TBN presents “The Journey”?

I don’t normally publish two posts in one day, but events prompted me to quickly put together this impromptu critique.

Readers of this blog know I’m not a fan of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The cable network specializes in “health and wealth,” prosperity-gospel tele-shysters and other manifestations of aberrant, pseudo-Christianity.

While I was channel surfing last night, I came across TBN-owners, Matt and Laurie Crouch, hawking their upcoming TBN-produced film, “The Journey: A Music Special from Andrea Bocelli,” due in theaters nationwide for four nights, April 2-4 and April 6, preceding Easter weekend.

I knew popular tenor singer, Bocelli, was a “devout” Roman Catholic, so what exactly does this “journey” entail? The official, on-line promotion (see below) says the film follows “Bocelli and his wife Veronica as they travel through Italy’s beautiful terrain on horseback to complete parts of the unforgettable Via Francigena — a historical pilgrimage in which Christians journey to Rome to worship at grand cathedrals and visit the burial sites of revered saints and apostles.”

The promo also states that the film features a “blessing by Pope Francis.”

So what we have with this TBN-produced film is “devout” Roman Catholic, Bocelli, journeying along the Italian portion of this Via Francigena Catholic pilgrimage route, stopping at several Catholic churches along the way, including St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, all under the supposedly auspicious blessings of pope Francis. From the preview clips it’s clear there will be lots of impressive scenery and music.

This upcoming “The Journey” is currently being heavily promoted by TBN. What is the message the unwitting, mostly-Protestant viewers of TBN will understand by these promos and by “The Journey” itself? The message from the Crouches is that pope Francis and the Roman Catholic church teach the genuine Gospel. But is that true? Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic church teach that salvation is by sacramental grace and merit. They teach this unabashedly and without apology.

“Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion (i.e., baptismal regeneration – Tom). Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. – Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 2010.

But God’s Word teaches salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The two gospels are irreconcilable. One is right and one is wrong. They cannot both be right. This movie will undoubtedly be pleasing to both the eye and to the ear, but it’s seductive spiritual rat poison.

Shame on the Crouches and TBN for yet another anti-Gospel message in addition to thousands of others.

The Journey – TBN press release

Short and to the point

…their view regarding Roman Catholicism and its false gospel. If they don’t have enough wisdom and discernment regarding that, then I don’t need to hear what they have to say about anything else.

“He (an overseer, pastor) must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” – Titus 1:9

Lausanne’s compromise

Ecumenism: Another Gospel: Lausanne’s Road to Rome
By E.S. Williams
Belmont House Publishing, 2014, 158 pp.

4 Stars

Have you ever heard of the Lausanne Movement? If you’ve been around long enough, you may have read at least some references to it here and there. I’d been meaning to read this book for quite a while and finally squeezed it into my queue. Author, E.S. Williams, a UK fundamentalist layman, takes aim at the Lausanne Movement, which was initiated by Billy Graham and John Stott* with the stated purpose of promoting active worldwide evangelism. Lausanne Movement meetings (“congresses”) have been held in Lausanne, Switzerland (1974), Manila, Philippines (1989), and Cape Town, South Africa (2010). Lausanne IV is scheduled to be held in Seoul, South Korea in September 2024. As Williams ably points out, the theological bent of the Lausanne Movement mirrors (and influences) the declining spirituality of “big tent” evangelicalism, with its growing interest in ecumenism with Rome, its disintegrating understanding of the Bible as God’s Holy and infallible Word, and its syncretic mixing of the Gospel with socio-political ideologies (socialism, feminism, environmentalism, etc.). This book is decidedly polemical in tone, but the facts Williams presents are incontrovertible.

*Billy Graham (d. 2018) and John Stott (d. 2011) are widely revered as “the greatest Christians of the 20th century.” However, no evangelicals did more to advance ecumenism with Rome. Stalwart pastor and preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, broke fellowship with both men over the issue of ecumenism.


  1. The Cause of World Evangelization
  2. Billy Graham – the ecumenical evangelist
  3. John Stott – the political theologian
  4. The Cape Town Congress 2010
  5. Promoting the arts and the emerging church
  6. The orality movement
  7. Downgrading the written Word
  8. Ecumenical Alpha
  9. Lausanne’s love for the poor
  10. Lausanne’s feminist agenda
  11. Lausanne’s environmental agenda
  12. Lausanne’s socio-political agenda

Reformanda Initiative Podcast #16: The doctrine of justification according to Roman Catholicism

Welcome to the sixteenth installment of our weekly Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 1, Episode 16: The doctrine of justification according to Roman Catholicism

Show Notes

What is the doctrine of justification and why has it been such a big point of disagreement between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism? Listen as we describe the doctrine of justification according to Roman Catholicism.

