A regrettably popular hymn and gladly reneging on a bad promise

As I was reading the July 9, 2021 issue of the independent fundamental Baptist newspaper, “The Sword of the Lord,” I came across a short article by former Sword editor, Curtis Hutson, in which he misguidedly praised the hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers.”

I know this hymn is sung in many conservative evangelical churches and you may enjoy it yourself. But most evangelicals aren’t aware of this song’s origins. Wikipedia states, “‘Faith of our Fathers” is a Catholic hymn, written in 1849 by Frederick William Faber in memory of the Catholic martyrs from the time of the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII and Elizabeth.” The short article doesn’t mention that Frederick William Faber (1814-1863) was a Roman Catholic priest.

The original lyrics written by Faber are as follows:

Faith of our Fathers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword:
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word.

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Our Fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free:
How sweet would be their children’s fate,
If they, like them, could die for thee!

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our Fathers! Mary’s prayers
Shall win our country back to thee:
And through the truth that comes from God
England shall then indeed be free.

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our Fathers! we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife:
And preach thee too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life:

Faith of our Fathers! Holy Faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Protestant choirmasters took this Catholic hymn and altered the lyrics to make it more palatable to non-Catholics. But I’m not in favor of singing a song originally written by a Catholic priest to glorify Catholic “martyrs.” The popes and Catholic prelates of the Reformation-era and their dutiful magistrates were responsible for martyring exponentially more Protestants than Catholics killed by over-zealous Protestants. During the infamous St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (1572) alone, it’s estimated that 10,000 Huguenot Protestants were murdered by the Catholic majority in France. There are plenty of uplifting hymns written by genuinely born-again evangelical Protestants. We don’t need to borrow any hymns written by works-righteousness Roman Catholic priests.

I used to sing “Faith of Our Fathers” as a young Roman Catholic and I dutifully repeated the words, “We will be true to thee till death.” Well, I definitely reneged on that promise, yet I feel zero remorse. Why? Because the “faith of our fathers” of Roman Catholicism is a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. I found out by reading God’s Word and through the elucidation of the Holy Spirit that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone in 1983 and left the Roman Catholic church. No more “faith of our fathers” for me! Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord. I don’t need priests. I don’t need the blasphemous sacrifice of the mass. I don’t need the pope. I don’t need a bogus purgatory, either. I couldn’t merit my salvation for even one day let alone over a lifetime as Catholicism insists its members must do.

Before belting out “Faith of Our Fathers” again, you may want to rethink singing a song that was originally written by a Roman Catholic priest as an anti-Protestant diatribe.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #95

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which normally means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

We do have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from 1 Peter 1:10-12 on “The Glory of Our Salvation.” This sermon was delivered on July 18th.

However, there’s no sermon from Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City this week as brother Wally navigates his new work schedule.

Pastor Roger Copeland

In Their Own Words: Pope Francis

In Their Own Words: Pope Francis
Directed by Marianne Kushmaniuk
PBS, first broadcast July 20th, 2021, 53 minutes

1 Star

I saw this documentary mentioned in an internet article and streamed it a couple of days after its broadcast premier.

This particular PBS “In Their Own Words” series installment follows the life of Jorge Bergoglio from his childhood in Argentina to his election and current tenure as pope Francis. Bergoglio is presented as a progressive reformer leading multiple crusades on behalf of the poor, refugees, homosexuals, women, and the environment. Those interviewed include Anne Thompson (NBC News correspondent), Austen Ivereigh (Bergoglio biographer), and Mario J. Paredes (Director, American Bible Society). It’s a bit strange that Francis himself isn’t interviewed in a series titled “In Their Own Words.” Instead, quotes from Bergoglio are frequently plastered on the screen as if scriptural.

This is more of a propaganda piece than a documentary. I could not imagine a biographical documentary being more flattering than “In Their Own Words: Pope Francis.” It defines the term, “puff piece.” In summing up Francis’ papacy, reporter Anne Thompson gushingly proclaims, “He has brought the Catholic church to the basic message of Jesus.” The only Francis misstep that’s mentioned is the pope’s clumsy 2018 mishandling of clerical sexual abuse cover-up by bishop Juan Barros Madrid of Colombia. There is hardly any acknowledgement of the significant opposition to Francis and his reforms by conservative and traditionalist Catholic clerics and laity. Neither Francis or his conservative Catholic foes teach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Francis has strategically and pragmatically “elevated” the papacy from that of conservator of Roman Catholic doctrine and tradition to crusader for every politically-progressive cause imaginable. In response, the world loves Bergoglio. If a catastrophe were to overtake the planet, people would turn en masse to the pope for solace and guidance. That’s significant, folks, and it didn’t just happen by chance.

