Question: When George Harrison was singing, “My Sweet Lord,” who was he singing to?

Answer: No one

Yesterday, I wrote about the Hindu god, Ganesha, being worshiped in a Roman Catholic church. See here. Really strange stuff. That got me to thinking a bit more about Hinduism.

Readers of this blog know I was a big fan of The Byrds rock and roll band way back in the day. They were a pretty innovative bunch and explored many musical styles. One of the band’s members, David Crosby, was a big fan of Indian sitar player, Ravi Shankar. This was before Shankar got a lot of recognition at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Crosby would constantly play Shankar’s albums to bandmate, Roger McGuinn, which influenced the lead guitarist to attempt to mimic the drone of the sitar on his twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar on several songs featured on the band’s third album, “Fifth Dimension” (1966).

Crosby had also shared his enthusiasm for Shankar with Beatles guitarist, George Harrison. To say Harrison became infatuated with the sitar and Hinduism would be an understatement. Harrison introduced the sitar to rock and roll audiences with “Norwegian Wood” (from “Rubber Soul,” 1965), “Love You To” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” (from “Revolver,” 1966), and “Within You, Without You” (from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” 1967). Harrison was indoctrinated deeply into Hinduism by Maharishi (“great seer”) Mahesh Yogi and subsequently embraced the Hare Krishna sect. Literally hundreds of millions of Westerners were introduced to Hinduism and Eastern religions through the music of one person, George Harrison.

Perhaps Harrison’s most famous ode to his new religion was the song, “My Sweet Lord” (from “All Things Must Pass,” 1970). If you’re a Baby Boomer then you know the melody and words of this one pretty well, but I’m guessing many of the lyrics sung in the background went right over your head as they did mine.

Let’s take a look at the lyrics of the last half of the song, with the backing vocals in commas, accompanied by reference numbers that link to notes further below. Got all that? It’s actually pretty simple once you see how I have it laid out. Okay, here we go…

Hm, my lord (hare Krishna) – 1
My, my, my lord (hare Krishna)
Oh hm, my sweet lord (Krishna, Krishna)
Oh-uuh-uh (hare, hare)

Now, I really want to see you (hare Rama) – 2
Really want to be with you (hare Rama)
Really want to see you lord (aaah)
But it takes so long, my lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my lord (hare Krishna)
My sweet lord (hare Krishna)
My sweet lord (Krishna, Krishna)
My lord (hare, hare)
Hm, hm (Guru Brahman) – 3
Hm, hm (Guru Vishnu) – 4
Hm, hm (Guru Devo) – 5
Hm, hm (Maheshwara) – 5
My sweet lord (Guru Saakshaat) – 6
My sweet lord (Parabrahma) – 6
My, my, my lord (Tasmai Sri) – 7
My, my, my, my lord (Gurave Namah) – 7
My sweet lord (hare Rama)

Those are a lot of really strange words you’ve been humming along to all these years, right? But guess what? You’re about to find out what all those strange words mean, thanks to the internet and a little perseverance!

  1. Hare Krishna – Is an appeal/prayer to the supreme energy (hare) of the Hindu god, Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the god, Vishnu, and also a supreme god in his own right.
  2. Hare Rama – Is an appeal/prayer to the supreme energy (hare) of the god, Rama, the seventh incarnation of the same Vishnu mentioned above. My, so many different incarnations to keep track of!
  3. Guru Brahman – (gu-ru, literally means “darkness remover,” i.e., teacher) – the teacher/creator god.
  4. Guru Vishnu – the teacher/preserver god.
  5. Guru Devo Maheshwara (also known as Shiva) – the teacher/force of destruction or transformation god. Brahman, Vishnu, and Devo (Shiva) mentioned above are the “Trimurti” or triad of Hinduism’s major gods.
  6. Guru Saakshaat Parabrahma – the incarnation of the supreme god.
  7. Tasmai Sri Gurave Namah – means, “Teacher god, I bow to you from my soul.”

Notice that Harrison alternated the “hallelujah” familiar to Christians and “hare Krishna” throughout the song. That was no accident. In his autobiography, Harrison stated that his intention was to convey to the listeners that the two terms meant “quite the same thing,” as well as prompting them to chant the Hindu mantra “before they knew what was going on!” “My Sweet Lord” climbed to #1 on the U.S. singles charts in December 1970 and remained there for four weeks. Millions of teeny boppers and young adults all over the world were moved to chant “Hare Krishna” over and over again along with the song.

