History of the Sabbath

Published in 1636, Peter Heylyn’s The history of the Sabbath: in two bookes details how man’s religion re-skinned the Jewish Sabbath and called it a Christian ordinance. I have edited it to modernize the English and eliminate most of the Latin in an attempt to make this work available and accessible to 21st century readers.

From the dawning of the New Covenant, Christians have struggled over how the Old Covenant Scriptures are to be applied to the lives of the saints. Acts 15 is one of several records showing how some Christians thought the Mosaic Covenant applied to Christians, claiming saints must be circumcised and follow the law of Moses (Acts 15:1 & 5). Peter rebuked these brothers, observing that the Mosaic Law (which was the centerpiece of the Old Covenant) was a yoke too heavy for man to bear and requiring this was putting God to the test (verse 10).  Jesus said His yoke was easy, that He would carry the burden of His sheep (Matt 11:30) and John tells us, This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden (1 John 5:2-3).

Despite this clear teaching, over time, many Christians began to teach that Christians must be “baptized” as infants and obey the law of Moses – specifically the 4th Word of the Decalogue.

Heylyn’s book shows the historical development of this Christian Sabbatarian practice and how those who taught this practiced it. We see the common tale of those who say, “Do what I say, not what I do.” Paul taught against this (Romans 2:21); it ought not be so within the body of Christ!

I pray this old booke helps open the eyes of those who are trying to carry a heavy yoke or burden other saints with such teaching. In paper and Kindle formats.

The Absurdity of Rome

In all the discussions I’ve tried to have with papists, I can count on one finger those who were willing to discuss the issues rather than merely put up a defensive shield constructed of Romish fables. One thing I try to do us show them from friendly sources how bizarre some of their beliefs are. They cannot see the truth unless YHWH opens their eyes. May He use the foolishness of His gospel and the outrageous errors of Satan to do so.

There is no peace with God other than by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. For He has told us there is no other name under heaven or on earth that can save men and there is only ONE mediator between God and man – the God-man Jesus Christ! There is no room for you or me – or for Mary.

Even IF she could undo all the knots.

Here are their words from the web site Mary Undoer of Knots.

This Novena is known around the world…..and can change your life.

Why a Novena? Why nine days? novena-booklet

Mary stayed during nine days surrounded by the apostles in the cenacle, praying for the presence of the Holy Spirit.
In this persevering type prayer, She taught us the constancy and ardour of faith, so that we do not get discouraged when direct a petition to God. The Mother of God prayed and gave courage to the apostles to pray for the duration of nine days, in order to receive the most important and precious treasure for human life – The Holy Spirit.

We need to learn to persevere because it is written in Ecclesiasticus 2,15-16, “Woe to them that are fainthearted, who believe not God; Woe to them that have lost patience” and James says, “But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
( James 1,6-8).

Prayer is man’s strenght which shakes the heart of God because “nothing is more powerful than a man who prays” (St. John Chrisostomus) for they are participating in God’s power.
James tells us again, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly” (James 4,3) and St. Basil says, “If you have asked and did not receive, is because you have asked wrongly, with no faith or superficially or you asked something you did not need or because you have abandoned the prayer.”
“All graces we desire need to be asked through Mary, She provides everything we need” (St. Alphonsus Ligori). “All gifts, virtues and graces are dispensed by Her hands to whom She wants, when She wants and how She wants” (St. Bernardin of Siena).

Look at the picture of Mary Undoer of Knots!

In this angelic court, two angels stand out. One of them holds on to a ribbon, the ribbon of our life, which is full of knots big and small, loose and tight. They are the knots of our life, the knots of anguish and despair of separated couples, the dissolution of the family, the knots of a drug addict son or daughter, sick or separated from home or God, knots of alcoholism, the practice of abortion, depression, unemployment, fear, solitude, etc.

The good hearted angel looks to our Queen and holding onto the ribbon of our life, presents to Mary, the Undoer of Knots and says, “We trust you, Mother; You can help us. Undo, then, the knots of this life!”
Then, Mary takes our life into Her compassionate hands and with her long fingers of mercy goes on to undo each knot, one after the other. Look at Her. Feel the attention, love and tenderness with which She does this, hearing our plea, the supplication of a beloved child!
See what happens?
This ribbon becomes free of any type of knot, reflecting all the mercy and freeing power of the holy hands of Mary Undoer of Knots.
Another angel comes over, then, and taking the ribbon of our life, freed of all knots, looks at us and seems to say, “See what She did. Look at what Mary, through her intercession can do again. Trust Her, place your problems and afflictions in Her hands!”

The power of this Novena is the unlimited hope which through our faith we put in our Mother’s hands.
What kind of mother would be insensitive to the screaming pain of her son? This Novena opens Mary’s heart ( compassionate and sensitive) to Her sons, because She wants to reconcile them with Her Son.
“Who hath continued in his commandment, and hath been forsaken? or who hath called upon him, and he despised him? (Ecclesiasticus 2,12)
Because the constant increase in the number of devotees to the Novena, we are convinced more and more of the line in Saint Bernard’s prayer: “Never was it known that anyone who fled to Your protection, implored your help, or sought Your intercession was left unaided.” (St. Bernard).

“Nothing is more powerful than a man who prays” (St. John Crisostomus)

Back to reality. Note that last statement, amidst all the heresy? The one who prays is more powerful than the one to whom he prays.  If that doesn’t clarify the nature of their god, I don’t know what will.

Fifty Years in the Chuch of Rome

Most magisterial reformers took only a half-step from Rome. Much of what protestant churches hold to was learnt from Rome. Certain doctrines and practices clung to men like the sin that so easily entangles us. The following is from Charles Chiniquy’s book, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, chapter 30; published in 1886.
Half-step from Rome
Later in the book, after describing the horrors women experienced in having their most secret sins pried from them by expertly crafted questions, the author reveals one of the vipers mentioned above.
586

The Dangers of Drifting

A review by Stuart Brogden   Evangelicals-Adrift-94x150

We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. – Hebrews 2:1 (HCSB)

Matthew E. Ferris’ book, Evangelicals Adrift – Supplanting Scripture with Sacramentalism, is a fairly comprehensive examination of the differences between biblical Christianity and that which is based on sacramental rituals. He also provides examples of people who have crossed the Tiber River from both sides. For the evangelical who drifts into sacramentalism, the dangers are pointed out with the concern of one manning a lighthouse in treacherous waters, where sailing vessels are bound to be broken on the rocks if they drift away from the narrow channel.

In ten concise chapters, our author covers the theological crises in evangelicalism, the nature and authority of the church and Scripture, and the various departures from biblical truth posed by sacramentalism. In the first chapter, Ferris tells us, “My task is to the show that the definition of the bride of Christ put forth by sacramentalism is an erroneous one, and that Scripture is the only sure guide for the way forward in the Christian life. … I am not writing as “anti-Catholic” or “anti-Orthodox”, but rather as pro-Scripture.” (page 25) This is an important point that evangelicals need to keep in mind, as it is far too easy to drift into being against error instead of in favor of truth; and our mission is to be ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:20).

In his discussion about the nature of the church, Ferris contrasts the Apostles’ teaching found in God’s Word with the progressively developed extra-biblical traditions of the sacramental church, concluding, “The final arbiter for sacramentalism returns once more, not to the Scriptures, but to the church.” (page 35), giving us quotes from Roman Catholics that explicitly confirm this. He then asks, “in what sense can the Church be apostolic if it runs counter to the model the apostles themselves left us?” (page 37) Ferris supports the plurality and equality of elders and the priesthood of all believers in the local church, pointing out the word “clergy” is applied in Scripture to the entire church, not only the elders (page 42). Anticipating the claim that there is unanimity amongst the Church Fathers, our author provides a few quotes to show they had as much variation on issues as do any group of Christians, observing that anyone who wants a clean and supporting historical record to support their view must pick and choose which bits of history to rest on, ignoring those which do not line up with their case. “The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth only in that she upholds and defends it; she does not originate truth.” (page 74)

One way that Christians fail to stay on the narrow road is to neglect church history and conclude that their traditions are biblical. Ferris bemoans the fact that many research or know church history only as far back as the Reformation (page 84), leaving them adrift in the historical influences left unexamined. In commenting on how tradition overshadows Scripture in sacramental churches, he sums up a good quote from Oscar Cullman by saying, “there is no need for a canon at all if the ultimate arbiter of truth is the Church and its magisterium.” (page 86) “Roman Catholic doctrine claims to affirm the inspiration of Scripture and that the Bible is authored by God, yet in practice it severely undermines both of these positions.” (page 102) The Roman Catholic Church demands its dogma be accepted as authoritative, while denying the self-attestation of Scripture. Rather than holding to a proper understanding of Sola Scriptura, the Roman Catholic Church is shown to truly hold to sola ecclesia (page 103). This is compounded by the long-standing position of Rome that only its select clergy can interpret the Scripture, which undermines the authority of the Bible. If the Bible is God’s Word to His people, all of whom are indwelt by His Spirit, does it make sense that only a small number of people selected by a small number of religious leaders would be able to rightly comprehend the essentials of the Christian faith? History records that these select leaders, charged with interpreting the Scriptures for the common folk often disagreed with one another and many changed their minds on topics over time. Heretics and false sons have been in the temporal church since the apostolic era and it flies in the face of history, human nature, and the Bible for Rome to claim immunity from the frailties that each son of Adam faces.

Ferris also discusses how the various sacraments within many churches claim to impart grace, robbing the gift YHWH gives of its meaning. Baptism is one of these, with infant “baptism” having its basis in the false belief that it is needed for salvation. “Sacramentalism practices infant baptism as both an entrance into the new covenant with God and as that which cleanses from sin.” (page 160). If this were true, why was the Apostle Paul’s priority on gospel proclamation (1 Cor 1:14 – 17 & 9:22)? Further, he asks, “If baptism is indeed effective in imparting new life, in washing away sin, in putting one into the church, how is it that so many people who have undergone infant baptism manifest no signs of divine life whatsoever?” (page 166)

Chapters 7 and 8 are excellent reviews of the unbiblical view that sacraments convey grace and that mystical doctrine of Mary worship and veneration. Chapter 9 explores the spurious notion that there is theological and doctrinal unity within the Roman Catholic Church – pointing out there is as much variety within that religion as they claim there is amongst evangelicals.

The final chapter asks, “To Whom Shall We Go?” – and points out that “By insisting on the mediation of the Church in every aspect of the believer’s interaction with God, sacramentalism replaces the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.” (page 223) Ferris gives the reader an excellent, concise review of the difference between the Roman view of infused grace and the biblical view of imputed grace as the means of saving sinners. The catechism of the Roman Catholic Church declares that the sacraments are necessary for salvation. Our author observes, “There is no experience of God, no conversion, and indeed no final salvation apart from engaging in the ritual acts defined by the Church. This is diametrically opposed to justification by faith in Christ alone. It is the system, rather than the Savior that assumes the importance in sacramentalism.” (page 225) In light of these dangers that we can drift into, to whom shall we go? As Peter rightly understood, we must flee to Christ Jesus – He has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). And so our faithful author points us to the Word Himself. “Every problem, every shortcoming, every doctrinal aberration with evangelicalism, and indeed with any branch of the church, is solved only by an intentional and sustained engagement with scripture. … Embracing sacramentalism will only lead believers further away from the truth that a relationship, not a ritual, is the scripturally ordained way of growth in Christ. Those who drift away can only regain their moorings by once again submitting to the Bible for everything in their Christian live.” (pages 228 & 229)

This book is a most excellent encouragement to the saints of God and, I pray, a wakeup call to those who are drifting into dangerous waters in the Tiber River. To God alone be the glory and honor and dominion and power – now and forever!

