Martyn Lloyd-Jones and “Logic on Fire”

Logic On Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Directed by Matthew Robinson
Media Gratiae, 2015, 102 minutes

As Christians, our focus should always be on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our trust should never be in the flesh. Men and women will always let us down. But every once in awhile, the Lord lifts up a servant who is so strong in their love of Jesus Christ that we praise the Lord for their example. Such a man was Welsh-English pastor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981).

I don’t remember exactly when the Lord introduced me to the ministry of Loyd-Jones, but I’ve enjoyed gradually learning about the doctor via a book here, an article there. He was perhaps the most notable English evangelical of the last century, although I’m sure he would have despised such a title. When many English evangelicals were dallying with ecumenism with Rome in the 1960s and 70s, Lloyd-Jones would have none of it and stood firmly on the Gospel of grace. The Lord blessed the doctor with a rapier intellect. That’s right, unbelieving friend, you needn’t check your brain at the church door. But Lloyd-Jones was also interested in seeing the Gospel permeate a person’s entire being, not just their intellect. He was a strong advocate in the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the life of a believer, not in emotionalism or showy religious experience, but in knowing the actual presence of Holy God through the Word and prayer. Hence there was both logic and fire in the preaching and ministry of the doctor.

I enjoyed this biography documentary package of Lloyd-Jones tremendously. The first DVD includes the finished documentary, “Logic On Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,” a biography of the doctor that relies mostly on the testimonies of family members, friends, and fellow-workers in the Gospel. The first DVD also includes three deleted sequences, one of which is the “1966 Evangelical Controversy,” in my estimation one of the most important segments in the entire package. The second DVD contains over three hours of additional interviews. The third DVD contains a segment on the dangers of church-growth pragmatism from John Snyder from his “Behold Our God” study series. Also, there’s a 128-page booklet with brief biographies of the contributors and interviewees and four sermons from the doctor.

Those who are unfamiliar with the ministry of Lloyd-Jones may want to begin with some short biographies (see here for an example) rather than this mountain of information, but I know as I continue to read his books and sermons, I’ll desire to return to this documentary package every now and then.

Praise the Lord for uncompromising preachers like Charles Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones! May the Lord continue to raise up faithful proclaimers of the Gospel!

“Logic On Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones” is readily available from Amazon. See here.

 

An evangelical writes to “Your Holiness,” the pope

In yesterday’s Weekend Roundup, I briefly commented that President Trump’s evangelical advisory board had requested an urgent meeting with pope Francis to discuss the recent, Vatican-approved article in the La Civilta Cattolica journal, which had severely criticized the collaboration of right-wing, Trump-supporting “Catholic Integralists” and “Evangelical Fundamentalists” as being an “ecumenism of hate.” The article also made reference to Trump’s religious supporters as Christian “jihadists.”

Yesterday evening, I came across a couple of articles that shed more light on the controversy (see links far below).

Johnnie Moore, the former vice president of communications for Liberty University and former assistant to university president, Jerry Falwell, Jr., penned the letter to Francis on behalf of the other members of Trump’s evangelical advisory board. He begins the letter by addressing the pope as “Your Holiness.” He then tells Francis that evangelicals “have looked upon your appointment with great gratitude to God and with great optimism for the new spirit that you have brought to the Catholic Church.” He further flatters the pope by writing that Francis’ “efforts to build bridges and to spread the doctrine of mercy around the world have been a light and hope to us all.” Moore then gets down to business by requesting a meeting to discuss the troubling article. He ends the letter by claiming “God put it on [his] heart” to write the pope and concludes with the following: “With all the respect in the world and with love for Christ’s Church and every corner of it, I’ll earnestly await your reply.”

Moore’s letter to the pope is a sad commentary on the current state of evangelicalism. The pope heads a 1.2 billion-member religious institution, which propagates a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit and yet Moore addresses him as a fellow believer and a great Christian leader. Obviously, Moore has no understanding of comparative theology and has no clue what happened during the Reformation. But like many politically-focused, conservative evangelicals, Moore is more concerned with preserving “Judeo-Christian” moral values in this country than with correct doctrine and reaching conservative (and liberal) Catholics with the Gospel.

Commenting on Moore’s letter, Mike Gendron, ex-Catholic and director of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries, a Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics, said:

“Moore’s attempt to unite Evangelicals and Catholics is playing into the pope’s agenda to rebuild the religious tower of Babel. Our sovereign and omnipotent Lord does not need the help of unbelievers to fight the social and cultural wars. There is something much more important at stake and that is the purity and exclusivity of the Gospel. More than ever we need to contend for the faith because divine division in truth is far better than satanic unity in error.”

