Sometimes calamities are a matter of only a fraction of an inch!

Sometimes in this life, little things, even VERY little things, can have BIG consequences. I’ve related previously that our house is surrounded by oak trees; our trees and also our neighbors’ trees, many of which bend over our property. The result is a MASSIVE amount of oak leaves that fall into the yard in October-November-December and must be cleaned up by “moi.” In May-June, a large amount of “catkins” (i.e., tree flowers) fall from the trees. What happens in both circumstances is the roof gutters become completely clogged up and when it rains the downspouts become plugged and the rainwater seeps over the gutters, filling the basement window wells, and then coming in through the windows and flooding into the basement.

I have to be extremely meticulous about keeping our gutters cleaned out during both time periods, otherwise I will end up mopping up the water on our basement floor, not an easy task with all of the stuff we store down there. Praise the Lord for our shop-vac! Despite my determined efforts to keep the gutters free of debris, I’ve had to clean up water on the basement floor at least once per year since we moved in fifteen years ago.

I did a very thorough job of cleaning the catkins out of the gutters this past May-June so when we had a torrential downpour while I was at work a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t too worried about it. But when I got home, I checked the basement and, sure enough, a good amount of rain water had seeped in and was on the floor. I immediately checked the suspected downspout and it was clear. Huh? So how did that happen? Well, I had a strong suspicion.

A few years ago, we had all of our gutters replaced. There’s a 36 inch strip of gutter situated near the bathroom window and above the basement window where the water had leaked in (see photo #1 above). Ah, I could see the problem!  The distance between the bottom of the gutter and the bottom of the fascia board at point A was 1 inch, while the distance at point B was only 3/4 inch (see photo #2 below). The gutter company had not been careful about how they installed the short strip of gutter. The short gutter piece was slopped the wrong way, towards the house! Anytime there was a really heavy downpour and the gutter filled up, a good amount of water spilled over the wrong-way sloping gutter, down into the basement window well, and into the basement. In this case, just a half-an-inch made a HUGE difference and I had to suffer the consequences.

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So, I got out my trusty tools, repositioned the gutter, and secured it. The space at point A is still 1 inch while the position at point B is now one and 1/4 inches (see photo #3 below). Rainwater coming into the gutter will now flow away from the house instead of towards it.

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Success! I’m grateful to the Lord for helping me to understand what the problem was and how to fix it. As I was thinking about this issue, it struck me that in our spiritual walk with the Lord, there may be sinful behaviors and habits in our life that we think are very small or minor, but that could lead to BIG consequences or even disaster. A little laziness. A small accommodation. A tiny compromise. What “little” sin are we hanging onto that is an idol in our life and has the potential to eventually overtake us?

Take inventory of yourself, brothers and sisters, and see if you have any sinful habits or behaviors that are “sloped the wrong way,” towards our own selfish desires and away from God. We are just weak jars of clay, but praise God for His grace and the Holy Spirit who works through us!

“I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.” – Psalm 119:59

“How many are my iniquities and sins? Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.” – Job 13:23

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7

The Top Ten Christians of All Time!

Yes, it’s time to rank the Top Ten Christians of all time. So without any further ado, let’s get started:

#10

#9

#8

#7

#6

#5

#4

#3

#2

#1

What? A blank list of the “Top Ten Christians of All Time”? Yup, and you probably already know where this post is going.

A couple of Sundays ago, I was walking out of one of our local grocery supermarkets and a headline on the front of the local Sunday newspaper caught my eye; “Buffalo Bills: Who are the Top 100 players in franchise history?” We’re headed toward the start of the NFL football season and Rochester is in the middle of Bills country, so a headline like that is a good ploy to sell newspapers.

Unbelieving culture always tends to think in terms of Top Ten or Top 100 lists and who or what is the best at some particular occupation or function. It’s a competitive world out there and people are always trying to be at the head of the pack because that translates into prestige and $$$.

But Christians know that Jesus Christ was quite counter-cultural in His teachings.

