man. He has given them something that they could take, and follow, and study, and eventually go home and be with Him in Heaven.
About this time, in February of that year my mother happened to find a church bulletin in my pocket. She was watching me very closely and found that I was going to another church. Then I had to make up my mind. Should I wait to be baptized as God said I had to be? Should I wait until I was financially able to get away from home? Or should I go ahead and do it right now? There’s another decision you should try to make sometime. I decided to be baptized right away. So that March 5th I was baptized. From the day in February they found that paper in my pocket—February, March, April, May and June—five months I lived with my mother and father, two brothers and a sister, and they spoke not one word to me. The best I could get out of them was, “Get Up”, in the morning when it was time to get up, and that is about all. Oh, they would fight with me—one brother in particular. He wanted to argue anytime he could and he usually ended up arguing with his fists. He claimed to be a good Christian, and I enjoyed watching him act like that.
Well, if you lived home for five months, with people that you loved, (and I love my mother tonight as much as I love anybody) if you lived home under conditions like that, I ask you, what would you do? I’ll tell you what you would do in the average case. You would think about it so much that you would probably end up going back to the Catholic Church, just to be friends with everybody. If it were not for the help of the church people, I don’t know what I would have done. I think I might be back in the Catholic Church tonight. I wouldn’t have worried about God and doctrine or things like that, because I could go back there where my loved ones were. It was the help of the church people that kept me going. It was their encouragement and their patience and their time when I would sit down and ask questions, (and I was full of questions). They would say, “John, if you will open your Bible and study it, I think you will see what you want.” You know, I began to realize that the Bible was the most wonderful thing in the world. That it was just full of good material. There isn’t a day goes by at the present time that I don’t become more and more engrossed in God’s word. It is so full of the things that we need, and God gave it to us so long ago.
When my parents finally did find out that I had obeyed the gospel, they put me out—disowned and disinherited me. When I tried to talk religion with them, the back door was opened, and even today I can’t talk religion with them. Last April I had to go home because of sickness, not in my own family, but the family of a group of church people that had taken me in, and literally speaking adopted me. When in Youngstown I went to my mother’s house. She met my wife for the first time, but there was one thing that I couldn’t do. I couldn’t open the Bible and show her that precious word that God had given us. **Romans 1:16 That word that Paul said was the power of God unto Salvation.
I hope I haven’t bored you with background. At this time we are going to go in and see just what the reasons were which caused me to leave the Catholic church. What were some of those question I had to answer for myself? At this time, I could go into the history of the Catholic Church, but I didn’t leave on account of the history. I left because of some of the things that the average Catholic is associated with—the things that they know, the things that they love, and the things they do.
I told you about confession earlier in the lesson. That was the first thing that bothered me. I couldn’t get the teaching on confession straight in my mind. Why should I go once a week, especially in the seminary where you weren’t allowed to read the newspaper, or go to the show without an older brother, you had to study most of the time, and you just couldn’t get into any mischief, and yet you had to go to confession once a week. I didn’t have anything to tell, but we had to go. I kept asking questions about that. I wanted them to tell me somehow, why we had to do it. As far as I knew, confession had been here since the church had been established. But I began to have my eyes opened, I guess you would call it. I actually surprised myself by studying about how long confession had been around. Confession in the Catholic Church today is what they call auricular confession. That simply means confession from your mouth to the ear of the priest. I thought that had been here since the time of the apostles, but if you will check with Catholic history auricular confession didn’t come into existence until the year 1215, when it was defined by Pope Innocent III, at the IV Council of Lateran.
