Christians and Muslims: Brothers and Sisters?

We’re seeing growing anti-Muslim sentiment in this country as a reaction to ISISlhhh terrorism. In support of Muslims, Larycia Hawkins, a teacher at Wheaton College,

an evangelical school, recently stated, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” The college suspended Hawkins for her remarks. See the story below.

In our “post-modern” age, with its emphasis on relativism, inclusivism, and plurality anyone who claims their way is the ONLY way is going to be increasingly frowned upon.

But Jesus DID claim He was the ONLY way. He came into this world and died for the sins of everyone. He defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave and He offers the free gift of salvation to all those who accept Him as their Savior.

Christ’s disciples went out into the world spreading the Good News of salvation through Jesus. They went to the Jews. They went to the followers of the various religions throughout the Roman world. Theirs was not a message of relativism, inclusivism, and plurality but of ONLY ONE WAY of salvation through Jesus. They suffered for their exclusivist message. Many died for the cause of Christ. Universalists can’t support their wide-is-the-way theology through the testimony of the early church

Muslims believe Jesus was only a prophet. They don’t believe He was God the Son. They don’t believe He died on the cross at Calvary. Like Catholicism, Islam believes in salvation through a combination of grace and works. See here. The pope and the Catholic church view Muslims as brothers and sisters because they both allegedly worship the same God of Abraham. Catholicism claims to be the umbrella of salvation for the entire world; everyone, even atheists, will be saved through the church if they “follow the light they are given” and are “good.” That’s a man-made fabrication and a lie. That was NOT the message of the early church. That is NOT the message of God’s Word.

Salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Francis is wrong. Hawkins is wrong.

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Christians and Muslims don’t worship same God, SBC leader says

December 18, 2015

https://baptistnews.com/faith/theology/item/30771-christians-and-muslims-don-t-worship-same-god-sbc-leader-says

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  • 1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
  • 1 John 2:23 Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
  • 1 John 5:10-12 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
  • 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
  • John 5:23 So that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.
  • Matthew 11:27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
  • Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (JESUS).”
  • John 14:6-7 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
  • John 1:11-12 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
  • John 3:16-18 Jesus says, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”
  • John 5:21-22 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge,
  • John 6:35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
  • John 6:47-48 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life!
  • John 8:51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”
  • John 10:9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.
  • John 10:27-28 Jesus says, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,
  • John 11:25-26 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”
  • John 12:48 Jesus says, But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.
  • Acts 2:36 “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”
  • Acts 16:30-33 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.
  • Romans 5:21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Ephesians 4:4-6 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
  • Romans 8:2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
  • Romans 8:11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
  • Romans 10:9-11 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”
  • Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
  • 1 John 1:7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
  • Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
  • Hebrews 9:14-15 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.
  • Hebrews 9:24-28 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
  • 1 John 2:1-2 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

 

 

Catholics continue to persecute Evangelicals in Mexico

We’ve all heard about Muslims persecuting Christians in the Middle East and Africa butEMEX the ongoing story of Catholics persecuting Evangelicals in Mexico is somehow left out of the evening news.

Here’s the latest sordid episode:

7 evangelical Christians jailed for refusing to convert not to Islam but to Catholicism in Mexico

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/7.evangelical.christians.jailed.for.refusing.to.convert.not.to.islam.but.to.catholicism.in.mexico/74040.htm

For my earlier posts on this outrageous situation see here and here.

Catholicism had an ugly history of oppressing Protestants in league with civil governments in countries where it had the majority right up into the 20th-century and this legacy continues in parts of Latin America.

American journalists recently compared Donald Trump’s Muslim-baiting to anti-Catholicism in the U.S. one hundred years ago (see my post here) while Catholic intolerance continues to rear its ugly head just south of the border with no comment.

Mother Teresa to be canonized

On Wednesday, pope Francis approved a decree confirming a second miracle attributed toMTTTT the intercession of Mother Teresa, clearing the way for her to be canonized as a “saint” in 2016.

Mother Teresa died in 1997 and it’s VERY unusual for someone to be proclaimed a “saint” after only 19 years but the church knows it has a very hot marketing commodity on its hands.

Even some Evangelical pastors have used Mother Teresa as an example of “Christian” charity in their sermons but when you peel back the onion a few layers you’ll find there’s more to Mother Teresa’s legacy than the popular, group-think affirmations. I’ve already published a couple of posts on Mother Teresa here and here so I’ll restrain myself from any additional commentary.