The Insanity Of Transubstantiation

Testimony of a former Roman Catholic priest, Herman Hegger: Magic

“This doctrine of transubstantiation never fascinated me. I felt a certain reluctance to kneel before those external elements. Something in me refused to offer prayers to the Host. A God localized by the forms of bread and wine was against the grain of my deepest religious sentiments. I felt it difficult to lift up my soul to a God Who appeared to me in those dead things. I could not really discover the splendor of the glorified Savior in the Host that I was eating.

“Roman Catholic authors are also aware of this difficulty. They never mention “Jesus who is in my stomach,” but speak of “Jesus who rests on my heart.” Involuntarily they change over in some way to a spiritualization of the formula: “This IS my body!” And indeed, what is the point in transubstantiation? What use is it to me if Jesus ultimately lands in my stomach in the shape of bread and wine?

“The truly great thing is my living communion with the Savior. What good is a bodily presence in those forms? They only divert my attention from the glorious shape of my Redeemer. Jesus appears to me through His Word and Spirit. I rest on Him as He reveals Himself in His Gospel.”

Why You MUST Leave the Roman Catholic Church

I ran across this article a few days ago and think it sums up very concisely several arguments as pope_benedict_to why a child of God cannot peacefully remain in the Roman Catholic Church. It is simply not a Christian religion.

Posted here.

While I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response about last week’s article, “Why Evangelicals and Roman Catholics Cannot Be Together,” some seem to not quite grasp the reason for it. After all, they say that they have neighbors or family members who really love Jesus, who attend a Roman Catholic Church. While I have spoken to many Catholics and have yet to meet one who can explain the Gospel, I am sure that at least in America there has to be some believers who Sunday after Sunday are attending RCC’s. If you are one of these people, here are four reasons you need to leave today. Or if you know someone whom you believe to be born again, here are four reasons you need to encourage them to leave.

You are severed from the Church body

The weekly Church gathering is not about evangelism. It’s about worship, fellowship and equipping (Eph 4:11-15). We love for unbelievers to come to Church and see the radical difference between how Christians love one another and how the world loves one another. We love for unbelievers to come to our services and be exposed to the preaching of the Word. But ultimately the Church is literally made up only of the saints. It is foolish to go to a place on Sunday morning, instead of Church, for the purpose of “evangelism”. Sundays are not for evangelism. Let me clarify because many Sundays I do evangelize someone, but ultimately the gathering of the believers has been instituted by Christ for mutual encouragement and serving each other, not to evangelize each other. If you go to a “church” where the majority of the people around you are unsaved then you are disobeying Hebrews 10:24-25. If you are a believer attending a RCC, then Christ wants you to leave and join a church where HE is the head. You have gifts the Holy Spirit has given to you that you need to be using to serve your fellow Christians. The one-another’s are for believers not unbelievers.

You are missing out on expository preaching 

I contend that the main avenue Christ uses to sanctify his bride as a whole is through the weekly exposition of the Scripture. God has gifted certain men with the ability and time to study His Word in depth, and has blessed the Church with the Sunday morning gathering of the saints. It is crucial that we are part of a church that preaches through the Bible. It is imperative that we sit under solid teaching. I have never met a priest who preaches through the Bible verse by verse. Paul’s charge to Timothy was to preach the word (2 Tim 4:2) and to rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). This simply does not happen in the RCC and any believer who subjects himself to false teaching will be affected by it more than they can affect those around them.

You can’t reform an apostate religion

I sometimes hear that there are genuine believers attending RCC’s, and they are there for the purpose of being a light in a dark place. They agree that Catholicism is a dead religion without the true Gospel, but that they are so concerned for their friends and families that they choose to stay and reform from the inside. I understand this attitude and I truly appreciate the intent and the desire to reach people for Christ, but we have a misunderstanding of what the Church is meant to be when we do this. We also have a inflated view of our ability to do what the apostle Peter and James couldn’t do with Judaism, though it seemed that they tried, and what Luther and Calvin couldn’t do in the Roman Catholic Church and ultimately had to branch off and start new churches.

You are blaspheming God

I pray that this statement will come across with love and with a concerned heart attitude. But if you are attending a mass then you are blaspheming God. As we saw in last week’s post, each time you eat the bread and drink the wine you are saying that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross two-thousand years ago was not sufficient and that Christ must continue to die each and every week. While you may be taking it as a symbol and in thankfulness to your Savior, the RCC is saying that Jesus is still on the cross and must continue dying for last week’s sins. Jesus is not still on the cross. His death was effectual in what was intended. He died Once and for all for sin (I beg you to read carefully Hebrews 10:10-18), and shouted “It Is Finished!” He does not need to continue dying, and the blood he shed that day was sufficient to cover all our sin, past, present and future. When we partake in the RCC communion we are blaspheming Christ by telling Him that His death and resurrection was unsuccessful.

So many people are bothered with posts like these. They feel like it’s unloving and unaccepting to tell someone they are wrong or doing the wrong thing. I beg you to reconsider. I believe it’s unloving to allow your friends and neighbors to continue going to a “church” Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, that is not going to provide for them spiritually and where they will be forced to insult Jesus.

If you wish to learn more about evangelizing Catholics consider these tools.

A Catholic Fable

A Catholic Fable   Francis

A review by Stuart Brogden

I tried to give this book, My God and My All – The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, an honest opportunity to impress me. Elizabeth Goudge was a 20th century novelist and it is most appropriate that a fiction author wrote about this topic. The cover art gives us a peak into the perspective the reader will face: it’s a well-known (in Roman Catholic circles) painting of Francis in prayer. His hands are crossed over his chest and there is a nail hole visible in his left hand. Several segments within the Roman Catholic Church believe they are obedient to Scripture when they punish their bodies in imitation of the physical punishment our Lord took upon Himself in obedience to His call as being born under the Law, cursed for the sake of those He was sent to save. This may also be a twisted view of Colossians 1:24. Sam Storms has a very good analysis of this verse (posted here: http://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/filling-up-the-afflictions-of-christ–1:24-) that, may it please the Lord, will help some Roman Catholics see the truth of Scripture on this topic.

It is fitting that a novelist wrote this book for two reasons. First, the book is a fictionalized account of Francis’ life. Secondly, it presents a thoroughly Roman Catholic view of Francis’ life, which is as much a work of fiction as is every distinctive of that religion. I’ll focus on this second aspect, as fiction presented as truth is a danger that we cannot blithely ignore. And we see this false religion on pages 1 and 2:

In the case of those whom we call the saints, this power is immeasurable. They are the true makers of men. Other great men may alter the material aspect of life for millions, but the saints make us for eternity. By emptying themselves, by getting rid of self altogether, they become the channels of God’s creative power and by him, through them, we are made. … And so his (Francis’) power lives on and we cannot measure it because it is nowhere near its end.

The Bible calls all of His redeemed people, saints. There is no determination by any man-made religion as to whom is worthy of being identified as such. The one who plants and the one who waters are nothing – the growth comes from God and He, alone, is everything (1 Cor 3:7). The “saints” of Rome do not “make us for eternity,” they were in every bit the same need of God’s grace to be saved as any other men. There are no “great men” in the world or in the body of Christ; all men are weak and sinful and the only good we have claim to is the good He (not any religious pretender) works in and through us.

Another short insight into the dual nature of this being a novel: on page 6 the author shows us her method of weaving this story together, speaking of Francis’ birth:

Tradition says it was long and hard and that as the hours passed and her child was not born she asked to be taken to the stable that adjoined the house, that she might feel a little nearer to Mary, the Mother of God, and that in the stable her child was born. Today the little place is a chapel, the Chapel of the Infant Francis.

Many Roman Catholics deify Mary, who was a sinner used by God, not a sinless woman God was fortunate to have on His team. She was the mother of Jesus, the man, not God. Jesus, being eternally existent as the second member of the Trinity, was not born of a women in the sense that would validate this phrase beloved by Rome – Mary, mother of God. That is a blasphemous statement, but not seen as such by those who worship Mary. We also see here the practice of building a shrine at “sacred places,” as if Jesus did not have the conversation with the Samaritan woman in John 4. Places are not sacred in the Christian world, only in the pagan world. God’s people (individually and corporately) are His temple (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; Eph 2:17 – 22). He does not require nor even want temples made by human hands (Acts 7:48; 17:24) and when men make ornate buildings as places of worship, the tendency is to take pleasure in the grand architecture and the images normally found therein – forgetting the God Who made all things and is Lord of all things.

Francis was, as many Roman Catholics are, a mystic who imagined he heard direct from God apart from His Word (page 22). In one such moment he dreamed YHWH revealed the perfect bride for him, “Lady Poverty” (page 21). And by so determining he must deny self by becoming temporally poor, “Francis entered upon this battle of winning himself for God.” (page 22) This reveals one danger of the mystical life: a person can be misled by various voices which lead away from God’s Word. This shows up again on page 28 as Francis “heard the Lord speaking with the voice of a friend, and saying, ‘Francis, go and repair my church, which as thou seest is wholly in ruin.” In focusing on the crucifix, Francis “realized that though the sufferings of Christ in his human body were ended yet the At-one-ment was always going on. Christ still reigned from the cross, looking out over the suffering world, drawing all men to himself on his cross that might unite them to God in himself.” When Jesus finished His work of redemption, He sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 1:3). He is not still hanging on the cross!

Francis is recorded in this novel as working on the rebuilding of three buildings, which are called churches. This is a vital error, putting places in the place of the body of Christ, as noted earlier. Of His church, the Lord said He would build her (Matt 16:18), this spiritual building that is the work of God alone. He does not need the help of men, although He does command us to be obedient in proclaiming the gospel to men everywhere and to disciple the saints within the local church.

Chapter 5 carries the book’s title and describes the Roman Catholic mass as the center of worship. “Nothing could be greater than the coming of Christ the King in the sacrament of the altar. Soon the little church would be as holy as the courts of heaven” (page 50). So much of the Roman religion is taken from the Jewish religion without any discernment. The New Covenant church has no altar, and Christ the King is not offered up on any altar! His empty cross serves as a spiritual altar (Heb 13:10). Note how this is explained by the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

Christianity and Judaism are so totally distinct, that “they who serve the (Jewish) tabernacle,” have no right to eat our spiritual Gospel meat, namely, the Jewish priests, and those who follow their guidance in serving the ceremonial ordinance. He says, “serve the tabernacle,” not “serve in the tabernacle.” Contrast with this servile worship ours.

an altar—the cross of Christ, whereon His body was offered. The Lord’s table represents this altar, the cross; as the bread and wine represent the sacrifice offered on it. Our meat, which we by faith spiritually eat, is the flesh of Christ, in contrast to the typical ceremonial meats. The two cannot be combined (Gal 5:2). That not a literal eating of the sacrifice of Christ is meant in the Lord’s Supper, but a spiritual is meant, appears from comparing Heb 13:9 with Heb 13:10, “with grace, not with meats.”

