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The Fall Of Catholicism and Protestantism in One Simple Lesson


I have taught this lesson on several occasions and it is always received with surprise in terms of how easy it is to show how badly the early “inventors” of Catholicism and Protestantism failed in creating their doctrines. Throughout the centuries these basic doctrines have become landmarks for their respective beliefs and thus they could never be abandoned. The good news is you can walk confidently away from both of these groups just on this basis. One also realizes if these things are totally wrong then how how many other “cherished beliefs” are in error. Many other doctrines are based on these “fundamental truths” being correct and thus they also obviously fall. There is truth and there is error and what we are going to discuss is substantial error because it involves your eternity. For many people it is necessary to get past what they have been taught before we can point to solid truth and of course that is our primary concern.
Here is the strange part – people frequently don’t care but want to continue in their present belief and not be open to anything different. This is often because they become convinced that no one really knows the truth and their belief is as good, maybe better than anyone else. God has decided to divide people along the lines of having a love of the truth and that usually means loving the truth more than the things that fill your everyday, your everyday desires, tasks, and plans. This desire for truth, this willingness to search for truth makes a huge difference in coming to an understanding God and what He requires of you. One thing for sure, leaving your eternal fate in the hands of some theologian, cleric places you in the position of trusting man and not God. Sin enters the world and Catholicism and Protestantism both miss the mark in terms of understanding God’s meaning. Doctrinal errors pile up with a bad foundation and in the case of sin to be discussed here there is incredible confusion leading to many new doctrines. As always error leads people further from the truth they so desperately need.

So indeed
The fall of Catholicism and Protestantism in One Simple Lesson
Is very possible!


Note: This entire lesson is appendix 2 in my book, What Is Life All About?

I CATEGORIZE THIS lesson as a teaching lesson. Both of these doctrines in the title are false. So much of what people believe religiously has these issues at the core of their teachings. The lesson deals with this issue of “inherited sin” called by some original sin or what other groups call total inherited depravity or a sin nature. Both are false and easily dissected for understanding. Sadly, as mentioned, these doctrines are the basis of what many people believe religiously. The good news is that as we easily show these to be false, the associated doctrines built on these will also fall. Seldom, if ever, do people question their leadership regarding the long history of their basic beliefs. We need to understand the origin of our beliefs!
Of course, the reason that these doctrines exist at all is a disgusting disrespect for the Word of God. Bible subjects are simple. Confusion only comes when men mix their ideas with Bible passages to create false teaching. The religions based on these doctrines call themselves Christians. They are not Christians principally because of this error and its consequences. Its consequences are other doctrines, invented in support of the basic error. As a result, they have not done that which God requires of them to become Christians. The table below presents the basic name of the teaching, the meaning and generally credited origin.

Differences in Catholic/Protestant teaching of original sin versus total inherited depravity


The doctrine varies somewhat with different Protestant groups, but most accept the meaning given in table above. Even though the Catholic and Protestant teachings are quite different, the thing that ties them together is the same key verses used as proof texts. One verse from the Old Testament and one verse from the New Testament are primarily used. Both groups are interestingly misinterpreting these verses differently. There are “other verses” used by Catholics and Protestants in support of these respective doctrines. We will study the verses used in support of the Catholic and Protestant teachings and determine the correct meaning. This is not a very difficult study and demonstrates how beginning with the desired doctrine you can find verses to support that doctrine. That is, you can twist those verses to fool people into believing you have scriptural support. The problem comes if you do a simple study you find the proof lacking and very importantly inconsistent with all scripture. The verses in question are as follows:

Psalms 51.5

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother
conceived me.


Romans 5.12

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death
through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

First, I hope people would be suspicious of such names as original
sin or total inherited depravity because they are not Bible names. The
rules for our study are simple.
Rules of Study

2 Tim 3.15,16,17

15 And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures,
which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which
is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly
equipped for every good work.


