An irenic invitation to Roman Catholics to accept Christ

The Road Once Travelled
By Mark Gilbert with Cecily Paterson
Matthias Media, 2010, 63 pages

There are hundreds of good resources on Roman Catholicism from a Bible Christian perspective (see my listing here). They range from the very confrontational to the almost irenic. ‘The Road Once Travelled” definitely tends toward the latter. Australian conservative Anglican minister, Mark Gilbert, gives his personal testimony of starting out in life as a Roman Catholic, but then reading the Bible and discovering the Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

There are no nasty put-downs of Catholicism in this booklet. But Gilbert places himself in the shoes of his Catholic readers regarding the irrelevant, boring, and confusing aspects of Catholic ritualism and the ever-present guilt cycle that’s part and parcel of religious legalism. He then discusses the authority of the Bible and the ultimate “solution” to man’s spiritual need, Jesus Christ.

This booklet is very well-designed and non-confrontational in tone and meant to be given to Catholic friends and family. It’s a little too loosey-goosey to my way of thinking and comes close to erring on the side of politically correct “niceness.” Gilbert almost seems to be telling his readers that it’s probably a good idea for them to accept Christ and leave Catholicism rather than compelling them (e.g., “…it seemed best for me to leave” and “Everyone’s journey is different and, in many ways, is not that important…,” both quotes from p. 61).

But personalities are different and some Catholics who would never consider reading something more forthright and confrontational might read this quasi-irenic booklet.

Order from Matthias Media here.


Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/17/18

The “Wonder Woman” actress offended the disabled community with her non-PC comment about the recently deceased Hawking now being “free from physical constraints.” But it’s totally irrational for people to use these tritely sympathetic sayings in regards to Hawking because he was a crusading atheist who preached complete non-existence after death.

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” – Stephen Hawking

I believe that at this moment Hawking is fully convinced of God’s existence.

Catholicism still talks about “evangelization” but it has a hard time putting it into practice because the church teaches every “good” person – Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, New Ager, and atheist – is able to merit Heaven.

Pell is the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy (Vatican Finance Minister) and the highest ranking prelate to be accused of sexual abuse.

Some people are enamored with Catholicism’s art and grandiose architecture (like my former SBC pastor), but these things are not indications of genuine Biblical spirituality. Instead of drawing people to Christ, I would argue that such gaudy worldliness is an idol.

Universalism is creeping into the evangelical church. Billy Graham was an advocate (unbeknownst to many fawning admirers) and we also saw it taught in the wildly popular “The Shack” novel and movie.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of pope Paul VI’s controversial “Humanae Vitae” encyclical letter, which banned all forms of birth control (including non-abortifacients) under pain of mortal sin. The vast majority of Catholics flout this rule with absolutely no pangs of conscience.

Catholics talk about “spreading the faith” and “sharing the gospel,” but what faith and gospel do they propagate? What they offer is a complicated system of works-righteousness legalism based on sacramental grace and merit.

This article is a good summary of pope Francis’ very controversial papacy at the five year mark.

No, no, no, this isn’t a satirical piece from the Babylon Bee! Jeffress carries the Falwellian torch of conflating Christianity with political conservatism and fervent national patriotism and gives evangelicalism a bad name in the minds of many of the unsaved.

Okay, NOW we have some actual satire from the Babylon Bee!

I usually try to limit the Weekend Roundup to ten stories, but I had to make an exception for this Babylon Bee satirical piece.

Update: How a “church” became a dark stain on the Gospel witness in my city

Way back in September, I posted the story far below about the arrest of a local pastor, Paul B., on charges of forcibly touching three women who were attending his church. My wife and I were members of the church in question for eight years back in the 80s and early 90s when Paul’s father was pastor. But we could see signs of spiritual unhealthiness at that church twenty-seven years ago, which precipitated our leaving. These charges against Paul stemmed from abuses in 2016 and 2017, but there had also been allegations of abuse in 2013 and 2014.

What has happened since the arrest in September? Our justice system does not work quickly and sometimes that is by design. Paul appeared in town court with his lawyer on October 26th, November 27th, January 18th, and February 26th and each time the trial was postponed. But on Paul’s next court date, this past Wednesday, March 14th, the town prosecutor announced that a plea deal had been struck. Paul pleaded guilty to only one of the four counts of sexual abuse and in exchange he will be sentenced in two months to one year of probation and will be listed as a sex offender. What? Probation? Not even one week in jail? My, some people have to spend a month in jail for much less than Paul’s “offense.”

Once again the local media focused on the news of Paul’s guilty plea and his upcoming sentencing and once again the Gospel witness in our town received a black eye, not to mention all of the emotional pain suffered by the victims of this serial abuser and the deep betrayal felt by the church’s members.

