Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 12/9/17

I can’t help but think that the transfer of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is somehow going to play a role in the end times. Some news sources have reported that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner (photo right), played a pivotal role in this extremely controversial change. See here. There’s something unsettling about Kushner that I can’t quite put my finger on. Others have commented in the past on his stake in the 666 Fifth Avenue building in Manhattan prior to joining the White House staff. Coincidence? As a side note, for decades the Vatican has campaigned for the role of administrator of Jerusalem as a “politically neutral” party.

In the ongoing feud with Catholic conservatives over his lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees, pope Francis just recently pulled the “ace card” out of his back pocket by declaring his abrogation of previously infallible doctrine to be “authentic magisterium,” meaning it is now the “correct and true teaching of the Catholic faith.” This is BIG news although few are paying attention. In the eyes of conservatives, the pope has moved from “bringing confusion into the church” to outright heresy. What will be their next move?

A few days ago, I posted on Catholicism’s dizzying Christmas calculus, which requires that its members attend mass on both Sunday, Dec. 24th and Christmas Monday, Dec. 25th, under threat of eternal damnation. See here. The priest in this news article tried to cut his parishioners some slack and got his hands slapped.

Conservative evangelicals warn of the Alpha Program’s ecumenical bent and militant Catholics do the same. If your evangelical church elects to sponsor Alpha, it’s time to find a new church.

Televangelist huckster, Paula White, claims she “led Donald Trump to Christ,” but I suspect she led him to the prosperity gospel’s “jackpot jesus” rather than to the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Mr. President, everyone is God’s creation, but only those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone become God’s children. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12.

Militant Catholics want no part of ecumenism with Protestants. I commend them at least for the courage of their convictions, unlike the compromising ecumenical evangelical Judases, who betray the Gospel to win the approval of men.

Yesterday, Friday, Dec. 8th, was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Catholics celebrated Mary’s completely sinless life beginning with her conception. This tradition, part of Catholic Mariolatry, flies in the face of Scripture, which says there is none righteous, no, not one. The feast day was a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning Catholics were required to attend mass under threat of eternal damnation, although relatively few did. For more on the anti-Biblical dogma of the Immaculate Conception, see here.

The Catholic church played a major role in allowing this murderer priest to escape justice.


Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 12/2/17

Conservative Catholics are in a pickle. They know pope Francis is teaching heresy by lifting the ban on communion for remarried divorcees, but they also believe that splitting from a duly-elected pope is heretical. What to do, what to do?

On the one extreme is the church growth movement (Hybels-Warren-Drucker, et al) that makes pop culture king and deemphasizes the Gospel and Biblical doctrine to entice the worldly “seeker.” On the other extreme are church groups that view any and all modernizations of worship formats as evil and will resist any changes right up until the doors are finally padlocked. This topic deserves a separate post.

Several incredulous Catholics have written to me in the past expressing surprise that anyone is still spreading “anti-Catholic propaganda” in this era of tolerance, plurality, and relativism. I don’t view myself as “anti-Catholic,” but as pro-Gospel and as someone who can help both Catholics and evangelicals distinguish between Rome’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit and the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

The Catholic church proclaims that its priests change bread wafers and wine into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Faithful Catholics pray for extended periods to the Jesus wafer during “eucharistic adoration.” Worshipping a piece of bread? So sad.

With parishes merging or closing every week due to the shortage of priests and sharply declining attendance, the U.S. Catholic church is in crisis mode. Pragmatic pope Francis is trying to shore things up by wooing back remarried divorcees and other “reforms,” but is alienating the conservative base, EWTN-types.

The American media frenzy over the engagement of Britain’s Prince Harry to American actress, Meghan Markel, is something to behold. Why would anyone care? What’s behind the infatuation? It’s still illegal for the British monarch to be Roman Catholic. Ah, the English Reformation. Worthy of much study. Henry VIII was a staunch opponent of the Reformation but split from the Catholic church when pope Clement VII refused to grant an annulment from his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry must not have had an “in” with the Kennedys. Actually, Catherine was the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, who made it clear to the pope that he would not be happy if the marriage was annulled. Charles V was the very same emperor who sought to have Martin Luther burned at the stake. Huh? How did I get into these weeds?

