Coming to Christ, Down Under

Nothing in My Hand I Bring: Understanding the Differences Between Roman Catholic and Protestant Beliefs
By Ray Galea
Matthias Media, 2007, 121 pages

Over the past three and a half years, I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing many books that examined the differences between Biblical Christianity and Roman Catholicism, but this little book is extremely well done.

Author and minister, Ray Galea, begins his testimony with his experiences growing up with his family as part of a Catholic community in Australia. Like most Catholics, Ray and his family participated in the rituals of their religion, but had no personal trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. Ray began reading the Bible as a college student and discovered many differences between God’s Word and Catholicism. He eventually accepted Christ as Savior by faith alone and joined a conservative Anglican church, much to his family’s disappointment.

Ray’s testimony mirrors my own in many ways. When a Catholic first begins to understand the Gospel, they think about how accepting Christ as Savior will affect their relationships with their Catholic family and friends. For many Catholics, their religion is a big part of their “tribal” identity and when they accept Christ, they know they will face opposition from family and friends and be labeled a “Bible banger,” as one who “takes religion way too seriously,” and as a traitor to their church and parents. These are the chains of popularity and acceptance, but who would choose them over a sweet, saving relationship with the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? After accepting Christ, all such concerns are rendered inconsequential.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:37-39

Ray then addresses some of the major differences between Bible Christianity and Catholicism including short chapters on the mass, authority, justification, and Mary. The last chapter examines Catholicism’s relatively new ecumenical and interfaith approach, which teaches that people of all religions and even atheists can also merit Heaven if they “sincerely follow the light they have been given,” whatever that means. Of course, the main difference between Catholicism and Bible Christianity is their respective gospels. Catholics believe in salvation by sacramental grace and merit while Bible Christians believe in the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE, without one, single claim of merit or entitlement of our own. Have YOU trusted in Christ as your Savior by faith alone?

Ray writes in a warm, inviting, personal style and covers the topics without using a lot of unnecessary theological jargon. This is a very good introductory book for Catholics who are curious about Biblical Christianity and for evangelicals who are curious about the main beliefs of Catholicism, but don’t care to wade through a 400-page tome. Highly recommended. Order from Matthias Media here. The publisher also offers two additional books about Catholicism, “Stepping Out in Faith: Former Catholics Tell Their Stories” (see my review here) and “The Road Once Travelled: Fresh Thoughts on Catholicism.”


IFB Memories #13: Peter Ruckman: God’s “junkyard dog”?

After accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior in the early 1980s, my wife and I began attending an independent fundamental Baptist church in the area. All IFB churches are completely autonomous, but from what I could tell back in those days, the majority could be categorized “somewhat” according to if they emulated John R. Rice, Bob Jones, Jr., or Peter Ruckman (photo above). Like-minded pastors networked via seminary affiliation, pastors’ conferences, and missionary support.

Rice was the more moderate of the three and from his camp came Jerry Falwell. Our IFB pastor emulated Falwell and his Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virgina. Young men at our church who desired to attend seminary often ended up at Falwell’s Liberty Baptist College (changed to Liberty University in 1984). Bob Jones, Jr., was a bit more hardcore fundamentalist and separationist than Rice. Bob Jones University didn’t drop its ban on interracial dating until 2000. Peter Ruckman was definitely the most radical of the three. He became the standard bearer of KJV 1611-Onlyism among IFB churches. Neither Rice or Jones, Jr. taught KJV 1611-Onlyism so Ruckman labeled the two and all of their followers as members of the apostate “Alexandrian Cult” (i.e., those who use any other Bible translation besides the KJV 1611).

I had been reading the Bible for several years when a couple of guys at work, Jose and Ray, began witnessing to me. They were members of the very large First Bible Baptist Church in town, which aligned with Ruckman and KJV 1611-Onlyism. Because of their witness, and in addition to other people and circumstances from the Lord, I accepted Christ as Savior by faith alone. Jose and Ray invited me to attend First Bible Baptist, which was pastored by James Modlish at the time. I didn’t care for the sermons with their HEAVY emphasis on Anglo-centric KJV 1611-Onlyism, so I opted for a more “moderate” IFB church, much to Jose’s and Ray’s disappointment.