2 Tim 2.15

Be diligent to present yourself approved of God, a worker
who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of

Psalm 51.1-5

Beginning with Psalm 51.1-5, let us look at these verses. It will be helpful to read Psalm 51.1-5 to understand the context (David speaking):

1 Have mercy upon me O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight
That you may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.

We want to analyze these verses without prejudice, without being
careless, and with confidence in God’s Word. The Bible definition of
sin will be helpful in this study.

1 John 3.4

4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.


Psalm 51.5

5 Behold, I was brought forth [shapen or born] in iniquity [lawlessness or wickedness],
And in sin my mother conceived me.

The following is typical of Protestant doctrine. This statement coming from London Confession—Baptist, chapter VI, part 2, 4:
Our first parents by this Sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them, whereby death came upon all; all becoming dead in Sin, and wholly defiled, in all faculties, and parts of soul, and body . . . from this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

Another example comes from Albert Garner, Missionary Baptist, in the Royal Birth a Life of Liberty, pp. 8-9.
I, by natural birth, then am too wicked to live, too sinful to die, and too vile to meet God . . . Total Hereditary Depravity means that man in his entire self is bad. He inherited this nature from Adam through the human race, Romans 5:12. Consequently, he is entirely inherently conceived in badness. I mean by total that man is bad, mind, body and spirit. Yes a sinner by nature . . . Before God, I by nature am depraved and unclean. Our best is but odious and obnoxious to the nostril of Him until the life is changed by a new nature that is imparted. So total depravity says you were born with the image of the devil and that you have the same moral nature as the devil.

On the other hand, Catholics use this scripture to teach inherited sin or, as they call it, original sin. A reading from The Teaching of Christ (a Catholic catechism for adults, 1976), page 84:
Basing its teaching firmly on Scripture (esp. Romans 5.12-19), the Church teaches that from Adam original sin has been transmitted to all men. Not only do men tend to imitate the sinfulness that surrounds them, but each individual is born in a condition of sin, and can be freed from that condition only by the merits of Jesus Christ. The original sin each person inherits is not an actual sin he personally commits. Rather, “it is human nature so fallen, stripped of the grace that clothed it, injured in its own natural powers and subjected to the dominion of death, that is transmitted to all men, and it is in this sense that every man is born in sin.”
[Note: this last quotation is from Pope Paul VI, Professio Fidei (“The Credo of the People of God,” June 30, 1968). The transmission of original sin means that each descendant of Adam is created without sanctifying grace, and without the special gifts that had accompanied that grace. Thus the entire human race, all of mankind has been wounded by original sin. Universal human experience confirms the teaching that we are born in a sinful state”].
So original or inherited sin differs from total depravity in that total depravity says:

  • Born with sinful nature
  • Original sin says, born with sin

Does Psalm 51.5 (or the context) indicate that David was born with a sinful nature?
Does it indicate David was born in sin?
These verses do not specify either of these things, and scripture does not support such an interpretation.

First, determine who is in sin is attributed to in Psalm 51.5? The word sin and “in sin did my mother conceive me” is not referring to David, but in sin did my mother. The sin is that of David’s mother! The following is an explanation of Psalm 51.5 that is consistent with the context of Psalm 51 and with all Bible teaching on the subject of sin. It may not be the only explanation, but it makes good sense without violating scripture.
David “was brought forth” in a situation of iniquity. All men “are brought forth” into a world filled with those who break God’s law (Genesis 6.5, 6). All men except Adam—he “was brought forth” into a world where there was previously no sin. David was born into a world where sin was commonplace; even that sin was in his mother when he was conceived. Why is David saying all this? Is he trying to teach the doctrine of inherited sin or inherited sin nature? David here is talking to God in a prayerful way. Saying, have mercy on me, I have sinned, me, I did it! David is no stranger to sin; it has been around him since he was born. He does not put the blame on God or his mother or even the fact that the world around him is lawless. Nevertheless, I have
sinned. Forgive me and cleanse me.

