torsdag 19 november 2009
Catholicism AND END TIMES DECEPTION – part II
This is the second part of the Berean Call’s two-part series, “Why it Matters.” We have republished this series in response to our growing concern toward the Evangelical church’s embracing a deepening spirit of ecumenicalism.
Our deepest desire is to see those entombed in the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine of works; set free to seek and serve Jesus Christ as the only way to eternal life!
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; or kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” I Timothy 2:1-6
…continued from Catholicism and End Times Deception – part I
My sister, who was helping with the inaugural “Ex-Catholics For Christ Conference”, met a friend while shopping. The conversation got around to what my sister was doing, and her friend, an evangelical, was dismayed that there would be such a conference.
"After all," she explained, "my sister-in-law is a Catholic and she’s saved. She has no intention of leaving the Catholic Church because that’s where she’s comfortable."
It seems that this lady and her sister-in-law are uninformed concerning what the Bible teaches, or the Catholic faith, or perhaps both. They have a great deal of company among evangelicals who are asking: "Does it really matter?" and "Isn’t TBC (The Berean Call) engaged at times in nothing more than veiled Catholic bashing?"
One of the most frustrating aspects of addressing the “Roman Catholic gospel” is the prevailing ignorance regarding what Catholicism actually teaches.
Most evangelicals are clueless regarding Catholicism. And many practicing Catholics (including a surprisingly high number of priests and nuns) simply do not know the actual extent of the salvation requirements of their Church. Surveys of Catholics reveal the common understanding about attaining heaven: that it centers around doing works which are pleasing to God (i.e., living one’s life as a basically good person), performing a preponderance of good deeds to outweigh the bad, and living up to most of what the Church teaches.
Nearly all Catholics believe this affords them the best chance for getting to heaven. However, this hope falls far short of what their Church officially requires.
All Catholics "know" that it is their Church which saves them, but few understand what the Roman Catholic legalistic system of salvation demands.
Foundationally, it is this:
Refusal to obey the laws and decrees of the Church is a mortal sin which condemns one to hell if each such transgression is not confessed to and absolved by a priest before death.
As Vatican II declared in the 1960s,
[When the Bishops are] assembled in an ecumenical council, they are, for the universal Church, teachers of and judges in matters of faith and morals, whose decisions must be adhered to with the loyal and obedient assent of faith.
…when the Roman Pontiff, or the body of bishops together with him, define a doctrine, they make the definition in conformity with revelation itself, to which all are bound to adhere and to which they are obliged to submit… (Lumen Gentium 252). [Emphasis added]
Considering all the laws of the Church (a task most lawyers would find overwhelming), it’s doubtful that even the most zealous Catholics know and obey every one of them. Catholics more often than not take a "cafeteria" approach to their religion, picking and choosing what laws they want to obey. For example, many reject the Church’s teachings and regulations regarding contraception (even abortion!), marriage to a non-Catholic, divorce and remarriage, annulments, etc.
Many wrongly think the Church has done away with some of its infallible doctrines such as indulgences (yet Vatican II condemns with anathema those who reject this doctrine). Some Catholics don’t believe that transubstantiation actually changes the communion wafer into the real body, blood, soul and spirit of Jesus Christ, and some refuse to believe that purgatory is a reality.
Regardless of what individual dissenting Catholics think, they are condemned by their Church for rejecting its teachings.
In addition to the myriad doctrines to "all" of which Catholics are "bound to adhere" and "obliged to submit," an inordinate and often hopelessly confusing number of other requirements are imposed which also carry the penalty of damnation if not obeyed.
For instance, it is the rare Catholic who attends Mass on all the holy days of obligation. Not to do so is a mortal sin, yet one would be hard pressed to find a Catholic who can name them.
Recently in a debate, Dave Hunt asked a leading Catholic apologist, Robert Sungenis, to enumerate them for the audience. He offered only three, two of which were incorrect (TBC offers this informative audio tape set). Part of the problem here for Sungenis and every other Catholic (other than their Church making this a sin which potentially separates them from God forever) is the complexity of this manmade requirement.
Ten holy days of obligation are recognized worldwide, but in the U.S. only six require attendance at Mass. The conference of bishops decides which ones are abolished and which feast days are to be transferred to a Sunday. It seems rather incredible, as well as unbiblical, that having a current liturgical calendar (in order to know what days of each year attendance is required) should be necessary to qualify one for heaven!
But it’s far more complicated than that!
