Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 6/18/22

I don’t need to tell you that it’s “Gay Pride Month” since we are all being subjected to the L*** propaganda steamroller ad nauseam via the media and elsewhere. When I log in my time on my computer at work, the first thing I see on my company’s website is a large colorful article endorsing and promulgating Gay Pride Month. We note that the Bible teaches against both homosexuality and pridefulness.

The first article above provides an informative summary of how pope Francis, James Martin, SJ, and other progressives are greasing the skids for full acceptance of practicing L***ers within the RCC. The second article mentions the ongoing efforts of progressive Catholics to canonize Franciscan priest, Mychal Judge, a former NYC firefighters’ chaplain and the first individual to die in the 9/11 attack, as the first openly homosexual saint. Popular Catholic theologian, John Henry Cardinal Newman’s (1801-1891), canonisation was delayed for 130 years due to his controversial relationship with priest, Ambrose St. John, but pope Francis pushed it through in 2019.

No one should be pressured to support the L*** propaganda machine. Society will increasingly demand that Bible Christians acquiesce.

Pseudo-Christian pro-L***ers often use the argument that Jesus Christ never specifically condemned homosexuality, as Catholic Ted Lieu recently pointed out on the floor of the U.S. Capital. This is an argument from the absurd.

“3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus taught a man/male and woman/female becoming one, not a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Jesus upheld all of Scripture, and the Old Testament (and New Testament) unequivocally identifies homosexuality as sin.

The RCC spends years revising its formulaic incantations. Only God can forgive sins.

Some liberal Catholics are saying “sayonara” to the RCC and encouraging others to do the same after San Francisco archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, barred abortion supporter, Nancy Pelosi, from receiving the Jesus wafer in her home diocese.

Tomorrow is the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi (“the Body of Christ”), in which Catholics celebrate the alleged transformation of bread wafers into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Eating the Jesus wafer supposedly imparts graces that helps the partaker to resist sin in order to merit salvation at the moment of death. The U.S. Catholic bishops ordained a three-year eucharistic revival beginning tomorrow. The aim of the revival is to educate Catholics on proper Jesus wafer doctrine, etiquette, and protocols. A 2019 Pew Research poll showed that only 30% of Catholics believe the consecrated wafer is actually Jesus. A very recent survey revealed that only 34% of Catholics believe the Jesus wafer should be withheld from Catholic politicians like Pelosi and Joe Biden who disagree with church teaching on abortion. Tomorrow, Rochester Catholic bishop, Salvatore R. Matano, will be carrying a large Jesus wafer in a monstrance (gold container with see-through glass) in a procession around Corpus Christi Church at 864 E. Main St. Catholics will line the streets (well, certainly not as many as in years gone by) and bow in worship to the Jesus wafer as it passes by (example photo below).


The alternative to all of the falsities and wranglings within the RCC referred to in the articles above is the genuine Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.


Tom’s retirement countdown: 19 more weekends to go!

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #4: “The foundation is Peter’s confession of faith.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard continues with his arguments that Matthew 16:18 is a proof-text for Petrine primacy, the papacy, and the authority of the Roman Catholic church.

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13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter (petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church. – Matthew 16:13-18


Protestant Response #4: “The foundation is Peter’s confession of faith”

Writes Broussard, “Protestant apologists note that Jesus begins with a personal address directed to Peter using the second-person pronoun you. ‘And I tell you, you are Peter,’ but then switches to the demonstrative adjective this: ‘and upon this rock.’ James White infers from this that Jesus makes ‘the differentiation between ‘Peter’ and ‘this rock’ complete,’ and that Jesus is ‘speaking to Peter about the ‘rock.” If Jesus had intended ‘this rock’ to refer to Peter, the argument continues, he would have continued to use the second-person pronoun and said, ‘You are Peter, and upon you, Peter, I will build my church.’ Instead, he’s referring to the next-closest thing in the text: Peter’s proclamation that Jesus is the Christ” (pp. 25-26).

