Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 10/1/22

The American Catholic church is split not only by politics, but by opposing views on abortion, S&G-ism, the ordination of women, the progressive reforms of pope Francis, etc. The RCC is definitely not the united monolith presented by Catholic apologists. It must be noted that missing amidst all of this Catholic disharmony is the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

This is a first and definitely a sign of things to come. The Catholic bishops of Belgium are the first national conference of bishops to officially approve a liturgical blessing for S&G same-sex unions, although they refrain from calling it a “wedding blessing.” This is a significant “crack in the dam” in the eventual full acceptance of practicing S&G-ers in the RCC.

…and pope Francis continues to do his part to pave the way for full acceptance of practicing S&G-ers.

After the historical bloody tensions between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, many suppose the country’s demographic shift to a Catholic majority will lead to eventual unification with Ireland. It can correctly be said that the vast majority of Catholics and Protestants living in Ulster and Ireland are nominal members of their respective religions at best.

Although Brazil still has the world’s largest Catholic population, so-called “evangelicals” are quickly gaining. The majority of these “evangelicals” are disciples of the health-and-wealth, word-of-faith, prosperity false gospel.

Seven long and nightmarishly bloody months after the initial invasion of Ukraine, frustrated Russian despot, Vladimir Putin is rattling his nuclear sabre and conscripting Russian men. Prior to the invasion, some misguided American evangelicals hailed Putin as a champion of “traditional Christian values.”

It’s “interesting” to see a Catholic conservative ascend to the office of Prime Minister in Italy, a country where liberal politics has ruled for 75-years. Why this turn to political conservatism in Italy and elsewhere in Europe? There’s no doubt that a large part of it is a reaction to unbridled immigration. It’s no coincidence that pope Francis gave a speech encouraging support of immigrants on Italy’s election day (see here). Suffice to say there will be no evidence of the Gospel in the future tug-of-war between Giorgia and Francis.

President Joe Biden claims that his Roman Catholic church doesn’t go so far as to ban all abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest, and age. Actually, it does, Joe, and I know that without even being a Catholic. A June 2022 AP poll found that 64% of Catholics agreed that abortion should be legal in most or all cases in contrast to 25% of those who identified as evangelical Protestant. Although pope Francis has called abortion “murder,” he’s gone out of his way to publicly support pro-abortion Catholic politicians, Biden and Nancy Pelosi,

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #18: “The exchange is merely the opportunity to make up for the three times he denied Christ.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard begins yet another chapter arguing for Petrine primacy, titled “Chief Shepherd of the Flock,” in which he uses John 21:15-17 as his proof text:

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

States Broussard, “For Catholics, the exclusive command to feed Jesus’ sheep clearly signals Peter’s unique role as leader of Jesus’ Church” (p. 67).

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Protestant response #18: “The exchange is merely to give Peter the opportunity to make up for the three times he denied Christ.”

Writes Broussard, “Perhaps the most common counter-response given to John 21:15-17 is that Jesus was simply giving Peter an opportunity to repent for his three denials. (Norman) Geisler and (Ralph) MacKenzie put it succinctly: The overall import of the passage in John speaks more to Peter’s weakness and need for restoration than to his unique authority. The reason Peter is singled out for restoration, being asked three times by Jesus…was that only Peter denied the Lord three times and so only Peter needed to be restored. Thus, Jesus was not exalting Peter above the other apostles here but bringing him back up to their level.”

Broussard’s response

Broussard readily concedes the connection between Peter’s threefold denial and his threefold restoration in John 21:15-17, but claims the passage reveals Peter’s primacy according to the following arguments:

  • All of the apostles abandoned Christ, but Christ singles out Peter alone in the passage. Therefore, contends Broussard, Peter is restored to “a unique role of leadership to feed Jesus’ lambs and shepherd his sheep, including the other apostles” (p. 69).
  • Contrary to Geisler’s and MacKenzie’s claim, the passage reveals Peter was not only restored, but also invested with shepherding duties – governance and leadership.
  • The Greek word “tend” (poimainō) is used in the New Testament to convey not only a shepherd feeding/protecting his flock, but also the act of governing by rulers.

