Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #142

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Missionary Adolfo Gonzalez preaching at Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana from Philippians 4:5-7 on “The Peace of God.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 2:17-24 on “Only Jesus.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, June 12th.

Missionary Adolfo Gonzalez – The Peace of God – Sermon begins at 20:00 mark

Pastor Cody Andrews – Only Jesus

Huh?

Above: Former member of the Byrds and full-time tweeter, David Crosby, reacts to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade.

Huh, David? You’re holding to a blatant incongruity. If you believe all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, what about the pre-born’s right to life? Apologize to all of the women in this country? How about apologizing to the 30 million pre-born baby girls (and 30 million pre-born baby boys) killed in abortions in the U.S. since 1973?

Pro-abortionists must work very hard to ignore and/or deny the blatantly obvious, that a pre-born baby is a living, human being.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 6/25/22

It’s been four months since Vladimir Putin, ordered the invasion of Ukraine. Untold thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed, injured, or displaced and cities and towns decimated by the Russian dictator, although pope Francis has still not condemned Putin by name. This interesting article examines Francis’ “Jesuitical casuistry” in the face of systematic mass-murder.

Last Sunday, Catholic parishes across the U.S. held Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) processions, in which priests paraded through local neighborhoods holding large Jesus wafers. The Catholic church teaches its priests turn bread wafers into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Last Sunday kicked off a three-year “eucharistic revival” by which the U.S. Catholic bishops will attempt to revitalize the very low regard the majority of Catholics have for the alleged Jesus wafer.

Back in April, I reported that bishop Robert J. McManus of the Catholic diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts formally requested that the Nativity Jesuit Middle School remove its BLM and Gay Pride flags. The administrators refused to comply, so McManus has ruled the school may no longer identify as “Catholic.” This drama will be played out in Catholic schools all over the country.

A special collection is taken up at Catholic parishes on the last Sunday of every June called “Peter’s Pence.” The funds go directly to the RCC’s central administration coffers at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. I wonder if Catholic contributors ever question how much of their money has been diverted to compensating survivors of priest sexual abuse and cover-up.

Leonardo De Chirico has done fantastic work with his Reformanda Initiative and the Rome Scholars and Leaders Network (RSLN).

Catholics are generally stereotyped as opposing abortion, but a recent AP poll found that 64 percent of U.S. Catholics (and 40 percent of Catholic Republicans) agreed that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, almost identical to the 65 percent of all adult Americans who held that view.

Evangelicals shouldn’t consult any Catholic theologians, but there’s a temptation in some egghead evangelical circles to engage in ecumenical intellectual snobbery. Catholic theologians all propagate the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Pope Francis has taken many swipes at conservative U.S. Catholics who pine for pre-conciliar militantism. When a Catholic disparages Protestantism for its multi-fold denominations, remind the person that conservative Catholic talking heads advise their followers to ignore the progressive pope Francis.

I heard Vice President Kamala Harris identifies as “Baptist.” Hmm. A google check revealed she is a member of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, which is affiliated with the “social gospel” American Baptist Churches USA. The ABC USA (once known as the Northern Baptist Convention) went apostate generations ago.

Great news!


Tom’s retirement countdown: 18 more weekends to go!

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard continues with his arguments that Matthew 16:18 is a proof-text for Petrine primacy, the papacy, and the authority of the Roman Catholic church.

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13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter (petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:13-19


Protestant response #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”

Broussard quotes evangelical apologist, James R. White, to expound upon Protestant response #5: “The confession that Peter gives of the messiahship of Jesus is the central thought of the entire passage. It is the reason for the trip to Caesarea Philippi. Jesus indicates that Peter has just been the recipient of divine revelation. God, in his grace, has given to Peter an insight that does not find its origin in the will of man, but in God the Father himself. The content of that confession is, in fact, divine revelation, immediately impressed upon the soul of Peter. This is the immediate context of verse 18, and to divorce verse 18 from what came before leads to the errant shift in attention from the identity of Christ to the identity of Peter that is found in Roman Catholic exegesis. Certainly we cannot accept the idea, presented in Roman theology, that immediately upon pronouncing the benediction upon Peter’s confession of faith, the focus shifts away from that confession and what it reveals to Peter himself and some office with successors based upon him!” – James R. White, quoted from a debate with Catholic apologist, Robert Sungenis, May 30, 2008.