If you must, you can catch this puff piece at PBS’s website until August 17 (see here). I recommend you use those 53 minutes for something more productive.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/31/21

Pope Francis’ recent restriction of the Latin mass, aimed toward its eventual elimination, has conservative and traditionalist Catholics in an uproar. Conservative Catholics have endured Francis and his progressive reforms (including lifting the ban on sacraments for remarried divorcees, prohibition of capital punishment in all cases, and approval of same-sex civil unions) with dismay and frustration for eight years, but largely without suggestion of schism because absolute fealty to the pope is one of their cardinal tenets. But could this “attack” upon their beloved Latin mass be the unpardonable tipping point?

The wafer wars went on the back-burner after pope Francis’ assault on the Latin mass, but this controversy is far from being over.

The revelations involving pedophile cardinal Ted McCarrick, followed by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s report on abuse by priests in that state, followed by the subsequent investigations by multiple states’ attorney generals was a scandal of tsunamian proportions for the RCC in 2018. Only the most die-hard credulous Catholics could continue as members after that.

The Catholic diocese of Norwich, Connecticut just became the 27th diocese in the U.S. to file for bankruptcy in order to shield its financial assets from victims of priest sexual abuse and diocesan cover-up.

This book about a group of 800 people living in County Kerry, Ireland in the early 1800s who accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and came out of the Catholic church in an EXTREMELY Catholic country (at the time) sounds fascinating!

It’s time for this “news and views” guy to address the elephant in the middle of the room. I don’t endorse everything in the above article, but anti-vaxxism is sadly rampant within “evangelicalism” to a degree greater than anywhere else. The highest spikes in COVID 19-Delta Variant cases that we’re currently seeing are in the Bible Belt states and that is no coincidence. I enjoy channel surfing right before going to sleep and regularly come upon the Daystar cable channel run by prosperity gospel peddlers, Marcus and Joni Lamb. Seems like most times I stroll by, Joni is inevitably dispensing some hyperbolic, pseudo-science attack on the COVID-19 vaccines. People have their individual reasons for not getting vaccinated, but the tire-meets-the-road truth is that the vaccines won’t work unless enough people get them. The dramatic spike in COVID 19-Delta Variant cases that we’re currently seeing across the entire country is the direct result of a significant percentage of the population choosing not to get vaccinated. Only 66% of American adults and children of age have been vaccinated to date. Even people who have been vaccinated are now being affected in “breakthrough” cases. We’re all going to have to go back to wearing masks. Worst of all, obviously, is that hundreds of thousands of additional people will die as the virus lingers on, and on, and on. 613,000 Americans have died from the COVID-19 virus to date. Have some people gotten sick after receiving the vaccine? Yup, but the number of those cases is exponentially dwarfed by the number who have caught the virus. Are the vaccines immoral because they are connected to abortions? The vaccines aren’t produced using aborted fetal tissue as some mistakenly think, but, yes, the pharmaceutical companies did use cell lines from babies aborted back in the 70s and 80s to develop the C-19 vaccines. Ideal? No, but we live in a society that includes many things of ignominous origin. I drive a Volkswagen, a pet project of Adolf Hitler, and live in a geographical region that was basically taken at musketpoint from the Iroquois Native Americans. Anti-vaxxers decry “mask fascism” and “vaccine fascism” while they continue to spread the virus. Overwhelmed hospital staff are reporting that newly-admitted COVID-19 patients are – too late – expressing regret for not getting vaccinated. It’s incongruous to pray for relief from the pandemic while walking around unvaccinated.

Forty Answers to “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic”: #1

Today, we begin our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018). Thanks for joining me and I hope to see you every Friday for the next thirty-nine weeks.

