Today, we commemorate Reformation Day. Five-hundred-and-three years ago, on October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther took the bold step of nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, beginning a movement whose goal was to restore the New Testament Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. It would take subsequent Reformers to chip away at remaining vestiges of Roman error, but the Holy Spirit used Luther and the other early Reformers in a great way. Most of today’s hipster, megachurch pastors don’t mention the Reformation because it contradicts their watered-down, seeker-friendly, ecumenical messages.
Both conservative and progressive Catholics have been trying to process the October 21st publicization of pope Francis’ radical allowance for civil unions for same-sex couples. Some conservatives (like apologist, Dave Armstrong) continue making excuses for the pope while others are finally crossing over the line and joining with those who already proclaim Francis a “bad pope” and even a heretic.
The Roman Catholic church hasn’t yet officially endorsed the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, although pope Francis did authorize pilgrimages to the site beginning in May, 2019. The Franciscans who advise the alleged visionaries and the local bishop have been at odds since the supposed apparitions began back in 1981. Why? Because remarks attributed to the alleged Marian apparition have been critical of the bishop.
It’s not a widely-followed practice among U.S. Catholics, but in European Catholic countries, on November 2, All Souls’ Day, families attend mass and visit cemeteries to light candles and pray for their deceased loved ones in hopes that they will be “sprung” from purgatory prison. Because of COVID-19, the Vatican has decreed that families can obtain the plenary “get out of jail free card” indulgence for their loved one/s throughout the entire month of November. What about the alleged souls in purgatory who don’t have family to “spring” them? May this type of inane, arbitrary legalism raise questions in the minds of Catholics. It was Catholicism’s anti-Biblical teaching on indulgences that initially prompted Martin Luther to write his 95 theses.
In these secret Vatican-Beijing accords, pope Francis is allowing the Chinese communists to install quisling bishops from its pro-government Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. I’m still not sure what the Vatican gets out of these deals.
Large segments of “evangelicalism” are moving away from the Bible and right doctrine to this Hillsong-ish, hands-in-the-air, religious hystericism and experientialism.