Paradigm Shift: How Gospel outreach to Catholics became “anti-Catholic bigotry”

Paradigm. The word became extremely popular in business circles in the 1990s. It can mean how a person or group views or understands or conceptualizes a particular situation or set of circumstances. A paradigm may be accurate or inaccurate. It may remain stable over time or change.

It occurs to me that a dramatic paradigm shift involving eternal consequences took place in evangelical churches in America and throughout the world over the last sixty years.

I believe it would be accurate to say that back in the early 1960s, close to all evangelical and fundamentalist pastors agreed that the gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit taught in all Roman Catholic churches was NOT the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Bible Christians agreed across denominational lines that Roman Catholics, like all other works-religionists, were a mission field. This widely-shared viewpoint WAS an accurate “paradigm” of the circumstances.

But several powerful influences began to change this paradigm:

*Billy Graham and his like-minded allies within evangelicalism (e.g., Carl Henry, Edward Carnell, Harold Ockenga, Bernard Ramm, etc.) began embracing Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity despite Catholicism’s own admission that its salvation system was based on sacramental grace and meritorious works. Graham never addressed in print or by interview how he was able to reconcile in his mind the two opposing gospels.

*Roman Catholicism’s Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) dramatically reversed the church’s stance regarding Protestants from that of militant opposition to ecumenical cooperation. Rome openly admitted at the time that the purpose of its switch to ecumenism was to eventually recover Protestants back to the fold. Rome’s new approach was hailed by many (naive) evangelicals.

*In February 1967, about 25 college students from Duquesne Catholic University attended a retreat in which they claimed they received the Pentecostal/charismatic gifts of the spirit. The Catholic charismatic renewal movement has since grown to 160 million members including tens of thousands of priests. Charismatics and Pentecostals were in a compromising pickle; although Catholics believed in a different gospel, they demonstrated the requisite gifts of the spirit. Pope Francis has praised Catholic charismatics as a vanguard for evangelical-Catholic ecumenism.

*By the early 1970s, influential theologians, most notably, Francis Schaeffer, began to warn of the “spiritual and moral” decline of the West, and called on evangelical Christians to actively engage in the political realm. Leaders such as Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson accepted Schaeffer’s challenge and encouraged pastors to organize and to mix faith and politics from the pulpit. In battles with advancing secularism, politically-minded evangelicals were not opposed to teaming with conservative Roman Catholics against the common foe. Once-important doctrinal differences took a back seat to the immediate cultural and political shared concerns. It wasn’t long before doctrinal differences were ignored altogether. Charles Colson attempted to formalize this alliance of expediency with his Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) movement beginning in 1994.

*In the 1970s and 1980s, tracts, comic books, and books from Chick Publications, which strongly attacked Roman Catholicism, became popular among some Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Much of the information was sensationalistic and based upon unverifiable conspiracy theories (e.g., the Catholic church created Islam, Marxism, Mormonism, the Jehovah Witnesses, etc.). Chick’s irresponsible extremism weakened the efforts of credible, Gospel-focused outreach to Catholics.

*In addition to the ecumenical push by Graham and Co., Catholicism’s softened stance toward Protestants, Moral Majority’s ecumenism in the trenches, shared charismatic experientialism, and irresponsible conspiracy theorists, society entered into the post-modern era in which all truth is supposedly relative, and “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” are the buzzwords. Post-modernism has also impacted the evangelical church. Criticism of a religious group, even if they propagate a false gospel, is perceived by many evangelicals as negative, divisive, and completely distasteful.

As a result of all of the above influences, the evangelical church’s paradigm of Roman Catholicism has radically shifted over the past 60 years. Roman Catholics, who still believe in the same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that was taught by their church back in 1960, are no longer viewed by many evangelicals as a mission field, but as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! While Catholics perish without hearing the Gospel of grace, evangelical organizers invite Catholic priests to speak at their events. Books by Catholic authors such as G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, Peter Kreeft, and Thomas Merton are widely disseminated within evangelical circles and even recommended from pulpits. The widely-shared viewpoint that Catholicism teaches the Biblical Gospel is NOT an accurate “paradigm” of the actual circumstances. But in evangelicalism today, those who criticize Rome and its false gospel are increasingly looked upon as the loony fundamentalist fringe and anti-Catholic bigots.

This embracement of Catholicism by evangelicals over the last 60 years is an absolutely stunning 180-degree change in perception. Satan himself could not have designed it more perfectly. The bottom line in all of this: Catholics don’t hear the genuine Gospel and evangelicals are moving closer to Rome.


