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.

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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.

Chapters

  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.

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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
https://www.challies.com/articles/the-myth-of-mother-teresa/

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.

No daily leaven for me

After my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior back in 1983, we began attending a Gospel-preaching, independent fundamental Baptist church. On the church’s information table were always complimentary copies of “Our Daily Bread” and “The Sword of the Lord” (an IFB publication).

You’ve all encountered “Our Daily Bread,” right? It’s a daily devotional published quarterly by Our Daily Bread Ministries, which was initially known as Radio Bible Class. RBC/ODBM was founded by Martin De Haan in 1938 and is currently run by his grandson, Rick De Haan.

I didn’t use “Our Daily Bread” much. I preferred just to read the Bible. After my long, prodigal season away from the Lord, my wife and I began a daily devotional time together using Charles Stanley’s monthly “In Touch” devotional booklet. One day my wife was out shopping and picked up an “Our Daily Bread” at a Christian-owned consignment shop and suggested we use that as well. Although RBC/ODBM started out as a very solid evangelical ministry, I had heard second-hand that they were going down the ecumenical trail (see my 2018 post here). I agreed to use “Our Daily Bread,” but my antennae were up.

My wife and I were reading the ODB devotion for Tuesday, July 5th, titled “Wisdom and Understanding,” and I immediately smelled a rat. The author of this particular devotion, Amy Boucher Pye, presents to the reader Julian of Norwich (England, 1342-1416) as an exemplary seeker of God’s wisdom. Here’s the first two paragraphs from the devotion:

“In 1373, when Julian of Norwich was thirty years old, she became ill and nearly died. When her minister prayed with her, she experienced a number of visions in which she considered Jesus’ crucifixion. After miraculously recovering her health, she spent the next twenty years living in solitude in a side room of the church, praying over and thinking through the experience. She concluded that “love was his meaning”; that is, that Christ’s sacrifice is the supreme manifestation of God’s love.

Julian’s revelations are famous, but what people often overlook is the time and effort she spent prayerfully working out what God revealed to her. In those two decades she sought to discern what this experience of God’s presence meant as she asked Him for His wisdom and help.”

Hmm. Well, it was clear from the time-frame that Julian was a Roman Catholic, meaning she almost certainly believed in and followed the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. The history isn’t precise, but the Catholic Encyclopedia surmises that Julian “was probably a Benedictine nun.” Pye refers to the cleric mentioned in her text as a “minister” to shield from her predominantly evangelical readership that he was an RC priest. Julian claimed to experience a “number” of divinely-revealed visions of Jesus Christ, which she subsequently wrote about. Julian’s wiki article cites 16 claimed-visions to be exact. Ah, so Julian was a Roman Catholic mystic. Turns out she’s England’s most well-known medieval RC mystic. It seems RC mystics are the absolute rage in some evangelical circles these days. Pye relates that Julian lived “in solitude” in a “side room” of the local RC church, continuing to ponder her visions. Well, that’s the sanitized version. Actually, as wiki informs us, Julian was an “anchoress,” meaning she voluntarily lived “walled-in” in a cell attached to a church (see photo below). She could not leave her confinement until her death and communicated only occasionally with visitors and took meals and other necessities through a small opening.

This commendation of Julian contradicts the Gospel on several counts:

  • Julian’s RC gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit is not the genuine Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
  • God obviously does whatever He wills, but I’m extremely skeptical (an understatement) of anyone who claims encounters with Jesus Christ, whether by alleged visions or apparitions. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” – Matthew 24:23-24
  • Walling oneself in was one of many Roman Catholic self-mortification/penitential practices, which were thought to assist in meriting salvation. The Bible tells us to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15), not to be self-mortifying hermits.

While Julian of Norwich was never officially canonized, the official RC calendar marks her feast day on May 13th.

Martin De Haan would not be pleased with this RCC-friendly ecumenical propaganda that “Our Daily Bread” is now peddling. Definitely no more “Our Daily Bread” and its ecumenical leaven for my wife and I.

Above right: A typical “anchorhold” attached to an old English church, where anchoresses like Julian were walled-in for life. Wiki states that 36 of the 58 churches in Medieval Norwich had anchorholds. Julian’s host-church has been restored multiple times, and her anchorhold no longer exists.

