Throwback Thursday: No Meat On Friday Nonsense

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is only a month away, so for this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment I thought it would be appropriate to revisit this post that was originally published back on August 2, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

Back when I was a young tyke growing up in the early-1960s, the Catholic church prohibited eating meat on Fridays throughout the entire calendar year. The obligatory abstinence had something to do with Jesus dying on a Friday and the restriction on eating the meat of warm-blooded animals was supposedly a commemoration of His sacrifice. Disobeying the church and eating meat on Friday was a “mortal” sin that would stain your soul and send you to eternal damnation, no excuses. Even just one bite of a cheeseburger meant an eternity of perpetual torment! We “good” Catholics were scandalized when we heard about a Catholic neighbor who defied the church and barbequed hot dogs on the grill on a Friday. My Dad often picked up a big batch of very tasty fried whitefish and french fries at Karl’s Fish Store at 1314 Culver Road (see photo below) on Fridays so it wasn’t like we felt any kind of deprivation. I actually preferred the store-bought fried fish to Mom’s meat dishes the rest of the week.

However, all of this changed in 1966 (Sorry, Karl!) when pope Paul VI, in his PAENITEMINI document, left it up to the national bishops to determine abstinence policy in their particular country. The U.S. bishops ruled on November 18, 1966 that Catholics were able to eat meat on Fridays except during Lent.

Most Catholics are unaware that the Canon Laws prohibiting meat on Fridays throughout the year are still on the books (see Canons 1250-1252) with the provision that the national bishops are able to “determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety” (Canon 1253).

So the MONUMENTAL question is, What about all the U.S. Catholics who died before 1966 who had disobeyed the church and ate meat on non-Lenten Fridays without ever confessing this “sin?” Are they still in Hell or did the pope give them a “Get Out of Jail Free” card in 1966 in light of the new policy? Skeptical Catholics should definitely smell a rat with this one.

In contrast, the Bible is pretty clear on this abstention-from-meat business:

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-5.

So eating meat on Friday is definitely NOT a sin according to the Bible, but the rule to abstain from meat is a man-made commandment subject to whimsical alterations (with *unexplainable complexities) as we saw in 1966. Are we to believe the Bible or the Catholic church?

“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” – Matthew 15:9

Regrettably, Catholics are taught they must merit their salvation by jumping through legalistic religious hoops such as refraining from meat on Lenten Fridays. Praise the Lord for His Word and for His salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE!

*Postscript 1: Let’s suppose that in 1967 an American Catholic traveled to a foreign country where he knew the national Catholic bishops dictated the abstention from meat on non-Lenten Fridays was still in effect. If the American traveler ate a cheeseburger in that country on a non-Lenten Friday did he commit a soul-damning “mortal” sin? Oy vey!!! Just give me Jesus!

Postscript 2: We’ll soon be rolling out our annual posts on the inanities of Lenten dietary restrictions including “Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?” and “Lent is no match for Super Rodent!” Also, there may be a new post this Lenten season called “Muskrat Love.”

IMG_0334
The retail space to the right, above the arrow, was once Karl’s Fish Store. Meat-abstaining Catholics in our neighborhood used to dutifully queue up in front of the building and along the sidewalk every Friday afternoon throughout the year to buy Karl’s fried whitefish, french fries, and coleslaw.

Throwback Thursday: Why would someone leave Catholicism’s “well-balanced meal” for evangelical “junk food”?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on November 21, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

In the article far below, Catholic columnist, Patti Maguire Armstrong (photo above), sadly ponders why a friend and her family have left the “one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” for an evangelical church. She bemoans that her friend chose the “feel-good” vibrancy of the evangelical fellowship over the Catholic liturgy with it’s “Real Presence.” She concludes that her friend has chosen evangelical “cotton candy” over Catholicism’s “well-balanced meal.”

The “cotton candy” metaphor is used frequently by conservative Catholic proselytizers and apologists to denigrate evangelicalism and the Gospel of grace. It’s a shame that mealy-mouthed, ecumenical-leaning, evangelical pastors and apologists don’t boldly stand up for the Gospel of grace the way Catholic apologists stand up for their false gospel of merit.