The last thing I will briefly cover comes from chapter 6 – The Rule. We have a snippet written by Francis wherein he reveals his authority: the pope. “And when the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what I ought to do, but the Most High himself revealed to me that I should according to the form of the holy gospel. And I cause it to be written in a few words and simply, and the pope confirmed it for me.” Also on page 73 the author says “Francis was a devoted and loyal son of the Church.” When Francis and his brothers formed their group, “Francis promised obedience and reverence to both Innocent and his successors after him. All the brothers were to take the three evangelical vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and they were to live without any property whatever” (pages 74 & 75). These “evangelical vows” are not found in Scripture. We find in God’s Word that His children are to be poor in spirit, not proud; sexually pure, in marriage unless gifted with singleness; and obedient to Christ as revealed in Scripture, not to traditions and words of men.

The god of Francis appears, from this book, not to be the God of the Bible. If that god was his all, his end was worse than his beginning. I pray all who claim to be in Christ examine themselves to see if they be in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). The Christian religion is not the product of men. It is the work of God in the people He called to new life in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) from their natural condition of spiritual death (Eph 2:1 – 10). To Him alone be all honor and glory and dominion, and none of that to any man.

Absolving Sins – Blasphemy

What a tragedy that more than 1 billion of the world’s population follow the accursed traditions of a man who is just as totally depraved as his followers.

pope-francis-600

The link to the article Pope Says Can Absolve Sins from Fox News indicates that this is a special year of Jubilee, and in his own power has granted ALL priests the ability to “absolve faithful of the sin of abortion.” This has been perfectly timed by the Vatican with all the world’s attention being focused on the horrors of what has taken place with Planned Parenthood. History speaks for itself of the debauchery of the Catholic system that has produced many illegitimate babies and many abortions induced in order to cover up the wickedness and vulgarity of her priests.

How convenient that the declaration from the Vatican does not speak of just those women who have had an abortion! It covers the faithful of the sin of abortion. This means if you are a faithful Catholic priest, you can absolve yourself of demanding a woman get an abortion to protect what you have done in the dark. If you are a faithful Catholic doctor who murders infants, then this coming Jubilee year, you can be absolved of ALL your wicked murders. If you are a faithful Catholic man who has encouraged his wife, lover, or girlfriend to get a baby aborted, then you also can sleep easier tonight knowing your guilt will be gone as soon as you do your penance and offer your coins to the blood-bathed coffers of the Vatican.

The word absolve means set or declare (someone) free from blame, guilt, or responsibility. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word to mean, “to set free from an obligation or the consequences of guilt.”

This is heresy of the highest order. It is blasphemy to think that a sinful man can remove the guilt of sin and the stain that envelops the heart of every man, woman, and child, and that separates them from the holiness of God. Neither the pope, nor any of his cardinals, bishops, or priests have the ability to free anybody from any guilt or responsibility for their sins. This declaration, while only for those faithfully following the pope are included, means the pope has again tried to take away from God what rightfully belongs to God alone.

My friend, if you are reading this and you are a Roman Catholic follower, please know that we share with you in love that believing a mere mortal can free you from the consequences of your sin or your guilt will only damn your soul to an eternal torment in the lake of fire when you die.

Not one pope since the first pope, Constantine, died for your sins. Not one pope can free you from the wrath of God that is to come. Not one pope can absolve you of any sin, whether it is the sin of adultery, abortion, cheating, lies, homosexuality, lesbianism, hatred, murder, or even taking the name of the Lord in vain.

There is only one who can forgive sins and even the religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew this. Mark 2:7 and Luke 5:21 note that the scribes and Pharisees both asked aloud, “Who is this that is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

We, who know the Lord Jesus Christ, know that Jesus Christ is God and thus had the ability, the right, and the privilege of being able to forgive the sins of any and all who come to Him by grace through faith alone. Sadly, many who have hidden their guilt and sin of murdering the infant in their womb will go to a priest, seek to do some penance, say a few prayers in vainless repetition, and walk away with their conscience being seared a little more into thinking they have been made right with God.

Arminianism: The Road to Rome

Arminianism: The Road to Rome

Augustus Toplady (1740-1778)

hymnwriter and theologian

Whose Voice Do You Hear? toplady3

“My sheep, saith Christ, hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish. O, most worthy Scriptures! which ought to compel us to have a faithful remembrance, and to note the tenor thereof; which is, the sheep of Christ shall never perish.”Doth Christ mean part of his elect, or all, think you? I do hold, and affirm, and also faithfully believe, that he meant all his elect, and not part, as some do full ungodly affirm. I confess and believe assuredly, that there shall never any of them perish: for I have good authority so to say; be- cause Christ is my author, and saith, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Ergo, it is not possible that they can be so deceived, that they shall ever finally perish, or be damned: wherefore, whosoever doth affirm that there may be any (i.e. any of the elect) lost, doth affirm that Christ hath a torn body.”1

The above valuable letter of recantation is thus inscribed: “A Letter to the Congregation of Free-willers, by One that had been of that Persuasion, but come off, and now a Prisoner for Religion:” which superscription will hereafter, in its due place, supply us with a remark of more than slight importance.


John Wesley, A Friend of Rome?

To occupy the place of argument, it has been alleged that “Mr. Wesley is an old man;” and the Church of Rome is still older than he. Is that any reason why the enormities, either of the mother or the son, should pass unchastised?

It has also been suggested, that “Mr. Wesley is a very laborious man:” not more laborious, I presume, than a certain active being, who is said to go to and fro in the earth, and walk up and down in it:2 nor yet more laborious, I should imagine, than certain ancient Sectarians, concerning whom it was long ago said, “Woe unto you Scribes, hypocrites; for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte:”3 nor, by any means, so usefully laborious, as a certain diligent member of the community, respecting whose variety of occupations the public have lately received the following intelligence: “The truth of the following instance of industry may be depended on: a poor man with a large family, now cries milk, every morning, in Lothbury, and the neighbourhood of the Royal Exchange; at eleven, he wheels about a barrow of potatoes; at one, he cleans shoes at the Change; after dinner, cries milk again; in the evening, sells sprats; and at night, finishes the measure of his labour as a watchman.”4


The Quarrel is With the Wolf

Mr. Sellon, moreover, reminds me (p. 128.) that, “while the shepherds are quarrelling, the wolf gets into the sheep fold;” not impossible: but it so happens, that the present quarrel is not among “the shepherds,” but with the “wolf” himself; which “quarrel” is warranted by every maxim of pastoral meekness and fidelity.

I am further told, that, while I am “berating the Arminians, Rome and the devil laugh in their sleeves.” Admitting that Mr. Sellon might derive this anecdote from the fountain head, the parties themselves, yet, as neither they nor he are very conspicuous for veracity, I construe the intelligence by the rule of reverse, though authenticated by the deposition of their right trusty and well-beloved cousin and counsellor.

Once more: I am charged with “excessive superciliousness, and majesty of pride:” and why not charged with having seven heads and ten horns, and a tail as long as a bell-rope? After all, what has my pride, or my humility, to do with the argument in hand? Whether I am haughty, or meek, is of no more consequence either to that, or to the public, than whether I am tall or short: however, I am, at this very time, giving one proof, that my “majesty of pride” can stoop; that even to ventilate the impertinences of Mr. Sellon.


Arminianism at Home in Rome

But, however frivolous his cavils, the principles for which he contends are of the most pernicious nature and tendency. I must repeat, what already seems to have given him so much offence, that Arminianism “came from Rome, and leads thither again.” Julian, bishop of Eclana a contemporary and disciple of Pelagius, was one of those who endeavoured, with much art, to gild the doctrines of that heresiarch, in order to render them more sightly and palatable. The Pelagian system, thus varnished and paliated, soon began to acquire the softer name of Semipelagianism. Let us take a view of it, as drawn to our hands by the celebrated Mr. Bower, who himself, in the main, a professed Pelagian, and therefore less likely to present us with an unfavourable portrait of the system he generally approved. Among the principles of that sect, this learned writer enumerates the following:

“The notion of election and reprobation, independent on our merits or demerits, is maintaining a fatal necessity, is the bane of all virtue, and serves only to render good men remiss in working out their salvation, and to drive sinners to despair.   “The decrees of election and reprobation are posterior to, and in consequence of, our good or evil works, as foreseen by God from all eternity.”5

Is not this too the very language of modern Arminianism? Do not the partizans of that scheme argue on the same identical terms? Should it be said, “True, this proves that Arminianism is Pelagianism revived; but it does not prove, that the doctrines of Arminianism are originally Popish:” a moment’s cool attention will make it plain that they are. Let us again hear Mr. Bower, who, after the passage just quoted, immediately adds, “on these two last propositions, the Jesuits found their whole system of grace and free-will; agreeing therein with the Semipelagians, against the Jansenists and St. Augustine.”6 The Jesuits were moulded into a regular body, towards the middle of the sixteenth century: toward the close of the same century, Arminius began to infest the Protestant churches. It needs therefore no great penetration, to discern from what source he drew his poison. His journey to Rome (though Monsicur Bayle affects to make light of the inferences which were at that very time deduced from it) was not for nothing. If, however, any are disposed to believe, that Arminius imbibed his doctrines from the Socinians in Poland, with whom, it is certain, he was on terms of intimate friendship, I have no objection to splitting the difference: he might import some of his tenets from the Racovian brethren, and yet be indebted, for others, to the disciples of Loyola.


Papists and Predestination

Certain it is, that Arminius himself was sensible, how greatly the doctrine of predestination widens the distance between Protestantism and Popery. “There is no point of doctrines (says he) which the Papists, the Anabaptists, and the (new) Lutherans more fiercely oppose, nor by means of which they heap more discredit on the reformed churches, and bring the reformed system itself into more odium; for they (i.e. the Papists, & etc.) assert, that no fouler blasphemy against God can be thought or expressed, than is contained in the doctrine of predestination.”7 For which reason, he advises the reformed world to discard predestination from their creed, in order that they may live on more brotherly terms with the Papists, the Anabaptists, and such like.

The Arminian writers make no scruple to seize and retail each other’s arguments, as common property. Hence, Samuel Hoord copies from Van Harmin the self same observation which I have now cited. “Predestination (says Samuel) is an opinion odious to the Papists, opening their foul mouths, against our Church and religion:”8 consequently, our adopting the opposite doctrines of universal grace and freewill, would, by bringing us so many degrees nearer to the Papists, conduce to shut their mouths, and make them regard us, so far at least, as their own orthodox and dearly beloved brethren: whence it follows, that, as Arminianism came from Rome, so “it leads thither again.”