Few lay Catholics are familiar with the Code of Canon Law, containing more than 1,750 laws which dictate Church rules and practice. Most know the laws they agree with and which ones they reject, but few Catholics understand that they have no such liberty of choice in this comprehensive legalistic system. Any ongoing conscious disobedience with regard to the commands of the Church excludes one from "the state of grace" – thus condemning one to hell.
This bondage to law brings to mind the rebuke Jesus directed at the religious leaders of His day. From their extra biblical tradition they imposed on the people "the commandments of men" (Mt 15:9), i.e., a profusion of rules and regulations. As a consequence the people are put under tremendous legalistic burdens and shut out of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 23:13).
Unlike God’s immutable laws, Catholicism’s extra biblical legalities are arbitrary and variable yet carry eternally damning consequences. For example, eating meat on Friday was once a mortal sin; today, it’s not. Formerly, a divorced Catholic who remarried was excommunicated; that’s not the case today where changes in the laws seem to have been made in order to accommodate changes in our culture. While it is claimed that these are rules ordained by God, would our Lord make hell the penalty for generations of people, and then remove the penalty for a subsequent generation committing the same act?
Not the God of the Bible!
Some Catholics have told me that they simply do not buy all the salvation requirements of their Church: "God will sort it all out in the end!"
Rather than giving one peace of mind, however, this ill-founded hope raises a troubling question: For those Catholics who reject certain teachings of their Church, why would they nevertheless accept as valid the more agreeable doctrines Roman Catholicism promotes?
For example, on what basis would one who rejects the teaching that contraception is a mortal sin be confident that receiving the Eucharist as Viaticum at the point of death assures one of eternal life? This quandary concerning one’s eternal destiny is manifest for liberal and "cafeteria" Catholics, and especially for a rapidly growing, relatively new category of those who refer to themselves as "evangelical Catholics."
According to the pamphlet, "What is an Evangelical Catholic [EC]?" written by thirty Roman Catholics (mostly priests and nuns) and published "With Ecclesiastical Permission," ECs are those who;
…have come into a personal faith in Jesus. They are evangelical in the strictest sense of the term in that they have received the basic gospel, accepted Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour and are manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. [They] have a growing love and respect for Scripture as the Word of God….They would identify themselves variously as committed Christians, Charismatic Catholics, renewed Catholics, born again Catholics, or simply Catholics who love the Lord. Surely they are brothers or sisters in Christ of all true Evangelical Christians in the various Protestant Churches. (Emphasis added)
Are they, "surely?" Is it possible to truly believe in two diametrically opposed gospels at the same time?
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-10
Can a faithful Catholic agree with what the Bible requires for salvation – faith alone in Christ alone – while also agreeing that "the sacraments of the New Law [canons and decrees of the Church] are…necessary for salvation" and "without them… men" cannot "obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification…"
(Trent, 7th Session, Canon 4)?
"Faith alone" is condemned by the Roman Catholic Church!
Adding anything to faith is condemned as a false gospel by the Apostle Paul (Gal 1:6-9).
Can an "evangelical" Catholic priest transubstantiate a piece of bread into the body and blood of Christ and then during the Mass "immolate" Him ("to kill as in a sacrifice," according to Webster’s New World Dictionary)?
Can this priest, while celebrating the Mass, also deny that the Eucharist is "truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ…" (Trent, 13th Session, Canon 1)? Evangelicals believe that the communion elements are simply symbolic, a view anathematized by the "infallible" Council of Trent. Can "evangelical" Catholic communicants believe that the Eucharist is only symbolic of Christ and at the same time believe that the bread and wine become "the Body and Blood of Christ"? Not while claiming to be rational!
The heartbreak in all of this is that every evangelical who loves Catholics wants to believe that they really have "received the basic gospel." But which one? Rome’s or the biblical gospel? And with which Jesus do they have a personal relationship? The One who cried out from the cross, "It is finished!" (i.e., the debt is fully paid), or the one who continues to be sacrificed around the world (more than 120 million times per year) on Catholic altars?
And what of charismatic Catholics who seem to manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Does He energize their sacraments (which deny the gospel), rituals, prayers (rosaries?), and revitalize their devotions to Mary as nearly all of them claim?
No, not the Spirit of truth!
What then do we make of all this "evangelical" Catholic talk? It’s part of an aggressive strategy to subvertevangelical Christianity. But why would the Roman Catholic Church even consider such a thing?
The Church of Rome views itself as the visible head of Christianity; it claims authority over all who would call themselves Christians.
Evangelical Christianity, which rejects Roman Catholic salvation and Rome’s control in favor of the true gospel and submission to Jesus Christ personally and directly, is Catholicism’s most productive enemy.