My Comments

How is a person made righteous or “justified” before a Holy God? The Roman Catholic church teaches a person becomes justified by the infusion of sacramental graces whereby they are able to “cooperate with grace” through good works and charity in order to become increasingly sanctified/holy so as to possibly merit Heaven at the moment of death. Gospel Christianity teaches a person is justified only by the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imputed to them the moment they receive Christ as Savior by faith alone. The two views on justification are diametrically opposed and irreconcilable. One is right and one is wrong. They cannot both be right. Martin Luther correctly said, “Justification is the doctrine by which the Church stands or falls.” In this podcast, the Reformanda Initiative guys examine the RCC teaching on justification and how it’s become more inclusive/universalized by liberals/progressives like pope Francis. Excellent discussion.

Season 1, Episode 16: The doctrine of justification according to Roman Catholicism
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
April 25, 2020 – 59 minutes

For the YouTube video version of this episode, see here.

Next week: Season 1, Episode 17: An interview with Dr. Michael Reeves on The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ)

Throwback Thursday: Critique of Mariolatry quickly turns into ecumenical hug fest

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 1, 2016 and has been revised.


The Cult of the Virgin: Catholic Mariology and the Apparitions of Mary
By Elliot Miller and Kenneth B. Samples
Baker Book House, 1992, 188 pages

1 Star

“The Cult of the Virgin” is a semi-interesting examination of Roman Catholic Mariolatry. Catholicism’s elevation of Mary to semi-deity as Mediatrix and (unofficially) Co-Redemptrix has absolutely no scriptural foundation and seriously detracts from the work of Jesus Christ. I especially found interesting the chapters on Medjugorje and the other alleged Marian apparitions.

However, a serious problem with this book is that the authors, Elliot Miller and Kenneth Samples, approach Roman Catholicism as a legitimate branch of Christianity. Both authors are connected with the Christian Research Institute (CRI), an evangelical apologetics ministry that researches cults and non-Christian religions. The founder of CRI, Walter Martin, stated in 1980 that “if any Catholics are saved they are saved not because of the Roman Catholic Church, but in spite of it.” Since the death of Martin in 1989, CRI has progressively softened its stance toward Catholicism. Despite Rome’s many unscriptural doctrines, CRI declines to categorize Catholicism as a heretical church. Hank Hanegraaff,* Martin’s successor, believes that while Rome teaches several doctrinal errors, it is, at its core, a Christian church. There’s a recording of Elliot Miller, co-author of this book, on YouTube stating it’s possible for Catholics to be saved by following official Catholic doctrine (see here).

But for many evangelicals who remember the reasons for the Reformation, it’s still quite clear that the gospel of Rome is fundamentally different from the Gospel of Jesus Christ of the New Testament. For Rome, salvation comes by receiving its clergy-administered sacraments and by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!). In contrast, evangelical Christians believe the Biblical message of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Is justification by faith or by works? It can’t be both (Romans 11:6). Yes, Rome does espouse a few orthodox doctrines, but its position is wrong on so many others, most importantly regarding justification and salvation, that it doesn’t warrant the respect and legitimacy offered by Miller and Samples.

The accommodating authors even go so far as to include a short rebuttal from popular Jesuit priest, Mitch Pacwa! They introduce Pacwa by asserting that his “manner of life evidences a strong personal relationship with Christ” (p.161). Hmm. As a Catholic priest, Pacwa teaches the Catholic faithful that they must merit their salvation by receiving the sacraments and by refraining from mortal sin. Even one unconfessed “mortal” sin dooms a Catholic to an eternal hell. How does that square with having a “personal relationship with Christ” who came to save sinners, not self-righteous, works-religionists? Pacwa is a fiercely conservative Catholic apologist who has frequently debated evangelical Christians and appears regularly on the conservative Catholic EWTN cable network. I have personally witnessed Pacwa on EWTN promoting the Catholic doctrine of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Search Amazon for books authored by Pacwa and you’ll find he has written many, many titles which promote Catholicism’s standard, unbiblical doctrines, unchanged since the Reformation. By embracing Pacwa as a “brother in Christ,” Elliot and Miller are burying their heads in the sand since Pacwa and his church clearly teach a “different gospel” of sacramental grace and merit. Speaking as an ex-Catholic who left religious ritualism and legalism for the GOOD NEWS! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, I am perplexed by Elliot’s and Miller’s blindness.