“So the last will be first, and the first last.” – Matthew 20:16

Jesus came to save and to serve and exhorts those He has saved to also serve others in many ways, but most importantly, by giving out the Gospel to the lost. There are none who are righteous, according to the Bible, and saved souls do not have a single plea of their own except for the imputed, perfect righteousness of their Savior, Jesus Christ. A list of “Top Ten Christians” is really a contradiction in terms.

The world’s Top Ten and Top 100 lists can be interesting and even helpful in a practical way when it comes to the most effective, reliable, and pleasing consumer products, but the rankings of people according to some scale of greatness should ring hollow to a believer. All talents and capabilities are gifts from the Lord.

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

“For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15

Now, there are some religious groups that do boldly lift certain people up as “great.” Roman Catholicism, for example, canonizes certain people as “saints,” meaning they allegedly achieved an extraordinarily high level of sanctity in their lifetime. There are unofficial lists of the church’s greatest saints and greatest popes, but that type of thinking follows worldly models rather than the humble example of Jesus Christ.

Regrettably, there are times when genuine believers ape the world’s thinking and exalt certain pastors or para-church leaders in the same way the world exalts its movie star celebrities. We should avoid puffing up others or ourselves with pride.

A priest leaves Roman Catholicism for Jesus Christ

The Soul of a Priest: My Conversion to the Pauline Succession
By L.H. Lehmann
Agora Publishing Company, 1933, 145 pp.

5 Stars

Many decades ago, Protestant literature included testimonies from ex-Catholic priests who had accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and came out of the Roman Catholic church, but in our current era of ecumenical compromise, publishers like Zondervan, Baker, and Thomas Nelson are certainly not interested in that kind of story.

In this autobiography from several generations ago that went through numerous reprints, ex-priest, Leo Herbert Lehmann, recounts his experiences in seminary and as a Catholic priest in Rome, South Africa, and the United States and his eventual conversion to Jesus Christ and Biblical Christianity.

Lehmann was born in 1895 on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland. His parents both died when he was very young and he was subsequently raised by other family members. He endured a strict education at the hands of the cruel Irish Christian Brothers (the same religious order that taught at my high school) and resolved to become a priest, an extremely prestigious position in those days. He entered Catholic seminary at the age of seventeen at Mungret College near Limerick and then went on to Rome in 1918 to complete his training at the University de Propaganda Fideto to be a missionary priest. Lehmann excelled in his studies and was given some oversight responsibilities in connection with his fellow seminarians.

Lehmann was ordained a priest in 1921 and shortly thereafter was assigned to South Africa as a missionary priest. He recounts his challenging experiences in Rome and Capetown as a priest dealing with the superstitious laity and his corrupt fellow priests. Because of his ties to Mungret Seminary, he was called upon by that institution’s administrators to return to Rome and lend his support in their struggle with the Jesuit order, which sought to bring the seminary portion of Mungret College under its direct control. The squabble eventually reached up to the pope, Benedict XV, who ruled in favor of the seminary’s administrators, but the Jesuits were able to circumvent the papal decree through back door diplomacy and were ultimately able to wrest control of the seminary from the administrators. Lehmann’s eyes were opened for the first time to the corruptness of the Roman church through this internal power struggle. However, he also realized his role in the conflict made him a persona non grata in the eyes of the Jesuits. In 1928, he accepted an assignment to farflung, Gainesville, Florida, in the hopes that he might escape the Jesuits’ attention.

The 1928 U.S. presidential campaign of Catholic candidate, Al Smith, left a bitter taste in Lehmann’s mouth because he was often forced to equivocate publicly regarding the church’s view that American Catholic political office holders, just like Catholics in any country, were expected to place their allegiance to Rome over their obligation to any national constitution.* The suppression of that truth, along with the church’s sacramental system’s inability to actually change Catholics’ moral behavior, as well as the abject failure and hypocrisy of the celibacy rule, which was common knowledge among priests, led Lehmann into despair. His experience at the execution of a Catholic criminal was the final straw. Lehmann realized deep in his soul that he could not offer the condemned man any real spiritual solace.

