Weekend Roundup – News & Views – 5/20/17

Catholic apologists like to present their church as a unified monolith compared to Protestantism’s 30,000 denominations (their mythical number), but many conservative Catholics eagerly anticipate the end of this current pope’s tenure. There once was a day when the notion of an American president visiting the pope at the Vatican would have been unthinkable.

Speaking of unpopular leaders, readers of this blog know I generally try to stay away from politics and nationalism, but it’s time to address the elephant in the middle of the room. Over the course of my life, I’ve witnessed eleven American presidents (I only vaguely remember Ike so I didn’t count him). Some were better than others but a lot of that depended on the crisis at hand. The last four months have only confirmed my earlier assessment of candidate Donald Trump as a junior high school bully in a business suit, totally lacking the temperament, statesmanship, and personal decorum required of the office. It’s a disturbing situation unlike anything I’ve seen in sixty years. He’s prone to blame a hostile media, but Trump continues to shoot himself in the foot week after week with his poor judgement and rash behavior. But our trust is in the Lord. We must continue to pray for all the leaders of this country so that we can live in peace so that the Gospel can continue to be proclaimed. That’s our bottom line, fellow sojourners. Presidents come and presidents go but the Lord God Almighty, our King, remains on His throne.

I admire the Duggar sons-in-law for throwing cable-tv etiquette to the wind and speaking the truth about Catholic error. That kind of courage has been sadly lacking in evangelicalism, which is why we now have the sheep partying with wolves, totally unaware.

The intervention of the Argentinian police is too little, too late. Where were the public safety officials of the past when North and South America were dotted with of convents, seminaries, and monasteries full of inmates/residents who were encouraged or forced to practice “self-mortification,” not to speak of the sexual abuse that proliferated throughout those institutions?

The Jews had the complete Old Testament without benefit of any church council declarations. How did that happen? No, the church didn’t give us the Bible, the Holy Spirit did. A wise man has compared the relationship between church councils and the Biblical canon to Sir Isaac Newton and gravity. Newton didn’t invent gravity, he merely described the force that was already in place.

Catholics flock in droves to every new claim of a Marian apparition. The alleged apparitions at Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina have been ongoing for 36 years, which is very unusual according to standard apparition protocol. The “Blessed Virgin” of Medjugorje is also reported to have said some things that aren’t exactly in agreement with orthodox Catholic teaching, so the hierarchy’s not on board, but they don’t shut down the ride because the zeal of the pilgrims is good for business.

Catholics dedicate the month of May to Mary. I can remember being in Catholic grammar school and every year all the children filed into church on May Day and crowned the statue of Mary with a ring of flowers. The nuns always selected the prettiest, most popular eighth-grade girl to do the crowning. I think I had a crush on each of them starting around when I was in fifth grade. Like everything in Catholicism, May Day was all about pomp and ritual and had nothing to do with a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Any illusions about America being a “Christian nation” should have been buried years ago.

Hopefully, this debate between evangelical apologist, James White, and Catholic apologist, Peter Williams, will be on-line soon. Mary would be so sad to see how people have replaced the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone with worshiping her.

If anyone has an idea of how to make the dead, boring liturgical ritual of the mass inviting and actually relevant to spiritual health, give the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops a call.

Interfaith dialogue and unity are completely unscriptural. Nowhere in the New Testament can you find any basis whatsoever for Christians embracing pagan religions as legitimate pathways to salvation. Scripture teaches faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is the ONLY way to salvation.

Weekend Roundup – News & Views – 5/13/17

Pope Francis is visiting Fatima, Portugal this weekend to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the alleged Marian apparition there. The pope is capitalizing on the big event by announcing the “canonization” to sainthood of two of the three persons who claimed to have been visited by the “Queen of Heaven,” Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Praise the Lord for the Christians who made the journey to Fatima to witness to some of the 1 million Catholic “pilgrims.” Catholics plead to “Mother Mary” for peace in the world but the only peace to be found is the spiritual peace that comes through accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior. We’re always mindful of the millions of Catholics who are deceived followers of religious legalism rather than followers of Christ and we pray for their salvation.

The category, “Practicing Christians,” includes many non-believing religionists, but there’s no doubt that “New Spirituality” is also reaching into evangelical congregations.

Liberal Catholic congregations are already accepting of gay relationships. Evangelical churches will have to decide if they’re going to follow God’s Word on this or cave to societal pressure. Thanks, Maria!

The U.S. Catholic church is hemorrhaging membership with no end in sight. In order to stanch the exodus, Francis is minimizing doctrine in favor of “feel-good” religiosity.

Catholic street evangelists have the tough job of selling a VERY BAD product as per the following illustrative exchange:

“Excuse me sir, would you be interested in becoming a Catholic?”

“What do I need to do?”

“Just go to a year’s worth of religious classes, get baptized and confirmed, go to mandatory church every Sunday and receive the eucharist so you can obtain graces to help you avoid sin so that you can hopefully merit Heaven when you die. But of course you probably will sin, so you’ll need to confess your big sins to a priest regularly and of course there’s always purgatory for your small sins. And also keep in mind you’ll have to…etc., etc., etc.”

