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

Throwback Thursday: Opinion: Prayer in public schools

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 26, 2016 and has been revised.

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I attended Catholic parochial grammar school in the 1960s and even though I was very young at the time, I can remember the nuns buzzing about the U.S. Supreme Court rulings banning conscripted prayer and Bible reading in public schools (Engel v. Vitale, 1962, Murray v. Curlett, 1963). I felt sorry for those poor kids in public schools for not being able to pray like me. By seventh grade, I was envying them.

The ban on school sanctioned prayer was an extremely bitter pill for evangelicals to swallow and remains a sour memory. The ban on school prayer was the first major defeat in the war to defend American “Christendom.” Some older evangelicals are still pining about it 60 years later. But that was just the beginning. Since then, most every example of government-endorsed religious expression has been challenged in the courts with no end in sight.

From our history lessons, we know the Puritan Christian immigrants to this country could not imagine anything other than the semi-theocratic form of government they imposed. Many universities got their start as church-sponsored seminaries. Mounting demand for religious freedom led to the prohibition of a state religion by the federal constitution adopted in 1793, but Christianity would remain as a major influence on federal, state, and local governments for 150 years. It was agreed from Maine to California that America was a “Christian nation.” Government-sanctioned prayer and the reliance on Judeo-Christian laws, values, and “morality” were practices and policies unquestioned. Americans had convinced themselves that God had set up a covenant relationship with the United States in the same way He had with ancient Israel; that America was THE “chosen” nation.

But things have changed in a big way in the last sixty years. The growing number of non-Christian immigrants to this country and those who rejected religion altogether began to challenge government’s sponsorship of Christianity. First to go was prayer in schools. Then Bible readings. Then such things as Christmas creches, etc., etc..

My take: Countries can’t be Christian, only people can accept Christ. We can no longer assume other citizens are Christians as was once accepted in this country. Christians can no longer impose their privileged status by claiming majority rule. That day is gone. That flag has flown. It’s obviously impossible to determine the number of genuine Christians in the U.S., but a 2014 Pew poll revealed only 25% of the population claims to be “evangelical Christian” (many would say the actual percentage is quite a bit lower), 45% are mainline Protestant or Catholic, and the remaining 30% belong to other religions or are atheists/agnostics. The government is supported by taxpayers with a wide spectrum of beliefs regarding religion and it should be completely secular. If government sanctions one religious group it must in fairness sanction all of them. If we allow monuments to the Ten Commandments on our courthouse lawns we must also allow scripture from every other religious group. On second thought, the atheists will have something to say about that. No, government must be completely secular.

I choose not to pray with non-Christians. The Lord does not want me bowing my head in a prayer led by a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, etc. Why would Christian parents want their children to participate in prayers led by a Hindu or a Muslim teacher in a public school? Christians look back with longing to a simpler time when the vast majority of people in this country professed to be Christians and the church had a strong influence throughout the culture. But the probable reality was that a very large number of professing Christians hadn’t accepted Christ at all, but were just going along with the institutionalized flow imposed by American “Christendom.”

Christians, teach your children about the Lord every day in your homes. Bring them to church. But please stop complaining about prayer being banned from public schools back in 1962. Conscripted prayer in schools wasn’t a great idea then and it’s an even worse idea today. With America becoming increasingly secularized, maybe Christians can go back to spreading the Gospel as ambassadors of God and His Kingdom instead of worrying about retaining their control of the culture or “reclaiming America for Christ.”

Throwback Thursday: Catholicism and exorcisms

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 23, 2016 and has been revised.

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The Roman Catholic church reported last week that its chief exorcist, priest Gabriel Amorth (photo above), had died at the age of 91 (see article below). Amorth was ordained as a priest in 1954 and became an official exorcist in 1986. By 2013, he claimed that he had performed 160,000 exorcisms (that number does not represent individuals; some people required multiple exorcisms).

I’ve never been personally acquainted with a person who was completely overtaken by demonic possession like the poor fellow in Mark 5:1-20, but the Bible also says demonic possession may be of a more subtler variety. See here.

