The world undergoes change every single day. Some changes are for good, but many prove to be detrimental at best. This last week has produced many noteworthy events.
1. Cyprus has decided that every person who has a bank account should forfeit amounts up to almost 10% of what you own. This has transpired because of greed and poor fiscal management within the government.
2. Obama is making a trip to Israel but has no expectations that they will accomplish anything.
3. North Korea continues to rattle sabres and threaten the world with destruction through the use of possibly a single nuclear weapon.
This and more dominates the headlines in our newspapers, but the one aspect that many might have missed took place in Rome. No, I am not talking about the election of a new pope. That was an expected event. No, I am not talking about the election of a new pope from someplace outside of Europe. That was also expected to a large decree especially considering that 40% or more of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics come from Central or South America.
What caught my attention was some of the first words from the first ever pope that hails from the ranks of the Jesuit order. Before we speak about those words though, a brief history lesson might be in order.
The Jesuits were founded by Ignatius Loyola of Spain. He was from a noble family and after founding the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), he would ultimately become the order’s Superior General.
Further, the Jesuits were the primary tool used by the Catholic Church during the Spanish Inquisition to persecute and murder tens of thousands of true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. This order has long been held as the military arm of the Roman Catholic system.
The Jesuits sought to “evangelize” the world by subjecting entire countries through whatever barbaric means possible to the teachings of Rome. The Bible was deliberately kept from the people and even many priests knew little more than the doctrines with which they had been indoctrinated in their training. Anybody caught reading or studying the Scripture for themselves was subject to torture on the rack or other brutalities up to and including outright murder.
Through fear of physical harm to the body, as well as the teachings that enslaved the spiritual soul of men and women, the Jesuits were instrumental in ensuring that the Roman Catholic system would have a steady influx of funds and wealth for her coffers.
When soldiers sent from the courts of Europe “discovered” the New World, they came with a show of arms and required the local populations to accept the heresy of Rome at the point of a sword. Women and children were sexually abused, some were tortured, while many would be put to death – ALL in the name of Jesus Christ. The priests leading the charges were in many cases from the Society of Jesus or Jesuits.
What a way to evangelize! Will you convert or would you rather be abused or murdered? Today, the poor peoples in many lands, but primarily Latin and South America, have been under bondage to the evils of Rome. Her priests continue to be abusers and her teachings are nothing short of heresy. She preys on the innocent and all who get in her way eventually feel her wrath.
Visit the hinterlands of Mexico, Columbia, Peru, or Bolivia, and declare yourself as an evangelical devoted to the sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You will face immediate opposition and evangelical missionaries in these countries are still struggling and have suffered at the hands of the local peoples who have been incited to anger by the priests of the Roman Catholic Church.
Fast forward to this last week with the election of the new pope from Argentina. Argentina, a land that was settled by immigrants from Europe over the last almost two centuries. Argentina, a land that has ruthlessly murdered all the native inhabitants by several hundred thousand at the lowest estimate. Argentina, a land that holds many in poverty while her people watch the Roman Catholic church grow richer and richer at their expense. Yes, this is the same Argentina that the new pope hails from.
The new pope has chosen the name of Francis as a way to honor Francis of Assisi. Francis of Assisi, the priest who preached heresy and was known for baptizing and preaching to birds and animals. Francis, from Argentina, has declared that he desires to represent the poor of the world. However, I do not think that we will ever see the Catholic church giving her vast treasures back to the peoples from whom they were stolen through the last 1500+ years.
The words the new pope stated though should strike a chord in the heart of every true believer. In his words, he desires to evangelize the world and to “re-evangelize” the areas of the world that they are a predominant force. Remember that at the heart of this very fallible, very sinful, very depraved man from Argentina is the fact that he has long been a cardinal of the order of Jesuits.
I am afraid that there will be many, even in evangelical circles, who will laud this man and the work that he says he wants to accomplish for the poor and downtrodden of the world. They will claim that he is a brother and knows Christ just as they declared about John Paul II and Theresa of Calcutta.