Broussard’s rebuttal

Broussard opens his rebuttal with the argument that “there’s no reason why the metaphorical rock can’t have a double meaning: one primary (Peter) and the other secondary (Peter’s confession of faith)” (p. 26). He admits the Catechism of the Catholic Church embraces this double meaning (see CCC 424 here). “However,” continues Broussard, “given the context of the passage…Peter’s profession of faith can only be a secondary meaning, since Peter is the direct recipient of Jesus’ address.” Broussard argues, “Just because Jesus switches from saying ‘you‘ to saying ‘this,’ it doesn’t follow that he must be changing his object from Peter to something else.” Broussard presents two examples in which Jesus’ disciples and Jesus are referred to using the demonstrative adjective, this (Matthew 5:14, implied) and Acts 4:10-11. Broussard also argues “that Peter’s declaration of faith is two verses removed from the ‘this.’ So, when Jesus says ‘this rock,’ it’s more reasonable to think he’s referring to Simon, whom he just renamed Rock, because he is the nearest thing for the pronoun to refer to” (p. 27).

My rebuttal

As I mentioned last week, it’s certainly misleading that Broussard presents the Protestant position on Matthew 16:18 as two distinct “comebacks”: 1) “the foundation is Jesus” discussed last week and 2) “the foundation is Peter’s confession of faith,” convolutedly presented this week. It’s clear that the Truth of Jesus being THE Rock is contained in Peter’s confession and it’s upon that Truth, Jesus being the Christ, that the church would be built.

In this section, Broussard expends a great amount of effort examining grammar and sentence structure to defend the Roman misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18. It’s fair to say that the verse is not crystal clear in meaning by itself so as to validate either the Protestant interpretation or the Roman misinterpretation. It’s obvious we’re not going to get to the crux of this issue by debating sentence structure.

As we stated last week, Scripture interprets Scripture, and it’s clear from the many Scripture passages that we presented in the previous post that Jesus Christ Himself, not Peter (petros), is THE Rock (petra) upon which He would build His church.

Let us present several additional arguments showing that Jesus is the Rock and that Rome’s self-serving interpretation is fallacious:

  1. In Matthew 20:20-28, the mother of James and John comes to Jesus and requests that her two sons be granted pre-eminency among the apostles. Why would she have done so if Peter had already been granted that status in Matthew 16:18 as Catholics insist? Mark 8:27-30 includes the synoptic parallel of Matthew 16:13-18 and yet in Mark 9:33-37, we see the apostles arguing amongst themselves over who is the greatest, who has primacy? In neither account does Jesus correct them, saying, “Didn’t you hear me give Peter apostolic primacy?” No, instead we witness Jesus rebuking the apostles for desiring primacy: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you.” – Matthew 20:25-26. The authoritarian hierarchy implemented by the RCC, which was adopted from the Roman imperial model, was precisely the type of structure that Jesus forbade. Both Matthew 20 and Mark 9 thoroughly debunk the Catholic misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18. We could satisfactorily rest our case at this point, but there is much more.
  2. Let’s look at other Scriptures. In the Acts of the Apostles, we certainly see that Peter did play a leading role among the apostles, although nothing resembling a pope. However, beginning in chapter 13 and continuing until chapter 28, the end of the book, we see the emphasis shift to the apostle Paul. In none of Paul’s thirteen epistles do we see Peter acknowledged as preeminent or anything even remotely resembling the Roman Catholic pope. Zero. Zilch. Nada. In contrast, Paul wrote that he was the equal of any of the apostles, even the more influential ones like Peter (Galatians 2:6). In fact, Paul had to publicly confront Peter at Antioch because the allegedly infallible first pope had compromised the Gospel of grace by deferring to the legalistic Judaizers and segregating himself from Gentile believers (Galatians 2:11-14). In the eight epistles that follow Paul’s letters, two written by Peter himself, we see absolutely zero evidence for Petrine primacy or the RC papacy.

