Weekend Update – News & Views – 12/17/16

I hope you all had a pleasant week. Here’s some news clips from the previous seven days:koc

Catholics were forbidden to join the Masons so the Knights of Colombus was created as a Catholic alternative. Remember the ads in the newspaper many years ago from the Knights offering free pamphlets about the Catholic religion (see photo)? The big hats with the plumes and the drawn swords just don’t fit into the age of the internet.

Even Darwin regretted that the fossil record didn’t provide evidence of transitional species.

The heated debate over communion for remarried Catholics continues. Will the Catholic church divide over this controversy? Many Catholic media outlets have been reluctant to acknowledge this feud between the pope and the conservative wing of the church but are now beginning to publicly acknowledge that this thing is a big deal.

Why would Catholics be more committed to their workplace than evangelicals? It occurs to me that there’s a larger percentage of Catholics in the industrial Northeast where many people were/are employed at a single company for many years and loyalty was fostered between employee and company?

Traditionalist Catholics don’t like ecumenism either. “Kind-hearted” evangelicals want to reach out and embrace everyone who names Jesus Christ as fellow believers but in order to do that they must compromise and betray the Gospel of grace.

If you constantly scan the Catholic news like I do, you’ll often see articles about Mary but rarely will you see an article about Jesus Christ.

Seventy-six percent of Catholics do not attend mass every Sunday, even though they are required to attend upon threat of eternal damnation. My heart sorrows for Catholic children raised in a religious system of legalism and ritual.

It wasn’t too long ago that Catholic clerical fascism ruled over many countries in Europe or played a significant role in national politics (e.g., Spain, Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Vichy France, Croatia, Poland, Italy). We’re now seeing a resurgence of far-right Catholic nationalism in such countries as France, Poland, and Hungary.

Opus Dei is Catholicism on steroids. Those people take their religion seriously (wearing cilices, self-flagellating, etc.) but there’s no sign of the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

I’m saddened by this news regarding R.C. Sproul Jr. We need to pray for him and his family. I’m posting this to remind us that we are nothing without the Lord. There is no goodness in our own flesh. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” – 1 Corinthians 10:12

Should evangelical Christians yoke together with Roman Catholics?

Should Protestants and Roman Catholics Intermarry?scan0005
By John Carrara
Zondervan, 1963, 32 pages

Brad was fourteen-years-old when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior at a youth event sponsored by his parents’ evangelical church. He loved reading God’s Word and following the Lord but soon he was off to college and a busy schedule of studies and sports. Brad met Sara in one of their senior classes and was smitten with the attractive and outgoing young woman. Their relationship grew and after graduation the couple became engaged. Sara was a Roman Catholic but that didn’t seem to be a big problem. She talked fondly about her church and Jesus. Brad’s parents were a little concerned that Sara was Catholic but Brad assured them that she also loved Jesus and pointed out that Billy Graham and some other popular evangelicals embraced Catholics as fellow Christians.

When it came time to make their wedding plans, Sara said she was required to get married at her church. Brad was fine with that. They sat down with the priest and discussed the arrangements. The priest asked Brad to sign an agreement promising that he would not interfere with Sara’s religious beliefs and that any children they had together would be raised in the Catholic faith. Brad was weirded out by all that but perceived the document as just one more hurdle to jump over on his way to wedded bliss.

The couple was finally married and settled into their new home. Brad didn’t have much time for the Lord in college or during the wedding process but began to follow Him closely again. He found an evangelical church in their area and Sara attended a few times with him but said she was more comfortable going to mass. Brad attended mass several times with her and noticed a lot of ritual and ceremony but he never heard the Gospel. The more Brad talked with Sara about God, the more he learned how different her beliefs were in comparison to his. Sara believed God granted salvation to those who participated in the Catholic church’s sacraments and obeyed the Ten Commandments and church rules. Brad was shocked! He was no theologian but he knew from God’s Word that no one could possibly merit their salvation by obeying the commandments. Brad believed the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. He ordered a few books about Catholicism from evangelical authors to learn more and was amazed at the many differences between evangelical Christianity and Roman Catholicism.

