Come home! Rome calls out to her daughters

Catholics and Protestants: What We Can Learn From Each Other
By Peter Kreeft
Ignatius Press, 2017, 204 pages

Peter Kreeft is one of Roman Catholicism’s most prolific apologists. When the new, young pastor of the Southern Baptist church we used to attend cited Kreeft as one of his favorite philosophers from the pulpit a couple of years ago, I knew it was time for us to leave.

In this new book, Kreeft makes an appeal in simple, everyday language to non-academic evangelicals to unite with Rome. In Catholic parlance, “unity” always means returning to the authority of the Vatican and to the Catholic sacraments and liturgical worship.

Right off the bat, Kreeft contends that the Reformation’s main debate over the issue of justification was resolved with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between Rome and Lutherans in 1999 so therefore evangelicals have no good reason for remaining outside of Catholicism. Not so fast, Professor! Mainline liberal Lutherans and Methodists may have signed this vague accord, but Catholicism still teaches the same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that it taught in 1517. Nothing has changed. Catholicism teaches good works/sanctification merit justification/salvation. In contrast, Bible Christianity teaches good works/sanctification are the fruit of genuine justification/salvation through faith in Christ alone. The two approaches are diametrically opposed. For an excellent evangelical response to the Joint Declaration, see here.

After quickly dismissing the rhubarb over justification as yesterday’s news, Kreeft then looks at a few other Protestant objections to Catholicism including the “real presence” of Jesus in the eucharist and Mary’s role in salvation. Regarding the former, he simply advises Protestants to visit the nearest Catholic church and pray to the Jesus wafer in the tabernacle and ask if it’s really Him or not. For the latter, he uses the typical Catholic sophistry that all that veneration/worship of Mary is, at the bottom line, actually devotion to Jesus.

Kreeft strongly compliments evangelicals for their passion for Christ and roundly criticizes cultural Catholics for their apathy and begs evangelicals to return to Rome because the only proper place for the “flame” is the “authentic fireplace.” Kreeft drops the names of ecumenist C.S. Lewis and Mother Teresa throughout the text because he’s certainly aware these two religious celebrities are highly recognizable to doctrine-lite evangelicals and are possible bridges to interest in Rome.

Kreeft gently chides Protestants for basing their identity on a negative, i.e., “protesting” Catholicism, rather than joining Catholics and positively proclaiming the (g)ospel. He also defends Rome’s unscriptural interfaith approach to non-Christian religions, repeating the Vatican line that goodness and truth can be found in all faiths and can be Christ-sanctioned roads to redemption.

There’s no logical flow to this book; each short chapter encompasses an individual thought about Catholic-Protestant reunion so you can put it down and pick it up two days later without missing a lie…er…I mean, a beat. This book would appeal to Protestants who have scanty knowledge of Catholic theology and church history and are eager to embrace every person as a fellow Christian who says they “love Jesus, too” (a la Rick Warren). Please note that prominent evangelicals, Timothy George (always a Judas cheerleader for Catholicism) and Eric Metaxas, contribute glowing recommendations on the back cover. There’s already plenty of accommodation, cooperation, compromise, and betrayal within evangelicalism. With this book Kreeft is hoping many will take the next “logical” step.

Postscript: To read how Bible Christians came to be called “Protestants,” see here.

Postscript II: Imagine Spurgeon’s or Lloyd-Jones’s response if someone asked them what they could learn from Catholicism?

Should Christians participate in the National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 4th?

This Thursday, May 4th, is the National Day of Prayer. On that day, Americans of all religious stripes – evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, Wiccans, etc., – will join together and pray for the welfare of the nation.

As a born-again, evangelical Christian, it’s my understanding that we should be reaching out to the religious lost in this country with the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, not joining with them in religious activities.

These sorts of ecumenical endeavors might seem right according to worldly understanding but they’re wrong according to God’s Word.

The Southern Baptist church we attended a couple of years ago opted to participate in the National Day of Prayer and that was one of several signs for us that we needed to leave.

Unfortunately, many American Christians take Old Testament passages that refer to God’s covenant with the nation of Israel and incorrectly apply them to the United States, like the blatant misappropriation of Daniel 9:19 in the accompanying advertisement. God is NOT in a covenant relationship with the U.S.. We need to pray for the salvation of the lost souls living in this country rather than joining with them in prayer for the welfare of the nation. Heresy? For many Christians in America, the focus is on national prosperity and patriotic pride rather than on the spiritual battle going on all around us. The ecumenism of the National Day of Prayer is of the evil one.

