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

Vain repetition of prayer and praying to a false semi-deity have now entered the digital age with the Vatican introducing the eRosary (see photo above). The wrist device and associated smartphone app keep track of how often a Catholic user prays the rosary to Mary. The full rosary “devotional” consists of 150 vain repetitions of the “Hail Mary” prayer and 15 vain repetitions of the “Our Father” prayer along with a few other associated prayers. A determined Catholic can “get through” the full string of rosary beads in about 30 minutes. The RCC grants a “plenary indulgence” to Catholics who recite at least five decades (50 “Hail Mary”s) of the rosary “in a church, a public oratory, a family group, a religious community, or pious association.” A plenary (full) indulgence expiates all temporal punishment that remains after confession of sins to a priest that otherwise would have to be satisfied in purgatory. Saying the rosary privately at home only earns a partial indulgence. This new eRosary is meant to appeal to young Catholics. All of the above is anti-Biblical on multiple levels. Thanks to Cassie for bringing this story to my attention.

At the Catholic church’s three-week Amazonian synod that’s currently underway, progressives have floated proposals for an “inculturated mass” with indigenous rituals, married priests, and female deacons. Progressive prelates, with the support of pope Francis, are using this regional synod to introduce reforms meant eventually for the entire church. Conservatives are grinding their teeth over this tradition-bending synod.

John Henry Newman was a 19th-century Anglican priest who famously “converted” to Roman Catholicism in 1845. Rome has been leveraging Newman as a “come on” to nominal Protestants ever since.

The local Rochester Catholic diocese declared bankruptcy back in early-September in order to limit payouts to victims of priest sexual abuse. The diocese is now in the middle of its annual Catholic Ministries Appeal fundraising campaign and has assured potential donors that none of the contributions will be used to pay off victims of priest abuse. However, in a private meeting with abuse survivors on October 10th, bishop Matano and his staff indicated CMA funds could possibly be used to compensate former victims. So, which is it?

I recently stumbled across this new book, “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” by Catholic Answers apologist, Karlo Broussard. I think I may have to begin a series refuting this book, point-by-point.

Poland is one of the few countries in Europe where Catholic church-state symbiosis is still in effect. In Poland, if you’re not Catholic, you’re not considered a “true” Pole by a large segment of the population.

We believers can do better than this!

The birth of “folk-rock” in the hills of Los Angeles

Echo in the Canyon
Directed by Andrew Slater and featuring Tom Petty, Brian Wilson, Jakob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills, Roger McGuinn, Michelle Phillips, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, John Sebastian, and Lou Adler
Greenwich Entertainment, 2018, 82 min

4 Stars

In the early-1960s, young people gravitated to two types of music; there was rock-and-roll for teeny boppers and the “unsophisticated,” and there was folk music for college students and the “socially conscious.” Both groups eyed each other and their music with contempt. But when the Beatles came to America in 1964 and took the country by storm with their infectious brand of rock-and-roll, a few young folk musicians took notice.

In Los Angeles, Jim (later Roger) McGuinn hooked up with fellow struggling folkies, Gene Clark and David Crosby, to form the Byrds and together they created a synthesis of folk music and rock-and-roll. It was one of those rare moments of “game-changing” creativity. The new style of music, dubbed “folk-rock,” was a huge success and had a powerful influence. Both the Beatles and Bob Dylan, folk music’s premier troubadour, were paying attention and changed course; the Beatles became more cerebral and Dylan plugged in. Young musicians and songwriters who were hip to the new sound flocked to Los Angeles where it was “happening.” With some serious paychecks now coming in, Crosby bought a house in the Laurel Canyon neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles and was followed by many other like-minded artists. For a brief period, 1965-1968, Laurel Canyon was THE place to be.

Former record company executive, Andrew Slater, put together this documentary to capture some of the excitement of that particular time and place. Host, Jakob Dylan (son of Bob), takes the audience on a journey that includes archived footage and interviews. Dylan and his young friends (Beck, Jade Castrinos, Justine Bennett, Regina Spektor) ruminate on the impact the Laurel Canyon sound had on popular music and perform some of the old chestnuts in concert.