When did the Church come into existence? You might put on a piece of paper large number to represent 33 A.D. or the Day of Pentecost, when Jesus Christ’s church was established. Here is a doctrine that is coming in, in the year 1215 A.D. brought in by the man called Pope Innocent who defined it. It had been around for a few years before, but now they get up the courage to define it. I had to go and kneel before a priest confess my sins and tell him I was sorry when in some cases he was doing things a lot worse. When I began to study the Bible I wanted to know just why I had to go and kneel down and tell the priest my sins. Now somebody says “How do we know that it is the duty of the priest to forgive your sins?” To answer the skeptic I will refer you to this book by Mr. Cassilly, Religion, Doctrine, and Practice. On page 266, question number 7, we find this question: “Mention the principal powers of the priest. The principal powers of the priest are to offer the Holy Sacrifice, (meaning the mass) and to forgive sins”. Now there is only one thing wrong with that. I checked it out in my New Testament, in the Challoner Rheims Version and in the King James translation. I couldn’t find that teaching in there any place. Somebody referred me to First Timothy, chapter two and verse five. You know what I found? Jesus Christ is my mediator, (He’s the one that I go to God through when I’ve sinned) I ask God to forgive me. You can take any translation you have, Latin Vulgate, King James, American Standard, or any other translation and there is not one of them that will tell you to go to the Catholic priest to confess your faults. James the fifth chapter says, “Confess your faults one to another”. There is not a Catholic priest mentioned in any—one of those translations. Now you can see why I wondered about confession. Friends it is hard to make the decision I had to make, to hold on to something that you have loved all your life, or to turn around and take something that seems new, but has actually been here longer than the Doctrine of Confession. Now I ask this question, “Why should I go to the Catholic priests when Jesus Christ is my mediator between God and man?” That is the wedge that started to open the gap.
Another thing that bothered me was instrumental music. That may sound strange to you. The first night I walked into the Church of Christ we were ready for church and everybody sat down. A man stood up with a song book, and just started singing. They didn’t have an organ or a piano. I couldn’t figure it out. When we started home that night, I asked the young lady, “Can’t you afford a piano?”, as it was a small congregation. Well, she put me straight in no uncertain terms. She said that if God had commanded us to have an organ or a piano, we would have the best that money could buy.
Well, why don’t you have and instrument of music? When I was in the early grades of Catholic school, we used to sing during mass. We had choirs and sang on Sunday mornings at nine o’clock mass. By the time I got up into the high school age, that had almost completely passed away in Youngstown. I don’t know if you do it here, but they had practically stopped the singing by school children and adults at mass. The only choirs they had were the seminarian choirs, men in the seminary who would sing, or the choirs from the high schools, and occasionally a choir from the grade school. I began to study instrumental music. I wondered did they (the Catholic Church) have that from the time of Christ. Here I got another shock. I found that instrumental music did not come until the year of 666 A.D. and it was brought in by a pope at that time by the name of Vitalian.* Y You ask what the reaction was? I’ll tell you.** (*Oechtering, Rev. Mgr. J.H., Short Catechism of Church History, p. 105) (** Catholic Encyclopedia, v61. II, pp. 300-301) The people were so angry and so mad that they had to take the organ out of the church, in some instances, for over two hundred years. I can show this to you from Catholic books, it isn’t something I’m making up. Today Pope Vitalian is a saint. He brought it in not worrying about what is said in Revelation 22:18-19.
When a person argues that Scripture is their basis for the instrument—the only scripture or book they have is Catholic Church tradition. I went to my Bible. I had somebody point out some very interesting verses of scripture. They showed me Ephesians 5:19 AND Colossians 3:16. I studied these verses in different translations and all I could read was that I was to sing and make melody in my heart. There wasn’t an example or verse that told me to use a banjo, an accordion, a piano or anything else. It just told me to sing, and make melody in my heart unto God. There’s another thing. What are you going to do? You have to follow one or the other—you have to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ—you have to follow this instrumental music teaching that has been here quite a while too, but not as long as the Bible. I was preaching this sermon one time and made that same statement. An old lady called me down, she said, “Wait a minute young man. You’ve missed the boat.” When I asked her what she meant she asked me if I had ever been to any of the other churches—that they all had their organ or their piano, and because they all used it, it must be all right. Friend, I say this to you kindly, if you are a member of some organization that uses an instrument of music in worship, you can’t find authority for it in the New Testament. You know where you will find it? You will find it in 666 when Mr. Vitalian brought it into the Catholic Church. That is your only authority.