Accommodation and cooperation with religious error and compromise and betrayal of the Gospel are rampant in the church today.


Former Liberty University VP Raises Concern After Calling for Meeting With ‘Your Holiness’ to Unite Evangelicals, Catholics
https://christiannews.net/2017/08/11/former-liberty-university-vp-raises-concern-after-calling-for-meeting-with-your-holiness-to-unite-evangelicals-catholics/

Dear Pope Francis: An Evangelical Christian’s letter to the Holy Father
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/08/09/dear-pope-francis-evangelical-christians-letter-to-holy-father.html

Papal allies accuse Catholic and evangelical Trump supporters of joining together in “ecumenism of hate”

For centuries, Bible Christians never had much of a problem distinguishing between the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

But beginning around sixty years ago, evangelical pastors and para-church leaders began to rise up saying ecumenism with Rome was fine and even desirable; influential men like Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, James Dobson, and Jerry Falwell. Sure, they didn’t embrace all of Rome’s doctrinal deviations and “eccentricities,” but they gladly overlooked the “fine print” and declared Roman Catholicism to be “close enough.” After all, Christians in America were in a bitter battle to preserve “Judeo-Christian morality” and to “save America for Jesus,” so it didn’t seem wise to inspect the denominational dog tags of fellow soldiers combating the onslaught of secularism. Chuck Colson cleverly coined this alliance, “ecumenism in the trenches.”

But at this stage of the “culture war,” in the year 2017, politically-involved evangelicals have to concede that secularism has pretty much taken over the high ground. However, political/religious ecumenism with conservative Catholics and the culture battles continue. Research shows that 81 percent of White evangelicals voted for unlikely-candidate (to put it mildly), Donald Trump, in the presidential election. That’s no surprise given the only other option was Hillary Clinton. What is surprising is that 52 percent of Catholic voters, historically supporters of Democratic candidates, also voted for Trump.

But an article last week from a Vatican-approved source reveals not all Roman Catholics are pleased with the alliance between politically conservative Catholics and evangelicals in America. The article, written by two of pope Francis’s close advisors, warns of the “ecumenism of hate” shared by conservative Catholics (labeled as “integralists”) and evangelicals (labeled as “fundamentalists”).

“Appealing to the values of fundamentalism, a strange form of surprising ecumenism is developing between Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic Integralists brought together by the same desire for religious influence in the political sphere.” – from “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism,” La Civiltà Cattolica, July 13, 2017.

See here for the full article.

According to Francis and his allies in the church, religious and “social justice” ecumenism is just fine, but ecumenism based on “the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state” is not.

Where does Jesus Christ fit into all of this? He doesn’t. Evangelical Christians need to be about their Father’s business as emissaries and ambassadors of the Kingdom and the Gospel of grace. Roman Catholics are our mission field, they are NOT our allies in some misguided Falwellian “culture war” to “save America!”


Below are two articles on the controversy from a conservative Catholic source. This newest squabble gives traditionalist Catholics yet another reason to hope for an early end to Francis’s reign.

Vatican-reviewed magazine accuses Catholics of ‘hate’ for supporting Trump
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/u.s.-catholics-and-evangelicals-supporting-trump-are-fostering-an-ecumenism

Archbishop rips Vatican-approved magazine’s ‘ignorant’ attack on pro-Trump Catholics
https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archbishop-chaput-rips-vatican-approved-magazines-willfully-ignorant-attack

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 7/15/17

The evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby, the Green family, have done some good stuff but they crossed the line with this smuggling operation. I was curious whether the Green’s soon-to-open Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. (see photo, left) will be true to the Gospel or take an ecumenical approach by including apostate (c)hristian groups? I did a little research and got my answer. An article I found states, “the (Museum of the Bible) also has a ‘very strong working relationship’ with the Vatican Museums and the Vatican Library, according to (a Museum of the Bible spokesperson). “We’ve had two of our moving exhibits on display there. They’ve loaned us items and vice versa. We also have some of their people involved with us as advisers to this museum.” See here. Why am I not surprised? Count me out.

Hanegraaff should have done the decent thing and resigned from CRI the moment he started attending Greek Orthodox services. He says he was turned off by TBN’s health and wealth charlatans. So, does he think the legalism and ritualism of Greek Orthodoxy are any closer to the truth of God’s Word than Messrs. Osteen, Dollar, Myers, and Copeland? Hanegraaff obviously never genuinely accepted Christ as his Savior or he wouldn’t be desiring the chains of Egypt.