I had been meaning to catch “Echo in the Canyon” at Rochester’s art house movie theater. Having missed it there, I was pleased to see it was already available via Amazon Prime videos. Being an old Byrds/Buffalo Springfield fan, I really enjoyed this documentary. But I was even happier when I listened to my wife describe the film to one of our sons over the phone the next day. She told him the Laurel Canyon musicians sang about peace, love, and universal brotherhood, but they couldn’t get along themselves. Hey, that’s my line! Yup, Jesus Christ is the ONLY answer.

Postscript: Many have asked why one of Laurel Canyon’s most celebrated former residents and artists, Joni Mitchell, is conspicuously missing from this documentary? Well, Joni has been scathingly critical of Bob Dylan in several interviews and I’m sure Jakob Dylan was not enthusiastic about featuring her in any form or fashion. Peace? Love? Harmony?

Throwback Thursday: Flying nuns and flying priests?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment! Today, we’re revisiting a post that was originally published back on July 20, 2015, and has been slightly revised.

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I’ve heard of “The Flying Nun” but has anyone heard of flying priests? ABC’s “The Flying Nun” television comedy ran from 1967 to 1970 with Sally Field starring as Sister Bertrille, the young, 90-pound nun who was often levitated by the strong tropical breezes of San Juan, Puerto Rico (where her convent was located) that lifted her up into the air by her highly-starched cornette (see photo above). Wow, that nun must have had neck muscles like aircraft cables! Few, if any, shows in the history of television have had a more ridiculous premise.

But Sister Bertrille wasn’t the only Catholic flying around the atmosphere. The Catholic church claims quite a few of its “saints” were prone to levitate while in contemplative, rapturous swoons. Below is an incomplete list of “frequent flyers” from Catholic sources:

St. Francis of Assisi, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, St. Angela of Brescia, St. Antoinette of Florence, St. Bishop Arey, St. Peter Celestine, St. Colette, St. Margaret of Hungary, St. Stephen of Hungary, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Joseph Oriol, Bl. Bentivolio Buoni, St. Francis of Paola, St. John of St. Facondo, St. Martin de Porres, St. Gerard Majella, St. Paul of the Cross, and St. Gemma Galgani.

Perhaps the “saint” most famous for levitating was Franciscan friar, Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663). It’s claimed that Pope Urban VIII witnessed Joseph’s levitations firsthand when the friar visited the Vatican. Did these people actually float or are these just more Catholic “sacred tradition” folk tales? The Bible records that Jesus and Peter walked on water and that Jesus ascended into Heaven, but there’s no other mention of any other kind of “levitation” in the New Testament. Levitation has long been a staple of pagan religions and is cited as a frequent phenomenon in cases of demonic possession. Joseph of Cupertino and the others mentioned were Catholic “mystics” who deprived themselves of food, water, sleep, and other necessities and normal comforts in an effort to enter into a psychological state of religious ecstasy/euphoria/hysteria. These “mystics” lived in a society dominated by religious superstition. Why do we not hear of any verifiable cases of levitation among Catholic priests or nuns today?

Catholicism is overflowing with fanciful tales and legends of religious miracles, but proclaims a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Pay no attention to the “bright lights” of false “mystical” spiritualism/experientialism and heed the Biblical Gospel of Grace! Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church where the Gospel is preached without compromise!

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Above: “Saint” Joe of Cupertino, fancifully portrayed flying onward and upward.

 

Wacky British-Israelism

I was saved back in 1983, well before the age of the internet. In those days, the most popular information mediums were still print and television. There was an elderly man who used to appear on television every weekend by the name of Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986, photo left). Armstrong was the founder of a sect, The Worldwide Church of God, and his television show was called “The World Tomorrow.” I remember Armstrong being a very dour man who was constantly talking about the end times and the books of the Bible that included end times prophecy, like Revelation and Daniel.

I have a first cousin by the name of Jimmy Z., who was also working at Kodak’s Elmgrove Plant at the time I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I used to bump into Jimmy now and then in the hallways and the conversation would always flow from family news to religious topics. I quickly ascertained that Jimmy was a member of Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God. I would always try to guide the conversation back to salvation in Jesus Christ, while Jimmy, with passionate zealotry, kept returning to some very specific point about the end times.

