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.
This may seem like a strange title, but after my comments on an article that I read this week on FoxNews, I think you will see the dilemma I am in.
However, before I continue with my comments on the article, I want to say that there are many who will take umbrage and be offended at what I will say here today. You see, we have become a nation of wishy-washy, whatever-floats-your-boat, don’t-offend-anybody, and don’t-judge-me church goers. Sadly, the transition was so gradual that most people never even noticed the shift.
There was a time that you would walk through an airport and knew exactly who the followers of Sun Myung Moon (also known as Moonies or members of the Unification Church) were and what they were trying to peddle. For those who have not looked recently, they are still around (normally older couples though) but they no longer wear their hair long in a braid. They do not have a shaved head, nor do they wear saffron-colored robes. Today, they are very much a modern organization that is still looking to attract followers to its mantra of global peace, defense of religious organizations, and extravagant marriage ceremonies around the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
I believe this speaks volumes about the truth of where Beth Moore has gone. I have a great deal of respect for Justin Peters and appreciate his willingness to address the false teaching that Beth Moore has accepted and has been teaching for a long time.
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!
In follow-up to George’s post: http://defendingcontending.com/2014/11/28/rick-warrens-roman-catholic-affinity/
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.
Recently, there have been a few events in our lives and interactions that have brought some issues to the forefront once again. We have seen more and more Christians are being duped by what appears to be good theology, but is actually dangerous teaching.
One of the dangers that is assaulting the true church of Jesus Christ is in the area of contemplative prayer, also referred to as contemplative mysticism. In a nutshell, this teaching is based on a combination of New Age and Roman Catholic mysticism.
The danger of overrunning the evangelical church is immense. This teaching is heresy with many well known evangelicals touting this as biblical theology. There is NOT ONE Scripture that teaches the emptying of our minds.
Here is an example of what contemplative mysticism/prayer is according to one of the main teachers of this system known as “Spiritual Formation.”
“In your imagination allow your spiritual body, shining with light, to rise out of your physical body. Look back so that you can see yourself lying in the grass and reassure your body that you will return momentarily. Imagine your spiritual self, alive and vibrant, rising up through the clouds and into the stratosphere. . . Go deeper and deeper into outer space until there is nothing except the warm presence of the eternal Creator. Rest in His presence. Listen quietly, anticipating the unanticipated. Note carefully any instruction given. With time and experience you will be able to distinguish readily between mere human thought that may bubble up to the conscious mind and the True Spirit which inwardly moves upon the heart. (Foster: 27, 28)”
In the coming weeks, it is my intention of defending truth and contending for the faith by pointing out the dangers of this movement. We will also expose the people promoting this heresy. Our hope is that you will give prayerful consideration to this matter. Read the Scriptures. Be a Berean Christian. Realize the dangers that now seem more prevalent in the church than out of it.
If you are a pastor, elder, or teacher, please do not jump on the bandwagon and use materials just because every other church seems to use it. Go against the flow. Stand for what is right. You will be held accountable for what you teach to others.
With that said, I am posting three links here from Southern View Chapel. The pastor is Dr. Gary Gilley and has an excellent series of books on the church, which includes “This Little Church Stayed Home.” These links below detail the heresy that is being spread throughout many churches, even Baptist ones have bought into Henry Blackaby’s promotion of contemplative prayer.
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 world”15 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
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.34 “The 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
15 “For 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
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
There will always be, until the Lord returns with a triumphant shout and the sound of trumpets (1 Thess 4:16), people who confuse one false religion or another for the biblical faith Creator God revealed to us in His Scriptures and His Son. To help us keep in focus some of the essential differences between biblical Christianity and one of the largest, widely accepted false religions in the world, here is a handy chart comparing 9 facts of the faith as taught by the Bible and the Roman Catholic Church. An extract is below, to give you a preview.
I thought I would add to this a bit with a wonderful quote from a book I read last week:
The world undergoes change every single day. Some changes are for good, but many prove to be detrimental at best. This last week has produced many noteworthy events.
1. Cyprus has decided that every person who has a bank account should forfeit amounts up to almost 10% of what you own. This has transpired because of greed and poor fiscal management within the government.