Ratzinger still had a soft spot for the pre-Vatican II militant approach and thought he could quiet the traditionalist malcontents by bringing back the Tridentine Latin mass, but that act just further emboldened them.

Traditionalist war horse, Muller, may have been fired, and Meisner, one of the four “dubia” cardinals, may have died on July 5th, but this controversy over Francis’s duplicitous circumvention of the infallible no-communion-for-divorced-remarrieds doctrine via “Amoris Laetitia” ain’t going away anytime soon.

Much to the annoyance of Catholics who suffer from celiac disease, the Vatican has ruled that the wheat flour used to make communion bread wafers must be composed of at least 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Get out your electron microscopes, people. If the wafer is composed of only 15 ppm of gluten, then what? Does that mean the wafer can’t be transubstantiated into the body, blood soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ? Can 19 ppm be rounded up or is 20 ppm a hard stop?

The pressure from the LGBTQs and their fellow travelers is just going to grow.

Some Catholic parishes are adopting the Warren/Hybels/Drucker church growth model, or at least as much as they can while also retaining the mandatory dead-as-a-door-nail liturgy of the mass. Rick Warren has even visited several Catholic dioceses as a growth consultant. The genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is nowhere to be found in any of this.

The virtual gossip rag, the Inquisitor, is once again scoffing at Duggar son-in-law, Jeremy Vuolo, for upholding the Gospel of grace and warning against ecumenism with Rome. The sad reality is the majority of “evangelicals” would side with the Inquisitor on this.

Roman Catholic Ecumenical and Interfaith Outreach – Established 1964

Did I get your attention? Some may find the photo and caption above to be slightly heavy-handed, but the very real danger of ecumenism with Rome far eclipses any Hollywood nightmare.

“When such (ecumenical) actions are undertaken prudently and patiently by the Catholic faithful, with the attentive guidance of their bishops, they promote justice and truth, concord and collaboration, as well as the spirit of brotherly love and unity. This is the way that,Assisi when the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church in that unity which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning. We believe that this unity subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time.” – from Unitatis Redintegratio (Latin for “Restoration of unity”), promulgated by pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964, as part of the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council

Coming soon to a Protestant church near you: the “Ecumenical Rite of Mass”

If you’re at point A and you want to get to point B, what must you do to achieve your goal?

The Catholic church has been in protracted discussions with several Protestant groups for decades, trying to find an acceptable pathway to reunion. Pope Francis’s ingenious sleight of hand in last year’s “Amoris Laetitia” document, which subtly reversed infallible dogma and opened the door to communion for Catholic remarrieds, prompted liberal German cardinal, Walter Kasper, to anticipate hopefully that the next papal document would allow “shared Eucharistic communion” with Protestants (Avvenire, December 10, 2016).

But what exactly would the steps be to “shared Eucharistic communion”? Differences would have to be overcome. Protestants, for the most part, believe the elements of the Lord’s Supper, bread and wine/grape juice, symbolize the body and blood of Jesus Christ while Catholicism teaches its priests transform the bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ. But some Protestant views on communion are closer to Catholicism’s than others. While Anglicans and Lutherans don’t believe in the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, the literal changing of the elements, they do believe in the “real presence” of Christ in the elements, what they term as “consubstantiation.” It would make sense that Catholicism would initially target those two denominations for shared communion.

The news article below from a Catholic source reports of rumors that the Vatican is working with representatives of the Anglican church and liberal Lutheranism to create an “Ecumenical Rite of Mass” that would be acceptable to all three groups. Portions of the rite would be said in silence by the respective parties in order to accommodate the differences in belief. The article points out that cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, “a close collaborator of pope Francis and currently the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts,” has already primed the pump by suggesting the sacraments may be more malleable than previously taught. Watch as Francis works more of his magic.

Ecumenism is making deep inroads into evangelicalism. Some pastors and para-church leaders now openly embrace Catholicism as a Christian church EVEN THOUGH Rome still teaches the same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that it has always taught. Neither Catholics or evangelicals benefit by the muddying of the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Ecumenism will advance. An “ecumenical rite of mass” is certainly in the works and will come about.

Lord Jesus, come quickly!