I eventually discovered that Armstrong also taught “British-Israelism.” That was the belief that “‘the people of the British Isles are “genetically, racially, and linguistically the direct descendants” of the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel'” (from Wiki). From this belief, Armstrong taught that the end times prophecies regarding Israel actually applied to Britain and the United States. He taught that the British royal line is the continuation of the throne of King David. To further acquaint myself with the wacky theories of British-Israelism, I ordered Armstrong’s definitive book, “The United States and Britain in Prophecy” (photo right), which was originally published in 1945. Armstrong gave the book away for free to anyone who requested it and there were actually quite a few copies floating around the United States in the early 1980s.

Armstrong spoke about “faith in Christ,” but taught that salvation was ultimately dependent on keeping the Law. He insisted that many of the Mosaic Laws were still in effect and required his adherents to follow them. A distinct teaching of the WCG was “second-chance salvation”; that those who die as unbelievers prior to the return of Christ, exist in a state of soul-sleep until after the Millennium, at the second resurrection, at which time they will be offered the choice to submit to God’s government (from Wiki).

After Armstrong died in 1986, the leaders of The Worldwide Church of God began to reevaluate many of his teachings. By 1995, the WCG had jettisoned all of Armstrong’s doctrines. In 2009, the church officially changed its name from “The Worldwide Church of God” to “Grace Communion International” and has become a nominal evangelical church belonging to the National Association of Evangelicals. As the church transitioned, members who were still loyal to Armstrong’s doctrines broke away resulting in several offshoot sects, most notably Gerald Flurry’s Philadelphia Church of God, established in 1989 and headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma. Flurry buys television time throughout the U.S. each weekend and continues to propagate Armstrong’s false teachings. The membership of the PCG is small, estimated to be under 6000 fifteen years ago. I believe my cousin, Jimmy, is now a member of Flurry’s PCG.

At my father’s funeral in July, 2015, cousin Jimmy showed up to “pay his respects.” At the lunch reception that followed, Jimmy once again expounded on Armstrong’s end times teachings while I attempted to share the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Jimmy actually became quite angry with me when I ended the discussion.

Postscript 1: British-Israelism is no doubt a very wacky and far-fetched ideology, but also keep in mind that American Christians, beginning with the Pilgrims, have taught that America was the “new Israel,” in a privileged, covenant relationship with God. This idea of “Christian nationalism” has remained popular among some Christians in our country right up to the present time (see Jerry Falwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress).

Postscript 2: Some Christian pastors dismiss studying cults and non-Christian religions, advising believers to study only the Bible. In conjunction, they usually reference the false canard about Secret Service agents only studying genuine currency in order to spot counterfeits. The Secret Service actually does study counterfeits and believers should have at least some knowledge of comparative theology otherwise they will be bamboozled by false religionists who can also quote the Bible and use the same religious terminology.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday sermon series, #1

Many of you are aware that brother Wally over at Truth in Palmyra has opted to take a sabbatical from blogging because of his very busy schedule at this time. I’m surely missing Wally’s daily posts, but I realize a brother needs to prioritize and get at least a little rest during the day.

As a part of his weekly blogging schedule, Wally regularly posted the Sunday sermon videos from Pastor Roger Copeland at Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, Arkansas and from Pastor Cody Andrews at Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City, Arkansas.

I really enjoyed and was blessed by both sermons each week, which I listened to while I entered long lists of data into my computer at work. After I was laid off, I enjoyed listening to the sermons while taking long walks with my iPhone and wireless earpods. Right after my wife and I were saved, we attended an independent Baptist church where we regularly sat under some lively Baptist preaching from the pastor who was from southern Ohio, so listening to brothers Roger and Cody each week brought back fond memories.

Since Wally won’t be posting the sermons for awhile, I told him I would be retrieving the sermons for myself each week. It then occurred to me that I could post both sermons for the benefit of others as well until Wally returns to the blogosphere.

So grab your ear buds and enjoy this week’s edition of some good ol’ Baptist preaching from Arkansas!

Roger Copeland – Let It Rain

 

Cody Andrews – The Three Glorious Promises

Argh! One of those Major Life Events

I had one of those “major life events” a short time ago, but haven’t posted about it to this point. I guess I needed several weeks for the dust to settle.