2. Obama is making a trip to Israel but has no expectations that they will accomplish anything.
3. North Korea continues to rattle sabres and threaten the world with destruction through the use of possibly a single nuclear weapon.
This and more dominates the headlines in our newspapers, but the one aspect that many might have missed took place in Rome. No, I am not talking about the election of a new pope. That was an expected event. No, I am not talking about the election of a new pope from someplace outside of Europe. That was also expected to a large decree especially considering that 40% or more of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics come from Central or South America.
What caught my attention was some of the first words from the first ever pope that hails from the ranks of the Jesuit order. Before we speak about those words though, a brief history lesson might be in order.
The Jesuits were founded by Ignatius Loyola of Spain. He was from a noble family and after founding the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), he would ultimately become the order’s Superior General.
Further, the Jesuits were the primary tool used by the Catholic Church during the Spanish Inquisition to persecute and murder tens of thousands of true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. This order has long been held as the military arm of the Roman Catholic system.
The Jesuits sought to “evangelize” the world by subjecting entire countries through whatever barbaric means possible to the teachings of Rome. The Bible was deliberately kept from the people and even many priests knew little more than the doctrines with which they had been indoctrinated in their training. Anybody caught reading or studying the Scripture for themselves was subject to torture on the rack or other brutalities up to and including outright murder.
Through fear of physical harm to the body, as well as the teachings that enslaved the spiritual soul of men and women, the Jesuits were instrumental in ensuring that the Roman Catholic system would have a steady influx of funds and wealth for her coffers.
When soldiers sent from the courts of Europe “discovered” the New World, they came with a show of arms and required the local populations to accept the heresy of Rome at the point of a sword. Women and children were sexually abused, some were tortured, while many would be put to death – ALL in the name of Jesus Christ. The priests leading the charges were in many cases from the Society of Jesus or Jesuits.
What a way to evangelize! Will you convert or would you rather be abused or murdered? Today, the poor peoples in many lands, but primarily Latin and South America, have been under bondage to the evils of Rome. Her priests continue to be abusers and her teachings are nothing short of heresy. She preys on the innocent and all who get in her way eventually feel her wrath.
Visit the hinterlands of Mexico, Columbia, Peru, or Bolivia, and declare yourself as an evangelical devoted to the sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You will face immediate opposition and evangelical missionaries in these countries are still struggling and have suffered at the hands of the local peoples who have been incited to anger by the priests of the Roman Catholic Church.
Fast forward to this last week with the election of the new pope from Argentina. Argentina, a land that was settled by immigrants from Europe over the last almost two centuries. Argentina, a land that has ruthlessly murdered all the native inhabitants by several hundred thousand at the lowest estimate. Argentina, a land that holds many in poverty while her people watch the Roman Catholic church grow richer and richer at their expense. Yes, this is the same Argentina that the new pope hails from.
The new pope has chosen the name of Francis as a way to honor Francis of Assisi. Francis of Assisi, the priest who preached heresy and was known for baptizing and preaching to birds and animals. Francis, from Argentina, has declared that he desires to represent the poor of the world. However, I do not think that we will ever see the Catholic church giving her vast treasures back to the peoples from whom they were stolen through the last 1500+ years.
The words the new pope stated though should strike a chord in the heart of every true believer. In his words, he desires to evangelize the world and to “re-evangelize” the areas of the world that they are a predominant force. Remember that at the heart of this very fallible, very sinful, very depraved man from Argentina is the fact that he has long been a cardinal of the order of Jesuits.
I am afraid that there will be many, even in evangelical circles, who will laud this man and the work that he says he wants to accomplish for the poor and downtrodden of the world. They will claim that he is a brother and knows Christ just as they declared about John Paul II and Theresa of Calcutta.
In the meantime, the Catholic machinery will move into action once again against the peoples of Latin and South America. Evangelicals will come under fire for their teachings, and some may even face martyrdom all for the sake and testimony of Jesus Christ.
The harsh reality is the truth of Scripture does not line up with the teachings of Rome. Jesus Christ said that He alone is the way, the truth and the life. Further, He made it clear that nobody could get to God unless they go through Jesus Christ.