Lehmann left the priesthood in 1929 and eventually repented of his sin and trusted in the Jesus Christ of the Bible as his Savior by faith alone. He subsequently became associated with Christ’s Mission in New York City, which began in 1883 as a Gospel outreach to Catholic priests and ex-priests. Lehmann was director of Christ’s Mission from 1948 until 1950.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Lehmann’s revelations about the corruption of the priesthood back in 1933 were amazingly prescient in light of the current priest abuse and cover-up scandal tsunami. I especially appreciated Lehmann’s remarks about several quasi-Protestants who famously converted to the Roman church, such as John Henry Newman and G.K. Chesterton. Today’s ecumenically-minded evangelicals are bewitched by Chesterton’s “verbal wizardry,” which Lehmann dismisses as tiresome “mental shuttlecock.”

A condensed version of “The Soul of a Priest” can be found here.

For a more recently published collection of testimonies from 50 priests who left Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone, see my review of “Far From Rome, Near To God” here.

*Today’s reader will view Lehmann’s warnings of the dangers of Catholic political hegemony as quaintly paranoid, but, prior to Vatican II, the Vatican negotiated diplomatic treaties (aka concordats) with countries where it held a numerical majority that severely limited the freedoms of Protestants.

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Above: A photo of young Leo Herbert Lehmann as a Catholic priest.

 

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 8/17/19

This past Thursday, Roman Catholics celebrated the Feast of the Assumption, the dogma that Mary was assumed bodily up into Heaven either at the moment of her death or immediately prior to her impending death. This belief was defined as an infallible dogma by pope Pius XII in 1950, meaning any Catholic who refuses to believe the teaching commits a soul-damning mortal sin. The feast or “solemnity” is a holy day of obligation (HDO), meaning all Catholics were required to attend mass last Thursday under threat of mortal sin. How many actually did attend mass on Thursday? RCC statistics reveal that only 12% of Catholics attend all HDOs as required.

There is nothing in the Bible to support the notion of Mary being assumed into Heaven and there is no extant mention of it until the writings of “saint” John Damascene in the 8th century. So how did the belief come about? Catholic theologians who favored worship/veneration of Mary extrapolated the doctrine using the “fitness” principle. Their argument was as follows: A) since Mary was supposedly sinless (immaculately conceived and without sin after her birth), then B) it was only “fitting” that God would not allow her body to experience the ravages and corruption of death, and so C) God assumed her into Heaven. This “fitness” principle that underlies many un-Biblical Catholic traditions was later popularized by medieval theologian, Thomas Aquinas. See here. On Thursday, pope Francis proclaimed that Mary is the “Gate of Heaven.” The RCC has taught for a millennia that all of God’s graces first flow through Mary and that she is therefore the co-mediator, along with Jesus, between God the Father and mankind. However, Mary was a sinner saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and she would be sorely grieved to know any worship (aka veneration) was being directed towards her.

Somehow, I missed this story when it first came out on July 3rd. This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks.

It was initially reported at the end of July that 50% of U.S. Catholics don’t believe the consecrated eucharistic elements are the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ as their church teaches. Follow-up articles report that the percentage is actually much higher; 69%! Transubstantiation, the doctrine that Catholic priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus, to be ingested as a conveyance of grace, is one of the prime teachings of Catholicism. Catholics generally have sparse knowledge of their church’s teachings and are even less knowledgeable about the Bible.

As this article states, the Catholic church “was the first and largest corporate slaveholder in the Americas.” As I’ve read elsewhere, the largest slave owners in antebellum Maryland were the Jesuits. How could the alleged Holy Spirit-led “vicar of Christ,” have allowed his subordinates to buy, sell, and subjugate slaves? But in light of the murderous papal-approved Inquisitions, the buying, owning, and selling of slaves by Catholic religious orders was just more of the same.

This past Wednesday, August 14th, was the commencement of the one-year window created by the 2019 Child Victim Act of New York State whereby survivors of priest sexual abuse are able to sue the Catholic church with no limitation statutes. As of this posting, 37 lawsuits have been filed in Rochester and 105 were filed in nearby Buffalo along with hundreds more throughout the state.

