“Am I Catholic?” Praise God, NO, I am NOT Catholic!

Am I Catholic?: A Struggle with Faith, Humility, and Surrendering to God
By Kendra Von Esh
Self-published, Second edition, 2018, 176 pp.

1 Star

Several months ago, I was channel-surfing and happened upon the Daystar cable channel, which is similar in content to TBN, although on a smaller scale. Daystar is owned by Pentecostals, Marcus and Joni Lamb, and much of the content on Daystar includes references to prophecy, healing, and speaking in tongues, meaning I generally wouldn’t view the channel myself or recommend it to anyone else.

However, what caught my eye that particular July 1st evening was Joni and Marcus interviewing author, Kendra Von Esh, on the station’s flagship show, “Ministry Now.” Von Esh was on the show promoting her book, “Am I Catholic?” Hmm, how would Joni and Marcus handle this? Marcus began the interview by stating that he realized that, “there are Protestant people, that, they don’t agree with some things about the Catholic church…but the test of salvation, when you ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins, that is the bottom line, and there are many truly born-again Catholics.” Marcus reiterates that it’s not denominational membership that saves, but whether a person is “a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Von Esh then began telling her story of having been raised in a nominal Catholic family and having no substantial connection to her religion until, as a middle-aged adult, her father had a life-threatening illness and surgery, which prompted her to begin delving deeply back into her Catholicism. Among other things, she described the joy of being able to confess her sins to a priest and receive forgiveness.

Joni nervously interjected at that point, because, what Von Esh was describing, didn’t sound like being born-again:

Joni: “When did you, like, have an, if you will, an understanding that Jesus died for your sins and that He [emphasis] forgives everything and it’s finished, it’s done, He paid the price at Calvary for us?

Von Esh replied with some nebulous, religious gobbledygook, but did not answer Joni’s question. Catholics believe, as they are taught by their church, that salvation is a lifelong process that is dependent on regularly receiving the sacraments and successfully obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. Marcus and other misguided folks extend the hand of fellowship to Roman Catholics because they readily assent to the vague parlance of “asking Jesus to come into your heart” and of being a “believer.”

While it’s true that there are probably some Catholics who are saved, they are saved in spite of their church’s teachings, not because of them. Marcus is correct, that church and denominational membership saves no one, but Roman Catholics never get to hear the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone from their church’s pulpits. The Catholic church unapologetically teaches that salvation is by sacramental grace and merit. Joni sensed a problem with Von Esh’s “testimony” while she was gushing on and on about confessing her sins to a priest, but Joni didn’t follow up. Marcus and Joni failed Von Esh and their viewers by insinuating Roman Catholicism’s false gospel was legitimate or at least “close enough.”

I ordered Von Esh’s short book and read it in a couple of sittings. She describes the “joy” of rediscovering the traditions, rituals, and rules of her church. Many converts and reverts to Catholicism are enamored with the RCC system, but beneath the church’s gaudy “smells and bells” liturgicalism is a works-righteousness treadmill whereby no one can ever find salvation and eternal joy in Jesus Christ.

I said a prayer for Kendra Von Esh’s salvation. Stay away from Daystar, TBN, and other sources that muddy the genuine Gospel by embracing Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity.

For research purposes, I’m providing the video below to the “Ministry Now” July 1st episode in question. The interview with Von Esh begins at the 30:30 mark.

Above photo: Joni and Marcus Lamb muddy the Gospel with Roman Catholic, Kendra Von Esh

30 thoughts on ““Am I Catholic?” Praise God, NO, I am NOT Catholic!

  1. Exactly, Tom. The hosts of the show completely failed the author. The opportunity was placed in their lap and the shook it out like burning coals.

    As for your advice: “Stay away from Daystar, TBN, and other sources that muddy the genuine Gospel by embracing Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity” — absolutely, and for a number of other muddinesses as well!!

    Excellent post, Tom.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, David! Yes, this kind of “warm and fuzzy” accommodation and compromise doesn’t help anyone and actually does great harm by presenting error as truth.

      Joni was convicted enough to voice a meek objection/clarifying question, but as you say, she shook out the opportunity rather than rock the boat.

      Oh yeah, LOTS of muddiness featured on TBN and Daystar!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I normally skip over Daystar and TBN as fast as I can but that particular evening I just happened to catch the mention of “Catholic.” One thing I didn’t mention in the post was that in the interview Joni stated she was very appreciative of Catholics because they are very open to “the miraculous.” The shared religious experientialism of Pentecostalism and Catholicism provides a bridge. Catholic charismatics exhibit the requisite “gifts of the Spirit,” even though they still hold to salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Doctrinal distinctives are dismissed because of shared ecstatic experientialism.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mentioned previously that a lot of Rochester seniors go down to Florida to live during the winters. They have condos or trailer homes down there. But COVID-19 is cutting back on that this year. A “snowbird” who lives a few houses away says he is staying put this year. He doesn’t think Floridians are as strict about C-19 public health safety protocols. Speaking of C-19, there’s quite a surge going on here. Half the county was just switched to “orange” status meaning many close-contact businesses (gyms, barber shops, beauty salons, etc.) are shut-down again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow our state is going to have more strict restrictions again but I feel LA has been strict the whole time compared to the rest of the state since our numbers never went down

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Too bad about the numbers not going down in LA. People here were lulled into a false sense of security now the numbers are shooting up again with people congregating inside as the weather gets colder.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I admit my ignorance of who is Von Esh, Marcus and Joni Lamb and Daystar but everything you shared reflect the general doctrinal unawareness of Evangelicalism today and also betrayal of the Gospel. Sad they had the person promoting Romanism including a plug for the book. Won’t be able to watch the video until later but I suspect its going to be a headache to listen to…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, the Lamb’s accommodation and compromise is emblematic of what’s going on throughout “evangelicalism.” Sickening to watch. Plugging her RCC. The majority of today’s “evangelicals” would think this was just fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sad state of Evangelicalism. You don’t know how many think teaching biblical doctrines is boring. That attitude couple with feel good entertainment philosophy of ministry got us to here. Sad

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: people see doctrine as boring

        As a pastor you see this much more than me. But I do see how people have ZERO interest in distinguishing between Rome’s gospel and the genuine Gospel. The debate is advanced calculus nitpicking in their minds when it’s actually quite straightforward.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting post Tom. I see a lot of similarities between Roman Catholicism and Pentecostalism. My dear friend reminds glued to Daystar and almost raises it above the Bible, the Holy Spirit above the Lord Jesus and so on, The deception is clear these people do not understand what the gospel of Jesus Christ is. Even the Baptist church I attend, salvation is up to the individual. God just sits there and waits for our decision.
    Thank you Tom. Keep up the great work you are doing.
    Blessings brother .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Crissy! Yes, there are many experiential-emotional-euphorial bridges between Catholicism and Pentecostalism. In fact, Joni remarked during the interview that she appreciated Catholics so much because they were “so open to the miraculous.” Thank you and blessings to you, sister!

      Liked by 1 person

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