Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/19/18

I don’t condone any unlawful destruction, but this news story strikes me as bitterly ironic because the Catholic church in Buffalo that’s mentioned, St. John Kanty’s, has done far worse damage of eternal consequence to all the trusting souls who’ve entered through its doors over the years.

Few Americans are aware of the history of the dreaded Ustasha, the Croatian Catholic fascist militia that collaborated closely with Nazi Germany during World War II. It’s estimated the Ustasha exterminated 30,000 Jews, 29,000 Gypsies, and 500,000 Serbs during the war. A couple of weeks ago in Bleiburg, Austria, Croatian bishops co-sponsored a memorial to Ustasha war dead. Fascist symbols and slogans were in evidence. The Catholic church is also pushing hard to canonize Croatian cardinal, Aloysius Stepinac (d. 1960), who strongly supported the Ustasha during the war. The Catholic church was closely associated with 20th century fascist regimes in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Vichy France, Austria, Belgium, and throughout Pan Latin America.

Once again, mega-church guru, Andy Stanley, demonstrates that he’s prone to heterodoxy. If you need to listen to a Stanley for preaching and spiritual teaching, stick with Andy’s father, Charles.

Pope Francis rendered a non-decision in the German bishops’ debate over intercommunion with Protestants due to the controversy still raging over his lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. The bottom line is that the liberal German bishops will instruct their priests to administer communion to Protestants, which they’ve already been doing for decades anyway.

In light of the widespread sexual abuse of Catholic children by pedophile priests, this case of hysterical verbal abuse pales in comparison.

The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem opened this week with great pomp and ceremony, but there was no mention of it on Catholic blogs that I could see. I speak from experience when I say Catholics generally don’t place any importance on the Jews being God’s chosen people (although they are currently not in accord with God because they reject Jesus the Messiah) or of God’s promises towards Israel being fulfilled in the future. Unlike evangelicals, Israel’s not even on the radar scope of the average Catholic.

We are living in unusual times when every week another conservative Catholic leader comes forward advising church members to disobey the pope.

Quite often, disgruntled conservative Catholics like the ones at The Vortex-Church Militant do the heavy lifting for me as in the story above. People are attracted to Catholicism’s “smells and bells,” but once they’re inside, they realize it’s an empty shell.

Many progressive mega-church pastors and worship leaders are frustrated that Steven Furtick keeps raising the hip/swag bar.

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20 thoughts on “Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/19/18

  1. Thanks for all the good info, Tom. I am one of the Americans who have never heard (of course, my memory’s not that great) of the Ustasha. About the Andy Stanley current controversy, I am sympathetic to him and don’t think his critics really get what he was saying…and NOT saying. I find Furtick a little too much and would never want to frequent his church, but my sister “attends” his online church and my niece goes there and both love him. I’ve read both positive and negative stuff about him from sources I respect, so I’m still holding out judgment on him.

    Then there’s my other sister who’s so devoted to Mary it’s scary. Well…as well as that rhymes, not so much scary as disturbing. Though I have presented to her personally a scriptural refutation of her specific claims about Mary that she was not able to counter, that has apparently not dampened her enthusiasm for the “Mother of God.”

    Keep up the good work upholding the truth of salvation and exposing the lies of the “one [not so] true church.”

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    1. Thanks for weighing in, Caroline! Regarding Stanley, I certainly understand how the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New, but it seems from the articles I read that Stanley is denigrating the OT as an impediment to belief. Here’s one comment from his church’s website connected to the sermon in question that is very disturbing:
      “If you were raised on a version of Christianity that relied on the Bible as the foundation of faith, a version that was eventually dismantled by academia or the realities of life, maybe it’s time for you to change your mind about Jesus. Maybe it’s time for you to consider the version of Christianity that relies on the event of the resurrection of Jesus as its foundation. If you gave up your faith because of something about or in the Bible, maybe you gave up unnecessarily.”
      http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2018/may/christians-need-to-unhitch-the-old-testament-from-their-faith-andy-stanleys-sermon-draws-social-media-backlash

      That’s disturbing to me because it’s calling into question the veracity of the OT and seems to be saying, let’s just forget about all of that and start with the resurrection. I couldn’t attend a church that stated such a view.

      Andy’s at the liberal/progressive end of the evangelical theological spectrum so I’m going to continue to bump heads with him over various issues, but I appreciate questions and push-back on anything I write.

      Many say Furtick and others like him are reaching those who would never attend a more traditional church and there’s some truth to that, although he gets into some teachings that I wouldn’t agree with.

      Many Catholics hold strongly to Mariolatry, like your sister. I said a prayer for her. How blessed we are that the Lord opened our blind eyes to the knowledge that salvation is ALL through Him. Mary would be so saddened by all the veneration/worship accorded her.

      Thanks for the encouragement in the Lord, Caroline!

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  2. As Stanley says in the CP post, he does believe the OT to be divinely inspired. That in itself should settle the controversy, I would say. As one who feels called to reach the skeptic myself, and knowing that the “six literal 24-hour days” creation view, which is not required by the text, is a stumbling block to many of them, and knowing also that even IF the OT were found to be not completely accurate, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is so strong and the conclusion being that Christianity is true (which then gives credence to the reliability of the OT because Jesus attested to it), I think Stanley’s approach is perfectly legitimate.

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    1. Thanks, Caroline. I agree with you that Jesus’ attestation of the OT verifies its authenticity but Stanley seems to be at odds with that. Since Jesus and the writers of the Epistles made reference to Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, the parting of the Red Sea, etc., it’s impossible to extricate the Old from the New. The OT skeptic would also have to ask themselves why the miracles of the NT are more believable than those of the OT. I used to be less resolved regarding the Biblical creation account but I’m realizing much of the information provided as fact by atheistic science is speculation.

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      1. I don’t think he’s “at odds with that,” only that he’s choosing to focus on the NT. And, true, those who are skeptical of miracles would have difficulty with both testaments. But I think records of events that “override” science are less of a stumbling block to skeptics than those that appear to contradict it.

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    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement in the Lord, sister, and God bless you, too! Yes, Stanley is going down the same path as the Higher Criticism school and mainline Protestantism. You can’t have it both ways. If Jesus and the Apostles were wrong about the Old Testament miracles, then Christianity is a sham and we can all sleep in tomorrow.

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      1. Thanks Jimmy and absolutely no need to apologize. I imagine your daily schedule is about 3X what mine is. Hope you’re having a great Lord’s day! My wife and I were blessed and challenged by the sermon as we are every Sunday. I am still tickled to be walking with the Lord together with my wife after so many years away. I don’t take His mercy and patience for granted.

        I’m glad you enjoyed that Furtick piece because I thought it was hilarious too!

        I pray the Lord recharges your batteries! Speaking of busy schedules, you’re jumping from one event to the other! Lord, give Pastor Jimmy strength and work in the hearts of those he has ministered to with Your Word. Amen.

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