However, Rome has duped her followers into believing that they can pray to the saints, or to Mary for deliverance. She has told them that they can do penance and somehow atone for their own sins. She tells them at every mass that the death of Christ was not a one-time sacrifice and that in order to be assured of a short time in Purgatory that they must each physically and literally eat and drink of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. She teaches her priests to ignore Scripture because the end justifies the means. She leads her people astray and when they die, the priest solemnly atones to the gathered crowd that they have departed to be with God, but must first do time in a non-existent location called Purgatory. More money and more masses are encouraged so that the people foster a false hope that their loved ones will be able to escape the fires of hell.
Sadly, while many will go to serve as “missionaries” to these gospel-deprived lands, those who go will not be taking the truth with them. More and more will be encouraged to be led astray into the Roman Catholic system with the rallying cry to follow the first Latin American pope.
However, all of that is to be expected. Rome is not stupid and she will use whatever means necessary in order to not only attempt to keep her share of the market, but to also gain more converts. For 1500+ years of her existence, she has ruthlessly, barbarically, and coldly gathered millions to follow her teachings. Constantine, who was the first pope of Rome (NOT PETER), started the process by mixing paganism with Christianity. The result dominates many lands today in what is known as syncretism. Rome does not care who you worship during the week as long as you play your part in the theatricals of the mass and give of your wealth to ensure that she grows richer.
Yet, the reality is that there are many in our neighborhoods who are being led down the same primrose path. You may find an increase in social events being led by a local priest. There will even be further attempts to draw more back into the fold from mainline Protestant denominations. You can be sure that they will adopt more of our language, and they will declare that they teach the same truths we do. The truth though is very dark, and for many, the light will be extinguished as they go into a lost eternity. An eternity that was declared to be the way of God, but that was nothing more than the figment of the imagination of a group of men who are no more concerned about their own souls than they are the souls of those who follow them.
My challenge to those of us who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb is this – what are we going to do to reach out to lost within our own circles? Will we stand idly by while the priest continues to lead our friends and co-workers down the path to hell? We each have a calling to tell the truth, no matter what it costs. May our heart’s desire be to pray for those trapped in their sin and religion, to pray for those who serve at great cost to life and limb as they share the truth in the face of great opposition, and to pray that God will burden our hearts to see beyond the trappings of religion and look for a people who need the Lord.
I have family and friends who are caught in the traps of Catholicism. My heart breaks for them for they have been indoctrinated very well. They believe that they are correct and that heaven awaits their arrival regardless of the truth that they have flaunted the Word of God in favor of the teachings and leading of depraved men.
Who is my neighbor? Jesus made it clear that the Good Samaritan was the type of neighbor we are to be. We must care for others from a social aspect, but not at the expense of the preaching of the gospel. We must be willing to reach out to others when nobody else is willing. We must care enough to forget about our own self-importance and remember that each person we meet will face eternity very soon. Many will blindly walk the broad road to destruction while very, very few will find the path to life.
May it not be said when we stand before Christ that we allowed ourselves to become an obstacle to any to find the path to life.
What Roman Catholics refer to as “the Dogma of Papal Infallibility” is one of the most stunning of all of RCC doctrine. According to this dogma, the Pope-when he speaks on matters concerning the church-is protected from the possibility of error. Note that it is not that what he says is always true, but something more radical is claimed: there is not even the possibility of him speaking something untrue.
When this dogma was first codified (the first Vatican Council in 1870) they obviously defined it in more constrained terms than it had been practiced through history. Now, it only applies to matters concerning “faith and morals,” and when the Pope binds “the whole Church” to the declaration. While it was codified by the First Vatican Council, it in effect has been practiced throughout much of Roman Catholic Church history.
In fact much of RCC doctrine rests on nothing other than this authority. For one clear example, in 1950 Pope Pious XII declared that Mary did not die a physical death, but was “assumed” (assunta) up to heaven. This is a teaching with no biblical evidence (although Pope John Paul II did allege that it was the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in John 14:3), and even less credible historical evidence. Actually, no one in the first 300 years of church history had even claimed such a thing had happened.
