“Am I Catholic?” Praise God, NO, I am NOT Catholic!

Am I Catholic?: A Struggle with Faith, Humility, and Surrendering to God
By Kendra Von Esh
Self-published, Second edition, 2018, 176 pp.

1 Star

Several months ago, I was channel-surfing and happened upon the Daystar cable channel, which is similar in content to TBN, although on a smaller scale. Daystar is owned by Pentecostals, Marcus and Joni Lamb, and much of the content on Daystar includes references to prophecy, healing, and speaking in tongues, meaning I generally wouldn’t view the channel myself or recommend it to anyone else.

However, what caught my eye that particular July 1st evening was Joni and Marcus interviewing author, Kendra Von Esh, on the station’s flagship show, “Ministry Now.” Von Esh was on the show promoting her book, “Am I Catholic?” Hmm, how would Joni and Marcus handle this? Marcus began the interview by stating that he realized that, “there are Protestant people, that, they don’t agree with some things about the Catholic church…but the test of salvation, when you ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins, that is the bottom line, and there are many truly born-again Catholics.” Marcus reiterates that it’s not denominational membership that saves, but whether a person is “a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Von Esh then began telling her story of having been raised in a nominal Catholic family and having no substantial connection to her religion until, as a middle-aged adult, her father had a life-threatening illness and surgery, which prompted her to begin delving deeply back into her Catholicism. Among other things, she described the joy of being able to confess her sins to a priest and receive forgiveness.

Joni nervously interjected at that point, because, what Von Esh was describing, didn’t sound like being born-again:

Joni: “When did you, like, have an, if you will, an understanding that Jesus died for your sins and that He [emphasis] forgives everything and it’s finished, it’s done, He paid the price at Calvary for us?

Von Esh replied with some nebulous, religious gobbledygook, but did not answer Joni’s question. Catholics believe, as they are taught by their church, that salvation is a lifelong process that is dependent on regularly receiving the sacraments and successfully obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. Marcus and other misguided folks extend the hand of fellowship to Roman Catholics because they readily assent to the vague parlance of “asking Jesus to come into your heart” and of being a “believer.”

While it’s true that there are probably some Catholics who are saved, they are saved in spite of their church’s teachings, not because of them. Marcus is correct, that church and denominational membership saves no one, but Roman Catholics never get to hear the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone from their church’s pulpits. The Catholic church unapologetically teaches that salvation is by sacramental grace and merit. Joni sensed a problem with Von Esh’s “testimony” while she was gushing on and on about confessing her sins to a priest, but Joni didn’t follow up. Marcus and Joni failed Von Esh and their viewers by insinuating Roman Catholicism’s false gospel was legitimate or at least “close enough.”

I ordered Von Esh’s short book and read it in a couple of sittings. She describes the “joy” of rediscovering the traditions, rituals, and rules of her church. Many converts and reverts to Catholicism are enamored with the RCC system, but beneath the church’s gaudy “smells and bells” liturgicalism is a works-righteousness treadmill whereby no one can ever find salvation and eternal joy in Jesus Christ.

I said a prayer for Kendra Von Esh’s salvation. Stay away from Daystar, TBN, and other sources that muddy the genuine Gospel by embracing Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity.

For research purposes, I’m providing the video below to the “Ministry Now” July 1st episode in question. The interview with Von Esh begins at the 30:30 mark.

Above photo: Joni and Marcus Lamb muddy the Gospel with Roman Catholic, Kendra Von Esh

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/21/20

I know most of you have had your fill of politics, but this week’s news feeds were dominated by stories of politically-conservative-minded Christians and Catholics grappling with Joe Biden’s apparent presidential victory.

Pastor Robert Jeffress (photo above) of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, an outspoken supporter of President Trump and the Republican Party and one of the leading torch-bearers of Falwellian Christian nationalism, has thrown in the towel and recognized Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election. President Trump still has not conceded, eighteen-days after the election. Will he eventually concede or is this standoff leading to an unprecedented constitutional crisis?