Anybody remember all those bald-headed Hare Krishna dudes in saffron robes who used to hang out at airports asking for money? One evening back in the late 70s, I was coming out of a Lum’s restaurant (remember the Ollie Burger?) and a young Hare Krishna member wearing a woman’s wig and an army surplus jacket tried to recruit me. He kept bringing up George Harrison’s connection to the sect as a selling point, but I didn’t want anything to do with shaving my head and wearing those saffron robes. I’m glad I didn’t fall for that stuff, but I was already on my journey to accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior a few years later.

Hinduism has certainly gone mainstream with all those Deepak Chopra books, yoga, transcendental meditation, the growing popularity of reincarnation, and the belief in karma. Can you think of any other examples?

They say there’s 300 million Hindu gods so you would need a computer to keep track of them all. But the bottom line for Hinduism is it’s another works religion just like all the rest of them (including apostate Roman Catholicism). Only Biblical Christianity proclaims the genuine Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

“Salvation is found in no one else (besides Jesus), for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

What are the beliefs of Hinduism?
https://carm.org/hinduism-beliefs

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All hail, Ganesha! Elephant god worshiped in a Catholic church.

Part of my daily routine is to sit down for fifteen to twenty minutes and scan the Catholic news wires, mainly for items for the Weekend Roundup, but every once in awhile I come across a news item, like the one below, that just can’t wait for the weekend.

The news story reports that the Catholic church of Our Lady of Africa in the Spanish autonomous city of Ceuta in North Africa recently welcomed a procession of Hindu worshipers inside who were carrying a statue of “Lord” Ganesha, “a deity with the body of a child and an elephant head that’s worshiped as the god of protection and good luck.” Once inside, the Hindus and Catholics, led by Vicar General, father Juan José Mateos Castro, joined together in prayers and songs to the statues of Ganesha and Mary.

No group pushes ecumenism and interfaith unity more than Catholicism but parading the elephant god inside the church was evidently going a bit too far for some. Bishop Rafael Zorzona Boy, who has jurisdiction over the church, subsequently apologized for the indiscretion and accepted the resignation of Castro.

The Roman Catholic church proclaimed in its “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” (Nostra Aetate), issued in 1965 during the Second Vatican Council, that non-(c)hristian religionists could also merit Heaven if they “followed the light they were given,” and pope Francis has said even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their consciences. Many liberal Catholic priests and bishops would have no problem with non-Catholic religionists bringing their idols into a Catholic church for joint “worship and prayer,” but the church as a whole is not quite ready for such a flagrant interreligious event as a joint statue worship. But there have already been many instances of non-Catholic clerics (Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist) leading in prayer to their gods in Catholic facilities.

ALL of this is SO anti-Biblical and idolatrous it should seriously grieve the heart of every Christian believer. I’m not even going to bother commenting on the particulars because it’s all SO outrageously blasphemous. God’s Word is very clear:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” – Exodus 20:3-6

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

The Lord continues to mark Catholicism as an apostate church with plain and precise signs such as this.

The video below of the Hindu procession and the adoration of the god, Ganesha, in the Catholic church is forty minutes long, but you can skip to the 18:45 mark to watch the idol being brought through the church doors to great acclaim followed by the enthusiastic interfaith “worship and fellowship.” The unabashed blasphemy is certain to take away the breath of every follower of Jesus Christ.

Bishop apologizes for procession of Hindu deity in a Catholic church
https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2017/08/29/bishop-apologizes-procession-hindu-deity-catholic-church/

Houston, we have a problem.

We’ve all seen the images on our TV screens and heard the reports of the catastrophic (to put it mildly) damage to Houston and the coasts of Texas and Louisiana caused by Hurricane Harvey, which continues to rage. My heart goes out to the thousands and thousands of people who are struggling because of this natural disaster.

There is much beauty in this world but there is also much uncertainty and danger. We are surrounded by disease, illness, poverty, natural calamities, accidents, hatred, warfare, and death. We live in an imperfect, fallen world; fallen because of sin. But God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to pay for our sins on the cross. Jesus rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who repent of their sins and accept Him as Savior by faith alone.