Because it is such an important part of what separates the RCC from Protestants, an obvious question to ask is, “are there times when the Popes have contradicted each other?” If so, that would be a glaring piece of evidence that the RCC’s claims to authority and doctrine are indeed fallible.
First, let me explain why this is important to me. Discussing theology with a Catholic can be frustrating, and usually goes in one of two ways. Either they claim to believe everything I believe, but they just also claim to have an unbroken tradition of history behind them. Or they respond to my biblical objections to RCC doctrine by saying Protestants are wrong because their interpretations contradict the interpretations of the RCC, which we know to be infallible.
In 1497, Pope Alexander had a crisis of his own making that was threatening to undermine his ability to govern the Catholic Church. A romantic rivalry between two of his sons (he had at least six children) had become a source of intrigue around Rome. In fact, this scandal was so lurid, it was appalling even to those accustomed to flagrant immorality from the papacy.
The two sons in question were Cesare and Juan, and they were both in love with their sister, Lucrezia. The plot thickened, as the Pope refused to let either of his sons marry his daughter, as he was sleeping with her himself. As the famous biographer and historian William Manchester wrote, “Even for those times, this was scandalous.”
When one of the sons, Juan, turned up murdered, suspicion was split between the father and brother. When Lucrezia turned up pregnant, that same divided suspicion remained. Rome had long been accustomed to assassinations, orgies, and public rioting from the Pope’s family. But this scandal involved all three simultaneously, and even the public was beginning to demand change. Alexander decided he needed to marry his daughter off to a powerful Duke, consolidating the Pope’s power, and ending the scandal.
There were numerous problems with this plan. First, Lucrezia was already married (technically speaking…it was a political alliance thing). No problem, that marriage could be annulled by the Pope. But in order for that to happen, the Pope and a Vatican council had to certify that she was a virgin. This would be impossible to do with a straight face, seeing as how she was known to be the Pope’s lover, was six months pregnant, and visibly showing. So the Vatican council acted without the straight face, and when they declared her a virgin, witnesses said that laughter echoed throughout the Vatican. One poet, Jacopo Sannazaro, wrote a poem commemorating the declaration. Translated from the Latin, it reads:
Here lies Lucrezia, who was really a tart,
The daughter, wife, and daughter in-law of Alexander.
In Latin it rhymed. But regardless, the third obstacle was insurmountable, and the marriage was halted when the groom was murdered by Cesare.
This lead to the uncomfortable development that the Pope’s daughter gave birth to a son, Giovanni, and there was no way of knowing if the father was the Pope’s son or the Pope himself. By the time the child was 3 years old, his mother was 21. It became necessary politically for the Pope to marry her off, and the Pope chose the Duke of Ferrara. The new problem was that Canonical Law forbade the Pope from recognizing his own illegitimate children (only if they were fathered while he was Pope, which in this case was obvious; in fact the public labeled Giovanni “the Roman Child”). That difficulty here was notably compounded by they fact that the mother of his son was also his daughter. But…if the Pope recognized Cesare (his other son and her other lover) as Giovanni’s father, then the Duke of Ferrara would likely not marry Lucrezia for fear of losing his title as Duke.
If that is confusing, here it is simply: The Pope was in a Catch-22. Either the Giovanni was his, or his son’s. One option was permissible legally, the other was possible politically. So what would he do?
Here is his solution, in the words of William Manchester:
The Pope, deciding to legitimatize his daughter’s child, issued two extraordinary bulls September 1, 1501. The first, which was made public, identified the three-year-old boy as the offspring of Cesare and an unmarried woman… The second, a secret bull, acknowledged Giovanni to be the son of the pope and the same woman.
In other words, Giovanni had two fathers. And, don’t loose sight of the fact that he was born only three months after the Vatican and Pope had declared his mother a virgin. That is a truly immaculate conception!
I was alerted to this story by reading E. R. Chamberlin’s book The Bad Popes. Believe me when I say that this affair is not even in the top five as far as radically immoral acts committed by the Popes of that time. In fact, some of the stories were so graphic and stunning that I paused to ask myself why I was even reading them. The answer is two-fold. First, it is a powerful reminder that Luther’s Reformation was not in a vacuum. Theology has consequences, and bad theology destroys lives. In this case, bad theology had the potential to destroy a continent, which it did. The dark ages were so backwards and perverse, in large part because of the rampant immorality of the Popes.