This conservative Catholic parish priest in this story has warned all of the administrators and teachers of the parish’s school that they will be collecting unemployment checks if they continue to post pro-Biden remarks on the school’s Facebook account.

Cardinal Burke has been one of progressive pope Francis’s fiercest critics and now he also has to contend with a progressive Catholic in the White House.

While conservative American Catholic priests and prelates are wringing their hands over Joe Biden’s victory, their progressive pope is celebrating in the Vatican.

Last week, the Vatican released its report on the church’s mishandling of ex-cardinal and serial abuser, Ted McCarrick. “Saint” John Paul II was directly implicated in the cover-up. This shakes the “faith” of Catholics throughout the world, but especially in Poland where Karol Wojtyla is revered as semi-deity.

Homosexuality is rampant amongst Catholic priests and prelates. Credible sources put the percentage at 30% to 40%. The vast majority of pedophile priests’ victims, around 80%, were male children.

The LA County administration and the media jumped the gun by labeling three cases of COVID-19 at Grace Community Church as an “outbreak.” But as C-19 re-surges across the nation, GCC continues to defy county public health safety mandates and the legal battles continue.

I’m a bit late with this one, but on November 11th we celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth in 1620. The Pilgrims were separatists persecuted by the Church of England who came to America in search of religious freedom and would later be absorbed by the Puritans, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630. The Pilgrims celebrated the first “Thanksgiving” following their harvest in 1621.

The Presbyterian Church USA denomination is in the process of hammering out an ecumenical accord with the Roman Catholic church. The PCUSA “went liberal” way back in the 1920s and 1930s.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #49: “Wine Is a Mocker”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next-to-last installment, the Catholic apologist continues his section on “Catholic Life and Practice” as he responds to the criticism of (some) Protestants that the Roman Catholic church permits the drinking of alcoholic beverages when the Bible says “Wine Is a Mocker.”

capture30

Protestants who believe in complete abstinence from alcoholic beverages cite Proverbs 20:1 among other passages:

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

Broussard responds with three arguments:

(1) Broussard argues that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is not forbidden by the Bible in an absolute sense because the following verses and others seem to allow it: Deuteronomy 14:22-26, Genesis 14:18, Ecclesiastes 10:19, Psalm 104:15, 1 Timothy 5:23. Some evangelicals claim that the Israelites’/Jews’ standard table wine was diluted with so much water that it was nonintoxicating, but if that were the case, Broussard argues, there would not be so many admonitions against drunkenness in the Bible.

(2) Broussard then argues that Jesus was not absolutely opposed to fermented wine in His earthly ministry and presents the following proof texts: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking…,” Luke 7:34, and “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now…,” John 2:1-11. Broussard forgets to include Jesus’s analogy of the wine skins and fermented wine in Mark 2:22.

(3) Broussard offers Isaiah 5:11 to argue that the Bible doesn’t forbid drinking alcoholic beverages, but only warns against overindulgence.

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

I’m one of those evangelicals who believes that the Bible doesn’t teach absolute abstinence when it comes to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, but that it warns against overindulgence and drunkenness. I wrote a post on this controversial topic way back in 2016 with supporting references (see here). Suffice to say that each believer must follow his/her own understanding and convictions regarding this matter and also must strive to not be a stumbling block to believers who hold to a different conviction.

Let’s not get sidetracked. The permissibility of consuming alcoholic beverages is a tertiary issue. The primary issue is Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Next up: “No Graven Images”

Throwback Thursday: When a pope celebrated the wholesale slaughter of Protestants with a medal

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a short post that was originally published back on February 5, 2016 and has been revised.

capture30

In celebration of the slaughter of the Protestant Huguenots in Paris on the eve of St. Bartholomew’s feast day, August 23-24, 1572, pope Gregory XIII (aka Ugo Boncompagni) directed the pictured medal to be struck, which featured an “exterminating angel” striking the Huguenots and the caption, UGONOTTORUM STRAGES, (“Overthrow of the Huguenots”). Gregory XIII also commissioned three frescoes commemorating the massacre for the Sala Regia Hall at the Vatican, where they remain today. The estimated death toll varies, but some historians put the number of Protestants who were murdered in the violence that spread across France at 30,000. Those Protestants who survived the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and national “religiouscide” were persecuted in Catholic church-supported “dragonnades” and forced to flee to other nations.

