A pope venerated during an evangelical worship service and nobody says a word?

I’ve mentioned before that my wife and I are both big ol’ square pegs when it comes to evangelical church membership. We’re too “liberal” for flag-waving fundamentalist churches where we started out as new believers decades ago, and too “conservative” for progressive mega-churches, which are generally well-on-the-way to ecumenical compromise and betrayal.

Two-and-a-half-years ago, we began attending a large non-denominational church, which leans much more towards a contemporary than a traditional worship-style, but, and this is huge for us, politics are never mentioned from the pulpit and there have been no overtures toward Rome. Phew! Until now. What?!?!

A couple of Sundays ago, we were sitting in the “sanctuary” and listening to the pastor finish a fine sermon on resting in the Lord. Immediately after the sermon, the worship band came out and performed a song called “Rest In You.” As the band played, a video was displayed in the background, which included both exterior and interior shots of what would clearly be manifested to be a Roman Catholic church. The video scenes included among other things:

  • A statue of a smiling pope wearing the three-tiered papal tiara (photos above and below)
  • Votive candles being lit (votive candles are often used in connection with prayers to Mary and the “saints”)
  • Statues of unidentified Catholic saints
  • A statue of Jesus exposing his “sacred heart”
  • The church interior showing the Catholic altar

The above images looped through the video twice while my wife and I sat there with our mouths wide open in disbelief. Watch the very same 5-minute video for yourself far below.

We went home and composed a letter to the pastor expressing our deep dismay and emailed it Monday. The pastor responded the next day. I don’t wish to publish the details of our private correspondence other than to say we were pleased with the pastor’s gracious reply.

But one has to ask oneself, how does a big evangelical church with a large staff and many eyes permit something like that video to slip through? C’mon! A statue of a pope?!?!?! Forty years ago, if such a video had been shown at an evangelical church service, the entire congregation would have rightly demanded an explanation from the elder board. But in this era of ecumenism and growing doctrinal ignorance, at a church with an average Sunday attendance of over 2000, we were told we were the only ones who raised a concern.

Capture27

I did a little research and found out the song, “Rest In You,” and the accompanying video were created by a now-defunct band named All Sons & Daughters, which was led by Leslie Anne Jordan and David Alan Leonard, the former worship co-leaders at Journey Church in Franklin, Tennessee. Their final album, “Poets & Saints” (2016), includes the song in question as well as “You Are Love & Love Alone,” which the band claimed was inspired by Catholic nun and saint, Thérèse of Lisieux. An article (see here) from a Catholic news source triumphantly cites “Poets & Saints” as a “Protestant album” that “finds some very Catholic inspiration.”

The Gospel is getting very muddied out there, brothers and sisters! Why don’t these accommodating and compromising Judas ecumenical evangelical ministers just padlock their church’s doors and send everyone a mile down the road to the local Catholic church?

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” – Luke 18:8

 

“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” – Galatians 5:7-12

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Rampant ecumenism in the news

Accommodation, compromise, and tolerance are sometimes good things, but not in connection with fidelity to the Gospel. The four recent news stories below illustrate how Protestants are being pulled deeper and deeper into the ecumenical vortex.

Emboldened by pope Francis’ lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees, cardinal Reinhard Marx (photo left) and other liberal German prelates announced a couple of months ago that they were preparing to allow communion to Lutheran spouses of Roman Catholics. Frazzled conservative bishops sent a letter of objection to the Vatican. Today, Marx and others will meet with archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to discuss the advisability of intercommunion with Protestants at this time. Make no mistake, Francis would gladly welcome intercommunion with Protestants, but it may be too much, too soon with the controversy still raging over his lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. Stay tuned.

Personally, I have absolutely no desire to partake in the anti-Biblical sacrifice of the mass or to receive the allegedly transubstantiated Jesus wafer. The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is not preached in Catholic churches. If any Roman Catholics are saved, they are saved in spite of their church, not because of it. Roman Catholics are a mission field, but I’m sure there are many Judas evangelicals who would gladly partake of the Jesus wafer from a Catholic priest.

“Evangelical,” Nick Hall (photo middle with pope Francis), brokered the Together 2016 ecumenical “happening” in July 2016 in Washington D.C., which featured a video greeting from pope Francis along with speeches from unabashed ecumenists like Ravi Zacharias, Francis Chan, and Ronnie Floyd. Catholic Matt Maher was one of the featured musical performers. Hall is planning another one of his many ecumenical “Pulse” events for St. Paul-Minneapolis on Friday, May 18th, which has the enthusiastic support of the local Catholic diocese (see article). Hillsong Young & Free will be one of the performers. Hall is also planning the Together 2018 ecumenical “happening” this coming October 20-21 at Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Scheduled speakers include Zacharias, and TBN regulars, Priscilla Shirer, Tony Evans, Brian Houston, and Banning Liebscher from the aberrant Bethel Church of Redding, California, along with music from Hillsong United and Jesus Culture from Bethel Church. Will pope Francis also be sending a message to Together 2018?