The denominational world is really following the Catholics. Sixty years ago how many non-Catholic churches would have thought of celebrating Lent? I don’t imagine there were any. But you know, it was a most amazing thing. During what they call the Lenten season I made a trip to the Central part of the state, and in every town through which I would drive they would have a big sign LENTEN SERVICE. Where did they find that in the Bible? They found it in the same Bible they found instrumental music—Catholic tradition. They couldn’t prove it from the word of God. When they observe Lent they take it from the Catholics. They didn’t have that fifty or sixty years ago, but they’ve got it today. When you discuss this with a Protestant and ask him for scriptural authority, he doesn’t have to waste time looking in the Bible. All he has to do is go back and show you where the Catholic Church brought it in. It is a sad case, but it is just a case of trying to keep up with the Joneses. You know that old saying, “You just stay where you are, and you’ll meet them coming back.”
The teaching on Purgatory
The next thing that I will discuss, because it caused me a lot of concern, is the teaching of the Catholic Church on purgatory. As far as I was concerned, purgatory was like everything else. It had been there from the year the church was established, and we could just go to the Bible and show you all about it if you wanted to know when we had to use it. Catholics today will tell you that their source of authority is twofold. It is from scripture and from tradition. They won’t argue with you about it. As a matter of fact, we are going to use a few questions in a minute from their books that they use to show that they get their authority from tradition.
Where is purgatory, how do you get there, and how do you get out? I found the doctrine of purgatory wasn’t defined until the year 1438 and then it was defined by the Council of Florence.* It was there they began to set up some of the teachings about indulgences and such like. When I was in the seminary there was a boy there by the name of Jimmy Pastoure from Canton, Ohio. Jimmy, his mother and brother were Catholics. I found out one day helping him wash dishes that his Dad was not a Catholic. That shocked me. When I asked him why his Dad was not a Catholic he told me that his Father just did not believe in purgatory, and I worked as hard as I’ve ever worked on any project to get books and pamphlets that would convince him. I hope I didn’t convince him, because when I started to study it for myself, I could not find it in the word of God. We might turn again to Mr. Cassilly’s book and let him answer just what purgatory is. (* Birkhaeuser, Rev. J.A., History of the Church, p. 421)
I can’t define it from the Bible so don’t ask me. Question number 17 on page 459, “What is purgatory?” “Purgatory is a state in which the souls of the just after death are purified from the stains of sin still remaining before they can enter heaven.” Now that’s their book. That is what they teach. Mr. Cassilly goes on to say “The doctrine of purgatory is entirely according to reason.” You know this amazes me, you go to them and they will dig up a lot of scriptures and try to apply it to the teaching, but when he says it is entirely according to reason he simply doesn’t need scripture. He goes on to say, “The Council of Trent says the scripture (now if the scriptures say it, I want to accept it, because I know if I reject scripture I’m going to be lost) and the early tradition of the Church teaches that purgatory exists.” I would like to know what verse of scripture that is. I’ve talked with a lot of Catholics and I’ve searched for it but I haven’t been able to find it, so if you know where it is, I want you to tell me. Somebody says, “Well where is purgatory?” A Catholic can’t tell you. Some of their greatest scholars have been arguing about that. Some will tell you that it’s the sun, other say that it is the center of the earth, while others say it’s out in the galaxys someplace. They just can’t tell you. Hebrews 9:27 tells me something very interesting. “And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this is the judgment.” I say this to you tonight, there is not a verse of scripture in the New Testament that teaches me that if I die with sin on my soul that you can do anything to help me, or that I can come back and have a second chance. It just isn’t in the Bible.
Just who goes to purgatory? Catholics teach there are two kinds of sin: mortal sin and venial sin. Big sin and little sin. The Bible doesn’t say this but they do. If a man dies with mortal sin on his soul, he goes to Christ, is judged and goes to hell. If the man dies with venial sin on his soul, he is judged, but goes to purgatory to serve out his time. The Bible doesn’t say that, but the Catholic Church does* (* Ibid., page 421)
If the Bible teaches it I want you to show it to me. Somebody asks, “What is there to move people to make them believe anything like that?” I think question nineteen in Mr. Cassilly’s book answers that. “What are the pains of purgatory?” “The principal pain of purgatory is deprivation of the Beatific Vision;” (break that down into language the average person understands, and it means you can’t see Christ) “and the general tradition of the church is that the souls also suffer acutely in other ways. Many say that the souls are punished by fire.” Now just think, a loved one dies and the Catholic priest said he probably went to purgatory. This is how they get this doctrine across. What about after the day of judgment? “After judgement day there will be heaven and hell, but no purgatory”, Question twenty, part B.