Moreover, in verse 9 of Psalm 51, David pleads with God,

Psalms 51.9

Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

God did not place on any man a sin for which we are not responsible. Neither did God give us a sin nature (a devil nature, an immoral nature). Somehow, someway, man would like to place some or the entire burden for our problems on God. I believe, deep down, this is why these teachings without any scriptural basis have become so popular or were invented in the first place. Thus, men beginning with what they want to believe gain support using some scriptures that “at a glance” could be teaching these things. Therefore, we have the fundamental doctrines of Roman Catholic and Protestant religions placing some or all the responsibility for sin on God.
Men can say, “I was born with a nature like the devil.”
“I was born, God having placed a sin against me.”

Obviously, I had nothing to do with these things; certainly, I am not very responsible. I had a bad start! But God says in:

Ezekiel 18.4

“The soul that sinneth it shall die,”* and goes on to say in

Ezekiel 18.5 and 9,

5 “But if a man is just
And does what is lawful and right;
9 If he has walked in My statutes
And kept My judgments faithfully—
He is just;
He shall surely live!”**
Says the Lord God.

We can continue in

Ezekiel 18.19,20

to see how this whole idea of inheriting sin or a sin nature is entirely alien to Bible teaching.

v19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the
father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and
has kept all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live**”
v20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt
of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The
righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the
wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”

*Death (spiritually speaking is separation from God) and is the result for the one that sins.
**Live (eternal life) is attributed to following God’s commands.

Once again, we see God attributing complete responsibility for lawlessness to the individual. God is not responsible! Ultimately, your earthly father or mother is not responsible for what you do. Neither are you responsible for what they did. Adam’s children were not responsible for what he had done. They did not inherit his sin or a sin nature from Adam.

In the New Testament (NKJV),

1 Peter 1.17 says,

The Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s

Another version (KJV) reads,

The Father without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work.

Do you realize that when one teaches inherited sin, God becomes a “respecter” of persons by placing a bad mark or bad nature against an individual at birth? If that child were to die as an infant or small child having never done anything contrary to God’s will, he or she would be guilty of this mark or would have possessed this “devil”nature.
God would have shown less fairness (respect) for one than another. Shame on anyone who would make God a “respecter” of persons, He is not, and He says He is not a “respecter” of persons, but He judges according to every man’s work.

The Bible is full of passages that teach where responsibility lies:

Matthew 16.27

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Romans 2.5,6

5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds.

Rev 20.12,13

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

1 Corinthians 5.10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Repeatedly the Bible teaches that you and I will be held accountable for what we do, for the things done in the body, whether they are good or bad, lawful and right, or lawless and wicked. Jesus is asked a question in Matthew 18.1 and answers that question.

Matthew 18.1-4

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,
3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus points to the innocence and humility of little children. At times, little children may seem more like little masses of mischief and trouble, but Jesus recognized that as little children, they have not reached the age to be capable of making judgments of right and wrong. So these little children are innocent, sinless, without a sin nature. Their lack of sin/sin nature makes them such as the kingdom of heaven! Jesus makes a special point of a child’s humility. A child exhibits this characteristic of humility in many ways. My youngest child was about three when I wrote this, and I remember like with my other children how if they received a little or even a medium “stroke” to their bottoms for doing something wrong, how they would run off to their mother for sympathy. Yet in usually less than five minutes, they would back to play or get a hug. But as children get older, it becomes a little more of a serious matter. Their pride is beginning to show. Finally as adults, people hear a bad word said about them or even a hint that perhaps someone said something negative about them, and suddenly people are not talking to one another, and grudges are held. Sometimes, something they have believed for years is challenged, and it is very personal; I have been personally attacked! Jesus recognized how a little child can accept teaching and howdifficult it is so many times for an adult to be humble and accept teaching. Therefore, in this lesson of the small child, Jesus pointed out to His disciples and to us through His Word the innocence of little children and how, in fact, we need to turn and become as little children if we are going to be part of the kingdom of heaven. Could Jesus say what He says here in Matthew 18.1-4, to use an example of little children if they had been marked by sin (separated from God) or if from birth they had a sinful nature, totally depraved? I think we can see how ridiculous this is, how ashamed the authors and the supporters of this doctrine ought to be! The extent of lies in support of this basic lie is very likely more than you can imagine.