Peter Ruckman would periodically visit First Bible Baptist and preach primarily on the exclusivity of the KJV 1611 and the dangers of the “Alexandrian Cult.” His sermons from his Pensacola church were regularly broadcast on our local, community cable channel, undoubtably through the sponsorship of the First Bible Baptist Church here in town. Ruckman’s chalk talk sermons – am I the only one who remembers chalk talks? – invariably included railings against the “Alexandrian Cult.” His messages were downright nasty; full of ad hominem attacks and name-calling. But Ruckman never apologized, he proudly claimed to be God’s “junkyard dog.” Turmoil also appeared to be part of his personal life as he was divorced twice and married three times. He admitted to physical abuse and regular heated arguments with his first two wives. See here.

I’m all for teaching Biblical truth even when it hurts or is inconvenient, but some IFB pastors were just downright nasty, arrogant, and obnoxious. Our pastor was much more moderate than Ruckman, but, still, his constant railings against gays and his politicizing from the pulpit became intolerable and we left the church after eight years. But Ruckman took in-your-face Christianity to a whole different level with his constant stream of invectives. Yes, we are to defend the faith with vigor, but we should also mirror the grace and love of Christ. Ruckman died in April 2016, but I’ll never forget those acerbic chalk talks.

The other day I noticed the very sad news article below, which reported that Ruckman’s 58-year-old son had murdered his two boys and then committed suicide. So sadly tragic. Ruckman Jr. and his wife had divorced last year. It would be sheer speculation on my part to connect Ruckman Jr.s’ challenging childhood environment to this tragedy, but neither can it be ruled out.

Final messages from P.S. Ruckman Jr. include cryptic social media posts, emails of his life’s work

In the audio below, Ruckman Sr. defends abortion. It’s an unnerving thing to hear Ruckman’s followers enthusiastically “Amening” his pro-abortion heresy.


Postscript: I realize many of my brothers and sisters hold dearly to KJV 1611-Onlyism and I’m definitely not trying to pick a fight. I usually stay away from debates over secondaries, but that’s not totally possible with a post about Mr. KJV 1611-Only, Peter Ruckman. For my one and only post regarding KJV 1611-Onlyism, see here.

Sunday Potpourri

The topics below may not necessarily be uplifting, but they’re important for discerning followers of Christ:

“Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History” premiers on CNN tonight

Tonight at 10 p.m. EST is the premier of “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History,” a six-part docudrama on CNN. I’ve learned over the past not to trust CNN to accurately present Biblical Christianity and I’m confident they won’t begin tonight. Catholic pundits have already weighed in on the series and seem to like it quite a bit except for some qualifications regarding the nastier historical details. See here. The papal office, with all of its worldly pomp and regalia and all of its ignominious history, is actually one of the most convincing arguments against Catholicism being a Christian entity. I’ll be watching the series via on-demand, but I’m not sure at this point if I’ll be reviewing each episode or writing one comprehensive review. Yes, the bishop of Rome morphed into the powerful leader of the increasingly imperialistic church beginning around 500 AD and I believe the pope will play an extremely important role in endtime events, but not in a good way. For a view of the dark side of the papacy, see here.

Vatican releases “Easter” postage stamp of “buff Jesus.”


Conservative Catholics are wagging their tongues over this very strange new stamp released by the Vatican just in time for “Easter” depicting the risen Jesus as a buff gym dude who “causes women’s hearts to beat faster.” See the article here. This is offensive to Bible Christians on multiple levels and I report it here strictly for information sake. There are many strange things going on behind closed doors at the Vatican, and I would suggest this disturbing stamp is another indication. See a previous post on this topic here.

Living Biblically, Episode 2, “False Idols”


A couple of weeks ago, I posted about CBS’s new comedy show, “Living Biblically,” in which the main character, Chip, attempts to live his life strictly according to Biblical Law. There was absolutely no mention of the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. See here.

I recently watched the second episode via on-demand. In this installment, Chip is disgusted by his wife’s idolization of pop singer, Beyonce, but his “god squad” advisors, a priest and a rabbi, suggest that he practices idolatry as well with his preoccupation with his smart phone. Chip immediately destroys the device, replacing it with “old school” technology (calculator, wristwatch, camera, beeper, paper maps, etc.) leading to all kinds mayhem. But all ends well as Chip is able to procure tickets to a Beyonce concert for his wife using his new “old fashioned” methods. As in the first episode, Chip sees himself as a “good” person trying to be a better person by living according to Biblical laws. His viewpoint aligns nicely with the Catholic system of merited salvation. For committed Catholics, their institutional church is their idol, which comes between them and the free gift of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Tomorrow night, Chip struggles to love his neighbor.

