Welcome to the Weekend Roundup – News & Views – 3/31/18

A controversial Canadian ice cream chain named “Sweet Jesus” has a location in Baltimore and is planning to open several more outlets in the U.S. This “edgy” company uses blatant Satanic imagery (photo above) to appeal to its “edgy” customers. See here for more examples. No doubt you are taken aback by the accompanying photo and the others shown in the linked article, but this stuff is rolling your way. My shaky memory prevents me from giving proper credit to the person who first alerted me to this several weeks ago.

Our illustrious governor, Andrew Cuomo, recently spoke at a Baptist church attended by African Americans, telling the congregants, “I want you to know as a matter of full disclosure, I am a Catholic. Catholics basically believe the same teachings that Baptists believe. We just do it without the rhythm. But we try. We are not as without rhythm as some of our Jewish brothers and sisters.” This is so wrong on so many levels. Besides the bigoted overtones, Catholics do not basically believe the same teachings that Baptists believe, if those Baptists uphold the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Sadly, many of the Baptist churches up here in the Northeast lapsed into social gospel/modernism long ago

We can anticipate less and less tolerance for Bible believers.

Back on March 2nd, I posted a news story about a priest in nearby Buffalo who admitted to abusing “dozens” of boys. See here. That story broke open the floodgates and shortly afterward the Buffalo diocese released the names of 42 more priests facing allegations of sex abuse. It’s a snakepit, folks.

Francis Chan warns us not to criticize church leaders? This is the same Francis Chan who rebuked Mike Gendron after Gendron gave an objective presentation of Roman Catholic beliefs at Chan’s former church? See here. Yes, believers are admonished to support faithful shepherds, but we are also admonished to be watchful for false teachers and compromisers of the Gospel.

There are two ways to look at the Ten Commandments. One way will lead to hell and the other way will help lead you to Heaven. Most see the commandments as a moral code that they must successfully obey in order to merit Heaven when they die. But only Jesus was able to obey the Law. The Bible says the Ten Commandments were given as a mirror to show us exactly how sinful we are (James 1:23-25) and just how much we need the Savior. After a person accepts Christ, they are to follow Him as Lord in obedience, albeit imperfectly.

Mother Angelica aka Rita Rizzo founded Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), in 1981 to propagate conservative Catholic teaching. The Catholic church likes to parlay popular Catholic celebrities to “sainthood” in short order. The official waiting period for the canonization process is five years, so expect the gears to start turning very quickly for Mother Angelica in 2021. Millions have been led into spiritual darkness by Rita Rizzo and her media conglomerate.

Pope Francis has defied “infallible” Catholic teaching on other doctrines so it’s entirely plausible that he may have conjectured to his atheistic journalist friend that he doubts the existence of hell.

Catholic sources report only 20% of American Catholics attend obligatory mass every Sunday, but the U.S. bishops anticipate large crowds this Easter Sunday. These “chreasters” (Christmas and Easter-only attenders) are all going to hell according to their church for defying the mandatory weekly attendance rule, but those folks are hoping God is “grading on a curve.” None of these Catholics, sticklers or semi-lapsed, are going to hear the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone preached from Catholic pulpits this Sunday.

Every Good Friday, Filipino Catholics engage in self-flagellation parades and some even allow themselves to be crucified. This would “strike” most contemporary Catholics as way too extreme, but self-mortification including flagellation was quite the rage among Catholics during the Middle Ages (see here) and even among the clergy and religious orders up until recent times. It was reported by Catholic sources that pope John Paul II regularly whipped himself as an act of penance. See here.

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Good Friday? Easter?

Today is “Good Friday,” a day in which many memorialize Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, and I have a few thoughts about that:

I was a member of the Roman Catholic church for twenty-seven years, and like all Catholics, I was heavily steeped in the church’s liturgical calendar. Every day was either a “solemnity,” “feast day,” or “memorial.” The most important days on the Catholic liturgical calendar were obviously Christmas and Easter.