Vatican reportedly working on “Ecumenical Rite of Mass” for joint worship with Protestants
https://catholiccitizens.org/news/71788/vatican-reportedly-working-ecumenical-rite-mass-joint-worship-protestants/

Solving the “Willis Weatherford” Caper

I thought some might enjoy this very unusual tale of how and why I began this blog two years ago, so here goes:

During my “prodigal” years away from the Lord, I attempted to fill my spiritual emptiness by reading and posting reviews of books on Amazon; mostly historical non-fiction dealing with Poland and Polish-Jewish relations. I continued posting reviews after I returned to the Lord but the books that I was reading after my “homecoming” were mostly related to Christianity. Among the books I reviewed was one which criticized the mixing of Christianity with nationalism, a topic dear to my heart as readers of this blog are aware. But mainly I reviewed books which examined Catholicism, including *Norman Geisler’s disappointing ecumenical treatise, “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences.”

One day the pastor of our Southern Baptist church and I were discussing Christian nationalism and I mentioned the book referred to above. A short time later I started receiving rebuttal comments on my review of Geisler’s book from a “Willis Weatherford” who used words and phrases that were uncannily similar to what I was accustomed to hearing from our pastor. I immediately suspected the pastor had gone to Amazon to check out the Christian nationalism book, saw my review, and followed my profile to the Geisler review. After I mentioned to “Willis Weatherford” that his writing was oddly similar to our pastor’s phraseology, the comments stopped. Out of curiosity, I googled “Willis Weatherford” and discovered the gentleman is widely revered as a Christian folk hero down in Tennessee and North Carolina where our pastor grew up and attended seminary. But nothing was ever said between the pastor and I about this episode because I wasn’t absolutely sure of my suspicions.

Our pastor’s ecumenical attitude regarding Catholicism was very much in line with Geisler’s. Over the course of a year he had approvingly referred to such notable Catholics as Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, G.K. Chesterton, Malcolm Muggeridge, and Peter Kreeft, all of which was becoming increasingly problematic for me. When I confronted him about his admiration for Aquinas, the pastor quickly brushed aside my objections.

Several months later, I was involved with the church’s name change committee and when there was a need for a lengthy article to be written, the pastor immediately piped up, “Give it to Tom, he likes to write.” Wow. One of the deacons, a close friend of the pastor, then turned to me and said something to the effect of, “You like to write so much, you ought to start a blog.” Double wow. I sat there with a knowing smile on my face. The thing was I had NEVER mentioned my Amazon reviews to either one of those guys, thus confirming my suspicions.

But I still didn’t confront the pastor with the “Willis Weatherford” incident because I was already anticipating leaving the church due to his ecumenism (as well as a few other reasons). But the deacon’s comment is what gave me the motivation to eventually start this blog. A month after we left the church, excatholic4christ was born. It had become very clear to me after one year in that church that another voice was needed warning against ecumenism with Rome and inviting Catholics to accept Christ.

If anyone is interested in reading the exchange between “Willis Weatherford” and myself regarding the ecumenical compromise of Norman Geisler and others, I’ve posted it in the comments section.

*Ecumenical theologian, Norman Geisler, has mentored notable apologists, Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, and Lee Strobel, who also espouse ecumenism with Rome.

A regrettable decision to “dialogue” with spiritually deadly error

Thanks to Chris at Wings of the Wind for his indirect contributions to this post.

In my last “Weekend Roundup” post, I commented on a recent “dialogue” session held in Idaho featuring evangelical and Mormon apologists. The purpose of that dialogue was to promote understanding between the two “parties” and find common ground. Argh! I’m definitely of the opinion that evangelical apologists should debate false religionists rather than dialogue with them. Accommodation and cooperation with error are slippery slopes that always lead to compromise and betrayal of the Gospel. Try to imagine the apostle Paul endeavoring to dialogue with the priests of 1st-century Roman paganism in order to benefit “mutual understanding and respect.” Imagine, if you can, Charles Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John R. Rice, or James R. White having dialogue sessions with clerics of false religions. Stop the tape! James R. White? I should definitely rewind that statement in light of recent events.

I truly appreciate the ministry of evangelical apologist, James R. White. He’s done some excellent work examining Roman Catholicism and other non-Christian groups. I have favorably reviewed several of his books on this blog. Where other popular apologists have accommodated and compromised, White has stood firmly on the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I can’t think of another apologist who has engaged in more debates with false religionists than James White. There are those who have criticized White for his sometimes brash approach but perhaps a debater needs a bit of a thick skin.