In early-July, my boss informed me that one of our company’s major corporate customers was not renewing their contract for 2020. That was definitely NOT good news. That particular customer accounts for about 40% of our sales. My boss advised me to prepare for the inevitable. For the next couple of months, I read the daily reports as the customer in question began methodically pulling our equipment out of their stores and returning it to our warehouse. Arriving back to work on the Tuesday after Labor Day Weekend, my boss called me into his office the first thing in the morning, usually not a good sign. As I suspected, I was being laid off at the end of the month.

I began working at K* in 1976 when I was nineteen-years-old. At that time there were 60,000 people working at K’s massive manufacturing, research, logistics, and administrative facilities in Rochester. But foreign competition and the subsequent switch from analog to digital technology began impacting K in the mid-1980s. The layoffs started in earnest in 1985 and have continued non-stop for thirty-four years. From what I can gather, there’s now probably less than 2000 Rochesterians working at K and KA (the company that was spun off from K and where I ended up).

My boss asked that I continue doing my job in the interim while simultaneously training my replacement. Needless to say, September was a difficult month.

So, here I am, 63-years-old and unemployed, with twenty-two more months until I’m eligible for Medicare. To complicate things further, my wife was forced to discontinue working in early-August because of health issues and was placed on short-term disability. There’s a very high probability that she will eventually be switched to long-term disability.

But this is not a self-pity party. The Lord is Lord of the valleys as well as the mountain tops. I was blessed with 43 years of employment at K and I’m not all that far from retirement. As part of its limited severance package, KA has provided three months’ worth of assistance from a “career transition” company. I’m currently using those services and creating a resume in preparation for some job hunting.

I have many brothers and sisters in the Lord who are dealing with challenges much more serious than losing a job at age 63, so I didn’t write this as a whine fest. But I was still a bit angry and bitter. All I needed was two more years, Lord! Well, the Lord has been teaching me many things in the last six weeks. When everything seems to be going fine and we’re living in our “it’s all good” bubble and familiar routine, our faith can tend to become lackadaisical, but it’s in trials and tribulations when we truly lean on and lean into the Lord. This is a fallen world and if you haven’t experienced any “major life events” yet, you surely will. This world doesn’t offer much in the way of safety nets, but our Sovereign God, who knows all of our circumstances, is our immovable Rock and High Tower!

Postscript 1: One day I was feeling particularly stressed because of all of the red tape issues I had to take care of due to my pending unemployment, mostly signing up for various types of insurance. To make matters worse, I had let my reading material queue run dry. Oy vey! In “desperation,” I went back to my half-finished and neglected copy of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ “Studies on the Sermon on the Mount.” The next chapter just so happened to be “Be Not Anxious,” followed by “Birds and Flowers,” “Little Faith,” “Increasing Faith,” and “Worry: Its Causes and Cure,” all sermons on Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus’ teaching on worry and anxiety. Praise God for His care and encouragement!

Postscript 2: My 24/7 full-time job and joy is following Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” – Matthew 6:25-27

*Due to legalities, I’m being purposely circumspect about the name of my former company, especially in regards to their current troubles.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 10/12/19

Italian journalist, Eugenio Scalfari (photo left), once again reports that his friend, pope Francis, has said something controversial. This time, Scalfari claims that Francis stated in private conversation his belief that “Jesus Christ was not divine.” The Vatican of course denies everything, but Francis’ reported statements denying Jesus’ divinity actually align quite well with progressive Jesuit theology.

Francis continues to stack the deck to ensure the college of cardinals elects a like-minded progressive as his successor.

I’ve been collecting news stories for the weekend roundup for several years and periodically see articles from Catholic sources claiming that William Shakespeare was a crypto-Catholic. I seriously wonder why Catholics even bother debating this kind of historical minutiae when their church is currently nostril-deep in scandal and anti-Francis conservatives flirt with schism?

These 1700 priest pedophiles freely walk the streets of American neighborhoods largely because the Catholic hierarchy covered up for them.

Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) was a Polish Catholic nun and mystic who claimed to receive direct revelations from apparitions of Jesus Christ. Pope John Paul II declared fellow-Pole, Kowalska, a saint in 2000. Kowalska’s vain repetitive “divine mercy chaplet” prayer recitation and the painted image of Kowalska’s divine mercy vision have gained an army of devotees since her canonization. Catholic mysticism appeals to seekers of religious/psychological euphoria and has been making rapid inroads into evangelicalism thanks to compromising Judas ecumenists.

The American Catholic church always relied on baptizing the newborn children of members to perpetuate itself. The only serious evangelization done by Catholics was those other-era newspapers ads from the Knights of Columbus. But now, with membership dwindling dramatically, the RCC has been seriously considering evangelization. But pope Francis says even “good” atheists can merit Heaven, so why would anyone want to get hooked up with all of that dreary liturgical rigmarole?

I always thought that Lord Baltimore, a Roman Catholic, had named Maryland after the “blessed virgin Mary,” but come to find out he named the colony after Roman Catholic, Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), wife of Catholic-sympathizer, King Charles I, and queen consort of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Our large church is very big on small groups, but my wife and I, two very square pegs, did not fit in with that structure.

Strength training with dumbbells – 101

As stewards of all of the Lord’s gifts, we need to take care of our physical bodies. A good diet, exercise, and rest are essential. But all things in their proper proportion. Our relationship with the Lord takes precedence over everything else. Many people these days, even some believers, make exercise their religion.

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Back in early-July, I submitted some posts at the conclusion of my 16-week, 30-pound weight-loss campaign. Three months later, I’m happy to report that I haven’t gained back any of the weight. One of the keys to keeping at bay the almost-inevitable yo-yo effect was by continuing my exercise regimen. Exercise revs up your metabolism and burns those calories. Losing weight obviously requires eating right and cutting back on calories, but if your program doesn’t include an exercise regimen you will only have one oar in the water.

People spend a ton of money on gym memberships, but you can put together an effective exercise regimen with only a small investment.

Aerobic exercise is the best calorie burner. Examples include cycling, swimming, rowing, sessions on a step or elliptical machine, and brisk walking. I don’t recommend running or jogging because they’re VERY hard on the joints. I try to walk every day with a goal of 10,000 steps or 4-5 miles. See my previous post about my walking regimen here.

I haven’t mentioned the anaerobic portion of my exercise regimen to this point, so here goes…

Anaerobic (resistance) training can also be a good part of a weight loss and maintenance program. Lifting weights keeps your muscles toned and burning calories. After a month or two, you’ll notice increased strength and endurance for all kinds of tasks around the house and at the job. Again, you don’t need an expensive gym membership to have a decent weight lifting program. I used to have an extensive amount of free weights and equipment in the basement of our previous house, and from that experience I was able to cull together a condensed program using only 5, 10, 15, and 20 lb. dumbbells and one resistance band. I do my anaerobic workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and each session lasts only about 15 minutes. That’s right! Only 15 minutes per session! I don’t use heavy weights and I make sure I keep proper form. Don’t rush through each rep. Do them methodically. Feel the burn. Rest and stretch between sets. Start out with light weights and increase resistance very gradually as your strength increases. Lift smart with the long-term in mind and avoid short-term injury or burnout. Your goal is to effectively fatigue the muscle group you’re working on, NOT to swing around heavier and heavier weights to satisfy an ego trip. Caution: It’s easy to injure your joints and/or muscles by using weights that are too heavy. 

Below is my current weekly routine. I’ve provided videos for each exercise, but if you’ve never lifted weights before, you’ll want to at least read a good book on the topic from the library or Amazon. The weight that you lift doesn’t need to match mine. Everyone is different. Start out with very light weights. Lifting weights that are too heavy and lifting weights improperly can and will cause injury.

Monday – Back and Biceps.

  • Standing alternating dumbbell curls. I start with 10 lb. dumbbells in each hand, alternating curls x 10 reps. See video here.
  • Alternating dumbbell rows. 10 lb. x 10 reps. See video here.
  • Standing alternating dumbbell curls. 15 lb. x 10 reps.
  • Alternating dumbbell rows. 15 lb. x 10 reps.
  • I then wrap my 8′ resistance band up high around one of our basement poles, sit in a chair about 8′ feet away, and pull the band handles towards me, using my back muscles, x 10 reps.
  • I then wrap my resistance band low around the same basement pole, sit in a chair about 6′ feet away with a pad on my lap (i.e., our dog’s padded bed 🙂 ) to rest my elbows on and do arm curls until muscle failure (usually about 20 reps).
  • Crunches x 25 (see video here) followed by lying leg raises x 25 (see video here)

Wednesday – Chest and Triceps

We have a long wooden bench at home that’s very helpful in doing dumbbell chest flies and dumbbell benchpresses. Necessity is the mother of invention.

