“Feeling Hollow? Discover the TRUE meaning of Easter.”

HL

I was skimming through today’s newspaper and came across this full page ad from the Green family and Hobby Lobby.

That’s what I’m talking about!

We are all guilty sinners and deserve God’s eternal judgement but He loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross at Calvary. Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who accept Him as their Savior through faith alone.

Church membership won’t save you. Trying to obey the Ten Commandments won’t save you. Trying to be an all-around good person won’t save you. Christ is reaching out to you. Accept Him as your Savior today.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:12-13

Musings on Easter

empty-tomb

I get to work from home today and every Friday (yipee!), which is a nice way to ease into the weekends. With this post, I’m taking a little break from work and contemplating the upcoming Easter weekend.

My wife and I were both raised in Catholic ritualism and liturgicalism but came out of that and accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior by God’s grace through faith alone. As a result, we don’t follow any type of liturgical calendar. For us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” and we don’t worship according to holidays. Some claim the word, “Easter,” derives from Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of procreation with her egg and rabbit fertility symbols. But others claim the word is a derivative of the Old German word, “eostarum,” which means “dawn” or “daybreak.” See here for more details regarding the controversy over the word, “Easter.”

Irregardless of the various theories regarding “Easter,” we do know that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world on the Jewish Passover as the Lamb of God and rose from the grave on the following Sunday morning. Many of my Christian brothers and sisters are eagerly looking forward to commemorating the resurrection of our Lord on Sunday. As I said, I’m not big into religious holidays and liturgical calendars because of my past, but on Sunday morning I will also be praising the Lord for dying for me and conquering sin and death by rising from the grave, although I try to be mindful of Christ’s death and resurrection every day.

However, Easter can definitely be an evangelization tool. One half of all Americans will be in church this Sunday celebrating Easter although the vast majority have never accepted Christ as their Savior. Unfortunately, most churches in America have drifted into apostasy and will not be proclaiming the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone this Sunday.

We invited our unbelieving son who lives a few miles from us and his family to our church Sunday morning but he declined because they’re having Easter brunch with his unbelieving girlfriend’s unbelieving family. That’s understandable but there’s always an excuse not to attend church with us. As with most people scurrying around on a religious holiday, it’s a case of missing the forest (their need for Christ the Savior) for the trees (holiday activities). But they’ll be coming over for Easter Sunday dinner and we intend to do a little evangelizing then.

Let’s pray for the lost, the churchgoers and non-churchgoers, and always be prepared to give out the Good News! of the resurrected Jesus Christ. I pray many of those who attend Bible-preaching churches this Sunday will hear the Gospel and will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord!

“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” – Romans 14:5-9

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians15:12-22

“How does a person become a Christian?” Evangelicals and Catholics disagree on the answer.

 

How does a person become a Christian? That is an extremely important question. I believe that it’s actually the most important question a person could ever ask. Evangelical Christians answer there is only one way to become a Christian and that is to repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Savior by faith. After accepting Jesus as Savior, a person will then follow the Lord in obedience albeit imperfectly. In contrast, Catholics say one becomes a Christian by being baptized and then by receiving their church’s sacraments which impart grace so the person can obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules over the course of a lifetime in order to merit Heaven. A Catholic can never be sure if they have done enough to merit their salvation and must anxiously await the decision on their eternal status after they die. Despite much ecumenical talk today, the two answers on how to become a Christian are diametrically opposed. One answer is based on faith in Jesus Christ alone. The other, despite talk of “faith” and “grace,” is based ultimately on works. Only one way can be correct. They both cannot be right.

In the 19-minute video above, evangelicals R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and James Kennedy discuss how evangelicals and Catholics fundamentally disagree on how a person becomes a Christian. It could be the most important 19 minutes of your life.

Are Catholic street evangelizers giving out good news or very bad news?

The American Catholic church put very little effort into evangelization until recent years.spse The thinking was that new members were constantly being added to the church anyway as infants were born into Catholic families, but with the number of practicing Catholics declining in the U.S., mainly because of the indifference of its own membership, the church is beginning to make evangelization a priority.

One church-sponsored evangelization organization is St. Paul’s Street Evangelization, which started in Portland, Oregon and now has over 100 teams worldwide. Members gather in public places and hand out pamphlets, rosaries, and religious medals bearing the image of the “blessed virgin,” Mary. The team here in Rochester N.Y. regularly meets at the downtown Public Market on Saturdays.

Members of SPSE say they’re giving out the Good News!, but let’s examine just how “good” the SPSE’s news is with this hypothetical street exchange below between an SPSE member and a skeptic:

SPSE Member: Good morning, sir! Could I give you a free pamphlet with information about God’s Good News?

Skeptic: What’s the Good News?

SPSE Member: God loves you so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins so that you can possibly go to Heaven.

Skeptic: So what do I have to do?