Brad began praying that Sara would accept Christ as Savior while she prayed that he would convert to Catholicism. One day Sara came to Brad with news that she was pregnant. Brad was overjoyed but in the back of his mind he was thinking he did not want this child or any other children they might have to be raised as Catholic. Brad regretted jumping into an unequal marriage without seriously considering the spiritual ramifications.

In this 1963 booklet published by Zondervan (Yes, Zondervan! My, how things have changed.), evangelist John Carrara breaks it all down and includes a copy of the 4-page document Protestants must still sign* for a priest before marrying a Catholic. In our current era of ecumenical accommodation and compromise, a booklet such as this would be viewed by most as sectarianism at its worst but the Biblical truths of 1963 are no less valid today than they were back then. While the Catholic church doesn’t encourage interfaith marriages, it doesn’t prohibit them either, as long as strict guidelines are followed. That might seem a lot more magnanimous than Carrara’s warnings but don’t forget that the Catholic church also teaches everyone, even atheists, can also merit Heaven if they “sincerely follow the light they’ve been given” and are “good.” That’s not Christianity.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

*For an update on the document in which the Protestant marriage partner promised to raise any children as Catholics, see here.

Kazan’s sophomore stumble: “The Sea of Grass”

The Sea of Grasssg
Directed by Elia Kazan and featuring Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Melvyn Douglas, and Robert Walker
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1947, 131 minutes

Bud Lighton, the producer of Elia Kazan’s debut, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” persuaded the young director to consider “The Sea of Grass” for his second film. Kazan was impressed by Conrad Richter’s 1936 novel and imagined the wonderful adventure he would have filming on-location on the Western prairie. But when he arrived at the fabled MGM Studio in Hollywood, producer Pandro Berman told Kazan the script, casting, and wardrobe were already complete. In addition, massive amounts of outdoor footage had already been shot. Kazan was told he would film entirely at the studio using the previously-filmed footage as rear-projection background. So much for shooting on location!

Plot

Lutie Cameron (Katherine Hepburn), a St. Louis high-society woman travels to New Mexico to marry cattle baron, Col. Jim Brewton (Spencer Tracy). Brewton’s disdain for homesteaders and his devotion to the prairie eventually drives a wedge between him and his new wife. Lutie turns to Brewton’s bitter rival, liberal crusading attorney, Brice Chamberlain (Melvyn Douglas), for comfort which results in pregnancy. Lutie abandons her newborn son and a daughter and returns to St. Louis while Brewton raises the boy as his own. With questions about his legitimacy constantly floating around town, Brock Brewton (Robert Walker) grows up to have a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder, eventually running afoul of the law and dying in a shootout. Returning to New Mexico for a visit, Lutie learns of Brock’s death and reunites with Brewton and daughter Sara Beth (Phyllis Thaxter).

Commentary

Kazan was extremely critical of “The Sea of Grass” and often referred to it as his worst film. Tracy’s performance is cinematic sleepwalking and he’s thoroughly unconvincing in the role of a rugged outdoorsman. From today’s perspective, Brewton treats Lutie more like his child than his wife. My, things have sure changed in 70 years, right ladies? If Tracy wasn’t bad enough, the viewer is also asked to accept Connecticut blue-blood, Hepburn, as a happy transplant to the sleepy cattle town of Salt Fork, New Mexico. Her flamboyant costumes in such a setting border on the comical. Kazan later griped that Hepburn’s constant retreats to the movie set washroom to freshen up drove him up a wall until he finally gave up on both of his pampered stars. The only likeable performance in the entire film comes from Edgar “Uncle Joe” Buchanan as crusty cook, Jeff. This is the first of Kazan’s films to feature the “progressive crusader” character, a mainstay of many of his early movies.