Last week, I posted about the ongoing persecution of evangelicals by Catholics in rural Mexico. This article fills in some of the details. Why doesn’t pope Francis summon the Mexican cardinals and bishops to the Vatican and put an end to the ongoing persecution?

My wife and I participated in one of our church’s small groups for two years, but we had several ongoing disagreements with some of the other group members regarding such topics as the syncretism of Christianity and nationalism that’s popular among American believers, ecumenism with the Catholic church, and the credibility of TBN hoaxsters, er, I mean, “televangelists.” Two of the group’s members stated that their only daily Bible reading was from a Joyce Meyer “devotional.” Many pastors aren’t willing to take a stand these days and the sheep drift into error.

Five Legionnaires must decide how to spend their final twelve hours

It’s time to once again climb aboard our fictional time machine and travel to the 30th-Century for another adventure from DC Comics’ Silver Age with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…

“Twelve Hours to Live!”
Adventure Comics #378, March, 1969
Writer and layouts: Jim Shooter, Penciller: Win Mortimer, Inker: Jack Abel, Cover: Neal Adams

5 Stars

Plot

A small contingent of Legionnaires – Brainiac 5, Duo Damsel, Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, and Superboy – are gathered at Legion Headquarters in Metropolis for a celebration; Brainiac 5’s birthday. As the quartet shares a toast to Brainac 5, he notices a strange powder coating the lining of his cup. He rushes to the lab and determines that he and his teammates have all been poisoned with a lethal substance for which there is no antidote and have only twelve hours to live (Superboy’s cup was specially treated with a Kryptonite-based poison, the only substance lethal to the Boy of Steel). Brainiac 5 suggests each person use their remaining time as they see fit and that they all reassemble in twelve hours to “face death together.”

Each Legionnaire chooses to spend their remaining hours differently. Braniac 5 returns back to the lab, racking his twelfth-level intellect for an antidote. Superboy returns to 20th century Smallville and his adoptive parents, the Kents, but grief overcomes him and he departs back to the 30th century to perform heroic good deeds as his final legacy. Duo Damsel spends her last hours with her parents, although without burdening them with her impending doom. Karate Kid opts to die battling crime and seeks out the most powerful team of villains in the Universe, the Fatal Five. With “nothing to lose,” the Kid is a formidable opponent, but the Five – Tharok, Mano, the Persuader, the Emerald Empress, and Validus – manage to escape. As for Princess Projectra, she sits alone on a park bench, overcome by grief, but a stranger intervenes who counsels her to “accept the inevitable without brooding about it.” Huh? Easy for him to say.

With time quickly running out, the Legionnaires glumly reassemble at their headquarters and Brainiac 5 sadly informs his teammates that he was unable to find an antidote in the interim. Superboy then writes the quintets’ collective legal will on a huge steel tablet using his “super-hard fingernail.” After Duo Damsel, Karate Kid, Princess Projectra sign the will with a “laser stylus,” they, along with Superboy, weaken and collapse. As Brainiac 5 also begins to feel the poison’s effects, it occurs to him that the mysterious Miracle Machine (featured in Adventure Comics #367, see here) could possibly save the dying quintet. Braniac 5 struggles to make his way to the storage room, but can’t crack the impenetrable “inertron” casing that seals the device. As life slowly ebbs from the collapsed Legionnaires, a shadowy figure enters the headquarters. However, just as the mysterious villain celebrates his victory over the dying heroes, time suddenly stops and all remain motionless.

Is this the end for Brainiac 5, Duo Damsel, Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, and Superboy? Who is the mysterious criminal who poisoned them and what force has stopped time for the dying Legionnaires and their executioner and why? We’ll have the answers to those questions in two weeks when we review the ominously titled, “Burial in Space,” in Adventure Comics #379.