Every week I search for news about “evangelicals” for this weekend series and every week it’s the same results; stories about evangelicals’ unwavering support of Trump or, lately, stories of evangelicals’ support of Roy Moore. It’s too bad evangelicals are best known for the heavy involvement of some in right-wing politics. The term “evangelical” has lost much of its meaning. A recent poll showed that 33% of those who identified as “evangelical” believe salvation is attained through a mixture of “faith” and works. I use the term a lot, but maybe “evangelical” just doesn’t work anymore.

I love pastor, J Mac! No, I don’t agree with brother MacArthur on every secondary that he teaches, but I have to say I’m more in-line with MacArthur than most of the “prominent” pastors out there who parade as “evangelicals” (see TBN). There I go again. Putting quotes around “evangelical.” I find myself doing that more and more.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/25/17

Given the huge number of headlines over the past twenty years involving cases of priest pedophilia and subsequent cover-up by the hierarchy, it would have been reasonable to expect that warnings should have gone off like skyrockets when the plans for this controversial statue (photo above) installed at a Catholic school in Australia were first submitted. Spiritual forces are at work.

It’s initially encouraging to read about souls in China converting from Catholicism to “Protestantism,” however many of the new churches springing up in Latin America, Africa, and Asia are a part of the “name it and claim it,” prosperity false gospel movement with its “jackpot jesus.”

Conservative and traditionalist Catholics are looking forward to the end of Francis’ tenure and hope their next pope isn’t a heretic.

More trouble for the Duggars. The message is clear: If you’re not on board with the LGBTQ agenda, you’re a persona non grata.

A lot of jostling goes on behind-the-scenes in Catholicism’s complicated process of selecting people for sainthood. It usually takes a lot of money and effort for a group (religious order, diocese, devotees, etc.) to get their candidate considered and see him or her to the finish line. Catholics in the Michigan area and Casey’s Capuchin order will be celebrating with great pride when he is eventually canonized. John Paul I was a pope for only 33 days in August-September, 1978, so I imagine this formality of granting him “venerable” status will be as far as it goes. In contrast to all of this, Scripture says all those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior are saints.

It’s telling that the Vatican has released a stamp commemorating two of the Reformers, Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, and a stamp honoring notorious counter-Reformer, Francis de Sales, at the same time.

Catholics have written to this blog in the past objecting to my repeated assertion that relatively few of them read the Bible. Well, THEY read the Bible, they protest, so therefore my claim is incorrect. Argh. But what do they say when Dave Armstrong, one of Catholicism’s most sectarian apologists bemoans the exact same condition, which is regularly confirmed by independent surveys? I would love it if every Catholic bought a Bible and read it. Many would have a crisis of faith regarding their church as they confronted the stark differences between Catholic teaching and God’s Word.

Rarely does the Christian Post publish an article critical of Catholicism, so it was encouraging to see this one. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory and indulgences is a man-made house of cards that insults the power of Jesus Christ to save to the uttermost all those who place their trust in Him.

Holy water is a superstitious amulet of pagan origin. For more of my thoughts on the sheer ridiculousness of holy water, see here.

“The 100 Most Influential Evangelicals in America”?

“Top 10” or “Top 100” lists are audience favorites, right? We like to scan through rankings of various categories published by the media just to see how they stack up against our own knowledge and preferences. But attempts to adapt these lists to the spiritual realm can be dangerous. Those who men praise may not be those who the Lord esteems.

As a case in point, the Newsmax website recently came out with its list of “The 100 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” (see below). I was familiar with about seventy names on the list, but for the rest I had to read their accompanying blurb. This listing is a very sad commentary on the state of the evangelical church today. I could not endorse the vast majority of the 100, either because of 1) their flaming unorthodoxy, 2) their strong commitment to ecumenism, or 3) their crusade for church-state symbiosis.

Here’s the first ten on the list:

  1. Billy Graham
  2. Franklin Graham
  3. Joel Osteen
  4. Mike Huckabee
  5. Pat Robertson
  6. Rick Warren
  7. Jerry Falwell Jr.
  8. Joyce Meyer
  9. Mike Pence
  10. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey

Any concerns with any of these folks? Argh! There’s no doubt these eleven people have been or are very influential, but definitely not in a good way according to the three criteria I listed above. Most have done tremendous damage to the Gospel witness in this country and around the world by preaching a false “name it and claim it” prosperity gospel and/or by linking arms with Roman Catholicism and its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. In fact, Roma Downey as well as at least one other person on the list is Roman Catholic!