After reading God’s Word for several years, I found it increasingly difficult to reconcile Catholic teaching with Scripture, so I stopped attending mass. After a couple years of personal spiritual turmoil, I finally prayed to Jesus Christ, repented of my sins, and accepted Him as my Savior by faith alone! Thank you, Jesus!

As a new Christian, I found that the calendrical religious celebrations that were a staple of Catholicism no longer appealed to me. In Christ, one day is the same as the next. The formalism and ritualism of these “holidays” were empty substitutes for a personal relationship with Christ that comes only by trusting in Him as Savior by faith alone. My faith in Christ was/is not based on a calendar. There were also a couple of other objections I had to these “holidays.” As the early church became increasingly institutionalized, it (c)hristianized pagan religious celebrations in order to attract and appease new converts. Some of the traditions of these “holidays” are rooted in paganism. Not only that, but in modern times, “holidays” like Christmas and Easter have been increasingly commercialized and secularized and have lost their religious connection in the minds of many/most.

Yet, there are many blood-bought, born-again believers who treasure these calendrical celebrations. Their thinking is different from mine. They see nothing wrong with commemorating the birth and resurrection of Christ. Instead, they see these celebrations as positive affirmations of their faith that they can share with family and friends.

For a few years following my acceptance of Christ as my Savior, I was strongly opposed to celebrating these “holidays,” but I’ve since changed my thinking. While I don’t go out of my way to celebrate these popular “holidays,” I understand many of my brothers and sisters in the Lord see them as a good thing. In Christ, we have the freedom and liberty to view these matters differently. Each individual Christian must follow the Lord’s leading and decide for themselves without condemning others. I personally view these “holidays” as fantastic opportunities to get together with unbelieving family and friends and bring up Jesus and the Gospel. I have done so many times and will again this weekend, Lord willing.

Today is Good Friday, but I’m not thinking about my Lord’s death on the cross for my sins any more than I do any other day. That’s the glorious, indescribable beauty and joy of walking with my Lord, Savior, and Shepherd on a daily, make that hourly, make that heartbeat-to-heartbeat, basis. There’s no need to anticipate religious “holidays” on the calendar when you’re walking hand-in-hand with the Lord every single day. But many of my brothers and sisters in Christ really enjoy these days, so I say, peace, and have at it in the Lord! When you wish me a “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy Easter” with love and goodwill in the Lord, I will reciprocate in kind.

I know there are some believers who feel very strongly about not recognizing these “holidays,” and I get it. But each Christian must determine what is right for them.

“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. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” – Romans 14:5-9. See all of Romans 14, a wonderful instruction from the Lord on this issue, here.

IMPORTANT: Most people have heard of Jesus Christ and know that He died on a cross two-thousand years ago, but they don’t understand what that means for them personally. The Bible says we are all sinners and we all deserve eternal punishment, but God loves us so much He sent His Son to this Earth to live a perfect life and die for our sins as our substitute. But He didn’t stay dead. In three days, He rose from the grave, beating sin and death. He now offers the free gift of eternal life to everyone who repents of their sin and trusts in Him as their Savior. Jesus died for you. He was thinking of you when He was hanging on that cross two-thousand years ago. Will you pray to Jesus on this Good Friday and accept Him as your Savior? After you have accepted Jesus, ask Him to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” – John 1:12

Many, many people will attend a church service this Easter Sunday, but only a fraction of them will be trusting in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. Going to church doesn’t save. Being a good person doesn’t save (because no one is actually good). Believing intellectually about a man who died on a cross two-thousand years ago doesn’t save. Each and every person must come to Jesus Christ in prayer and accept Him as their Savior by faith alone.

Play ball! Opening Day, 2018!

We’re going to take a little detour from theological discussions with this post. Or are we? Today is Opening Day of Major League Baseball and my favorite team, the San Diego Padres, will be hosting the Milwaukee Braves. But first, a little background:

As I’ve related before, I first began following football (bear with me) in 1969 when I watched the San Diego Chargers beat Joe Namath and the World Champion New York Jets on television and I became an instant fan of the Chargers. What 13-year-old boy could resist those lightning bolts and the Chargers’ entertaining Hadl-to-Alworth aerial attack, even though I lived 2700 miles away? The following Spring, I enlisted as a San Diego Padres fan as well. I figured, as long as I was following San Diego’s football team, I might as well follow its baseball team also. The Padres entered MLB the previous year as an expansion team and outside of slugging first baseman, Nate Colbert, there wasn’t a lot to cheer for.