We have demonstrated from an abundance of Scripture that Petrine primacy and the office of pope are Roman Catholic inventions. As the bishops of Rome consolidated their power, they searched the Bible for supporting proof-texts and manipulated Matthew 16:18 to meet their devilish ends.

It’s quite interesting that Augustine, who Rome views as one of its premier theologians and a highly esteemed “doctor of the church” held to the Protestant interpretation of Matthew 16:18.

“But whom say ye that I am? Peter answered, ‘Thou art the Christ, The Son of the living God.’ One for many gave the answer, Unity in many. Then said the Lord to him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.’ Then He added, ‘and I say unto thee.’ As if He had said, ‘Because thou hast said unto Me, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God;” I also say unto thee, “Thou art Peter.” ’ For before he was called Simon. Now this name of Peter was given him by the Lord, and in a figure, that he should signify the Church. For seeing that Christ is the rock (Petra), Peter is the Christian people. For the rock (Petra) is the original name. Therefore Peter is so called from the rock; not the rock from Peter; as Christ is not called Christ from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. ‘Therefore,’ he saith, ‘Thou art Peter; and upon this Rock’ which Thou hast confessed, upon this rock which Thou hast acknowledged, saying, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church;’ that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, ‘will I build My Church.’ I will build thee upon Myself, not Myself upon Thee.For men who wished to be built upon men, said, ‘I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas,’ who is Peter. But others who did not wish to built upon Peter, but upon the Rock, said, ‘But I am of Christ.’ And when the Apostle Paul ascertained that he was chosen, and Christ despised, he said, ‘Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?’ And, as not in the name of Paul, so neither in the name of Peter; but in the name of Christ: that Peter might be built upon the Rock, not the Rock upon Peter.” – Augustine, from Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VI, St. Augustin, Sermon XXVI.1-4, pp. 340-341).

Broussard guilefully omits from the reader the view from Rome’s most venerated theologian on this matter. Other church “fathers” wrote that Jesus Christ was the Rock referred to in Matthew 16:18, including Origen, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Theodoret of Cyr, Cyril of Alexandria, Hilary of Poitiers, Jerome, Epiphanius, etc. (see William Webster’s excellent and nuanced article on the topic here). While we appreciate the views of Augustine and the other church fathers who correctly interpreted Matthew 16:8 to mean Jesus is the Rock upon which the church would be built, not Peter, we must always defer to Scripture for our spiritual truth and Scripture taken together shows that Jesus Christ is the Rock referred to in Matthew 16:18.

Next week: Protestant response #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”

Throwback Thursday: Billy Graham – Part 1

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 19, 2016 and has been revised.

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Billy Graham (d. 2018) is widely revered as the greatest evangelist of the last 100 years. No individual did more to spread the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone in that span. But my experience with Graham was quite different.

I left Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1983. What joy it was to have my sins forgiven and to walk in fellowship with the Lord! I had watched several of Graham’s crusades as a Catholic. Perhaps the televised crusades had softened my heart on my journey to the Lord, but I don’t recall them having made a direct impact. But as a new Christian, I was thrilled to be able to stand with such a famous and revered figure as Billy Graham in declaring the Good News! of Jesus Christ.

However, several months after accepting Christ, I came across some information that was critical of Graham. I learned that his crusades were planned in cooperation with local Roman Catholic clergy. Huh? When Catholics came forward at Graham’s invitation to accept Christ, they were referred to Catholic workers and eventually sent back to Catholic parishes. Catholics were told that coming forward at a Graham crusade was simply a recommitment to their sacramental baptism and confirmation. Catholicism talks about “faith” and “grace,” but their bottom line is a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

I was shocked by Graham’s betrayal of the Gospel. What was he thinking? I had “swam across the Tiber,” AWAY from Rome’s false gospel, to the Gospel of grace only to find evangelicalism’s favorite son encouraging Catholics to remain in error and convincing other evangelicals to embrace Rome as a genuine Christian church. How could this have happened?