Broussard’s rebuttal

Broussard answers that there is a shift in focus from Jesus Christ to Peter beginning in verse 17. The pronoun “you” is used in reference to Peter twice in v. 17, twice in v.18, and thrice in v. 19. Given the context of the entire passage, argues Broussard, it’s only reasonable to assume that Jesus is referring to Peter as the rock upon which He will build His church in v. 18.

My rebuttal

James. R. White presented an excellent argument above regarding the focus of vv. 13-17 in context with v. 18, wherein Jesus declared He would build His church upon the truth divinely revealed to Peter, that He was the Messiah/Christ. White is undeniably correct in asserting that Catholics almost completely ignore the context presented in vv. 13-17 in making their case via v. 18 for Petrine primacy. There is certainly a shift in focus beginning in v. 19 where Jesus declares He will give to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven (important note: Jesus granted these spiritual keys of locking and unlocking, binding and loosing, to ALL of His disciples in Matthew 18:18). Broussard and Catholics self-servingly argue the shift in focus from Jesus to Peter begins in v. 17, while Gospel Christians argue the shift begins with v. 19. Who is right? Last week, we presented conclusive evidence (see here) that Jesus would build His church upon Himself as Christ/Messiah, Son of God, and Savior, NOT upon weak Peter and the corrupt despots in the Vatican who claimed to be Peter’s successors.

Next week: Protestant response #6: “All the apostles are the foundation, not just Peter.”

Throwback Thursday: Billy Graham – Part 2

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 21, 2016 and has been revised.

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Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000
By Iain H. Murray
The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000, 342 pp.

5 Stars

For part one of this post, please see here.

German higher biblical criticism came to the U.S. in the later-19th-century and was a swift-spreading cancer in seminaries and mainline Protestant churches. Believing churchmen drew a line in the sand with a series of 90 essays on the basics of the Christian faith, published between 1910 and 1915, and known as “The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth.” Bible Christians rallied around the cherished doctrinal truths, but as mainline liberalism gained wider support, the fundamentalist movement increasingly adopted a circle-the-wagons, bunker mentality.

Billy Graham began his ministry in 1947 as a fundamentalist, but he and others recognized that fundamentalism took the opposite approach to Jesus’ exhortation to be in the world, but not of the world. Graham and like-minded friends (Carl Henry, Harold Ockenga, Edward Carnell, et al.) reasoned they could more effectively reach souls for Christ by cooperating with mainline liberals and religious unbelievers rather than by separating from them. But just as fundamentalism had its unhealthy sectarian extremism, Graham’s “New Evangelicalism” had its own pitfalls. Cooperation works both ways and Graham’s cooperation with unorthodoxy and unbelief led to accommodation, compromise, and eventually, betrayal of the Gospel. Graham sacrificed right doctrine on the altar of numbers, popularity, and ecclesiastical “respectability” and set a precedent for generations of pastors and para-church leaders to come.

In “Evangelicalism Divided,” Iain Murray, a former close assistant to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, documents the rise and fall of Graham and New Evangelicalism. The larger portion of the book is devoted to circumstances in Britain, which closely mirrored those in the United States. Swimming against the rising tide, Lloyd-Jones called upon evangelicals to break ties with mainline liberalism and religious unbelief. When Graham began organizing crusades in Britain, he asked Lloyd-Jones, the nation’s most notable evangelical, to lend his support. Lloyd-Jones refused due to the many liberal churchmen aka religious unbelievers involved in Graham’s crusades. In opposition to Lloyd-Jones, Britain’s New Evangelicals, led by John Stott and J. I. Packer, rationalized that believers would be far more effective if they worked within the Anglican church. Not surprisingly, Packer would go on to be one of the charter signers of the ECT – Evangelicals and Catholics Together – ecumenical accords. Stott also fully embraced Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity. As for the current state of Anglicanism, is there even one Bible-believing minister within the entire denomination?

Murray may wander a bit, but overall this is an excellent book. There were so many passages I wanted to quote, but where to stop? I would have ended up quoting half the book. For everyone who wonders HOW and WHY Graham and company ended up eventually betraying the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, this book is a sad but necessary eye-opener.