Christian radio and podcast host, Todd Friel, provides some very interesting thoughts on Mother Teresa in a You Tube audio here.

Apologist Dave Hunt offers some comments on Mother Teresa in a You Tube video here.

A bleeding communion wafer? Well, not quite.

Late last month the national press picked up a story out of Salt Lake City whereBCW parishioners at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church were claiming a communion wafer was bleeding. Catholics from all over the area flocked to the church to worship the “miraculous” wafer. Catholics believe their priests transform bread wafers into the literal body, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ during the mass.

However, after investigating the phenomenon, the Diocese of Salt Lake City announced on Wednesday that the stains on the wafer were actually red mold, not blood.

http://fox13now.com/2015/12/16/bleeding-host-was-mold-not-miracle-according-to-diocese/

As Gregg Allison points out in “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” (see my review here), Catholic theology utilizes a nature-grace interconnection which posits the concrete conferring of grace through nature (priests, sacraments, sacramentals, shrines, relics, buildings, etc.). Catholicism is all about the physical. Spirituality is going to church, participating in the sacraments, and regularly using sacramentals. Accepting Christ is ingesting the consecrated wafer at mass. Catholics are taught God’s grace comes through their church’s sacraments. They must then “cooperate with grace” and perfectly obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules to merit their salvation.

But none of us are ever “good enough” to merit Heaven. Not even close. We all fall far short of God’s perfect holiness. So God, in His mercy, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life and be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. He was the Lamb of God without one single blemish. Jesus paid the full price for all of our sins on Calvary. Praise God, He rose from the dead and He offers His free gift of salvation to all those who accept Him. I have absolutely no plea before a Holy God other than the perfect, imputed righteousness of my Savior.

Forsake all of your own efforts to earn your way to heaven. They won’t work. After you “turn over a new leaf” on January 1st you’ll be as much of a sinner in God’s eyes as you were on December 31st. Believe me, I tried that route more than a few times. Turn away from all those who tell you that you must merit your salvation. Pray to Jesus and ask Him to save you. After you accept Christ as Savior only then can you attempt to obey Him and serve Him as Lord. Find a good Evangelical church in your area that teaches the “Good News” of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE, without compromise.

“One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:39-43

 

 

 

“Old School” critique of Roman Catholicism redux

Catholicism Against Itself, Volume 2CAI2
By O. C. Lambert
Self-published, 1965, 266 pages

In this sequel, Lambert builds upon the information previously presented in Volume 1 (1954). Once again the author copies and pastes extensively from Catholic sources to demonstrate how the church’s traditions often blatantly contradict the teaching in its own translations of Scripture (Confraternity, Douay, Knox’s, etc.).

Like Volume 1, this is very slow and laborious reading because of the detailed and often repetitious material. But the author must be commended for his exhaustive research. I’ve read many critiques of Roman Catholicism over the years but the Catholicism Against Itself books are invaluable resources for examples of pre-Vatican II Catholic teaching and practice.

Like Boettner and other writers of the time period, Lambert warns his readers of the consequences of encroaching Catholic church-state hegemony. History has shown those concerns to have been unwarranted. Catholic political influence as waned considerably since the time this book was published and pope Francis can’t even motivate his American members to attend mass on Sunday. The real danger to Christian witness has been the increasing cooperation of some Evangelicals with Rome and their compromise and betrayal of the Gospel of grace on the altar of ecumenism.

Chapters:
I. Jews in the Old Testament Changed the Law
II. Discount the Bible
III. Catholics Do Not Believe the Bible
IV. Catholics Contradict the Bible
V. Delete and Mistranslate the Bible
VI. The Canon
VII. The Divine Pattern
VIII. Tradition
IX. Catholics Do Not Claim to Follow the Bible
X. Catholic Law
XI. The Priesthood, Mary, and the Pope
XII. Claim of Superior Education-Fosters Ignorance Instead
XIII. History of Infallibility
XIV. The Sacraments
XV. Marriage
XVI. Extreme Unction
XVII. Baptism
XVIII. Eucharist
XIX. Penance

See my earlier review of Volume 1 here.

Both Volume 1 and 2 can be bought from Amazon 3rd-party used book sellers although Volume 2 is becoming increasingly rare. Avoid the abridged paperback edition.