The Jesuits and Predestination

If the joint verdict of Arminius himself, and of his English proselyte Hoord, will not turn the scale, let us add the testimony of a professed Jesuit, by way of making up full weight. When archbishop Laud’s papers were exam- ined, a letter was found among them, thus endorsed with that prelate’s own hand: “March, 1628. A Jesuit’s Letter, sent to the Rector at Bruxels, about the ensuing Parliament.” The design of this letter was to give the Superior of the Jesuits, then resident at Brussels, an account of the posture of civil and ecclesiastical affairs in England; an extract from it I shall here subjoin: “Father Rector, let not the damp of astonishment seize upon your ardent and zealous soul, in apprehending the sodaine and unexpected calling of a Parliament. We have now many strings to our bow. We have planted that soveraigne drugge Arminianisme, which we hope will purge the Protestants from their heresie; and it flourisheth and beares fruit in due season. For the better prevention of the Puritanes, the Arminians have already locked up the Duke’s (of Buckingham) eares; and we have those of our owne religion, which stand continually at the Duke’s chamber, to see who goes in and out: we cannot be too circumspect and carefull in this regard. I am, at this time, transported with joy, to see how happily all instruments and means, as well great as lesser, co-operate unto our purposes. But, to return unto the maine fabricke:–OUR FOUNDATION IS ARMINIANISME. The Arminians and projectors, as it appeares in the premises, affect mutation. This we second and enforce by probable arguments.”9


The Sovereign Drug Arminianism

The “Sovereign drug, Arminianism,” which said the Jesuit, “we (i.e. we Papists) have planted” in England, did indeed bid fair “to purge our Protestant Church effectually. How merrily Popery and Arminianism, at that time, danced hand in hand, may be learned from Tindal: “The churches were adorned with paintings, images, altar-pieces, & etc. and, instead of communion tables, alters were set up, and bowings to them and the sacramental elements enjoined. The predestinarian doctrines were forbid, not only to be preached, but to be printed; and the Arminian sense of the Articles was encouraged and propagated.”10 The Jesuit, therefore, did not exult without cause. The “sovereign drug,” so lately “planted,” did indeed take deep root downward, and bring forth fruit upward, under the cherishing auspices of Charles and Laud. Heylyn, too, acknowledges, that the state of things was truly described by another Jesuit of that age, who wrote: “Protestantism waxeth weary of itself. The doctrine (by the Arminians, who then sat at the helm) is altered in many things, for which their progenitors forsook the Church of Rome: as limbus patrum; prayer for the dead, and possibility of keeping God’s com- mandments; and the accounting of Calvinism to be heresy at least, if not treason.”11


Arminianism From the Pit

The maintaining of these positions, by the Court divines, was an “alteration” indeed; which the abandoned Heylyn ascribes to “the ingenuity and moderation found in some professors of our religion.” If we sum up the evidence that has been given, we shall find its amount to be, that Arminianism came from the Church of Rome, and leads back again to the pit whence it was digged.


ENDNOTES:

1. Strype, u.s.
2. Job 1:7 with 1 Peter 5:8.
3. Matt. 23:15.
4. Bath Chronicle, for Feb. 6, 1772.
5. Bower’s Hist. of the Popes, vol. 1, p. 350.
6. Bower ibid.
7. Arminius, in Oper. P.115. Ludg. 1629. (See book for Latin.)
8. Hoord, In Bishop Davenant’s Animadversions, Camb. 1641.
9. Hidden works of darkness, p. 89, 90. Edit. 1645.
10. Tindal’s Contin. of Rapin, vol. 3 octavo, 1758.
11. Life of Laud, p. 238.

Touched by a Demon?

RNS-BIBLE-COUPLE

Roma Downey, from the hit series “Touched by an Angel” speaks from the heart in this video, and if there is any doubt in your mind about where she stands in her theology, this will more than clear that up. She openly admits to being a Roman Catholic and even more surprising is that she openly admits that she prays to “Mary, the blessed mother.”

For those who watched the movie, “Son of God”, you should be aware that this is not the movie that any Biblically based Christian should be supporting or endorsing. However, the rabbit hole continues to go down into Never Never Land as many within the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) scene fully endorse Roma Downey, who is also a New Age sympathizer.

The movie, “Son of God” is actually a Trojan Horse.

Read here for further proof of this debacle – “We Will Stand.”  What bothers me greatly is the names that are included on the list of “Christian artists” including “Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Don Moen, Mark Schultz, Sandi Patti, Travis Cotrell (Beth Moore’s worship leader), Love Song, Steven Curtis Chapman, Steve Green, Dallas Holm, The Imperials,  Nicole Mullen and many others.”

The truth is found in Galatians 1, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

 

Accidental Similarities?

borg_queenpope_benedict_

This is the tale of two organizations with eerie similarities in how they evolved through the years. One is fictional, the other quite real. As far as we know, these similarities are not intentional, though this author believes in a Sovereign God – meaning there are no coincidences.

Nobody knows for certain the origin of either organization. Both entities appeared in time and “history” was filled in after the fact to varying degrees. They gave rise to charismatic, authoritarian leaders whose power was rarely challenged. Each leader provides communications to the respective “collective”, insuring each “drone” has the official message, disregarding any information that may contradict it regardless of veracity.

The first encounter locals had with either resulted in the same outcome: death or being assimilated. With each assimilation, the conquering organization was changed, having taken on various characteristics of the culture it conquered. As time went by, the original culture of each organization resulted in something that was not true to either their beginnings or the cultures from which they assimilated new converts.

They each proclaimed that they, alone, represented the best hope for civilization – claiming to be the only legitimate culture into which all would be assimilated or disposed of. Each left a path of wreckage and death in their wake, blind to the needs of outsiders and blind to the errors of their ways and beliefs.

Here now, is a concise comparison between these two cultures. My goal is to make clear the old truism: truth is stranger than fiction.

Chart 1
Chart 2
chart 3

Note: No sources are listed, as fans of the Borg know their stuff and likely are not put off by this little article and Roman Catholics have their own sources and would not condescend to read anything I might suggest. So this document stands on its own, as my personal perspective, not needing to be defended against the Romans nor explained to the Reformed.

With the Pope’s latest visit to the US (this was written in 2008), I’ve begun to notice certain similarities between him, and Batman…

1. Both use an assumed identity.

2. Both costumes include headwear.

3. Both costumes include a cape.

4. Both assisted by young boys.

5. Batmobile/Popemobile

6. Both control vast economic empires, handed down to them by a previous “father figure.”

7. Both live in huge mansions.

8. Both have dark events in their pasts, which they would rather not discuss.

9. Both have an aging English butler, who’s been in the family for decades.

10. Batsignal in the sky over City Hall summons Batman. White smoke in the sky over the Vatican summons a new Pope.

11. The Batplane/Popeplane

12. The Batcave/Underground Tunnels at the vatican

Let it be known that I do not hate Roman Catholics. I hate false doctrine that denies essential Christian Truths whether it is proclaimed by Catholics, Hindus, Episcopalians, Southern Baptists, or my own self. For this a Truth – God (by this I mean the Great I AM of the Bible) alone is without false ways.

All blessing and glory and honor and power be unto the Lamb of God! Christ is risen – He has conquered sin and death and saved His chosen ones by His grace, lest anyone boast in the flesh.

Rick Warren has a pope!

James White continues to stand firm, praise the Lord! I do wish, however, that he would not run to the Reformation as his first line of defense as he often does. While I agree with and thank God for the Reformation, our first line and only line of defense is the Bible – as White came back to later in the video. Also, nowhere in the Bible do we see or get instruction on “living out the gospel”. The gospel is a report of the news of Christ’s redemptive work – it’s not something we live out. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the gospel, we are raised to new life and live for the glory of God, proclaiming the gospel to dead men everywhere. But we do not and cannot live the gospel

None the less, may the Lord protect and hold up our dear brother as he continues to press on!

Rick Warren’s Roman Catholic Affinity

This video reveals the long standing intent and affinity of Rick Warren with Roman Catholics. This is nothing new since Rick Warren has been trying to unite Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Protestants for several years now. However, this video candidly reveals his judgment on major, doctrinal matters. At one point Rick Warren states, “…if you love Jesus, we are on the same team.” This, of course, is meant that if you profess to love Jesus we are on the same team, not if you are genuinely born again by the Spirit of God through faith alone. This kind of mixing of poisoned waters is dangerous! I love Roman Catholics. I love them so much I will tell them the truth of justification by faith alone through Christ’s finished work on the cross. According to Warren, though, we are on the same team. However, in order to be on the same team, we must all play by the same playbook. Roman Catholics clearly do not, and neither does Rick Warren.

Pray for his followers and pray for Rick Warren’s soul.

The Fallacy of Pope Francis

Big Bang Theory true according to Pope Francis

Once again, the world has the distinction of hearing “Thus says the man in the white robe” instead of “thus says the Lord.” If we question the veracity of God’s Word and the foundations which He has established, then it will be easy to cut out further parts of Scripture. Here are a few things to consider as to whether pope Francis is right or wrong.

There are several problems with Christians accepting the Big Bang Theory and the theory of evolution.

1.  It questions the validity and work of the Trinity. Genesis states that each member of the Triune Godhead was involved in creation.

A.  God the Father is attributed with the work of creation throughout the Old Testament. If creation is not true, then we must exclude every writer who spoke and wrote falsely giving credit to the holy God. This means that Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, the five books of Moses, and others must be taken out of the Bible.

B.  God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, speaks of the creation during His earthly ministry, especially when He addresses the matter of marriage being between one man and one woman.  If Jesus was wrong about creation and the beginning of the world, then He cannot be God for He spoke at least one lie.

C.  God the Holy Spirit is attributed with the inspiration of the Scriptures. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Thus, if the words written are attributed to the moving of the Holy Spirit, then we can only come to one of two conclusions. 1) Either the prophets wrote contrary to the leading of the Holy Spirit, or 2) there is no Holy Spirit that guides into all truths.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit made a mistake in the work of inspiration which makes Him no longer God, or the Bible is not inerrant and we have nothing which we can believe.

2.  If these theories are correct, then there is no hope for mankind.

A.  There would be no reason to accept any absolutes.

B.  There would be no morals on which to base our lives. If survival of the fittest is truly an underlying principle of evolution, then logic MUST dictate that what Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Nero, Genghis Khan and others did is acceptable. They weeded out those who added nothing to the gene pool.

C.  There would be no such thing as sin. Any “wrongdoings” are only based on one’s upbringing, culture, and societal mores. What would be unacceptable in one culture must be acceptable in another. Therefore, as one example, if evolution is correct, then what ISIS is doing cannot be considered as wrong. If evolution is correct, then we have no right to correct the actions of another culture or society that has “evolved” in a different manner than we have.

D.  Fighting against the inevitable will be a horrific exercise in futility if evolution is correct. Therefore, those who have some deformities, or the wrong skin color, or mental imbalances are doomed to eventual extinction for they add nothing to society and the future of a greater man.

E.  If evolution is true, then there is no sin to die for. There would be no reason for Jesus Christ to have died for a sub-species of animal that has simply evolved from a primordial soup. If evolution is true, then Christ died in vain as a good person, and not as the God-Man.

Now, here is a further thought about the article I have linked to at the top in which pope Francis endorses these false theories. Many in so-called evangelical circles have decided that the Roman Catholic church is also Christian and that their teachings are compatible in many ways with evangelicalism or fundamentalism. There is little that could be further from the truth than this thinking. The Roman Catholic religion is not based on Scripture but on the traditions of man.

Many want to claim that Roman Catholics are going to heaven, but the ONLY way to heaven is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. The RCC does NOT teach this, and has NEVER taught these truths. To the pope and the teachings of the RCC, all who believe that salvation is only through Christ are to be considered anathema and accursed to the deepest regions of hell.