Let’s take a man who dies and follow their teaching on purgatory. He dies and goes to God. If he has a mortal sin on his soul, Christ says “Now you can’t come into Heaven!” and the man goes to Hell. If a man dies with Venial sin on his soul, he is judged by Christ and sentenced to purgatory for a certain period of time. Again they tell you that you get so many days indulgences for certain acts, but they can’t tell you to save their life how many days indulgences an individual would need in purgatory. You ask, “When a person goes to purgatory, how can he get out.” He can get out in one of two ways. The first way he can get out is to serve his time, or the second way is that he can get out by your helping him get out. From this book Advanced Catechism, I read question 415. “Can the faithful on earth help the soul in purgatory?” “The faithful on earth can help the souls in purgatory by their prayers, fasts, alms deeds, indulgences and by having masses said for them”. These thoughts bring in another teaching of the Catholic Church. The Communion of Saints. If I were a Catholic, and somebody I loved died, I would simply go to the priest and say that I want a mass said for the one who died and the indulgences would be applied to their indulgences when that act was performed that would be applied to their account, just like paying a loan, when they take so much off, the total debt, after that person paid the time, then he would be allowed to go to heaven and be with God. That’s the way the Communion of Saints works.
Indulgences are not—and I want to say this and make it clear—never were, and never will be a license to sin. You might properly call indulgences, “The Key to Heaven.” There is not a Catholic theologian today who would agree with you if you were to say indulgences are a license to sin. If we misrepresent the Catholics on one thing, it is on indulgences. You have heard the story that they are having a special down at the Catholic Church this week-—indulgences three for a dollar. You go buy some and then sin all you want. This is just a lot of foolish gossip and anybody who repeats it should be ashamed of himself. Talk like this is what gets false stories started. Trouble begins when people start passing stories like that which have no foundation. There is not a Catholic priest alive today who would not admit to you that there have been misuses of indulgences, but friends please don’t show somebody how little you know, and I say that kindly, don’t show them how ignorant you are by taking a misuse that they will admit and say this is what you do and teach all the time. It isn’t what they teach all the time, they teach just what I’ve told you. Some people have heard so many other things about them, that they just don’t know what the truth is.
Let me give you an example of one of the misuses of indulgences. The Low Mass in the United States today costs one dollar. It doesn’t cost—a good Catholic asks what is the offering. In times past you could go to Canada and have the Low Mass for the same amount of indulgences said for twenty-five cents, but if you lived in France where there were a lot poor priest, you could have the mass with the same amount of indulgences said for five cents. Now here is what is on record of happening.* When the dollar was paid (*Chiniquy, Charles, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome p.201) in the United States, twenty-five cents was sent to Cannonade to have the Mass said, the Priest in Canada sent Five cents to France and kept twenty cents and finally the Mass was said for the poor soul who died. Somebody was making ninety-five cents on a dollar. They’ll admit that that is wrong, but it is not the general practice, let me say that, that has been done in times past, but because they’ve done that in times past, don’t dig up the dirt, just take the doctrine of purgatory and indulgences which they are proud of and examine it along side the word of God.
When I began to study about baptism, I thought that pouring was perfectly all right. I had been a sponsor in a number of Catholic baptisms, and it was then I would stand up and be a Godparent for the infant that was to be baptized. I said in the beginning I was “poured” into the Catholic Church. Now that’s just about true. I began to study the word of God, especially after I saw an individual baptized, and I couldn’t understand how they baptized her. It just didn’t make sense to me for they took the girl and put her completely down in the water, just like in this pool here, got her all wet, then they brought her up. I couldn’t understand why they would do anything like that. I thought baptism had always been pouring from the beginning. Upon closer investigation I found that pouring and sprinkling were not introduced into the Catholic Church until approximately 1311 A.D. Now remember that the Church began 33 A.D. You compare 1311 with it and you’ll find that this was introduced into the church a long time after Jesus Christ told us how to be baptized. I want to again read to you a question or statement from Mr. Cassilly’s book and see what they have to say about baptism. “What is baptism? Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration, which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, Children of God, and heirs of Heaven”* This is how they get (*Cassilly, S.J., Religion, Doctrine & Practice p. 183) baptism across to the average Catholic. They say, “Mother, when your child is born it has original sin on its soul, all the way from Adam, and if it were to die with it, it wouldn’t go home to be with God in Heaven, but would go to Limbo.”** The Bible
(**Rumble & Carty, Fathers, Radio Replies, Vol. I, p. 167) doesn’t sat that.*** (***Matthew 18) I wish all our souls tonight were as pure as any child that is in this audience. “In what three ways may the water be applied in baptism.”* “The water may (*Cassilly, S.J., Religion, Doctrine & Practice, p. 136) be applied by immersion, sprinkling or pouring. A. The Church has at different times and places applied the water in these three ways. Sprinkling is no longer practiced, although it might be used in a possible case where neither or the other methods could be followed. Immersion means dipping a person wholly or partly under water.” They don’t even define the term correctly. “This method is still sanctioned by cannon law for churches which have an approved ritual book that calls for it.” Some wonder what cannon law is. It is to the Catholic what the Bible is to Christians. That is the official word, and the official word even recognizes immersion today. The ordinary way is to pour water on the head. I had to study about that because I found another very interesting thing.