The primary reason?
Catholics hear the biblical gospel of salvation; they believe it and are saved. They then leave the Church. These conversions have been taking place for millions of Catholics around the world, and especially in Latin American countries where the Pope has called evangelicals "sheep-stealing rapacious wolves" and dangerous "sects" (the Vatican term for cults).
To counter those losses, beginning with Vatican II, Rome has donned evangelical apparel and added some biblical accessories (although her unbiblical salvation remains the same).
Her goal has been to seduce evangelical Christians into believing that Roman Catholicism is proclaiming the same gospel and the same Jesus, so converting Catholics is redundant at best, un-Christian at worst.
Rome’s success in this ploy has been astounding (see Part I for just a few examples). But haven’t the modifications instituted by Vatican II, the ecumenical dialogues with Baptists, Mennonites, Assemblies of God, etc., the agreement on justification with Lutherans, and the "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" accord at least demonstrated that the Roman Catholic Church is indeed changing, becoming more biblical?
Augustin Cardinal Bea, president at the time of the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, and ardent suitor of leading evangelicals, makes clear Rome’s intentions:
The Roman Catholic Church would be gravely misunderstood if it should be concluded that her present ecumenical adventuresomeness and openness meant that she was prepared to reexamine any of her fixed dogmatic positions. What the Church is prepared to do is to take…a more imaginative and contemporary presentation of these fixed positions. (Emphasis added)
Millions of former Catholics are now attending evangelical churches. I’ve spoken in one church (of more than 500 members) where more than 90 percent of them were born-again ex-Catholics. Most such believers, although thankful for their own deliverance from spiritual bondage, nevertheless grieve daily over their lost loved ones.
Yet what compounds their sorrow is not only the animosity shown by Catholic friends and family members because they left the Church, but the fact that too often their evangelical churches offer little or no help in reaching Catholics for Christ; some even disdain the activity as offensive and unloving.
Pastors! Elders! Ministry leaders! You and your church or organization must "offend" Catholics with the truth – that they are lost – and then with the good news of what they need to believe to be saved!
It is our heart’s cry that this would matter deeply to every evangelical who claims to love Roman Catholics. Anything less is real "Catholic bashing."
For more reading from The Berean Call got to my bloggside you will find the link.
Inlagt av Leif Berg
Luther on ecumenism and papacy
History of the Papacy by J.A. Wylie: "...the Church (so-called) of Rome has no right to rank amongst Christian Churches. She is not a Church, neither is her religion the Christian religion. We are accustomed to speak of Popery as a corrupt form of Christianity. We concede too much. The Church of Rome bears the same relation to the Church of Christ which the hierarchy of Baal bore to the institute of Moses; and Popery stands related to Christianity only in the same way in which Paganism stood related to primeval Revelation. Popery is not a corruption simply, but a transformation. It may be difficult to fix the time when it passed from the one into the other; but the change is incontestible. Popery is the gospel transubstantiated into the flesh and blood of Paganism, under a few of the accidents of Christianity."
Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in dispute is what they call non-essential, and, therefore (they say) to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones) is unfruitful and unnecessary.
To this I reply: Cursed be that love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the word of God.
The negotiation about doctrinal agreement displeases me altogether, for this is utterly impossible unless the pope has his papacy abolished. Therefore avoid and flee those who seek the middle of the road. Think of me after I am dead and such middle-of-the-road men arise, for nothing good will come of it. There can be no compromise. (What Luther Says, II: 1019)
Ah, my dear brother in Christ, bear with me if here or elsewhere I use such coarse language when speaking of the wretched, confronted, atrocious monster at Rome! He who knows my thoughts must say that I am much, much, much too lenient and have neither words nor thought adequately to describe the shameful, abominable blasphemy to which he subjects the Word and name of Christ, our dear Lord and Savior. There are some Christians, wicked Christians indeed, who now would gloss things over to make the pope appear against in a good light and who, after he does so and has been dragged out of the mud, would like to reinstate him on the altar. But they are wicked people, whoever they may be, who defend the pope and want me to be quiet about the means whereby he has done harm. Truly, I cannot do this. All true, pious Christians, who love Christ and His Word, should, as said, be sincerely hostile to the pope. They should persecute him and injure him…. All should do this in their several calling, to the best of their ability, with all faithfulness and diligence. (What Luther Says, II: 1072)