After his dismal experience with the “The Sea of Grass,” Kazan would insist upon artistic control in subsequent films. Going forward he would generally avoid spoiled marquee headliners like Tracy and Hepburn and shooting in the studio. Unlike his first effort, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” there are absolutely no distinguishing features in this movie that would characterize it as a Kazan project. In his 1988 autobiography, Kazan warned his readers not to see the movie. I have, several times, and I second the motion. “The Sea of Grass” was released on DVD in 2011. No special features were included.

Triva note: Tracy and Hepburn are one of film’s most fondly remembered acting teams. They made nine movies together but “The Sea of Grass” was amazingly the highest grossing.

Additional thoughts from a believer’s perspective

Just a couple of things. The viewer will be struck by Colonel Brewton’s complete devotion to the prairie. The grassy plain comes before his wife and before the lives of the squatters who threaten it. We would call Brewton a pompous fool but how often do we put the idols of our life ahead of the Lord?

Lutie has an affair with Chamberlain, resulting in the birth of Brock, and then leaves Brewton, abandoning her two children. Wow! It’s hard to have any sympathy for such a character, especially back in 1947. Audiences must have been absolutely scandalized at the time. But we’re all sinners and none of us can gloat about our goodness.

The Advent candle dilemma!

After my wife and I had accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior way back in the early 1980saw we began attending an independent fundamental Baptist church. The church celebrated the Christmas season just as most churches do but I had gotten ahold of some materials from fundamentalist sources which warned against celebrating Christmas, Easter, or other holidays since they were of pagan origin. We had come out of Roman Catholicism, which is ALL ABOUT ceremonies, rituals, feast days, and holidays, and I was concerned about falling back into that.

After reading the information we decided not to celebrate Christmas or Easter for a couple of years but that created a big scandal with our unbelieving family and friends. They assumed we were in some type of “extremist cult” like the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Branch Davidians. I felt that my hard stand on Christmas had become an impediment to my witness for Christ so adopted a less dogmatic approach; I don’t go out of my way to celebrate Christmas, every day in the Lord is the same to me, but I will join with others in remembering the birth of Jesus, when God the Son took on flesh on His mission to save the the lost (like me!). Let’s face it, Christmas is a secular holiday for the vast majority of people but believers can use the occasion to talk about Jesus in an inviting way and that’s a good thing.

I walked away from the Lord for a very long “season” but returned to Him in 2014. We joined a small Southern Baptist church close to home that had just 30-40 adults in attendance on a typical Sunday so everyone was involved. The church introduced an Advent wreath that year as part of their Christmas celebration and I was asked to light one of the candles and say a prayer on one of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. I accepted but I struggled with it. I personally don’t go for liturgical calendars, lighting candles as religious symbols, etc. If other believers enjoy such things, that’s fine for them, but it’s not for me. Anyway, I figured that opting out would seem kind of ridiculous so I went ahead and lit the Advent candle. As it turned out, we left that church after one year anyway because it became abundantly clear that the young pastor was far too ecumenical – I cringed every time he quoted Catholic theologians from the pulpit. I imagine they’ll soon be incorporating other religious rituals as well.

When it comes to the holidays, every believer has to follow the leading of the Lord and his or her own conscience. But this Christmas I’m looking forward to telling my friends and family about Jesus!

“Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?…One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord.” – Romans 14:4&5

Can Christians celebrate Christmas?

Weekend Update – News & Views – 12/10/16

Things were relatively quiet in the news department this past week. Let’s take a look:igwt

Many American Christians like and defend the “In God We Trust” motto on the nation’s currency, a holdover from the “America the Christian nation” mindset. I’m of the opinion that only people can become Christian, not nations, and that one religious group’s imposing of its beliefs upon the country is no longer tenable. It’s time for evangelical Christians to focus on spreading the Gospel in this country rather than defending a dearly-held but false notion of America being a “Christian nation,” as if it were in some kind of covenant relationship with God like ancient Israel.

The controversy over Francis opening the door to communion for divorced and remarried Catholics continues to swirl. The vast majority of the Catholic laity “love” Francis but we must also note that the vast majority of Catholics also ignore Francis’s and the Catholic church’s teachings on obligatory mass attendance, obligatory confession, birth control, etc.