Florida shooter asks for a Bible


News sources report that 19-year-old mass murderer, Nikolas Cruz, has requested a Bible to read. Praise God! My prayer is that Cruz someday repents of his sins and accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone. Yes, the Lord can save even troubled mass murderers. There is none righteous, no not one.

Nikolas Cruz, Florida School Shooter, Asks to Read the Bible in Jail

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/10/18

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup of this week’s news, along with just a little added commentary from yours truly! I’m grateful that you took some time in your busy weekend schedule to drop by and visit. So, cozy up in your favorite chair with a hot cup of java and let’s begin…

Taking center stage in the news this week is the rising controversy in the Catholic church over “Amoris Laetitia” and the lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees by pope Francis. The debate over “Amoris Laetitia” continues to rip the Catholic church apart.

The three stories above favorably report on how pope Francis and his progressive allies are implementing the lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees as well as discussion of other “reforms.”

The four stories above from conservative Catholic sources disapprovingly report on how “Amoris Laetitia” and other liberal reforms are dividing the church.

As tensions between church progressives and conservatives escalate, what is ahead for the Roman Catholic church? My prayer is that many Catholics will come out of Roman legalism as a result of this controversy and come to salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

A few days ago, I posted on the revealing new book, “Lost Shepherd: How Francis is Misleading His Flock,” which is an extremely critical examination of pope Francis from a conservative Catholic viewpoint (see here). In an embedded video in the article above, the author, Philip Lawler (photo above), appears on the EWTN show, “World Over with Raymond Arroyo,” and talks about the book and his great disappointment with pope Francis beginning at the 23:09 mark and ending at the 38:30 mark. Who could have ever imagined loyal and dedicated Catholics openly railing against their pope on EWTN? Spiritual forces are at work.

In the Catholic liturgical calendar, Mary ALREADY HAD ELEVEN DAYS dedicated to her either as solemnities, feast days, or memorials, with an additional six days designated as optional memorials (see here). Francis has now added another day, with the Monday after Pentecost being designated as the memorial to “the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.” While Catholics continue to insist they only “venerate” Mary, in practice she is unabashedly worshiped.

When Jorge Bergoglio ascended to the “throne of Peter” (the apostle Peter had no throne and never would have accepted one) as pope Francis in 2013, Catholics were giddy that the affable Argentinian, with his impromptu, off-the-cuff, jetliner interview remarks, would generate great interest in the Roman Catholic church. Five years later, the actual results have been less than was hoped for (excepting for Judas evangelicals), with conservative Catholics even praying for a quick end to Francis’ reign.

What are the differences between Catholics and Protestants?


Just what are the differences between Catholics and Bible Christians? Some people may not want to wade through a 400-page book on the topic, but here’s an excellent 8-minute video from the folks at Got Questions that briefly touches on four of the major differences listed below:

  • Authority
  • The pope
  • How a person is saved
  • Purgatory

Topsy turvy Catholicism! Conservative Catholic leaders advising laity to disobey the pope!

Lost Shepherd: How Francis is Misleading His Flock
By Philip Lawler
Regenery Gateway, 2018, 203 pages

Roman Catholicism had a huge problem on its hands. One of the church’s doctrines is that Catholics who are divorced and remarried without having their first marriage annulled by the church, are considered to be living in an open state of adultery and are barred from receiving communion at mass. The church states that the mass is its most important and sacred act of worship. In an era when divorce is rampant, remarried Catholics felt like second-class citizens and many stopped attending mass altogether. Progressives in the church saw the need for change.

In 2016, pope Francis issued “Amoris Laetitia” a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, and buried deep within the document, in a footnote no less, was a statement which allowed remarried divorcees access to communion based upon their parish priest’s pastoral guidance and discretion. Conservative clerics and laypersons were shocked beyond measure! The banning of communion to remarried divorcees was considered to be infallible doctrine, and yet the pope had guilefully subverted it. The controversy over “Amoris Laetitia” has been escalating for two years with conservative outrage growing stronger and bolder with each passing month.