Conservative Catholics are champing at the bit for a new pope as Francis continues to sling pot shots at them.

A funny one but not far from the truth in today’s seeker mega-churches.

Weekend Roundup – News & Views – 5/6/17

This is some funny stuff and very apropos. Who actually sends money to these prosperity hucksters? Sorry, I see that I asked the same question last weekend.

The title of one of Graham’s biographies is, “A Prophet With Honor,” which is actually quite revealing. Biblical prophets definitely weren’t honored and respected the way Graham has been. Why the difference? Billy has certainly led many to Christ but at the same time no one has done more to weaken the Gospel witness with world-pleasing ecumenical compromise.

For many Christians, reading the Bible ranks pretty low on their list of daily priorities even though Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” – Luke 10:27.

Many Catholic dioceses across the country have been bankrupted by payouts to victims of pedophile priests. After thirty years of headlines, few are buying these expressions of concern and sympathy for victims from overly-sincere Catholic spokespersons.

Some Christians are outraged by these publicity stunts from an extremely small number of Satanists eager to flex their religious freedom. Much more dangerous and disturbing is evangelicalism’s growing ecumenism with “respectable” works-righteousness religious groups like Catholicism. Satan must be laughing himself silly.

We have one of these rebel Catholic churches with a female priest just down the road from us, predictably named, Mary Magdalene Church. Anyone who believes there’s a need for mediatorial priests anymore, male or female, needs to read the Book of Hebrews. One of these days I’m going to have to write a post about my experiences with a local Free Methodist church that catered to these disaffected, liberal Catholics who desire female priests.

The pope heads to Fatima, Portugal this coming Friday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church’s most important Marian apparition. Non-Catholics have no clue how large a role Mary plays in Catholic “worship.”

Francis is certainly doing much to advance Catholic leadership of the ecumenical movement. His recent trip to Egypt in these dangerous times generated much “goodwill.” Evangelical Pentecostals and charismatics continue to line up behind the pope’s leadership. They were forced to accept Catholic charismatics as fellow Christians because of their shared requisite “gifts of the spirit,” even though those Catholics held to a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. From there it was only a short step to accepting all practicing Catholics as Christians.

It’s nice to see Trump derail some of the anti-religious efforts of the previous Obama administration, but the church needs to be more focused on spreading the Gospel and less involved with trying to legislate morality. The only “evangelical” I recognized in the group photo-op was Trump’s (and Benny Hinn’s) favorite televangelist, prosperity gospel preacher, Paula White.

Weekend Roundup – News & Views – 4/29/17

Benny Hinn is the poster child for the shyster, false prosperity gospel. Who actually gives money to these people (Hinn, Osteen, Meyer, Copeland, Dollar, etc.)? Don’t the people who follow and support these crooks have ANY discernment?

I differ with Jeffress on several things including his constant push to involve the church in politics and patriotic nationalism, but he’s absolutely right about Jimmy Carter’s universalism heresy. Too bad Jeffress went soft on Catholicism (see here), a MUCH MORE dangerous influence than Jimmy Carter.

It’s very odd that several of assassin John Wilkes Booth’s co-conspirators were Roman Catholics, especially in that era. Some have claimed Jesuit involvement but no conclusive historical evidence has ever been found. To make such claims without historical proof is irresponsible. There’s already enough unimpeachable evidence to indict Roman Catholicism as an apostate church without resorting to conspiracy theories.

Roman Catholics like to present themselves as champions of religious freedom here in the United States, but in all other countries in which Catholics were in the majority and in league with the civil governments, the religious freedoms of non-Catholics were suppressed (to put it mildly), even into the 20th-century.

Catholic traditionalists continue to fight pope Francis’ assault on “infallible” doctrine. Yes, cardinal Muller, Francis did change the “infallible” doctrine of no communion for remarrieds albeit in a very devious and underhanded kind of way.

Catholicism quibbles over mountains of minutia such as which knee is the correct one to genuflect with before the “blessed sacrament,” but doesn’t teach its people to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.

It takes a year’s worth of indoctrination in the complicated ins and outs of the legalistic Catholic system before an adult can be baptized but the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is so simple even a child can understand it.

Francis is attempting to stack the deck before he bows out. He’s trying to change Catholicism to stanch the exodus referred to in the article below AND to solidify Rome’s leadership of worldwide ecumenism.

Catholic parishes are merging and closing all over the U.S. Over 1000 Catholic churches have closed in the U.S. since 1995 and the number grows monthly.

Catholics kiss all of these physical objects as acts of religious piety. In Catholicism, the focus is on the material rather than the spiritual and many of these practices were borrowed from paganism. We must accept Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith alone. All of these rituals and pious religious practices to try to gain favor with God and Mary are dust in the wind.