I’m currently reading a book titled, “Evangelicalism Divided,” by Iain Murray, a former associate of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which offers some explanations for why Graham and other-like minded evangelicals accommodated and compromised with doctrinal error in the pursuit of “results” and popularity and how that eventually led to the betrayal of the Gospel. I’ll be reviewing that book as the second part of this post.

Graham is so highly esteemed by evangelicals that few will tolerate any kind of criticism of him. In our post-modern age of tolerance and niceness, any kind of negative appraisal is widely frowned upon, even if an individual is leading millions into gross doctrinal error.

I’m not going to expend a great amount of effort writing about Protestantism’s “saint,” however, if you’ve hung with me this far, I would strongly encourage you to watch the attached 1:30-minute video clip in which Dr. Graham was interviewed by positivist gospel preacher, Robert Schuller. In the interview, Graham states that people of all religions will be saved; a universalist belief. Since Graham stated that belief in Jesus Christ and the Gospel wasn’t important to salvation, it’s understandable why he had no qualms with Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

Brothers and sisters, be careful who you follow. They may not be all they appear to be. If the world esteems them highly, that may be your first clue.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:6-9

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

Are Catholics Considered Christians?

I ran across the 8-minute video below from Allen Parr of “The Beat” YouTube Channel that does an excellent job of explaining some of the major differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. After 7:45 minutes of examining seven anti-Biblical aspects of RC theology, Allen states the following:

“So the original question was this, ‘Are Catholics Christians?’ Well, let me just go on record and say this, it is not my job nor is it your job to go around and decide who is a Christian and who is not. That is God’s business, not ours. But what we can do and what we are called to do is assess whether someone’s belief lines up with a Christian belief so we are able to confidently say, ‘I don’t know if you’re a Christian or not, but what you believe in is not a Christian belief.”

Hmm. That’s a bit of a weak landing after an excellent 7:45 minutes. It seems to me that Parr is trying to be non-offensive to a fault. Wishy-washiness doesn’t help anyone. The Apostle Paul didn’t hold back from pointing out false teachers/false Christians in his epistles. While there may be some individual Roman Catholics who have genuinely trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and are in the process of being led out of the RCC by the Holy Spirit, we can confidently say that Roman Catholics, who by definition adhere to their church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit, are not Christians. Roman Catholics aren’t Christian. Mormons aren’t Christian. Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t Christian. Christian Scientists aren’t Christian. It’s patently obvious that followers of pseudo-Christian sects are not Christians because they do not hold to orthodox Christian beliefs, especially regarding how a person is saved.

In contrast to Parr’s wishy-washiness, I can say to a Roman Catholic, “I know you are not a Christian because meriting salvation in any form or fashion is not the genuine Gospel and is not genuine Christianity.”

Weak ending aside, this is a pretty good video.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #140

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Romans 3:1-8 on “Let God Be True.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 1:18 on “What Happens When We Choose Sin?”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, May 29th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Let God Be True – Sermon begins at 19:20 mark

Pastor Cody Andrews – What Happens When We Choose Sin?

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 6/11/22

Catholics have long-defended pope Pius XII’s absolute silence in the face Nazi-German fascist aggression and especially in regards to the genocide of six-million European Jews in the Holocaust. Historian David I. Kertzer examined the Vatican’s only-recently unsealed archives to discover that Pius XII conducted secret negotiations with Adolf Hitler and a “dirty deal” accord was reached. Kertzer concludes from the archival evidence that Pius XII, the alleged “Vicar of Christ,” pragmatically colluded with Hitler to preserve the church for a future with Nazi Germany as the dominant power in Europe.

