Weekend Roundup – News and Views – 12/31/16

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year! Here’s some of the news reports that caught mydt eye from the last seven days:

I’m not a fan of politics but I do think it’s interesting that Trump chose Paula White (pictured) to pray at his inauguration. She’s certainly not my cup of tea but no more so than several of the other folks that were invited to pray. I actually think a prosperity gospel preacher complements Trump’s mindset quite well.

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” – James 4:4-5

The irony about Graham is no one has led more people to Christ and yet no one is more responsible for muddying the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Expect more and more pastors to lead their flocks into error on this issue.

Fewer and fewer evangelical pastors are taking a stand against the errors of Rome. I’m grateful some still have a backbone.

How does Osteen sleep at night?

The Amoris controversy continues to churn but it remains to be seen whether cardinal Burke and company will break away from Rome.

There actually is no hope in Rome’s gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

A small percentage of Catholics still believe their church’s teaching that if they miss mass on Sunday they are doomed to hell. So they anxiously await word from their bishop or priest during periods of inclement weather to hear if the obligation has been lifted.

What’s happening in Brazil is happening throughout South America; many are leaving Catholicism for “evangelicalism.” Unfortunately, many of the churches involved preach the prosperity gospel.

Catholicism has always utilized syncretism – the mixture of paganism with (c)hristianity.

Catholic seminaries both attracted and promoted sexual deviancy. At the Catholic high school I attended, several of the Christian Brothers were obviously gay. One of my guidance counselors circumspectly attempted to “befriend” me. We all laughed about it at the time.

Catholics love to tell of historical anti-Catholicism in this country but they’re oddly silent about the persecution of Protestants in Catholic Europe which fueled the fear and distrust.

Since as long as I can remember, Israel has gone to the diplomatic negotiations table while simultaneously building settlements in disputed territory. It’s my opinion that the Lord providentially raised up the United States to be a strong and powerful nation so that it could support the re-born nation of Israel in its struggle to survive.

The Church Militant people and other likeminded traditionalists remind me of the Catholicism of my youth when we were taught all Protestants were going to hell.

I’m always encouraged whenever I hear about Catholics reading the Bible for themselves. Some who read God’s Word will notice the incongruity between Scripture and their church and will leave Catholicism and accept Christ.

U.S. Catholic churches are closing at an amazing rate as fewer and fewer Catholics support their church. One of the reason for the closings is a number of Catholics have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and are joining growing evangelical fellowships. Many Catholic families now have one of those “born-again” black sheep in the fold. Praise Jesus!

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Uh-oh. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

It’s hard for me to believe but I’ve been working at Kodak for close to 41 years. When Idi started there in 1976 it was still a Dow Jones dynamo with 60,000 people employed locally. Back then the cameras and film flew off the store shelves faster than we could re-supply them. My, things certainly have changed! Goodbye film and cameras! Hello cellphones! The company is now just a shell of itself with only about 3000 employed in the Rochester area.

I started in the company with a guy named Doug who was a few years older than me. After working at Kodak for about a year, Doug got the idea of joining the Marine Corps. and going to law school on their dime. Doug didn’t strike me as someone who could survive 13-weeks at Parris Island boot camp but I kept my mouth shut. On his last day, the department threw a big going-away party for Doug at a local restaurant. There was toast after toast. Back in the 1970s, with money coming in hand over fist, they didn’t need much of an excuse at Kodak to throw a work party.

Well, after about a month, there was Doug back at the time clock punching in again, a little slimmer and with a Marine crew cut. Nothing needed to be said and nothing was said. The look of shame and embarrassment on his face said it all. He obviously didn’t make it through the agony of boot camp.

The Marine Corps. has some pretty high standards. Not every Tom, Dick, and Harry (or Mary) can waltz in off the street and make the grade. But as I read God’s Word, I began to understand how impossibly high God’s standards are. Parris Island is a cakewalk in comparison. God is absolutely perfect. God is holy even beyond our comprehension.