Commentary

It’s strange that writer, Jim Shooter, chose to use the very same small contingent of Legionnaires that were featured in the preceding issue, Adventure Comics #377. It’s also interesting how Shooter portrays the different ways the fivesome individually attempt to cope with their impending deaths, especially Princess Projectra and the godless advice she received from the “park bench philosopher.” I’ll have more to say about that topic in next issue’s commentary. For the purposes of this review, I only devoted a few words to Karate Kid’s reckless suicide mission, single handedly battling the Fatal Five, but the minor plot line actually consumed eight full-pages of this issue. Superboy using his last ounce of strength to engrave the Legionnaires’ last will and testament on a mammoth steel tablet is a glaring example of over-the-top Silver Age melodramatics.

Dumb question: Am I missing something? Since Superboy and the other Legionnaires are able to time travel, why didn’t Superboy just go back a few minutes in time immediately after the poisoning and destroy the lethal beverage?

Count it down, my friends! Only two more Silver Age Legion tales left to review! and only 33 more days until DC reintroduces the Legion after a six-year hiatus with “Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1,” due in comic shops Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Throwback Thursday: “From Antichrist to Brother in Christ: How Protestant Pastors View the Pope”*

For today’s “Throwback Thursday” installment, we’re revisiting a post that was originally published back on September 26th, 2015 and has been revised with some new material.

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In anticipation of pope Francis’ visit to the United States from September 22nd to September 27th, 2015, Lifeway Research (affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention) conducted a poll of 1000 Protestant pastors asking if they considered the pope to be a fellow Christian and a “brother in Christ.” As would be expected, 80 percent of liberal, mainline Protestant pastors answered affirmatively that they did consider pope Francis to be a genuine Christian and their “brother in Christ.” What was disappointing was that 58 percent of self-identified evangelical Christian pastors agreed that pope Francis was a fellow Christian and a “brother in Christ,” while another 19 percent responded that they were not sure. What that means is only 23 percent of the evangelical Christian pastors who were polled disagreed with the statement that the pope is a fellow Christian and a “brother in Christ.”

As I mentioned to sister Lauren of Biblical Beginnings in our recent podcast discussion, I imagine that if evangelical pastors had been polled back in 1960 as to whether they believed the pope was a genuine Christian and their “brother in Christ,” that maybe 5 or 10 percent would have erroneously responded in the affirmative. So, what changed in the interim whereby now almost 80 percent of evangelical pastors either believe the pope is a Christian or are unsure? Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic church still teach the exact same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that the RCC taught back in 1960. That has not changed at all. So what has changed??? The downplaying of irreconcilable doctrinal differences by many compromising, Judas evangelical pastors, theologians, seminary professors, and para-church leaders over the past several decades has opened up the evangelical church to the spirit of ecumenical false unity and discouraged outreach to lost Catholic souls.

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Pope Francis improves Protestant pastors’ views of Catholic Church
By Lisa Cannon Green
Lifeway Research
9/25/15

“…Evangelical pastors report more skepticism about Pope Francis than their mainline Protestant counterparts. While 80 percent of mainline Protestant pastors believe the pope is a true Christian, only 58 percent of evangelical pastors agree.

Pope Francis improves Protestant pastors’ views of Catholic Church

*The article cited in my original 2015 blog posting was “From Antichrist to Brother in Christ: How Protestant Pastors View the Pope” from Christianity Today, hence the title of this post. That article has since been restricted to CT subscribers only, so I referenced a different article for the purposes of this Throwback Thursday re-posting.

The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation aka Confession

The Roman Catholic sacrament of reconciliation (confession of sins to a priest) is an evil and perverse doctrine. A recent Catholic radio broadcast prompted me to examine this false teaching once again.

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The Roman Catholic church teaches that it administers seven sacraments by which its members allegedly receive graces in order to live a life that’s possibly worthy of meriting Heaven at the moment of death. Catholicism’s initial sacrament is baptism and most Catholics are baptized as infants. The Roman church teaches that the baptismal waters poured over the head of an infant in conjunction with the formulaic baptismal prayer actually wash away original sin. When a baptized child reaches the age of accountability, deemed to be seven or eight years old and in second grade, they are introduced to the sacraments of reconciliation (formerly known as “confession” or “penance”) and the eucharist.