“The reason why the BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) decided to co-operate with liberals and other non-evangelicals (such as Roman Catholics – Tom) was never set out in terms of principle. The fact is that the policy was seen as a neccessary expedient designed sincerely for the best end, namely to gain a wider hearing for the gospel. Crusades depended on crowds and in the Graham story there is an almost ever-present concern for maintaining and increasing numbers. ‘Keeping an eye for maximum public impact’ and ‘trying always for the largest possible crowds’ was a settled part of the Billy Graham Association’s strategy.” pp- 58-59.

“We may be small in numbers but since when has the doctrine of the remnant become unpopular among evangelicals? It is one of the most glorious doctrines in the whole Bible. We are not interested in numbers. We are interested in truth and in the living God. ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ …If we stand for God’s truth we can be sure that God will honour us and bless us.” – a quote from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, p.293.

“Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000” is available at Amazon here.

Catholic Myths

Catholic Myths: A Biblical Examination into the Myths, Rituals, Relics, Superstitions, and Inventions of the Roman Catholic Church
By Charles A. Zonca
Independently published, 2020, 227 pp.

3 Stars

With “Catholic Myths,” author Charles A. Zonca (Word of Victory Tract Ministries) has done a decent job examining many of the mythical elements of Roman Catholic theology (see chapter headings below). The RCC’s doctrines are based more upon the church’s spurious “sacred traditions” than upon the Bible. Many of the traditions have their roots in paganism.

However, there are a couple of problems with this book. 1) Zonca relies heavily upon Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” (1858) and Ralph Woodrow’s “Babylon Mystery Religion” (1966), which drew directly from the former. Historians have shown that Hislop overreached with some of his postulations regarding Babylonian paganism. Woodrow later reconsidered and disavowed his previous book with the publication of “The Babylon Connection?” in 1997. 2) Zonca is a purveyor of KJV 1611-Onlyism and presses that view.

“Catholic Myths” has a lot of very good, detailed information about popular, superstition-tinged Catholic beliefs and practices that the more academically-inclined evangelical writers like Gregg Allison and Leonardo De Chirico tend to avoid, but the problems mentioned above prevent me from recommending this book as a resource.

An excellent examination of Roman Catholicism as it compares to Biblical Christianity is “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy, available at Amazon here.

Contents

Myths

  • Bible Versions
  • The Rock
  • Apostolic Succession
  • Peter – Bishop of Rome
  • Limbo
  • Purgatory
  • Transubstantiation
  • Sacrifice of the Mass
  • Forgiveness of Sins
  • Mary – Mother of God
  • Assumption
  • Immaculate Conception
  • Mary Worship
  • Worship of Saints
  • Celibacy
  • Priests and Nuns
  • Sainthood Canonization
  • Fasting from Meat
  • Gambling and Drinking
  • Many Ways to Heaven
  • Muslims
  • Chrislam
  • Papal Infallibility
  • Charismatic Movement
  • The Magi

Rituals

  • All Saints Day
  • Holy Stairs in Rome
  • Indulgences
  • Infant Baptism
  • The Host
  • Worship of the Monstrance
  • Pope’s Tiara
  • Mitre
  • Kissing the Pope’s Ring
  • Kissing Statues
  • Priestly Clergy Garments
  • Processions
  • Praying the Rosary
  • Pilgrimages to Shrines
  • Votive Candles
  • Catholic Santería Voodoo Rituals
  • Epiphany Door Blessing Ritual

Relics

  • Relics of Romanism
  • Our Lady of Clearwater
  • The Nun Bun
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe

Superstitions

  • Apparitions
  • Amulets

Good News

  • The Bible – Man’s Only Hope

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #141

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Romans 3:9-20 on “All Are Under Sin.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 2:1-3 on “God’s Perfect Judgement.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, June 5th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – All Are Under Sin – Sermon begins at 19:25 mark

Pastor Cody Andrews – God’s Perfect Judgement – Sermon begins at 25:45 mark

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 6/18/22

I don’t need to tell you that it’s “Gay Pride Month” since we are all being subjected to the L*** propaganda steamroller ad nauseam via the media and elsewhere. When I log in my time on my computer at work, the first thing I see on my company’s website is a large colorful article endorsing and promulgating Gay Pride Month. We note that the Bible teaches against both homosexuality and pridefulness.