But it seems to me that reports of full-blown demonic possession come mainly from Roman Catholic areas and I have my theories about that. Could it be that demonic possession seems to be prevalent among Catholics because:

  1. Catholics are predisposed to the occult. Catholicism is notorious for syncretizing (mixing) pagan beliefs and practices with (c)hristianity.  Roman Catholic sacramentals, widely used by the faithful – candles, medals, holy water, scapulars, statues, crucifixes, rosaries, novenas, prayers to the dead – promote superstition and predispose the practitioners to occultic influences. From Catholicism, it’s not a long stretch to horoscopes, seances, palm reading, etc. My deceased mother-in-law was heavily into psychic practices prior to leaving Catholicism and accepting Christ. Throughout Central America and the Caribbean, Catholicism is tightly intertwined with voodoo paganism. So in these heavily-Catholic areas where quasi-occultic practices flourish, perhaps people are more susceptible to full-blown demonic possession?
  2. Priests are exalted as deliverers. In these full-blown exorcism narratives, Catholic families are dependent upon their priest (proclaimed to be an “alter Christus” – another Christ) to rid the demon/s from their possessed loved ones. Consequently, priests are held in high esteem as saviors and redeemers. But priests do not bring the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone to anyone. They are in bondage themselves to a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Demon spirits delight in false gospels of merited salvation and may intercede to assist the spiritually-blinded clerics in deluding their followers.

Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone and are born again by the blood of the Lamb and are sealed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit cannot not be possessed by a demon. See here. But demons can certainly tempt and influence believers. Just look at the current state of the evangelical church (e.g., TBN, the prosperity gospel, doctrine-lite seeker mega-churches). We must be constantly on guard and fighting the good fight of faith through the power of the Lord and His Word.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” – 1 Peter 5:8-9


Rome’s exorcist, Father Gabriel Amorth, dies at age 91
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/romes-exorcist-father-gabriel-amorth-dies-at-age-91-29963/

Throwback Thursday: I’m Catholic and I believe my good outweighs my bad

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 3, 2016 and has been revised.

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Do you think Roman Catholics believe in the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone? Please watch the six-minute video below in which evangelist, Ray Comfort, reaches out to Paul, a typical Roman Catholic who believes in salvation by merit as he has been taught by his church.

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 the most popular answer by far 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 that they could obey the Ten Commandments and church rules and become increasingly sanctified (holier) so they could possibly 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 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 (turn from their rebellion against God) and accept Him as their Savior by faith alone.

Throwback Thursday: Yes, I am “in Christ.” No, you’re not. Yes, I AM! No, you’re NOT!

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 30, 2016 and has been revised.

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Last night, I was reviewing some discussions I had with a couple of Roman Catholics back when I first began this blog. The dialogue reached a point where the Catholics claimed to be “in Christ” just as much as I claimed to be “in Christ.” I was a Catholic for twenty-seven years; educated in a Catholic grammar and high school, and I’ve learned even more about Catholicism since I left that church and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1983. I’m fully aware that Catholic parlance is filled with references to “Jesus the Savior,” “faith,” “grace,” and the like, but when Catholics use such terms, they mean something entirely different than what evangelicals understand.

In my exchanges with the Catholics about being “in Christ,” I said the term referred to a believer’s position before a Holy God; covered in Christ’s righteousness. I have no righteousness of my own. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, His perfect righteousness was imputed to me. In Holy God’s perfect court of law, I stand completely condemned by my sin, but my Savior took my place and bore the penalty for my sin on the cross. I am washed and redeemed by His blood and I’m able to go free ONLY because of His righteousness.

In contrast, Rome teaches that God’s grace is infused into the Catholic through its sacraments, empowering them to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and live an increasingly sanctified life, enabling them to merit Heaven. So a Catholic faithful to their church’s teachings cannot rightly say they are “in Christ,” because their salvation ultimately depends upon how well they obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) right up until the moment of their death. Positionally before God, they are NOT “in Christ,” they are “outside of Christ” and still in their sins because they are attempting to merit their own salvation rather than accepting Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

My Catholics friends were quite taken aback that I would dare to suggest that they were not “in Christ.” Who was I to tell them that? Was I making myself out to be God Almighty by deciding who was going to Heaven and who wasn’t? How rude! How narrow-minded and judgmental!

But God’s Word says there is only one Way to salvation, and that’s Jesus Christ. Christ is either your Savior or He is not. It’s not enough to call Christ your Savior, you must be trusting in Him by faith alone. If you tell me that salvation is merited by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) through sacramental grace, as Catholicism teaches, then I can tell you with absolute confidence that Jesus is not your Savior and you are not “in Christ.”