Catholics are taught that they must confess all serious (aka “mortal”) sins to a priest. Catholics are taught that if they have only one unconfessed mortal sin “staining” their soul when they die, they will be eternally damned in hell. Catholicism is like a constantly revolving door. One day, a Catholic is in a “state of grace” and supposedly ready to merit heaven, but the next day, after they commit a mortal sin and are no longer in a state of grace, they must be absolved by a priest, and round and round and round. If Catholics were honest with themselves, they would have to admit that they sin every day by thought, word, deed, or by omission. Unlike Catholicism, the Bible says all people are sinners and that no one can possibly merit salvation by attempting to obey the Law.

This sacrament of reconciliation presents all kinds of practical difficulties for the credulous Catholic church member such as the following:

  • Catholics are understandably reluctant to confess their personal and embarrassing sins to another sinful human being. The Roman church requires its members to go to confession at least once per year under threat of mortal sin, yet most Catholics are understandably intimidated by the reconciliation process and church statistics reveal that only 12% of the membership participate in the sacrament at least yearly as required.
  • Catholics must know the difference between a mortal sin and a venial (lesser) sin. Venial sins do not need to be confessed to a priest, but can be allegedly expiated by attending mass, fasting, prayers, and almsgiving.
  • Catholics must remember their mortal sins between trips to confession. Who can remember sins from day to day let alone once every fifty-two weeks? When he was a Catholic friar, Martin Luther went to confession every day because he was so cognizant of his sinfulness.
  • As we’ll discuss farther below, Catholics must also gingerly navigate the individual “confessors” (i.e., priests who hear confessions) with their different personalities, temperaments, and varying degrees of commitment to Roman orthodoxy, not to mention their particular mood and state of mind at the moment.

Last week, I was listening to the Catholic talk radio show, “Called to Communion,” the stated mission of which is to convince Protestants to convert to Catholicism. In this particular episode, a “lapsed” Catholic, Kevin, called in with some very valid concerns about the reconciliation process.

Called to Communion
July 10, 2019 podcast
Moderator: Thom Price, Host, David Anders
26:26 mark

Thom Price: Let’s go to Kevin now in Stamford, Connecticut, checking us out today on YouTube, a first time caller. Hey Kevin what’s on your mind today?

Kevin: Mr. Price, thank you so much. It’s a pleasure. I love your program. Dr. Anders, I love you, too. And my question, doctor, is this: I am trying to become a revert Catholic. Sadly, I’ve been away from the church for awhile. Now, I know the first step I have to take, obviously, is the sacrament of confession. And as I was telling (the call screener), even my wife, who’s a convert for the last thirteen years, we found out that there seems to be, Dr. Anders, inconsistency in the sacrament in the way it’s administered. It seems like we’re at the mercy of the personality of the confessor. Now, holy clergy, they perform all the other sacraments in the same manner; baptisms, mass, homilies can be a little different, that’s understandable, you know, things of that nature. But when it comes to confession, Dr. Anders, there’s three fast examples. Me, personally, I’ve had some where I left the confessional walking on air. I mean, I felt like a million dollars. My confessor was so nice and loving. I’ve had others that were average. And I’ve had others that were nightmares. I was telling your screener, I had one priest one time stop me in the middle of my confession and say to me, “Sir, I don’t feel like giving you absolution.” And, Dr. Anders, at the age of sixty-two, I was stunned, I was like, I never had this happen in all my life. So I said, “Father, can I continue my confession?” And he said, “Yeah.” So I did and then he…, that was it. I had another priest use a four-letter word…


After that last statement, moderator Thom Price nervously jumped in and interrupted the caller. The stated purpose of the Called to Communion radio show is to attempt to attract non-Catholics to the Roman church, therefore Kevin was not allowed to continue with his negative and unflattering comments. Anders immediately retorted that he had never had a bad experience with a confessor, himself, and inferred that the onus was on Kevin and other penitents to relate their mortal sins succinctly (“…the kind and number…that’s it.” ) along with a few words of contrition so as not to test the patience of a possibly temperamental priest.