Former Henrietta pastor pleads guilty to sexual abuse (article from local newspaper)

Former Henrietta pastor pleads guilty to sexual abuse (video from local television news)

A few things came to mind after the news of Paul’s guilty plea:

  • Some people are just not fit for ministry. Nepotism got Paul his initial position on staff at the church despite admitted scandalous conduct, which caused a split. Spirit-filled members sensed the danger, but Paul’s father steamrolled all opposition.
  • Paul became pastor of the church in 2011 after his father had suffered a small stroke. He obviously had to study the Bible frequently in order to preach all of those sermons he delivered in the six years prior to his arrest. But what was his private prayer life like? No Christian is perfect, but how could a man walk closely with the Lord in daily prayer and also regularly prey on victims? Was Paul even saved? We all need to stay close to the Lord in daily prayerful communion and we need to regularly lift up our pastors in prayer. There’s no doubt that Satan especially targets pastors.
  • I can’t tell a church I am not a member of how to operate, but the new pastor that’s now in place should ask for the resignation of every deacon who unequivocally supported Paul from 2011 to 2017 in the face of many allegations of impropriety. I was an outsider, but even I could see the flashing warning signs regarding Paul’s lifestyle. Many church boards are comprised of “yes men.”
  • If you are a member of a church in which the pastor exerts unhealthy control over the membership and there appears to be no oversight regarding the pastor, find a spiritually healthy church.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

via How a “church” became a dark stain on the Gospel witness in my city

Catholic stuff on cable, network television, and radio

There have been a few noteworthy (and un-noteworthy), Catholic-themed programs in the media lately that I’d like to deal with all in one fell swoop:

Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History on CNN
Episode 1: The Rise of the Pope

This CNN series debuted this past Sunday night and I caught the first episode, “The Rise of the Pope,” via on-demand. This docudrama plays fast and loose with historical accuracy. There are no credible sources proving that the apostle Peter was the first bishop of Rome, although this episode presents Catholicism’s claims as fact. Roman Emperor Constantine’s sponsorship of the church is discussed, but as I’ve questioned before (see here), where was the bishop of Rome when Constantine was calling ALL the shots regarding the church? The presentation of the increasing institutionalization of the early church, patterned after the Roman imperial model, is well done. This episode ends with an examination of Roman Catholicism’s schism with Eastern Orthodoxy in 1054 and the genesis of the Crusades to recover the “Holy Land” from the Muslims as well as to suppress Jews and heretics.

While this first episode propagates the Catholic church’s un-Biblical and historically unsupported claims about the primacy of Peter, it does a pretty good job of showing how the leadership of the early Catholic church was increasingly motivated by the lust for temporal political power and wealth. I’m disappointed that no evangelical scholars were asked to participate as commentators. Future episodes are listed as follows:

  • 3/18 – The Resignation of Benedict XVI.
  • 3/25 – The Price of Progress.
  • 4/1 – A Church Divided. (This is definitely an episode I don’t want to miss – Tom)
  • 4/8 – The Wartime Popes.
  • 4/15 – Courage, Change, & the Modern Papacy.

Living Biblically, CBS, Monday Nights
Episode Three: Love Thy Neighbor

After watching the first two installments of this regrettable new CBS comedy series, I finally got around to seeing episode number three via on-demand. The main character, Chip, a Roman Catholic, continues as a self-described “good person trying to be better” by following Biblical law. In this episode, he’s tormented by his inconsiderate upstairs apartment neighbors who blast their stereo late into the night while engaging in noisy sex. Sorry, folks, but that’s the premise. Chip consults with his “god squad,” a priest and a rabbi, and ends up being on better terms with his annoying co-worker, Cheryl, as well as kindly convincing his upstairs neighbors to show some consideration for their fellow tenants. Not a lot of substance here, and nothing about the need for salvation by God’s grace though faith in Jesus Christ alone. The best way to love our unsaved neighbors is to share the Gospel with them, but in Chip’s world, it’s all about being a “good” person.

The Catholic Current
The Station of the Cross, WLOF (Our Lady of Fatima), 101.7 FM, Buffalo, New York

For almost four years, I listened to daily podcasts of a Catholic talk radio show,  “Calling All Catholics,” broadcast out of Buffalo, New York. It was a pretty standard format with Catholic listeners calling in to ask the priest hosts questions about the Catholic religion. The reason I listened was to stay abreast of what was going on within the Catholic church and to use some of the information as fodder for this blog.

But beginning on January 3rd, the show changed dramatically. The name was changed to “The Catholic Current” with a new format addressing the errors and confusion creeping into the church from the likes of pope Francis and his progressive allies. Previous priest hosts were jettisoned and traditionalist priests were brought aboard including David Nix, Ronan Murphy, Shannon Collins, and Robert McTeigue. For twenty-four broadcasts, from January 3rd until February 6th, the traditionalist priests strongly criticized the pope and church progressives in regards to a variety of topics. It was quite amazing to behold! But suddenly it all stopped. Without any explanation, “The Catholic Current” was temporarily replaced by broadcasts of Al Kresta’s national Catholic talk show. WLOF’s website said “The Catholic Current” was “on hiatus.” The show began broadcasting again on March 12th, but notably missing were Nix, Murphy, Collins, and McTeigue and any open criticisms of the pope. The replacement priests are currently discussing the hum-drum basics of Catholic doctrine.