American Catholics like Ms. Armstrong obviously struggle to comprehend why members are leaving their church in droves. Three million Catholics left their church from 2007 to 2015 (and it’s certain millions more left the RCC since this post was originally written due to the 2018-2019-2020 priest abuse scandal tsunami – Tom) and more than a few joined evangelical churches. Why?

Let me tell you why I left Catholicism and it wasn’t because I was seeking a “warm-fuzzy” fellowship experience. It was ALL about Jesus and NOT about membership in a religious institution.

Like a great number of Catholic teenagers, I walked away from the church because I thought religion wasn’t “cool.” Obligatory Sunday mass, with its repetitive, liturgical ritualism was the dreariest hour of the week. I returned to the church after I became a father and felt obligated to raise my children in the Catholic faith. For some Godly reason (😊 🙏🏻) , I also purchased a Catholic Bible and began reading it voraciously. Catholics aren’t generally encouraged to read the Bible and I soon found out why. What I was learning from Scripture contrasted with the Catholic religion so I stopped attending mass. The Lord continued to use His Word and several Christian individuals and resources to bring me to a point where I understood His Gospel:

  • We are all sinners.
  • Sinners deserve hell.
  • God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins.
  • Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death.
  • The Lord offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him to all those who repent (turn from their rebellion against God) and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.

I hesitated and hesitated, but I FINALLY prayed to Jesus and asked Him to save me and be my Lord. All of my sins – past, present, and future – have been paid for by my Savior. I could NEVER be “good enough” to merit salvation as the Catholic church teaches. My Savior imputed to me His perfect righteousness. I have no plea of my own. My Lord isn’t a consecrated bread wafer sitting upon a Catholic altar. He indwells me. He guides me. He corrects me. He is my Shepherd. He is my Friend. He is my Rock. In her article, Armstrong appeals to Catholicism’s long history (in reality, not flattering) and catalog of specious traditions. I appeal to the simple Gospel of the early church as found in the New Testament.

I’m sure there are some who left Catholicism for a superficial warm and welcoming “fellowship” as Armstrong speculates. But many of us ex-Catholics left the legalism, ritualism, and religious formalism of Catholicism for the GOOD NEWS of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. I hope that was the case for Ms. Armstrong’s friend who apparently wasn’t able to clearly articulate the Gospel according to this account. Or maybe Armstrong’s friend was afraid to present the Gospel. Or maybe Armstrong wasn’t listening.

Ms. Armstrong continues to toil away, attempting to earn her salvation like all “good” Catholics. She feels sorry for her friend, however she is the one who needs the Savior.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

“Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” – Galatians 2:16

Postscript: I’m always puzzled by conservative Catholics like Armstrong who contend so earnestly for their works religion even though their own pope and prelates grant that Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and even atheists are also able to merit their salvation. To call Catholicism’s false gospel spiritual “junk food” would be too complimentary, it’s actually spiritually deadly poison.

***************************************************

Ex-Catholics Seek Happiness Without the Holy Eucharist
By Patti Maguire Armstrong
National Catholic Register
11/20/15
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/armstrong/ex-catholics-seek-happiness-without-the-holy-eucharist

Throwback Thursday: “And she’s buying a stairway to Heaven.”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 24th, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

Members of a legalistic, works-righteous religious system like Catholicism can never truly rejoice about their spiritual state. It’s a never-ending treadmill; do good works, sin, confess, do good works, sin, confess, etc., etc., right up to the day they die. Catholics hope they can time it right by dying immediately after confession when their slate will supposedly be clean.

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ Who takes away ALL of the sin of those who accept Him as Savior by faith alone.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

Catholics differentiate between “venial” and “mortal” sin although they would be hard pressed to tell you where one ends and the other begins. Catholics are taught that when they confess their mortal sins to a priest the eternal punishment is removed, but even after saying the prescribed rote penitential prayers some of the “temporal” punishment remains. Catholics are told they can reduce the temporal punishment they’ve accumulated through good works in this life. But whatever temporal punishment remains at the time of death will be meted out in “purgatory” (as long as there was no “mortal” sin on the soul). Somebody call a canon lawyer!