I’ve followed the Padres for 48 years and over that span there’s been A LOT more leanness than abundance. There were the World Series appearances in 1984 and 1998 and three other playoff years (1996, 2005, and 2006), but outside of that it’s been a rough ride for Padres fans. San Diego is restricted by its geographic location and, with so many other leisure options, the locals do not support their sports teams like in other cities. In addition, unlike most professional sports leagues, MLB does not enforce a salary cap, meaning teams in smaller markets like the Padres cannot compete for talent with teams in larger markets like the Dodgers and Yankees. If a young Padre develops into a decent ballplayer, chances are the team will offload him rather than pay the huge salary that comes with free agency. On Opening Day, most baseball fans are optimistically hoping their team makes it to the playoffs, while Padres fans are just hoping for a .500 season.

We all have our personal interests and hobbies, but many sports fans take it to the next level. Their favorite teams become their idols and the center and focus of their lives. Those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord try to fill the spiritual vacuum in their souls with SOMETHING and many turn to entertainment and sports. Even believers can allow their interest in a sports team or something else to become idolatry that eclipses their Christian worship and service.

Some may wonder how a Christian who regularly writes about the errors of Roman Catholicism could be a fan of a team named the “Padres.” I actually contemplated the same thing after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1983, but I decided not to get wrapped around the axle over it. After all, California has a deep history involving Catholic missions, which resulted in many cities being named after Catholic saints – San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, etc. Believers can become ensnared in these kinds of exacting legalistic scrupulosities rather than just acknowledging them for what they are.

Yes, it’s Opening Day and with a record of 0-0 the Padres are tied for first place with Arizona, Los Angeles, Colorado, and San Francisco in the National League West! But that won’t last for long. Just like every season, I’m hoping for an 81-81 record, although it will be fun to watch free agent pick-up, slugger Eric Hosmer, in the batting order with Wil Myers (photo).

Play ball!

For a believer, getting emotional about grown men chasing around a field after a ball can seem ludicrous. The Lord surely wants us to have periods of relaxation and fun, but that should not be our focus. Let’s keep all things in the proper perspective.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1

Good Primer on Scripture vs. Catholic Error

A few weeks ago, I reviewed some books on Roman Catholicism from Matthias Media, based in Australia, which precipitated feedback from some fellow “mates” in the Gospel from “down under.” One of those who reached out, Bob, asked that I read and review the following book:

Truth or Tradition
By Vince Wall
The Herald of Hope, Inc., 2017, 98 pages.

This short book is a solid introduction to the differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity. Chapters include:

  1. Traditions of Men
  2. The Virgin Mary
  3. Sacred Images
  4. The Sacrament of Baptism
  5. The Sacrament of Confession
  6. The Sacrament of the Eucharist
  7. The Sacrament of Confirmation
  8. The Sacrament of Holy Orders
  9. The Sacrament of the Last Rites
  10. The Future of the Papacy

In each of the above chapters, the author compares Roman Catholic teaching on the topic to God’s Word. I’m not going to review these one-by-one because I’ve already examined the material in multiple previous posts.

This book is intended as an introductory primer to the differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity, so the theology is intentionally pretty basic. The author includes many, many Scripture verses to support his arguments. At the end of each chapter is a one-page quiz for the reader to test their knowledge. This book could actually serve as the curricula for a ten-week Sunday School class on Roman Catholic error and perhaps that was the author’s intention. Are there any evangelical churches these days that would actually sponsor such a “controversial” class?

The only criticism I have of this book is that there is not a separate chapter devoted specifically to the difference between Biblical Christianity’s Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit, but the author alludes to this difference quite often in the existing chapters.