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Claim #1: I Am A Catholic Because I Believe Catholicism Is True

Kreeft opens the first chapter with a very basic declaration, stating he is Catholic because he believes Catholicism is true. He then asks readers to imagine themselves as God at the Last Judgement with two people standing before them. One is a “dishonest,” name-only Catholic and the other is an “honest” atheist. The nominal Catholic believed in few or none of the church tenets, but continued to identify as a Catholic because it made him feel happy, or moral, or both. Kreeft posits that God would tell the nominal Catholic that “happiness without truth is not true happiness and therefore is not true happiness at all; and that morality without truth is not true morality and therefore is not true morality at all” (p.6). Kreeft concludes that God would judge the dishonest Catholic in purgatory or Hell more harshly than the honest atheist.

Response:

I can see from this initial chapter that Kreeft’s arguments in this book are going to be based much more on his philosophical views than on Scripture. There are no references to Scripture in this first chapter. Kreeft appears to be appealing to those readers with little or no Bible knowledge and hoping he is able to convince them via his philosophical reasoning. There’s a danger to that as Bible believers know. I skimmed through the chapters ahead and there are a few Bible references, but Scripture is definitely not a hallmark.

It’s interesting that Kreeft begins this book by delegitimizing the hundreds of millions of nominal Roman Catholics. Catholic sources reveal that only a minority of RCC members actually follow minimum mandatory requirements and believe basic Catholic doctrines such as transubstantiation. I’ve seen Kreeft’s frustration with the vast number of nominal Catholics previously (see here)

At the outset of this series we’re already seeing some serious differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. We see in Kreeft’s Last Judgement illustration the Catholic position that all will be judged according to their level of morality. Kreeft judges between the dishonest nominal Catholic and the allegedly honest atheist, but none are truly honest or moral according to God’s standard of moral perfection. God’s Word declares none are moral or righteous:

“As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’” – Romans 3:10-12

Both the hypothetical nominal Catholic and “honest” atheist would have died in their sins and spent eternity in Hell because they did not repent and trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior by faith alone. Kreeft obviously views himself as an honest and moral Catholic in contrast to his nominal Catholic example, but since Jesus Christ was the only perfectly honest human being to ever walk the planet, how honest does a Catholic have to be to merit salvation? That is the conundrum of Catholicism.

Since Kreeft believes Catholicism is true, we must ask what is his standard? Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists also believe their respective religions are true. Kreeft doesn’t reference the Bible, God’s Word, in this opening chapter, however, the Bible attests to its own authenticity as the source of spiritual truth.

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” – John 17:17

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I foresee in the weeks ahead that we will mainly be comparing Kreeft’s philosophical appeals to Catholicism’s alleged truths with the Scriptural truths presented in the Bible.

“For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.” – 1 Corinthians 3:19

Kreeft refers to “true happiness” in this chapter, but this ex-Catholic can testify that no Catholic can ever be truly joyful because the Catholic salvation system of sacramental grace and merit provides no lasting joy or peace.

In contrast to Peter Kreeft, I am no longer a Catholic because I know Catholicism is NOT true according to God’s Word.

Next week: Claim #2: “I am a Catholic because it’s the best of five choices”

Throwback Thursday: IFB Memories #3: “Using public restrooms could be fatal”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on May 11, 2016 and has been revised. Speaking of epidemics/pandemics…

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The AIDS epidemic was already starting to make headlines when my wife and I began attending an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church back in 1983. The death toll was rising every year and would peak at 42,000 deaths in the US in 1995 with no cure in sight. People were frightened. How was AIDS transmitted? Could it be contracted by casual contact? If you were around in the 1980s, you’ll remember that AIDS was scary stuff.

The pastor at our church, Joe B, didn’t meet the crisis lying down. Sermons increasingly began to reference AIDS as being God’s judgement on homosexuality. After a while, it seemed like AIDS and homosexuality were the pastor’s prime focus. As the epidemic continued to ramp up, it became rare to hear a sermon that didn’t include a statement about the sin of homosexuality. I certainly know what the Bible says about homosexuality, but it became an obsession at our church. It became sin #1. But what about all the other sins against God? I got so sick of hearing about homosexuals during church sermons that I can remember getting physically agitated every time another harangue began.