Rome has changed none of its core doctrines since the Reformation, so why do some evangelicals now embrace it? Co-author Samples has pointed elsewhere to theologian Peter Kreeft** as an example of a Catholic who allegedly “holds the Reformation in high regard” and supposedly believes the Gospel of grace. As a Catholic, Kreeft is obliged to believe God’s salvific grace is dispensed through the sacraments like water from a tap. Search Amazon for books authored by Kreeft and you’ll find an amazing number of titles written by him which all promote Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and works-righteousness.

The authors openly confess that “The Cult of the Virgin” is an effort to promote “ecumenical dialogue.” Miller, Samples, Norman Geisler (who wrote the forward to this book), and other compromising evangelicals can quibble with Catholics over issues like Mariolatry, but the bottom-line issue for evangelicals is Catholicism’s works-based justification, which is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course, Catholic apologists object to accusations that their religion teaches works-righteousness. They claim their teachings on salvation are also based on faith and God’s grace. But the truth of the matter is Catholics believe God’s grace, supposedly infused into their souls via the sacraments, enables them to perform meritorious works and avoid sin in order to merit their way to heaven. Despite the sophistry it all boils down to works and merit.

Hanegraaff and CRI have devoted a large amount of energy and resources to confronting the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and smaller groups, but the number of souls led astray by these cults are but a tiny fraction compared to the billions of souls deceived by the legalism of Rome.***

Notes from 2022:

*In 2017, supposed “evangelical” Hanegraaf “converted” to the Greek Orthodox church.

**I reviewed Catholic apologist, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic” in a series of posts from 2021 to 2022. You can find the index here. Throughout that book, Kreeft disparaged the “easy believism” of the genuine Gospel.

***This book is a blatant example of approaching the RCC “atomistically,” as Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative have discussed in their podcasts that we’ve been reviewing recently. Adherents to the atomistic approach, such as Elliot, Miller, and Geisler, will often criticize aspects of RC-ism, but embrace it as a whole. In contrast, a “systemic” examination of RC-ism reveals that the institution is heretical at its core (propagating a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit) and that these secondary doctrines/practices, e.g., Mariolatry, are but dead branches extending from a dead trunk.

When evangelicals compromised the Gospel for the sake of “Christian unity”

Evangelical Compromise: Evangelicals and Catholics Together
By Richard Bennett
Chapel Library, 2020, 54 pp.

5 Stars

For 1500 years, the Roman Catholic church has propagated a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. The Reformation reclaimed the New Testament Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone and for 450 years, Protestants were resolute regarding the two irreconcilable, opposing gospels, that “Ne’er the twain shall meet.” However, beginning with the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the RCC sought dialogue and ecumenical relations with the “separated brethren” and some evangelical Protestants were undiscerningly eager to comply.

Chuck Colson gained notoriety and a prison sentence as President Richard Nixon’s political “hatchet man.” He claimed to have had a born-again experience prior to imprisonment and eventually became a leading voice in American evangelicalism. Colson had divorced his first wife in 1964 and married his second wife, Patricia Ann Hughes, that same year. Hughes was a committed Roman Catholic and after Colson became an evangelical Christian, he made it his life’s work to wed the two opposing gospels.

In 1994, Colson (d. 2012) teamed with Catholic priest, Richard John Neuhaus, and a bevy of other evangelicals (including J.I. Packer, Bill Bright, Os Guinness, Mark Noll, and Pat Robertson) and assorted Catholics in releasing the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT) declaration, which claimed that the two gospels were essentially the same and that both groups should unite in opposing encroaching secularism. Many evangelicals were rightly appalled at the compromise and betrayal of the genuine Gospel and took the signatories to task, but undiscerning ecumenism has advanced unrelentingly in the 28 years since the publication of ECT.

In this booklet, Richard Bennett (d. 2019), an ex-Catholic priest and former director of Berean Beacon Ministries, examines ECT and the compromise of God’s Word in the effort to forge a false “Christian unity.” This booklet serves as a good introduction to ECT for those who are not familiar with it. The booklet is available as a pdf, ebook, or hardcopy via Chapel Library here.