“Truth or Tradition” would benefit Roman Catholics who desire to know more about Biblical Christianity and evangelicals who desire to know exactly what Roman Catholics believe in this era of growing ecumenism and disdain for doctrinal distinctives.

To obtain a free copy of “Truth or Tradition,” click on the link below and scroll down to this title. Click on the “Download” button to receive the PDF file. I printed it out and had it spiral-bound at our local Staples store for $5 dollars.
https://www.heraldofhope.org.au/free-resources/publications/

Thanks to Bob for alerting me to this resource!

The author, Vince Wall, currently pastors at Newcastle Baptist Tabernacle in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Below, Pastor Wall presents his testimony and speaks about the Catholic mass in a 10-minute video.

 

Three-fer Wednesday: Papal Blessings for $ale, “Most People Are Good,” and “Living Biblically” #5

Papal Blessings for Sale?

I’m currently reading a good book about Roman Catholicism that I anticipate reviewing in a few days. The book mentions that Catholics are able to purchase blessings from the pope. But first we need to take a few steps back. The Catholic church teaches that at the moment of their ordination, its priests are endowed with amazing powers such as the alleged ability to change ordinary bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ and to be able to offer the Jesus host as a sacrifice for sins, to forgive sins in the confessional, and to bestow powerful blessings on persons and objects. Catholics believe a priest’s blessing can ward off evil and induce material and spiritual advantages. Catholics regularly come to their priests for blessings. Naturally, a bishop’s personal blessing is deemed to be superior to a priest’s blessing, and a blessing from the pope, the supposed “Vicar of Christ,” well, that is the ultimate. Many Catholics would love to have a “genuine” papal apostolic blessing, but most will obviously never be able to travel to the Vatican. But other options are available, for a price of course. For more on the sale of papal blessings, let’s refer to the passage from “Tradition or Truth” by Vince Wall, p. 72:

“Papal Blessings are decorated parchments with a photo of the current Pope and the text indicates a particular blessing or Divine favour granted to the purchaser* (see photo above, dollar signs are compliments of moi). Once a purchaser paid for the Papal Blessing, the parchment would be delivered to the Vatican where it would be (…blessed by the pope en masse with other objects and…) signed by an official (verifying its “authenticity”) and then the “blessing” would be sent back to the purchaser in the country from which they came. Papal Blessings can still be purchased today as seen at”… http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/elem_apost/documents/rc_elemosineria_doc_20130218_benedizioni_en.html

Occasions for papal apostolic blessings listed on the Vatican website include:

1. Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation
2. Marriage
3. Priestly Ordination
4. Religious Profession
5. Secular Consecration
6. Ordinations of Permanent Deacons
7. Marriage Anniversaries (10, 25, 40, 50 , 60 years), Priestly Ordination, Religious Profession
8. Birthdays (18, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100)
9. Catholic individuals or families (with name and surname of the spouses united in a religious marriage).

According to the website, the cost of a papal blessing ranges from 13-25 euros ($16-$31 U.S. dollars). International shipping must also be added with the cost ranging from 18-30 euros ($22-$37 U.S. dollars).

Catholics are conditioned to accept this type of religious commerce and see nothing wrong with it. I wonder what ecumenical evangelicals would think about it?

*The particular papal apostolic blessing featured in the photo invokes the “continued protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”


Most People Are Good?

In my drive into work yesterday morning, one of the DJs on the radio station I was listening to mentioned that the #1 country song in the country is currently “Most People Are Good” by Luke Bryan. Take a listen below. The wisdom of the world has nothing to do with the wisdom of God. God’s Word says no one is good and that we all deserve eternal punishment because of our sin, but that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16. People absolutely love this wide-is-the-way song, which claims that “most mamas ought to qualify for sainthood.” I love mothers, but no one qualifies for Heaven. Bryan pontificates that “you love who you love, ain’t nothing to be ashamed of” and several other counter-Biblical notions. It’s no mistake that this song resonates strongly with unbelievers and is the #1 song in the country.