So, what happened? Not one word of explanation was given on the March 12th broadcast regarding the hiatus, the dramatic change in subject material, or the dismissal of the four priest hosts. My guess? Someone had called the Buffalo diocesan office and complained that WLOF was openly encouraging opposition to pope Francis. A diocesan representative then presumably contacted the offices of WLOF and “strongly encouraged” the station to cease and desist immediately.

The above is sheer speculation on my part, but I believe it’s a very good guess. It’s absolutely amazing to watch Catholicism attempt to grapple with pope Francis’ lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees in the “Amoris Laetitia” encyclical and his other “reforms.” You couldn’t find any better theater on Broadway, but following this three-ring circus are hundreds of millions of loyal Catholics who are attempting to earn their salvation according to their church’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

Remember convents? Catholic girls were once attracted to the “discipline” of religious orders.

Written and directed by Maggie Betts and featuring Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, and Dianna Agron.
Sony Pictures Classics, 2017, 123 minutes

You have to be around sixty-years-old or older to remember pre-Vatican II, militant Catholicism. This film brought back memories.

Plot (spoiler alert!)

Young Cathleen experiences very little love in her broken home, but she is awarded a scholarship to a Catholic school for girls and is intrigued by the nuns who teach her. To the absolute chagrin of her “freespirited” mother (Nicholson), Cathleen (Qualley) decides to enter the convent of the Sisters of the Blessed Rose in 1964 at the age of seventeen. She is attracted by the nuns’ close-knit community, disciplined lifestyle, and intense “spirituality.” However, Cathleen’s fanciful conception of convent life meets cold reality like a hard slap across the face in the person of Reverend Mother (Leo), who rules the institution with an iron fist. Cathleen and the other novices must endure harsh and humiliating treatment and adhere to a thick catalog of rules and regulations for the opportunity of becoming a full-fledged nun. Many drop away or are deemed unsuitable and dismissed. The remaining young women have a sympathetic ally in one young nun, sister Mary Grace (Agron), who chafes under the boot of Reverend Mother, but the old war horse has her own problems.

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) is ushering in many reforms of church practices and rules governing religious orders and Reverend Mother is none too pleased with this threat to her fiefdom. She resists the changes as long as possible while venting her frustration on her charges. Cathleen struggles to endure her training and even starves herself into the infirmary in an attempt to master her spiritual failings. Under orders from the archbishop, Reverend Mother can no longer forestall the Vatican II reforms and reluctantly notifies the sisters of the changes. Horrified by the unsettling news, many nuns leave the convent and return to the secular world. Only a small handful of novices remain, and on the day they take their “final vows” to become full-fledged nuns, Cathleen decides to leave the convent.


Boy, did this film bring back memories. I attended Catholic parochial school from 1961 to 1970 and personally witnessed the last stages of militant, pre-Vatican II Catholicism and then the dramatic window-dressing changes of Vatican II. I can remember all the nuns who taught me quite vividly. Some were kind and some were very troubled souls who released their anger on us children. Those poor women were attempting to merit their way to Heaven by living ascetic lives according to the strict rules of their order, the Sisters of Mercy. We talk about religious cults, but was there anything more cultish than a group of women living together as the brides of Christ replete with wedding rings and dressed in 11th century garb? As the movie shows, these women had to endure great hardship and humiliation. Many forms of self-mortification were encouraged. This movie alludes to lesbian relationships inside the convent, what real-life nuns termed as “particular friendships.” This is a sensitive topic, but lesbianism was a very real issue in convents, where women, young and old, were deprived of natural affections. As an eighth-grade student, I witnessed signs of a “particular friendship” between my homeroom teacher and another nun.

This was a good film, but a painful one to watch because of the memories. As a child, I witnessed first-hand the type of vicious cruelty doled out by the film’s Reverend Mother. Being the target of a nun’s hissy fit was painful. Melissa Leo is excellent in the role of convent despot.

Additional comments from an ex-Catholic believer

Catholicism changed its window dressing with Vatican II, but it still preaches the same core doctrines and the same false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. All of these poor nuns attempted to earn their salvation through severe asceticism, but Catholics still try to merit their salvation as they are instructed by their church. At the end of the film, it states that, following the changes of Vatican II, “90,000 nuns renounced their vocations and left their convents.” My hope is that some of them eventually trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. There are relatively very few nuns in the U.S. today; the number dropped from 180,000 in 1965 to 50,000 in 2014 and the majority of those that remain are elderly.

For the testimonies of 20 former nuns who left Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, see here.

In this scene, the novices meet with Reverend Mother and each confess their sins publicly as a weekly ritual . The other novices are asked to accuse each nun of any sins they have observed.

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