Pope Gregory XIII

There’s no debate that both Protestant and Catholic European monarchs engaged in wars of expansion and political control, using religion as an excuse, but how is it that a pope, allegedly guided by the Holy Spirit and supposedly infallible in all important matters of faith and morals, could have celebrated the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent victims? In addition, by sanctioning the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the pope was encouraging further violence against Protestants.

On Aug. 24, 1997, pope John Paul II offered a semi-apology for the Paris massacre (see here), but if every pope is infallible when acting as shepherd of the Catholic church, how could Gregory XIII have celebrated an event, which clearly violated the teachings of Jesus Christ? Why did the Catholic church wait 425 years before it apologized for this atrocity? What are Catholics to deduce when one pope apologizes for the actions of another pope?

Better to follow God’s Word in all things than to follow man-made religious institutions and traditions.

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”  Matthew 15:8-9

Ecumenist Norman Geisler Strikes Again

Is Rome the True Church?: A Consideration of the Roman Catholic Claim
By Norman Geisler and Joshua Betancourt
Crossway, 2008, 235 pp.

2 Stars

One of the strangest books I ever read in my entire life was “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” (1995) by Norman Geisler (d. 2019) in which the evangelical theologian clearly defined the irreconcilable doctrinal differences between Gospel Christianity and Roman Catholicism, including the opposing views on justification, and yet still concluded the RCC was a Christian entity! See my associated post here.

In this book, published thirteen years later, Geisler specifically focuses on Catholicism’s claim to be the “one true church” based upon the notions of Petrine primacy, apostolic succession, and papal infallibility. Geisler examines Scripture, the writings of the church “fathers,” and to a lesser degree, church history, to make a very substantial case against Rome’s false claims. Adopting the Roman-Caesarian imperial model, the bishops of Rome sought to secure and consolidate their advantages and privileges.

The reader will repeatedly have a sense of déjà vu while reading this book as Geisler often uses the same references to counter different claims. But his arguments are substantive and convincing. As with his previous book, Geisler once again strangely concludes that the Roman Catholic church is a Christian entity despite the fact that it teaches a subjective, intrinsic view on justification and a salvation system based upon sacramental grace and merit. All ecumenical evangelicals must “leap frog” over this irreconcilable incongruity. Sadly, Geisler mentored a bevy of ecumenically-minded, pop-apologists (i.e., McDowell, Craig, Zacharias, Strobel, Turek).

Contents

  1. The Roman Claim to Be the True Church
  2. The Historical Development of the Roman Primacy Structure
  3. The Roman Argument for the Primacy of Peter: Stated and Evaluated
  4. The Roman Argument for the Infallibility of Peter: Stated
  5. The Roman Argument for the Infallibility of Peter: Evaluated
  6. The Roman Argument for Apostolic Succession
  7. Is Rome the True Church?
  8. Why Some Protestants Convert to Rome

Appendices

  1. Irenaeus on the Alleged Authority of the Church
  2. A Chronological List of Popes and Antipopes
  3. The Relation of Tradition to Scripture
  4. Sola Scriptura
  5. Irenaeus on Scripture and Tradition

Alistair Begg: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Back in August, my wife and I were in a position where we needed to find a new source for livestream Sunday morning church services. I chose the services at Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio (near Cleveland) with Pastor Alistair Begg (photo above). Yup, I had my misgivings about Pastor Begg because of his penchant for quoting C.S. Lewis (ecumenist) and G.K. Chesterton (Roman Catholic) and because of one particular incident that I posted about last year in which he favorably cited a book written by a Catholic cleric (see here). But I decided to give Pastor Begg another try because, well, he is such an enjoyable and inspirational speaker to listen to. Ach. I can be a real dummy sometimes.