“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! – Isaiah 6:5

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

Me? Oy vey! I fail God every day in either thought, word, deed, or by omission. I could never measure up to God’s standard, not in a million years of trying. Only one person in the history of mankind ever met God’s holy and perfect standard and that was His Son, Jesus Christ. God knew we could never cut it on our own but He loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this world to live a perfect life and then take the punishment for our sins by dying on the cross. But Christ didn’t stay dead. He beat sin and the grave when He rose from the tomb. He offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all who repent of their sins and ask Him to save them by faith. Won’t you pray to Him today?

Last week I was driving home from work and I tuned into the local Catholic radio station. Talk show host, Al Kresta, and his guest were talking about Islam. Al stated that he felt sorry for Muslims because they had no joy. Allah seemed so stern and demanding unlike the (c)hristian’s God. But Catholics don’t have any true joy in the Lord, either. Not really. They have been taught they must constantly receive grace from the sacraments and then obey the Ten Commandments and church rules perfectly right up until the moment of their death. They can never be sure of their salvation because it all depends on how well they perform. Catholics are even taught that if they think they’re going to Heaven they commit the “sin of presumption.” They’re like Doug at boot camp; trying hard to make the grade but constantly worrying if the demanding drill instructor is going to send them away in defeat and humiliation.

I tried and tried but I couldn’t meet God’s holy standard. The Ten Commandment DIs were all over me: Not good enough. Too soft. No discipline. Caves easily to temptation. Disgusting. Shameful. A failure. Arrrgh!

I’m sooooooo happy my Savior stepped in and unlocked my fetters and pulled me out of the chain gang. He imputed His perfect righteousness to me, the last person who deserves it. I can offer no plea, no righteousness of my own, only the perfect righteousness of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Jesus, for saving me!!! Now that’s true JOY!!!

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

Who is pope Francis and why is he important to evangelical Christians?

 

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the pope of the Roman Catholic church on March 13, 2013, the very first Jesuit priest to hold the papal office. Pope Francis has endeared himself to the world for his simplicity (compared to previous popes) and for his many off-the-cuff remarks that seem to emphasize charity over doctrinalism. However, conservative Catholic clergy have become increasingly disenchanted with Francis, especially after his Amoris Laetitia encyclical, which, in essence, lifted the ban on communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Why should evangelical Christians care about Francis? In spite of all the headlines and controversies that surround Francis the main focus of his tenure has been the reunification of all (c)hristians under the mantel of Rome. He and the previous popes beginning with John XXIII have done a remarkable job of overcoming objections and preparing for reunification. One hundred years ago there were no evangelical pastors who considered the pope, with his gospel of sacramental grace and merit, to be their brother in Christ. But in a 2015 survey, 58% of evangelical pastors considered Francis to be their brother in Christ. What changed? Rome might have altered some of its window dressing but it certainly hasn’t changed any of its core doctrines. No, it’s evangelicalism that’s changed, from defending the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone to embracing error in a spirit of “tolerance” and “love.” Young men are graduating from evangelical seminaries and becoming pastors and leaders of ministries thinking the pope is a Christian and that unity with Rome is desirable. Chances are your current pastor or the next one will be preaching what a wonderful fellow the pope is and that Catholicism teaches the same gospel.

Above is a 28-minute video featuring Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries giving some interesting background information on pope Francis.

Below is a link to the Proclaiming the Gospel website.
http://www.pro-gospel.org/default.asp?sec_id=180014816

A Christmas Microcosm

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I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a joyous Christmas day with family and friends. As I’ve mentioned before (see here and here), a long time ago we didn’t celebrate Christmas for a couple of years because we had learned a lot about it’s pagan roots, but we now believe it’s better (for us) to use the day to spread the Gospel.

Our oldest son came over for Christmas dinner with his family. He doesn’t know the Lord. We also invited one of my sisters for dinner and to spend the night. Her husband died a couple of years ago and she had no place to go for the evening. She isn’t a believer either and we’ve had several “discussions” with her about the Bible and Christianity in the past.