My response

Peter was certainly a leader of the apostles prior to his thrice denial of Christ, which made his betrayal that much more scandalous. Jesus lovingly restores Peter as a leader of the apostles in John 21:15-17. In Acts 1-12, Peter plays a leading role among the apostles in declaring the Gospel to the Jews, to the Samaritans, and to the Gentiles, but we don’t see him ruling/governing the apostles or the early church in a papistic sense as Broussard contends. As I’ve stated previously in these multifarious assertions of Petrine primacy, we see no references to Peter in the Acts of the Apostles or in the thirteen Pauline epistles or in the eight other epistles which follow that either explicitly or implicitly suggest Petrine papastical authority over the other apostles or the early church. Rather, we see multiple texts that contradict the notions of Petrine primacy and papal authority (see previous installments).

Thanks for hanging in there with me throughout this tediously long harangue for Petrine primacy. Just five more installments and we’ll be “out of the Petrine woods.” It’s quite revealing that Catholic apologist Broussard devotes his opening 23 points to Petrine primacy as the basis for papal authority with very little focus on Jesus Christ.

Next week: Protestant response #19: “There are other shepherds.”

Timber! Part 2

Two posts in one day? It doesn’t happen often, but circumstances had me typing out this second post early this morning.

Back on September 5th, I published a post about one of the oak trees on our lot that was dead and had come crashing down with a huge THUD! See here. The good news was there was no damage to our house. We needed to have that tree removed and also needed to have three other dead or dying trees on the property cut down before they also fell and did serious damage. Well, our next door neighbor “knew a guy” who removed trees. Mike assessed the situation and gave us a very reasonable quote of $2000. We got a second quote from a commercial tree removal service that came in at $4000. We called Mike and gave him the go ahead and he’s planning on getting the work done next week. Sweet.

However, yesterday I pulled into the driveway after a trip to the local comic book shop and saw my wife standing in the garage still in her pajamas with a very worried look on her face. She said she had just heard another huge THUD, this time coming from the garage. I quickly scanned the garage, but saw nothing out of place. Well, as soon as I walked out the back door I knew what was up. Argh!!! The riser on the garage roof was bent way over at a 45o degree angle (see photo above) resulting in the electrical power lines strung from the house to the transformer in the corner of the lot sagging badly. What happened??? A big dead limb (see photo below) from a neighbor’s oak tree leaning over our property, had broken off and came crashing down on our power lines, pulling over our riser. Thankfully, we still had power.

So the misery of removing the four dead trees has now been compounded by this damage to the riser. So I ask again, whose idea was it to buy a house in a wooded lot? Ach. We’re now in the process of getting estimates to repair the riser. The very same riser was pulled over three years ago when a different neighbor’s dead oak fell on the shared power lines. The repair cost then was $1500, so I’m expecting at least $2000.

This riser fiasco happened at the same time Hurricane Ian was/is pummeling Florida. Compared to that catastrophe, our damage is just a miniscule blip on the radar.

We live in a fallen world where these natural catastrophes, big and small, come suddenly and often without much warning. Climate change seems to be precipitating and accelerating these natural disasters. There’s more and more of them and they seem to be getting more severe. A “historic” or “generational” climate/weather event seems to be happening in this country monthly. I pray for the folks in Florida, that they recover from this calamity. It’s going to be a long road of rebuilding for millions of residents, many of them elderly and not in the best of health. I pray that many in their despair come to trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. Sin and its consequences is mankind’s biggest calamity.

Above: The offending dead limb from a neighbor’s tree.

Throwback Thursday: Watch Your Teaching! A warning from 49 years ago that was ignored by many

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 19, 2016 and has been revised.

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Watch Your Teaching!: A Comparative Study of Roman Catholic and Protestant Teaching Since Vatican Council II
By Stuart P. Garver
Christ’s Mission, 1973, 167 pages

5 Stars

If you are/were a Roman Catholic born during the 1950s or earlier, you can certainly remember the dramatic surface changes brought about by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Pope John XXIII initiated the council to “open the windows (of the church) and let in some fresh air” of reform. Some of the alterations introduced by the council that I remember the most included the change of the liturgy of the mass from Latin to English, the priest facing the people during the mass instead of the altar, nuns’ habits (outfits) being modernized, the lifting of the ban on meat on non-Lenten Fridays, and some familiar saints being scrubbed from the church’s calendar. But perhaps the most significant change was the church’s switch from its confrontational approach to Protestantism and to the other religions of the world. After the council, Catholicism would take an ecumenical/interreligious approach, especially with Protestants, with the aim of eventually recovering the “separated brethren.”