The author of this book, Philip Lawler, is the editor of Catholic World News, a conservative source of Catholic news and commentary. In “Lost Shepherd: How Francis is Misleading His Flock,” Lawler describes in detail the behind-the-scenes political maneuverings and manipulations at the extraordinary and ordinary assemblies of bishops in 2014 and 2015 that wrestled with, among other things, the question of communion for remarried divorcees. The subsequent publication of the exhortation and the reaction from conservatives, especially the Five Dubia (questions) sent to Francis by four conservative cardinals asking him to clarify the document, are then discussed. Lawler fills in many blanks for those of us who have been following the “Amoris Laetitia” crisis for almost two years.

Francis no doubt views “Amoris” as a pragmatic step that sacrifices dogma in an attempt to retain members. But Lawler and other conservatives can’t imagine a Catholic church in which once-infallible dogma is rendered transitory. For centuries, Roman Catholics have proudly boasted to Protestants that their church alone was guided by the infallible “Vicar of Christ” and that the Holy Spirit would prevent any pope from leading the church into doctrinal error.

“Providential guidance of God will see to it that the Pope shall never lead the Church into error in any matter of religion.” – The Month, Vol. 135, 1920, p. 485

Conservative Catholic pundits now have the impossible job of defending this claim in light of Francis’ artifice.

Lawler stops short of actually labeling Francis a “heretic,” but infers as much. He also briefly calls into question Francis’ psychological health. Lawler counsels his fellow conservatives to ignore the pope and remain faithful to bishops who uphold the centuries-old teachings of the church regarding the ban on communion for adults living in “irregular marriages.” Schism is not discussed…yet. But make no mistake, “Amoris” is just the beachhead. Francis and his progressive allies are currently floating additional changes to church dogma (e.g., shared communion with Protestants, blessing same-sex marriages, etc.).

This book is an absolutely incredible resource for evangelicals like myself who scrutinize the Roman Catholic church and have been observing this ongoing “Amoris” controversy. I read the entire book in only two sittings. We have not witnessed a similar crisis in our lifetime, as conservative Catholic clerics and lay leaders are absolutely bewildered by their pope and advising the laity to disobey him. My prayer is that this crisis will lead many Catholics to question the false claims once routinely made about their pope and the other man-made traditions of their church and to seek out the unchangeable Savior who offers them the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

“Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.” – Jeremiah 17:5

“Lost Shepherd: How Francis is Misleading His Flock” is absolutely MUST reading for evangelical Vatican-watchers.

Postscript: Many of the priests I’ve listened to recently on conservative Catholic talk radio have, like Lawler, advised their listeners to disobey Francis’ “innovations.” However, one conservative Catholic apologist, Dave Armstrong, has taken Lawler to task for airing Catholicism’s “dirty laundry” in public.

Newsflash: Six-year-old slam dunks her granddad in debate!

Our six-year-old granddaughter spent the night this past Saturday. Part of the festivities included a trip to the movie theater to see “Peter Rabbit.” In today’s children’s movies, they usually slip in enough “color” to keep the adults chuckling, so I actually stayed awake for the entire 90-minutes. After the movie ended, we drove around looking for a bite to eat. Being Saturday evening, every restaurant was packed with a line winding out the door. We eventually passed a submarine sandwich shop that I will call “Cahill’s” for the purpose of this story. But first we need to go back in time a bit for a few important details.

Our oldest son is a junk food connoisseur and knows every hamburger stand and pizza joint in the county. About a year ago, he came over to visit and told us about the great toasted sub he had at Cahill’s, which he incorrectly pronounced as “kuh-HILLS.” The sub shop has been a local institution since I was ten years old so I’m VERY familiar with it. I gently corrected my son and said the name should be pronounced as “KAY-hills.” He doubted me and ended up phoning the sub shop to settle the disagreement. As no surprise, they confirmed the correct pronunciation is “KAY-hills.”

Okay. Back to Saturday night. We’re driving past Cahill’s and our granddaughter says, “Look, there’s ‘kuh-HILLS.’ We could eat there.” Obviously, her Daddy continues to mispronounce the name in her company. For some reason, this ongoing error bothers me. Here’s the ensuing dialogue:

Grandpa: It’s not “kuh-HILLS,” honey, it’s pronounced “KAY-hills.”