The Catholic Church that I was a member of at that time was baptizing infants at a very rapid rate, during the Second World War as most of you remember. They were actually pouring water on their heads, and when I went to the Bible all I could find it saying was that baptism was a burial, so somebody’s wrong. Either the apostles were wrong when they defined it, or the Catholic Church was wrong when they ignored it! There’s that old question that will keep popping up in your mind when you study the Bible and compare your doctrine with the Word of God. God said this and my preacher said that, now which are you going to follow. Don’t follow your preacher, follow God. That’s the only safe thing to do. The Bible says that we are to buried in Baptism, Romans 6:4. I was shocked when I read Colossians 2:12, I’ve got to be buried! I could see why the preacher buried that girl completely under the water, because that’s simply the way the New Testament told him to do it. Someone made the statement to me today, “Why you couldn’t say that baptism was burial, because if it was, how could you take an infant and put it down under the water?” Friends, baptism wasn’t meant for infants. Some people are going to say; now you watch what you’re saying. The plan of salvation is very simple, and I’m going to briefly outline it now. I know that I must hear the word of God, Romans 10:17, “So then Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” When I hear the word of God and am ready to repent of my sins I confess Jesus Christ as did the Eunuch in Acts the 8th chapter, then I’m ready to be buried by baptism for the remission of my sins. Now you tell me what child that is one week, or one year old can hear the word of God and understand it, and is willing to repent of its sins, who’ll confess with the mouth Christ as did the Eunuch, and say now I want to be buried by baptism as Jesus Christ commanded. See, it wasn’t meant for children. Any person who says that a child is born with original sin on its soul is saying something that neither you nor I can find in the word of God. It’s just not there. Are you going to follow God, or are you going to follow man?* (*Ezekiel 18:29)
The next thing that bothered me in the Seminary and still bothers me today, is Papal Infallibility. That’s a big term, it doesn’t really mean much, it simply means that the Pope is infallible. You would think that if the Pope was sanctioned by the Bible you could trace it all the way back to New Testament times, but you can’t trace the Pope back, and find any authorization for Popes to start with. Anyway, they teach that the Pope of Rome is infallible. What does this mean to the average person who doesn’t know much about the Catholic Church? I have studied Papal infallibility and I thought it meant that the Pope had always been infallible from the beginning. Well, they’ll argue it both ways. Some will say he was, some will say he was not. You show them a case where two popes contradict each other and they say “Oh they weren’t infallible,” but when you show them the whole situation they’ll say “Yes, we’ve had infallibility since the time of Peter.” Infallibility was defined by the Vatican Council in 1870. Here is the way men at the Council voted on it. 541 said we will accept infallibility; 88 voted against it; 62 said they would accept it if modified; and 70 wouldn’t vote at all. Yet they say they’re unified on everything, but they weren’t united on this particular teaching. I want somebody to show me where infallibility of the Pope is taught in the New Testament.