To illustrate, let’s suppose you’re a passenger on a sinking cruise ship, and I show up in my rescue boat and beg you to get in. Praising and admiring the rescue boat for its wonderful qualities won’t save you. You have to abandon your ship and get into the rescue boat. You have to be in the rescue boat for the boat to save you. Likewise, gushing about “Jesus the Savior,” “faith,” and “grace” won’t save you when you’re still trying to merit your salvation by your own efforts. You’re not “in Christ,” you’re denying Christ and trusting in your own abilities and “goodness.”

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

In today’s climate of plurality, tolerance, and relativism, theological debates such as the one above are viewed as unseemly and repugnant and are to be avoided at all costs. The only requirement, according to Rick Warren and friends, is that we all nebulously “just love Jesus.” That’s a sinking ship, friends.


What does it mean to be in Christ?
https://www.gotquestions.org/in-Christ.html

Throwback Thursday: National Day of Prayer?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. The post below was originally published back on April 15, 2016, but has been revised to reflect today’s event.

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The National Day of Prayer is today, Thursday, May 5th. Back in 1952, during the Korean War and Red Scare and in response to a groundswell of support sparked by a young Billy Graham, President Harry Truman signed into law the bill which mandated that an annual day of prayer be observed throughout the nation. The observance day was later fixed as the first Thursday in May. On this day, people of all religious faiths in the United States are called upon to pray for the nation and its leaders. Many born-again followers of Jesus Christ will join in “prayer” with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, New Agers, and followers of various aberrant “christian” denominations and sects including liberal mainline Protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, and Mormonism.

Many evangelical Christians see participation in the National Day of Prayer as a good thing. After all, doesn’t God’s Word instruct us to pray for the authorities over us, “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)? But the National Day of Prayer also has some critics within evangelicalism, including myself.

The National Day of Prayer is an event that promotes American civil religion (see here), the conflation of religion and American patriotism. Christians should never join with unbelievers in spiritual endeavors. God’s Word is explicitly clear on this:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.'” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” – Ephesians 5:11

“…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” – 2 Timothy 3:5

Jesus proclaimed that He is the ONLY way to salvation. That’s definitely not a popular message in our post-modern era of cooperation, pluralism, tolerance, inclusiveness, and relativism. But Christians should NOT join with religious unbelievers as they pray to their false deities. That is cooperation with idolatry. Yes, we Christians must pray for our country’s leaders so that the Gospel can continue to be preached unhindered throughout this land, but we cannot join with religious unbelievers in this ministry.

Some Christian supporters of the National Day of Prayer argue that the event can be used as an evangelism tool, however, compromise works both ways. Cooperation and compromise with unbelief always leads to betrayal of the Gospel. The Old Testament is largely a record of the disastrous consequences of God’s people cooperating with idolatry.

In closing, I would ask born-again believers who regularly read God’s Word to try to imagine the Lord, Jesus Christ, or even the Apostle Paul, joining with the pagan religionists of 1st-century Judea, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor in ecumenical or interreligious prayer. The notion is beyond preposterous and yet many followers of Christ will enthusiastically join with religious unbelievers on the National Day of Prayer. For many evangelicals, shared national citizenship and religious-tinged, patriotic fervor take precedence over fidelity to the Gospel. The pastor of the Southern Baptist church we previously attended encouraged participation in the National Day of Prayer, which was one of several warning signs that we were worshiping at the wrong place. This is pretty cut and dry, folks. The fact that the National Day of Prayer is so popular with American evangelicals is another example of the lack of discernment when it comes to nationalism, ecumenism, and “interreligious” cooperation.

“The Church of Christ is continually represented under the figure of an army; yet its Captain is the Prince of Peace; its object is the establishment of peace, and its soldiers are men of a peaceful disposition. The spirit of war is at the extremely opposite point to the spirit of the gospel. Yet nevertheless, the church on earth has, and until the second advent must be, the church militant, the church armed, the church warring, the church conquering. And how is this? It is the very order of things that so it must be. Truth could not be truth in this world if it were not a warring thing, and we should at once suspect that it were not true if error were friends with it. The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Postscript: In the past, I’ve received some passionate pushback regarding this annual National Day of Prayer post. I’m aware that my views here don’t comport with the still-very popular paradigm among American evangelicals of Christian nationalism, the conflation of faith and patriotic nationalism. The notion of America being a nation uniquely covenanted with God, and Americans being God’s people (as in the frequently misappropriated 2 Chronicles 7:14) has been preached from American pulpits in some form or fashion since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620.