Catholics are taught they can erase big chunks of temporal punishment by doing good works, doing penance, and receiving indulgences. The Catholic system says its members can take years off or even completely wipe away all temporal punishment accumulated up to that point by receiving prescribed indulgences. Where’s that canon lawyer!!! Catholicism has more rules than Carter has pills. Believe me when I tell you that 95% of Catholics would be clueless if you asked them what “temporal punishment” was.

But let’s take a look at one particular indulgence. There is a Catholic myth/tradition that “saint” Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, removed the 28 marble steps, the “Scala Sancta” (Holy Stairs), leading to Pontius Pilates’ praetorium in Jerusalem and had them brought to Rome where they were reassembled proximate to the Lateran Palace. Jesus supposedly descended these steps after being judged by Pilate and there are 4 places on the stairs, encased in gold-framed glass, where drops of Jesus’ blood allegedly fell. Take note that Helena is said to have transported these steps to Rome 300+ years after the death of Christ.

In 1908, pope Pius X granted a “plenary” (full) indulgence to all who ascended the stairs on their knees after confession and communion. A plenary indulgence allegedly removes all temporal punishment that would otherwise have to be expiated in purgatory. Indulgences were a HUGE money-making machine for the church for centuries. The church claims that it never “officially” sold indulgences, although church clerics such as the infamous Johann Tetzel certainly did. Pilgrims continue to flock to Rome to climb these 28 steps on their knees.

Incidentally, biographers state that it was while ascending these steps on his knees in 1511 that a particular Bible verse flashed through Martin Luther’s mind: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Praise God!

Watch poor, deluded Catholics climbing the Scala Sancta on their knees in the 1-minute video below:

 

Throwback Thursday: “On the Wings of Grace Alone: The Testimonies of Thirty Converted Roman Catholics”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on July 26th, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

On the Wings of Grace Alone: The Testimonies of Thirty Converted Roman Catholics
Edited by Richard Bennett and Glenn Diehl
Solid Ground Christian Books, 2015, 301 pp.

5 Stars

In “On the Wings of Grace Alone,” ex-priest, Richard Bennett (bereanbeacon.org), presents another collection of testimonies from ex-Catholics who left their works-righteousness religion and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. In two previous books, Bennett culled together the testimonies of ex-priests (“Far From Rome, Near to God: Testimonies of Fifty Converted Catholic Priests”) and ex-nuns (“The Truth Set Us Free: Twenty Former Nuns Tell Their Stories”), but in “On the Wings of Grace Alone: The Testimonies of Thirty Converted Roman Catholics” he presents the stories of ex-Catholic laypersons.

Each contributor speaks of being born into a Catholic family and being indoctrinated into the Catholic religion of sacramental grace and merit. Catholicism is a religious treadmill of constantly striving to live in a “state of grace” by participating in the sacraments and adhering to church rules. In Catholicism, tradition is given much greater emphasis over God’s Word. Few Catholics read the Bible. When they finally did examine the Bible, the contributors were surprised to find that salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. They all repented of their sin and accepted Christ as their Savior by faith alone and left their works-righteousness religion.

This is a valuable collection that will bless Catholics who are searching for Christ, ex-Catholic Christians who have already come out of Rome, and Christians who are interested in the irreconcilable differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. The theology doesn’t get too deep, but the contrast between Catholicism’s salvation system of sacraments and merit and Biblical salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is the overriding message.

A couple of the contributors were familiar to me. The late Jim Tetlow wrote a couple of books on Romanism (“Messages from Heaven” and “Queen Rome, Queen of Islam, Queen of All”). Joe Mizzi’s website (justforcatholics.org) is devoted to reaching Catholics with the Gospel. A few of the testimonies get a bit tangled up in the weeds and could have used some more stringent editing. One person goes into detail arguing for the doctrine of predestination while a couple of others promote the “KJV 1611-only” viewpoint. This is the wrong book for delving into arguments on tertiary beliefs. Those few criticisms aside, this is an excellent collection that will bless the reader.

These days, many evangelical pastors and para-church leaders are jostling in line to embrace the pope and works-righteousness Catholics as fellow Christians so it’s a blessing to see that there are still faithful witnesses, like Richard Bennett,* who distinguish between the Gospel of grace and Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. As the accommodation of error within evangelicalism continues, with pastors praising the pope and Catholic theologians from their pulpits, those who take a stand against Rome will be increasingly marginalized. In addition to the three books mentioned, Bennett also wrote “Catholicism: East of Eden, Insights into Catholicism for the 21st Century.”