Living Biblically
Episode #5: “Honor Thy Father”
CBS, Broadcast 3/26/18

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Chip and his wife hang out with the “god squad” rabbi and priest at the local watering hole.

Last night, I caught up with the fifth episode of CBS’s sorry new comedy series, “Living Biblically,” via on-demand.

In this episode, Chip is caught off-guard when his father shows up unannounced from out-of-town. His father (Christopher McDonald who played Shooter McGavin in “Happy Gilmore”) is an obnoxious jerk who was an incredibly lousy parent. Chip’s always-present “god-squad” advisers, a priest and rabbi, challenge Chip to forgive his father for his trespasses, past and present, as difficult as that may be. Chip proceeds to forgive his father, which he says will free him from not making the same mistakes with his own soon-to-be-born child.

Once again, this show is all about the natural man’s understanding of “goodness” and nothing about the Gospel and finding forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

CNN: Papal “succession” by money and blood

Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History
Episode 2: The Resignation of Benedict XVI
CNN, first aired 3/18/18

I finally caught up with the second episode of this series via on-demand.

The title of this episode is deceptive. Yes, it begins with the unusual resignation of pope Benedict XVI aka Joseph Ratzinger in 2013, but the docudrama then explores several historical cases in which a pope resigned or was deposed due to nefarious circumstances

Case #1: His powerful Italian family used bribery to buy the papacy for nineteen-year-old, Benedict IX, in 1032. He was subsequently driven from Rome due to flagrant corruption, but managed to regroup and expel his successor, Sylvester III, and become pope again in 1045. But Sylvester III hung around on the fringes, still claiming to be the legitimate pope. Benedict IX then sold the office, but had second thoughts. When he attempted to regain the office from Gregory VI in 1047, Roman clergymen appealed to Henry, King of the Germans, who cleared Benedict IX, Sylvester III, and Gregory VI from the deck and installed his own pope, Clement II, who dutifully crowned Henry as Holy Roman Emperor.

Case #2: Peter the Hermit was elected pope Celestine V in 1294 because of his personal ascetic piety, but it became immediately clear that the “holy man” wasn’t cut out for the job of a cut-throat administrator. Cardinal Benedetto Caetani pressured him to resign and Celestine complied after only five months in office, clearing the way for the ambitious Caetani to become the next pope, Boniface VIII. The new pope kept his predecessor under lock and key until his death. Watching from the sidelines, King Philip IV of France was eager to acquire more power for himself and his country. He was able to depose Boniface VIII and move the official seat of the papacy from Rome to Avignon in France in 1309, where he installed a pope loyal to him, Clement V.

Case #3: Pope Gregory XI returned the papacy from Avignon to Rome in 1377, but his successor, Urban VI, was so cruel that a large group of cardinals fled back to Avignon and elected their own pope, Clement VII. A church council was called at Pisa in 1409, which deposed the popes of Rome and Avignon and elected a third pope. But the popes of Rome and Avignon would not yield. Another council was called in Constance, Germany, which deposed the three claimants and elected Pope Martin V in 1417. The Council of Constance is also notable for condemning reformer, Jan Hus, to death as a heretic. On a personal note, I was able to visit the council building in Constance in 2016 (photo below). For more on the largely-unheard-of “Western Schism” led by the competing popes, see here.

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Council Buiding in Constance, Germany

The above cases are just three examples of the rank corruption of the papacy throughout history. To its credulous membership, the Catholic church presents its “succession” of popes as the tranquil transfer of power from one pope to the next as guided by the Holy Spirit, but the historical reality was that the papal office was often secured by means of bribery, murder, and military force. CNN did an excellent job with this second episode and I recommend it highly.

Next episode: The Price of Progress

Moody once had a major influence on American evangelicalism

Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism
By Timothy E. W. Gloege
The University of North Carolina Press, 2015, 307 pages

After accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1983, I used to visit the local Christian bookstore in town quite regularly. The offerings back then were a lot more orthodox compared to what they stock today. I picked up a copy of Moody Monthly magazine and was so pleased that I subsequently subscribed. To help me with studying the Bible, I bought soft-covered economy editions of the Moody Bible Dictionary and Moody Bible Commentary. It was evident that Moody was a reliable resource in my new walk with the Lord.