On Thursday, evangelical Christians should pray for the salvation of the lost in this country – religious and non-religious –  and pray for the nation’s leaders that they will not hinder the spreading of the Gospel, but those are prayers that we should be praying every day.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14–17


Should we Participate in the National Day of Prayer?
http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-paul-j-dean/should-we-participate-in-the-national-day-of-prayer-11631260.html

Unsettling

WL

Woodlawn
Directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin
Pure Flix Entertainment, 2015, 124 minutes

Every morning on my drive into work, I catch the tail-end of evangelist Greg Laurie’s radio show. I’m not a big fan because of Laurie’s ecumenical leanings but many months ago I heard him discussing “Woodlawn” with one of the movie’s directors and I picked up the DVD out of curiosity. This week I finally got around to watching it.

Plot

In 1973 in his sophomore year, African-American student, Tony Nathan (Caleb Castille), is bused to Woodlawn, a previously segregated all-white high school in Birmingham, Alabama. Nathan is an extremely talented athlete but Coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) keeps him on the bench because he doesn’t want to rile the good ol’ boys of the community who are already on edge. Racial tensions on the team compound an already dismal start to the football season. A Christian evangelist, Hank Erwin (Sean Astin), asks if he can give a motivational talk to the team and most of the players profess accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. Racial tensions ease as the players are increasingly united in their faith. Nathan is given the starting job as the team’s featured running back, but as the wins begin piling up he must reconcile his growing popularity with a budding romantic relationship and with his faith in Christ.

The Gospel begins to spread through the high school campus and Bible studies and prayer groups become the norm. Even reluctant Coach Gerelds accepts Christ. Impacted by what’s happening at Woodlawn, the revival spreads to other high school campuses. A large number of the players from the Banks high school football team, once a bitter rival of Woodlawn, also accept Christ. Forty-thousand fans turn out to watch Woodlawn play Banks but it’s more about cheering for Jesus and racial harmony than for a ball game.

Commentary

The writing, acting, and production standards of this film all leave a lot to be desired.

Additional thoughts from a believer

It was somewhat inspirational to see this portrayal of faith spreading so quickly among so many, but how many of the young people of Birmingham actually accepted Christ in 1973 and how many were just caught up in religious emotionalism and hysteria? “Woodlawn” left me with an uneasy feeling. This film gives a great deal of credit for the Woodlawn “revival” to the after-effects of “Explo 72,” a Campus Crusade for Christ conference that drew more than 80,000 college and high school students to the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas, Texas over the course of five days in 1972, featuring Billy Graham and Bill Bright as the main speakers. An affiliated, one-day music concert, later dubbed as the “Christian Woodstock,” drew over 100,000.

Graham is hailed as the greatest evangelist of our times yet no one has done more to blur the Gospel of grace and further evangelical ecumenism with Rome. At the end of the film, viewers are encouraged to attend Laurie’s Harvest 2016 happening in Dallas as well as the ecumenical “Together 2016” event in Washington, D.C., which included a video message from pope Francis. When the credits rolled at the end of “Woodlawn,” I was not surprised to see the executive producers were Roman Catholic/New Age ecumenist, Roma Downey, and her husband, Mark Burnett.

Graphic designer who helped launch “The Shack” now has deep regrets

SHHER

 

William P. Young has been successfully propagating his universal reconciliation heresy via his novel, “The Shack,” and the film adaptation. In the article below, graphic designer, Dave Aldrich, speaks about how he participated in the publishing of “The Shack” but now has deep regrets.


‘I Have Deep Regrets’: Graphic Artist Who Designed ‘Shack’ Novel Renounces Book
By Heather Clark
ChristianNews.net
April 10, 2017

The graphic artist who helped design the controversial best-selling novel “The Shack” has come forward to express his regret for being a part of the project out of his concern that it contains false doctrine.

“[O]ver 10 years ago, I was captivated by the story and felt honored to be part of the graphic creation of the book. I was so drawn into it, wanting to know the God it portrayed,” Dave Aldrich of Aldrich Design posted to social media on Tuesday. “The Shack’s story wonderfully painted this picture to me of an incredibly knowable and loving God, one full of forgiveness, but without being judgmental.”

To continue reading the article see here.