I was able to purchase a copy of “On the Wings of Grace Alone” directly from the publisher, Solid Ground Christian Books, at a very favorable, new-book discount. See here.

*Addendum: After fighting the good fight of faith for so many years, Richard Bennett went home to the Lord on September 23, 2019.

41pN5H5jjzL._AA160_41XAvZZ07BL._AA160_41+VyzdqKGL._AA160_

Throwback Thursday: Yup, convents were cultish, but where’s Jesus in all of this?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 26th, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

Forgotten Women in Convents
By Helen Conroy
Christ’s Mission, 1960, 121 pp.

2 Stars

Protestant books examining abuses in Roman Catholic convents proliferated throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. “Forgotten Women in Convents” by ex-nun, Helen Conroy aka Sister Mary Ethel, was originally published in 1946 and was one of the last books of this once-popular genre. The 1960 edition that I purchased was published by Christ’s Mission, a Protestant evangelization outreach ministry to Roman Catholics, as part of a tidal wave of anti-Catholic literature that swept the nation leading up to the Kennedy-Nixon presidential election.

On the plus side, Conroy offers many valuable insights into how the Catholic church lured girls and young women into its nunneries and how it discouraged them from ever leaving. Evangelicals’ antennae go up if you mention the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, but is there anything more cultish than a Catholic convent? As Conroy points out, Catholicism adopted the notion of a cloistered community of virginal women, completely dedicated to (g)od/s, from pagan religions for its own purposes. These poor, deluded women were attempting to merit their salvation via the strict codes of their religious orders, through self-denial and even physically harmful self-mortification practices. Of course, extremely few Catholic women are joining convents these days and many of those who do will enjoy freedoms unimaginable to the nuns of Conroy’s era.

On the minus side – and this is a HUGE minus – Conroy never once alludes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Does she just assume her Protestant readers have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior? In her exodus from Rome, did Conroy ever accept Christ? There’s no testimony therein of that being the case in this book. Instead, there’s quite a bit of criticism of Catholicism’s treatment of its nuns as being antithetical to American freedoms, but there is no mention of how Catholic works-righteousness legalism and ritualism is opposed to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. In its surprisingly Christ-less approach, “Forgotten Women in Convents” reminds me quite a bit of a very popular anti-Catholic bestseller from the same period, “American Freedom and Catholic Power” (1949) by atheist Paul Blanshard.

See my earlier post for a booklist of “convent escape narratives.”

Throwback Thursday: 60% of Catholics: “It is not possible to have a personal relationship with God.”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 12th, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

People talk about having a “personal relationship with Jesus,” but what does that really mean? This afternoon, I was listening to a podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” radio call-in show, originally broadcast on March 13, 2015 on the Station of the Cross, WLOF 101.7FM out of Buffalo, New York. Between phone calls, Catholic priest-host, Dave Baker, and moderator, Mike Denz, were disappointedly mulling over a recent survey that showed that a whopping 60% of Catholics agreed with the survey statement, “It is not possible to have a personal relationship with God.”

Priest Dave said he introduced a course at his parish to show people how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. He even sets up special sessions of “eucharistic adoration” for those taking the course so they can “REALLY” get to know Jesus. Hmm. Does bowing down before a bread wafer constitute having a relationship with Jesus?

For centuries, Catholics were never taught by their church they needed to have a personal relationship with God. Receiving God meant being baptized, consuming the communion wafer, and saying plenty of rote prayers. For Catholics, God was somebody to be feared. Every detail of their impersonal, ritualistic belief system was meant to assuage a God who demanded and expected perfect obedience. If you wanted some motherly sympathy and mercy, you were told to pray to Mary. Most Catholics hoped that when they died and stood before God that their “good” would at least outweigh their bad. But all this evangelical talk about “having a personal relationship with God” had contemporary Catholicism in a dither.