  1. Introduction
    • Background
    • Recent Events
  2. Doctrinal Errors
    • Justification by Faith Alone
    • Imputed Righteousness
    • Baptismal Regeneration
    • Mary and the Saints
    • “Soul freedom” of the Individual Christian
  3. Bogus Defenses of Compromise
    • “Domestic differences”
    • “Notional soundness”
  4. Devastating Effects of Compromise
    • Evangelism
    • Separation
  5. Warnings
    • Attack on the Gospel
    • Ecumenical Compromise
    • False Teachers
    • Conclusion

Throwback Thursday: Is our goal “religious unity” or fidelity to Jesus Christ and the genuine Gospel?

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


Yesterday, I was listening to the 10/11/16 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show  (Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY) featuring Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, and moderator, Steve Quebral. A Catholic listener called in with concerns about advancing secular liberalism, especially in regards to the expected outcome of the presidential election, and priest Rick responded with the following:

“Catholics, evangelicals, we need each other. Catholics, other Christians of other traditions that feel and see the same way, we’ve got to unite. We’ve got to put behind us the doctrinal differences and stuff because what’s going to happen is that Christ will forge a one church. He prays that they all may be one. It will be forged by a conflagration and a battle; an apocalyptic battle. John Paul II already says, we are in a battle between good and evil and we’re caught between it. What side are we going to take?”

In the quote above, priest Rick urges evangelicals to drop their doctrinal distinctives. He’s implying that evangelicals must abandon their own doctrines and return to Rome. Rick is simply toeing the party line. For Catholicism, ecumenism and unity have always meant returning to Rome. I agree with Rick that there is a battle going on, but it’s not a battle between religious morality and secular immorality. No, the battle is for men’s souls. The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is on one side and everything else – false religion (including Catholicism with its gospel of sacramental grace and merit), secularism, atheism, etc. are on the other side. Our goal is not religious unity and social morality, but to lead souls to Christ.

Some evangelical pastors and para-church leaders have succumb to Rome’s plea to unite in battle against secularism and are betraying the Gospel and leading the sheep astray.

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the Lord!
And yet he is wise and brings disaster;
he does not call back his words,
but will arise against the house of the evildoers
and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
The Egyptians are man, and not God,
and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall,
and they will all perish together. – Isaiah 31:1-3

Got Questions: s ecumenism biblical? Should a Christian be involved in the ecumenical movement?

Evangelicals’ undiscerning infatuation with Mother Teresa

An influential evangelical blogger with a large following (12,800+) recently submitted an insightful comment to one of my posts, so I began following his blog. I purposely limit the number of bloggers I follow because I try to actually read their posts and there’s only so many hours in the day. Anyway, I began following “M” and, wouldn’t you know it, the first post he published after I began following him was a post extolling Mother Teresa as an example of Christian charity (see photo above).

Mother Teresa aka Anjezë Bojaxhiu (1910-1997) was an Albanian Catholic nun who headed a Catholic religious order that at one point operated 517 hospices in over 100 countries. Evangelical pastors frequently extol Mother Teresa to their congregations as the epitome of Christian charity, which is beyond problematic on several counts. As a Roman Catholic nun, Mother Teresa adhered to her church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. She was also committed to her church’s teaching that there are many pathways to God and that non-Catholic religionists and even atheists could also merit their salvation. Note the revealing quotes from Mother Teresa below:

“We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.”

“I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic.”

“I love all religions. … If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there.”

“All is God — Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, etc., all have access to the same God.”

The above quotes would undoubtedly warm the hearts of religious unbelievers, but not born-again Christians who know their Bible.

There were also major concerns with the charitable care Mother Teresa provided. In his critical article on Mother Teresa, evangelical pastor, Tim Challies, wrote, “Mother Teresa believed (as her church teaches – Tom) that there is spiritual value in suffering. Once, when tending to a patient dying of cancer, she said ‘You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.’…For this reason she would not prescribe pain killers in her clinics, choosing instead to allow her patients to experience the suffering that she believed would bring them closer to Christ. Despite the tens of millions of dollars donated to her charity each year, her missions were rudimentary and offered no real health care. Her missions mainly catered to the critically ill and simply afforded them a place to go to die. It is interesting to note that when Mother Teresa became ill she would travel to the finest health care facilities to receive treatment.” – from “The Myth of Mother Teresa,” link below.

So why do so many evangelical pastors and lay-people laud Mother Teresa as THE standard of Christian charity when she represented a spiritually deadly false gospel? Discernment is sorely lacking within evangelicalism these days.

M and I engaged in some dialogue regarding his photo and quote from Mother Teresa:

Tom: M, it’s regrettable when evangelicals present Mother Teresa as an exemplary Christian. The gospel she propagated was Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. 