There’s a lot of speculation in Catholic media that 85-year-old pope Francis may be considering retirement. Fueling the rumors is Francis’ increasing loss of mobility (he now gets around in a wheelchair due to knee pain), his recent appointment of 21 (mostly progressive) cardinals in order to “stack the deck” in the election of his successor, and his upcoming visit in August to the Basilica of Santa Maria de Collemaggio in the central Italian city of L’Aquila, which hosts the tomb of Celestine V, a hermit pope who resigned after five months in 1294 because he was overwhelmed by the job. The papacy is anti-Biblical on multiple levels and history unflinchingly records its shameful record of avarice, corruption, tyranny, and endorsed bloodshed.

A new chapter in the “wafer wars” was written when San Francisco archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, barred abortion supporter, Nancy Pelosi, from receiving the Jesus wafer in her home diocese. But a recent survey reveals a preponderance of Roman Catholics disagree with Cordileone and the other conservative bishops. The majority of Catholics believe abortion should be legal, favor greater inclusion of LGBT people, and oppose the denial of Jesus wafers for politicians who support abortion rights,

These so-called “Reformed” liberal denominations no longer hold to the genuine Gospel and easily embrace Roman Catholicism as a (c)hristian entity.

Los Angeles auxiliary bishop, Robert Barron, is one of the most recognizable U.S. Catholic clerics with his “Word on Fire” proselytization ministry. Pope Francis recently “promoted” Barron to the office of bishop of out-of-the-way Winona-Rochester in Minnesota. Who did Barron offend? Is the transfer the result of the recent sexual scandal at “Word on Fire”? We recall when evangelical apologist and ecumenical compromiser, William Lane Craig, appeared with Barron as fellow “brothers in Christ” (see here).

This article has some interesting information on how Catholic media conglomerate EWTN has become the bastion of anti-Francis Catholic conservatives.

The term, “evangelical,” has largely lost its meaning.

Rick Warren adopted the church-growth methods of marketing guru, Peter Drucker, and along with Bill Hybels launched the multi-campus, seeker mega-church movement. Lots of shallow preaching at Saddleback and other seeker mega-churches. Warren, known as “America’s Pastor” back in his “purpose driven” heyday, is an enthusiastic friend of Roman Catholicism. Warren has given seminars at many RC dioceses across the country, advising bishops and priests with their false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit on how to retain and grow their congregations.


Tom’s retirement countdown – 20 more weekends to go!

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #3: “The foundation is Jesus.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard continues with his arguments that Matthew 16:18 is a proof-text for Petrine primacy, the papacy, and the authority of the Roman Catholic church.

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13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter (Petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church.


Protestant Response #3: “The foundation is Jesus.”

Since Gospel Christians do not believe Peter/petros and rock/petra refer to the same thing in Matthew 16:18, what do we believe rock/petra refers to? Broussard states that Protestants believe petra refers either to A) Jesus Christ or to B) Peter’s confession of faith in Matthew 16:16. Brussard focuses on the former in this section and cites evangelical apologist Ron Rhodes’ argument, “We must not forget, ‘No man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 3:11).'” States Broussard, “For (Rhodes), Peter can’t be the rock in Matthew 16:18, because St. Paul tells us what the foundation of the Church is, and that’s Jesus” (p. 23).

Broussard’s rebuttal

Broussard accuses Rhodes of using a non-sequitur (“it does not follow”) with the above argument. “Just because Jesus is called the foundation in one passage,” writes Broussard, “it doesn’t follow that Peter can’t be called the foundation of Jesus’ Church in other passages.” Broussard then presents several Scripture verses in which Jesus and others are referred to using the same metaphors, including the following:

  • Matthew 16: 18 presents Jesus as the builder, but in 1 Cor. 3:10 Paul presents himself and other ministers as builders.
  • 1 Peter 2:4 presents Jesus as “the living stone, rejected by men,” but the following verse, 1 Peter 2:5, states all Christians are living stones.
  • In 1 Cor. 3:11, Paul writes that Christ is the one foundation, but in Ephesians 2:20 he writes that the apostles and prophets are also the foundation, with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone.