Three people on the list who I do admire are Charles Stanley #16, R.C. Sproul #34, and John MacArthur #39. I’m grateful for these men and their ministries, but of course we should put no one on a pedestal.

But let’s be honest, these kinds of lists are all about worldly pride and the flesh and have nothing to do with the Lord. All praise and honor to Almighty God! However, as I mentioned, a list such as this is useful as a revealing spotlight on the very sorry state of the church today in regards to who is admired and influential.

Newsmax’s 100 Most Influential Evangelicals in America

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/18/17

Conservative Catholics are convinced Francis is a heretic after he lifted the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. Are they waiting to see if the next pope continues 80-year-old Francis’ errors before they consider schism? How do they reconcile remaining in an institution run by a heretic who teaches heresy?

Duck Commander, Phil Robertson, appeared on EWTN (Catholic cable network) in an expression of ecumenical unity. Robertson belongs to the Church of Christ denomination, which is evidently trying to figure out if it still believes in baptismal regeneration as it once strongly proclaimed.

Last weekend, I posted a denial from the Vatican regarding any plans for an “ecumenical rite of mass.” But I had also surmised that Catholics and liberal Lutherans were busy behind the scenes working on the next steps to full reunification (i.e., Roman reabsorption). Here you go.

Hmm, another story about anti-Catholicism in early America, which again begs the question, “Were there any conditions in Europe that might have prompted early American Protestants to be fearful and mistrustful of the pope and Roman Catholicism?” Just askin’.

I’m not a fan or defender of Roy Moore, but it’s interesting how a wacky statement from one of Moore’s backers is claimed to represent the thinking of ALL “Southern Evangelicals.”

In opposition to the spread of socialism and communism in Europe during the 20th- century, the Catholic church allied itself with far-right fascist political groups in various countries (e.g., Spain, Portugal, Italy, Vichy France, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Slovakia, Croatia). I studied Polish history and culture extensively for about ten years (I’m half-Polish) and one of the more interesting aspects is how the Polish Catholic church became the repository of nationalism during the time of the partitions and during Soviet rule. Because of the nation’s history, the Catholic church in Poland still supports extremist political groups that tend to dabble in Jewish conspiracy theories to explain the country’s ills. The immigration of Muslims into Western Europe has raised many concerns and Poles want none of it.

I often close the Weekend Roundup with some satire from The Babylon Bee. This article on prosperity gospel shyster, Paula White, is close enough. Methinks White “led” Trump to the prosperity gospel’s “jackpot jesus,” not to the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

I wish a “Happy Thanksgiving” to all my readers! I hope you all have a wonderful time with family and friends this coming Thursday as you gather around the table to thank the Lord for His grace and provisions. I’m not a big fan of “holidays” and I know the vast majority of Americans are unbelievers who view Thanksgiving as a day off from work to enjoy turkey dinner and NFL football. We Christians can be thankful to our Lord and Savior every day from the moment we open our eyes in the morning. Thank you, Jesus! Praise God for all His blessings! I pray the Lord will use us this week to speak to lost acquaintances, friends, and family members of His great salvation!

Paragons of virtue?

Following the much-publicized accusations against Hollywood movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, we’ve seen the FLOOD GATES open and many come forward with similar claims against other high-profile men. In the past few days, we’re seeing a lot of accusations in the media regarding two specific men:

Roy Moore, the judge and senatorial candidate whose fight to keep a monument to the Ten Commandments in his courthouse endeared him to many politically-focused Christians, is facing accusations from multiple women who claim he preyed upon them when they were underage teens.

Former President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, is now facing several accusations of groping young women in the past.

What are we to make of all this? Certainly, accusations do not prove guilt. Just because a person is accused of a crime doesn’t mean they committed it. In this type of charged atmosphere, there are often some disturbed individuals who clamber aboard the “me too” wagon.

On the other hand, many victims who have suppressed their pain and embarrassment for years now feel emboldened by the current circumstances to come forward and confront their abusers.

There’s a popular lie in “polite society” that most everyone buys into that states that people are generally “good” and only a few oddball deviants would do such a thing as use their position and power to abuse others. This attitude has even taken hold in the church where we prefer to assume the followers of Christ are above such kinds of sins. We allow ourselves to be lifted up in our own eyes. When some fail to follow the pattern, we are genuinely surprised.

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” – I Corinthians 10:12

Let’s face it folks, we live in a society where men exploiting women was just part of the deal for centuries. Did some women play along with the exploitation because that was the way the game was played and they endured the abuse to ultimately get what they wanted? Sure, but it was still a rotten “system.”