This past January, White inexplicably chose to hold two dialogue sessions with Dr. Yasir Qadhi, “one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam.” One of the sessions was held at an evangelical church and the other at a mosque. The purpose of the project was to increase understanding between Christians and Muslims. It appears that one of the specific goals of the dialogues was to convince the Christian audience that the extremist views of Al-Qaeda and ISIS are not representative of the majority of Muslims in this country.

Dr. White is currently catching a lot of flak from some concerned Christians for organizing the dialogue sessions with Dr. Qadhi. They wonder why a Muslim apologist was allowed to promote Islam in a church setting. They wonder why White felt obligated to help Muslims counter the general public’s negative perception of Islam due to jihadist terrorism. Is that White’s responsibility?

I believe Christian apologists should be debating false religionists, not dialoguing with them. Certainly, individual Christians “dialogue” all the time with unsaved friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances in order to ultimately lead them to salvation in Jesus Christ. But dialoguing with clerics of false religions in front of audiences in an effort to “increase mutual understanding and respect” is definitely not the mission of apologists of the Gospel. Despite this recent breach of prudence, I honestly don’t believe James White would participate in a dialogue session with Roman Catholic clerics. How then did he see clear to organizing friendly dialogue sessions with a Muslim cleric?

I believe Dr. White made a mistake in this case, a rather large one. But nobody’s perfect. We all have spiritual blind spots. We must pray for Dr. White as he deals with the repercussions of his regrettable choice. Unfortunately but predictably, some of the objections to Dr. White’s misjudgment are being posted on the internet in the form of ad hominem attacks.

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” – Ephesians 5:11


Christian Muslim Dialogue Pt.1 | Dr. James White & Dr. Yasir Qadhi

Christian Muslim Dialogue Pt.2 | Dr. James White & Dr. Yasir Qadhi

White’s defense of his dialogues with Yasir Qadhi begins at the 27:50 mark of the video below:
https://www.aomin.org/aoblog/2017/06/19/epiphanius-bodily-assumption-facts-observations-continued-misrepresentations-yasir-qadhi-dialogue/

An ex-Catholic evangelical speaks to Catholics but the Gospel was nowhere in sight

Religion is a tribal activity for most people, right? People affiliate with the same religion or denomination their parents belong to, preceded by their grandparents, and so on. Most don’t investigate the doctrines of their religion. Their thinking is, “If it was good enough for Mom and Dad (and Grandma and Grandpa) it’s good enough for me!” Within each family, religious piety and practice range from fervent to nominal but the most important rule, especially for Catholic families, is or used to be that no member join another church. Catholicism boasted that it was the “one true church” and warned that anyone who left its ranks was doomed to hell. Catholic parents felt guilty and remorseful if any of their children left the church.

For myself, as I read the New Testament as a Catholic in the early 1980s, I came upon many discrepancies between God’s Word and Catholic dogma. It was soul-wrenching. I eventually left the church, accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior (Yahoo!), and began attending a Bible-preaching church. My parents were not overjoyed but they took it in stride (except for whenever I witnessed to them). They were probably relieved that at least one of their six children was attending some kind of church. Looking back, I’m grateful for some of the information I was taught as a Catholic, but the church has done unimaginable harm over the centuries by leading billions of people away from Christ with its false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. Praise the Lord for saving me!

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'” – Luke 9:62

Speaking of ex-Catholics, news sources reported that the nation’s Vice President, Mike Pence, addressed the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday, June 6. The former Catholic parochial school student and altar boy accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1978 at a Christian concert when he was nineteen, although he continued to attend Catholic church. Following undergraduate school, Pence married his wife at a Catholic wedding ceremony in 1985, but the Pences were gradually moving away from Catholicism. In 1995, the couple joined Grace Evangelical Church in Indianapolis and eventually shifted their membership to College Park Church in the same city.

It may have been a little awkward to have an ex-Catholic speak at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, but Pence quelled any uneasiness by saying many flattering things about Catholicism (full transcript below). He was much more politically correct than I would or could have been, but I’m not a politician.

Twenty or thirty years ago, the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast would not have invited an ex-Catholic as the main speaker, but things are changing. For both evangelicals and Catholics, belief is becoming less doctrinaire and more relative. “If it works for you, that’s fine, I just went in a different direction,” was Pence’s sentiment.