Billy Graham warmly eulogized by Roman Catholic leaders. Is there anything strange about that?

Yesterday, I posted a few thoughts on Billy Graham. See here. This morning, I scanned the internet and I was not surprised to find many glowing articles from Catholic sources eulogizing Graham, including the ones far below.

Bible Christians uphold the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Rome propagates a different gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. The two gospels are not the same. They are, in fact, opposed to each other. But Billy Graham completely dismissed doctrinal distinctives and embraced Roman Catholicism with its false gospel as a Christian entity. He invited local Catholic bishops to participate in his crusades and directed Catholics who came forward at his altar calls to go back to their Catholic churches.

“Billy Graham risked a great deal with his core evangelical constituency when he began building bridges with Catholics” – from “How Billy Graham shaped American Catholicism,” below.

The Catholic hierarchy’s praise and approval of Billy Graham, especially for his ecumenical efforts, should be a red flag for Bible Christians who continue to honor Billy Graham. The Lord, Jesus Christ, and His apostles did not receive the approbation of the Jewish and pagan works-religionists of Palestine and the Roman Empire, neither did they seek it. But in today’s topsy-turvy world, ecumenism with Rome is viewed by many as a good thing, and those who object are ignored or even criticized. Can anyone imagine Catholic bishops of yore weeping at the gravesides of John Knox, Charles Spurgeon, or Martyn Lloyd-Jones as they will be doing at the graveside of their friend and ally, Billy Graham? Was the Catholic press full of accolades for Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones when they died? No? Then what has changed?

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

Billy Graham and Catholic priest, John Oetgen, president of Belmont Abbey Monastery in North Carolina, are pictured in 1967 after the popular evangelist was invited for a talk and to receive a degree from Belmont College. Graham called the gathering “a time when Protestants and Catholics could meet together and greet each other as brothers, whereas 10 years ago they could not.”

The troubling enigma that was Billy Graham

I see that Billy Graham died today (news article far below). There will no doubt be MANY laudatory tributes to Graham in evangelical Christian and religious circles and even in the secular media. Few people on this planet were as widely revered as Billy Graham over the last sixty years. He was the friend and counselor to American presidents and the face of evangelical Christianity to hundreds of millions if not billions.

But Billy Graham leaves behind an enigmatic and troubling legacy. On the one hand, there’s little doubt that thousands genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior as a result of attending a Graham crusade or by watching on television. On the other hand, Graham was instrumental in opening the door to ecumenical cooperation and “fellowship” with religious unbelievers, most significantly, with the leadership of the Roman Catholic church. Much of the ubiquitous ecumenical compromise and betrayal of the Gospel that we see all around us today within evangelicalism can be traced back to the example of Billy Graham.

Few evangelicals are of a mind to tolerate any criticism of Billy Graham, especially on the day of his death, but I have no qualms, especially considering the great damage done within the church by his accommodation, cooperation, and compromise with error.

Below, are a couple of posts I’ve published previously regarding Billy Graham:

Billy Graham – Part 1

Billy Graham – Part 2


Billy Graham, 99, Dies; Pastor Filled Stadiums and Counseled Presidents


Big Tent Compromise: A “conversation” between William Lane Craig and Catholic bishop, Robert Barron

Yesterday, I was perusing through news on the internet and came across a report of a two-hour “Conversation with Two Leading Evangelists,” featuring evangelical philosopher and apologist, William Lane Craig, and Catholic bishop, Robert Barron. The event was open to the public and was held at Roberts Pavilion Arena at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California on January 13th. I’ve included the You Tube video of the entire proceedings far below if you’re interested.

The advertised purpose of the get together was certainly NOT to debate the differences between evangelical and Catholic theology, but to discuss “How can Christians best share their faith?,” and “What should we (Christians) know about faith and science issues?,” and “How can Catholics, Protestants, and all Christians join together against the rise of secularism?”

This morning, I listened to (and watched some portions of) the entire deliberations. The viewpoint shared by both men at the very start of the conversation was that, while there are still “substantive differences” between evangelicals and Catholics, the greater priority was to unite in order to focus on the common enemy, aggressive secularism, and to “reclaim our culture.”