Secondly, it is a reminder that the strongest argument that Catholic Apologists use today-that the Catholic Church has an unbroken chain of tradition stretching back to the Apostles-is pure fabrication. Not only is it fabrication in the historic sense (because the papacy did not being in any recognizable way until the 400’s), but it is fabrication in the ethical sense. Many Popes, Luther said, “have so often contradicted themselves,” and he did not simply mean on the finer points of theology. When Alexander declared his daughter (whom he had been sleeping with) to be a virgin, only to see her give birth 3 months later, Luther was 16 years old. When Alexander issued official Church Bulls declaring that his son had two fathers, Luther was 19 years-old. He entered the monastery four years later.
It would be another twelve years before he posted his thesis on the church door. From that point forward, it is simply no longer feasible to maintain that Catholics and Protestants essentially believe the same things. There are substantive differences, one of which is the concept of papal authority, and another of which is the claim that the Roman Catholic Church has a glorious and unbroken continuity of being Christ’s seat on Earth.
They may have a tradition, but is neither glorious nor unbroken.
Distributed by http://www.worldviewweekend.com
The following was written by Michael Horton. I agree with him – any departure from the sufficiency of Scripture for all we need for life and godliness will cause us to fall into a ditch. The only source of God’s revealed will is found in holy writ – let the saints of the living God be content with what He has provided us and resist those who call us to listen to “the voice within.”
Many critics of the Reformation have attempted to portray it as the invitation to individualism, as people discover for themselves from the Bible what they will and will not believe. “Never mind the church. Away with creeds and the church’s teaching office! We have the Bible and that’s enough.” But this was not the reformers’ doctrine of sola Scriptura–only Scripture. Luther said of individualistic approaches to the Bible, “That would mean that each man would go to hell in his own way.”
On one side, the reformers faced the Roman Church, which believed its teaching authority to be final and absolute. The Roman Catholics said that tradition can be a form of infallible revelation even in the contemporary church; one needs an infallible Bible and an infallible interpreter of that sacred book. On the other side were the Anabaptist radicals, who believed that they not only did not need the teaching office of the church; they really didn’t seem to need the Bible either, since the Holy Spirit spoke to them–or at least to their leaders–directly. Instead of one Pope, Anabaptism produced numerous “infallible” messengers who heard the voice of God. Against both positions, the Reformation insisted that the Bible was the sole final authority in determining doctrine and life. In interpreting it, the whole church must be included, including the laity, and they must be guided by the teachers in the church. Those teachers, though not infallible, should have considerable interpretive authority. The creeds were binding and the newly reformed Protestant communions quickly drafted confessions of faith that received the assent of the whole church, not merely the teachers.
Today, we are faced with similar challenges even within evangelicalism. On one hand, there is the tendency to say, as Luther characterized the problem, “I go to church, hear what my priest says, and him I believe.” Calvin complained to Cardinal Sadoleto that the sermons before the Reformation were part trivial pursuit, part story-telling. Today, this same process of “dumbing down” has meant that we are, in George Gallup’s words, “a nation of biblical illiterates.” Perhaps we have a high view of the Bible’s inspiration: 80% of adult Americans believe that the Bible is the literal or inspired Word of God. But 30% of the teenagers who attend church regularly do not even know why Easter is celebrated. “The decline in Bible reading,” says Gallup, “is due in part to the widely held conviction that the Bible is inaccessible, and to less emphasis on religious training in the churches.” Just as Rome’s infallibility rested on the belief that the Bible itself was difficult, obscure, and confusing, so today people want the “net breakdown” from the professionals: what does it mean for me and how will it help me and make me happy? But those who read the Bible for more than devotional meditations know how clear it is–at least on the main points it addresses–and how it ends up making religion less confusing and obscure. Again today, the Bible–especially in mainline Protestant churches–is a mysterious book that can only be understood by a small cadre of biblical scholars who are “in the know.”