Before somebody accuses me of hating those who do not believe like me, this is not about me. This is about what the Bible teaches. Either God is true or He is not. If He is not true, then He cannot be God and we are yet in our sins. My prayer is that people will come to Christ alone and realize the joy that comes by believing by faith in the work of creation and the finished work of Calvary.

These theories of the big bang and evolution are NOT based on the truth of Scripture. Any time, science comes up with a new theory designed solely to undermine intelligent design and the truth of a Creator, then the Bible trumps the scientist. The Bible does not ever discredit true science but endorses the truths of what we find in the scientific world.

To conclude, my response to the false teaching of the pope, the heresies of the Roman Catholic church, the false theories of science, and the falsely held positions of a growing number of people in evangelical circles is based on the words of Martin Luther when he was being held to account by the religious establishment —

My belief is based on God and His infallible, inerrant Word. Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me, God.

 

 

The Roman Catholic Eucharist

Why the Catholic (and Emerging Church) “Eucharist” Does Not Line Up With Scripture

By Roger Oakland    Pope

The Catholic Church teaches that once a Catholic priest has consecrated the wafer of bread during Communion, the wafer turns into the literal and real body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.1 Therefore, the Communion Host is no longer bread but Jesus, under the appearance of bread and is therefore worthy of adoration and worship. The Catholic Catechism states succinctly:

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”2

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.3

 

What Does the Bible Teach About the Lord’s Supper?

We have documented [in Another Jesus] what the Catholic Church teaches concerning the Eucharist. But what does the Bible teach? The Bible encourages believers to study “all the counsel of God”(Acts 20:27) and to “[p]rove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21). And as believers, we are admonished to:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)

With these instructions in mind, let us search the Scriptures to determine what the Bible teaches concerning the Lord’s supper.

The Last Supper was celebrated by first century Christians in obedience to Jesus’ words “this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). This observance was established by the Lord at the Last Supper when He symbolically offered Himself as the Paschal Lamb of atonement. His actual death the next day fulfilled the prophecy. Only Paul uses the phrase “Lord’s supper” (I Corinthians 11:20), while the Church fathers began to call the occasion the Eucharist meaning thanksgiving from the blessing pronounced over the bread and wine after about A.D. 100. Christians have celebrated the Lord’s Supper regularly as a sign of the new covenant sealed by Christ’s death and resurrection.4 Today, the Eucharist means far more than simply thanksgiving.

 

This is My Body

To what exactly did Jesus ordain during the Last Supper? The Bible states:

[Jesus] took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22: 19-20)

Proponents of the Catholic Eucharist point to Jesus’ words recorded in John 6. Though this chapter does not deal with the Last Supper, Jesus’ words, which are taken to relate to the Communion meal, are as follows:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (John 6:51-55)

Just what do these Scriptures mean? The answer to that can be found in our examination of the Word of God itself.5

 

Metaphors and Similes

Throughout the Bible, context determines meaning. Bible-believing Christians know to take the Bible literally, unless the context demands a figurative or symbolic interpretation. Before exploring Jesus’ words in John chapter 6 and elsewhere, let’s review a few examples of symbolism in the Scriptures. All scholars would agree that the following verses are metaphorical. An explanation follows each verse:

O taste and see that the LORD is good. (Psalm 34:8; Try to experience God’s promises to find if they are true.)

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14; For those who receive the gift of salvation, Christ’s Spirit shall dwell in their souls assuring them of everlasting life.)

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. (Ezekiel 3:1, 2; Receive into your heart, internalize, and obey God’s Word.)

And I could go on and on with one example after the next. At one point Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The Jews thought He spoke of the literal temple in Jerusalem, but if we keep reading, we find that Jesus was referring to His body (John 2:20-21). On another occasion, Jesus said, “I am the true vine” (John 15:1). Of course, we know that Jesus did not mean that He was a literal grape vine twisting around a post. When the Bible says God hides us under His wings (Psalm 91:4), we know that God is not a bird with feathers. God is the source of all life and our provider and protector, and these figures vividly illustrate this.

Throughout the Bible, figurative language is used to compare one thing to another so that the listeners can easily understand. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus regularly used parables to figuratively describe one thing as something else (Matthew 13:34).Jesus Himself stated, “These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs” (John 16:25). The Bible should always be interpreted literally unless the context demands a symbolic explanation. So what does the context of John’s Gospel and the other Gospels demand?

 

John Chapter 6: The Bread of Heaven

If we read the entire sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, we not only get the context, but also some startling insights into what Jesus meant when He said we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. John 6 begins with the account of Jesus feeding five thousand, followed by the account of Jesus walking on water. On the following day, people were seeking Jesus for the wrong reasons, which we understand from Jesus’ words in verses 26 and 27:

Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.

These verses begin to frame the context of the verses that follow, specifically, that Jesus emphasized the need for them to seek eternal life. Jesus goes on to explain to them how to obtain eternal life. And in verse 28, when the people ask Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Jesus replies, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (vs. 29).

Here Jesus specifies only one work that pleases God, namely, belief in Jesus. Jesus reemphasizes this in verse 35 when he states: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” Notice the imperative is to “cometh to me” and “believeth on me.” Jesus repeats the thrust of His message in verse 40 where He states:

And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Jesus could not be clearer—by coming to Him and trusting in Him, we will receive eternal life. At this point in the narrative, the Jews complained about Him because He said: “I am the bread which came down from heaven” (vs. 41). Jesus responds to their murmuring when He states that He is indeed the “living bread” and that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood to obtain eternal life (vs. 42-58). However, let’s remember the context of this statement. First, Jesus contrasts Himself with the manna that rained down on their fathers and sustained them for their journey. But their fathers have since died. But Jesus now offers Himself as the living, heavenly bread, causing those who eat of Him to live forever.

Jesus is not the perishable manna that their descendants ate in the wilderness—He is the eternal bread of life that lives forever. Only by partaking in His everlasting life can we hope to live with Him forever. This contrast strengthens His main message, where Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (vs. 47). Notice, Jesus said that as soon as we believe in Him we have—present tense—eternal life. It is not something we aim at or hope we might attain in the future, but rather, something we receive immediately upon accepting Him by faith.

When Jesus said these words, He was in the synagogue in Capernaum, and He had neither bread nor wine. Therefore Jesus was either commanding cannibalism, or He was speaking figuratively. If He was speaking literally, then He would be directly contradicting God the Father: “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat”(Genesis 9:4). Therefore, because Jesus Himself said, “[T]he scripture cannot be broken”(John 10:35), He must be speaking metaphorically. And that is exactly how He explains His own words in the subsequent verses.

 

The Flesh Profits Nothing

After this, in verse 60 (of John 6), we find that many of His disciples said: “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” Jesus was aware of their complaints and He responded saying:

Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. (vs. 61-64)

Wait a minute, the flesh profits nothing! I thought Jesus said we must eat His flesh? Yet, if the flesh profits nothing, Jesus must be speaking in spiritual terms. And that is what He says: “[T]he words that I speak unto you, they are spirit.

Jesus uses the exact same Greek word for flesh (sarx) as He did in the preceding verses. Therefore, He is emphatically stating that eating His literal flesh profits nothing! If the Lord Himself sets the context of the dialogue, we would do well to hear Him. He said that the words He speaks are spirit and that the flesh profits nothing. In other words, Jesus has just told us He has spoken in a metaphor, so we need not guess at it.

If that isn’t clear enough, Peter’s words add further clarity. Immediately following the dialogue with the Jews, in which some disciples left, Jesus said to the remaining twelve apostles, “Will ye also go away?” (vs. 67). Peter’s response is profound:

Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (vs. 68-69)

Amazing! Peter did not say we have come to believe that we must eat Your flesh to live. He said that we know You are the Christ, and we have come to believe in You as the Christ. This is the confession of faith that leads to eternal life, not eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood. It also agrees with the totality of Scripture.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9)

[W]hat must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Acts 16:30, 31)

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. (John 3:36)

To understand more fully the Catholic Eucharist versus biblical communion and salvation, read Roger Oakland’s book, Another Jesus.

Francis the Pontiff Speaks Against the Most High

Francis the Pontiff Speaks Against the Most High  Pope

By Richard Bennett and Robert Nicholson

In keeping with Pope Francis’s identity his upcoming visit to Israel is the perfect vehicle to move forward his objective.1 The unfolding of this religious drama is intended by the Papacy to present Pope Francis on the real world stage as a great reconciler in promoting peace in a land riven with racial conflict and ideological confusion. The May 24-26 trip to Amman, Jerusalem and Bethlehem will mark the 50th anniversary of a landmark trip there by Pope Paul VI in 1964, the first by a pope in modern times. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II visited in 2000 and Benedict XVI made a visit to the region in 2009.2 However, since Benedict XVI’s visit, considerable destabilizing changes in the region have added incentive to this latest opportunity for the Papacy.

On Monday, May 26, 2014, Francis will visit Islam’s Grand Mufti in Jerusalem. After 5:00 p.m., Francis will celebrate the Roman Catholic Mass in what is claimed to be the Cenacle, the site of the Last Supper. Francis and the Papacy officially teach that at a Mass people are to offer themselves with “the sacred victim” (Christ Jesus) and receive in the communion bread the same “sacred victim.”3 For Francis to enact publicly such a teaching is to speak against the Most High. Jesus Christ the Lord was never a victim. The idea of His being victimized is nowhere in Scripture. Rather, it was in conscious submissive obedience to the divine plan of redemption that the Lord Jesus followed His Father’s will.4 He declared, “No man taketh it [life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.5 In spite of Jesus’ clear words, Francis and the Papacy focus one’s mind on a tragic Christ as victim, and not on Christ as Victor; i.e. as “the Lord of lords and King of kings.”6

The Bible shows that the Lord’s Supper is a living memorial and not a sacrifice. The Lord Jesus Christ declared,This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”7 The root meaning of the word “remembrance” entails the concept of personal interaction with the Lord.8 The Apostle Paul explained the purpose of the Lord’s ordinance with the words, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he comes.”9The purpose is clearly given; it is to show forth Christ’s death, to proclaim and publish it. Believers are to declare His death and resurrection to be their life, the cause of their comfort and hope. They show forth His death and participate in its fruits before God the Father. Consequently, for Francis to enact a service called the Mass in which people are to offer themselves with “the sacred victim” (Christ Jesus) is a blasphemy! Thus, graphic words of the prophet Daniel aptly apply in our time,behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. … And he shall speak great words against the most High.”10

The Significance of Francis meetings with Islamic Leaders in Jerusalem

No modern player commands the place that Francis has in the world today. While Francis has been careful to shun certain external trappings of his office, yet the whole history of the Papacy surrounds him as a cloak. It is of this historical position that the talented and well-trained Francis is making full use. Thus, with his Jesuitical cunning, he continues to deceive the nations of the world, seeking to entice even those within Islam. This is clearly evident by his careful preparation of a seductively diplomatic approach to the Muslim turbulence of the Middle East, especially prior to his visit to Jerusalem. Pope Francis has stated,

The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old, men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take part in religious services. Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God. They also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need.”11

This statement is similar to what Francis believes and what official Catholic dogma states,

The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. ‘The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.’”12

The idea that the faith of Abraham could be a common foundation for some kind of Roman/Islamic interfaith dialogue for mutual appreciation and cooperation is absurd. The Word of God completely demolishes the concept that there is some kind of Abrahamic connection either to, or between, Islam and Romanism. Abraham is united to the Gospel by faith and nothing else, as Scripture states, Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed.13All doubt on the issue of the content of Abraham’s faith is removed by direct testimony from the lips of Jesus, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”14The synthetic construction of alleged Abrahamic interfaith dialogue between the Papacy and Islam is a casuistic engineered deceit that is deconstructed by biblical truth. We confidently declare its origin to lie in “the rulers of the darkness of this world15 standing behind the promulgated apostate anti-Christian dogma of the present time.