In this book, published in 1973, Stuart Garver, director of Christ’s Mission, a ministry to Roman Catholics, evaluates Catholicism in light of the reforms of Vatican II. His conclusion: despite the many superfluous changes to its window dressing, Catholicism’s erroneous doctrines remained largely intact. Most importantly, Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit continued just as before. In the chapters listed below, Garver compares the beliefs of post-Vatican II Catholicism with Biblical Christianity:

  1. The Church
  2. The New People of God (Clergy and Laity)
  3. The Pope
  4. The Priest and the Priesthood
  5. The Sacraments
  6. The Mass
  7. Penance
  8. The Rule of Faith and Practice
  9. Mary
  10. Mixed marriages
  11. Ecumenism
  12. Education
  13. Church and State

Following Vatican II, many Protestants praised Catholicism’s new willingness to “dialogue,” but sixty years after the council, it’s crystal clear that while some evangelical Protestants have done quite a bit of accommodating, cooperating, compromising, and outright betraying the Gospel in their efforts to court the pope and Rome, Catholicism remains dedicated to its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit and is resolved in its efforts to eventually recover all Christian “ecclesial communities.” Sadly, many evangelicals are more interested in ecumenical unity based on deadly-shallow theology rather than heeding any warnings to “Watch Your Teaching” and defend correct doctrine and the genuine Gospel.

This informative, short book is still quite relevant for today’s Catholics and evangelicals. Stuart Garver served as executive director of Christ’s Mission from 1960 to 1977. The mission began in 1879 in New York City as a Gospel outreach ministry to Catholic priests and ex-priests, but eventually shifted its outreach to Roman Catholics in general. It ceased operations in 1984.
http://www2.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/GUIDES/276.htm

Legion #8: “The Shape of Death”

Let’s board our time bubble once again and head to the 31st Century for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #8: The Shape of Death
Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencilers: Yildiray Cinar & Daniel HDR
DC Comics, February 2011

5 Stars

Plot

At the sprawling Brande Estate on Earth, Colossal Boy and Dream Girl console Pheebs, private secretary of R.J. Brande, who blames himself for the assassination of the philanthropist and Legion benefactor and the circumstances leading to the Durlan attack, when the trio is suddenly confronted by shapeshifters. The Durlans are determined to murder Pheebs who they view as a traitor. Earth-Man and Shadow Lass join the fray and an epic battle ensues. The heroes escape harm, but Pheebs is killed. Concurrently, Tellus and Wildfire assist an injured Dawnstar after a Durlan attack on Weber’s World. At Legion Headquarters, Legion leader, Cosmic Boy monitors the multi-site Durlan chaos as well as the…huh?…incoming votes for the new Legion leader. Cos meets with Zendek to discuss the Durlan attacks, but the Science Police Chief reveals he is a Durlan shapeshifter in disguise and is convinced CB was complicit in Brande’s death. A fight ensues, but Element Lad arrives and subdues the would-be assassin. During a short pause in the Durlan attack upon the United Planets, it’s revealed that the Legionnaires elected Mon-El as the next leader. Other Legionnaires playing small roles in this issue include Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, and Phantom Girl. Brainy had advised Cosmic Boy to get his hands on a supply of “Cancelite” stored in the Legion’s lab prior to his encounter with the ersatz Zendeck, but Cos was prevented from doing so. Cancelite is a gas created by Supergirl and perfected by Brainy which can negate a Durlan’s ability to transform.

Comments

This was an excellent issue with lots of whiz-bang action as Levitz gets deeper into the Durlan assault. The panels at the end of the book illustrating the election results override my previous speculations and solidify the official 26-member Legion roster below:

  1. Brainiac 5
  2. Chameleon Boy
  3. Colossal Boy
  4. Cosmic Boy
  5. Dawnstar
  6. Dream Girl
  7. Earth-Man
  8. Element Lad
  9. Gates
  10. Invisible Kid
  11. Lightning Lad
  12. Lightning Lass
  13. Mon-El
  14. Phantom Girl
  15. Polar Boy
  16. Quislet
  17. Saturn Girl
  18. Sensor Girl
  19. Shadow Lass
  20. Shrinking Violet
  21. Sun Boy
  22. Tellus
  23. Timber Wolf
  24. Tyroc
  25. Ultra Boy
  26. Wildfire

It’s been just a little disconcerting juggling the 2010-2013 Legion roster with the Legion roster of the 2022 JL vs. LSH mini-series.