Granddaughter: No, it’s “kuh-HILLS.”

Grandpa: Your Daddy and I have talked about this and he knows he was mistaken and that it should be pronounced as “KAY-hills.”

Granddaughter: No, it’s “kuh-HILLS.”

Grandpa: [turning around and making eye contact] I’m not joking around. I’m being serious with you now. The name of the restaurant is pronounced “KAY-hills.”

Granddaughter: No, it’s “kuh-HILLS.”

Grandma: [interjecting] Okay, okay. It doesn’t matter. Let’s all just have a good time!

Grandpa: [mumbling audibly] My, things have certainly changed.

Yes, I agree that a six-year-old boldly defying her grandfather over how to pronounce a word is hardly comparable to some of the drama experienced by families today, but I thought it was a (semi) humorous example of how kids today have fewer and fewer boundaries.

I was brought up in the 1960s and my parents were very strict when it came to us children showing proper courtesy and respect to adults, especially to someone like a grandparent. I wouldn’t have dreamed of talking back to one of my grandparents like that. We raised our two boys the same way. But these days, that’s all gone out the window. Most young children are raised in environments quite different from the “Leave It To Beaver” situation I grew up in. Homes, make that MANY homes, are broken, often with little structure. Children are allowed and often encouraged to speak to adults as peers. They don’t respect adult family members or their teachers the way we were trained. We see this kind of behavior not only in our other grandchildren, but in a lot/most of the children we encounter. Maybe it’s a good thing for children to speak up a little more than the way we were raised, but it’s gone to the extreme.

God’s Word speaks about children having proper respect for elders, parents, and grandparents. This is a fallen world. Society is moving farther and farther away from God’s standards. The traditional family has been under attack for decades. We pray for our granddaughter’s salvation and we will be telling her about Jesus often. The only time she will hear the name, Jesus Christ, within her home will be as a curse word.

“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” – Proverbs 23:22

“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” – Job 12:12

Creation or Evolution?

The Ultimate Proof of Creation: Resolving the Origins Debate
By Jason Lisle
Master Books, 2010 Kindle Edition, 256 pages

My brain is wired in such a way that I generally avoid most material dealing with science, technology, mathematics, logic, and such like. But Christians can’t help but encounter the debate over divine creation versus evolution, so it’s helpful for all believers to get some grounding on the topic. This book is one of blogger SlimJim’s favorite resources on the creationist view of origins and he finally talked me into downloading it to my Kindle.

“The Ultimate Proof of Creation” by Jason Lisle of Answers in Genesis (website below) can be broken down into four sections. The first part of the book explains the basic arguments of the creationists and the evolutionists in the origins debate. Each side approaches the debate from their own worldview and presuppositions. Only a worldview based upon the Bible is able to successfully account for the existence of morality, logic, and the uniformity of nature. The atheist evolutionist cannot rationally account for these outside of the Bible. Advice is provided on how to debate with atheistic evolutionists. The evolutionist often resorts to arbitrariness and presents claims that are inconsistent with evolution theory. He/she must also reject preconditions of intelligibility such as the reliability of the senses and memory since these are not dependable sources of information in a strict, hypothetical evolutionist worldview.

The second part of the book deals with logical reasoning. I have seen many of the rules of logic – logical fallicies, begging the question, the straw man argument, circular reasoning, etc. – in various books and articles over the years, so it was very helpful to see this information presented in a systematic manner. But I won’t lie, this was difficult reading for a “right-brain” guy like myself.

In the short third part of the book, Lisle argues that for the creationist debater, a presuppositional approach is superior to an evidential approach. Atheists view all evidence through their worldview, so evidential arguments will not persuade them. Lisle recommends a presuppositional approach, which argues for a literal understanding of the Genesis creation account based upon the Bible as the Word of God right out of the gate. This approach may seem counterintuitive, but the presuppositionalist is able to draw upon the nature and characteristics of God as recorded in the Bible as the basis for morality, logic, and uniformity in nature. Once again, the atheist evolutionist cannot rationally account for morality, logic, and uniformity in nature from their worldview.

The last part of the book includes a large number of actual emails sent to Lisle and Answers in Genesis that attack the creationist view. I found this section to be very helpful. After reading through the somewhat challenging initial material, which detailed the opposing views of creationists and atheists regarding origins, Lisle pulls all of the information together by using actual examples of how to counter the atheist’s faulty reasoning, thereby reinforcing the preceding material.