In his sermons, Joe liked to mention that he had worked as a medical lab technician* before entering the seminary and he knew a thing or two about blood. Boy, did he know a thing or two. Sermons that referred to the blood of Christ were usually peppered with incomprehensible medical jargon. With the AIDS epidemic seemingly spreading like wildfire during a California dry spell, the pastor shared his “insider’s” perspective from the pulpit on exactly where the whole AIDS thing was headed; the impending “truth” that the government was too afraid to reveal to the public.

According to our former-medical-lab-technician pastor, men ran the risk of catching AIDS every time they visited a public lavatory. How so? The alarming scenario he laid out began with infected homosexual men using a restroom. When they subsequently flushed the toilet or urinal, the water and waste would naturally swirl together in the fixture, releasing microscopic droplets of infected urine into the surrounding air. Unsuspecting heterosexual men who entered the lavatory would inhale the contaminated vapor and contract AIDS. Yes, that hypothesis was preached as fact from the pulpit of our church to a congregation that was already skittish about the epidemic. For several months after that, I avoided public lavatories like the bubonic plague. It’s funny now, but it wasn’t at the time. The moral of the story is, don’t allow yourself or your family sit under the preaching of a megalomaniac. If there are no checks and balances on your pastor (the pastor is an absolute dictator in IFB churches), there’s a chance he could go off the deep end.

But some of our former pastor’s concerns were legitimate. Things have certainly changed since 1983 regarding homosexuality. In our post-modern, inclusive, pluralistic, tolerant society, sin is “out” and deviancy is “in.” Society has been tipped on its head. The exception is now presented as the norm. Old-school “morality” is pooh-poohed. Same-sex couples are now featured quite prominent in the popular media. Most anything goes these days. Whatever seems good to an individual is “right” for them as long as they don’t infringe upon anyone else. Christians are definitely going to catch increasing “heat” from secular society because of what the Bible says about homosexuality.

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” – Proverbs 21:2

*When I first began attending the church, pastor Joe regularly bragged that he had been a medical student before entering the seminary. A suspicious church member checked out the story and found the claim was untrue. After being confronted, the pastor tearfully confessed before the congregation that he had been a lab technician, not a doctoral student. Years later, the pastor made it known that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was considering him as Billy’s eventual replacement, another pretentious lie.

2021 Update: Pastor Joe B’s rants against homosexuals are beyond ironic in light of the revelation that he was arrested for child sex abuse and pleaded guilty in town court on June 2nd, 2021. See my relevant post here. This post is also sadly ironic because today’s COVID-19 virus is contracted largely via airborne transmission.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #94

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which used to mean two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas. However, uploads of Sunday sermons from Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City have become sporadic and I suspected brother Wally was navigating an irregular work schedule in his new career as a nurse. Wally did send me a comment the other day confirming that he’s working every other weekend.

This week, we do have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from James 1:5-8 on “What Is Wisdom and How Can I Have It?” This sermon was delivered on Sunday, July 11th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – What Is Wisdom and How Can I Have It? (sermon begins at 11:20 mark)

The Twilight Zone: The hazy divide between reality and the supernatural?

Stories from the Twilight Zone
By Rod Serling
Bantam Pathfinder, 1970 (22nd printing), 151 pp.

3 Stars

The Twilight Zone was a successful television series, which ran five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. Rod Serling (many mistakenly thought his name was “Sterling”) served as executive producer and head writer. The stories always involved some type of bizarre supernatural circumstance that put the characters in a tense quandary. I remember watching the show as a young child and being creeped out and fascinated at the same time. Sixty-years later, Twilight Zone reruns still play on cable television and via streaming.

I bought and read this book as a thirteen-year-old and recently purchased a slightly dog-eared used copy from an Amazon third-party used bookseller as a lark. It presents five Twilight Zone episodes from the early years of the show in short-story format:

  • The Mighty Casey – A robot pitcher turns the cellar-dwelling Brooklyn Dodgers into a contender.
  • Escape Clause – Hypochondriac, Walter Bedeker, makes a deal with the devil to gain near-immortality, but immediately regrets it.
  • Walking Distance – A stressed-out, Madison Avenue advertising executive travels back in time to his idyllic childhood hometown, but gradually realizes you can’t go home again.
  • The Fever – A male version of the “uptight church lady” catches gambling fever in Las Vegas and becomes completely unhinged.
  • Where Is Everybody? – An Air Force sergeant is part of an isolation experiment and nearly loses his mind, or were his “imagined” experiences real?
  • The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street – Neighbors suspect an alien invasion and gradually succumb to paranoia, turning against each other.