Todd Friel talks about “Evangelicals and Catholics Together?”

Do evangelicals and Catholics believe the same Gospel? They definitely do not! In the first 25-minutes of the 28-minute video below (click on the hyper-link), Todd Friel of Wretched Radio (photo above) addresses, in his unique style, the question of whether Gospel Christians and Catholics can be united. This episode was first presented on December 2, 2021 and is definitely worth a watch.

Throwback Thursday: Billy Graham – Part 2

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 21, 2016 and has been revised.

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Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000
By Iain H. Murray
The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000, 342 pp.

5 Stars

For part one of this post, please see here.

German higher biblical criticism came to the U.S. in the later-19th-century and was a swift-spreading cancer in seminaries and mainline Protestant churches. Believing churchmen drew a line in the sand with a series of 90 essays on the basics of the Christian faith, published between 1910 and 1915, and known as “The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth.” Bible Christians rallied around the cherished doctrinal truths, but as mainline liberalism gained wider support, the fundamentalist movement increasingly adopted a circle-the-wagons, bunker mentality.

Billy Graham began his ministry in 1947 as a fundamentalist, but he and others recognized that fundamentalism took the opposite approach to Jesus’ exhortation to be in the world, but not of the world. Graham and like-minded friends (Carl Henry, Harold Ockenga, Edward Carnell, et al.) reasoned they could more effectively reach souls for Christ by cooperating with mainline liberals and religious unbelievers rather than by separating from them. But just as fundamentalism had its unhealthy sectarian extremism, Graham’s “New Evangelicalism” had its own pitfalls. Cooperation works both ways and Graham’s cooperation with unorthodoxy and unbelief led to accommodation, compromise, and eventually, betrayal of the Gospel. Graham sacrificed right doctrine on the altar of numbers, popularity, and ecclesiastical “respectability” and set a precedent for generations of pastors and para-church leaders to come.

In “Evangelicalism Divided,” Iain Murray, a former close assistant to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, documents the rise and fall of Graham and New Evangelicalism. The larger portion of the book is devoted to circumstances in Britain, which closely mirrored those in the United States. Swimming against the rising tide, Lloyd-Jones called upon evangelicals to break ties with mainline liberalism and religious unbelief. When Graham began organizing crusades in Britain, he asked Lloyd-Jones, the nation’s most notable evangelical, to lend his support. Lloyd-Jones refused due to the many liberal churchmen aka religious unbelievers involved in Graham’s crusades. In opposition to Lloyd-Jones, Britain’s New Evangelicals, led by John Stott and J. I. Packer, rationalized that believers would be far more effective if they worked within the Anglican church. Not surprisingly, Packer would go on to be one of the charter signers of the ECT – Evangelicals and Catholics Together – ecumenical accords. Stott also fully embraced Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity. As for the current state of Anglicanism, is there even one Bible-believing minister within the entire denomination?

Murray may wander a bit, but overall this is an excellent book. There were so many passages I wanted to quote, but where to stop? I would have ended up quoting half the book. For everyone who wonders HOW and WHY Graham and company ended up eventually betraying the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, this book is a sad but necessary eye-opener.

“The reason why the BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) decided to co-operate with liberals and other non-evangelicals (such as Roman Catholics – Tom) was never set out in terms of principle. The fact is that the policy was seen as a neccessary expedient designed sincerely for the best end, namely to gain a wider hearing for the gospel. Crusades depended on crowds and in the Graham story there is an almost ever-present concern for maintaining and increasing numbers. ‘Keeping an eye for maximum public impact’ and ‘trying always for the largest possible crowds’ was a settled part of the Billy Graham Association’s strategy.” pp- 58-59.

“We may be small in numbers but since when has the doctrine of the remnant become unpopular among evangelicals? It is one of the most glorious doctrines in the whole Bible. We are not interested in numbers. We are interested in truth and in the living God. ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ …If we stand for God’s truth we can be sure that God will honour us and bless us.” – a quote from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, p.293.

“Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000” is available at Amazon here.

Throwback Thursday: Billy Graham – Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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