This past Thursday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Was Mary born without a sin nature and did she live a sinless life? Catholics claim so but such beliefs are anti-Biblical. Which is right; God’s Word or the Catholic church? Catholics were obligated to attend mass on Thursday to celebrate the feast but the overwhelming majority stayed home thereby picking up a mortal sin. Let’s be blunt; most Catholics can’t make it to obligatory mass on Sunday let alone during the week.

This persecution of evangelicals in Southern Mexico goes on, and on, and on. Why don’t the Mexican Catholic bishops do something? Why won’t the pope address this? If the situation was reversed and Catholics were being persecuted by evangelicals, the Vatican would be screaming bloody murder.

In another era, Democratic political bosses enlisted Catholic immigrants in the factories and sweatshops. But conservative Catholics are becoming increasingly estranged from the party of abortion rights, gay marriage rights, and transgender rights.

I don’t agree with Pastor Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas on much else besides the Gospel but he’s right about not bothering to try to overturn gay marriage law at this point. In an increasingly secularized society, that horse is not going back into the barn. I did get a chuckle though from Jeffress referring to some other evangelicals as “hard-right.” You mean to tell me there’s evangelicals farther to the right than Jeffress?

Many Catholics voted for Trump because of his stand against abortion (albeit a very weak stand). But when Trump starts ordering the roundup of illegal immigrants, watch liberal Catholic bishops kick into high gear.

Elia Kazan’s first film: “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”

A Tree Grows in Brooklyntgb
Directed by Elia Kazan and featuring Dorothy McGuire, James Dunn, Joan Blondell, and Peggy Ann Garner
Twentieth Century Fox, 1945, 128 minutes

Elia Kazan’s growing reputation on Broadway came to the attention of Hollywood studio mogul, Darryl. F. Zanuck, who tapped the 35-year-old to direct “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” which was based on Betty Smith’s popular 1943 novel.

Plot

Thirteen-year-old, Francie Nolan (Peggy Ann Garner), and her younger brother, Neeley (Ted Donaldson), live in a Brooklyn tenement in 1900. Their mother, Katie (Dorothy McGuire), struggles to keep the family afloat as their father, Johnny (James Dunn), an alcoholic, squanders his sparse paychecks at the corner saloon. Johnny still dreams of being a famous singer but only finds irregular employment as a singing waiter. But he and Francie have a loving bond. In addition to having to deal with her alcoholic husband, Katie tries to shield her children from the influence of her free-spirited sister, Sissy (Joan Blondell). Officer McShane (Lloyd Nolan), the neighborhood flatfoot, assists the Nolans on a several occasions and takes a private shine to Katie.

Katie loves Johnny but has become hardened and embittered by his failures. She finally confronts him and brings his pipe dreams crashing to the ground. When Francie, a bright girl, desires to attend a better public school in a nicer neighborhood, Johnny makes the arrangements by telling school officials she has moved in with relatives. It is the one thing Johnny can do for his daughter even if it is dishonest.

When Katie becomes pregnant, she moves the family upstairs to a cheaper, less desirable apartment to save money. Johnny is so distraught he sits down at a piano left behind by the previous tenant and sings a tearful rendition of “Annie Laurie,” acknowledging the broken promise of his marriage.

The Nolans enjoy a few festive moments on Christmas Eve before Katie informs Johnny that Francie must drop out of school and go to work to help support the family. Crushed by the thought of Francie having to give up her dreams, Johnny walks out into the frigid winter night in search of steadier work.

After Johnny goes missing for a week, the family discovers he died of pneumonia after working as part of a subway tunnel digging crew. Although he was a drunk and a failure, the neighborhood deeply misses the affable Johnny, much to Katie’s amazement. The saloon keeper offers the Nolan children part-time jobs, enabling Francie to stay in school. While in labor, Katie reaches out to Francie and makes amends for her past coldness. Francie and Neeley graduate from grammar school and Officer McShane proposes to Katie, offering the security Johnny was never able to provide the family.