Science fiction was at its peak in the early-1960s. People were trying to make sense of life in a culture where technology was rapidly advancing. It was all part of an empty search for “spiritual meaning” outside of God’s Word and Jesus Christ. People are still fascinated with the “paranormal” and “supernatural,” but scoff at true spirituality in Christ. The search for genuine spirituality begins with trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. The closer a Christian walks with the Lord, the more the spiritual/eternal overtakes the natural/temporal.

The Twilight Zone joins my small collection of books that sat on my bookshelf when I was a kid in 1970: CIA – The Inside Story, Bump and Run (San Diego Chargers football), The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (fiction), Arundel and Rabble in Arms (both Am Rev historical fiction), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (my grandfather’s copy), First NFL-AFL Illustrated Digest, We Came of Age (AFL football), and The Other League (AFL football).

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/24/21

The headline pictured above is HUGE and disconcerting news for conservative and traditionalist Catholics. Pope Francis’ decision to restrict and eventually eliminate the Latin mass deserves a separate post all by itself. The Second Vatican Council (1961-1965) was an effort by the Roman Catholic church to modernize itself. One of the most significant changes wrought by the council was replacing the incomprehensible Latin mass liturgy with the Novus Ordo (“New Order”) mass in the vernacular. Conservative and traditionalist Catholics strongly resented Vatican II’s modernizations and defiantly clung to the Latin mass as a symbol of pre-conciliar militant Catholicism. Conservative pope Benedict XVI officially accommodated the Latin mass in a 2007 encyclical. However, on Friday, July 16th, pope Francis reversed Benedict’s accommodation and declared that priests could only say the “extraordinary form” Latin mass with the permission of their bishop, with the goal of eventually eliminating the Latin rite altogether. Conservative and traditionalist Catholics were already resentful of Francis because of his progressive reforms, but this “attack” upon their beloved Latin mass has elicited oaths of outrage and defiance. On his part, Francis recognized the Latin rite was a bastion for his conservative and traditionalist opponents that was being used to rally and indoctrinate others.

The mass is a boring, liturgical ceremony when said in English. Imagine compounding the boredom by sitting through an incomprehensible Latin liturgy for one hour. But traditionalist Catholics are thrilled by the “grandeur” and “mystery” of the Latin rite. Whether said in Latin or the vernacular, the mass is an anti-Biblical ceremony purporting to transform Jesus Christ into bread wafers and wine and to re-sacrifice him for the sins of the congregants. The genuine Gospel is nowhere in sight at either Latin or Novus Ordo masses. I will be reporting on the conservative/traditionalist reaction to Francis’ ruling in the weeks ahead. We are living in unusual times when the most “pious,” doctrinaire Catholics view their pope as a scoundrel at best and a heretic at worst.

Interesting phenomenon. Liberal mainline “Protestantism” is seeing a slight resurgence 1) as a reaction to evangelicalism’s almost-wholesale endorsement of Donald Trump and 2) because of its wholesale embracement of the increasingly acceptable LGBT agenda. The genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is not preached in mainline “Protestant” churches.

As a former viewer of “19 Kids and Counting,” I’m still interested in the Duggar clan. Anna Duggar has had to deal with incredibly difficult circumstances in her life while I whine about piddly stuff.

I’ve been reporting on the persecution of evangelicals by Catholics in Southern Mexico since I started this blog six years ago. When will it stop?

Catholic sociologist, Richard Sipe, estimated that 30-40 percent of Catholic priests are homosexual. Catholic seminaries were/are both magnets and incubators of deviancy.

James R. White dissects “Mere Christianity” ecumenical gobbledygook

In the 24-minute video below, evangelical apologist, James R. White examines the spiritually deadly errors of Roman Catholicism and picks apart the foggy-bottom “Mere Christianity” ecumenical paradigm that permeates evangelicalism and is peddled in this video by Norman Geisler disciple, Frank Turek.

This is excellent, folks. In this era of rampant ecumenical compromise, few apologists are willing to step out and “tell it like it is” regarding Roman Catholicism. God bless James R. White!