My wife and I were pleased, make that VERY pleased, with the subsequent services UNTIL we watched the video of the Sunday, November 1st evening service. Begg had preached an excellent sermon earlier that morning on 2 Samuel 2:1-11 and the anointing of David as King of Israel at Hebron, which was followed by the insurrection of Abner and his installation of Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth, as the competing king. Begg continued the message in the evening service, preaching on 2 Samuel 2:12-32 and the battle at Gibeon between the military forces of Abner and the forces of David, led by Joab. In the course of both sermons, Begg made the connection between the circumstances surrounding David’s anointing and the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Begg’s point was that all temporal political systems and nations are ultimately destined to fail because multiple forms of advancing corruption bring them down. Begg’s message was that believers should focus on Jesus Christ and the Gospel, not on political solutions and nationalism. Excellent! Here, here! Bravo! Amen! However, at the 52:00 mark, Begg made a disturbing tie-in reference to “the church”:

“(David) came to Israel, and the tribes lined up under Ish-Bosheth, to stand against God’s anointed king. The story incidentally of the development of the history of the church may be understood in these terms, too. I listened to a very fine address by a Roman Catholic priest just yesterday in order to help me in my life. And it was a political address and it was jolly good. And I was paying very careful attention. And he explained at one point that the organization and the commitment of the church runs all the way, he says, from pope Pius IX (papal reign, 1846-1878) to Benedict (XVI). I said to myself, Oh, so what happened to Francis? (That’s) exactly what happened to him!”

Huh? I replayed the remarks several times to make sure I had heard correctly. First, Begg favorably cites to his congregation an address by a Roman Catholic priest to “help me in my life.” He then notes that the priest favorably commented on the papacies of Pius IX* to Benedict XVI, while purposely omitting the controversial current pope, Francis. Begg presents this as a parallel example of how the condition of “the church,” like the nation, is also deteriorating.

Please catch the irony in this circumstance, folks. Begg is bemoaning the deterioration of “the church,” while he himself is contributing to the declining state of evangelicalism by his embracement of Roman Catholicism. What to make of this? I’m certainly not implying that Begg, by his comment, is endorsing the RCC on a wholesale basis, but his remarks here are beyond disturbing. What goes through his head?

Ach. I was disappointed, but not surprised. What a dummy I am. I should NOT have given Begg a second chance. No more listening to Alistair Begg for me. No third chances. Brothers and sisters, this kind of ecumenical accommodation and compromise is rife within evangelicalism.

Below is a link to the sermon in question. Begg’s remarks regarding the address by the Catholic priest begin at the 52:00 mark.

David anointed and opposed – part two (2 Samuel 2:12-32), Sunday evening, November 1st

*It was Pius IX who had himself and other popes declared infallible at the First Vatican Council in 1870. All popes and priests teach Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Update: Brother Billy at the excellent “Soul Refuge” YouTube channel created a video based upon the above post. See below:

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/14/20

The two big news items this past week were (1) the 2020 Presidential Election results apparently indicating a victory for Joe Biden and (2) President Trump’s continuing refusal to acknowledge Biden’s victory, claiming voting fraud in key swing states.

There’s little doubt that progressive pope Francis and Joe Biden will see eye-to-eye on many, many social, economic, and political issues.

My, how things have changed. When John F. Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election, becoming the very first U.S. Catholic president, many Protestants feared Vatican involvement in American political affairs. But Catholic hegemony was already on the wane at that time and JFK’s public and private priorities turned out not to include religion. In our post-modern era, few give Biden’s nominal Catholicism (he supports abortion rights and the LGBT agenda) a second thought.