But we have the other side, too. There is a popular trend in many “evangelical” churches to emphasize direct communication with the Holy Spirit apart from the Word. In these circles, tradition and the teaching ministry of the church through the ages are not only treated as fallible (as the reformers believed), but as objects of mockery. The sentiments of Thomas Muntzer, who complained that Luther was “one of our scribes who wants to send the Holy Ghost off to college,” would find a prime-time spot on the nation’s leading evangelical radio and television broadcasts. Calvin said of these folks, “When the fanatics boast extravagantly of the Spirit, the tendency is always to bury the Word of God so they may make room for their own falsehoods.”
Christianity is not a spirituality, but a religion. Wade Clark Roof and other sociologists have pointed out that evangelicals today are indistinguishable from the general cultural trends, especially when it comes to preferring to think of their relationship to God more in terms of an experience than in terms of a relationship that is mediated through words. Ours is a visual or image-based society, much like the Middle Ages, and yet Christianity can only flourish through words, ideas, beliefs, announcements, arguments. There can be no communication with God apart from the written and living Word. Everything in the Christian faith depends on the spoken and written Word delivered by God to us through the prophets and apostles.
Further, sola Scriptura meant that the Word of God was sufficient. Although Rome believed it was infallible, the official theology was shaped more by the insights of Plato and Aristotle than by Scripture. Similarly today, psychology threatens to reshape the understanding of the self, as even in the evangelical pulpit sin becomes “addiction”; the Fall as an event is replaced with one’s “victim” status; salvation is increasingly communicated as mental health, peace of mind, and self-esteem, and my personal happiness and self-fulfillment are center-stage rather than God’s holiness and mercy, justice and love, glory and compassion. Does the Bible define the human problem and its solution? Or when we really want facts, do we turn somewhere else, to a modern secular authority who will really carry weight in my sermon? Of course, the Bible will be cited to bolster the argument. Political ideology, sociology, marketing, and other secular “authorities” must never be allowed priority in answering questions the Bible addresses. That is, in part, what this affirmation means, and evangelicals today seem as confused on this point as was the medieval church.
Below is the article from The Australian:
AUSTRALIA’S Cardinal George Pell has described the biblical story of Adam and Eve as a sophisticated myth used to explain evil and suffering rather than a scientific truth.
Cardinal Pell last night appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program, where he was debating British evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins.
Cardinal Pell said humans “probably” evolved from Neanderthals but it was impossible to say exactly when there was a first human. “But we have to say if there are humans, there must have been a first one,” he said.
According to Genesis, God created Adam and Eve as the first man and woman.
Asked by journalist Tony Jones if he believed in the existence of an actual Garden of Eden with an Adam and Eve, Cardinal Pell said it was not a matter of science but rather a beautiful mythological account.
“It’s a very sophisticated mythology to try to explain the evil and the suffering in the world,” he said.
“It’s certainly not a scientific truth. And it’s a religious story told for religious purposes.”
Cardinal Pell argued that the “great atheist movements” of Hitler and Stalin were the personification of social Darwinism.
“It’s the struggle for survival, the strong take what they can, and the weak give what they must and there’s nothing to restrain them.” he said. “And we’ve seen that in the two great atheist movements of the last century.”
Professor Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, rejected the notion as “ridiculous”.
He said Stalin was an atheist and Hitler was not, and they each perpetrated their acts for different reasons.
Towards the end of the debate, the head of the Catholic Church in Australia appeared to lament his struggle to promote Christ.
“My life would be much easier if I didn’t have to go into bat for . . . Christian principles,” he said.
Cardinal Pell then mused that he sometimes wondered if he should regret his life’s work, before asserting: “No, no.”
The London Baptist Confession of 1689 and the Westminster Confession both identify the office of Pope, within the Roman Catholic Church, as antichrist. Many modern evangelicals have lost sight of the reason for The Reformation and think Vatican II brought Rome closer to Protestant soteriology. This is a sadly mistaken conclusion, as Rome has never refuted The Council Of Trent, which proclaims damnation on all who hold to salvation by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. To this day, Rome proclaims an infused grace from their false Christ that empowers the Catholic to work his spiritual birth by his own efforts.
Below is a snapshot of the Preface to a 50 page booklet by J.A. Wylie wherein he documents the biblical case that proves the perspective in the two confessions noted above. The complete booklet can be found here. May the blood-bought saints of the living God stand firm on His Word, for the glory of the Lord Jesus.