With this anti-Christian propaganda – that the faith of Abraham is the common foundation for a Roman/Islamic interfaith dialogue – Francis will fly to Amman, Jordan, on May 24th. There he will meet with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. The Pope will leave Jordan on May 25th and fly to Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is the one to whom the Vatican refers as “the President of the State of Palestine.” On May 26th, Francis will meet with the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem and also address other Palestinian authorities. If faced with the facts, one sees that Francis’s statement, “They [the Muslims] also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need,”16 is sheer propaganda!Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Muslim terrorists have fired more than 8,000 rockets into Israel. Over 3.5 million Israelis are currently living under threat of rocket attacks. Most rockets launched from Gaza into Israel are capable of reaching Israel’s biggest southern cities. Rocket fire from Gaza is a constant threat facing Israel’s civilians. In 2011 alone, 630 rockets from Gaza hit Israeli towns. It is an even higher number than in 2010, when 231 rockets hit Israel.17 We raise these points so each one may weigh carefully the context of Francis’s visit before blithely accepting his professed intent of promoting peace. This pope is striding boldly into an arena where Islam’s malignant hatred of the Jews is constantly expressed. Francis has demonstrated an astonishing temerity in publicly stroking the religious vanity of the Muslim leadership by noting their “ethical commitment,” and “mercy toward those in need”! This is not just an offence to both common sense and the dignity of public honesty; it frankly is crass flattery! Clearly the Papacy intends to trollop around this land of troubles again, taking every opportunity to pontificate on peacemaking priorities and promote the Vatican to world media as the great reconciler of alienated brethren. Francis and his scarlet clad imperial cohort will dutifully ignore any point of historical or contemporary order for the sake of gaining influence within the political and social milieu of Israel-Palestine. There is no statist institution on this earth that can match the exquisitely subtle seductive tones of Roman diplomacy when it is bent on asserting influence. Every Middle Eastern leader who succumbs to this deceptive Vatican propaganda will eventually find this out, to his temporal and eternal loss.

A mouth speaking great things”

Pope Francis’s outreach to Islam represents another tactical re-appraisal of circumstances and opportunities for the Vatican. The profound danger for Evangelical people is that they might incautiously support a push for peace by Francis while not appreciating the Papacy’s claim to be the only true spokesman for Christ on this earth. This subtle assumption of the supreme authority of the Papacy is deeply embedded in all the Vatican’s efforts to push its agenda of interfaith ecumenicity. Bible-believing Christians must recall the truth that the Pope is not a “first among equals” as a bishop, as he may with feigned humility claim. He is not even a bishop in the biblical sense of the term. Pope Francis is the head of a totalitarian hierarchy. Francis has his own secular government inside Vatican City and more property worldwide than any other person on the planet. He has territorial dominions, cardinals, worldwide ambassadors, a legislature, jurisprudence, laws, advocates, taxes, banks, foreign treaties, ambitious plans, and policy, more than any other secular prince. Yet, he differs from other secular leaders. Francis’s spiritual commerce goes hand in hand with his civil power, claiming infallibility and international recognition.18

However, there remains unfinished business, particularly in Europe and the US, from the reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Weary of Vatican hypocrisy and stonewalling, the secular media has drawn concerted attention to the consequences of the Roman clergy’s scandalous criminal behaviour throughout the world.19 Again, recently it is reported that, “The U.N. is cracking down on the Vatican. A U.N. committee said Monday [May 4] that the numerous cases of sex abuse by priests should be prosecuted and dealt with by the Vatican as cases of torture….Pope Francis has asked for victims forgiveness and said he takes personal responsibility for the evil of what had transpired.”20The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the sure means by which we know the moral condition of those purporting to speak for God.He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.”21

As the Scriptures teach, we wrestle not against flesh and blood,so we must gird ourselves for conflict with Satan in the right spiritual frame and only with the God-given weapons for warfare.22 It is incumbent upon the Lord’s people to recall that the principal arena of Satan’s operations is not the phenomenal, but the noumenal.23 That is to say, Satan’s most effective devices consist in the development, promulgation, and insinuation of deceits that correlate directly to the conceits which are latent in the darkened understandings of men.24 This supreme element of cunning is exposed in his wickedly effective appreciation that nothing is more powerful than a lie whose time has come.25 The urgent need for interfaith ecumenicity built on mutual respect and appreciation between apostate Christendom and false religions like Islam is a lie whose time has come. Satan is sure of it. Francis believes it. Sadly the spiritually diminished pseudo-evangelical “leaders” may end up ignorantly applauding both of them.26 Our exhortation to all our dear brethren in the Lord is, be not deceived!27 When you see the so-called Supreme Pontiff standing in the “cenacle” exercising his claimed priestly powers of turning a miniature-sized pancake into deity, to be worshipped and venerated by the “faithful,” remember that John the Apostle states emphatically, you have heard that antichrist shall come…28 John confirms that while there were contemporary opponents of Christ (many antichrists), these spiritual forces of wickedness would eventually coalesce in one entity. If contemporary Evangelicals accept what Francis is attempting to propagate in Jerusalem, without open public protest, it will mark yet another significant betrayal of the Gospel testimony toward the poor, deluded adherents of Romanism and leave them languishing in the claws of the devil. It is imperative to take heed of the warning in Holy Scripture that in these last days the lure of fleshly false religions and their embedded demonic delusions will be so great that, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”29 We have before us the harlot religious system pretending to be the bride of Christ while factually being a political and religious power under the dominion and direction of the powers of darkness.30

Francis trip to the Middle East will be broadcast worldwide. It will be proclaimed by the secular and religious media as a grand act of reconciliation in that the Church of Rome is set forth as peacemaker in the world. Many religious people who mistakenly think they are Christians will be deceived. But to true believers in the Lord, we exhort you from the Word of God with these words, Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.”31 Fellow believer, recollect the heartfelt words of Luther when he received his final excommunication from the Roman system. Luther wrote,

Unless with all your hearts you abandon the Papacy, you cannot save your souls. The reign of the Pope is so opposed to the law of Christ and the life of the Christian, that it will be safer to roam the desert and never see the face of man, than abide under the rule of Antichrist. I warn every man to look to his soul’s welfare, lest by submitting to the Pope he deny Christ. The time is come when Christians must choose between death here and death hereafter. For my own part, I choose death here. I cannot lay such a burden upon my soul as to hold my peace in this matter: I must look to the great reckoning. I abominate the Babylonian pest. As long as I live I will proclaim the truth. If the wholesale destruction of souls throughout Christendom cannot be prevented, at least I shall labour to the utmost of my power to rescue my own countrymen from the bottomless pit of perdition.”32

Conclusion

For anyone to substitute living personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by trusting in the Pope and his superstitious system of sacramentally communicated grace and works righteousness is eternally fatal.33 The Roman religious cultus and doctrinal system is the epitome of a man-made religion system. It is an authoritatively self-referencing dogmatic belief system that substitutes itself in the place of a relationship with the living God through the Gospel.34The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.35 True Christians see God’s power and boldly proclaim His grace; every individual who is saved is “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”36The precious blood of Christ shed once on Calvary is the appointed means that God uses to save His people from their sins.37 Thus, it is proclaimed, “but God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”38Sin is an evil of infiniteconsequence because it is committed against an infinite HolyGod. There is no way of escaping the wrath of God against sin except by His grace. Thus the Scripture states, “how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.39The Scripture interprets grace as power, mercifully extended. Redemption comes by this means, because it was by the grace of God that Christ tasted death for each true believer. The Lord Jesus Christ alone saves His people from their sins. He sends His Holy Spirit into their hearts, so that they are radically changed from what they were previously. The Holy Spirit sheds forth the love of God in the hearts of those whom He regenerates from spiritual death.40 That love is manifested by a deep desire and honest resolve to please the Lord and to serve Him: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”41When Christ Jesus saves a soul, He also delivers that soul from the rule and power of sin.42 It is true that the Lord has not yet completed His work in believers, for the sin which still resides within them must be eradicated. However, any person that He has truly saved is delivered from the “dominion of sin.”43 We thank God for those who are saved that do not live in sin as Scripture states, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?44 Can you say that this is true for you? In the difficult age of compromise in which we live, do you act under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Do you make the Word of God your measure of truth and the grace of God your assurance of life? If you can honestly say yes to these questions you will understand that you are not under the condemnation of law, but your faith is in Christ Jesus and His righteousness alone! You can then proclaim joyously, in harmony with the Apostle Paul, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”45

Permission is given by the authors to copy and post this article, if it is done in its entirety without any changes.

1 See http://www.bereanbeacon.org, “Key to Pope Francis’s Identity: Master of the Jesuit Spiritual Exercises” “Pope Francis Portrays Himself as a Reformer,” “Pope Francis Shows His True Colors,” “Pope Francis Elected, Mystery of Iniquity Moves On”

3 “Consequently the eucharistic sacrifice is the source and the summit of the whole of the [Catholic] Church’s worship and of the Christian life. The faithful participate more fully in this sacrament of thanksgiving, propitiation, petition and praise, not only when they whole-heartedly offer the sacred victim, and in it themselves, to the Father with the priest, but also when they receive this same victim sacramentally.” Vatican Council IIDocument No. 9, Eucharisticum mysterium.

4 Philippians 2:8, Acts 2:23, 3:18, 15:18, Daniel 9:26, 1 Peter 1:18-21

5 John 10:17-18

6 Revelation 17:14

7 I Corinthians 11:25

8 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, #364 Anamnesis, “a remembering, recollection to call me (affectionately) to remembrance.”

9 I Corinthians 11:26

10 Daniel 7:8, 7:25

12Catechism of the Catholic Church, Para. 841

13Galatians3:6-8

14John 8:56

15For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Eph 6:12

18Revelation 18:12-13 The Roman Catholic Church went apostate formally at the Council of Trent in 1548 when it denied the Gospel in favor of its Sacramental system. No Pope, including Francis, has ever denied the Council of Trent. Rather they all teach it – including Francis. The merchandise involved in Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing of the Sick is the souls of men!