It did seem a bit silly for the Legion election to take place simultaneously with the deadly Durlan onslaught. How is Mon-El’s election as the Legion’s next leader going to work with his selection as the next Green Lantern?

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #155

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Romans 8:18-28 on “Groaning for Glory.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 7:1-6 on “Released from the Law.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, September 11th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Groaning for Glory

Pastor Cody Andrews – Released from the Law

New Series: Reformanda Initiative Podcasts

I’ve been blogging for…sheesh…seven-plus years now and over that long span the bulk of my 2300+ posts have been devoted to outreach to Roman Catholics and educating evangelicals about Rome’s false gospel and the dangers of ecumenism. In my research, I’ve come across several ministries that address Roman Catholicism. One of the best that I’ve found is the Reformanda Initiative, led by Dr. Leonardo De Chirico. Others associated with Reformanda Initiative include Gregg Allison and Michael Reeves. I respect these three solid theologians and brothers in the Lord very much.

Reformanda Initiative produces blog posts, articles, books, seminars, videos, and podcasts informing both Catholics and evangelicals about Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit in comparison to the genuine Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Last week, I presented a couple of interesting RI podcasts that dealt with the topic of “invalid” RC baptisms, a topic I’ve touched upon previously. While preparing that post, I noticed that RI has an archive of 54 podcasts dealing with RC-ism, hopefully with many more to come. It occurred to me that the podcasts would be excellent material for a weekly series. Each Monday, I’ll post a single podcast and also include the introductory notes from the RI staff along with my own short evaluation. We’ll begin the podcasts next Monday.

I’m really excited about this new series! By myself, I’m just one ex-Catholic, born-again, believing blogger with no formal theological education swimming against the rising tide of ecumenical compromise with Rome. What a joy it will be to “team” with a formidable ministry in Christ like the faithful and knowledgeable brethren of the Reformanda Initiative.

Reformanda Initiative website

Next week: Season 1, Episode 1: What is the Reformanda Initiative?

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/24/22

Evangelical pastors misguidedly love to quote Anglican and Oxford intellectual, C.S. Lewis, who believed in purgatory along with other heterodoxies and propagated an ecumenically-inclusive Mere Christianity. See my review of Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” here.

What to make of the alleged blood relic of St. Januarius (d. 305) liquifying on his feast day, September 19th? The RCC won’t submit the two vials of alleged blood for scientific examination. Read the wiki article here.

The 2018 Vatican-Beijing accord brokered by pope Francis allows the Chinese communist government unprecedented interference in the administration of the Chinese Catholic church. Cardinal Zen opposed the deal as the betrayal that it was/is and was summarily arrested. Francis’ critics say that the pope has pragmatically thrown Zen and conservative Chinese Catholics under the bus.

When I was a Catholic grammar school student in the 1960s, the nuns frequently cited Ireland as THE exemplary Catholic nation and society. The country subsequently turned en masse against RC-ism with the revelations of widespread abuse.

Evangelicals’ accommodation and acceptance of Roman Catholicism and its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit is a disgrace and a betrayal of the genuine Gospel. The writer of this article identifies J.I. Packer as an “anti-Catholic,” which is preposterous. Packer was an ecumenist way back in the 1960s, much to the consternation of his ex-friend, Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Packer sunk to ignominious lows as one of three evangelical signatories (along with Chuck Colson and Richard Land) of the 1994 “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” declaration. What a scandal it is to the genuine Gospel when a Catholic priest is appointed Dean of Students at an allegedly “evangelical” seminary.

The term, “evangelical,” has largely lost most of its meaning.

The S&G steamroller will not accommodate what the Bible teaches regarding homosexuality. The Bible will be increasingly viewed as “hate literature” and Gospel Christians will be marginalized in the same category as Ku Klux Klan-ers.

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #17: “The Bible says that other people ‘strengthen’ as leaders in the Church.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard concludes his chapter, “Leader of the Church,” advocating for Petrine primacy and papal authority using Luke 22:31-32 as his proof text.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

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Protestant response #17: “The Bible says that other people ‘strengthen’ as leaders in the Church.”