I think it’s healthy for our wives’, daughters’, and granddaughters’ sakes for society to say, “No, this type of behavior won’t be tolerated.”

I think we in the church should be putting less emphasis on moral crusades, a la Judge Roy Moore, and more emphasis on the fact that we are ALL hypocritical sinners who constantly need the Lord’s forgiveness and grace to live a life pleasing to Him. We are not above any sin and to join with others in the pretense that we are “moral crusaders” invites the kinds of high-profile stumbles the media and scoffers delight in. We are all crippled sinners who desperately need our Savior and Lord. None of us are “paragons of virtue” despite the image we try to present to others.

“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/11/17

As reflected in the articles above, news about the Catholic church has been DOMINATED by the growing rebellion of conservative and traditionalist members who view the pope’s pragmatic lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees as heretical. Yes, I know I’ve included at least a couple of stories on this topic every week for several months, but what we’re witnessing with this revolt is something quite extraordinary. For centuries, devout Catholics bragged that their church alone was divinely led and that their pope was incapable of leading them into doctrinal error. But they must now confront this current situation with Francis reversing a doctrine previously held to be infallible and unalterable. If the pope is fallible, as Francis has proved to be in the eyes of conservative Catholics, then the whole house of cards tumbles down.

Back in June, I posted about rumors of plans on the drawing board to create an “ecumenical rite of mass” that was to be co-celebrated by Catholic and Judas Protestant clergy. This past week, the Vatican denied such a project exists. Uh-huh. Protest as they might, there’s no doubt reps of Catholicism and liberal Lutheran denominations are working on the next several steps to full “unification” (i.e., absorption by Rome).

Catholic apologists like to point to the number of Protestant denominations as a “proof” against any claim to authority among them. At least this article doesn’t present a ridiculous 30,000 or 40,000 “straw man” number as most Catholic apologists are prone to do. Unlike the Catholic scoffers, I have no problem with the many denominations. 1) It took continuous reform to remove vestiges of Roman error, and 2) the lack of a central hierarchy guards against the wholesale apostasy that we see in Romanism and also aligns with Jesus’ teaching in Luke 22:24-27.

Following Reformation 500, Catholics and Judas Protestants were wringing their hands, crying for the swift removal of impediments to “unification” (i.e., annexation by Rome). Not so fast! This excellent article from Evangelical Focus details the unbridgeable differences between Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and error and Biblical Christianity’s Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

I was growing increasingly uneasy at our previous church as the young pastor periodically voiced his pro-ecumenical views. One of the final straws was when he stated from the pulpit that Peter Kreeft was his favorite modern philosopher. Kreeft is one of Catholicism’s leading apologists and he works tirelessly to help bring the “separated brethren” back into submission to the Vatican.

Funny stuff! Hats off to The Babylon Bee for once again hitting the nail on the head.

“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” – James 4:14

We’ve all seen the news reports about the twenty-six people who were killed and another twenty who were injured by a shooter during yesterday’s Sunday service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Latest reports say the gunman had a grudge against his mother-in-law who attended the church.

I’m shocked and very saddened by another act of senseless violence. But sin abounds in this fallen world and violence is everywhere. I hope those who were killed knew Jesus Christ as their Savior and I hope everyone will look at this tragedy and realize our lives are only for a short season. We cannot assume we will be given one more tomorrow. Those twenty-six souls expected they were going to leave that church building after service and walk or ride back to their homes. I’m hopeful many are now in Heaven with their Savior.

We believers here at WordPress write on a variety of topics, some more serious at times than others. But this mass shooting reveals once again that life is so very tenuous and some topics deserve our highest priority. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Don’t wait another day.

“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2

What does it mean to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?

Postscript: What are we witnessing with these rising occurrences of terrorism and mass killings? Can the return of Christ be close at hand?

The irony just slaps you HARD across the face

A few days ago, I noticed an article on The Christian Post website; “Biggest Threat to Christianity in 21st Century Comes From Within, Theologians Say” (see below). The article describes a panel discussion in which the consensus among the participating theologians was that the church itself was the biggest threat to Christianity. No argument there. One need only tune into TBN several nights in a row to see that the evangelical church in America has a problem with false teachers and false gospels.