Confessing sins to a priest has no direct foundation in Scripture. Catholics point to such passages as John 20:23 as their proof-text for priestly absolution:

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

But we see in the context of the entirety of God’s Word that forgiveness of sins is in conjunction with the preaching of the Gospel of grace and the hearer’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone:

“To him (Jesus) all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” – Acts 10:43

The practice of “auricular” (i.e., relating to the ear or hearing) confession to a priest began to make inroads in the late sixth century, but didn’t become a dogma and obligatory practice in the Roman Catholic church until the Council of Lateran in the year 1215. It’s very obvious why this doctrine came into being. It elevated the priest to the status of an absolutely essential mediator in the Catholic salvation system.

There is so much evil inherent in the doctrine of confessing sins to a weak, sinful, human mediator. God alone forgives sin. We know from documented cases of clerical sexual abuse that many predatory priests used the confessional to lure in their victims. The number of trusting souls who were abused by priests via the confessional over the centuries is unfathomable.

Forsake the man-made traditions of Roman Catholicism and believe the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. My friend, repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

See the article below for more information on the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation:

What does the Bible say about confession of sin to a priest?
https://www.gotquestions.org/confession-sin-priest.html

Infiltration: Yikes! A Freemason under every bed and inside every closet!

Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
By Taylor R. Marshall
Crisis Publications, 2019, 307 pp.

1 Star

Fifty-four-years after its concluding session, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) continues to divide the ranks of Roman Catholics. The council attempted to “modernize” the church in several respects, most significantly, by switching the mass liturgy from Latin to the vernacular language of each country/region and by propagating a conciliatory approach to Protestants, Jews and members of all other religions. Traditionalist and many conservative Catholics were dismayed and anguished as the changes of Vatican II were implemented in Catholic parishes across the United States and the rest of the world in the late-1960s. The resentment simmered for decades, mainly beneath the surface, except for the flagrant exception of arch-conservative, French archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, and his breakaway Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), but pope Francis and his progressive reforms have increasingly galvanized the traditionalist-conservative camp to once again consider radical options.

Over the past year, Catholic traditionalists and conservatives have become emboldened with their published criticisms of Jorge “pope Francis” Bergoglio and their books are evidently finding a receptive audience. With “Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within,” Catholic traditionalist, Taylor Marshall takes the attack against Vatican II, liberal Catholicism, and pope Francis to a whole ‘nother level.

Marshall posits that 19th-century Freemason conspirators plotted to secretly subvert Roman Catholicism through infiltration over a long period of time. The author contends that by the end of the papacy of Pius XII in 1958, the Judas saboteurs and their fellow travelers had secured some of the highest offices of the church and were able convoke the Second Vatican Council and push forward their disastrous declarations. Marshall describes pope John XXIII and Paul VI as entirely sympathetic to the aims of the Freemason conspirators, and young theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope Benedict XVI, as one of the council’s progressive firebrands. Pope John Paul II, though somewhat sympathetic to Vatican II and especially to its ecumenical-interfaith approach, calmed conservatives with his return to old school piety. Likewise, Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, who had gradually shifted to a more conservative viewpoint over the decades, mollified the reactionaries with his aim to “reform the reform.” However, with the election of Bergoglio to the papacy in 2013, the alleged Masonic saboteurs and double-agents were once again able to push their agenda. The only solution, Marshall advises his conservative-traditionalist readership, is to adopt the “recognize and resist” approach of his hero, archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, which is to recognize Francis as a legitimate pope, but resist all of his progressive novelties.

Taylor’s conspiracy theories regarding Vatican II and its despised Novus Ordo (“new order”) vernacular mass liturgy are breathtaking in their audacity. Taylor writes like the Catholic version of infamous worldwide Jesuit conspiracy theorists, Alberto Rivera and Jack Chick. But make no mistake, there is a growing audience within Catholicism for this kind of sensationalistic paranoia. This book bears a “Crisis Publications” imprint, but it’s VERY interesting to note that Crisis is a subsidiary of Sophia Press, which is a part of the EWTN conservative Catholic media empire. Yes, EWTN is providing a soapbox for anti-Francis, conspiracy theorists.