Commentary

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” is a thoroughly enjoyable film and a remarkable directorial debut for Kazan who relied heavily on renowned cinematographer, Leon Shamroy. The cast is top-notch. Peggy Ann Garner is a complete delight in her Oscar-winning portrayal. Jimmy Dunn was also awarded a well-deserved Oscar. Dunn was a washed up alcoholic in real life and was basically playing himself in the role. Kazan did Dunn a favor by offering him the part but demanded he abstain from booze during the shooting. Dunn’s “Annie Laurie” scene is extraordinary. Dorothy McGuire gives a fine performance as the tough-as-nails matriarch although Kazan later complained the convent-raised actress was too refined for the part. McGuire had a reputation for being a bit of a diva on the set as Peggy Ann Garner reflected much later; “Kazan had a marvelous quality. He even knew how to handle Dorothy McGuire, and there was a certain way you had to handle that lady.” Joan Blondell is an audience pleaser as the coquettish Sissy, who nags her sister to cut Johnny some slack. Even young Ted Donaldson is enjoyable as the grumpy Neeley. The settings and the performances are thoroughly realistic and evoke the rough and tumble environment of 1900 Brooklyn with its immigrant enclaves. Writers Tess Slesinger’s and Frank Davis’s script also received an Oscar nomination. Although Kazan later dismissed “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” as sentimental corn pone, the young director did a wonderful job telling a heart-warming story, which appealed to war-time audiences and was the studio’s third-highest grossing film of the year.

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” amazingly is not available in the USA as an individual DVD but it is included as one of the fifteen films in the Elia Kazan Collection box set (2010). An interesting commentary is provided with analysis from Richard Schickel, Kazan, Ted Donaldson, and Norman Lloyd. Special features also include “The Making of A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” documentary along with “An Appreciation of Dorothy McGuire.”

Additional thoughts from a believer’s perspective

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” pays homage to human determination and perseverance despite adverse circumstances, symbolized by the tree growing through the cracks of the tenement’s courtyard. But attitude and ambition don’t always guarantee worldly success. The Irish/Austrian-American Nolans seem to have a certain amount of religion in their lives; there’s nightly perfunctory Bible reading (an unusual practice for a Catholic family), Francie’s prayers for her father, and a pious Catholic ceremony at Johnny’s grave side with the priest offering prayers for a merciful judgement. But Jesus Christ is not present in the hearts of these characters. When Francie’s teacher proclaims Keats’s, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know,” the girl wonders out loud if her father’s love (beauty) compensates for his egregious faults (truth). The teacher is befuddled by the question, leaving the viewers to decide the answer for themselves. The film insinuates that Francie will grow up to be a successful writer. But then what? In God’s great plan, worldly success is as short-lived and as unfulfilling as Johnny’s tragic life. The Nolans, director Kazan, screenwriters Slesinger and Davis, and author, Betty Smith, are all searching for truth and beauty outside of life in Jesus Christ. It is only in Christ that we find everlasting happiness, beauty, and truth.

Was Mary sinless?

Tomorrow, Thurday, December 8th, marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception ofiv Mary on Catholic calendars. The Catholic church teaches that Mary was conceived without a sin nature and that she did not commit one single sin during her entire life. This teaching defies God’s Word, which says there is not one human being who is without sin. The claim that Mary was sinless began to gain traction in the 4th-century. In 1854, pope Pius IX defined Mary’s immaculate conception as infallible, binding dogma.

Because Mary’s immaculate conception is a binding dogma, Catholics who do not believe it commit mortal sin. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is one of the Catholic church’s “holy days of obligation.” Catholics are obligated to attend mass on Thursday. If they fail to attend mass without a valid reason, they commit mortal sin and are doomed to hell if they do not confess the sin to a priest.

Relatively few Catholics take their church’s rules seriously. Only 35% of U.S. Catholics “always,” “frequently,” or “usually” attend mass on holy days of obligation. The overwhelming majority, 65%, either “seldom” or “never” attend mass on holy days of obligation (see the cara link below).