What kind of a church is the pope’s church? It is an uncertain, vacillating and tottering church. Indeed, it is a deceitful, lying church, doubting and unbelieving, without God’s Word. For the pope with his wrong keys teaches his church to doubt and to be uncertain. If it is a vacillating church, then it is not the church of faith, for the latter is founded upon a rock, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it (Matt.16:18). If it is not the church of faith, then it is not the Christian church, but it must be an unchristian, anti-Christian, and faithless church which destroys and ruins the real, holy, Christian church. (Luther’s Works, vol. 40, Church and Ministry II, The Keys, p.348)
All this is to be noted carefully, so that we can treat with contempt the filthy, foolish twaddle that the popes present in their decrees about their Roman church, that is, about their devil’s synagogue (Rev.2:9), which separates itself from common Christendom and the spiritual edifice built up on this stone, and instead invents for itself a fleshly worldly, worthless, lying, blasphemous, idolatrous authority over all of Christendom. One of these two things must be true: if the Roman church is not built on this rock along with the other churches, then it is the devil’s church; but if it is built, along with all the other churches, on this rock, then it cannot be lord or head over the other churches. For Christ the cornerstone knows nothing of two unequal churches, but only of one church alone, just as the Children’s Faith, that is, the faith of all of Christendom, says, ”I believe in one holy, Christian church,” and does not say, ”I believe in one holy Roman church.” The Roman church is and should be one portion or member of the holy Christian church, not the head, which befits solely Christ the cornerstone. If not, it is not a Christian but an UN-Christian and anti-Christian church, that is, a papal school of scoundrels. (Luther’s Works, Volume 41, Church and Ministry III, Against The Roman Papacy, An Institution Of The Devil, p.311)
I believe the pope is the masked and incarnate devil because he is the Antichrist. As Christ is God incarnate, so the Antichrist is the devil incarnate. The words are really spoken of the pope when its said that hes a mixed god, an earthly god, that is , a god of the earth. Here god is understood as god of this world. Why does he call himself an earthly god, as if the one, almighty God werent also on the earth? The kingdom of the pope really signifies the terrible wrath of God, namely, the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. (Luthers Works, vol.54, Table Talks, No.4487, p.346)
C. H. Spurgeon on Popery
"It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the Popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. It wounds Christ, robs Christ of His glory, puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread in the place of the Saviour....If we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors; we shall love their souls, though we loathe and detest their dogmas...."
-- C. H. Spurgeon
Heb 12:2 Och må vi därvid se på Jesus, trons hövding och fullkomnare, på honom, som i stället för att taga den glädje som låg framför honom, utstod korsets lidande och aktade smäleken för intet, och som nu sitter på högra sidan om Guds tron.
Heb 12:3 Ja, på honom, som har utstått så mycken gensägelse av syndare, på honom mån I tänka, så att I icke tröttnen och uppgivens i edra själar.
Heb 12:15 Och sen till, att ingen går miste om Guds nåd, och att ingen giftig rot skjuter skott och bliver till fördärv, så att menigheten därigenom bliver besmittad;
Heb 12:16 sen till, att ingen är en otuktig människa eller ohelig såsom Esau, han som för en enda maträtt sålde sin förstfödslorätt.
Heb 12:17 I veten ju att han ock sedermera blev avvisad, när han på grund av arvsrätt ville få välsignelsen; han kunde nämligen icke vinna någon ändring, fastän han med tårar sökte därefter.
Heb 10:36 I behöven nämligen ståndaktighet för att kunna göra Guds vilja och få vad utlovat är.
Heb 10:37 Ty "ännu en helt liten tid, så kommer den som skall komma, och han skall icke dröja;
Heb 10:38 och min rättfärdige skall leva av tro. Men om någon drager sig undan, så finner min själ icke behag i honom".
Heb 10:39 Dock, vi höra icke till dem som draga sig undan, sig själva till fördärv; vi höra till dem som tro och så vinna sina själar.
Ord 25:26 Såsom en grumlad källa och en fördärvad brunn, så är en rättfärdig som vacklar inför den ogudaktige.
Upp 3:16 Men nu, då du är ljum och varken varm eller kall, skall jag utspy dig ur min mun.
Se Ljum, sammanblandad, mixad, förväxlad, utbytt, utväxlad, ersatt, avlöst, efterträdd, liknöjd, likgiltig!
2Ti 4:7 Jag har kämpat den goda kampen, jag har fullbordat mitt lopp, jag har bevarat tron.
2Ti 4:8 Nu ligger rättfärdighetens segerkrans tillreds åt mig, och Herren, den rättfärdige domaren, skall giva den åt mig på "den dagen", och icke åt mig allenast, utan åt alla som hava älskat hans tillkommelse.