The title of this article wasn’t the only thing that caught my attention, but also the accompanying photograph (see above), which featured a gentleman I had posted about just a few days ago, Stephen J. Nichols. That post asked how Nichols, a prominent leader in the conservative Reformed movement, could include the co-founder of the Jesuits, Francis Xavier, in his children’s book which honored 26 “heroes of the faith.” See that post here.

So, in this article we have a panel of prominent conservative Reformed theologians attempting to identify the biggest threat to the church in the 21st century. And sitting on this panel, along with R.C. Sproul and Sinclair Ferguson among others, is none other than Stephen J. Nichols, who has made it his business to promote the co-founder of the Jesuits, the sworn enemies of the Reformation, as a “hero of the faith.”

Does anyone else see the unbelievable irony here and the enormous gall of Dr. Nichols, sitting in on such a panel in light of his blatant ecumenism? Are you kidding me?!?!?! That’s like inviting Bernie Madoff to a panel discussion on responsible personal financial planning. Or how about the analogy of inviting Harvey Weinstein to speak at a marriage seminar? Shame on Nichols and shame on Sproul and Ferguson for taking the stage with someone who unashamedly promotes Francis Xavier as a “hero of the faith.”

Yes, the most dangerous threat to the church comes from the ecumenical Judases within our own ranks, like Dr. Nichols, who put error for truth and truth for error. I pray for Stephen Nichols that he’ll repent. And I pray for R.C. Sproul and Sinclair Ferguson, that they’ll resist the swelling ecumenical compromise and betrayal of the Gospel from within the ranks of their own ministries.

Biggest Threat to Christianity in 21st Century Comes From Within, Theologians Say

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/4/17

The first article above reports that a Catholic priest blessed rooms 32-134 & 135 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas after shooter, Stephen Paddock, used the spaces to gun down his victims last month. But who is going to pray for the priest? As horrendous as the Las Vegas mass shooting was, the priest’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit has negatively affected many more souls in comparison and the consequences are for eternity. We talk about “spiritual warfare” but then allow temporal circumstances to take precedence and completely overwhelm us as if we were unbelievers.

In the second article, we learn the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is going to have the church’s official exorcism prayer book translated from Latin to English for American priests, which means that up to this point, prayers over the possessed person have been said in a language neither party understood. Once again in Catholicism, ritual is king! Why is it the only cases of demon possession I hear about involve Roman Catholics? And once again, who is going to pray for the Catholic priests who perform these exorcisms, that they’ll forsake their false gospel and accept Christ as Savior?

These headlines are nothing to sneeze at. I’ve been following this “crisis” for eighteen months and conservative and traditionalist Catholics are now vocally skirting with the idea of schism after what they view as Francis’ heretical lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. Pragmatic Francis changed the doctrine, considered by many to be infallible, so that divorced members wouldn’t feel so alienated, but conservatives feel like the chair has been pulled out from under them by their own pope! Remember back a couple of years ago when conservative Catholics blamed Francis’ radical statements on deliberate media misrepresentation? I haven’t heard that song sung in quite some time.

Catholic news watchers were inundated this past week with many stories about Catholicism’s take on Reformation 500. Catholic and ELCA Lutheran clergy held joint prayer services all across the country to commemorate the event. However, conservative Catholics were not impressed (see bottom story). Social gospel mainline Protestant denominations are on the fast track to Roman annexation while many evangelical pastors and para-church leaders are busy greasing the skids.

Catholicism has many non-Biblical and even anti-Biblical teachings, but indulgences to shorten the time spent in purgatory has to be one of the strangest. See here for two previous posts that address indulgences. If evangelicals who are contemplating spiritual fornication with Rome spent just thirty minutes studying Catholic teaching on indulgences and purgatory (glaring indicators of a works religious system), there’s a chance they would wake up and smell the coffee.

Back in March, I posted that Francis was considering allowing married men to become priests in those regions where they’re in shortest supply. Recent headlines indicate plans are moving forward. This article states that many priests in Africa already have mistresses and children so all they need is a marriage certificate and they’ll be good to go.

Many say Billy Graham is Protestantism’s closest version of a Catholic saint. The man is revered far and wide, but few are aware that Graham enlisted the help of local Catholic bishops in staging his crusades. Catholics who came forward at his altar calls were referred back to Catholic workers. If we try to ascertain exactly when ecumenism first got a foothold in the modern evangelical church, we need look no farther than Billy Graham. Prior to his retirement, Graham even publicly endorsed Universalism. “Blasphemy!” you say? Hear the words from his own mouth here.