SPSE Member: You will have to attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes for about a year to learn all the details of the Catholic religion before you can be baptized. After you’re baptized you must attend obligatory mass every Sunday to receive the eucharist and obtain graces so you can avoid committing mortal sin.

Skeptic: What if I mess up and sin anyway.

SPSE Member: You’ll have to confess every mortal sin to a priest. If you refuse to go to confession, that’s another mortal sin. If you die with even one unconfessed mortal sin on your soul you will go to hell.

Skeptic: So what you’re telling me is, I can go to mass every single day and live like a hermit monk for thirty years, but if I stay up late one night and watch porn on my computer just as a meteor crashes through the roof and kills me, then I’m going to go to hell?

SPSE Member: That’s right.

Skeptic: So when are you going to start telling me about the Good News???

While the above exchange accurately represents Catholic doctrine, there’s no doubt that the actual language used by SPSE workers is much more circumspect.

Catholics may talk about “grace” and “faith” and the “Good News,” but what they offer is VERY BAD news. The bottom line for Catholics is they must obey the Ten Commandments and church rules perfectly right up until their final breath in order to merit Heaven. That’s not Good News, that’s absolutely impossible! I can’t even go a single day without breaking God’s commandments in thought, word, deed, or by omission.

“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” – Galatian 2:16

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” – Galatians 2:21

Say a prayer to the Lord. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Then ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

https://gotquestions.org/prayer-of-salvation.html

Postscript: Catholics who participate in SPSE have to ask themselves why they bother trying to attract anyone to their religion because their church teaches all non-Catholics and even atheists will also merit Heaven if they “follow the light they are given” and are “good.”

“Christian” woman to street evangelist: Please stop preaching the Gospel!

 

In this 6-minute video, a young “Christian” woman tearfully pleads with Todd Friel of “Wretched Radio” to stop preaching the Gospel at an outdoors fair, even appealing to the scoffers in the background.

I’m Catholic and I believe my good outweighs my bad

 

There are currently about seventy-million people who identify as Roman Catholics in the United States. If you could ask all of them, “How does a person get to heaven?,” you would get a very wide range of responses but I would be willing to guess the most popular answer would be something like, “A person’s good must outweigh their bad.” Roman Catholicism teaches Jesus Christ died for sins but also teaches He established the sacraments to administer grace to Catholics so they could obey the Ten Commandments and church rules and become increasingly sanctified (holier) so they could merit heaven at the time of their death. The church also teaches those outside the church can merit heaven if they “follow the light they are given” and are “good.”

Only a small percentage of Catholics can actually articulate their church’s intricate theology but the overriding belief is clear – “good” people go to heaven and “bad” people go to hell. Naturally, most Catholics believe that they’re good enough to get to heaven. After all, they haven’t killed anyone or cheated on their spouse or live-in partner.

Of course, none of the above is the Gospel found in God’s Word. We’re all sinners and we all deserve eternal punishment. But God loves us so much he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Jesus rose from the grave, defeating sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with Him to all those who repent of their sins and accept Him as their Savior.

Above is a six-minute video of evangelical apologist, Ray Comfort, witnessing to a typical Roman Catholic who believes he’s good enough to merit heaven. This gentleman speaks for tens of millions of lost Roman Catholics in America and hundreds of millions more throughout the world.

Is this a new era for evangelicals and Catholics?

Every once in a great while I’ll come across a simply outstanding article on RomanLD Catholicism from a faithful evangelical perspective. In his essay below, Italian evangelical pastor, Leonardo de Chirico (pictured), once again hits the nail squarely on the head. In this era of accommodation, cooperation, compromise and outright betrayal of the Gospel of grace, when many evangelicals are all too eager to embrace EVERYONE who “just loves Jesus,” despite what they may actually teach and believe, de Chirico stands firmly on the Good News of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

This is a thoughtful, Gospel-focused article that every evangelical needs to read.


Evangelicals and Roman Catholics: A New Era? “Catholicism continues to add places to the table and extend the menu.” 
http://evangelicalfocus.com/blogs/1583/Evangelicals_and_Catholics_A_New_Era

Round Rock, Texas: Group enters Catholic church during mass to proclaim the Gospel

Back in December, I reported that a group of evangelical street preachers in Las Vegas wereswcc entering Catholic churches in that city during services and proclaiming the Gospel. See here.

News sources in Texas recently reported a very similar event at St. William Catholic church (see photo) in Round Rock, near Austin (see link to news story below). Was this the work of the same group? The media continues to misidentify the Las Vegas group as “Koosha Las Vegas” but Koosha is simply the first name of one of the members who posted videos of the group’s activities on his You Tube channel named “Koosha Las Vegas.” He has since changed the name of the channel to “Jesus is God.” See here.

In my opinion the two groups are probably not linked because there are no videos of the Round Rock event on Koosha’s You Tube channel.

I wouldn’t personally favor disrupting the services of an apostate religious group to proclaim the Gospel although John the Baptist probably would.