Our heritage is not from the devil but is from God.

Genesis 1.27

So God created man in His own image.

Paul refers to man as the “offspring of God” and tells us how we ought to think of God.

Acts 17.28,29

28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

It is a terrible thing to say we “were brought forth” immoral when we were brought forth in His image and when we are His offspring. God has said in:

Ecclesiastes 7.29

Truly, this only have I found:
That God made man upright,
But they have sought out many schemes.

Romans 5.12-15

Now, let us turn our attention to the New Testament verse used as proof text for original sin and inherited sin nature. To get the context, let us look at

Romans 5.12-15

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and
death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because
all sinned—
13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed
when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over
those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the
transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to
15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s
offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by
the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.)

Once again, Romans 5.12 as Psalm 51.5 does not teach inherited sin or sin nature, but in fact, it teaches the opposite, that sin, whenever it occurs, is solely the responsibility of the individual. Romans 5.12
declares that sin and death (spiritual death, separation from God) entered by one man, but it does not say that this first sin passed unto all men, that all men receive sin or a sin nature as a result of Adam’s sin. It
does teach that all sinned and that death upon all men is for the reason that all sinned. Adam sinned and (spiritual) death entered his life. As Romans 6.23 teaches, “For the wages of sin is death,” but Adam was the first to sin, so the statement can be made in Romans 5.12, wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin.
The Bible teaches plainly, where sin originates, in Adam’s life or in your life or in mine. Just as in:

James 1.15

15 Then, when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

The Bible does not attribute sin to your nature but to a choice that you make. When you have the strong desire (lust) for something and that something is a transgression of God’s law, when you do it, you sin of your own free will. It was your choice. God did not put the lust

James 1.13,14 says,

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

Sin we learn does not come to man from God in any way! Instead, sin’s pattern is as follows:

  •  Temptation (which is not from God)
  •  Followed by lust (strong desire) within the heart of man
  •  And finally the transgression itself (whether in thought, word, or deed) committed by man

Now let us look at the grammatical construction of Romans 5.12. To make a point, I will substitute words for sin, death, and sinned. Respectively eating, weight gain and eaten are substituted.

Wherefore as by one man, eating [sin] entered into the world and weight gain [death] by eating [sin], and so weight gain [death] passed upon all men, for that all have eaten [sinned].

This teaches that you put on weight because you eat. Those who teach inherited sin or sin nature would have you believe that because Adam ate, you will put on weight. Of course, such is not true! Adam’s sin caused his separation from God, just as your sin or mine causes our separation from God.

The doctrines of inherited sin and sin nature place a part or all of the blame on God for man’s problems, make God a respecter of persons, and man a child of the devil and thusly add to in places and take away in
others from God’s Word. The old saying that a lie will require a bigger lie and even yet, a bigger lie just to protect the first and subsequent lies has never been more accurate than it is of these teachings.


Let us look at some of the Catholic theology associated with this “unfortunate doctrine” of original sin.

The Immaculate Conception of Mary

From The Teaching Of Christ, a Catholic Catechism for Adults (1976), page 122:
William of Ware and John Duns Scotus developed the concept of “anticipatory redemption.” Although as a descendent of Adam in a sinful human race, Mary would naturally have incurred the guilt of original sin, a special divine decree kept her free from it in light of the foreseen or anticipated merits of Jesus Christ.
Pope Pius IX solemnly defined the Immaculate Conception as a truth of revelation in 1854. “The Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, in view of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain
of original sin.


