Are we honoring a defender or a compromiser of the pure Gospel of grace?

This morning while driving to work I was listening to “Joni and Friends” on a localCreated by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005 Christian radio station. Joni Eareckson Tada provides a five-minute daily message aimed at encouraging Christians who face disabilities and other challenges. Over a year ago, I posted a message about how I was surprised that Joni had recommended “First Things,” an ecumenical journal published by Catholics, to her audience. See here.

In today’s message, Joni invited her audience to celebrate Billy Graham’s 98th birthday. Graham is widely esteemed by evangelicals as the most important and influential Christian of the last 100 years. There’s no doubt multitudes accepted Jesus Christ as Savior through the evangelistic ministry of Billy Graham and yet perhaps no one individual is more responsible for blurring the Gospel of grace in our times.

Many readers at this point might respond with, “Sheesh! Who would criticize such a beloved and respected figure as Billy Graham?” Most evangelical Christians don’t realize that as far back as fifty years ago, Graham and his organization invited local Roman Catholic bishops and clergy to participate in his crusades. When Catholics came forward at his crusades’ closing “altar calls,” they were referred to Catholic workers and counseled that their decision to accept Christ was only a recommitment to their sacramental baptism and confirmation. Catholics who had attended Graham crusades were returned back to their churches on Sunday to hear that salvation was by sacramental grace and merit rather than by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Many would be shocked to learn that Graham also espoused religious universalism. See my earlier posts on Graham here and here for more details.

Continuing with her message, Joni repeated a regrettable myth I’ve heard many times over the years, that Graham was being kept alive by the Lord at his advanced age as a witness to the world and was a part of the Holy Spirit’s restraining of evil in these last days. Joni speculated, like many others have also done, that Graham’s death might actually trigger the moment when the Holy Spirit no longer restrains evil in the world.

We Christians are given to venerating our leaders rather than Jesus Christ. Billy Graham had his faults. Some of his faults were tragically significant in regards to the Gospel witness. Much of today’s spirit of ecumenism with religious unbelievers can be traced back to the influence of Billy Graham. I don’t idolize the man. I’m sorry his cooperation with unbelievers helped to foster today’s compromising, laissez-faire approach to the pure Gospel of grace. Rather than being a restraint against evil, I contend that the betrayal of the Gospel by Graham and other celebrated evangelical leaders was/is part of the rising tide of evil encompassing the world in these last days.

The Lord used Graham in a great way initially, but the temptations of success and popularity diverted him from the Narrow Way, which has influenced many others.

“And you know what is restraining (the man of lawlessness) now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.” 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7

The “Book of Abraham” hoax: Iron-clad proof that Joseph Smith and Mormonism are frauds

Recently, I’ve posted some messages about how conservative pundit, Glenn Beck, hasBOA been invited to participate in evangelical-sponsored events. Beck is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. Some evangelicals would argue that Beck shares the same “moral values” as conservative Christians and indeed loves God righteously according to his own belief system. They argue evangelicals would be better off embracing religious Americans like Beck who share the same “moral values” rather than checking the fine print of their denominational membership cards in this age of encroaching secularism.

Really? I say not so fast.

I’m a bit of a history geek and back in the late 70s-early 80s I was curious about the Mormon church, which had it’s beginnings in Palmyra, New York, about 25 miles from where I live. Joseph Smith claimed that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in 1820, which later led to his receiving “golden tablets” and producing the Book of Mormon. Smith founded the Mormon church in Palmyra, which subsequently relocated to Ohio, then to Illinois, and finally to Utah.

The Mormon church has some extremely strange unbiblical theology but I will only touch on a few particulars for this post. Mormons do not preach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. They teach baptismal regeneration and that God the Father was once a mortal man who advanced to deity by obeying a different god. Mormons believe that by following their church’s requirements, they can achieve deity themselves and rule over their own universes.

Joseph Smith claimed to be God’s prophet and to receive direct revelation. But while studying Mormonism, I discovered some irrefutable proof that Joseph Smith was a deceiver and a false prophet.