Early exit polls had 75% of self-described “evangelical” voters casting their ballots for Trump. In contrast, the exit polls showed the Catholic vote was almost evenly split; 50% for Trump and 49% for Biden.

Whoops! These charlatans claim the gift of prophecy, but goofed on the election results. Their credulous followers should take note, but most won’t.

Some same-sex-attracted Catholics have been suppressing their urges according to the dictates of their church. But they’re now scratching their heads and saying, “Huh?,” over pope Francis’ doctrine-bending allowance for same-sex civil unions.

We already knew “saint” pope John Paul II was well-aware of the allegations that Ted McCarrick was a serial abuser decades prior to promoting him to the office of cardinal in 2001, but now we have the Vatican’s official admission. In addition to McCarrick, JPII also covered-up for notorious abuser, Mexican priest, Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ order. Many victims were abused and traumatized because of “saint” JPII’s enablement of predators.

Constantly sporting black leather jackets, ripped skinny jeans, and $200 swag haircuts, Lentz was one of the trailblazers of the newfangled, relevant, hipster pastor, sans orthodox doctrinal teaching.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to spike at alarming rates and hospitals across the nation are stretched beyond their limits, Pastor John MacArthur still holds to the position that the pandemic is a demonic hoax.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #48: “Vain Repetitions”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next installment, the Catholic apologist continues his section on matters of “Catholic Life and Practice” as he responds to Protestant accusations that Catholics utilize “Vain Repetitions” of prayer, especially as it applies to the Catholic rosary.

capture30

The Roman Catholic church encourages its members to regularly “pray the rosary.” The rosary (Latin: rosarium, “crown of roses”) prayer-string consists of 60 beads and a crucifix. In praying the rosary, a Catholic starts with the crucifix at the end of the dangling string by saying the Apostles’ Creed, followed by saying one Our Father, followed by three Hail Marys, and then one Glory Be/Our Father followed by a Hail, Holy Queen. The Catholic then prays the loop of five sets of ten Hail Marys interspersed by four Glory Be/Our Fathers. Total: 60 beads and 61 prayers. It takes a Catholic around twenty-minutes to “pray the rosary” if they don’t rush through it. Besides the rosary, there are many other examples of repetitive rote prayer used in Catholic “devotions” and liturgies.

Evangelical Protestants are critical of Catholic repetitive rote prayer and cite Matthew 6:7:

“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

Broussard responds to Protestant objections with three arguments:

(1) Broussard states that Jesus’ injunction is not necessarily against repetition of prayers per se, but rather against “mindless” repetition and “the idea that simply multiplying words makes prayers efficacious” (p. 263).

(2) Broussard argues that praying the rosary helps the supplicant to meditate on the mysteries of Christ’s life so that they can have a deeper knowledge of, and a deeper communion with Christ, and that repetition serves that meditation.

(3) Broussard offers the following Biblical passages as proof texts affirming repetitious prayer:

  • Jesus said, “Pray then like this…” (Matthew 6:9-13)
  • Jesus prayed the same prayer several times in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:32-42).
  • Scripture records of the angels in Heaven, “day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Revelation 4:8).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

Point One: To begin with, Roman Catholics have not been taught the genuine Gospel and generally have not trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. Does God even hear the prayers of unbelievers? John 9:31 God is omniscient and knows the thoughts of everyone, but is not obligated to respond to the petitions of those who do not accept His Son as Savior by faith alone.

Point Two: Regarding the repetition of the same words and phrases in prayer, God knows the heart and He certainly would accept repeated words and phrases said in sincerity. But the Catholic practice of rote recitation of formulaic, memorized prayers is exactly the type of “mindless” vain repetition that Jesus was referring to. Employing a rosary to successfully “get through” 61 rote prayers reveals the formality and insincerity of the process. From my 27 years in the RCC, I believe it would be fair to say the vast majority of Catholics are uncomfortable praying extemporaneously from the heart; most resort to formulaic prayers like the Hail Mary and the Our Father.