Many people living in this relatively prosperous country would never consider trusting in Jesus Christ because their lives are going so well: a good job, no sickness, a loving family and loving friends, food on the table, a roof overhead, and gas in the tank. Who needs Jesus when everything seems to be going so well?

But Hurricane Harvey reminds us all that this life is very fragile and tenuous. I pray many of those impacted by the hurricane will turn to Jesus Christ and accept Him as Savior. In this fallen and unpredictable world, He is the only Rock and sure foundation. Go to Christ in prayer. Repent of your sins. Accept Him as Savior by faith alone. None of us know what a day may bring.

“Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” – Isaiah 26:4

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24-27

Get ready for Reformation 500!

The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation is coming up in about two months on October 31st. Praise the Lord for all the men and women He raised up who returned the church to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, despite the intimidation and violence of the Roman Catholic church.

There’s many good introductory books available on the Reformation with one of my favorites being Michael Reeves’ “The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation.” See my review here.

Catholics love to claim their church has been around for 2000 years and that Protestants didn’t get their start until 1517. At what point the early church of Christ fully devolved into the apostate, institutional Roman Catholic church is debatable because it was a gradual process over many centuries, but I believe there were always genuine followers of Christ, both inside and outside of Catholicism, way before the Reformation. Yesterday, I noticed a new book coming out shortly that discusses this very topic:

Long Before Luther: Tracing the Heart of the Gospel From Christ to the Reformation
By Nathan Busenitz with a forward by John MacArthur
Moody Publishers, October 3rd, 2017, 256 pages, $13.99

Where was the gospel before the Reformation?

Contemporary evangelicals often struggle to answer that question. As a result, many Roman Catholics are quick to allege that the Reformation understanding of the gospel simply did not exist before the 1500s. They assert that key Reformation doctrines, like sola fide, were nonexistent in the first fifteen centuries of church history. Rather, they were invented by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others.

That is a serious charge, and one that evangelicals must be ready to answer. If an evangelical understanding of the gospel is only 500 years old, we are in major trouble. However, if it can be demonstrated that Reformers were not inventing something new, but instead were recovering something old, then key tenets of the Protestant faith are greatly affirmed. Hence, the need for this book.

After reading Long Before Luther, readers will:

  • Possess a greater understanding of church history and the role it plays in the church today.
  • Have a deeper appreciation for the hard-won victories of the Reformation.
  • Be equipped to dialogue with Catholic friends about the presence of Reformed doctrines throughout church history.
  • Feel renewed gratefulness for the unearned nature of grace and the power of the gospel.

NATHAN BUSENITZ, (M.Div., Th.M., Ph.D., The Master’s Seminary) is the Dean of Faculty and Assistant Professor of Theology at The Master’s Seminary. He holds a doctorate in church history, with a specific focus on patristic theology. He has served as a full-time member of the pastoral staff at Grace Community Church, director of the Shepherd’s Fellowship, managing editor of Pulpit magazine, and as the personal assistant to John MacArthur.

– summary from Moody Publishers

This looks good, folks. Pre-order from Amazon here.


 

Speaking of Reformation 500, you don’t want to get to October 31st without a few Reformation 500 t-shirts ready in the clothes dresser. Sure, they’re a little tacky but that makes them GREAT conversation starters!

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Order from Amazon here. Many logos (obviously some better than others) and colors to choose from.

Unite with Rome?!?! [Sigh] If only H.A. Ironside could have seen what has happened. ☹

Shall We Accept the Pope’s Invitation to Unite with the Roman Church?
By H. A. Ironside
CrossReach Publications, 2016, 23 pages, $1.48

In this Kindle ebook pamphlet, H. A. Ironside (photo right, 1876-1951), former pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, remarks* upon pope Pius XI’s 1931 encyclical, “Lux Veritatis” (The Light of Truth), in which Pius “invited dissident branches of (c)hristianity to return to ‘the one fold’ under the pope.” Ironside cites both Scripture and church history to dispute Pius’ claims that the church has always “recognized the supreme authority of the bishop of Rome” and his alleged infallible teaching on matters of faith and morals. Pius goes on in the declaration to present Mary as the catalyst for (c)hristian unity, but Ironside references Scripture to thoroughly refute Catholicism’s Marian traditions.