This was a very interesting book and I recommend it highly. But if you’re new to the origins debate, you may want to get grounded first in something a little more basic. The author assumes the Christian reader already has some familiarity with the fundamentals of the origins debate and means to equip them to be more effective witnesses, and even debaters themselves, for the Biblical account of creation.

Answers in Genesis website

Paradigm Shift: How Gospel outreach to Catholics became “anti-Catholic bigotry”

Paradigm. The word became extremely popular in business circles in the 1990s. It can mean how a person or group views or understands or conceptualizes a particular situation or set of circumstances. A paradigm may be accurate or inaccurate. It may remain stable over time or change.

It occurs to me that a dramatic paradigm shift involving eternal consequences took place in evangelical churches in America and throughout the world over the last sixty years.

I believe it would be accurate to say that back in the early 1960s, close to all evangelical and fundamentalist pastors agreed that the gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit taught in all Roman Catholic churches was NOT the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Bible Christians agreed across denominational lines that Roman Catholics, like all other works-religionists, were a mission field. This widely-shared viewpoint WAS an accurate “paradigm” of the circumstances.

But several powerful influences began to change this paradigm:

*Billy Graham and his like-minded allies within evangelicalism (e.g., Carl Henry, Edward Carnell, Harold Ockenga, Bernard Ramm, etc.) began embracing Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity despite Catholicism’s own admission that its salvation system was based on sacramental grace and meritorious works. Graham never addressed in print or by interview how he was able to reconcile in his mind the two opposing gospels.

*Roman Catholicism’s Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) dramatically reversed the church’s stance regarding Protestants from that of militant opposition to ecumenical cooperation. Rome openly admitted at the time that the purpose of its switch to ecumenism was to eventually recover Protestants back to the fold. Rome’s new approach was hailed by many (naive) evangelicals.

*In February 1967, about 25 college students from Duquesne Catholic University attended a retreat in which they claimed they received the Pentecostal/charismatic gifts of the spirit. The Catholic charismatic renewal movement has since grown to 160 million members including tens of thousands of priests. Charismatics and Pentecostals were in a compromising pickle; although Catholics believed in a different gospel, they demonstrated the requisite gifts of the spirit. Pope Francis has praised Catholic charismatics as a vanguard for evangelical-Catholic ecumenism.

*By the early 1970s, influential theologians, most notably, Francis Schaeffer, began to warn of the “spiritual and moral” decline of the West, and called on evangelical Christians to actively engage in the political realm. Leaders such as Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson accepted Schaeffer’s challenge and encouraged pastors to organize and to mix faith and politics from the pulpit. In battles with advancing secularism, politically-minded evangelicals were not opposed to teaming with conservative Roman Catholics against the common foe. Once-important doctrinal differences took a back seat to the immediate cultural and political shared concerns. It wasn’t long before doctrinal differences were ignored altogether. Charles Colson attempted to formalize this alliance of expediency with his Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) movement beginning in 1994.

*In the 1970s and 1980s, tracts, comic books, and books from Chick Publications, which strongly attacked Roman Catholicism, became popular among some Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Much of the information was sensationalistic and based upon unverifiable conspiracy theories (e.g., the Catholic church created Islam, Marxism, Mormonism, the Jehovah Witnesses, etc.). Chick’s irresponsible extremism weakened the efforts of credible, Gospel-focused outreach to Catholics.

*In addition to the ecumenical push by Graham and Co., Catholicism’s softened stance toward Protestants, Moral Majority’s ecumenism in the trenches, shared charismatic experientialism, and irresponsible conspiracy theorists, society entered into the post-modern era in which all truth is supposedly relative, and “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” are the buzzwords. Post-modernism has also impacted the evangelical church. Criticism of a religious group, even if they propagate a false gospel, is perceived by many evangelicals as negative, divisive, and completely distasteful.