21 Matthew 7:15-16

22 1 Thessalonians 5:8 cf. Ephesians 6:12 -19

23 Ephesians 4:17-19

24 2 Chronicles 18:20-22, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, Rev 12:9

25 John 8:38 cf. Acts 13:10

26 Daniel 11:35

27Matthew 24:24, II Peter 2:2-3, II Timothy 2:19

28 I John 2:18 (The Greek text says that the antichrist shall come.)

29 Matthew 24:24 cf. Daniel 11:35

30 Revelation 17:1-8

31 2 Peter 3:17

32Martin Luther, December 11, 1520, Sermon at Wittenberg. Wylie. History of Protestantism, Book 6, Ch 2, p 296

33 Galatians 1:8-9, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

34 Mark 7:6-9, cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-6 and Titus 1:14

35 Romans 1:16

36 Romans 3:24

37 Hebrews 10:10-15 and I Peter 1:18-20

38 Ephesians 2:4-5

39Hebrews 2:3

40 John 3:5-8, Titus 3:5-7, Ezekiel 36:26-27, cf. Romans 5:5 and 8:15, Galatians 4:6

41 1 John 2:3-6

42 2 Corinthians 4:6, Colossians 1:12-14, 1 Peter 2:9

43 1 John 1:5-10, Romans 7:14-25

44 Romans 6:2-7

45 Romans 8:1, 14

The Sabbath Complete

THE SABBATH COMPLETESabbath

a review by Stuart Brogden

The latter half of the 20th century has brought a growing interest in Reformed Theology, in striking contrast to the growing apostasy that has gripped many evangelical denominations. Many of my fellow Baptists aggressively and happily embraced the doctrines of grace and the great theological truths about God’s sovereignty and man’s true nature. I am a grateful Baptist who was introduced to this theological construct in the ‘90s and have come to see as foundational to the Christian faith the doctrines of the Reformation, especially the reliance on Scripture Alone for all things having to do with life and godliness and For the Glory of God Alone to keep us focused rightly in all we think, say, and do. And the mostly forgotten doctrine of our forefathers – Semper Reformanda – Always Reforming, because none of has it all together nor will we get it all together while we inhabit these tents of flesh. This brings me to this remarkable book – The Sabbath Complete, by Terrence D. O’Hare. This book is the result of our author “attending an Orthodox Presbyterian Church where various Sabbath-keeping applications were stressed.” (page xi) Prompted by his pastor, who urged his congregation to examine personal motives in religious practice, he decided to study the concept of the “Christian Sabbath”, which is widely popular in churches which hold to 17th century confessions such as the Westminster Confession of Faith and the 1689 London Baptist Confession. O’Hare’s study lasted as decade, producing this comprehensive analysis of this contentious issue. His desire, and mine, is that people on both sides of this issue acknowledge the human tendency to cling to traditions (some of which, he shows, are fine and biblical), which can lead to traditions displacing true worship of God and Christ. The thesis of this book is “that Sabbatarianism is a form of traditional pietism and that the acceptance of the fully ceremonial nature of the Sabbath, though shocking to some, is actually Christ-honoring.” (page xiii)

The Sabbath Complete is organized into 12 chapters which examine various aspects of the Sabbath – prototypes, initial practice, law, feasts; how it prefigures Christ in the rest He earned, the Gospel He preached, His resurrection; and a historical review of the practice which has come to be known in the confessions as the “Christian Sabbath.” Coming in at more than 350 heavily footnoted pages, this book is thorough, enlightening, and thought provoking. It is my prayer to whet your appetite enough so that you will buy this book and study it. May the Lord be our wisdom and His glory our goal.

In his examination of the Sabbatic prototypes given to us in Genesis, O’Hare observes (page 1) that “God’s provision for our physical rest is but a token of a more transcendent remedy for our spiritual privation” and follows up (page 6) thusly: “Though God’s rest after creation is a type of everlasting rest yet to come, it is more certainly a type of Jesus Christ, who has come, in whom the faithful rest in salvation.” This snippet shows O’Hare’s focus on Christ – His provision and sufficiency, which is a constant, welcome, perspective throughout this book. As an expression of God’s sovereignty and redemptive revelation, our author reminds us (page 7), “Jonah did not just happen to be engulfed by a great fish and later ejected as a random biological event, but this occurred as designed by the Lord to shadow forth the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. Likewise, the seventh day rest was not a random terminus of creation but a purposed end point to shadow forth the inevitable results of God’s work in redemption.” This sets the stage for a book that is best read slowly, with an open Bible and notepad.

In addition to each Christian studying the Bible for himself, learning from credible sources of church history is very helpful as this sheds light on when and by whom our beloved traditions were started. O’Hare has helpful advice in chapter 9, wherein he reviews the shift to calling Sunday the “Christian Sabbath.” One of the earliest post-apostolic apologists, Justin Martyr, sheds light on the common-place view of Christians in the second century:

And on the first day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read…But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.”

For this most ancient brother, the Lord’s Day was on the first day not as a new instance of the Jewish Sabbath, but in concert with a remembrance of God’s creation and Christ’s resurrection – wherein we have the promise of having our decaying bodies made new like His. Our author laments how Christian traditions were often started not on the Lord’s revelation to us as New Covenant saints, but by imagining connections to Jewish traditions – “such as circumcision giving way to baptism and the Lord’s Supper approximating the Passover, came the forced and fanciful system of religious holidays common in the Roman Catholic Church.” (page 222) He then provides a lengthy quote from famous Roman Catholic Thomas Aquinas, explaining his support for these practices and then comments (page 223), “This teaching blurred the differences between the old and new covenants and paved the way for works orientation. … It was fitting for a better covenant to have fewer ordinances: one, performed only once that identifies the child of God as an heir to the kingdom, and the second, a recurring and sustaining ordinance of remembrance of the life and work of Jesus Christ. Again, similarity does not connote identity. Baptism is not a Christian circumcision, and communion is not a Christian Passover, neither is the Lord’s Day a Christian Sabbath. This is as absurd as calling the new covenant the “Christian old covenant.”” Did I mention that a Presbyterian wrote this book? He goes on to say, “It is plain that the circumcision of the Christian is spiritual and not ritual, and that it is actually the death of Christ, which was His circumcision, into which we were spiritually baptized.” In response to several sabbatarian authors (such as Walter Chantry) who press the “Christian Sabbath”, in part, as a means to restrain evil and provoke (coerce?) Christian worship, O’Hare rightly observes (page 225), “If Christ can raise up rocks to sing His praises (Matt 3:9), why would it be so difficult for Him to raise up His beloved, who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, to worship at the appointed time (Ps 116:18-19, 122:1-2)?” Amen! Saints of the living God don’t need a command to gather together for worship and fellowship – we, by definition, love Him, are drawn to Him, and we love the brotherhood!

Each chapter of this book delves into history and Scripture to determine the meaning and origin of the various aspects mentioned in the first paragraph. Each is compelling and enlightening. Chapter 4 – Sabbath Law, examines the Jewish laws and traditions tied to their Sabbath and points out inconsistencies in the practice of modern Christian sabbatarians. In nearly every chapter, the diligent reader will be awed by the realization of how detailed the Jewish religion is as given to them by God and how it is much, much more than merely a quaint religion for those people long ago. The Jewish religion, as the book of Hebrews tells us, is mainly a means of communicating God’s eternal plan of redemption to the people He called out of the pagan nations, to protect the promised seed and make His name known around the world. These two priorities – to glorify the Lord and declare the gospel – are consistently the highest order for us humans. This becomes more and more clear as each chapter is consumed.

To keep this review from running 20 pages or more, I will restrict myself to chapter 10 – The Sabbath in Church History. This will put the “Christian Sabbath” practice so aggressively promoted and protected into its proper context. My desire aligns with the author’s – to have readers of this book see the first day of the week in its biblical context, stripped of the accumulated baggage of 20 centuries of religion.

Chapter 10 begins with the apostolic teaching, with O’Hare stating (page 244), “There are three crucial distinctions between Christianity and its roots in Judaism: holy things, the law, and the customs.” He sees some continuity and some discontinuity in the connection between the old religion and the new, acknowledging the law is good, and “Yet these ceremonial laws isolated the Jews from their pagan neighbors, became the point of contention and ridicule, and represented a wall of separation between the two peoples. This was meant by God to display the isolation between sinners and Himself – the Jew included – so when Christ abolished the ceremonies of Judaism, the gospel of peace and the law of moral commandments would become the unifying theology and practice for Jew and Gentile alike (Eph 2:14-16). … At the beginning of the Christian Church, it was a stumbling block to require Gentiles to observe Jewish rituals: “to whom we gave no commandment.” (Acts 15:24)”

The review of the Didache (50 – 120 AD) reveals no evidence of Sabbath-keeping by Christians; the review of Ignatius’ writings (page 247) shows “he clearly distinguishes between Jewish conduct on the Sabbath and Christian conduct on the Lord’s Day, to indicate the superiority of being a disciple of Christ.” He walks us through the records of Mathetes (130 AD), Justin Martyr (114 – 165 AD), Irenaeus (120 – 202 AD), Tertullian (160 – 225), Origen (185 – 254), Eusebius (265 – 340), Sylvester, Bishop of Rome (314 – 335), the council of Laodicea (364); all of which provide no support for the “Christian Sabbath” and often denounce the idea as being a Jewish encroachment in the church.

By the time Gregory I was installed as pope of the then-emerging Roman Catholic Church, traditions now associated with that religion “were already taking root, such as the liturgical mass, a monastic life, symbolic outfits, ecclesiastical hierarchy, and declaration of days to honor saints.” (page 261) O’Hare provides a lengthy excerpt from a letter to Roman citizens in which Gregory I calls those who forbid work on Sunday (which he called the Sabbath day) “preachers of Antichrist” and sums up: “Gregory’s core understanding is that the Sabbath is a fulfilled ceremonial law that should no longer be literally applied.” (page 262) O’Hare quotes R.J. Bauckham’s claim that Peter Comester (a contemporary of Aquinas and Chancellor of Notre Dame in Paris) was the “first exegete to apply the Sabbath commandment literally to Christian observance of the first day”. (page 263) Our author reminds us (same page) that “While it is helpful to acknowledge the scattered, yet progressive, acceptance of a physical rest on Sunday, it is more important to understand the bases for these practices in empiricism and religious authoritarianism.” History tells us what happened and provides evidence as to motives. The Roman Catholic Church explored ways and means to better influence her subjects, working with the legal authorities to provide a day off work and advocating Christian observance of Sabbath principles. “Their expectation that all citizens attend Mass in this church-state led to the need to force compliance through the appeal to Sabbath law.” Thomas Aquinas further developed this line of thought, “asserting that the old law contains moral (emanating from natural law), judicial (laws regarding justice among men), and ceremonial (laws touching on worship, holiness, and sanctification) precepts; and that these three can be distinguished in the Decalogue as well.” (page 264) This appears to be the first teaching of what is now cherished reformed doctrine – that the Law of Moses can be separated into these three categories and dealt with appropriately for new covenant saints. There should be no denying these three elements are found in the Law of Moses, but, as O’Hare shows us with Aquinas, determining what is ceremonial and what is moral is the rub. Aquinas recognized a moral teaching in the Sabbath commandment – people should worship God; he also recognized the ceremonial component, specifically the date upon which such worship is to be given. “At this juncture, Aquinas took the first step toward Sabbatarianism by moralizing a ceremonial command” by asserting the moral necessity of giving time to God. (page 265) Aquinas agreed with Augustine that moral laws are revealed by nature, so all men are without excuse. But in order to get man to be at mass and give to the church due obeisance, Aquinas saw value in elevating that which had been rightly considered ceremonial to moral status.