Catholicism would greatly develop its ecumenical agenda with its “Unitatis redintegratio” (Restoration of unity) document in 1964 as part of the Second Vatican Council.

This short pamphlet would be a good introduction to the Catholic notions of (c)hristian “unity” and Mariolatry, with the qualifier that a lot of water has gone over the dam since 1931. A 2015 survey showed 58% of evangelical pastors consider the pope to be their “brother in Christ.” These days many evangelical leaders visit the Vatican and jostle in line for a photo op with the pope. Ironside would be sadly amazed. ☹

Order from Amazon here. The sermon is also presented free of charge at Moody Church’s website here.

This is the second ebook pamphlet by H. A Ironside that I’ve read from CrossReach Publications. See my previous review of “Letters to a Catholic Priest” here.

*This pamphlet is actually a transcription of a sermon given by Ironside in 1932.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 8/26/17

Some evangelical commentators cite the 1980s and 1990s as the period when Christianity began to lose credibility in the eyes of many Americans due to the “perfect storm” of the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals and the miasma of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority. It’s during that period that the number of religious unaffiliated, the “nones,” really began to skyrocket. Evangelicals’ close connection with President Trump weakens our Gospel witness even further. When will evangelicals learn that the Gospel and politics do not mix? It’s sad to see evangelical Christianity represented to the public by charlatan Paula White (photo right, on the Jim Bakker cable TV show), perhaps the most outspoken member of Trump’s “evangelical” advisory board.

The controversy over pope Francis’ granting of communion to divorced remarried in his “Amoris Laetitia” encyclical is not going away any time soon, and may even come to a head if conservative Catholics have their way. I never tire of this controversy because Francis, an allegedly infallible pope has surreptitiously abrogated the teaching of previous infallible popes by allowing communion for remarrieds. The sabres have been rattling for quite some time over this controversy and I’m waiting for one side to blink.

Francis has voiced a resounding “NO” to suggestions that priests return to the “Ad Orientem” posture during mass, giving conservative clerics another reason to fume.

The American Catholic church was hoping pope Francis’ visit to America in 2015 would spark an attendance increase at obligatory Sunday mass – the theoretical “Francis effect” – but it didn’t happen. Let’s be blunt. Many Catholics wonder why they should bother attending the tedious hour-long liturgical ritual when their pope says even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their consciences.

I’m not a big fan of the ecumenical National Day of Prayer. Ronnie Floyd, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a member of President Trump’s “evangelical” advisory board, is a proponent of Falwellian “Reclaim America for Jesus” church-state symbiosis. It wasn’t tenable then and it’s even less tenable now. Floyd has also participated in several ecumenical projects with Catholic leadership.

The celibacy rule for Catholic priests has led to all kinds of abuse and suffering. We only see the tip of the iceberg.

Emotional feelings and religious rituals no substitute for genuine faith in Christ and His FINISHED work

When I first began this blog over two years ago, there was a flood of comments from Roman Catholics objecting to my posts. One person, a convert to Catholicism from Judaism, engaged me in a somewhat lengthy debate, which included many individual comments back and forth. I did my best to answer her concerns and felt I made several valid points using Scripture and referencing church history. She ended the exchange by stating that, in the end, any arguments I made were irrelevant because the Lord had unmistakably led her to Catholicism and that was all that mattered.

This same individual was recently featured as a guest on the Roman Catholic EWTN cable television show, “The Journey Home,” which features converts and reverts to Catholicism relating their testimonies. In the interview, the woman stated that she was brought up in Judaism, but eventually “accepted Jesus Christ” at a non-denominational evangelical church. She became very involved in the church, but had a gnawing feeling that something was missing. She states that she had grown up with a vast number of traditions within Judaism, but her non-denominational church regrettably had no traditions or ceremonialism (“no altar,” “no candles,” “no reverence”). The tipping point came when she felt the strong desire to pray in a “chapel setting” during the work week. None of the evangelical churches in her area were open during the day to her great disappointment. A friend suggested she read a book about Jewish-to-Catholic convert, “saint” Edith Stein, aka sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, which led to inquiries into Catholicism and the discovery that many Catholic churches are open during the day for people to enter and pray in. One thing led to another and she eventually went through the year-long RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) training and was baptized into the Catholic religion.