Concludes Broussard, if the New Testament writers didn’t see “a contradiction between Jesus being the foundation of the Church and at the same time others being the foundation of the Church, why should we say there is a contradiction between Jesus and Peter both being the foundation of the Church, just in different respects?” (p.25).

My rebuttal

It’s ill-informed or disingenuous to claim that Gospel Christianity’s interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is divided between two options. There is one interpretation, that Peter’s confession of faith contained the divinely-revealed Truth that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah/Christ, the Son of God, and it was upon that Truth (and thus, upon Himself), that Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God sent to save sinners, would build His church.

Yes, the New Testament writers used metaphors to also describe the apostles as under-shepherds and secondary foundation stones, but the primary Shepherd and the Cornerstone is Jesus Christ. All of the apostles’ authority was from THE Rock (petra). Scripture interprets scripture and we see from many Bible passages that Jesus Christ is THE Rock (petra), not the fallible apostle, Peter (petros):

  • 1 Cor. 10:4 – and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
  • Matthew 21:42 – Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
  • Acts 4:11-12 – This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
  • Psalm 18:2 – The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
  • Psalm 62:2 – He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

The Jewish converts to Christianity knew their Old Testament well, and would not have tolerated the heresy of the church allegedly being built upon a sinful man rather than upon Jesus Christ. Only a spiritually blind, unredeemed Roman Catholic or one of Rome’s ecumenical Protestant polezni durak (“useful fools”) could read Matthew 16:18 in conjunction with the above verses/passages and still agree with Rome’s tortured interpretation.

Next week, I will present substantially more evidence proving why Jesus is the Rock (petra), the immovable foundation upon which He would build His church, not poor Peter (petros).

Next week: Protestant Response #4: “The foundation is Peter’s confession of faith”

Throwback Thursday: Opinion: Prayer in public schools

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 26, 2016 and has been revised.

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I attended Catholic parochial grammar school in the 1960s and even though I was very young at the time, I can remember the nuns buzzing about the U.S. Supreme Court rulings banning conscripted prayer and Bible reading in public schools (Engel v. Vitale, 1962, Murray v. Curlett, 1963). I felt sorry for those poor kids in public schools for not being able to pray like me. By seventh grade, I was envying them.

The ban on school sanctioned prayer was an extremely bitter pill for evangelicals to swallow and remains a sour memory. The ban on school prayer was the first major defeat in the war to defend American “Christendom.” Some older evangelicals are still pining about it 60 years later. But that was just the beginning. Since then, most every example of government-endorsed religious expression has been challenged in the courts with no end in sight.

From our history lessons, we know the Puritan Christian immigrants to this country could not imagine anything other than the semi-theocratic form of government they imposed. Many universities got their start as church-sponsored seminaries. Mounting demand for religious freedom led to the prohibition of a state religion by the federal constitution adopted in 1793, but Christianity would remain as a major influence on federal, state, and local governments for 150 years. It was agreed from Maine to California that America was a “Christian nation.” Government-sanctioned prayer and the reliance on Judeo-Christian laws, values, and “morality” were practices and policies unquestioned. Americans had convinced themselves that God had set up a covenant relationship with the United States in the same way He had with ancient Israel; that America was THE “chosen” nation.

But things have changed in a big way in the last sixty years. The growing number of non-Christian immigrants to this country and those who rejected religion altogether began to challenge government’s sponsorship of Christianity. First to go was prayer in schools. Then Bible readings. Then such things as Christmas creches, etc., etc..