In the meantime, the Catholic machinery will move into action once again against the peoples of Latin and South America. Evangelicals will come under fire for their teachings, and some may even face martyrdom all for the sake and testimony of Jesus Christ.
The harsh reality is the truth of Scripture does not line up with the teachings of Rome. Jesus Christ said that He alone is the way, the truth and the life. Further, He made it clear that nobody could get to God unless they go through Jesus Christ.
However, Rome has duped her followers into believing that they can pray to the saints, or to Mary for deliverance. She has told them that they can do penance and somehow atone for their own sins. She tells them at every mass that the death of Christ was not a one-time sacrifice and that in order to be assured of a short time in Purgatory that they must each physically and literally eat and drink of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. She teaches her priests to ignore Scripture because the end justifies the means. She leads her people astray and when they die, the priest solemnly atones to the gathered crowd that they have departed to be with God, but must first do time in a non-existent location called Purgatory. More money and more masses are encouraged so that the people foster a false hope that their loved ones will be able to escape the fires of hell.
Sadly, while many will go to serve as “missionaries” to these gospel-deprived lands, those who go will not be taking the truth with them. More and more will be encouraged to be led astray into the Roman Catholic system with the rallying cry to follow the first Latin American pope.
However, all of that is to be expected. Rome is not stupid and she will use whatever means necessary in order to not only attempt to keep her share of the market, but to also gain more converts. For 1500+ years of her existence, she has ruthlessly, barbarically, and coldly gathered millions to follow her teachings. Constantine, who was the first pope of Rome (NOT PETER), started the process by mixing paganism with Christianity. The result dominates many lands today in what is known as syncretism. Rome does not care who you worship during the week as long as you play your part in the theatricals of the mass and give of your wealth to ensure that she grows richer.
Yet, the reality is that there are many in our neighborhoods who are being led down the same primrose path. You may find an increase in social events being led by a local priest. There will even be further attempts to draw more back into the fold from mainline Protestant denominations. You can be sure that they will adopt more of our language, and they will declare that they teach the same truths we do. The truth though is very dark, and for many, the light will be extinguished as they go into a lost eternity. An eternity that was declared to be the way of God, but that was nothing more than the figment of the imagination of a group of men who are no more concerned about their own souls than they are the souls of those who follow them.
My challenge to those of us who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb is this – what are we going to do to reach out to lost within our own circles? Will we stand idly by while the priest continues to lead our friends and co-workers down the path to hell? We each have a calling to tell the truth, no matter what it costs. May our heart’s desire be to pray for those trapped in their sin and religion, to pray for those who serve at great cost to life and limb as they share the truth in the face of great opposition, and to pray that God will burden our hearts to see beyond the trappings of religion and look for a people who need the Lord.
I have family and friends who are caught in the traps of Catholicism. My heart breaks for them for they have been indoctrinated very well. They believe that they are correct and that heaven awaits their arrival regardless of the truth that they have flaunted the Word of God in favor of the teachings and leading of depraved men.
Who is my neighbor? Jesus made it clear that the Good Samaritan was the type of neighbor we are to be. We must care for others from a social aspect, but not at the expense of the preaching of the gospel. We must be willing to reach out to others when nobody else is willing. We must care enough to forget about our own self-importance and remember that each person we meet will face eternity very soon. Many will blindly walk the broad road to destruction while very, very few will find the path to life.
May it not be said when we stand before Christ that we allowed ourselves to become an obstacle to any to find the path to life.
I want to commend Mark Escalera for this excellent post! Brother, you said a lot of things that needed to be said in the direct way that they needed to be said! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
As a missionary to Brazil, I am having your post translated and will see that it gets some mileage among Christians – and even Roman Catholics – down this way! Keep “calling a spade a spade” and preaching the truth in your no-nonsense way. Forget political correctness! People are dying and going to hell while many so-called “Christians” think they have to “earn the right to be heard!” Hogwash! Mark 16:15 gives us the right to be heard! Again, thank you!