Writes Broussard, “Some Protestants also deny the significance of Peter’s instruction to strengthen the brethren because the terminology of “strengthening” is used elsewhere in the New Testament. James White is one example:

[W]e find no basis for reading papal prerogatives into the passage, for such terminology is common in the New Testament. For example, the term used here [sterizein] (Acts 14:22; 15:32; 15:41; 18:23) is used of Paul’s confirming the churches of Syria and Cilicia, of Judas and Silas’s confirming the brethren at Antioch, and of Timothy’s confirming the Thessalonian Church. Amazingly, Paul uses the same Greek term in writing to the Church of Rome: “For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established” (Rom. 1:11). And in Romans 16:25 Paul praises God, who is able to strengthen them according to his [Paul’s] gospel! No mention is made of Peter at all!” – from “The Roman Catholic Controversy,” p. 115.

Broussard’s response

“A motif being used for multiple people doesn’t mean they are equal with regard to what the motif expresses. In our case, Scripture tells us that God strengthens, and Paul strengthens, and Peter strengthens, but we are not forced to conclude that each means the same thing. Other details must be taken into consideration to determine how the motif applies to each individual. Are there details indicating that Peter must strengthen the brethren in a way that’s unique to his role as leader? There are: all the evidence we gave in our response to the previous objection. Peter receives the command to strengthen the brethren, which the context reveals to be the apostles, immediately after Jesus told them that Satan was going to sift them all and promised to pray exclusively for Peter. This indicates that Peter had a special task of “strengthening” that the other apostles did not. Also, both the promised prayer and the command to strengthen come after Jesus told all the apostles that he’s assigning to them the kingdom (v.29) but affirming that among them one is the greatest and the leader” (p. 66).

My response

James White presents a credible argument in his rebuttal of Catholicism’s use of Luke 22:31-32 as a proof-text for Petrine primacy and papal authority. All Christian leaders are to strengthen the brethren.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-12

Peter certainly was a leader of the apostles and he did strengthen the brethren following his betrayal and repentance, but extrapolating the papal office from Luke 22:31-32 is preposterous.

In the previous verses, Luke 22:28-30, Jesus promises the apostles that they would all sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, but a special position is not accorded to Peter as one would expect if Petrine primacy was valid.

Next week: Broussard begins yet another chapter arguing for Petrine primacy, titled “Chief Shepherd of the Flock,” in which he uses John 21:15-17 as his proof text. He begins with Protestant response #18: “The exchange is merely to give Peter the opportunity to make up for the three times he denied Christ.”

Throwback Thursday: Jack Chick dead at 92

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 26, 2016 and has been revised.

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Chick Publications has announced that its founder, the mysterious Jack Chick (photo above), died this past Sunday (October 23, 2016) at the age of 92.

Several months ago, I posted my memories of Chick tracts. See here. Chick took a conspiratorial approach to Roman Catholicism and managed to blame every calamity that beset the Western world on the Vatican and/or the Jesuits.

“According to Chick, the Vatican was responsible for creating Islam, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), as well as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He also accused the Catholic Church of having been responsible for the Holocaust, the founding of Communism, Nazism, and the Ku Klux Klan; starting the World Wars; masterminding the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Great Depression and the assassinations of U.S. Presidents Lincoln* and Kennedy.” – from Wikipedia

Whoops! The contributors to the Wikipedia article neglected to mention that Chick also claimed the Vatican created Freemasonry and Christian Science and that Jim Jones of the People’s Temple was a secret Jesuit who orchestrated the Jonestown Massacre in order to discredit Protestantism.

Certainly, the Vatican and the Jesuits were complicit in all manner of historically verifiable persecutions and skullduggery, but Chick’s claims were “off the charts” ridiculous.

Chick’s outrageous allegations against the Vatican and the Jesuits impeded the efforts of responsible outreach to Roman Catholics. Taking a cue from his conspiracy mania, could it be that Jack Chick was secretly a Jesuit agent, under orders to undermine credible Gospel witness to Catholics? No, I’m not serious, but who can argue with the end results? In the final analysis, Jack Chick was the Jesuits’ best friend by making outreach to Catholics look ridiculous in the minds of many.

Jack Chick, fundamentalist Christian cartoonist, dies at 92 – Associated Press article

Jack Chick – Wikipedia article

*Well, there’s actually some circumstantial evidence that the RCC may have played a role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. See my relevant post here.

Note from 2022: Some evangelical Christians of recent years have regrettably become enmeshed in conspiracy theory mongering à la Jack Chick.