My take: Countries can’t be Christian, only people can accept Christ. We can no longer assume other citizens are Christians as was once accepted in this country. Christians can no longer impose their privileged status by claiming majority rule. That day is gone. That flag has flown. It’s obviously impossible to determine the number of genuine Christians in the U.S., but a 2014 Pew poll revealed only 25% of the population claims to be “evangelical Christian” (many would say the actual percentage is quite a bit lower), 45% are mainline Protestant or Catholic, and the remaining 30% belong to other religions or are atheists/agnostics. The government is supported by taxpayers with a wide spectrum of beliefs regarding religion and it should be completely secular. If government sanctions one religious group it must in fairness sanction all of them. If we allow monuments to the Ten Commandments on our courthouse lawns we must also allow scripture from every other religious group. On second thought, the atheists will have something to say about that. No, government must be completely secular.

I choose not to pray with non-Christians. The Lord does not want me bowing my head in a prayer led by a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, etc. Why would Christian parents want their children to participate in prayers led by a Hindu or a Muslim teacher in a public school? Christians look back with longing to a simpler time when the vast majority of people in this country professed to be Christians and the church had a strong influence throughout the culture. But the probable reality was that a very large number of professing Christians hadn’t accepted Christ at all, but were just going along with the institutionalized flow imposed by American “Christendom.”

Christians, teach your children about the Lord every day in your homes. Bring them to church. But please stop complaining about prayer being banned from public schools back in 1962. Conscripted prayer in schools wasn’t a great idea then and it’s an even worse idea today. With America becoming increasingly secularized, maybe Christians can go back to spreading the Gospel as ambassadors of God and His Kingdom instead of worrying about retaining their control of the culture or “reclaiming America for Christ.”

See ya later, Big Jim

I began working at Eastman Kodak’s giant Elmgrove manufacturing plant in Rochester, N.Y. in 1976 at the age of nineteen. One of the first jobs I had was in Bldg. 3 Stock Control (parts warehouse) assisting a big, burly guy named Jim Moon. Jim was a “line reader,” meaning he walked one of the many camera production lines in Bldg. 2 every day and re-ordered parts as needed. My job was to deliver the parts to the line.

Big Jim was different from the other guys in the warehouse. He had a Bible on his desk, which he read during lunch break. Above his desk were a few decorative print-outs praising Jesus. It was noticeable that Jim didn’t join in the ribald banter with the other warehouse guys. Uh-oh. Jim was one of those born-again Bible-bangers I’d heard about! I had better watch out! However, Jim and I eventually had several conversations about spiritual things. I specifically remember him enthusiastically talking about Bob Dylan and his alleged conversion to Gospel Christianity (see the related post here). I also remember discussing the Baptist Temple Building in downtown Rochester, the topic of a future post. Jim would slip God into a conversation every now and then. It wasn’t unnatural or forced. That’s just the way Big Jim rolled.

After several months, I moved on to another position at Kodak. In 1983, I actually became one of those “Bible-bangers” myself when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Jim’s witness wasn’t a “direct” influence on my conversion to Christ, but it was an influence.

I’ve thought about Jim every once in a while over the years and wondered what happened to him. A few weeks ago, I was reading the death notices in the local newspaper and noticed his obituary. Jim had retired from Kodak many years ago and moved down to Mt. Juliet, Tennessee (20 miles from Nashville) with his wife. He died at the age of 89, which means he was only around 45 when we worked together. I would have guessed he was much older at the time, but everybody is “old” when you’re 19-20. I remember Jim had sold his house and moved into an apartment in the late 70s to finance his son Jeffrey’s education at Oral Roberts University. Oral Roberts? Well, Jim and I definitely would not have worshiped at the same church, but we were brothers in Christ just the same.

I’m looking forward to seeing Jim in Heaven and thanking him for his witness.

The lesson: Christians, the unsaved are watching and listening. Give them something to think about. They may not react right away. We’re just to keep sowing the seed.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #139

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Romans 2:17-29 on “The Danger of Self-Deception.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 1:16-17 on “God’s Righteousness.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, May 22nd.

Pastor Roger Copeland – The Danger of Self-Deception

Pastor Cody Andrews – God’s Righteousness