Andy Stanley (photo right) ranks right up there with Bill Hybels and Rick Warren as a pioneer of the burgeoning seeker-sensitive, mega-church movement. Right doctrine is not only expendable in the eyes of the church-growth guys, it’s seen as a negative. I may disagree with my blood-bought, born-again brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ over doctrinal secondaries, but we are united in the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Messrs. Stanley, Hybels, Warren, and their disciples are so antagonistic toward right doctrine in the cause of false unity that just about anyone who names the name of Christ is fine with them, including the Gospel-defying pope of Rome.

Pope Francis will be visiting the headquarters of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland on June 21st to participate in the commemoration the 70th anniversary of that organization. None of the 348 denominations affiliated with the WCC preach the Gospel any longer. The Roman Catholic church is not a member of the WCC but the two entities maintain warm relations.

National Day of Prayer?

Next Thursday, May 3rd, is the annual National Day of Prayer, so I thought it would be appropriate to trot out the archived post below.

The National Day of Prayer advances the causes of ecumenism and Civil Religion (see here), NOT the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Please read the rest via National Day of Prayer?

Quasimodo pleads for “Sanctuary,” but finds none at Notre Dame

As I’ve related several times before, I had walked away from the Lord for a very long “season” after we left our first church in 1991. But the Lord is merciful and patient beyond measure and kept drawing me back to Him. Toward the end of that pitiful “journey,” my wife had reconnected with old friends, an evangelical Christian couple from our old neighborhood. They invited us to their church for Sunday worship four years ago and it was at that service that I returned to my Abba Father who had been watchfully and lovingly waiting for His prodigal son. But we didn’t consider attending our friends’ church following that Sunday because it upholds several secondary doctrines that we don’t believe are Biblical, which I mention in all humility.

We have spent a lot of time with this sweet couple over the last four years: sharing meals at our homes and at restaurants, traveling, seeing movies, visiting each other during sickness, and just hanging out together. They love the Lord and try to serve Him with their lives. However, one of the things that we don’t see eye to eye on is in regards to ecumenism. They are of a viewpoint that Roman Catholicism is a Christian entity and that it preaches the genuine Gospel. Argh! I’m sure this is what they unfortunately receive from the pulpit of their church. We have had many brief, polite discussions about this, but they attribute our “attitude” to being disgruntled, former members. No, Rome’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit is NOT the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through in Jesus Christ alone. Despite what Billy Graham and other ecumenists say, it’s impossible to fit the square Roman peg through the round Gospel hole. Our discussions on this issue have been brief and polite, but I’ve noticed their eyes tend to glaze over when we present our arguments.

Last Saturday, we went out to dinner with this couple at an Italian eatery (linguini and red clam sauce is one of my go-to dishes) and then attended a local high school production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”* The musical dramatization is based on Victor Hugo’s famous 1831 novel. Hugo (1802-1885) was a French politician and one of country’s most celebrated writers. He was a deist and strongly anti-clerical and anti-Catholic. The villain of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is the pathologically conflicted character, Archdeacon Claude Frollo, who represents the rigid, legalistic religiosity that Hugo abhorred. Is there a sadder figure in fiction than the forlorn hunchback, Quasimodo,** rejected by all? Too bad Hugo did not know the Lord.

We all enjoyed the show. The high school kids put on a tremendous performance far beyond their years. As we were all riding home in the car together, I half-jokingly mentioned that the moral of the play was never to trust a priest. Everyone shared a good guffaw, but then the wife friend commented with something to the effect of, “It’s just too bad the good priests have to deal with all the bad publicity from the bad-apple pedophiles.”

Huh? Good priests? Again and again we encounter this unscriptural understanding from our friends. Over and over. Patience, Lord, patience.

My wife quickly responded by saying that, according to Scripture, there is no longer any need for priests or sacrifice.

[Crickets]

That was the end of that particular exchange, but the debate is never-ending as evangelicals and evangelicalism continue to march onward toward Rome.

“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10:11-14

*Notre Dame in Paris is probably the second-most famous Catholic church in the world after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Many Americans don’t know that “Notre Dame” means “Our Lady.”

**The GIF clip above shows Charles Laughton as Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,”  RKO Radio Pictures, 1939. The name, Quasimodo, comes from a Latin phrase, “quasi modo,” which translates as, “Almost merely” or “Merely almost.” The name refers to Quasimodo’s several deformities and that he supposedly “almost” looked like a human or was an approximation of a human. The meaning “half-formed” isn’t correct, but that’s the right idea. Society has gone backwards in many respects recently, but at least there is much more respect shown to those with disabilities and disfigurements. Quasimodo, you are not alone! We are all spiritually disabled and disfigured by sin and we all, every single one of us, need salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ is REAL sanctuary for sinners!!! Why won’t you repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior today? What are you waiting for?

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


REV. BILLY GRAHAM BELMONT COLLEGE
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
https://excatholic4christ.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/billy-graham-part-1/

Billy Graham – Part 2
https://excatholic4christ.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/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.

Stop!!!!!!

 

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.