Well, before dinner I led a prayer thanking the Lord for the food, that we could be together as a family, and that we could celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Who came into this world to die on the cross to pay the penalty for sin.

In conversation after dinner, our son tried pulling my leg by saying “Merry Christ-MASS” to me and stating that most people viewed the day as a secular holiday with no connection to Jesus. I answered that, despite the views of others, I connected the day to Jesus (as he already knew) and that we hoped he would someday have a relationship with Jesus as well. My wife and I take every good opportunity we can to tell our two sons about Jesus, even if it’s only a short couple of words.

After our son and his modern family left, we sat on the couch and talked with my sister. The conversation quickly turned to spiritual matters. My sister was raised Catholic as I was but doesn’t normally attend church. I thought all of my five sisters were agnostics/atheists from the conversations I’ve had with them but this one now admits to desiring a connection to God at this point in her life. Well, that’s a start! The last couple of years she paid the Catholic church down the road from her to have some masses “said” for our deceased parents to shorten their stay in purgatory. She attended mass on Christmas morning but she definitely doesn’t like certain aspects of the the contemporary ritual including the changing of some of the familiar wording of the prayers we were taught as children, that some people lift their hands up while singing and praying (she blamed that on the influence of “Southern Baptists,” no fooling!), and that everyone now has to hold hands while saying the “Our Father” together. She thinks it’s absolutely detestable that she’s required to physically touch anyone during mass. We had a long talk about Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity. She is very much against the Bible, especially after seeing a “documentary” on the History Channel about the alleged “spurious” origins of the Bible. Although she doesn’t trust the Bible, she believes in God but isn’t altogether sure about Jesus (this coming from someone who attended Catholic schools for 12 years – no Bible knowledge, zilch, zero, nada). We talked and argued, argued and talked. At the end of the conversation she agreed to visit our church this coming Sunday just to see what it’s like. We’re hoping she has a sincere desire for the truth but it seems tradition is the most important thing to her and she definitely won’t find that at our church. Would you please say a prayer for my sister? I finally hit the sack at 1 AM, which is a CRAZY hour for an old fuddy-duddy like me to stay up.

After my sister left yesterday morning, my wife and I just bummed around all day, we were so tired. I picked up Christmas day’s newspaper and right in the A-section was a full-page ad from the Hobby Lobby folks exhorting people to accept Jesus Christ as Savior (see photo). Love it! Praise Jesus! But in the very same section of the paper was an article from local columnist David Andreatta (see below) in which he describes his experiences as a “Chreaster,” a hands-off, nominal Catholic who attends church only on the big holidays; Christmas and Easter. Andreatta speaks for the vast majority of Catholics. The Gospel of salvation by Gods’ grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is not preached at Catholic mass. Instead, Catholics are taught salvation comes through receiving the Catholic sacraments and by obeying the Ten Commandments and church rules. But most members just don’t buy it anymore. Why should Catholics have to sit through the boring ritual week after week when their pope says even atheists will merit Heaven if they’re “good”? Andreatta writes, “Chreasters like us take the Golden Rule seriously, we just don’t see a link between “walking in love” and sitting in a pew every Sunday.” Andreatta speaks for most Catholics. For both nominal and practicing Catholics, the bottom line is attempting to live the “Golden Rule.” But God’s Word states none of us live the Golden Rule, which is why Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to die on the cross to pay for our sins, and offers the free gift of eternal life to all those who accept Him as their Savior by faith. There they were; the two very different gospels in the same newspaper on Christmas day; the Light and the darkness.