As a person who has gratefully been led out of Catholic legalism to salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, this story was very sad to hear. I must examine this individual’s testimony and ask a few questions and make a few observations.

This person says she “accepted Christ” at an evangelical altar call. What does she mean by “accepted Christ”? If a person genuinely accepts Christ as Savior, they could not possibly join a religious denomination that teaches a person must merit their salvation by receiving the church’s sacraments and obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!). Non-christians, like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, also use the same religious jargon as evangelicals – e.g., “accept Christ,” “have a relationship with Jesus,” “trust in Christ” – but they also mean something entirely different than what evangelicals understand. If a person genuinely accepts Christ as Savior, they could not affiliate with a religious group that teaches salvation by sacramental grace and obedience to the Ten Commandments (impossible!).

The woman made it very clear that she was attracted to the rituals, ceremonies, sacraments, and traditions of Catholicism, which in many ways mirrored the traditions of her former Jewish religion. A genuine relationship with Christ is based upon saving faith in Him and His finished work. Externals like candles, incense, statues, robes, chanting, holy water, ritualistic motions and postures appeal to the senses and become a substitute for a genuine relationship with Christ. I don’t need to drive across town to pray to my Lord inside a “holy” church building. Many people are attracted to “high church” ritualism and ceremonialism, which have little to do with genuine, personal faith in Christ.

For this woman, subjective feelings and seemingly supernatural experiences overrode doctrinal truth. Converts to the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other non-Christian groups also appeal to subjective truth and being “led by the Lord” into their false religions. Emotions and seemingly supernatural experiences cannot be the basis of genuine faith. We must come to Christ by faith without one single plea of our own as directed by Scripture.

As Christians, our faith rests upon Jesus Christ, His finished work on the cross, and His perfect righteousness that He imputes to all those who trust in Him as Savior by faith alone. Christianity proclaims DONE (in Christ). Catholicism proclaims DO (to try to merit Heaven). One is right, one is wrong. If our friend was truly trusting in Jesus Christ by faith alone, she would not have joined a religion which teaches salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Sad.

But our Catholic friends may never understand that their church does not preach the Gospel of grace if we do not point it out to them.

“Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” – Galatians 2:16

Testimonies from ex-Roman Catholic Priests

An evangelical minister and a Catholic priest compare beliefs

Letters to a Roman Catholic Priest
By H. A. Ironside
CrossReach Publications, 2016, 47 pages, $1.48

H. A. Ironside (1876-1951) was pastor of Moody Church in Chicago from 1928 to 1948 and was one of the most influential fundamentalist Christian pastors of that time period, along with John R. Rice and Bob Jones, Sr.. Several of Ironside’s pamphlets on Roman Catholicism were recently made available as inexpensive Kindle ebooks from CrossReach Publications including “Letters to a Roman Catholic Priest.”

Ironside had made the acquaintance of a Roman Catholic priest on a railroad journey and a conversation about spiritual matters ensued. The exchange continued afterwards via letter correspondence. In “Letters to a Roman Catholic Priest,” Ironside compiles six of his letters to the unnamed cleric in which he compares Catholic doctrine with Scripture. In the first two letters, Ironsides discusses the doctrine of transubstantiation. The third letter examines the Catholic claim that the mass is a propitiatory sacrifice for sins. The fourth letter analyzes Catholic teaching that Mary and the saints are mediators between God and sinners. The fifth letter discusses whether salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone or by the Catholic system of sacramental grace and merit. The final letter evaluates whether Catholic tradition is on par with Scripture.

This is a brief but excellent comparison of some of the main differences between Bible Christianity and Roman Catholicism. This pamphlet was first published in 1914 by Loizeaux Brothers and was no doubt meant to be given to Roman Catholics as an outreach tool. Ironside’s tone is winsome and yet uncompromising in presenting the Gospel of grace.

You can order a copy of “Letters to a Roman Catholic Priest” here.

I’ll definitely be reviewing the other e-pamphlets on Catholicism written by Ironside and published by CrossReach Publications below:

The Mass vs. The Lord’s Supper

Is Peter the Rock Upon Which the Church is Built?

Shall We Accept the Pope’s Invitation to Unite with the Roman Church?

Should Protestantism be Liquidated?

 

“Boy, if I only had $700 million dollars, then I would be happy!”