As a result of all of the above influences, the evangelical church’s paradigm of Roman Catholicism has radically shifted over the past 60 years. Roman Catholics, who still believe in the same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that was taught by their church back in 1960, are no longer viewed by many evangelicals as a mission field, but as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! While Catholics perish without hearing the Gospel of grace, evangelical organizers invite Catholic priests to speak at their events. Books by Catholic authors such as G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, Peter Kreeft, and Thomas Merton are widely disseminated within evangelical circles and even recommended from pulpits. The widely-shared viewpoint that Catholicism teaches the Biblical Gospel is NOT an accurate “paradigm” of the actual circumstances. But in evangelicalism today, those who criticize Rome and its false gospel are increasingly looked upon as the loony fundamentalist fringe and anti-Catholic bigots.

This embracement of Catholicism by evangelicals over the last 60 years is an absolutely stunning 180-degree change in perception. Satan himself could not have designed it more perfectly. The bottom line in all of this: Catholics don’t hear the genuine Gospel and evangelicals are moving closer to Rome.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/3/18

I don’t normally seek out books, articles, or sermons by popular evangelical pastor, John Piper, because I differ with him on a few secondaries, but I do appreciate that he’s one of the last nationally known pastors who hasn’t capitulated to the rising tide of ecumenism with Rome. In this short Q&A about Catholicism, Piper’s not as forthright as I would like, but he does express that Catholics will not be saved by following their church’s standard theology. For my views on the same question, see here.

The Catholic church dictates that only members with no “mortal” sin on their soul may come forward at mass to receive and consume the consecrated Jesus wafer, which they teach is the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois has just put U.S. Senator and Roman Catholic, Dick Durbin, on notice that he is barred from receiving communion because of his consistent support of abortion. I can guarantee from God’s Word that not one person who comes forward to receive communion at mass is free of “mortal” sin, and that includes bishop Paprocki.

In the article above, ecumenist extraordinaire, Rick Warren, pays homage to Billy Graham. Warren states, “(Billy Graham) put Catholics and Protestants, Calvinists and Charismatics, Fundamentalist and Evangelicals, Liberals and Conservatives, all on the platform together. He was criticized for it, but he knew that God blesses unity and harmony.” My Bible says God commands believers not to unite with religious unbelievers like Roman Catholics because it leads to the kind of compromise and betrayal of the Gospel that’s part and parcel of Warren’s church. Yes, Warren correctly credits Graham for much of the ecumenical compromise we see today.

The RCC started allowing priests in the U.S. to put the consecrated Jesus wafer into people’s hands instead of directly into their mouths in 1977. I wasn’t a part of that change because I generally stayed away from mass throughout the 70s. Conservatives were always appalled by what they saw as an irreverent practice and have been grinding the axe ever since. In the mouth? In the hand? It’s actually much ado about nothing like all of Catholicism’s ritualism. That round bread wafer is NOT Jesus Christ.

And speaking of communion, the liberal Catholic bishops in Germany are paving the way for intercommunion with Lutherans in that country, but conservative Catholics in the U.S. and elsewhere are having none of it. Pope Francis has shown again and again that he’s all for sacrificing infallible Catholic doctrine in the cause of worldwide ecumenism (with him in the driver’s seat) while conservatives are perplexed about how Catholicism will survive without its infallible doctrines.

And speaking of pope Francis, conservative Catholics are now coming out boldly against their pope. In the second article is an audio in which Philip F. Lawler, editor of conservative Catholic World News (EWTN), pumps his new book, “Lost Shepherd: How Francis is Misleading His Flock.” I just received my copy in the mail and I’m looking forward to reading it very soon. It’s extraordinary times we live in when pious Catholics write books railing against their heretical pope.

Catholicism boasts about its new churches opening in the South, but those new churches don’t come close to offsetting the hundreds of Catholic churches being padlocked up here in the Rust Belt. Sure, some Catholics are moving South, but the main reason for church closings up here is membership apathy.

Quite a contrast. Catholics bring out the bells and whistles when an “evangelical” converts to Romanism, but when a Catholic accepts Christ as Savior and leaves Catholicism for an evangelical church, it’s heavily downplayed by evangelicals because, after all, we don’t want to appear divisive or uncharitable. Pew research data shows that only 2 percent of “evangelicals” convert to Catholicism, but 10 percent of Catholics accept Christ and switch to evangelical churches. See here. I’m not one to worship numbers. I praise God for every soul that is freed from the chains of religious legalism and accepts Christ. But it’s important to point out how, in the battle for souls, Catholicism aggressively distorts reality while evangelicals roll over and play dead.