Point Three: The rosary includes 53 Hail Marys, 1 Hail, Holy Queen, and 6 Our Fathers, a good example of how Catholicism focuses so much its piety on Mary.

Hail Mary Prayer

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”

The first sentence of the prayer incorporates two Bible passages, Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:42. The second sentence propagates the RC false teachings of Mary as Mediator and of merited salvation. As we’ve discussed previously, nowhere in the Bible is there an example of a genuine believer praying to anyone other than God.

Conclusion: The rosary is EXACTLY the type of vain, repetitious prayer condemned by Jesus AND a flagrant example of idolatrous Mary worship AND an example of the Roman church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

What does it mean to use vain repetitions in prayer?
https://www.gotquestions.org/vain-repetitions.html

Next up: “Wine Is a Mocker”

Throwback Thursday: Priests and ministers: Aren’t they the same thing?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 30, 2016 and has been revised.

capture30

Evangelical churches have their ministers and Roman Catholicism has its priests. But aren’t they the same thing, just with different titles? In this era of widespread ecumenism and the de-emphasis of doctrine, many evangelicals mistakenly think so.

Evangelical ministers are called to preach the Good News of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone and to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:12. Evangelical pastors are to preach and teach God’s Word and to shepherd the Lord’s flock and be examples of the Lord’s love and faithfulness. Scripture says we’re to respect and submit to our pastors in the Lord, but we’re certainly not to put them up on pedestals in the place of Jesus Christ. They’re sinners saved by grace just like the other believers in the congregation.

Catholic priests on the other hand are ordained by their church’s hierarchy to administer the sacraments that Catholics believe are required for salvation. The Catholic sacerdotal system is an anti-Biblical continuation of the Old Testament, Levitical priesthood. Catholicism teaches its priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, to be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of those who attend the mass and for any others who are named. Priests are alleged to forgive sins in the confessional booth and administer the last rites to the dying, which Catholics believe absolves the individual of all mortal sin. Priests are alleged to have the power to bless living and inanimate objects. Catholic parishioners bring their rosaries, statues, scapulars, and other objects to priests for their blessing. It’s believed an object blessed by a priest has powers to ward off evil and effect desirable benefits. The priesthood is central to the Catholic system. There would be no Catholicism without its priests and their alleged powers.

In previous generations, priests were highly revered by the Catholic faithful. It wasn’t unusual for members of the Catholic laity to kiss the hands that changed bread and wine into Jesus. Catholics venerated their priests because they were absolutely necessary for their salvation. Catholicism boldly claims its priests are alter Christus, another Christ. The Catholic clergy’s absolute control over the means to salvation was not achieved by happenstance. As the early church became increasingly institutionalized, it devolved from the preaching of saving faith in Jesus Christ into religious ritual and legalism, all controlled by the increasingly powerful clergy class.

“St. Francis of Assisi used to say, “If I saw an Angel and a priest, I would bend my knee first to the priest and then to the Angel. Besides, the power of the priest surpasses that of the Blessed Virgin Mary; for, although this Divine Mother can pray for us, and by her prayers obtain whatever she wishes, yet she cannot absolve a Christian from even the smallest sin.” – from “The Dignity and Duties of the Priest” by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Some of the luster has faded from the Catholic priesthood, beginning in the 1960s and especially after the pedophile scandals over the last twenty years. The church’s celibacy rule for its clergy often attracted the socially awkward and even the psychologically ill. Many Catholics now see their priests as fallible, struggling souls just like them rather than someone to be placed on a pedestal. The majority of Catholics ignore their clergy’s admonishments to attend mass every Sunday and to go to confession at least yearly. Recent surveys show 70% of Catholics don’t believe priests turn bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ.