  • Laying flat on bench, do dumbbell chest flies. 5 lb. x 10 reps (see video here) and immediately transition to…
  • Dumbbell benchpress. 5 lb. x 10 reps. See video here.
  • Dumbbell one-arm triceps kickback. 5 lb. x 10 reps. See video here.
  • Dumbbell chest fly and benchpress. 10 lb. x 10 reps.
  • Dumbbell one-arm triceps kickback. 10 lb. x 10 reps.
  • Dumbbell chest fly and benchpress. 15 lb. x 10 reps.
  • I then wrap my resistance band low around the basement pole, lay down with my back flat on the floor with my head 6′ from the pole and do triceps pushdowns until muscle failure (usually about 20 reps). I can also do pushdowns kneeling on the floor with the band wrapped around the basement ceiling beam. See video here.
  • I then wrap my resistance band high around the same basement pole, stand about 6′ away, with my back to the pole and do standing chest flies until muscle failure (usually about 20 reps). See video here.
  • Crunches x 25 followed by lying leg raises x 25.
  • I usually end the routine with some modified push-ups (with knees on the floor) x 20 as the grand finale.

Friday – Legs and Shoulders

  • Squats holding onto 5 lb. dumbbells x 10 reps. See video here.
  • Dumbbell stiff-legged deadlift. 5 lb. x 10 reps. See video here.
  • Calf raises on first step of basement stairway x 10 reps. See video here.
  • Combo dumbbell lateral raise (video), dumbbell front raise (video), and dumbbell shoulder press (video). 5 lb. x 10 reps each.
  • Squats holding onto 10 lb. dumbbells x 10 reps.
  • Dumbbell stiff-legged deadlift. 10 lb. x 10 reps.
  • Calf raises on first step of basement stairway x 10 reps.
  • Combo dumbbell lateral raise, dumbbell front raise, and dumbbell shoulder press. 10 lb. x 10 reps each.
  • Crunches x 25 followed by lying leg raises x 25.

There you have it, folks, a very thorough resistance training regimen that hits all of the major muscle groups, takes only 45-minutes total each week, and requires only a set of adjustable dumbbells (see here for a $40 dumbbell starter set from Amazon) and a resistance band.

Throwback Thursday: Charles Spurgeon on Roman Catholicism

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Throwback Thursday.” For today’s installment, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 17th, 2015 and has been slightly revised.

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Geese in their Hoods: Selected Writings on Roman Catholicism by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Edited by Timothy F. Kauffman
White Horse Publications, 1997, 206 pages

5 Stars

English Baptist Pastor, Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), was known as the “Prince of the Preachers” for his eloquent and often fiery oratory. In this volume, Timothy F. Kauffman has collected some of Spurgeon’s uncompromising views on Roman Catholicism and the pro-Romanist faction of the 19th-century, Anglican church (aka the Oxford Movement aka Puseyism). Spurgeon’s grandiloquent prose is far from breezy reading, but the material is well worth the effort.

Where are the Spurgeons of today to warn evangelicals of accommodation with Rome’s ritualism, legalism, and false gospel of merited salvation? In stark contrast, several of today’s evangelical leaders stumble over each other in their determined efforts to embrace Rome in the interest of ecumenical “Christian” unity. If Spurgeon were with us today, he would be roundly criticized as being uncharitable and ungracious for his uncompromising views on Roman Catholicism. However, Rome has not changed any of its salvation-by-merit doctrines since the Reformation, so why have some of today’s evangelical pastors and para-church leaders changed their view of works-righteousness Rome and betrayed the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