The first article above provides an informative summary of how pope Francis, James Martin, SJ, and other progressives are greasing the skids for full acceptance of practicing L***ers within the RCC. The second article mentions the ongoing efforts of progressive Catholics to canonize Franciscan priest, Mychal Judge, a former NYC firefighters’ chaplain and the first individual to die in the 9/11 attack, as the first openly homosexual saint. Popular Catholic theologian, John Henry Cardinal Newman’s (1801-1891), canonisation was delayed for 130 years due to his controversial relationship with priest, Ambrose St. John, but pope Francis pushed it through in 2019.

No one should be pressured to support the L*** propaganda machine. Society will increasingly demand that Bible Christians acquiesce.

Pseudo-Christian pro-L***ers often use the argument that Jesus Christ never specifically condemned homosexuality, as Catholic Ted Lieu recently pointed out on the floor of the U.S. Capital. This is an argument from the absurd.

“3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus taught a man/male and woman/female becoming one, not a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Jesus upheld all of Scripture, and the Old Testament (and New Testament) unequivocally identifies homosexuality as sin.

The RCC spends years revising its formulaic incantations. Only God can forgive sins.

Some liberal Catholics are saying “sayonara” to the RCC and encouraging others to do the same after San Francisco archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, barred abortion supporter, Nancy Pelosi, from receiving the Jesus wafer in her home diocese.

Tomorrow is the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi (“the Body of Christ”), in which Catholics celebrate the alleged transformation of bread wafers into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Eating the Jesus wafer supposedly imparts graces that helps the partaker to resist sin in order to merit salvation at the moment of death. The U.S. Catholic bishops ordained a three-year eucharistic revival beginning tomorrow. The aim of the revival is to educate Catholics on proper Jesus wafer doctrine, etiquette, and protocols. A 2019 Pew Research poll showed that only 30% of Catholics believe the consecrated wafer is actually Jesus. A very recent survey revealed that only 34% of Catholics believe the Jesus wafer should be withheld from Catholic politicians like Pelosi and Joe Biden who disagree with church teaching on abortion. Tomorrow, Rochester Catholic bishop, Salvatore R. Matano, will be carrying a large Jesus wafer in a monstrance (gold container with see-through glass) in a procession around Corpus Christi Church at 864 E. Main St. Catholics will line the streets (well, certainly not as many as in years gone by) and bow in worship to the Jesus wafer as it passes by (example photo below).


The alternative to all of the falsities and wranglings within the RCC referred to in the articles above is the genuine Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.


Tom’s retirement countdown: 19 more weekends to go!

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #4: “The foundation is Peter’s confession of faith.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard continues with his arguments that Matthew 16:18 is a proof-text for Petrine primacy, the papacy, and the authority of the Roman Catholic church.

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13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter (petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church. – Matthew 16:13-18


Protestant Response #4: “The foundation is Peter’s confession of faith”

Writes Broussard, “Protestant apologists note that Jesus begins with a personal address directed to Peter using the second-person pronoun you. ‘And I tell you, you are Peter,’ but then switches to the demonstrative adjective this: ‘and upon this rock.’ James White infers from this that Jesus makes ‘the differentiation between ‘Peter’ and ‘this rock’ complete,’ and that Jesus is ‘speaking to Peter about the ‘rock.” If Jesus had intended ‘this rock’ to refer to Peter, the argument continues, he would have continued to use the second-person pronoun and said, ‘You are Peter, and upon you, Peter, I will build my church.’ Instead, he’s referring to the next-closest thing in the text: Peter’s proclamation that Jesus is the Christ” (pp. 25-26).

Broussard’s rebuttal

Broussard opens his rebuttal with the argument that “there’s no reason why the metaphorical rock can’t have a double meaning: one primary (Peter) and the other secondary (Peter’s confession of faith)” (p. 26). He admits the Catechism of the Catholic Church embraces this double meaning (see CCC 424 here). “However,” continues Broussard, “given the context of the passage…Peter’s profession of faith can only be a secondary meaning, since Peter is the direct recipient of Jesus’ address.” Broussard argues, “Just because Jesus switches from saying ‘you‘ to saying ‘this,’ it doesn’t follow that he must be changing his object from Peter to something else.” Broussard presents two examples in which Jesus’ disciples and Jesus are referred to using the demonstrative adjective, this (Matthew 5:14, implied) and Acts 4:10-11. Broussard also argues “that Peter’s declaration of faith is two verses removed from the ‘this.’ So, when Jesus says ‘this rock,’ it’s more reasonable to think he’s referring to Simon, whom he just renamed Rock, because he is the nearest thing for the pronoun to refer to” (p. 27).