Throwback Thursday: Accommodator and compromiser, Norman Geisler

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 12, 2016 and has been revised.

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Several months ago, I wrote a post regarding one of the strangest books I have ever read in my entire life. In “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” (1995), evangelical theologian, Norman Geisler (d. 2019), examined the many doctrines that separate evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Most importantly, Geisler noted that Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit was not in accord with the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Nevertheless, Geisler still somehow concluded that Catholicism is a Christian entity. Huh? It was like a courtroom prosecutor closing his presentation by ripping up his water-tight evidence and turning to the judge and asking that the case against the clearly-guilty defendant be dismissed. Needless to say, ecumenists loved Geisler’s book. See my review here.

I’ve come across Geisler’s name several times recently. While he’s certainly not a household name, Professor Geisler is esteemed in evangelical academic circles as one of the most respected theologians, philosophers, and apologists. I’ve learned that several of evangelicalism’s most popular apologists were mentored by Geisler; men like Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, and Lee Strobel. Ahhh. Now I get it! The apple never falls too far from the tree. I’ve mentioned Zacharias’ ecumenical leanings here. I’ve also read a couple of offerings from Strobel’s best-selling “The Case for…” series, but I jumped off that assembly line, never to return, after he cited Roman Catholics, Mother Teresa, pope John Paul II, G.K. Chesterton, and Saint Teresa of Avila as exemplary Christians in “The Case for Faith.” I’ve also documented Craig’s ecumenical compromise (see here).

While searching on Amazon the other night, I came across a book titled, “Why I Am A Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe” (2001), which was edited by Geisler. Among others, contributors include Zacharias, Craig, and Roman Catholic philosopher, Peter Kreeft. Kreeft, a convert to Catholicism from the Dutch Reformed Church during his college years, is definitely one of Rome’s most prolific champions. He has authored many books which proclaim and defend Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Isn’t it strange that a Catholic philosopher would be invited to contribute to a book devoted to evangelical apologetics? Not if the editor is Norman Geisler. Imagine Catholicism’s EWTN or Ignatius Press inviting John MacArthur or R.C. Sproul to contribute to a book on Catholic apologetics! Oy vey! The concept is laughable from either side. But accommodators like Geisler would much rather err on the side of “Christian unity” than be known as – heaven forbid – “uncharitable” Protestant sectarians.

Kreeft’s false gospel of salvation sacramental grace and merit is NOT the genuine Gospel of grace. Including Kreeft in “Why I Am A Christian” blurs the Gospel just like Peter’s accommodation of the legalistic judaizers in Antioch. Shame on accommodator and compromiser, Norman Geisler.

“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” – Galatians 2:11-14

Note from 2022: Readers of this blog know I’ve been critically examining Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018), every Friday. Chapter after chapter in that book, Kreeft has disparaged the genuine Gospel of grace and Gospel Christians and advanced the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Norman Geisler’s influential role as an accommodator and compromiser is manifested even more clearly in the reading of Kreeft’s anti-Gospel apologia. Many people within the evangelical camp have contributed to the ecumenical compromise with Roman Catholicism, but none more so than Billy Graham, Charles Colson, and Norman Geisler. The argument is made that Geisler and cohorts got a lot of things right, so it’s unfair to judge them solely on their acceptance of RC-ism. With my background as an ex-Catholic who escaped the RCC and its false gospel, I can only view these accommodators and compromisers as traitors to the genuine Gospel who regrettably influenced many others.

Throwback Thursday: You won’t see this book offered on TBN

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 14, 2016 and has been revised.

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A Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days
By Dave Hunt
Harvest House, first published in 1994, 544 pages

5 Stars

I’ve been meaning to read “A Woman Rides the Beast” for quite some time and finally squeezed it into my queue. The author, Dave Hunt (1926-2013), was a Christian apologist who was never known to mince words or to be deferential when defending the Gospel.

I had assumed from the full title that this book focused primarily on eschatology, but that’s not the case at all. Hunt begins by identifying the Great Harlot of Revelation, chapters 17 and 18, as the Roman Catholic church. He uses the remainder of the book to justify that conclusion. Many events from the Roman church’s sordid history are examined as well as the origins of many of its unscriptural doctrines.