So what constitutes having a “personal relationship” with God? Is it some type of warm, subjective, fuzzy feeling? No, it is a relationship based on the truth of God’s Word that proclaims salvation and sonship with God is possible by faith in Jesus Christ ALONE. Every person who has repented of their sin and has placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior by faith alone is spiritually reborn and has a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. We can confidently call the all-powerful God of the Universe our Father only because the blood of His Son washed ALL of our sins away – past, present, and future. We can stand humbly but confidently before God clothed in the imputed perfect righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!!!

I walk with the Lord daily as I journey through this life. He knows me intimately. He protects me. He sustains me. He indwells me. He gives me my next breath. He is my Rock. He is my All. I am nothing without Him. I love Him beyond words. He pulled me out of the deep, dark abyss into the bright sunshine. He grabbed me and pulled me out of the icy sea when I had no strength or breath left. He suffered and died for ALL my sins. He took them all upon himself. Oh, my Lord! Not to have a relationship with Him? There could be NOTHING worse.

Kneeling before a bread wafer is NOT a personal relationship with God. Getting more deeply involved with your religion is NOT a relationship with God. Don’t say you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ if you’re trying to merit your salvation. Does not compute. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Seek out an evangelical church in your area where the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is proclaimed. Devour His Word like your three daily meals. Inhale His Word like oxygen!

People sit in front of a TV screen every Sunday and passionately cheer on their favorite football team, but can’t be bothered with the eternal salvation God freely offers through Jesus Christ and the opportunity to have the Almighty God of the Universe as Redeemer, Father, Friend, and the Rock of their life??? That’s just crazy!

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” – Galatians 4: 4-7

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for saving me!!!

Addendum: Several Roman Catholics have written to me in the past, angrily insisting that THEY DID have a “personal relationship with Jesus.” Well, my Catholic friends, you definitely CANNOT be in a relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ, when you are trying to merit your own salvation. Can’t be done. Does not compute.

Throwback Thursday: Walter Martin was no admirer of Catholicism, but dropped the ball in “The Kingdom of the Cults”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 7th, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

The Roman Catholic Church in History
By Walter Martin
Christian Research Institute, 1960 edition, 87 pp.

Most of today’s younger believers have never heard of Walter Martin (1928-1989), but the man played an important role in modern evangelicalism. Martin wrote the booklet, “The Roman Catholic Church in History,” in 1958, two years prior to the founding of his once-influential evangelical apologetics ministry, Christian Research Institute (CRI). This booklet is extremely critical of Roman Catholic theology as it examines the papacy, the preeminence of tradition over Scripture, Mariolatry, confession and penance, the mass, and purgatory. While Martin implies there is no salvation in works-based Catholic legalism, he regrettably does not address the primary issue of justification directly.

Martin’s “The Kingdom of the Cults,” published initially in 1965 and still in print and widely available, is considered the most important reference on cults over the last 55 years. Surprisingly, there is hardly any mention of Catholicism in that book. I wonder what happened that caused Martin to retreat from his uncompromising criticism of Catholicism in his 1958 booklet to accommodation and silence? The current director of CRI, Hank Hanegraaff, teaches that Catholicism has many un-Biblical doctrines, but is, fundamentally, a Christian church.

Because Hanegraaff and CRI would like to forget “The Roman Catholic Church in History” was ever written, the booklet has not been republished since 1960 and copies are nearly impossible to find. However, I was able to obtain a photocopy from Christian Answers of Austin, Texas (biblequery.org). See here.

Martin’s accommodation and compromise with Roman Catholicism was one of many contributing factors to the rampant ecumenism we see today. For more details, refer to a subsequent post, “How Walter Martin sowed the seeds for the current Hank Hanegraaff controversy,” published on August 7, 2017, here.

Addendum: People are still curious about Walter Martin. The original, 2015 posting of “Walter Martin was no admirer of Catholicism, but dropped the ball in ‘The Kingdom of the Cults”‘ continues to receive visitors regularly and is this blog’s third-most-viewed post with 1866 all-time hits currently.

Throwback Thursday: The Papacy 101

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 23rd, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

A Christian’s Pocket Guide To The Papacy: Its origin and role in the 21st century
By Leonardo De Chirico
Christian Focus Publications, 2015, 116 pages

5 Stars

In this short book, evangelical pastor and apologist, Leonardo De Chirico, examines the development of the papacy in Catholic history with a chapter especially devoted to recent popes, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis.