My rebuttal

As I mentioned last week, it’s certainly misleading that Broussard presents the Protestant position on Matthew 16:18 as two distinct “comebacks”: 1) “the foundation is Jesus” discussed last week and 2) “the foundation is Peter’s confession of faith,” convolutedly presented this week. It’s clear that the Truth of Jesus being THE Rock is contained in Peter’s confession and it’s upon that Truth, Jesus being the Christ, that the church would be built.

In this section, Broussard expends a great amount of effort examining grammar and sentence structure to defend the Roman misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18. It’s fair to say that the verse is not crystal clear in meaning by itself so as to validate either the Protestant interpretation or the Roman misinterpretation. It’s obvious we’re not going to get to the crux of this issue by debating sentence structure.

As we stated last week, Scripture interprets Scripture, and it’s clear from the many Scripture passages that we presented in the previous post that Jesus Christ Himself, not Peter (petros), is THE Rock (petra) upon which He would build His church.

Let us present several additional arguments showing that Jesus is the Rock and that Rome’s self-serving interpretation is fallacious:

  1. In Matthew 20:20-28, the mother of James and John comes to Jesus and requests that her two sons be granted pre-eminency among the apostles. Why would she have done so if Peter had already been granted that status in Matthew 16:18 as Catholics insist? Mark 8:27-30 includes the synoptic parallel of Matthew 16:13-18 and yet in Mark 9:33-37, we see the apostles arguing amongst themselves over who is the greatest, who has primacy? In neither account does Jesus correct them, saying, “Didn’t you hear me give Peter apostolic primacy?” No, instead we witness Jesus rebuking the apostles for desiring primacy: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you.” – Matthew 20:25-26. The authoritarian hierarchy implemented by the RCC, which was adopted from the Roman imperial model, was precisely the type of structure that Jesus forbade. Both Matthew 20 and Mark 9 thoroughly debunk the Catholic misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18. We could satisfactorily rest our case at this point, but there is much more.
  2. Let’s look at other Scriptures. In the Acts of the Apostles, we certainly see that Peter did play a leading role among the apostles, although nothing resembling a pope. However, beginning in chapter 13 and continuing until chapter 28, the end of the book, we see the emphasis shift to the apostle Paul. In none of Paul’s thirteen epistles do we see Peter acknowledged as preeminent or anything even remotely resembling the Roman Catholic pope. Zero. Zilch. Nada. In contrast, Paul wrote that he was the equal of any of the apostles, even the more influential ones like Peter (Galatians 2:6). In fact, Paul had to publicly confront Peter at Antioch because the allegedly infallible first pope had compromised the Gospel of grace by deferring to the legalistic Judaizers and segregating himself from Gentile believers (Galatians 2:11-14). In the eight epistles that follow Paul’s letters, two written by Peter himself, we see absolutely zero evidence for Petrine primacy or the RC papacy.

We have demonstrated from an abundance of Scripture that Petrine primacy and the office of pope are Roman Catholic inventions. As the bishops of Rome consolidated their power, they searched the Bible for supporting proof-texts and manipulated Matthew 16:18 to meet their devilish ends.

It’s quite interesting that Augustine, who Rome views as one of its premier theologians and a highly esteemed “doctor of the church” held to the Protestant interpretation of Matthew 16:18.