Seven Elevens and Mom and Pop groceries all across the country are doing a brisk business today as customers queue up to purchase tickets for a chance to win tonight’s $700 million, Power Ball jackpot.

The odds of winning the jackpot are reported to be about 1 in 292 million, but that won’t stop a huge portion of the country from daydreaming about how they’re going to put their winnings to use.

We could never even imagine the deleterious effects such a windfall would have upon a person’s life. Statistics reveal 70 percent of those who win a lottery or get a big windfall actually end up broke in a few years. Not to mention the resulting failed marriages and overall family disharmony.

Lotteries are successful because we are greedy. We want what we don’t have. We think, if only I had a lot of money, THEN I would be happy. But most lottery winners can attest that the opposite is true. And even for the nouveau millionaires who claim to be happy, the money provides pleasure for only so long.

Only the Lord God can bring lasting fulfillment to your life. Trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and then seek the Lord’s will in your life. Your walk with the Lord is the ONLY thing that truly matters, everything else is sinking sand.

“Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” – Proverbs 30:8-9

Unlike the lottery, eternal life and fellowship with God doesn’t cost a thing. Jesus Christ paid for all your sins. All you have to do is repent of your sins and accept Christ as your Savior by faith alone. What are your chances of eternal life after accepting Christ? 100%! That’s right. Jesus promised He would not lose a single person who trusts in Him. $700 million dollars is chump change compared to eternal life in Christ. What are you waiting for? Come to Jesus in prayer. Accept Him as Savior by faith alone.

Two-fer Tuesday!

I have a couple of short thoughts for the day, so I thought I’d squeeze them both into one post:

1) Is it harder or easier for Catholics to get to Heaven? Or does that question reveal ignorance of God’s salvation plan?

Last night I was perusing through the Catholic news headlines and came across the Q&A column below from Catholic priest, Kenneth Doyle (photo left). Someone sent in a letter to the priest asking if Catholics have a harder time attaining Heaven “because more is given” to them and therefore more is expected. Evangelicals’ spiritual antennae should go up whenever someone discusses merit as being a part of salvation. The priest responds that Catholics definitely have a “head start” over others in the salvation derby because they “have access to abundant graces through the seven sacraments that help us to live as God wants.” Doyle’s comments don’t line up with Scripture. He starts off by claiming “the vast majority of the people God created will wind up in heaven,” which is certainly not in accordance with the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:13-14. He describes salvation as a process that’s ultimately dependent on obedience and charity, but God’s Word says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Salvation is either by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, as Scripture says, or salvation is by sacramental grace and merit as priest Doyle and his church claim. It’s either one way or the other. Both ways cannot be right.

Is it harder for Catholics to get to heaven?
http://catholicphilly.com/2017/08/think-tank/catholic-spirituality/is-it-harder-for-catholics-to-get-to-heaven/


2) Christians and patriotic statues

There’s a lot of turmoil in the nation regarding race relations after the recent incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia, followed by President Trump’s controversial remarks. In light of what happened in Charlottesville, many communities in the South are assessing whether monuments to Confederate political and military heroes are inappropriate. I’ve learned that many of the statues in question were erected in the 1920s as part of Ku Klux Klan-inspired initiatives and during the 1950s and 1960s as a protest against the Civil Rights legislation that was being enacted throughout the nation during that time. I question whether Christians should ever be involved in erecting monuments to men and women. We are certainly grateful to the Lord for raising up individuals who benefit the church and the country we sojourn in, but we must be cautious that we do not idolize them. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All need the Savior. For many Americans, patriotism and nationalism are important elements of a civil religion (see here) that’s not in accord with genuine Christianity. What are your thoughts on statues and monuments to Confederate leaders? Knowing the Bible as you hopefully do, what do you think Jesus would say about such monuments?

I came across the satirical article below from the Babylon Bee, which ties in with the recent toppling/removal of Confederate statues in some cities (photo right). It may not be in the best of taste given the seriousness of the recent debate over said statues, but I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw it. Leave it to the Babylon Bee to boldly go where few would dare!

Angry Arminian Mob Pulls Down Statue Of John Calvin
https://babylonbee.com/news/mob-angry-arminians-pulls-statue-john-calvin/

Absolutely no disrespect meant to my Arminian and Calvinist friends! I’m in the middle of the Arminianism-Calvinism debate.