 

‘Christian’ group disrupts catholic church mass
KCEN, 3/5/16
http://www.kcentv.com/story/31394418/christian-group-disrupts-catholic-church-mass

 

Rob Zins and A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics

Evangelical minister, Rob Zins (see photo), has been reaching out to Roman Catholics withRZ1 the Gospel of Jesus Christ for many years through his ministry, CWRC – A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics. See the organization’s website here. Additional resources for Roman Catholics can be found on my Links tab here.

Zins has written a couple of excellent books on Roman Catholicism that I’ll review very briefly below.

Romanism: The Relentless Roman Catholic Assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ
White Horse Publications, 1995, 277 pages

Zins answers the sophistry of Catholic apologist, Karl Keating, by comparing the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone with Rome’s gospel of sacramental grace and perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments and church rules. I especially enjoyed Zins’ stinging critique of Chuck Colson’s misguided “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” ecumenical project.

On the Edge of Apostasy: The Evangelical Romance with RomeRZ2
White Horse Publications, 1998, 285 pages

Zins does a masterful job of examining the regrettable courtship with Rome pursued by some Evangelicals. The Catholic church continues to affirms all of its unscriptural, Tridentine doctrines but some accommodating, compromising Evangelicals increasingly turn to Catholics as co-belligerents and fellow “Christians” in the fight against the erosion of social morality, betraying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This book is largely a critique of “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals:
Agreements and Differences” (1995) by Roman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie, two Evangelical theologians who conclude the Catholic church is Christian despite its many anti-Biblical doctrines. See my earlier post regarding that book here. Zins effectively argues that, because Rome teaches salvation “by grace” PLUS works, along with many other heresies, it cannot possibly be considered a Christian church. Amazingly, Geisler and MacKenzie openly concede that Catholicism teaches works-righteousness in opposition to the Gospel but STILL conclude Romanism is Christian! Absolutely incredible! Evangelical compromisers cite “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” as one of their favorite resources regarding Evangelical-Catholic ecumenism. The damage done to Christian witness by Geisler, MacKenzie, and other Gospel-compromising, Judas theologians, pastors, and para-church leaders cannot be overstated. Christian leaders who refuse to join in the betrayal of the Gospel are finding themselves increasingly marginalized within “mainstream” Evangelicalism.

Used copies of both books are available at Amazon.com. See my Books tab here for over 280 books that compare Roman Catholicism to God’s Word.

There are also MANY excellent videos available on You Tube featuring Rob Zins speaking on Roman Catholicism or debating Catholic apologists. See here.

Please pray for Rob Zins and A Christian Witness to Roman Catholics and pray that young Evangelicals will respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading and take up the call to reach Roman Catholics for Jesus Christ.

Street preachers “disturb” Catholic masses in Las Vegas

 

Yesterday, I came across some interesting news out of Las Vegas. A group of Christian street preachers entered at least three Catholic churches in the area while mass was in progress and called upon the attendees to forsake their apostate religion and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

See KTNV’s television news reports on the disruptions here. The station erroneously identifies the name of the street preaching group as “Koosha Las Vegas” but Koosha is actually one of the group’s members who has posted many videos of the group’s activities on his You Tube Channel here.

The station also uses a blanket statement by reporting the members of the group are “former Muslims turned Christians” but it’s not exactly clear how many of the members are actually former Muslims.

The attached video captures the scene at one of the churches. As the leader of the group, “Ronnie,” finishes his short message and the group begins to leave, Koosha shouts out in broken-English:

“Guys, repent! Turn to Jesus Christ. Pope is a Satan. Pope is a Satan. Mary’s statue is a Satan. It’s a dead religion. Stop worshipping to the idols. Idols not going to save you. You need Jesus Christ. You need the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Pope, Mary statue, are idols; going to send you to hell. Come to Christ today. Turn to Jesus. Jesus is the only hope. Jesus is the only Savior. Your religion not going to save you.”

No subtleties in that message.

Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, has issued a statement calling the group “crazed evangelicals” using “Nazi-like tactics” and demanding the Las Vegas sheriff arrest them.

My thoughts? I surely agree with the message those guys were delivering but I don’t know if walking into the middle of Catholic mass is the “best” approach in sharing Christ. With everything going on in the world today the church attendees were probably more than a little frightened rather than attentive to the Gospel message being presented.

But, on the other hand, neither John the Baptist or Jesus Christ were exactly subtle in their public denunciations of empty religiosity. I also think about the apostles going into the Jewish temple and synagogues to preach Jesus Christ, drawing the red-hot ire of the Jewish religious leaders and resulting in their arrest and persecution (see the entire Book of Acts). But no believer would think to call the apostles “crazed” for entering into the temple and synagogues to preach Christ.

So, are Ronnie, Koosha, and their little street-preaching band “crazed” or has mainstream evangelicalism just gotten so ice cold and so compromised that it’s at the point of absolute Joel Osteen-uselessness?