We will step quickly through the early reformers to show how this idea progressed. Philip Melancthon is quoted as saying, in 1530, “Those who consider the appointment of Sunday in place of the Sabbath as a necessary institution are very much mistaken, for the Holy Scriptures have abrogated the Sabbath and teach that after the revelation of the Gospel all ceremonies of the old law may be omitted.” (page 274) “Luther vacillates between his definitions of the Sabbath as a ceremonial law bearing no external application for Christians and a binding law incurring God’s judgment if disobeyed.” (page 279) John Calvin also had trouble being consistent in his view on this matter. In asserting “that the Sabbath was ceremonial and is moral leaves us open to problems concerning the nature of its existence – it is both abrogated and legally binding. This was further complicated by the church-state relationship that sought to mimic a theocratic Israel and by Calvin’s misconception that the biblical Sabbath required all Israelites to assemble at the synagogue.” (page 281) In his commentary on the Heidelberg Confession, written in 1563, O’Hare lists eight failures on the part of reformers that led them to embrace the “Christian Sabbath” (page 288):

  • Failure to familiarize themselves with the teachings of the early church fathers regarding the Sabbath.

  • Failure to expand the understanding of how the Lord’s advent fulfilled each specific Sabbath command beyond “resting from one’s sins.”

  • Failure to be consistent in the treatment of ceremonial laws and types.

  • Failure to satisfactorily explain why the ceremonial Sabbath was placed with the body of the Ten Commandments.

  • Failure to recognize the limitations of the Ten Commandments as a means to inculcate Christian ethics.

  • Failure to differentiate the biblical Sabbath from the tradition of the synagogue.

  • Failure to emphasize the authority of the apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to institute a new order of congregational worship.

  • Failure to distinguish the Sabbath from the Lord’s Day.”

In what may be the keystone paragraph in the entire book, O’Hare explains the meaning of the Sabbath commandment (page 289).

The Mediator is on the first table (of the Decalogue) because, unlike Moses, Christ truly comes from God and is fully God. Yet Christ, by becoming fully man, joins with man to make him complete. Man cannot become complete simply by keeping the law, but he must experience through faith a life-altering union with Christ. The ceremonial Sabbath is the evangelion within the Ten Commandments that addresses the redemption of man. It is Christ Himself who takes the place of the Sabbath in the Decalogue. The Lord’s Day is not a continuum of the Sabbath or its replacement; it is a fresh ordinance for the church of God based upon the completion of redemption that was twice sealed by the Lord, first by His resurrection and second by the descent of the Holy Spirit.”

This puts the Decalogue in the absolute best light for new covenant saints to understand it and relate to it. (Scripture never calls the Decalogue “The Ten Commandments”, but only and always “the ten words” – hence the term Decalogue. But “Ten Commandments” are much weightier in the mouths of religious overlords than are “ten words”. I would have liked O’Hare to address this aspect of the creeping incrementalism of religious lordship in the church.)

It was during this time that the early reformers also broke with the clear teachings of Scripture and the church fathers by beginning to teach the Sabbath as the product of a creation ordinance. This was taught by Ursinus who “may have adopted the theory of the Reformed Englishman John Hooper, who, in his widely published book, Declaration of the Ten Holy Commandments (1548), claimed that God instituted the Sabbath from creation. … So, only 300 years after Aquinas and fifty years after Luther, the admixture of the Sabbath and Lord’s Day developed into a general concept that the Lord’s Day is the Sabbath, fostering the idea that the Sabbath remains a viable force in Christian living.” (page 290) This creation-ordinance based “Christian Sabbath” was a major element used by state-churches on both sides of the Atlantic to coerce Sunday worship – just as Rome had learned to do, using the same unfortunate logic.

In 1973, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church published a report from a committee that had been formed to study the relationship of the Westminster Confession of Faith to the fourth commandment. In part, the committee reported:

The weekly Sabbath is an eschatological sign. This truth, central to the teaching of Hebrews 3:7 – 4:13 as well as fundamental to the entire biblical revelation concerning the Sabbath, does not find expression in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. The reason for this would appear to be that the Standards mention the Sabbath commandment primarily in terms of its bearing on the more specific matter of public and private worship.”

The Westminster Confession of Faith was not changed to reflect the eschatological import of the fourth commandment. O’Hare, having taught in this book the nature of moral law (unchanging and universal), observes “If the Sabbath is not ceremonial or typological, it is not eschatological.” “Where”, he asks, “”can it be shown that the Ten Commandments summarize the moral law given to Adam? Where can it be demonstrated that the Sabbath commandment is purely moral?” (page 291) “Was the fourth commandment, as God gave it to Israel, about the Christian Sabbath or the Jewish Sabbath? Was there anything else in the fourth commandment that was abrogated than merely the day of the week on which it fell? Where can it be shown that God abrogated the Jewish Sabbath and installed a Christian Sabbath in its place? … So, besides omitting fundamental truths about the Sabbath, the Westminster codified interpretive errors that budded with Aquinas and blossomed with early Reformers.” (page 292)

In closing this very provoking chapter, O’Hare shows us that the fourth commandment not only commanded rest, it commanded work for six days. The Hebrew word in this commandment is in the Qal imperfect tense, which implies an on-going action – “you work”. “But, if the fourth commandment moralizes the example of God for man to obey, then it is as much a sin to work on the day of rest as it is to rest on the days of work. … if someone completes their (sic) work in three days and does nothing more for three more days, what exactly are they ceasing from on the seventh day?” He instructs us on two types of rest: “1) God’s rest signifies the promise of eternal life, and 2) Israel’s rest signified her faith in God alone. God’s work is redemptive, so man’s work is meaningless apart from that redemption.” (page 309)

The early church correctly believed that the Sabbath was a ceremonial command and welcomed the ordination of the Lord’s Day as a commemoration of the Lord’s resurrection. However, the ascension of church power through the state and the influence of rationalism allowed the medieval church to begin to associate the fourth commandment with the Lord’s Day. The Reformed church, by perpetuating the error of Aquinas, eventually expanded the scope of applications of Sabbath law and increased its moral muscle, forcing the church to practice Sunday Sabbatarianism.” (page 311)

He gives us eight conclusions which are supported by Scripture and history (page 311):

  • The creation account is not about the Sabbath. It is about the primal peace with God that was lost through sin because of a lack of faith. The pattern of creation – six days of God’s work and the ensuing rest – reverberates through Scripture to demonstrate God’s sovereignty in effecting the work of redemption by grace through the faith of man.

  • When Israel left Egypt they were given the Feast of Passover; a few weeks later in the wilderness they were given the Sabbath. At Mount Sinai, Israel received her full calendar of feasts. The Lord devised this new system of shadow laws to prefigure the person and work of the Messiah.

  • The Ten Commandments are a summary of the Mosaic laws and therefore contain both moral and ceremonial laws.

  • Christ in His earthly ministry was born under the law and obeyed the ceremonial laws as well as the moral laws.

  • Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. His work of redemption – His incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection – is the fulfillment of all shadow laws, even though some of them are yet to be manifested in their entirety.

  • The redemption of Jesus Christ initiated the new covenant. It is the fulfillment of what the former covenants forecasted.

  • The apostles had divine warrant to establish first-day worship. Scripture unfolds the transition from things Jewish to things Christian. First-day weekly worship was the normative practice of the early church, it did not move the Sabbath to Sunday.

  • While there is no explicit scriptural mandate for this transition, we have scriptural foreshadowing and history of first-day significance, and rationale. Christ’s resurrection and the inaugural descent of the Holy Spirit – the most important events of the church age – occurred on the first day of the weeks in fulfillment of Israel’s shadowy calendar laws.”

There is much, much more in this book than I can even hint at in these few pages – which are too many for most, I fear. Buy the book. Study the topics, challenge the author (I found a few places where I consider him to be in error), challenge yourself – for none of us has arrived any more than did any of the Reformers.

At the end of it all, why doesn’t this book, or anyone else, show from Scripture why the Jewish Sabbath command is not meant for the new covenant church? This is the wrong starting point. We look to Scripture to see what is, what God has revealed to us; not to prove a point. What we see in Scripture about the Decalogue is that is was an integral part of the Mosaic Covenant and the testimony or witness of that covenant (Ex 31:18, 32:15, 34:27 – 29). This key aspect of the Decalogue being a testimony of God’s covenant with Israel is further developed in Ex 25 and 26, with the ark being the “ark of the testimony” (see Ex 25:22 for emphasis). This is reminiscent of Ex 16:33 – 34 when Moses was commanded to put manna in a jar as a testimony God’s promise of provisions, seen in Ex 16:4 – 5. These are the most (only?) explicit statements in the Bible regarding the reason and purpose for the tablets and the ark – as a testimony of God’s covenant with Israel made on Mt. Sinai. Ezekiel 20:12 tells us the Sabbath is a sign between God and the Hebrews – marking their exodus from Egypt. It is not listed as a sign for the church, any more than water baptism is a sign and seal of that New Covenant. The burden is on the backs of those who say the Jewish Sabbath was, as the confessions say, abolished and re-established on the first day of the week, given to the church as the “Christian Sabbath.” That assertion, is found in paragraph 22.7 of the Second London Baptist Confession, yet established by no Scripture. Yet we do see in God’s Word the admonition for Christians to be understanding and accepting of brothers who lean on the practice of old religion (Romans 14 and 1 Cor 8) as well as stern rebukes for those who want Christians to practice old religion as a requirement (Acts 15).

The Sabbath Complete provides a comprehensive review and analysis of myriad aspects of the Decalogue and the Sabbath; examining the Word of God, the languages, and the historical context. Let the reader humbly go before Holy God and plead for understanding rather than rely on his own “wisdom” or unexamined presuppositions that we all hold too closely. Remember those who went before us – they knew they were fallible, yet many of them acted as if they were complete in their understanding of God’s Word. Yet they stood under the banner of Sufficiency of Scripture and all for the glory of God – as we must. But let these slogans of an bygone era be not merely nifty phrases we use to show our credentials, let each of us also acknowledge that we must be reformed and reforming for the glory of God, for He alone sees and understands perfectly.

This book is available on Amazon and directly from the publisher, at a competitive price.

All Hail the Pope!

At least that’s what Rome would have ya do. Here’s more heresy from Rome, from a 19th century article. The following is taken from Ferraris’ “EcclesiasticalPope Dictionary” (Roman Catholic), article “Pope.” The latest edition of this book was issued from the Press of the Propaganda at Rome in 1899, which shows that it has the approval of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. “The Catholic Encyclopedia” (Volume VI, page 48) speaks of it as “a veritable encyclopedia of religious knowledge,” and “a precious mine of information.”

“The pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were God, and the vicar of God.”

“The pope is of such lofty and supreme dignity that, properly speaking, he has not been established in any rank of dignity, but rather has been placed upon the very summit of all ranks of dignities.”

“Hence the pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions.”

“Moreover the superiority and the power of the Roman pontiff by no means pertain only to heavenly things, to earthly things, and to things under the earth, but are even over angels, than whom he is greater.”

“So that if it were possible that the angels might err in the faith, or might think contrary to the faith, they could be judged and excommunicated by the pope.”

“The pope is as it were God on earth, sole sovereign of the faithful of Christ, chief king of kings, having plenitude of power, to whom has been entrusted by the omnipotent God direction not only of the earthly but also of the heavenly kingdom.”

“The pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth with most ample power of binding and loosing His sheep.”