Let me give you an example of what infallibility is, so we will better understand it. On August 15, 1950 the Pope declared that Mary ascended bodily into Heaven. That then became an official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. On August 14, 1950 a parish priest in the United States, say a Jesuit, says from his pulpit that Mary did not ascend into Heaven bodily. On August 15 the Pope declares that she did, and he declares it by his infallibility. On August 16 you know what has to happen. August 16 that same Jesuit priest has to say that she did go up bodily, if he doesn’t he will be excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Now let me say this. The Catholic Church does not teach that the Pope cannot sin. It teaches that he can sin. In fact, whether you know it or not, the Pope of Rome goes to confession everyday of his life. What he confesses I don’t know. In Mr. Connell’s New Baltimore Catechism #3, Question 403, page 97, “When does the Church teach infallibility? The Church teaches infallibility when it defines, through the Pope alone, as the teacher of all Christians, or through the Pope and bishops a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by all the faithful.” We go on to Question $406, “Must we accept the teaching of the Pope, which are not infallible. We must accept the teachings of the Pope which are not infallible, because they are wise and just, and since he gives them with authority, then we must accept out of obedience, though not out of faith.” Now see what this doctrine teaches. It teaches that what the Pope says you have to do as a Catholic, you must do it. We might go on further if time permitted and read some of the other questions. Here is one. From Mr. Cassilly’s book page 421: I said the Pope can sin—Catholics teach that he can.
Question 32: “When is the Pope infallible? The Pope can do wrong or commit sin as any other person, hence he is not impeccable. Moreover, in his private capacity he could hold false opinions even on matters of faith.” Now look at this. The Pope can have a private opinion on a matter of faith, he can preach it—here it goes—”it was possible also for him to deviate from truth in giving a sermon or in writing a book.” (Notice this now.) “But when acting in his official capacity as teacher of the Church, he is preserved by the assistance of the Holy Ghost from falling into error.” If you have a Bible, turn to Colossians 1:18. Now Paul, the writer, an inspired man of God, must have been ignorant on this point, because he didn’t know this. Paul said that “He (Christ) is the head of the body”, and that body is the Church. He never said that anybody in Rome was. Paul said that Christ is the head of the body, the Church. Colossians 1:18. Ephesians 1:22-23 is another example of a teaching that was here before Catholicism!
Just what power does the Pope have over Catholics today? You know, it worries me sometimes, especially on this point. People say, “Young man, you don’t know what you are talking about, what power could he have over people in America when he is in Rome?” I wish you could have been in the seminary with me. You would have learned a little about the power of the Pope. Every Cardinal, Bishop, Priest, Nun and Brother in the world today is under the jurisdiction and has to take orders from the Pope of Rome. Let me give an example to show just how complete his power is. Had I stayed in the seminary and had been ordained a Catholic priest, the Pope could have sent word to New York and said Cupp goes to China—Cupp would have gone to China, or he could have said send Cupp to Africa and let him teach down there, and Cupp would have gone to Africa. On the other hand, he could have said, We’ll keep Cupp in the United States and Cupp would have stayed in the United States. He has that same power over every Priest, every Nun and Bishop in the Catholic Church.
Another illustration will show you what I mean. A cloister nun is a woman who devotes her life never to leave the walls of the convent after she enters.* Never to come (*Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 61) out and have contact with the outside world. Not too long ago, a cloister nun in New York had to have an operation. But before she could have that operation, she had to have permission from the Pope in Rome to leave the convent. That may startle you, but that is the power that he has over every religious member of the Catholic Church. Somebody says, “Now wait a minute Brother Cupp. You are talking about Priests, Nuns and Bishops, What about the average Catholic citizen?” Let me read you something to answer your question. Pope Leo the 13th, in his letter entitled, “Chief Duties of Christian Citizens”, says this (and it applies to a Catholic tonight): “Catholics owe complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff as to God himself.” You can ask any priest about this letter and you will find that statement in there.
As we bring this lesson to a close tonight, we are going to have an open forum, and answer questions after we sing a song of invitation. “Brother Cupp, just what are the future plans of Rome?” I can’t answer that completely. But I remember as perhaps some of you do, that I was living in Tampa, Florida in the fall of 1951, and a newspaper article came out at that time. It said the Pope of Rome (you can check this) wanted to build an army and an air force and a navy. You know, Jesus answered that argument pretty well in John 18:36. He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
What about the Catholic Church in America? The Constitution, thank God, provides for separation of church and state. I’ll tell you tonight that this is not the aim of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church will be happy (and they will admit it) when Church and state are one. There are some very good books out on that. A man by the name of Paul Blanchard did some excellent research on the Catholic Church and put out two books that are great—just full of facts. These give an excellent insight into the political aspect of the Catholic Church.