So the presupposition that Craig brought to the discussion was that the Roman Catholic church is a Christian entity and that practicing Catholics who adhere to their church’s standard theology are Christians. He emphatically stated, “I don’t have any interest in internecine battles between Christians.” That is not at all surprising coming from Craig because he is a disciple of ecumenical theologian, Norman Geisler. When asked to name some other leading evangelical apologists, he mentioned Lee Strobel and Ravi Zacharias, also disciples of Geisler and unapologetic supporters of ecumenism with Rome.

Toward the end of the discussion (at the 1:41:22 mark of the video below), Barron asked Craig why he hadn’t converted to Catholicism. Craig answered that while he admired some aspects of Catholicism (e.g., its ancient history and traditions*), he could not personally adhere to many Catholic beliefs, specifying Marian veneration/worship and the Catholic view on justification.



Rewind Craig’s last statement.

It’s at this point that I want to take a moment to comment on these regrettable proceedings.

Media savvy bishop Robert Barron is one of the most popular Catholic personalities in America. Some even call him the “new Fulton Sheen.” Barron has written fourteen books in which he unabashedly propagates the Catholic system of salvation. In order to attain Heaven, Barron, like all Catholic prelates and clerics, teaches that a person must be baptized and receive the Catholic church’s sacraments, in order to receive sanctifying graces to be able to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!), in order to remain in a “state of grace” so as to “hopefully” merit Heaven at the moment of death. In shorthand, the Catholic system requires faith in its sacramental system and qualifying good works in order to merit Heaven.

But that is definitely NOT the same Gospel that Craig professes. Craig says that he believes that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. The two gospels are contrary. They are not the same. They are actually incompatible.

So how does Craig reconcile in his head and in his soul sitting down with a Catholic bishop and discussing their alleged common enemy, aggressive secularism, when he does not personally believe the Catholic church has the correct, Biblical teaching on justification and salvation???????

I do not understand.

Does not compute.

Can someone please help me understand how an evangelical can rationalize sidestepping this unbridgeable difference on justification and salvation that has eternal consequences for every individual?

While Barron commented on the great blessings of worshiping the consecrated Jesus bread wafer, Craig sat silently in his chair. After all, we can’t rock the boat over “different perspectives,” right? Let’s just concentrate on C.S. Lewis’s wide-is-the-way “Mere Christianity” (referenced several times in this discussion) and we’ll all get along just fine in the sandbox, right?

Meanwhile, Roman Catholics are dying and going to a Christ-less eternity because compromisers like Craig are betraying the Gospel.

“If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.” – Ezekiel 3:17-18

*When pressed to name some things he admired about Catholicism, Craig mentioned its ancient history and traditions, but even a casual student of Roman Catholicism knows that much of the church’s authoritarian history is unflattering and most of its traditions are un-Biblical or even anti-Biblical.

For my previous post on Catholicism’s polezni durak or “useful fools,” see here.”



Decent DVD summary of differences between Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism

Reasons to Stand with the Reformation and Not Unite with Rome
Eric Barger, DVD, 2015, 53 minutes

Last week, I posted a message about a conversation that I had heard on Southwest Radio Ministries’ daily radio show regarding Mormonism. Out of curiosity, I checked SRM’s website to see if they offered any resources on Roman Catholicism. There weren’t very many (see here), but I did see “Reasons to Stand with the Reformation and Not Unite with Rome” from Eric Barger and Take a Stand Ministries. For some inexplicable reason, I thought this offering was a book and ordered it. Well, it turned out to be a DVD. Argh! No problem. My dumb error.

This DVD presentation is a low-tech-but-decent overview of the differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity. Barger starts off by discussing the early Reformation and then briefly examines several anti-Biblical Catholic doctrines such as Mariolatry, praying to saints, image idolatry, transubstantiation, purgatory, and works justification.

The revealing centerpiece of the video is breakaway Anglican “bishop” and ecumenist, Tony Palmer’s presentation at a conference for Pentecostal/Charismatic ministers hosted by Kenneth Copeland on January 21, 2014. Copeland is one of the main propagators of the “name it and claim it,” word of faith, prosperity false gospel. In his presentation, Palmer declared that he had come in the spirit of Elijah and John the Baptist to reconcile the children (evangelical Protestants) with their father (pope Francis). He proclaimed that the “protest is over” and it was now time for Protestants to put aside doctrinal disagreements and “unite with” (i.e., submit to) the pope and Catholicism. Palmer then produced a cell phone video of pope Francis making the same appeal. If you have never seen this presentation before, you need to. The compromise and betrayal of the Gospel is stunning and will take your breath away. Of course, a good case could be made that Palmer, Copeland, and many of the “name it and claim it” ministers who were in attendance at this conference were not genuinely saved.