My heart is saddened for Roman Catholics who venerate/worship Mary and attempt to merit their salvation by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules as they’ve been taught. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and come out of religious legalism. Worship God alone.

https://gotquestions.org/immaculate-conception.html

http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-315/exposing-the-idolatry-of-mary-worship-catholic-dogma-part-1

Click to access masseucharist.pdf

The most hated man in Hollywood

The Ambivalent Legacy of Elia Kazan: The Politics of the Post-HUAC Filmsek
By Ron Briley
Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, 241 pages

Film director, Elia Kazan, was subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1952 at the height of the “Red Scare” to testify about his involvement with the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) in the 1930s. At the time he was summoned, Kazan was widely recognized as the premier director in Hollywood AND on Broadway. If he refused to cooperate with the committee, the movie studios would immediately blacklist him, as they had with many others.

Kazan had quit the CPUSA in 1936, fed up with its strong-arm tactics, but he remained a Marxist his entire life. Many American communists and their fellow-travelers were appalled by Stalin’s nonaggression pact with Hitler in 1939 and his totalitarian methods but more than a few agreed with the Soviet dictator that “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” The consensus among Hollywood liberals was to close ranks and oppose the conservative “witch hunt,” even if it meant losing employment.

Kazan finally agreed to cooperate with the committee and he named the names of communists that he personally knew. He argued that all Americans should oppose the Soviet-controlled CPUSA. Others in Hollywood had cooperated with the committee, but Kazan was the biggest name. After testifying, he became an absolute pariah among the entertainment industry’s liberals. He lost most of his friends and many in Hollywood and Broadway refused to work with him. The decision on whether he should testify or not was a lose-lose proposition for Kazan and one of the great personal dramas of the period.

In this interesting book, Briley examines the twelve films Kazan made following his testimony. The first three movies are thinly veiled critiques of Stalinism and serve as self-justification for his testimony, but in his final nine films, Kazan would continue to attack American capitalism and materialism, thereby defending his status as a political progressive despite his cooperation with HUAC.

Every person holds to some kind of “worldview.” Kazan was a Marxist and an atheist and believed exclusively in human solutions to human problems. I enjoy reading about Kazan and watching his films, some are real gems, but I’m also saddened for those who hold to such a Christ-less view of life and the world. I’ll be reviewing Kazan’s first film, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945), later this week.

Weekend Roundup – News & Views – 12/3/16

I hope everyone had a great week! Let’s take a look back on the news of the last sevenfgc days:

Leading people to Christ is very good. Equipping people to be better follows of Christ is also very good. Growth for the sake of growth and $$$ is not good. Pastors have to stay on course. The temptation is to water down the Gospel to appeal to the largest numbers. But it is interesting that churches that teach a literal interpretation of the Bible are the ones that are growing.

Yes, this standoff between the conservative cardinals and pope over the issue of communion for remarried Catholics is generating a LOT of media attention. We haven’t seen this kind of rebellion against a pope since archbishop Marcel Lefebvre broke away to form The Society of Saint Pius X in 1970.

Burke is one of the four cardinals openly challenging Francis on the communion-for-remarried-Catholics controversy but he disagrees with the pope on other matters as well.

Conservative cardinals are challenging the pope while conservative priests are challenging their liberal bishops.

Being on the “same page” with your spouse on spiritual matters is a great blessing. Attending church together along with reading God’s Word and praying together is a little bit of Heaven here on Earth.

The Catholic church taught that women separated unto God in religious orders were spiritually superior to “laywomen.” Luther preached from God’s Word that we can bring glory to God in ALL of our occupations and endeavors.

These alleged Marian appearances are sheer idolatry and marks of a counterfeit (c)hristianity.

Relatively few Catholics read the Bible daily. Bible reading was never “pushed” in Catholic churches or schools. Why? Part of the reason is there’s many teachings in the Bible that don’t agree with Catholic theology. Catholics say they pretty much read through the entire Bible in the course of three years via their mass liturgy but what percentage of Catholics attend mass every day? Less than 1%.