“While my own faith journey has taken me and my family in a different direction, I want you all to know how much I cherish my Catholic upbringing and cherish the Church. In fact, I just attended mass with my mom this weekend when we were in Chicago with family.” – Mike Pence

No, Vice President Pence, either Catholicism’s gospel of sacramental grace and merit is correct or Bible Christianity’s Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is correct. They are diametrically opposed. They can’t both be right. Traditionalist Catholics cry foul when an “apostate” like Pence is the featured speaker at the Catholic prayer breakfast (see the “Mike Pence’s Catholic Mom” article below). True, there’s very little belief-wise that I share with the Michael Voris and his Catholic “Church Militant” cadre but at least I can say they’re trying to remain true to their untenable Catholic dogmas and have the courage of their convictions, which is more than I can say for some “evangelicals.”


 

Remarks by the Vice President at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/06/remarks-vice-president-national-catholic-prayer-breakfast

Mike Pence’s Catholic Mom
https://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vortex-mike-pences-catholic-mom

A warning unheeded from 22 years ago

Protestants & Catholics: Do They Now Agree?
By John Ankerberg and John Weldon
Harvest House Publishers, 1995, 312 pages

When Chuck Colson’s ecumenical Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) project released its first declaration in 1994, it shook evangelicalism to its core. Some evangelicals greeted the document warmly while many others were appalled by its apparent compromise and betrayal of the Gospel.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium basically declared that Evangelicals and Catholics both believed in the core teachings of Christianity and needed to unite in an effort to confront the onslaught of secularism.

Several books followed in response to ECT including those written by James R. White, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Michael Horton, and this one by John Ankerberg and John Weldon. Remember John Ankerberg? His Christian apologetics show used to be very popular back in the 80s and 90s and it can still be found on cable and satellite TV (see website, far below).

This is a well-written response to ECT. The Catholic church has not officially changed any of its doctrines since Trent, including its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit, so how could the evangelical writers and signers of the ECT document see clear to suddenly embrace Catholics as brothers and sisters in Christ?

The authors compare many of the vague, conciliatory statements in ECT with Catholic and evangelical doctrine. Not only are there the contrary positions on justification, how a person is saved, but there are the many ancillary differences including the disagreements with Catholic teaching on authority, the papacy, transubstantiation, sacerdotalism, the mass, Mary, sacramental grace, confession, purgatory, indulgences, etc., etc.

The chasm between Catholic and evangelical belief is just too wide to bridge but the ECT writers and signers downplayed or completely dismissed doctrinal differences in their desire for ecumenical unity. But make no mistake, Rome’s understanding of unity has always meant acquiescence to the Vatican.

It’s been 23 years since the ECT controversy and ecumenism continues to make inroads into evangelicalism. At this point, many would wonder what all the fuss was about regarding ECT. A 2015 poll revealed 58% of evangelical pastors consider the pope their brother in Christ. Most Christians bloggers at WordPress probably consider a blog named “excatholic4christ” to be downright distasteful.

Steadfast evangelicals wonder where are the young pastors and para-church leaders who will take the baton from MacArthur, Sproul, D. James Kennedy (d. 2007), Ankerberg, and White in the battle to uphold the Gospel and withstand compromise with Rome? Or is the betrayal just a foregone conclusion at this point? Take heart Christian brothers and sisters who are faithful to the Gospel! The Lord is on His throne and He’s fully aware of the compromise and betrayal taking place.

“And from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” – Acts 20:30

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-3

Below are the “evangelical” signatories and endorsers of Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium (1994):

  • Charles Colson, Prison Fellowship and Southern Baptist Convention affiliated
  • Dr. Kent Hill Eastern Nazarene College
  • *Dr. Richard Land, Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • *Dr. Larry Lewis, Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Dr. Jesse Miranda, Assemblies of God
  • Mr. Brian O’Connell, World Evangelical Fellowship
  • Mr. Herbert Schlossberg, Director of the Fieldstead Foundation
  • Dr. John White, Geneva College and the National Association of Evangelicals.
  • J. I. Packer, British-born Canadian Christian theologian in the low church Anglican and Reformed traditions.
  • Dr. William Abraham, Perkins School of Theology
  • Dr. Elizabeth Achtemeier Union Theological Seminary (Virginia)
  • Mr. William Bentley Ball, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ
  • Bishop William Frey, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry
  • Os Guinness, Trinity Forum
  • Richard Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Mark Noll, Wheaton College
  • Dr. Thomas C. Oden, Drew University
  • Pat Robertson, Regent University and the 700 Club
  • Dr. John Rodgers, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry

*Both Land and Lewis eventually withdrew their endorsement of the document due to pressure from within the Southern Baptist Convention.


The John Ankerberg Show
https://www.jashow.org/