M: Hi Tom. This post isn’t really about Mother Teresa’s doctrinal beliefs, it’s about the idea that reaching out to others doesn’t have to be done en masse. Rather that it can and should be embraced, as many protestant denominations…like to say, “Each one, reach one.” And I do like Mother Teresa’s statement, “Start with the person nearest you.”

Tom: Thanks, M. Other evangelical bloggers have also told me that they used Mother Teresa’s picture and a quote as a general symbol of charity after I sent a comment with my objection. Mother Teresa’s charitable endeavors were not altogether altruistic as Challies documents in his article. She was/is directly connected to her Roman Catholic church and its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Joseph Smith Jr. (Mormon) and Charles Taze Russell (JW) also taught on charity. Would it be wise for evangelical bloggers to publish posts with illustrations/photos of Smith and Russell and their quotes on the topic?

M did not respond to my second comment.

My purpose here is not to pick on M, but to illustrate by example the general lack of knowledge and discernment within big-tent evangelicalism when it comes to Roman Catholicism and its false gospel.

Evangelical brothers and sisters, Mother Teresa propagated her church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. She also propagated her church’s acceptance of all religions and even “moralistic” atheism as legitimate pathways to God. The care she provided to the sick and dying was problematic in several respects. If you need to reference an individual as a symbol of charity, please practice a little discernment and do not use Mother Teresa.

The Myth of Mother Teresa by Pastor Tim Challies

Below: Another totally inappropriate graphic and quote presented here strictly for illustrative purposes:

The Spawning of Catholic Charismaticism

I realize I’m stepping on some toes with this post. I’m not trying to be mean or antagonistic, just stating my views according to my understanding of Scripture.

As By a New Pentecost: The Dramatic Beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal
By Patti Gallagher Mansfield
Proclaim Publications, 1992, 119 pp.

1 Star

I don’t usually make an issue of it in this blog, but I’m a “cessationist,” meaning I believe the apostolic sign gifts (languages, prophecy, healing, raising from the dead, recovering from deadly poison) ceased after the apostolic era. The originators of Pentecostalism claimed these gifts were restored, beginning in Topeka, Kansas in 1900* and continuing to the Azusa Street Revival in 1906 and beyond. Pentecostalism grew, but took a backseat within “mainstream” evangelicalism. However, in 1960, Dennis J. Bennett, rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California claimed he received the gift of tongues/glossolalia and the Pentecostal gifts swiftly seeped into mainline Protestant denominations under the label of “Charismatic.”

A small number of Catholics at Notre Dame University (South Bend, Indiana) and Duquesne University (Pittsburgh) were intrigued with Pentecostalism/Charismaticism and sought mentoring from Protestant continuationists. David Wilkerson’s “The Cross and the Switchblade” (1962) and John Sherrill’s “They Speak With Other Tongues” (1964) were their training manuals. A group of 25 Duquesne University Catholic students went to the nearby Ark and Dove Retreat House on the weekend of February 17-19, 1967, eagerly hoping to manifest the Pentecostal gifts and many predictably did. Since then, the number of Catholics who claim membership in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) has grown to 160 million worldwide, including tens of thousands of priests and nuns. Patti Gallagher Mansfield was one of the 25 students who participated in the “Duquesne Weekend” and recounts the origins of the CCR in this book.

Protestant Pentecostals and Charismatics have a dilemma. Mansfield and the other CCR Catholics continue to uphold the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. In fact, they generally demonstrate a greater zeal for the un-Biblical sacrifice of the mass and the worship of Mary than prior to receiving the gifts. They are unsaved religious zealots. So, how can people receive the Pentecostal gifts of the Spirit when they have not genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone? Does not compute. This incongruity raises additional questions regarding the experiential Topeka/Azusa gifts. I submit that CCR has inclined Protestant Pentecostals and Charismatics to overlook RC-ism’s false doctrines because, well, CCR-ites manifest the requisite experiential gifts, so that’s “good enough.”

Mansfield and other CCR-ites present Catholic Charismaticism as the ultimate in Catholic spirituality, yet, not one single pope has ever manifested these sign gifts. Why isn’t the “Vicar of Christ” a charismatic if it’s the ultimate in Catholic spirituality? Pope Francis has confessed that he dismissed CCR-ites as deluded fanatics when he was a young cleric (see here), but has pragmatically come to embrace the movement as a useful tool in the quest for RCC-led ecumenism.