“Reader, do you believe that men like yourself have priestly power? Do you think that they can regenerate infants by sprinkling them, and turn bread and wine into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ? Do you think that a bishop can bestow the Holy Ghost, and that a parish clergyman can forgive sins ? If so, your head can be seen in the picture peeping out from the cowl of the fox. You are the victim of crafty deceivers. Your soul will be their prey in life and in death. They cajole you with soft words, fine vestments, loud pretensions, and cunning smiles, but they will conduct you down to the chambers of death, and lead you to the gates of hell. Silly goose, may grace make thee wise! Jesus Christ is the true Priest who can forgive all your sins; go to him at once, without the intervention of these pretenders. Make confession to him! Seek absolution from him! The Holy Ghost alone can cause you to be born again, and the grace of God alone can bring you to glory. Avoid Puseyite and Romish foxes, for they seek to make a gain of you, and lead you not to Jesus, but to their Church and all its mummeries. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and not in these deceivers.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Used copies of “Geese in their Hoods” are available at Amazon.com starting at $4.23. See here.

Below is a link to Timothy F. Kaufman’s blog:
http://www.whitehorseblog.com/

Brother Lawrence our example? Really?

I’ll begin by saying it’s grievous to have to write this…

One day last week, as I was preparing to do some work on our powder room, I set up my iPhone to play that day’s radio message from evangelical pastor, Alistair Begg (photo left), via the Truth for Life website. I used to listen to pastor Begg regularly, but I remember being put-off by some of the people he referenced in his sermons, C. S. Lewis being one of his oft-mentioned favorites. But I had recently taken to listening to pastor Begg again. During the course of this new sermon (“True Friendship,” broadcast 9/30/19), pastor Begg said something that was upsetting to hear.

But before I get into the meat of this post, let me start with an observation. We evangelicals live in a bubble. We tend to think we’re the only people who pray and the only people who write passionately and lovingly about our faith. I hate to break it to you my friends, but committed Hindus and Muslims write passionately about their religion as well. Likewise, members of pseudo-Christian cults, like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, are passionate about their religion. They too have devotional materials filled with lofty prose meant to motivate their membership to worship and praise their nonexistent faux deity. Writing pious words about Jesus does not make the writer a Christian. That being said, let’s return to pastor Begg.

As I was listening to the sermon, pastor Begg expounded on our Savior, Lord, and Friend, Jesus Christ. We thrill at being Jesus’s friend, but, as Begg points out, friendship with Christ is not just a doctrinal truth of objective, forensic position, but also experiential. Begg quotes John 15:14:

“You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

Begg then refers to several authors who wrote about obeying Jesus. The first writer Begg mentions is Brother Lawrence (photo right). At the 18:20 mark, Begg says:

“If you read the writing, for example, of Brother Lawrence in “The Practice of the Presence of God,” and you say, now this is an inkling of what’s involved here.”

So what’s the problem? Well, Brother Lawrence (1614-1691) aka Nicolas Herman was an unordained lay brother of the Roman Catholic Discalced Carmelite religious order who resided at a monastery in Paris. Brother Lawrence lived his entire life as a faithful Roman Catholic and fully adhered to his church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Since Brother Lawrence adhered to Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit, I’m curious why a popular evangelical pastor like Alistair Begg would hold up such a person as a Christian example? Does he believe Brother Lawrence was a genuine Christian because of his pious religious prose? But what of Lawrence’s legalistic and anti-Gospel beliefs and religious practices that were not mentioned in “The Practice of the Presence of God”? Has Begg forgotten the cause and necessity of the Reformation, which began only 97 years before Brother Lawrence was born? What was going through Begg’s mind as he was writing this sermon and decided to extol the writings of a committed Roman Catholic to his audience as an exemplary resource on Christian obedience? Does Begg not consider the effect of recommending a Roman Catholic writer to his evangelical audience or is he well past that point? Can we also expect pastor Begg to recommend the eloquent devotional writings of other false gospel, works-religionists such as Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Smith, Jr., or Mary Baker Eddy? Can anyone imagine a Charles Spurgeon or a Martyn Lloyd-Jones recommending from the pulpit a book written by a committed Roman Catholic to their congregations?

All of the above questions are obviously rhetorical. Ecumenical accommodation and compromise are rampant in the Body of Christ. There’s more than ignorance and carelessness at work here.