This DVD is a decent introductory overview of the errors of Rome and of the demonic spirit of Scripture-defying ecumenism that’s currently infiltrating the church. Order from Southwest Radio Ministries here.

Large portions of “Reasons to Stand with the Reformation and Not Unite with Rome” are available via the two You Tube videos below. Judas Tony Palmer’s appeal begins at the 6:00 mark on the second video.



Polezni durak or “useful fools”

Russian communist dictator, Vladimir Lenin, had a term for naive sympathizers in the West who could be manipulated to advance the Bolshevik/Soviet cause. He called them, Полезный идиот – polezni durak, which can be translated as “useful fool” or “useful idiot.” I’m somewhat familiar with the history of the American Communist Party (ACP) because of my studies of director, Elia Kazan, who was a member of the ACP from 1934 to 1936. During the depression, many liberal intellectuals saw communism as a desirable alternative to teetering capitalism. Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin as Soviet dictator and even after reports of Stalin’s reign of terror and genocide leaked out to the West from behind the “Iron Curtain,” the “naifs” and “dupes” in the ACP, along with sympathetic “fellow travelers” outside of the ACP, continued to defend him and the Soviet system.

In yesterday’s post about Catholic apologist, Karl Keating (see here), it struck me that some evangelicals are being used by Satan as polezni durak/useful fools. Let’s face it, no Christian desires to be a “useful fool” or a “dupe” of Satan. Those are fighting words. But let’s examine this objectively.

One of Catholicism’s leading apologists, Karl Keating, enthusiastically propagates his church’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. See here. Over the course of forty years, Keating has unflinchingly upheld his church’s standard teaching that salvation is attained by receiving the Catholic sacraments in order to receive graces so that the individual may successfully obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and abstain from sin so as to remain in a mortal-sinless state of grace in order to merit Heaven at the moment of death.

Keating and other Catholic apologists make no excuses about Catholicism’s teaching that individuals are saved by faith (in the sacramental system) AND works. Yet, there are many evangelical pastors and para-church leaders (e.g., Billy Graham and Rick Warren, above photo) who purposely ignore what Catholics claim regarding the sacraments and “good” works being an integral part of their salvation system. It’s as if they have determined that don’t want to know the truth about Catholicism. They have heard Catholics claim that they also believe in “salvation by grace through faith” and that’s good enough. But Keating and other Catholic apologists point out that the “grace” they refer to allegedly comes from the sacraments, and the “faith” they refer to is faith in the sacramental system. A knowledgeable Catholic will NOT agree to “Sola Fide,” faith in Jesus Christ as Savior alone, because they openly believe in salvation by faith plus works.

So why do some evangelicals try to smooth out Catholicism’s anti-Biblical wrinkles when Catholic apologists are unabashedly outspoken in defense of them? What drives these evangelicals to mute the differences between Biblical Christianity’s Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit, even when confronted by the testimony of works-righteousness Catholic apologists? Is Satan using them as polezni durak; dupes and useful fools in the ecumenical movement? In this era of tolerance and plurality, has the desire for false “unity” replaced fidelity to doctrinal truth?

Take some time to read or listen to Catholic apologists when they refer to evangelical “Bible-thumpers.” They have absolutely no use for evangelicals’ Gospel of grace, yet many evangelicals unequivocally still embrace Keating, pope Francis, and the other work-righteousness Catholics as “brothers in Christ.” Does not compute. One-billion Roman Catholics are not hearing the genuine Gospel because of this willful ignorance on the part of many evangelicals regarding Catholicism’s false gospel.

“In today’s spirit of ecumenism, many evangelicals have called for the Protestant Church to lay aside its differences with Rome and pursue unity with the Catholic Church. Is that possible? Is Roman Catholicism simply another facet of the body of Christ that should be brought into union with its Protestant counterpart? Is Roman Catholicism simply another Christian denomination?

While there are many errors in the teaching of the Catholic Church (for example its belief in the transubstantiation of the communion wafer and its view of Mary), two rise to the forefront and call for special attention: its denial of the doctrine of sola Scriptura and its denial of the biblical teaching on justification. To put it simply, because the Roman Catholic Church has refused to submit itself to the authority of God’s Word and to embrace the gospel of justification taught in Scripture, it has set itself apart from the true body of Christ. It is a false and deceptive form of Christianity.” – John MacArthur. See here.