For over 280 books which examine Roman Catholicism with God’s Word see my Books tab here.

Sorry, no unbaptized babies allowed!

Catholics like to believe their church is the unchanging, “one true church,” but even aBFC casual student of church history knows Catholic theology has always been evolving.

I’m currently reading “Catholicism Against Itself, Volume 2” (1965) by O. C. Lambert and there’s one bit of information I came across that I’d like to focus on.

We all know Catholics view baptism as the initial gateway to Heaven. It was once believed that if a person wasn’t baptized they couldn’t go to Heaven. Period. This belief extended to infants. Personnel at Catholic hospitals were instructed to go to great lengths to baptize all newborns who were in danger of dying.

Although never “official” doctrine it was widely disseminated by the church that the souls of unbaptized babies went to a place in hell called “limbo.” Furthermore, unbaptized babies were not permitted to be buried in Catholic cemeteries.

[Long pause for effect]

You read that right. Babies who were not baptized were refused burial in “blessed” Catholic cemeteries.

“If (the fetus or child is) not baptized, it should be buried in unconsecrated ground, without any religious rites.” – Quizzes on Hospital Ethics (1946), 57-58. See also the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), 11, 267, Administrative Legislation (1930) 87, and Medical Ethics (1949), 245.

These days the Catholic church no longer talks about limbo. It now states that it “hopes” all unbaptized infants will go to Heaven. – CCC 1261.

When did the change in church doctrine take place? Canon 1183 in the 1983 edition of Canon law replaces the no-burial-for-unbaptized-babies policy found in the 1917 Canon however the mourning family must still obtain the permission of the presiding bishop to bury their unbaptized dead child in a Catholic cemetery.

I shake my head in sadness for all the bereaving families who had to endure this grievous offense. Catholic bishops wouldn’t allow unbaptized infants to be buried in their cemeteries but they allowed pedophile priests and members of organized crime.

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” – Matthew 23:4-5

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14

“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

The Gospel – salvation by God’s grace through accepting Christ as Savior by faith – is so simple even a child can understand, unlike the mile-long, legal laundry list, one-year RCIA indoctrination that Catholicism imposes. There’s no salvation in trying to obey your way to Heaven.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” – Romans 3:20-22

 

 

Rob Zins and A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics

Evangelical minister, Rob Zins (see photo), has been reaching out to Roman Catholics withRZ1 the Gospel of Jesus Christ for many years through his ministry, CWRC – A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics. See the organization’s website here. Additional resources for Roman Catholics can be found on my Links tab here.

Zins has written a couple of excellent books on Roman Catholicism that I’ll review very briefly below.

Romanism: The Relentless Roman Catholic Assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ
White Horse Publications, 1995, 277 pages

Zins answers the sophistry of Catholic apologist, Karl Keating, by comparing the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone with Rome’s gospel of sacramental grace and perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments and church rules. I especially enjoyed Zins’ stinging critique of Chuck Colson’s misguided “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” ecumenical project.

On the Edge of Apostasy: The Evangelical Romance with RomeRZ2
White Horse Publications, 1998, 285 pages

Zins does a masterful job of examining the regrettable courtship with Rome pursued by some Evangelicals. The Catholic church continues to affirms all of its unscriptural, Tridentine doctrines but some accommodating, compromising Evangelicals increasingly turn to Catholics as co-belligerents and fellow “Christians” in the fight against the erosion of social morality, betraying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This book is largely a critique of “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals:
Agreements and Differences” (1995) by Roman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie, two Evangelical theologians who conclude the Catholic church is Christian despite its many anti-Biblical doctrines. See my earlier post regarding that book here. Zins effectively argues that, because Rome teaches salvation “by grace” PLUS works, along with many other heresies, it cannot possibly be considered a Christian church. Amazingly, Geisler and MacKenzie openly concede that Catholicism teaches works-righteousness in opposition to the Gospel but STILL conclude Romanism is Christian! Absolutely incredible! Evangelical compromisers cite “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” as one of their favorite resources regarding Evangelical-Catholic ecumenism. The damage done to Christian witness by Geisler, MacKenzie, and other Gospel-compromising, Judas theologians, pastors, and para-church leaders cannot be overstated. Christian leaders who refuse to join in the betrayal of the Gospel are finding themselves increasingly marginalized within “mainstream” Evangelicalism.