Our pastor occasionally mentioned Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) in his sermons. Moody was the most well-known evangelist of his time and founded the Bible Institute of the Chicago Evangelization Society, which became the Moody Bible Institute after his death.

This book traces the history of the institute from its founding in 1886 up until the early 1920s. It’s an interesting story. As a non-denominational evangelist, Moody preached the simple Gospel and emphasized “plain” Bible reading or a literal interpretation when a literal interpretation was called for. Moody avoided denominational squabbles over doctrinal secondaries. He avoided heavy theological debates and emphasized a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. But after visiting with the Plymouth Brethren sect in England, Moody became an enthusiastic advocate of premillenialism.

Evangelist R.A. Torrey became president of the institute in 1889. His personal semi-advocacy of a “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and faith healing was problematic for an institution that framed itself as a moderating influence in American evangelicalism.

Henry Parsons Crowell, founder of Quaker Oats Company and a pioneer in mass marketing and merchandising (the “Guaranteed Pure” title of this book is a reference to Crowell’s Quaker Oats’ advertising slogan), was appointed chairman of the board of the Moody Bible Institute in 1901. In cooperation with Torrey’s successor, James Gray, Crowell established the institute and its growing outreach (evangelism training, conventions, publications, evangelism meetings, etc.) on business principles of productivity and performance. No problem with that. The Lord commands us to be wise stewards of His resources. The institute became a champion of dispensationalism and in response to the growing threat of modernism, the institute played an instrumental role in the publication of “The Fundamentals,” a series of booklets that defended the fundamental beliefs of orthodox evangelicalism. But Moody resisted being drawn into the extreme fundamentalism of William Bell Riley and his allies (it’s hard to believe but the young Billy Graham was a protege of Riley).

Moody Bible Institute continues today but its influence has waned significantly. The internet has rendered such once-influential institutions as mere co-participants if not entirely obsolete. Moody Monthly ceased publication in 2003 and Moody Bible Institute is having financial difficulties and is currently embroiled in challenges to Biblical inerrancy.

I enjoyed this history of the early years of Moody Bible Institute. The author is an unbeliever and writes with a degree of respectful cynicism, but the book is a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the growth of a very influential ministry and its attempts to combine business efficiency methods with faith.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/24/18

We may chuckle about computer virus levels dropping in March because of Catholics giving up porn for Lent, but porn is a real problem for evangelicals, too. Over half of evangelical pastors and 60-70% of evangelical men surveyed admit to viewing pornography. This subject is taboo because of its sensitivity, but it’s clear Christian men (and some women) need help with this.

Catholics are taught they must go to confession at least once per year or incur a mortal sin, but Catholic sources report only 12% of the membership complies with this rule. See here. If only 12% of an organization’s membership is complying with a mandatory rule, the system is a sham.

This priest got sent to time-out, but conservative Catholics around the world are hoping for an early end to Francis’ reign.

Conservative Catholics continue to react to Francis’ progressive “reforms.”

While I’m a cessationist when it comes to the apostolic gifts, I don’t often comment on the differing views. Why pick a fight over secondary beliefs? It’s doubtful a person will change their mind as the result of an internet debate. That said, it’s undeniable that glossolalia and other such manifestations have been greatly used to further ecumenism with Rome, but that’s a long post.

I understand why the U.S. Catholic church is trying to limit its financial expo$ure in regards to payouts to childhood victims of clerical abuse, but it just doesn’t seem…I dunno…quite right for an organization that claims to be “Christian” to be leading the charge.

I enjoyed watching the first two seasons of Remini’s exposé of Scientology, but she traded in one false religion for another when she returned back to the Catholic religion of her youth.

It may seem quaintly anachronistic these days to warn evangelicals not to marry Roman Catholics. After all, many now proclaim that Catholics are “Christians,” too. But after the couple is married, the evangelical partner will discover their Catholic spouse is trying to merit his/her way to Heaven by following the Catholic false gospel and insistent that the same be taught to any children.