The Assumption of Mary

Because she was the mother of God she had been kept holy always by a singular gift of God. As the fruits of the redemption were anticipated to preserve her from original sin, so they were anticipated to bring her bodily to heaven before the general resurrection at the end of time. Since she had never been subject to sin, she, like her divine Son, was not to remain in the grave, subject to the empire of death that sin had brought into the world.
It was fitting then, that she who gave bodily birth to Jesus should be with Him bodily in heaven as she adores Him in the glory of His risen body. (Same source as previous.)
This Roman Catholic catechism goes on to indicate that on November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII formally defined the Assumption of Mary as doctrine. What can I say; none of this is in the Bible. The necessity for creating these doctrines was apparently due to the Catholic idea of sin and original sin.
Probably the most common error built on the idea of original sin or even sin nature is the idea of infant baptism. Catholics and some Protestant groups practice this ritual. Of course, there is no reason for
baptizing an infant since, as just shown, there is no such thing as original sin or inherited sin nature. In addition, there is no Bible authority for infant baptism, summarizing:

  •  There is no reason for baptizing a baby.
  •  There is no example of an infant being baptized in the New Testament.
  •  There are specific requirements for baptism, which an infant cannot fulfill:

Those conditions which an infant cannot fulfill are:

  • Hearing and/or reading the message
  • Believing
  • Repenting
  • Confessing Christ


Protestant doctrine in support of the false teaching of inherited sin
or sin nature like Catholicism evolved quite an impressive list of
likewise false teachings in support of Total Inherited Depravity.

These include the following:

  •  Unconditional election of the individual; Modern version: God selects those to be saved.
  •  Limited atonement; Christ died only for the elect; Modern version (same).
  •  Irresistible grace; God is able to affect what He wills; Modern version: irresistible grace or direct operation
  • of the Holy Spirit.
  •  Perseverance of the saints; Those whom God elects will not defect from their calling; Modern version: Once saved, always saved.

Again, reasoning men, accepting a doctrine like total inherited depravity placed on man by God, conclude that God must therefore act directly on those He elects to save. Here we go on the roller coaster of men’s logic. Since God acted in some way to save those whom He chose, and since God could not be wrong, therefore, “once you are saved, you are always saved no matter how you live, you cannot be lost.”
Fundamentally if you add the T, which is Total inherited depravity at the beginning of the previous list, it would “essentially” be John Calvin’s’ five points (TULIP).

  • Total inherited depravity
  • Unconditional election
  • Limited atonement
  • Irresistible grace
  • Perseverance of the saints

The basis of the last four doctrines is the first one (Total Inherited Depravity) and since it is false the other four also fall and essentially with that Protestantism falls. They also use the incorrect meaning of the word predestination as found in scripture to support their five points. All five points are unscriptural and easily refuted. If the false idea of inherited sin or sin nature had not been “invented” (perhaps along with the false concept of predestination), these other teachings of Calvin, which have found their way into so many Protestant religions in a wide variety of forms, would never have been “born.”

John Calvin (directly above) and Theodore Beza (directly above)

Note: The five points (TULIP) came from the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) having the influence of various people, even the “late” Theodore Beza (1519-1605) as well as Calvin, who gets the modern-day “credit.” There are considerable and excellent historical perspectives of John Calvin and Theodore Beza and how their religious theories evolved.
Thank you for your patience as we dealt with this subject of original sin or inherited sin nature. It is a sad thing that so many different groups of people have fallen into doctrine that is so dangerous. Largely because of this error, the simple, straightforward plan of God has been corrupted. There are so many people caught up in this serious error who want to do the right thing and most believe they have done the right thing. As we end this lesson, let me accent how God in the Bible emphasized the treatment of the word and then mention why this is so important.

2 John 9

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.

So both Catholicism and Protestantism fall from just these doctrines. These are not close “theological calls.” The truth is simple and does not contain teachings invented by men which bring much confusion and even the necessity to create additional man-made doctrines to support the original invention.