Used copies of both books are available at Amazon.com. See my Books tab here for over 280 books that compare Roman Catholicism to God’s Word.

There are also MANY excellent videos available on You Tube featuring Rob Zins speaking on Roman Catholicism or debating Catholic apologists. See here.

Please pray for Rob Zins and A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics and pray that young Evangelicals will respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading and take up the call to reach Roman Catholics for Jesus Christ.

Pope: “None can say, ‘I am already saved.'”

Last week 50,000 people witnessed pope Francis opening the “holy doors” of St. Peter’sPFHD Basilica. These special doors are opened only on the occasion of a “jubilee” year. The pope has designated the next 12 months as the jubilee “Year of Mercy.” See the article far below.

In addition to other “acts of mercy” offered by the church during the year, Catholics will be able to receive a plenary (full) indulgence if they walk through the “holy doors” in conjunction with a trip to the confessional, receiving communion, and praying for the pope.

What is a plenary indulgence, you ask? Catholics believe they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments (absolutely impossible even within a single 24-hour period!) and church rules in order to merit Heaven. If they commit a “mortal” sin they must confess it to a priest or it will send them to hell. But even after they confess their “mortal” sins to a priest and he forgives them (“Who can forgive sins but God alone?” – Mark 2:7), some “temporal” punishment remains which must be satisfied in this life or in “purgatory.” So walking through the “holy doors” will allegedly satisfy all pending temporal punishment that’s been accumulated up to that point in a Catholic’s life. Ach! A person needs a personal canon lawyer to keep track of all of this contrived religious proceduralism.

For those unfortunate Catholics who can’t afford the air fare to Rome, doors at bishop’s cathedrals throughout the world have been conveniently designated as “holy doors” with the same “powers” for the next twelve months.

During his address to the crowd, the pope also stated, “None of us can say, ‘I am holy, I am perfect, I am already saved.’ ”

Sigh.

Where do I begin with all of this legalistic, ritualistic rigmarole? Catholicism has more rules and rituals than Carter has pills. Walk through “holy doors” to receive “indulgences”? The pope’s statement that no one can say they are already saved? Are you hearing this, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, and all of you other compromisers?

Catholics give lip service to salvation by grace through faith but they actually believe salvation comes by receiving their sacraments, which supposedly give them the grace to avoid committing “mortal” sins so they can “cooperate with grace” and merit their way to heaven by perfectly obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. Catholics believe no one can say they are already saved because their salvation depends upon their perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules right up until the moment of their death. Jesus brought Good News but there’s NOTHING good or joyous about Catholicism’s doctrine of merited salvation.

In contrast, Evangelicals believe in the GOOD NEWS! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! When I accepted Jesus as my Savior He clothed me with His perfect righteousness. I don’t have a single plea of my own before a Holy and Just God.  If I had a lifespan of a million years I wouldn’t be able to point to even a single day where I measured up to God’s perfect standard of holiness. But my Savior lived a perfect life for an entire 33-years and He offered Himself as my sacrifice so that I could go free.

I don’t need any “holy doors” or “indulgences.” Those things are all man-made traditions that can’t be found in God’s Word. My Savior paid the entire debt for my unworthy, disobedient, sinful self. Hallelujah!! Praise the Lord!!! Thank you, Jesus!!!!!!!!!

Francis is absolutely right. A dutiful Catholic could never be so presumptuous as to say they are saved because their salvation depends upon their own sorry efforts. But Evangelical, born-again Christians can SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOPS we are saved because our salvation depends solely on the perfect, imputed righteousness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:20

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 18:13-14

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” – Philippians 3:9

“Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” – Romans 3:22

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8

“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:34-36

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:13

The truth is the VAST majority of Catholics don’t bother with obligatory mass on Sunday or yearly confession let alone this “holy door” superstition. There’s no “mercy” in Catholicism. It’s a tyrannical religious treadmill meant to keep the credulous Catholic in the pew (for those who still bother) under the thumbs of priests, bishops, and the pope. Forsake dead, man-made religious traditions and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior!

http://www.gotquestions.org/sinners-prayer.html

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Pope Francis on Tuesday ushered in a yearlong celebration dedicated to the theme of mercy

http://www.heraldrecorder.org/world/pope-francis-on-tuesday-ushered-in-a-yearlong-celebration-dedicated-to-the-theme-of-mercy-20155868/

National Geographic’s “The Cult of Mary”

“The Cult of Mary” debuted on the National Geographic Channel yesterday evening. If youCOM missed it the documentary will be re-broadcast next Sunday, December 20th, at 9 A.M. ET. The DVD version is scheduled to be released on March 15, 2016.