I don’t comment on politics often, but every once in awhile I need to address the elephant in the middle of the room. After all, this is a weekly news posting…

I’ll be sixty-two years old this summer and I’ve been cognizant of eleven different Presidents of the United States (sorry, Ike, but I didn’t care about politics when I was in the crib).  In that time span, I haven’t witnessed anything quite like what we’ve seen from the Trump White House in the last fourteen months, with the exception of Richard Nixon prior to his resignation. There’s no doubt that the liberal media presents Trump in the most unflattering light possible, but, to be fair, he provides them with fresh, outrageous fodder on an almost daily basis. Prior to the 2016 election, I remarked that putting candidate Trump in the Oval Office would be like giving a 16-year-old teenage boy the keys to his father’s Corvette. Unfortunately, President Trump has proven me right month after month after month. The sheer ineptness and complete lack of decorum and statesmanship has been staggering to behold. Yet, many of Trump’s base supporters are attracted to him precisely because of his disregard for convention.

As a believer, we’re told to pray for our political leaders so that we may live peaceful lives and that the Gospel may continue to go out unhindered and I will continue to do so. Trump has put the brakes on the assault on religious freedom in this country and we can be grateful for that. My wife is very politically-minded and becomes easily agitated by the daily White House news reports. As I keep reminding her, believers needn’t be frazzled. The Lord is sovereign and He allowed Trump to ascend to office for a reason. If we take a step back and look at this chaos objectively, we can see the Lord is surely showing the unsaved that they cannot put their confidence and trust in their temporal circumstances. There is no salvation in politics, government, or national citizenship.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Are Roman Catholics Saved?

 

Are Roman Catholics saved? If you asked them, just about all Roman Catholics would tell you quite bluntly that they certainly are NOT saved, but that they are trying, with the help of their church’s sacraments, to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church laws in order to remain in a mortal-sinless “state of grace” so as to be able to merit Heaven at the moment of their death. Catholics talk about “grace” and “faith,” but how they understand those terms is completely different than how Bible Christians understand them. Christians are saved, not by anything we have done, but by the imputed perfect righteousness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. After we have repented of our sins and accepted Christ as Savior by faith alone, we then strive to follow Him in obedience as Lord, albeit imperfectly.

Two weeks ago, I posted the excellent short video, “What are the differences between Catholics and Protestants?,” from the evangelical apologetics ministry, Got Questions. See here. Today, I’m posting another excellent, short 7-minute video, “Are Roman Catholics Saved?,” from the evangelical apologetics ministry, CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry). I hope you are blessed by this video.


 

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Living Biblically
CBS, Monday Nights, 9:30 EST
Episode #4, Thou Shalt Not Steal, March 19th

Last night, I was able to watch episode #4 of the new CBS comedy, “Living Biblically,” via on-demand. Remember, the premise of this show is that Chip, a Roman Catholic and a self-confessed “good person,” desires to be an even better person by strictly adhering to Biblical precepts. In this episode, “Thou Shalt Not Steal,” Chip starts off, just like in previous installments, by being judgmental about others. But with the help of his “god squad” advisors (a priest and rabbi who pontificate at the neighborhood saloon), Chip confronts his own routine acts of thievery such as cable theft (so he and his wife can watch “Game of Thrones”) and stealing office supplies from his workplace. Chip decides to return every item he’s ever stolen and manages to annoy his wife and co-workers with his scrupulosity. The rabbi counsels the frustrated Chip, telling him, “Maybe the reason people are so upset is because, in trying to live YOUR life by the Bible, you keep futzing with theirs.” No Gospel here, folks.

By the way, here’s a relevant article on the extremely popular, “Game of Thrones,” from Kevin DeYoung.

Update: Catholic church twists itself into a pretzel trying to deal with Francis’ “reforms”

In response to my earlier inquiry regarding the abrupt and drastic changes to a Catholic talk radio show, I received the email below from the station. Below that, I’ve included my reply that I sent out this morning, which will probably be the last of this exchange that I will post.