Christmas with the Chreasters
David Andreatta
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Sunday, December 25, 2016
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/columnists/andreatta/2016/12/22/andreatta-christmas-chreasters/95759380/

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” – Isaiah 55:6-7

Director Elia Kazan’s Third Film: “Boomerang”

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Directed by Elia Kazan and featuring Dana Andrews, Jane Wyatt, Lee J. Cobb, Arthur Kennedy, Cara Williams, and Karl Malden
20th Century Fox, 1947, 88 minutes

Fox producer, Louis de Rochemont, creator of “The March of Time” theatrical monthly newsreels and father of the film noir genre, enlisted Elia Kazan to direct “Boomerang.” De Rochemont’s movies were filmed on location and included non-actors to help achieve a semi-documentary sense of realism. The experience of directing “Boomerang” would have a profound effect upon Kazan’s career.

Plot

A popular Roman Catholic priest, father George Lambert (Wyrley Birch), is murdered in cold blood on a busy street corner of a small Connecticut city. As days go by without an arrest, a daily newspaper controlled by the ousted conservative (Republican) party foments public indignation. Demands for the newly elected reform (Democrat) government to find the killer reach fever pitch. A suspect, John Waldron (Arthur Kennedy), is finally arrested and police chief, Harold “Robbie” Robinson (Lee J. Cobb), coerces a confession. As the district attorney, Henry Harvey (Dana Andrews), prepares to prosecute the case, he uncovers some disturbing evidence that seems to exonerate Waldron. A corrupt reform government official, Paul Harris (Ed Beagley), fears drawn out court proceedings will expose a pending illegal property deal and threatens Harvey to press for a conviction. While presenting the evidence against Waldron, Harvey defies all proper courtroom protocol (you’ll have to see it to believe it) to conclusively prove the accused wasn’t the murderer, prompting Harris to commit suicide. At the film’s conclusion, the audience learns from the narrator that the actual killer (a mentally unbalanced man who stalked the courtroom during the trial) was a victim of a fatal auto accident and that the honorable DA went on to become the United States Attorney General.

Commentary

“Boomerang,” Kazan’s third film, was loosely based on the unsolved murder of priest, Hubert Dahme, in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1924. Filming was done in nearby Stamford rather than Bridgeport because of legal difficulties. “Boomerang” is often included in the film noir category although purists would object that it doesn’t meet all the criteria. This is a so-so story but the film is considered a significant step for Kazan because of it’s on-location, docu-drama realism. The cast is pretty good although leading man, Dana Andrews, plays his single pensive note throughout, looking most natural with a drink tumbler in his hand.  Jane Wyatt (“Father Knows Best”) portrays Harvey’s naive wife who serves drinks to “the boys” and little else. Lee J. Cobb is outstanding as the tough-as-nails police chief while corruption oozes out of every one of Ed Beagley’s sweaty pores. Cara Williams (baby boomers will remember her from the early-60s TV show, “Pete and Gladys”) plays an excellent femme fatale as Waldron’s ex-girlfriend. Sam Levene gives an entertaining performance as the wily reporter from the opposition newspaper. Yes, that’s playwright Arthur Miller making a cameo in a police lineup and Kazan’s Uncle Joe plays a small part as one of the witnesses. Numerous Stamford locals were featured in the film. Many of Kazan’s future movies would employ the on-location, docu-drama techniques he first utilized in “Boomerang” as he continued to move further towards realism.

The ending of this movie is quite unsatisfying. Everyone exits the courtroom applauding the DA for exonerating an innocent man, but they all seem to have forgotten that the killer remains at large. It’s also a bit unbelievable that Harris’s courtroom suicide didn’t seem to faze anyone after the gunsmoke cleared. Richard Murphy’s script was inexplicably nominated for an Oscar.

“Boomerang” is an indictment of both political parties for corruption and some have also suggested the film was Kazan’s thinly-veiled critique of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and its politically-motivated “witch hunts.” Kazan was eventually pressured to testify before HUAC as a friendly witness, earning the wrath of liberals throughout the remainder of his life.

The recently released Blu-ray edition of “Boomerang” includes two interesting audio commentary tracks; one from film noir historian, Imogen Sara Smith, and the other by film historians, Alain Silver and James Ursini.