Thanks, Mark. We can talk to other believers about Rome. That may protect them from some of its errors. But we must beware, in doing so, of turning ourselves and them into experts on Rome’s errors, to no particular spiritual benefit.
But the greatest problem is that Rome gives a false gospel, and the best solution to that is to give the true Gospel.
Jon, you are correct – the best solution is always the true Gospel. Too often we can become overwhelmed trying to delve into all of the “what’s wrong” with false religion instead of dealing with the truth.
Thank you also for your kind words of encouragement. We continue to keep our missionary brethren in prayer around the world. It is events like what has recently transpired within the Roman Catholic system that brings the need home to us even more that people need the Lord. I agree with you that we do not have to earn the right to be heard. Our marching orders come from our Commander-in-Chief and that supersedes anything else.
Every blessing to you as you serve in Brazil.
I am Catholic and wondered what I thought of this article. Some of it is Comic Relief. Other parts are just plain sad and full of bunk or is it junk 🙂 Maybe I should just pray for you brother or just converse with you on why this article doesn’t make much sense.
Keith the Catholic
I am sorry that you are blinded to the truth of what your church holds and teaches and for centuries has sought to put in place at the point of a sword and other aspects of violence. If you want to stop by, you are welcome to do so, but we would ask you to be specific as to what does not make sense to you. We cannot help answer any questions, if your comment is just a drive-by sniping comment.
There are many things I could say here Mark. I guess one of the biggest issues I have is this sweeping indictment of the Church, this idea that you put across that the Church Clergy doesn’t care about people or the poor, that they only care for themselves or their position. This is a classic Protestant argument. I have heard it before many times. It doesn’t hold water. The Bible says the Kingdom of God is made up of the wheat and the chaff, the good and the bad. There are good priests and there are bad ones. There are good pastors and bad pastors in every denominaton, church, group, etc.
I could say so much more and some of it I brought up in my posting on the Peter Rabbit Thread. We do have so much more to discuss!!!
Keith, I challenge you, my friend, to search for the truth of Scripture. And further, I would extend to you this challenge if you truly want to know the truth.
Take any of the traditions that you have been taught to believe. Find the passage of Scripture that teaches the same thing as your church. Then we will take up the challenge and show you why the Scriptures do not teach those traditions.
I am afraid that we will be waiting for a long time, but we will be here when you return.
Keith, we are not seeking to be funny but take seriously the Word of God. If you claim to do the same, then in love, we implore you to study for truth before it is eternally too late.
Mark, why do you think because I am Catholic, I don’t study scripture? The reason I am Catholic is because I studied Scripture!!!! It aligns with what the Catholic Church teaches 🙂
One other thing, Keith, I think that you are Catholic and study through the eyes of church tradition rather than Sola Scriptura. I believe that while a RCC can come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I do not believe that a person from the RCC faith will remain in the RCC if they are growing and maturing through the solid teaching of God’s Word.
And you use Tradition too Mark. No Christian comes to the Bible without some type of Tradition in mind.
Yes, I am sure we all have some traditions. The difference is that my traditions do not rule my faith or conduct like they do in your belief system.
It is always to Scripture that any church must align its teaching, and not the Scripture that must be aligned to the teaching of the church. Such a method of Bible interpretation is the key reason for much false doctrine and practices.
For sure, all of us have our presuppositions based on traditional teaching or understanding of certain Bible doctrines, but it is always God’s Word that determines truth and God graciously corrects us. It is the truth of God’s Word that will set us free (John 8:32) from spiritual blindness and even religious bondage.The prophet Isaiah wrote, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). I am sure this verse is in the version of the Catholic Bible.
Also contrary to Catholic dogma, it is not the church that gives us the Bible, but the Gospel that gives birth to the church. Better to entrust the keeping of one’s soul and eternal hope to the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God.