After the church had moved to Kirtland, Ohio, a traveling exhibit came to town, which included some ancient Egyptian papyri. Smith got his hands on the papyri and translated them into “The Book of Abraham,” alleged writings from the Old Testament patriarch, which was subsequently canonized as Mormon scripture. In the 1960s, the very same papyri in question were discovered in the archives of a New York City museum. Trained Egyptologists examined the papyri and found they were simple Egyptian funerary rites. Smith’s “translation” was proven to be a complete and total lie, a fabrication.

“When Joseph first gave his translation, hieroglyphics were undecipherable. Today they are. He was safe in saying anything he wanted to, and there would be no way of proving him wrong. But with the resurfacing of the same papyri he used to do his Book of Abraham translation and the fact that he did not in any way do it correctly should be proof enough that Joseph Smith lied about his abilities from God. He has been shown to be a false prophet.” – from “The Book of Abraham Papyri and Joseph Smith,” Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

Mormon apologists backpedaled by declaring the papyri were simply a “catalyst” for revelation!

Smith was proven to be an absolute, 100% fraud, yet the Mormon church marches on, drawing more poor souls into its false gospel. And now we have the evangelical compromisers on TBN inviting Mormon Beck to help them defend American “values” and the “gospel.”

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

For more on the “Book of Abraham” and Mormon scam, see here.

The “Coexist” bumper sticker

I was driving home from work today when I spotted a “Coexist” bumper sticker on theCE back of the car in front of me. You’re no doubt familiar with these stickers. In place of the letters C-o-e-x-i-s-t, the sticker substitutes symbols of various religious and humanistic belief systems. The original design was created by Polish graphic artist,  Piotr Mlodozeniec, in 2000 and has been revised by several others.

A few sources describe the symbols as follows:

  • The C with the star is the crescent moon, the symbol for Islam.
  • The O is the symbol for peace.
  • The E includes the symbols for male & female with some also saying the “e” is symbolic of science (i.e., E=mc2).
  • The X is the star of David, symbol for Judaism.
  • The I is dotted with a Wiccan pentagram.
  • The S is the symbol for the yin-yang, supposedly representing Eastern religions such as Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.
  • The T is the cross, the symbol for Christianity.

The symbols allegedly signify the capability or desire of humans to live together in peace.

Every genuine, born-again believer who sees that sticker knows better. There is only one way to ultimate peace and salvation and that’s through Jesus Christ. All other religions are idolatry. When I see a car brandishing a Coexist bumper sticker, I say to myself, that poor soul doesn’t know Jesus. We need to tell more people about the Savior. I surely try to love all people but I don’t respect their idolatrous religions.

But the leader of a 1.2 billion member “christian” denomination teaches something very similar to that bumper sticker. The Catholic pope declares that people of all religions can be saved “if they follow the light they’ve been given” and are “good.” He says EVEN atheists will be saved if they “follow their consciences” and are “good.” That message is straight from hell. Every born-again believer who embraces the Catholic church as Christian needs to turn off TBN and start reading their Bible again.

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” – Matthew 10:34-36

For more Bible verses that teach Jesus is the only way to God see below:

http://so4j.com/jesus-the-only-way

“Top 5 Catholics loved by evangelicals today”

In a recent article, the managing editor of Christian Week, an interdenominationalDY internet news source, named the “Top 5 Catholics loved by evangelicals today.”

On the list are:

Henri Nouwen
Pope Francis
Saint Augustine
G. K. Chesterton
Stephen Colbert

Unfortunately, there are more than a few Evangelicals who are infatuated with Catholicism. Don’t they realize the Catholic church teaches that salvation is by sacramental grace and by perfectly obeying the Ten Commandments?

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Galatians 2:21

We attended an Evangelical church for a little over a year where the young pastor spoke words of admiration about Catholics such as Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, Chesterton, Malcolm Muggeridge, and Peter Kreeft. What are they teaching in Evangelical seminaries these days? How to earn your salvation?

Some other Catholics I’ve seen or heard praised by Evangelicals include Mother Teresa, St. Francis, Pope John Paul II, and Thomas Merton. I’m sure I’m missing quite a few more. Popular books by Richard Foster and others praise the contemplative “disciplines” of Catholic mystics.

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!