It’s utterly fascinating to observe this internecine jousting between the increasingly polarized factions within Catholicism, however, whether one searches within the camp of pope Francis and his progressive allies on the one extreme or within the camp of the conspiracy-obsessed Catholic conservatives and traditionalists on the other extreme, one cannot find the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Reblog: AfterThought Episode 7 – Interview with Tom from ExCatholic4Christ: Part 2 — Biblical Beginnings

Last week, sister Lauren at Biblical Beginnings posted the second half of our interview regarding outreach to Roman Catholics and the dangers of ecumenism with the Roman church, which can be found via this link:

https://afterthoughtbybiblicalbeginnings.podbean.com/e/afterthought-episode-7-interview-with-tom-from-excatholic4christ-part-2/

Once again, I’m very grateful to Lauren at Biblical Beginnings for graciously presenting me with the opportunity to discuss these extremely important topics. I’ve been blessed by her informative blog postings over the past couple of years and I’m excited about her new podcast ministry and the guests she’s lining up for future podcast interviews. Thank you, sister!

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I’m so excited to share with you the last half of this interview, beloved brethren! Tom goes further into the differences between Christianity and Catholicism, and the unique ways in which the Roman Catholic Church teaches works righteousness. He talks about his own experience and gives invaluable advice on how to evangelize the Catholics in […]

via AfterThought Episode 7 – Interview with Tom from ExCatholic4Christ: Part 2 — Biblical Beginnings

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 8/10/19

The recently-released documentary, “The Divine Plan,” and the same-titled, tie-in book, present the successful political alliance of quasi-Protestant, Ronald Reagan, and Karol “pope John Paul II” Wojtyla as a positive example of cooperation for today’s Protestants and Catholics. The film’s director, Roman Catholic, Robert Orlando, co-authored the book with National Catholic Register columnist, Paul Kengor.  Warning: evangelical alliances with Roman Catholics in political and culture battles always, always, always leads to the compromise and betrayal of the Gospel of grace.

Certainly, not all Catholic priests are pedophiles, but ALL do teach their church’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

Jesuit priest, James Martin, continues as progressive Catholicism’s point man in pushing for full acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle by the church. No one from the Francis papacy is discouraging him.

Prior to World War II, members of ethnic/religious groups generally congregated in their own urban neighborhood enclaves. Returning vets began the exodus to the suburbs in a trickle that became a flood with the passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. This weakened the foundations of Catholicism in America, which always relied upon its close-knit ethnic communities for its perpetuation.

The three articles above, recently published in the local Catholic diocesan newspaper, are an attempt by the Rochester Catholic bishop to prepare the laity for the financial and public relations “challenges” ahead after the Child Victims Act opens up a one-year window for abuse survivors to sue the church with no time limitations beginning on Thursday, August 15th. Bankruptcy is a very real possibility. For the past couple of months, Rochester’s television stations have been carrying advertisements from law firms seeking to represent survivors of priest abuse. On the one hand, bishop Matano profusely apologizes for the abuse and cover-up by diocesan personnel, but the last of the three articles disparages the law firms and their advertisements. I have no illusions about the lawyers’ motives, but I’m grateful that these advertisements have blanketed the area and confronted credulous and increasingly disaffected Catholics. May many turn to Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Over the last four years, I’ve submitted articles about the persecution of Protestants in solidly Catholic Mexico. Here’s an article about a recent wave of violence. There was no religious freedom in Catholic-dominated countries well into the 20th-century, a situation sanctioned by the Vatican. That militantly anti-Protestant attitude can still be found in many regions of Latin America.

This coming December, the progressive German Catholic church will be embarking on an unprecedented “synodal journey” as the floundering church, which is leaking members like a sieve at an even faster rate than the American church, seeks to stanch the exodus. Pope Francis has already warned the German prelates not to get carried away, but, at the same time, he’s also very sympathetic to their doctrine-bending progressivism.

Back when my wife and I did the grocery shopping together several decades ago, I used to pick up a copy of “The Sporting News” upon entering the store to amuse myself for the following 90 minutes. Now, I just stay home whenever my wife goes shopping.