Well, so says a new petition “made at the Our Lady of All Nations Prayerday in Amsteredam [sic]” this past Sunday. It was a “world wide open petition to Pope Benedict for a new coming of the Holy Spirit.”
Apprising Ministries points you to this rather peculiar situation where, in the superstition of apostate Roman Catholicism, apparently Pope Benedict and the Virgin Mary are a bit at odds and holding up the Holy Spirit.
In the video below Dr. Mark Miravalle fills us in further concerning a petition about Mary, “the Mother of all Nations.” He reminds us that she allegedly appeared via apparitions in Amsterdam “from 1945 to 1959.”
He speculates that she chose to so grace Amsterdam because “it is the most universal city in the world” represented by “over 120 different nationalities.” He explains that the apparitions had a “universal message.”
Miravalle then tells us these apparitions, which he does believe to be the Virgin Mary, gave:
a prayer for all people to pray and ultimately seeking the proclamation of a dogma; a solid proclamation that she is, indeed, the spiritual mother of all peoples–under it’s three essential aspects of co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces, and advocate.
Below you’ll see that Miraville goes on to tell us about a very special announcement also made a week ago today concerning “the launch of a world wide open petition to Pope Benedict for a new coming of the Holy Spirit.”
Miraville tells us how important he thinks this petition is because, as he sees it, the future of the world may depend upon our receiving “the Holy Spirit anew, and it’s through Mary.” In fact, says Miraville:
Our Lady has told us, it’s only with the proclamation of this dogma, will peace enter the world. So these are her words.
Hmm, I would think that Jesus—the Prince of Peace—might take a different view. It almost sounds like a type of spiritual extortion: “Make me the fourth member of the Godhead or I’ll withhold the Holy Spirit and world peace.”
Miravalle hopes that through”intercession of Mary” Roman Catholics will continue to petition Pope Benedict, their “beloved Holy Father,” to officially proclaim this Marian dogma. He continues:
And let’s remember, it’s our Lady herself who asks for petitions; where she say on May 31, 1954, “Work and ask for this dogma; you should petition the Holy Father for this dogma”…
This is important for the good of the Church. So join in this online, world-wide, petition for a new Pentecost, through the intercession of our Lady, to the proclamation of Mary as the spiritual mother of all peoples.
“Mary” seems a bit perturbed and a tad bossy to me. One wonders why she herself just doesn’t ask God to make that proclamation. O wait; it’s not that Holy Father. She means we have to petition the pope, the other holy father.
Let’s see if we have this straight; we ask the under god to officially proclaim Mary Co-Redemptrix and Co-Mediatrix for God the Holy Father and then she’ll intercede for a second Pentecost to send God the Holy Spirit?
Well, following is the petition itself:
Aside from addressing this to “his holiness,” I don’t fault the first two paragraphs. As a former Roman Catholic, and now Christian pastor, I’m concerned about those things as well. I agree, we definately need God’s help.
However, we don’t need a second coming of the Holy Spirit; He is already here. Acts 2 describes when God the Holy Spirit came to fulfill Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer of John 17 to bring the Body of Christ into union with God.
We read in this petition that, “Mary prayed for the Holy Spirit to come at Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit came.” No, she was among the other believers in Jesus Christ who were praying. Jesus had earlier told them:
“And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
Mary has said that she will intercede for a New Pentecost if you, Holy Father, would publicly proclaim her role as the Spiritual Mother of humanity. This proclamation will lead to a new descent of the Holy Spirit and an era of world peace (see Fatima, Amsterdam, Akita Apparitions, etc).
Seriously; Mary will only intercede if she gets her demand to be named “Spiritual Mother of humanity?” Does this mean Almighty God is held hostage to his creation Mary’s demands and hamstrung if His “Vicar” doesn’t comply?
In closing this, for now, notice the petition then says:
we believe in the powerful intercession of Mary as Advocate to bring the light of Holy Spirit into the world today.
Really; Mary as advocate. Have you noticed Who’s been missing in all of this nonsense? Jesus. It is written:
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self,…having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:5)