Additional thoughts from a believer’s perspective

The priest’s murderer nervously watches the courtroom proceedings hoping Waldron is convicted in his place. When the case against Waldron collapses, the killer flees the courtroom in a panic.

We are all guilty of breaking God’s commandments and we all deserve eternal punishment. We can’t hide our sins from an omniscient and holy God. But God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay our sin debt on the cross of Calvary. Jesus rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and offers eternal life and everlasting fellowship with God to all those who accept Him as their Savior by faith. Christ paid your penalty so you could go free. Will you accept Him as your Savior?

Weekend Roundup – News & Views – 12/24/16

Here’s some of the news stories that caught my eye the last seven days:cm

A large number of Catholics will flock to church tomorrow – Christmas Sunday – to re-experience traditions and memories but they won’t be at mass on the Sundays that follow even though their church teaches them they will go to hell for missing obligatory weekly mass. But who can blame them? Mass is pretty much the same boring ritual week after week. There is no Good News! There is no joy in the Lord. Catholics are taught they must merit their salvation by obeying the Ten Commandments and church rules perfectly until their last dying breath. Catholic church is prison and everyone inside is in spiritual chains.

The religious lost will try to convince themselves and others to remain in chains in Egypt. But evangelical Christians should “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” – 1 Peter:3:15. Follow Yeshua/Joshua/Jesus into the Promised Land and leave religious chains behind.

It’s sad to see people choose religious chains and a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit rather than the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE.

Since becoming pope in 2013, Francis has made many statements disturbing to Catholic traditionalists. But his suggestion in Amoris Laetitia that divorced-and-remarried Catholics could receive communion under the pastoral guidance of their priests was the last straw. Will this controversy lead to schism or eventually “Peter” out? It’s my opinion that most traditionalists will wait for 80-year-old Francis to die in hopes that another conservative like Wojtyla or Ratzinger will ascend to the “chair of Peter” rather than split from Rome.

There’s little doubt Francis is examining various options on ending forced clerical celibacy, which didn’t become a requirement of the Catholic church until 1139. But don’t expect a change during Francis’s tenure. He’s already in enough hot water with his conservative cardinals.

Catholics protest that Marian devotion/worship ultimately leads to Christ worship. So why not go directly to Christ? Christians who read de Montfort’s appeals to Mary will be just as appalled by the blatant idolatry as Mary would be.

An interesting article on some of the details of the Vatican-approved massacre of Protestants in France in 1572.

Catholic priests vie for who can give the shortest homily and Catholics in the pew are quite happy about it so they can get home to watch the football game on TV. 27 words? Are you kidding me? After Spirit-filled, Christian preachers proclaim and expound upon the Word of God for one hour, Spirit-filled, born-again followers of Jesus Christ still want more and more and more!

Some of the Catholic lost are attracted to dead ritual and ceremony but many can’t stand the boredom of it all. And why should they have to suffer through it when their pope tells them that atheists can also merit Heaven if they’re “good.” That’s not Christianity, my friends.

The knee-jerk reaction of the Catholic hierarchy to clergy “scandal” has always been to protect its own.


To all of my readers, I wish you a joyous time with friends and family as we remember the birth of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But it’s not enough to know about Jesus. You must come to Him in prayer, repent of your sins, and accept Him as your personal Savior by faith. He came into this world to save all those who receive Him as Savior.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:12-13

Book offerings mirror what people are zealous about

On my way home from work today, I stopped at our local Barnes and Noble bookshop. I likebn to visit there every two or three weeks to see if there are any interesting new titles on the shelves although I rarely end up buying anything. Today the check-out line was wrapped around the aisles as Christmas shoppers were in high gear.

When I’m at the store you can usually find me in the History and Christianity sections. Have you ever seen the books in the History section at your local Barnes and Noble? Why, there’s literally hundreds of books on the Civil War and the Second World War dealing with every detail imaginable. There’s books on the minutiae of this battle and that campaign, books on armaments, generals, espionage, political aspects, etc., etc., etc. It’s obvious people can’t get enough of their Civil War and WWII. What about the War of 1812? Korea? World War I? The American Revolution? Nah, they can’t hold a candle to the Civil War and WWII.