Few willing to expose false teachers or false gospels

With absolutely no offense intended towards pastors and theologians who still faithfully defend the Gospel of grace without seeking the spotlight, it occurred to me that with the passing of R.C. Sproul (photo left), the only “prominent,” nationally-known evangelical leader who is still outspoken in his criticism of Rome and its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit is John MacArthur (photo right), who is 78-years-old.

Satan is certainly celebrating the spread of ecumenism in the church in this era of plurality and tolerance, when most Christians have been brainwashed or cowed into believing that pointing the finger at false teachers and false gospels is uncharitable, divisive, and rude.

But the Lord is still on His throne and is well aware of all the accommodation, cooperation, compromise, and betrayal going on in the name of false “love” and false “unity.”

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” – Ephesians 5:11

“You notice how in Matthew 23 our Lord poured His scorn and ridicule, not only upon the perversion of the law therein displayed (by the Pharisees), but also upon the utter dishonesty of it all. And it is good for us to observe that our Lord did this. There are certain things in connection with the Christian faith which must be treated in that way. We have all become so uncertain of principles in this loose, effeminate age, that we are afraid of denunciations such as we read here, and are almost ready to condemn our Lord for having spoken about the Pharisees as He did. Shame on us! This utter, rank dishonesty in connection with the things of God is to be exposed and denounced for the thing it is.” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones from “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.”

“Plan A or Plan B? Take your pick, no worries.” Catholicism’s wide-is-the-way.

Every time I write about the Roman Catholic church, I have to keep in mind that it wears two hats. On the one hand, it still teaches its old-school, religious legalism. It claims a person must be baptized and then must participate in the church’s sacraments in order to receive graces so that they can obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and remain in a “state of grace” so as to merit Heaven when they die. Phew! Sorry for the long-winded sentence.

But, on the other hand, the Catholic church magnanimously conceded at the Second Vatican Council that non-Catholic religionists might also be able to merit Heaven if they “follow the light they are given.” Pope Francis has subsequently said even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their conscience.

“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 847

So, on one side of its mouth, Catholicism says its members must follow a formidable, exacting, legalistic process in order to possibly qualify for Heaven (with no assurance), while from the other side it says non-Catholics can get by with “following” their religion or their conscience just as long as they have a “sincere heart.”

If that’s the case, who would ever want to be Catholic? “Following one’s conscience” is a pretty fluid target. It can change like the wind. Why would people desire to constantly check off a burdensome religious to-do list if they can do what they think is right in their own eyes?

But exactly how earnest must a heart be for it to be considered “sincere”? In contrast, God’s Word says something about men’s hearts being desperately wicked:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

Catholics argue that its members have a great advantage over everyone else because only they have the eucharist and the other bona fide sacraments to assist someone seeking Heaven, but if I’m a non-Catholic and all I have to do is vaguely “follow” my religion or my conscience “with a sincere heart,” whatever that means, then the non-Catholic surely has the advantage. The 80% of Catholics who don’t attend obligatory mass on Sunday must have figured that out as well.

None of the above is Christianity. We are all sinners and we all deserve eternal punishment. But God the Son came to Earth and paid the penalty for sin. He offers you the free gift of salvation. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone!

The fact that Catholicism proclaims a very broad road to salvation that includes other works-religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., and even atheism should give every ecumenical evangelical pause. This embracing of all religions under its interfaith umbrella is a black mark upon Roman Catholicism from the Lord for all believers to see.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-3

How genuine were Catholic prelates when they “commemorated” Martin Luther and Reformation 500?

A few weeks ago, there were MANY articles in the news regarding the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. However, in today’s “post-modern” era, when doctrine is totally deemphasized, and relativism, experientialism, and plurality are worshipped as idols, the Reformation strikes many as offensive. Some “Protestants” now eagerly embrace Catholics as fellow “believers” and declare they’ve renounced the “rancor” and “sectarianism” of the Reformation and strive for unity with the church of Rome. After all, they say, Catholics also believe in “grace” and “faith” and “Jesus the Savior” so let’s all just let bygones be bygones and focus on what unites us and leave the debates over doctrine to grumpy theologians.