The Catholic mass is largely about the consecration of the bread and wine, not about preaching and teaching. The sermon portion of the mass, known as the “homily” (Greek for “speaking with”) is generally very short, usually around seven or eight minutes according to Catholic sources, and is often given by a man who is not inclined to speak before crowds. Even so, the message he preaches is not the Good News of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The priest’s messages exhort mass-goers to be faithful to church teaching by participating in the sacraments and by trying to obey the Ten Commandments in order to merit salvation. That’s an empty message without hope, for no one can possibly obey the Ten Commandments. Disaffected Catholics often complain they don’t “get anything” out of the mass and they would be right. The Catholic system is an endless treadmill of sacraments and works in the goal of meriting salvation. Can’t be done.

There is no need for a sacrificial priesthood. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and mankind. The New Testament makes it explicitly clear that the priestly sacrificial system was completely fulfilled by Jesus Christ and was done away with. Repent of your sinful rebellion against God and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Ask the Lord to help you find an evangelical church in your area that preaches and teaches God’s Word without compromise.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5

“’This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” – Hebrews 10:16-18.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/7/20

The BIG story this past week was obviously the U.S. presidential election, featuring former Vice-President, Joe Biden, versus President Donald Trump. With the votes of a few swing states still being counted as of this morning, a winner has not yet been officially declared, although a Biden victory now appears inevitable. Exit polls reveal around 75% of voters who identified as “evangelical” voted for Trump, a drop from 81% in 2016. Personally, I could not, in good conscience, vote for either gentleman. I could never vote for a Democrat and Donald Trump has demonstrated time and time again over the past four years that he is “ill-suited” (I’m being diplomatic) for the office. All that said, I’m striving to distance myself from politics. Christianity in America took a wrong turn, beginning with the Puritans, by conflating faith, politics, and nationalism, a paradigm that still remains quite popular.

Catholic conservatives, like columnist Phil Lawler in the article above, continue to wring their hands over pope Francis’ radical allowance for civil unions for same-sex couples. But they don’t know what to do next because absolute fidelity to the papacy is one of their most beloved, foundational doctrines.

In the first article, Southern Baptist Convention leaders, J.D. Greear, Russell Moore, and Ronnie Floyd voice their displeasure with pope Francis’ recent endorsement of same-sex civil unions. In the second article, another popular and influential SBC leader, seminary president, Al Mohler, also expresses his deep concern about Francis’ radical stance. However, all four men embrace the Roman Catholic church as a legitimate Christian entity. Run, don’t walk, from the SBC.

We were waiting for this. On October 30th, the Vatican issued a letter to papal nuncios which attempted to ease anxieties about pope Francis’ radical remarks allowing for civil unions of same-sex couples. Spin doctoring aside, Francis absolutely did and does endorse same-sex civil unions.

It’s reported that Jerry Falwell Jr. has already received a severance package amounting to two-years’ salary after being forced to resign as chancellor of Liberty University due to scandal. Jerry Jr. should just go away and be quiet.

The Catholic archbishops of Portland and San Francisco recently paraded through the streets of their respective cities, allegedly exorcizing the demonic powers behind the violence associated with the BLM protests. I would posit that demonism is behind the false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that’s propagated by the two archbishops.

On October 31st, former Catholic priest, Michael McGivney (d. 1890), was “beatified,” the last major hurdle in the RCC’s canonization process prior to being declared a saint. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic alternative to Freemasonry, replete with its own secret initiation, oaths, and handshake. The K of C was once highly active in efforts to convert U.S. Protestants via advertisements in newspapers and magazines. Rather than honoring him, we note that McGivney lured millions of souls to Catholicism’s spiritually deadly false gospel.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spike in many regions of the country and Catholic bishops are responding by continuing or reissuing “dispensations” allowing parishioners to stay home from mandatory Sunday mass. Consuming the consecrated Jesus wafer is considered the “high-point” of Catholic spirituality and some priests are once again advising the shut-ins to receive “spiritual communion;” the notion that desiring and meditating on the Jesus wafer is just as beneficial as physically consuming it. Hmm.