Now what about the Christianity section? Well, there’s a very large selection of books about pope Francis (conservative Catholics won’t be buying them) and also many how-to-get-rich books from Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Joseph Prince, Brian Houston, and T.D. Jakes. But in that very large display of books are there any that critically examine Roman Catholicism and compare its teachings to the Bible? In the past year I did see a single copy of “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” by Gregg Allison but that was the only such book.

What am I getting at? People obviously can’t get enough of the micro details of the Civil War and WWII and how to get rich but there’s evidently no interest in the differences between Catholicism and Bible Christianity, even among Christians. Why would that be? Well, I believe that 1) this is an era of growing indifference to doctrinal purity. Christians would rather get their tummies tickled with lowest-common-denominator, “feel good” devotional materials than tangle with what constitutes good doctrine versus bad doctrine, and 2) closely related to #1 is the reluctance of Christians to make anyone “feel bad” by pointing out that their church does not preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. As a result, we have things like the pope and Mormon Glenn Beck featured at evangelical gatherings this past year.

It would seem from the books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble that people are extremely zealous about their military history trivia and about getting rich (whoops, let’s not forget about the romance novels, celebrity biographies, fashion magazines, etc.) but evidently very few are concerned about doctrinal truth and upholding the Gospel of grace by faith amidst efforts to compromise it and muddy it beyond recognition.

“But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” – Titus 2:1 

Amoris Laetitia: A potentially catastrophic crack in the dam or a glorious step towards “Christian unity”?

My mother-in-law died a slow, excruciating death from emphysema way back in theal early 1980s. I had accepted Christ about one year prior to her death and was able to witness to her several times before she accepted Jesus as her Savior. But the funeral services had already been arranged by members of the family including a Catholic mass. When it came time during the mass to receive communion, the priest invited everyone in attendance, Catholics AND Protestants, to participate. That was radical stuff back in 1984! The bishop of Rochester at the time, Matthew Clark, was a very liberal fellow who often turned a blind eye to deviations from Catholic orthodoxy (and perhaps encouraged them).

Roman Catholicism teaches its priests change bread wafers into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ at the mass. The priest then offers up the Jesus wafers to God the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of the congregants. People then line up to consume the Jesus wafer, believing it will impart grace so that the recipient will be better able to avoid sin and thereby merit Heaven. Rome teaches that only Catholics and members of Eastern Orthodox churches may receive its communion.

The church also theoretically only allows communion to those in a “state of grace” (without any mortal sin on their soul). Catholics who have divorced and remarried without an annulment of the first marriage were considered to be living in an ongoing adulterous relationship, a mortal sin, and were prohibited from receiving communion. That was the infallible teaching of the church for a millennia. But with divorce rates soaring among Catholics, and many divorced-and-remarried Catholics feeling alienated and falling away from the church, Pope Francis issued his Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) encyclical last April, which seems to pragmatically allow priests the ability to decide if remarried Catholics can receive communion on a case-by-case basis.

Traditionalists rightly see Amoris Laetitia as an assault on the infallible teaching  of all previous popes and hence the current standoff between conservative cardinals and Francis. But Amoris Laetitia is only the first crack in the dam. Liberal Catholic prelates such as German cardinal, Walter Kasper, mentioned in the articles below, anticipate the day when Catholics will share communion with Protestants as official practice. Kasper and others are like sharks who smell blood in the water with the publication of Amoris Laetitia and will be relentless in their demand for open communion, which will be a major step in recovering the “separated brethren” under the wings of Rome.

But what about Rome’s claim that its infallible teachings can’t be abrogated? Pope Francis winks at that dogma. He “bent” the rule for divorced remarrieds by using ambiguous language in this encyclical. How will he (or his successor) specifically get around no-communion for Protestants? I don’t know but rest assured it’s coming.