The Case for Compromise and Betrayal

CFC

While listening to the “Kresta in the Afternoon” Catholic talk radio show on my drive home from work yesterday, I heard an advertisement for the upcoming film, “The Case for Christ,” which boasted to the Catholic listeners that the movie was endorsed by Charles Chaput, Catholic archbishop of Philadelphia.

Sigh.

Before proceeding any further, allow me to fill in a little background. When a product is wildly successful with the public, the manufacturer will often introduce multiple variations of the same product. Think Cheerios, Ocean Spray cranberry drinks, Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc. Evangelical apologist, Lee Strobel, wrote “The Case for Christ” in 1998 and it sold tons of copies. Strobel has leveraged the success of his first book by cranking out one “The Case for…” book after another.

I borrowed “The Case for Christ” from the library a couple of years ago and actually enjoyed it. I then borrowed the second book in the series, “The Case for Faith” (2000), but I was very disappointed by some of the contents. Strobel cited mother Teresa, pope John Paul II, G.K. Chesterton, and Teresa of Avila, all staunch Catholics faithful to their church’s teachings, as exemplary Christians. An entire chapter was devoted to Catholic theologian, Peter Kreeft, who routinely propagates the Catholic salvation theology of salvation by sacramental grace and merit through his books and lectures. Needless to say, I haven’t bothered to read any more of Strobel’s “The Case for…” books.

I’ve since learned that Lee Strobel is a disciple of ecumenical theologian, Norman Geisler, who also mentored Ravi Zacharias and William Lane Craig. Ah, it’s all beginning to fit. Geisler, Zacharias, and Craig were also allotted individual chapters in “The Case for Faith” alongside Kreeft.

The film version of Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” will be released in theaters tomorrow, Friday, April 6th. As I mentioned, Catholic archbishop Chaput “warmly recommends it.” I’m sure there’s some good information in the movie, just like there was in the book, but the overall ecumenical nature of “The Case for…” franchise is a devious threat to the purity of the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. The enemy works through men like Strobel, Geisler, Zacharias, and Craig to muddy the Gospel of grace through ecumenical compromise and betrayal. Predictably, Strobel has been pushing his movie via appearances on TBN.

Below is Chaput’s endorsement of “The Case for Christ” as well as the names of the other Catholic endorsers posted on the film’s official web site:

“THE CASE FOR CHRIST is an engaging, beautiful story of a family coming to faith in Jesus Christ, made more compelling by its basis in real events. I warmly recommend it.” – His Excellency, Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

Rev. Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, General Secretary, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

His Eminence, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

Fr. Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, Executive Director, Relevant Radio Network

Sr. Patricia Phillips, SHCJ, Executive Director, Wordnet Productions

Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Catholic Priest, Blogger, Author of The Mystery of the Magi

Derry Connolly, President, John Paul the Great Catholic University

Fr. Christopher Bazyouros, Senior Director, Office of Religious Education, Archdiocese of Los Angeles

If unbelievers begin inquiring about God after seeing this film, where would they go for answers? To the Catholic church with its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit? Evidently Lee Strobel believes that’s just fine.

Google pushing the ecumenical “co-exist”

Capture

I don’t usually pay too much attention to the cutesy illustrations used by Google on their web search page, but today’s ecumenical “Co-exist” graphic caught me eye.

At the risk of offending supporters of “The Shack” who defend the anti-Biblical notion that all religions are valid pathways to God, see my thoughts on the ecumenical “Co-exist” ideology here.

Pop Quiz!

pq

Yes, it’s time for a pop-quiz! Please close your books and see if you can answer the following question:

What do the ten people below have in common?

  • Mother Teresa
  • G. K. Chesterton
  • Peter Kreeft
  • Malcolm Muggeridge
  • Thomas Aquinas
  • Thomas a Kempis
  • Blaise Pascal
  • Teresa of Avila
  • Henri Nouwen
  • Thomas Merton

1) If you guessed they were all Roman Catholics you would be correct. And because they were all Roman Catholics (Kreeft is still living) they were all obliged to believe salvation is achieved by sacramental grace (baptism, the eucharist, penance, etc.) and by obeying the Ten Commandments and their church’s rules. But God’s Word proclaims the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Salvation is either by sacraments and merit as these ten believed and defended or it’s by grace through faith, it cannot be both.

2) The other thing these ten folks have in common is some evangelicals refer to them as exemplary Christians and as people evangelicals should emulate.

So I would sincerely like to know how evangelicals, who supposedly believe in salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, could praise and lift up as examples people who believed a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit? Does not compute.

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” – 2 Corinthians 11:3-4