“Explorer examines the global phenomenon of the “cult” of Mary. The episode opens a window into the many ways devotees venerate the Virgin Mary. From a small community in Alabama to thousands of people gathering in Mexico, Mary draws millions of people to shrines and sustains religious tourism that’s estimated to be worth billions of dollars a year. The film is a journey into the heart of modern-day Mary devotion around the world.” – from the National Geographic web site here.

Some highlights:

  • The program focuses mainly on the continuing alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina along with apparitions in the United States claimed by former visitors to Medjugorje.
  • Becki Berg suffers from terminal brain cancer and visits Medjugorie hoping for a cure through the intercession of one of the visionaries. Becki died this past October.
  • Marian devotee, Terry Colafrancesco, befriends one of the Medjugorje visionaries and proceeds to create a multi-million dollar Marian community in Birmingham, Alabama called Caritas. Detractors accuse Colafrancesco and Caritas of cult-like manipulation of it’s live-in members. Caritas claims frequent Marian visits at its Birmingham complex.
  • Gianna Sullivan, a visitor to Medjugorje, returns to her home in Emmitsburg, Maryland and claims to receive regular visits from Mary.
  • The Catholic church currently does not recognize the Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, Birmingham, or Emmitsburg.

I enjoyed this documentary very much but, unfortunately, the interviewees were all Catholic. The creators should have included a dissenting, Evangelical perspective on Mariolatry. To its credit, the show does mention that Mary is barely mentioned in the New Testament and that her cult grew within Catholicism to eventually rival the devotion given Jesus Christ.

See my earlier posts on Mariolatry here.

Catholicism has strayed so unbelievably far from the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

“While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” – Matthew 12:46-50.

The Vatican: Don’t try to convert Jews????

Last week the Vatican announced Catholics should not try to convert Jews (see thePJJJ article far below). This announcement ties in with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate (In our Time) declaration, which conceded there was a certain amount of truth in all religious faiths and that it was possible for members of all other works-righteousness creeds to earn their salvation. Nostra Aetate took an especially conciliatory tone towards Jews. See my earlier post here.

No one should be surprised by last week’s statement. The current pope says even atheists can merit Heaven if they are “good” so why would Catholics even think about converting Jews? Truth be told, efforts to convert Jews to Catholicism were probably next to nil anyway. The Catholic church can’t even convince its own membership to obey its obligatory rules let alone converting Jews (only 24% of American Catholics attend weekly mass and only 12% go to confession at least once a year).

In contrast to works-righteous Catholicism, God’s Word says no one is “good,” which is why God the Son, Jesus Christ, came into this world and died for our sins. All those who accept Him as Savior will have their sins forgiven and will be given the gift of eternal life.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

The Catholic church claims to be the “one true church” guided by the Holy Spirit through the infallible papal successors of Peter the apostle. But this curious ex-Catholic wonders about the following:

  • For over one-thousand years the Catholic church attempted to forcibly “convert” Jews. Jews who resisted baptism in various Catholic city-states and countries were often either expelled or killed. Was the Holy Spirit guiding the church in this endeavor? Was the Holy Spirit guiding devout Catholics when they herded Jews into ghettos or instigated pogroms? Was the Holy Spirit guiding church inquisitors when they tortured suspected crypto-Jews?
  • Readers of the New Testament know Peter, Paul, and the rest of the early church ceaselessly tried to reach both Jews and Gentiles with the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So what do Catholics think when the pope implies Peter, Paul, and the rest of the early church had it all wrong by declaring there is no need to try to convert Jews?!?! Were Peter, Paul, and the other apostles right about winning Jews to Christ or are the modern popes right?

But Catholics surely don’t preach the Gospel that was preached by Peter, Paul and the early church anyway. Catholicism teaches salvation by sacramental grace and perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments and church law. Because religious Jews also believe in salvation by being “good” it follows that the current pope would say, “Good enough.”

 

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Vatican Says Catholics Should Not Try to Convert Jews

By Gaia Pianigiani

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/world/europe/vatican-says-catholics-should-not-try-to-convert-jews.html?_r=0