“But whom say ye that I am? Peter answered, ‘Thou art the Christ, The Son of the living God.’ One for many gave the answer, Unity in many. Then said the Lord to him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.’ Then He added, ‘and I say unto thee.’ As if He had said, ‘Because thou hast said unto Me, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God;” I also say unto thee, “Thou art Peter.” ’ For before he was called Simon. Now this name of Peter was given him by the Lord, and in a figure, that he should signify the Church. For seeing that Christ is the rock (Petra), Peter is the Christian people. For the rock (Petra) is the original name. Therefore Peter is so called from the rock; not the rock from Peter; as Christ is not called Christ from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. ‘Therefore,’ he saith, ‘Thou art Peter; and upon this Rock’ which Thou hast confessed, upon this rock which Thou hast acknowledged, saying, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church;’ that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, ‘will I build My Church.’ I will build thee upon Myself, not Myself upon Thee.For men who wished to be built upon men, said, ‘I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas,’ who is Peter. But others who did not wish to built upon Peter, but upon the Rock, said, ‘But I am of Christ.’ And when the Apostle Paul ascertained that he was chosen, and Christ despised, he said, ‘Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?’ And, as not in the name of Paul, so neither in the name of Peter; but in the name of Christ: that Peter might be built upon the Rock, not the Rock upon Peter.” – Augustine, from Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VI, St. Augustin, Sermon XXVI.1-4, pp. 340-341).

Broussard guilefully omits from the reader the view from Rome’s most venerated theologian on this matter. Other church “fathers” wrote that Jesus Christ was the Rock referred to in Matthew 16:18, including Origen, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Theodoret of Cyr, Cyril of Alexandria, Hilary of Poitiers, Jerome, Epiphanius, etc. (see William Webster’s excellent and nuanced article on the topic here). While we appreciate the views of Augustine and the other church fathers who correctly interpreted Matthew 16:8 to mean Jesus is the Rock upon which the church would be built, not Peter, we must always defer to Scripture for our spiritual truth and Scripture taken together shows that Jesus Christ is the Rock referred to in Matthew 16:18.

Next week: Protestant response #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”

Throwback Thursday: Billy Graham – Part 1

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 19, 2016 and has been revised.

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Billy Graham (d. 2018) is widely revered as the greatest evangelist of the last 100 years. No individual did more to spread the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone in that span. But my experience with Graham was quite different.

I left Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1983. What joy it was to have my sins forgiven and to walk in fellowship with the Lord! I had watched several of Graham’s crusades as a Catholic. Perhaps the televised crusades had softened my heart on my journey to the Lord, but I don’t recall them having made a direct impact. But as a new Christian, I was thrilled to be able to stand with such a famous and revered figure as Billy Graham in declaring the Good News! of Jesus Christ.

However, several months after accepting Christ, I came across some information that was critical of Graham. I learned that his crusades were planned in cooperation with local Roman Catholic clergy. Huh? When Catholics came forward at Graham’s invitation to accept Christ, they were referred to Catholic workers and eventually sent back to Catholic parishes. Catholics were told that coming forward at a Graham crusade was simply a recommitment to their sacramental baptism and confirmation. Catholicism talks about “faith” and “grace,” but their bottom line is a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

I was shocked by Graham’s betrayal of the Gospel. What was he thinking? I had “swam across the Tiber,” AWAY from Rome’s false gospel, to the Gospel of grace only to find evangelicalism’s favorite son encouraging Catholics to remain in error and convincing other evangelicals to embrace Rome as a genuine Christian church. How could this have happened?

I’m currently reading a book titled, “Evangelicalism Divided,” by Iain Murray, a former associate of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which offers some explanations for why Graham and other-like minded evangelicals accommodated and compromised with doctrinal error in the pursuit of “results” and popularity and how that eventually led to the betrayal of the Gospel. I’ll be reviewing that book as the second part of this post.

Graham is so highly esteemed by evangelicals that few will tolerate any kind of criticism of him. In our post-modern age of tolerance and niceness, any kind of negative appraisal is widely frowned upon, even if an individual is leading millions into gross doctrinal error.

I’m not going to expend a great amount of effort writing about Protestantism’s “saint,” however, if you’ve hung with me this far, I would strongly encourage you to watch the attached 1:30-minute video clip in which Dr. Graham was interviewed by positivist gospel preacher, Robert Schuller. In the interview, Graham states that people of all religions will be saved; a universalist belief. Since Graham stated that belief in Jesus Christ and the Gospel wasn’t important to salvation, it’s understandable why he had no qualms with Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

Brothers and sisters, be careful who you follow. They may not be all they appear to be. If the world esteems them highly, that may be your first clue.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:6-9

“For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15