Weekend Update – News & Views – 4/22/17

In 2000, former-president, Jimmy Carter, announced that he was severing ties with the Southern Baptist Convention because it had ruled that its affiliated churches could not ordain women as pastors. But here it is, seventeen years later, and Carter is still teaching Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, which states on its web site that it’s affiliated with the SBC, although it reserves the right to “ordain whom they perceive as gifted for ministry.” Carter is now suggesting that former Indian leader, Mahatma Gandhi (d. 1948), a committed Hindu, may be in Heaven. What Bible does Carter teach from in Sunday School? It’s definitely not the same Bible I read and study. We’re seeing the heresy of universalism making increasing inroads into “evangelicalism” (e.g., “The Shack”). There’s about 47,000 churches in the SBC and they range in belief from solid Christian orthodoxy on one end to Rick Warren’s ecumenical apostasy on the other.

Now that Hanegraaff has joined the Greek Orthodox church he needs to do the honest thing and remove himself from the supposed “evangelical” Christian Research Institute and the “Bible Answer Man” radio show.

Churches that include denominational affiliations in their names just don’t cut it with young “seekers” these days. The Saddleback/Willow Creek/Peter Drucker marketing model dictates that churches not only drop denominational labels but also doctrinal distinctives.

Week after week I’ve been including stories on Catholic conservatives’ growing disenchantment with pope Francis. He’s trying to keep the ship afloat by making some pragmatic changes, even if the changes involve previously “infallible” dogma.

It’s ironic that this Catholic college is uncomfortable about its yoga classes while ecumenical evangelicals can’t get enough of Catholicism’s “contemplative spirituality.”

Speaking of contemplation, the Catholic church has had thirty years to formulate and enact a decisive response to its pedophile priest abuse and cover-up scandal. But the fetid wound just keeps on oozing. What parent in their right mind would ever leave their child in the care of a Catholic priest?

Many people are strongly attracted to sacramental ceremony and ritual. For many, religion equates to an elaborate liturgy, robes, and incense rather than a personal saving faith in Jesus Christ.

I’ve written many times about Roman Catholicism’s very sad misinterpretation of John 6 and the Last Supper passages. Receiving Christ is accepting Him as Savior by faith alone, NOT eating Him! Catholics say Jesus’ words MUST be interpreted literally in John 6:35-59, but if that were the case, salvation would just be a matter of lining up every Sunday morning and eating a communion bread wafer just as once-faithful Catholics, Adolf Hitler, Al Capone, Tomás de Torquemada, and Rodrigo de Borja (pope Alexander VI) used to do, because Jesus certainly stated, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:51).

This week, Russia’s Supreme Court upheld an earlier Justice Ministry order banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses from operating on Russian territory. All JW property will now be immediately confiscated by Putin’s government. Putin is also clamping down on other religious groups that compete with the government sanctioned Russian Orthodox church including evangelical Christians. Will Putin outlaw evangelical Christianity like he has the JWs? Last year he signed a law which restricts evangelism to church properties. Similar persecution could happen here in the U.S. in the coming years for churches that hold to increasingly unpopular Biblical “hate speech” regarding homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and apostate denominations.

Weekend Roundup – News & Views – 4/15/17

FILI

Yes, it’s that time of year. There are Filipino Catholics who flagellate themselves and submit to being nailed to a cross during Good Friday observances. But self-inflicted, painful penitence has quite a long history in Catholicism. In recent times, pope John Paul II regularly flagellated himself and mother Teresa wore a cilice daily.

Catholics are taught to blindly follow the pope but traditionalist Catholics can’t wait until boat rocker Francis’ tenure is over.

Catholicism is filled with unbiblical practices and beliefs but confessing sins to a priest is one of the most flagrant. Catholic surveys report only 12 percent of members obey their church and go to confession at least once a year while the other 88 percent allegedly incur a mortal sin. The Catholic hierarchy recognizes the system is a sham and is currently exploring alternatives.

We can expect escalating tensions over LGBTQ issues within evangelicalism.

“Let’s not write anything critical about the JWs. After all, they love Jesus too! Hold hands everyone and pass the cotton candy. ♪…Oh, Lord, Kumbaya…♪” Such is the state of some circles in evangelicalism.

When I was a young guy, the Blue Army was still going strong but the Catholic church’s turn from militancy demanded a name change. The reality nowadays is the majority of Catholics can’t be bothered with going to mandatory mass on Sunday let alone joining one of these hardcore outfits.

We attended a Southern Baptist Convention church for a year and the young pastor fresh out of seminary was quite enamored with Catholic theologians and philosophers including Peter Kreeft. In all his books, Kreeft propagates the Catholic gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. I’m curious what Kreeft has to say in “Catholics and Protestants: What We Can Learn From Each Other” regarding Catholic efforts to regather the “separated brethren” and the betrayal of the Gospel by some evangelicals. Review to follow somewhere down the road.

This young Catholic argues that spiritualism/necromancy is perfectly fine. Many Catholics are open to necromancy because they have been taught to pray to dead “saints” their entire lives and they don’t read God’s Word. God strictly forbids necromancy in the Bible. Nowhere in Scripture does a believer pray to anyone other than God.

Catholicism’s close cousin, Eastern Orthodoxy, is full of ritual, ceremony, legalism, and formality, but the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is conspicuously absent. AiG is dead-center correct about Hank Hanegraaff’s new Greek Orthodox religion although such “negativity” would turn off some evangelicals.