As for the church and state being one, I have here in my hand a United Press dispatch release—it was in the Miami Herald. The date is August 7, 1953. The headline is: “Catholicism is declared Spain’s Only Religion”. It goes on to say, “Spain and the Vatican signed a concordat today which declared that Roman Catholicism is the ‘only religion’ in Spain and guaranteed the teaching of the Catholic religion in all schools.” The third paragraph goes on to say, “The thirty-six article pact, text of which has not been released, extends to the government of Generalissimo Francisco Franco to the Spanish branch of the church and to the Spanish language certain special new privileges”.
That may seem harmless enough in itself. I wonder what could result from this. I now want to refer you to an Associated Press dispatch, dated March 15, 1954, Barcelona, Spain. “Catholic Urges Crusade Against Protestantism”. Then we go on to read and see what happened when the Catholics got in over there. “Roman Catholic Arch-Bishop Gregorio Modrego of Barcelona called today for a ‘True Crusade’ against Protestantism in his diocese. In a pastoral letter made public today, the prelate said such a campaign was necessary because of increased Protestant propaganda and proselyting. He asked all parochial leaders to watch Protestants closely, and report to the authorities immediately all Protestant actions they considered not be in conformity with the Spanish Bill of Rights. This provides non-Catholics must worship in private. No external signs of their religion are permitted”. That is what happened. That is just one example of what the Catholic Church was able to do. I’m not saying that the Catholic Church will take over the United
States in the next ten, twenty or thirty years, but I believe with all my heart and soul (and I know from the official teaching of the Catholic Church which is no secret)* that the aim (*Marshall, C.C., The Roman Catholic church in the Modern State, p. 107) of the Catholic Church is to make church and state one in the United States. When I was in the seminary (now this is on me) I argued that point as loud and long as anybody—that we ought to use tax money to support parochial schools. I didn’t have any scripture for my arguments then, but I wasn’t worried about scriptures.
As I’ve been talking to you tonight, I haven’t tried to offend anybody. I would have preached the same sermon had my mother been in the audience. Every time I’ve preached this lesson, I’ve preached it with that in mind. I want to change her from that error and take her from the yoke with which she is burdened. As I study the teaching of the Catholic Church and look at some of their doctrinal books, I can’t help but thank God for the simple teachings of the New Testament.
Are you a member of some organization that is not mentioned in the New Testament? A denomination that Jesus Christ does not recognize” I beg you to think about these things, look at the proof that has been presented. These books are the official teaching of the Catholic Church, even though they conflict with the simple teachings of the New Testament. Let me ask you. Who are you going to serve? If you take your doctrine the belief that you hold to, and stack it up along side the word of God, then try to find it in the Bible and you don’t find it there—I just hope and pray that you will be man or woman enough to say to yourself, “Now, I’ve got to serve God—to put away the traditions and teachings that I’ve been holding to in times past”.
If you do not know, let me tell you what the plan of salvation is. It is not hard or complicated. I have outlined it briefly, but let me say again: Romans 10:17 tells me the wonderful news that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So I hear the word of God and believe it. What do I do then? I’m not saved yet. The Bible doesn’t say that-then I repent of my sins. The Lord said, “Except ye repent…ye shall likewise perish”.* I have heard God’s word, I believe it and I repent of my sins, then I (*Luke 13:3) what the Eunuch did in Acts the 8th chapter. I confess Jesus Christ with my mouth—that he is the Son of God, he came down, he made this plan possible. Then I do what the early people did in order to be saved. Some people say if you get this far that you’re saved, but I cannot find that in my New Testament, just as I can’t find many teachings of the Catholic Church. Acts 2:37, Peter was preaching to the people, and they wanted to know what they had to do to be saved. Peter told them to “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”, in verse 38. I wonder if you are here tonight, willing to do that—obey that simple plan of salvation which will put you in the Kingdom of God. All you are going to need to know to be saved and help others to be saved is God’s Word. If you are here, subject to the Gospel Call, won’t you come, as together we stand and sing.