As I said before, pope Francis has really thrown a monkey wrench into the Catholic system. If your focus is on an institution rather than on Jesus Christ, you’re on the wrong path.


From: Jim Havens
VP of Mission and Communication, The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network
Sent: Wed, Mar 21, 2018 7:18 am
Subject: Re: Can you please address the abrupt changes made to “The Catholic Current”?

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your email.

Your conclusion that somehow we are stifling honest opinion is simply incorrect and I find it unfortunate that you would make such an accusation.

Since you asked, I am happy to share more with you regarding our recent decision to change the concept and format of The Catholic Current.

First, we ran into an integrity issue with the show as it was being presented as a show where we would “follow the truth wherever it leads,” yet some of the priest hosts were telling me not to ask certain questions, read certain listener emails, mention certain names, etc.

Second, there were also some content concerns as some of the priest hosts were pushing their own speculative opinions (ex. a theory that the universe is only 8,000 years old), one even called the Catechism into question on-air, and I had some other concerns due to a private conversation I had with one of the priest hosts.

We decided to take a break, gather listener feedback, and prayerfully discern the best path forward.

At the conclusion of the process, it was determined to change format in order to best achieve our mission of proclaiming the fullness of Truth with clarity and charity. While the new version of show is less sensational, it is even more firmly centered on rock-solid catechesis and evangelization which are desperately needed in our Church and world today.

God bless you.

Grace and peace,
Jim


 

To: Jim Havens
VP of Mission and Communication, The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network
Sent: Thu, Mar 22, 2018 12:24 pm
Subject: Re: Can you please address the abrupt changes made to “The Catholic Current”?

Hi Jim, Thank you for your reply and explanations, although I do have several additional thoughts. You categorized my previous concerns as “incorrect” and “unfortunate” “accusations.” But I was simply trying to ascertain what had happened that would have prompted WLOF to announce a new show with great fanfare, especially in regards to its stated mission of confronting the confusion and errors creeping into the church and pursuing the truth “wherever the truth may lead,” and then:

1. Pulling the show following February 6th
2. Reconvening the show on March 12th with new hosts and a drastically changed format without any explanation to the listeners.
3. Expunging all twenty-four episodes dating from Jan. 3 to Feb. 6 from the podcast archives.

I’m sure I’m not the only listener who was very puzzled by such a dramatic turn of events. When an information source that’s trusted by many engages in such arbitrary practices, could anyone blame the audience for asking questions and expressing concern? Yet I am portrayed as the “bad guy” for speaking up?

I’m guessing there was more to the decision to shut down The Catholic Current 1.0 than you are divulging. Conservative Catholic organizations and individual clergy and laypersons are wrestling with how to respond to pope Francis, who is changing dogma once thought to be infallible, such as the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. The Catholic church has always taught that a pope could never lead the church into doctrinal error, but in the eyes of conservatives such as your former priest-hosts, Francis is doing exactly that. Francis presents a very uncomfortable dilemma for conservatives. If the claim that a pope could never lead the church into error is incorrect, conservatives must then ask themselves what other traditions of the church are spurious and without foundation? You write about the station’s mission of “proclaiming the fullness of Truth,” but is the fullness of truth that you refer to the truth of pope Francis or the contrasting truth of cardinal Raymond Burke?

I can appreciate that you and the other members of the staff at WLOF are in a challenging situation. The expectation is that you will present the church to your audience as an institution united behind the pope, but Francis is making that task increasingly difficult for you.

After reading the New Testament for several years as a Catholic, I could no longer reconcile God’s Word with Catholic doctrine. I left the Catholic church and eventually accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone. Jesus Christ is my Salvation and my unchanging Rock. I invite you to consider accepting Christ as your Savior by faith alone as well. I am not shaken by the controversies within religious institutions. The Catholic church, as you know from the controversy behind “The Catholic Current” revision, is not what it claims to be.

Regards,

via Catholic church twists itself into a pretzel trying to deal with Francis’ “reforms”