Could Non-Catholics Share Communion With Catholic Spouses At Last? This Cardinal Thinks So

Cardinal Kasper: Pope’s ‘next declaration’ should allow ‘shared Eucharistic communion’ with Protestants

5 Reasons I’m Not Catholic

I appreciate the good article below that was published on The Christian Post web site apf few days ago.


5 Reasons I’m Not Catholic
By Shane Idleman
The Christian Post
12/15/2016

I recently had the privilege of meeting a priest of a large parish in Southern California. The purpose of our conversation was to discuss the role of tradition in light of Scripture. Granted, some tradition is beneficial if it lines up with Scripture.

I have Catholic friends who are devoted to God — they are pillars in our community. I attended a Catholic High School and loved the faculty. I desire peace with all men, but the Bible also encourages me to boldly and confidently present a scriptural basis for truth.

To continue reading the article, click on the link below…

http://www.christianpost.com/news/5-reasons-im-not-catholic-172119/

Escape to chains

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermathlr
A&E Channel, Tuesdays at 10/9c

I was a big fan of the “King of Queens” television show (1998-2007), which featured Leah Remini (pictured) as Doug Heffernan’s no-nonsense wife, Carrie. It wasn’t a stretch to assume actress Remini shared many of the same tough-as-nails characteristics as her TV persona. Following “King of Queens,” Remini began to pop up in the media now and then regarding her very public split from the “church” of Scientology in 2013 and she now hosts this exposé on A&E.

I did a fair amount of research on religious cults way back in the day (especially on Mormonism) and I found Scientology to be one of the strangest. When I heard that Remini had a new show on the A&E cable channel that examined some of the less-flattering aspects of Scientology I was very interested and yesterday I watched the first two episodes via on-demand.

Scientology was dreamed up by science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, and claims to assist its members in achieving increasingly higher levels of self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment. There is absolutely no trace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the teachings of Scientology.

In the first couple of episodes of the TV show, Remini shares some of her own experiences within the church and then focuses on the harrowing testimonies of other ex-members. It’s one heartbreak after another. The Scientology hierarchy demands unwavering obedience from its members and controls their lives right down to personal details. Ex-members are shunned (referred to as “disconnection”), even by family members, and public criticism of the church brings harassment and worse. This is riveting television, folks, although the frequency of bleeped curse words out of Remini’s mouth would embarrass a sailor.

In other media, Remini has stated that she has re-joined the Catholic church where she was baptized as an infant. “Nobody is asking me for money. Nobody is demanding that I come,” she explained about her current association with Catholicism to a popular magazine. Well, the Catholic church does appeal for money and it does demand that its members show up for weekly mass upon pain of eternal damnation, but the legalism of Catholicism must appear as great freedom compared to Scientology. However, the history of the Catholic church is filled with examples of cruel and heartless authoritarianism of a kind that would make Scientology leader, David Miscavige, feel pretty good about his organization. Unfortunately, there have also been examples of Christian evangelical/fundamentalist churches that sought to control the lives of their members. The Catholic church does teach several biblical doctrines but it has many other teachings that are either un-biblical or anti-biblical.  Most importantly, Catholicism teaches salvation is by sacramental grace and merit in contrast to the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

A popular analogy floats around evangelicalism about a government treasury agent who studies only real currency in order to be able to spot the counterfeit. The message is that it’s much more valuable to study God’s Word than to “waste time” studying false religions. But if that’s the case then why do so many evangelicals embrace Roman Catholicism with its false gospel? Yes, we should diligently study God’s Word but we should also be somewhat aware of false religions, especially those that use Christian terminology like “faith,” “grace,” “Jesus the Savior,” etc. Satan’s most effective counterfeits aren’t those “wacko” outfits like Scientology but those that fool even the saints.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

There’s a lot of junk on television but “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” is definitely worth a watch. I feel a certain bond with Remini after coming out of a false church myself and sensing an obligation to warn those who remain behind and those who might be attracted to it. But it’s sadly ironic that Remini returned to the false church I left.