As early Christianity gradually displaced paganism and was declared the state religion of the Roman Empire, it adapted many of the beliefs, practices, and rituals of its former rival. The bishop of Rome vied with the three other patriarchates (Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) for preeminence. When the imperial seat was transferred to Constantinople, the bishop of Rome became the de facto emperor of the West along with the title of il Papa. The papacy patterned itself on the Caesarian imperial model and thenceforth sought to become the most powerful ecclesiastical and political authority in the world.

Dr. De Chirico provides many valuable insights into the history of the papacy and its possible future prospects especially in light of the growing secularization of the West combined with the relentless march of ecumenism. There is no doubt the Vatican is planning for all possible eventualities.

Every evangelical pastor needs to read this book and every believer would benefit from it as well in this era of increasing ecumenism. A Christian’s Pocket Guide To The Papacy can be ordered from Amazon here.

Here also is a link to Dr. De Chirico’s excellent blog, Vatican Files: Evangelical Theological Perspectives on Roman Catholicism.

Postscript: When this book was written in 2015, Dr. De Chirico could not have anticipated the mounting crisis within the Catholic church regarding pope Francis. Conservative and traditionalist Catholics are appalled by the doctrine-bending, progressive pope and some are even calling him a heretic.

Throwback Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

For this week’s Throwback Thursday installment, I’ll just piggyback onto last year’s short post about something that never get’s old; being grateful to the Lord for His bountiful blessings!

capture30

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends here on the WordPress blogosphere! May your time today with your family and friends be joyous as we contemplate all of our blessings in Christ Jesus!

Throwback Thursday: 20 Former Nuns Who Left Roman Catholicism and Accepted Jesus Christ

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. This week, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 28th, 2015 and has been revised.

capture30

The Truth Set Us Free: Twenty Former Nuns Tell Their Stories of God’s Amazing Grace
By Richard Bennett
Solid Ground Christian Books, 2010, 237 pp.

5 Stars

In this valuable book, Richard Bennett,* ex-Catholic priest and director of the Berean Beacon ministry, presents the testimonies of twenty former-nuns who left behind the false gospel legalism and ritualism of Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. The personal accounts average only about eleven pages each so there’s not a lot of detail about Catholic theology, but each testimony is a blessing.

When Christians refer to “cults” they usually have Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses in mind, but can there be a practice more “cultish” than a convent full of virginal women who believe they are married to Jesus Christ, replete with wedding rings? The inspiration for the Catholic convent was the convent of the vestal virgins of pagan Rome.

All of the twenty ex-nuns in this book joined their religious “orders” with high expectations, believing they were pleasing God by earning their salvation through self-denial and ritualism, but they found no joy or contentment in the convent. All were introduced to the Word of God and were saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. These women gave up the only life they knew to follow Christ, but what Christian can look back with regret at the corrupt things of this world when the glory of our Savior is before us?

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9

I attended a Catholic grammar school for eight years back in the 1960s and was taught by nuns belonging to the order of the Sisters of Mercy. Our parents assumed the nuns were shining examples of love and contentment, but we students witnessed those women as they really were; troubled souls who sometimes vented their frustration, anger, and cruelty on their charges. Sisters Imelda, Annunciata, Tarcisius, Gemma, Mary Ann, and Virgina, whatever became of you??? By God’s grace, were you somehow able to see through through the religious legalism and ritualism you taught to us and find the Savior?

Convents are few and far between these days. The great majority of Catholics can’t even bother to attend obligatory mass on Sunday let alone take up a religious vocation. In 1965, there were 180,000 nuns in the United States, but by 2006 the number had declined dramatically to only 67,000. By 2014, the number had further dropped to 50,000.

These twenty ex-nuns with their testimonies are bold, uncompromising witnesses to lost Roman Catholics and to accommodating and compromising evangelicals who embrace the RCC with its false gospel as a Christian entity.

Copies of “The Truth Set Us Free” are available from Solid Ground Christian Books here.

*The Lord’s faithful servant, ex-priest, Richard Bennett, went home to the Lord on September 23rd, 2019.