But beneath all of today’s doctrinally-bankrupt, ♫kumbaya♫ sentimentality, Rome still preaches the same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that it did in 1517. At the Second Vatican Council, Rome decided it could catch more “separated brethren” with “sweetness” rather than with conflict and many Protestants have taken the bait. Last month, Catholic bishops all over the world co-celebrated prayer services commemorating Reformation 500 with liberal Lutheran bishops. Catholic prelates extol “justification by faith” with gusto, but what they mean is something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT than what evangelicals understand by that term. As the saying goes, if you keep telling a lie long enough, you can get just about everyone to believe it.

In the article below, ex-Catholic priest, Richard Bennett, comments on the Vatican’s enthusiastic pronouncement that the Reformation is over.

Vatican Fake News – “The Reformation is Over”
By Richard Bennett and Stuart Quint
September 29, 2017

The Lord Jesus Christ condemned the Pharisees as they attempted to suppress the truth of the Gospel by equating their traditions with the Bible.  “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees!  For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”

Today, the senior leadership of the Roman Catholic Church also undermines truth by equating man-made traditions with God’s Word.   Pope Francis and the Roman hierarchy exalt their own authority above Holy Scripture.  Consequently, the Catholic person believes not in the Almighty God and His immutable Word, but rather in the Catholic Church and her evolving tradition.

Ever since the Reformation began 500 years ago, the Roman Church continues to use its influence to camouflage the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To continue reading, click on the link below:

Chasing after a spiritual “high” by following the “mystics”

Teresa of Avila: An Ancient Mystic Who Helped Shape Today’s Spiritual Formation Movement
By Carolyn A. Greene
Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2017, 19 pages, $1.95

Within the evangelical church, we see trends and gimmicks come and go. Others stay around for awhile. Some hip pastor dreams up a new, “cutting edge” spirituality technique and then appears on TBN hawking his new book and the next thing you know “progressive” pastors all over the country are climbing on board so they don’t get left behind at the “last year’s news” station.

Such is the case with the “contemplative prayer” (aka “spiritual formation” and “centering prayer”) movement. It wasn’t enough just to read God’s Word and go to the Lord in simple prayer. No, as Christianity in America began moving farther and farther away from doctrine-based faith to subjective experientialism, “cutting edge” pastors began looking into methods for their congregations to “deepen” their prayer/worship “encounter.” But there was no need to reinvent the wheel. “Hip” pastors read accounts of the old Roman Catholic mystics and discovered exactly what they were looking for.

Cloistered monastic religious orders encouraged their monks and nuns to practice forms of extreme asceticism including self-mortification (flagellation, chronic fasting, sleep deprivation, etc.). Under these conditions, the mystics often fell into deep swoons and trances and claimed to experience ecstasies and the miraculous phenomena of levitation, bi-location, and stigmata as well as being visited by Jesus and/or the “Blessed Virgin.”

One such Catholic mystic was the celebrated “saint,” Teresa of Avila, Spain (1515-1582). In this pamphlet, Carolyn Greene refers to some of the writings of Teresa to illustrate her “otherworldly” experiences. This short pamphlet is not a thorough exposé of “contemplative prayer” or of the alleged experiences of Teresa, but serves only as a brief introduction.

Many “hip” pastors and church leaders have jumped onto the “contemplative prayer” band wagon. They extol the writings of Teresa and other Catholic mystics as guides for their followers to experience a deep, subjective, often trance-like “encounter” while in prayer/meditation. This technique began in the “emerging church” with people like Brian McLaren and Richard Foster and has since spread into mainstream “evangelicalism” through people like Sarah Young, Rick Warren, Dallas Willard, Tim Keller, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer.

Contemplative/centering prayer promotes emptying the mind and experiencing a self-induced trance similar to the TM trancendental meditation practices taught in Hinduism. I believe voluntarily surrendering control of one’s mind exposes an individual to demonic influences. In contrast, God’s Word commands that we are to be ever sober and vigilant rather than slaves of hypnotic euphoria.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8-9

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:22-24

The other great danger of the contemplative prayer movement is that it serves as a bridge between evangelical Christians and Roman Catholicism. Teresa of Avila was a faithful follower of Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation through sacramental grace and merit. If your pastor proposes a contemplative/centering prayer initiative, it’s definitely time to find a new church.

For many resources that examine the dangers of contemplative spirituality and Roman Catholicism, see the link to Lighthouse Trails Publishing below.

Lighthouse Trails Publishing

Sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1652, “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” purports to show the “saint” in the throes of swooning ecstasy as an angel prepares to thrust a golden lance into her heart.