The Law and Justice ( Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc) political party regained control of the Polish government in the 2015 elections. PiS is comprised of traditionalist Catholic Poles, many of whom would like to see all non-ethnic Poles and non-Catholics banished from the country. Prior to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939, the Polish-Catholic nationalist government was reviewing options on banishing Jews from the country.

Another battle between Catholic liberals and traditionalists.

Catholic traditionalists are wary of the “Alpha” courses and evangelicals should be as well.

Trump and the prosperity gospel preacher$ are on the same page. Enough said.

Another example of evangelical ecumenists betraying the Gospel of grace.

Interesting historical information. I’ve commented previously on Guy Fawkes and the Catholic plot to blow up the British Parliament in 1605.

When I was a young Catholic, hell was presented as a place of great pain and suffering. We now hear the pope and Catholic commentators say the pain of hell will only be separation from God. Yet Jesus Christ described hell in some detail as a place of great torment: https://www.crossway.org/blog/2014/05/what-did-jesus-teach-about-hell/

Procuring plenary indulgences for temporal punishment in purgatory by passing through the holy doors designated by the church had to be one of the biggest religious scams of the past year.

Commandment #8: You shall not steal.

Bad advice regarding where the tire meets the road

“Honey, I’m sorry. I was lusting after that pretty news anchor on CNN again.”cnw

“Again?!?! For crying out loud. Turn it to C-SPAN…right NOW!”


John Piper is widely admired in evangelical circles. I was even a little taken aback by the level of Piper’s popularity when I returned to the Lord in 2014. When Piper has something to say, a good segment of evangelicalism is listening.

Yesterday, I came across the article far below in which Piper advises husbands to confess their lustful desires for other women to their wives. Huh? Say what?

Please allow me to chime in on this issue with some frankness and I hope no one is offended. I’m a man and my body still produces testosterone (although obviously nowhere near the levels it did thirty or forty years ago). Males are biologically “hardwired” to procreate. When we see an appealing member of the opposite sex, we are attracted. At that point, Christian men can either wallow in the attraction and escalate the desire – lust – or we can fight the desire using any of several methods: escape, prayer, attempting to see the person through the Lord’s eyes, striving to honor the Lord and our wives in all that we think and do, etc. I’ll readily admit that I haven’t always fled temptation. Multiple industries exploit and are banking on men’s propensity to lust, or is it just a coincidence that every female news anchor on CNN, HLN, and FOX looks like a Miss Texas? I’m so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for all my sins and beckons me down a better road of unselfish love. When I fail, I can always run to the cross for grace and forgiveness.

Now back to Piper’s comments. Is it expedient for husbands to confess their lustful thoughts and desires to their wives? What’s your opinion? I don’t think the struggle against lust is a battle a man ever “wins.” In this culture, with its ever-growing emphasis on sex, the struggle is ongoing unless the husband lives a hermit’s existence. Maybe a man can tell his wife, “Yes, I struggle with lust now and then,” and leave it at that, but he shouldn’t be confessing the details to her on a regular basis. What good would that serve? It would just feed her insecurity with no end in sight.  She’ll think, “What? He was secretly lusting after my best friend again! Sheesh! I’m leaving him home from now on,” or, “Hmm, maybe I better start looking for a man who respects me and who I can trust rather than somebody who admires every pair of yoga pants that walks by and thinks he’s still 25-years-old.”

If a man senses he’s being drawn deeper and deeper into lustful desires, he should probably seek counsel from his pastor, or partner up with a male friend at church for prayer, support, and accountability, but rare is the woman who is going to tolerate this kind of ongoing confession objectively. There is such a thing as TMI – too much information – even between husband and wife.

Ladies, I know it’s not all lily white on your side of the biological fence, either. I happen to know a married Christian woman who automatically stops and lingers over every Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and Mel Gibson movie while channel surfing!

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?


John Piper: Men, Confess Your Lust for Other Women
http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-piper-men-confess-your-lust-for-other-women-171785/