This book definitely belongs in the collection of every Christian interested in critical examinations of Roman Catholicism. Yes, Hunt leans towards hyperbole at times, but that’s understandable given the subject matter. The author references “Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy” by former Jesuit priest, Peter de Rosa (see my review here), and “The Pope and the Council” by disaffected 19th-century ex-priest, J.J. Ignaz von Dollinger, to a fault, but it’s not a problem in my eyes. Few of the people purchasing this book are expecting an academic treatise, yet Hunt has done more than enough homework.

If you’re interested in comprehensive examinations of Catholic dogma you would be better served by reading “The Gospel According to Rome” by James McCarthy or “Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment” by Gregg R. Allison (only nerdy seminary alum need apply in the case of the latter), but this book does a fine job of highlighting some of the most unbiblical and anti-Scriptural elements of RC theology and the darkest chapters of Roman Catholicism’s dark history.

Let’s be honest; the average Catholic has very little knowledge of their church’s history. What they were taught was more idealistic than realistic. And evangelicals? Most evangelicals these days have no idea why the Reformation even took place. They hear Catholics speak about Jesus and “grace” and “faith” and assume everybody’s now on the same page. This book would be ideal for both Catholics and evangelicals who should know better. Don’t let the 544 pages scare you. Hunt breaks it all down into many short, manageable chapters. “A Woman Rides the Beast” would definitely make my top ten list of books about Catholicism. Now there’s an idea for a future post!

Final thoughts: You surely won’t find “A Woman Rides the Beast” at your local Christian bookstore, but it’s readily available from Amazon.com. See here. When I first read the Book of Revelation after coming out of Catholicism and accepting Christ, I knew exactly what was being referred to in chapters 17 and 18. As more and more evangelicals get swallowed up into mega-church ecumenism, those Christians who continue to identify the Great Whore of Revelation as the Roman Catholic church will be increasingly relegated to the fundamentalist/lunatic fringe.

Throwback Thursday: A man of God

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 17, 2016 and has been revised.

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Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
By Eryl Davies
EP Books, “Bitsize Biographies” series, 2011, 128 pages

5 Stars

I don’t recall exactly when I first became aware of Welsh-English minister, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). I think it may have been about a year ago (2015), when I read his criticism of C.S. Lewis. Since then, I’ve been able to better acquaint myself with the doctor (an actual MD) and what a blessing it’s been.

The story of post-1960 English evangelicalism mirrors similar circumstances here in the U.S. There were mounting “pressures” to cooperate and compromise with liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. Lloyd-Jones, perhaps the most notable British evangelical minister of his day, stood firm in fidelity to the Gospel and doctrinal clarity. He spoke out against the ecumenism of the popular C.S. Lewis. He refused to support visiting American evangelist Billy Graham who cooperated with theological liberals/modernists and the local Catholic hierarchy in the organizing of his crusades. Lloyd-Jones called for all born-again believers to leave spiritually-dead denominations that did not preach the Gospel of grace.

I very much enjoyed this short introduction to Lloyd-Jones. What a blessing! Like a cool drink on a blistering hot day. I don’t use the phrases, “man of God” or “woman of God,” carelessly. In fact, I just about NEVER use them. We need to put Jesus Christ on a pedestal, not men. However, after reading this book I was able to say with full confidence about Lloyd-Jones, “Yes, this was a man of God! This was a man after God’s own heart.” But where are the men and women of God today who warn against accommodation, cooperation, compromise, and the betrayal of the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone? They’re certainly not on TBN! Try to imagine D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones sitting in front of a television set and watching TBN for one solid day. What would be his assessment of contemporary, movie-theater, mega-church Christianity and its mega-ecumenism? Argh!

I read an equally informative book in the “Bitesize Biographies” series on Swiss Reformer, Ulrich Zwingli. See here. For the entire line-up of EP Books’ “Bitesize Biographies” series, see here.

For my previous posts on Lloyd-Jones, see here (MLJ’s views on Roman Catholicism) and here (similarities between MLJ and Charles Spurgeon).

Tip: Download the free MLJ Trust app on your smart phone and listen to its extensive archive of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermons (1600+).

Throwback Thursday: Lent is no match for Super Rodent!