Because unregenerated CCR-ites manifest these Topeka/Azusa gifts and pope Francis endorses the movement, I’m less-than-skeptical of the whole business. It is not my desire to “attack” genuine Christians who hold to Pentecostal/Charismatic practices, which is why I don’t generally “soap box” my cessationist views, however, this CCR movement raises questions that cannot be ignored. As a former French-major student, Gallagher-Mansfield claims in this book that she witnessed two Catholic Charismatics speaking perfect French who had no previous knowledge of the language. I know of no documented evidence of a Pentecostal or Charismatic speaking fluently in an actual foreign language unknown to them. Most Pentecostals and Charismatics claim their unintelligible gift of tongues/glossolalia is angelic language (1 Corinthians 13:1) rather than an actual foreign language. I have seen video clips of newbie Pentecostal supplicants being instructed on how to speak in tongues. Indoctrination does not strike me as being a divine gift. Acts 2:1-13 records the apostles being granted the gift of speaking actual foreign languages for the purpose of evangelization.

Humans tend to view truth subjectively and myopically, i.e., “I experienced it, so I know it’s true.” However, speaking in ecstatic utterances is a common practice in many, many pagan religions. A number of Pentecostal groups use speaking in tongues as a litmus test of salvation, i.e., a genuinely born-again person will necessarily manifest this gift, however CCR Catholics do not hold that non-charismatic Catholics are not Catholic.

This 1-star book was valuable only in that it shed some light on the historical “Duquesne Weekend” origins of the CCR.

Postscript: Catholic traditionalists generally dismiss the CCR with its Pentecostalism/Charismaticism sign gifts as a misguided step-child of heretical Protestant novelties. Although anecdotal, unsubstantiated claims are often made, I know of no medically documented cases of a dead person being brought back to life by a Pentecostal or Charismatic healer.

*The roots of Pentecostalism go back further to the ecstatic swoonings often manifested at 19th-century Wesleyan-holiness tent revivals and even during the First Great Awakening of the 18th-century.

Above: Pope Francis and Patti Gallagher Mansfield lifting hands in 2017 in celebration of 50 years of CCR. Mansfield has been a leader in Catholic Charismatic Renewal – New Orleans (CCRNO) for decades
Above: The Ark and Dove Retreat Center in Gibsonia, PA. Many Catholic Charismatics visit here as a “spiritual pilgrimage.”

Billy Graham and His Friends

Billy Graham and His Friends: A Hidden Agenda
By Cathy Burns
Sharing, 2002, 788 pp.

4 Stars

Billy Graham is widely recognized as “the greatest evangelist of the 20th century,” but the history of Billy Graham is a history of paradoxes. Graham began his ministry as a Baptist fundamentalist, but he and like-minded cohorts, Carl Henry, Harold Ockenga, E.J. Carnell, etc., determined they would break from insular fundamentalism and set a new course that would be more open to cooperation with leaders of mainline Protestant denominations and even with Roman Catholics. Graham would eventually seek the cooperation of the local Catholic bishop/s in the planning of his crusades. When Catholics “came forward” at a Graham crusade they were followed-up by Catholic workers who explained that their acceptance of Christ as Savior was just a reaffirmation of the infant baptism and confirmation.

In this thick tome, Cathy Burns examines Graham’s friendly associations with liberal “Protestant” churchmen such as Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, and James Pike. Burns also documents Graham’s very friendly relations with the National Council of Churches and its parent World Council of Churches. The genuine Gospel can’t be found in either apostate organization. Instead there were/are appeals to socialism and interreligious cooperation. Many of the leaders of the NCC and WCC were/are openly sympathetic to Marxism. At his crusades, Graham often had NCC leaders seated prominently on the dais and many were invited to give the opening invocation. Burns also documents Graham’s very positive view of Roman Catholicism.

The author gets into the “conspiracy weeds” at times. As just one example, she points to Graham’s wedding on the evening of Friday, August 13th, 1943, replete with a full moon, as a possible link to Satanism (p. 354). There’s also A LOT of discussion about how many of the NCC and WCC types were linked either directly or indirectly to one-worldism. Yup, I get it. The world is gradually moving towards one government and one religion as the Bible foretells. Overreaches aside, Burns has thoroughly documented the fact that many of Billy Graham’s “friends” were adversaries of the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Yes, Billy Graham was a paradox. While he preached the genuine Gospel at his crusades, he pioneered evangelical ecumenism with Rome and eagerly accommodated apostate churchmen.