Welcome to this week’s Throwback Thursday installment! A few weeks ago we had a kickoff to Lent; that old chestnut, “Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?” Today, we have another Lenten staple here at excatholic4christ that was first published on February 25, 2018 and has been slightly revised.

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Most of the topics I write about on this blog are serious matters involving spiritual life and death, but there are occasions when I come across something that can only be categorized as sadly comical. Case in point:

This year (2022), the Roman Catholic church’s Lenten season runs from Wednesday, March 2nd to Thursday, April 14th, and Catholics are strictly forbidden from eating meat on all six of the Fridays during that span, under the church’s edict that consuming meat will doom them to hell. But getting down to the nuts and bolts of what actually constitutes “meat” can get a little tricky as I alluded to in the infamous Chicken in a Biskit post (see here.)

Well, now we have another very strange twist to this rule regarding compulsory abstention from meat during Lent.

Several years ago, I was listening to the 2/21/18 podcast of the “Called to Communion” Catholic talk radio show. Moderator, Thom Price, and host, David Anders, were discussing Lenten abstinence restrictions and Anders unflinchingly mentioned that Venezuelan Catholics are allowed to eat the meat of a capybara on Lenten Fridays. Huh? Capybara? What’s that? Well, it turns out that capybara (photos above and below) are the largest living rodent in the world, ranging anywhere from 80 to 150 pounds full grown and they like to hang out near or in the water. They are a dietary staple of Central America and some say they taste like pork with a slightly fishy accent. As the tale goes, priest-composer, Pedro Ramón Palacios y Sojo aka “Padre Sojo,” Venezuela’s most influential Catholic cleric at the time, traveled to Rome in 1794 and petitioned pope Leo XII to allow his countrymen to eat the meat of the capybara during Lent because, he argued, the animal spent so much time in the water that it was more like a fish than a warm-blooded mammal. Remember, fish are okay to eat on Fridays during Lent, but not the meat from mammals or birds. Sojo’s absurd argument evidently made an impression on the credulous pope because Leo granted his request and actually issued a Papal Bull decreeing that Venezuelans were free to eat capybara on Lenten Fridays (and other Fridays back when meat abstention was required on Fridays year round) without incurring a mortal sin.

So Venezuelan Catholics can gorge themselves on capybara burgers on Lenten Fridays with an absolutely clear conscience, but if an American Catholic takes even one bite of a Big Mac on Lenten Fridays, they are doomed to Hell forever!

But this sinner who was freed from the chains of Catholicism and is saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone has a hypothetical question for my Catholic friends. Current political problems aside, let’s suppose an American Catholic travels down to Venezuela on business during Lent. He’s walking the streets of Caracas on a Friday at noon and smells the wonderful aroma of barbecue in the air. After a few minutes, he discovers the source of the olfactory bliss; a sidewalk food vendor who beckons him over to try some of his smokey barbecued capybara. The American, mouth watering, declines with noticeable regret, saying in broken Spanish that he is prohibited from eating meat on Friday during Lent. But the vendor reassures him that the pope himself declared it was permissible to eat capybara in Venezuela during Lent. Another native walking by confirms the papal dispensation. The American then hungrily orders a double-portion of barbecued capybara and eats his fill. The next day, the American begins his journey back to the U.S., but his plane crashes and all aboard perish. Which now brings us to our question: Did the American Catholic go to hell for eating capybara on a Lenten Friday because he was still under the jurisdiction of his American bishop or did Leo XII’s 1794 papal bull cover all of the bases?

Catholic friend, if you ever tire of spinning in Catholicism’s legalistic hamster (another rodent) wheel, turn to Jesus Christ. Repent of your sinful rebellion against God and ask Jesus Christ to save you through faith in Him alone.

Is Catholicism a false religion? Are Catholics saved?
https://www.gotquestions.org/catholicism.html

Postscript A: Some may object to my interjection of humor in this discussion, but folks, seriously, I couldn’t have come up with this “capybara dispensation” in my wildest dreams.

Postscript B: The capybara dispensation in Venezuela isn’t the only regional Lenten dispensation. Another example can be found in Michigan in the Archdiocese of Detroit where area Catholics are allowed to eat muskrat, yes MUSKRAT (another water-loving rodent), on Lenten Fridays. See here. Catholics in Quebec are allowed to eat beaver.

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Dog meets Capybara. Wow! That’s a big rat!