Roman Catholicism and the Gospel
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dave Hunt; ©1991|
|Are Catholics taught that salvation is by grace alone in Christ alone? Do Catholics depend on the Scripture as a guide for faith, or do they look to the Church to tell them what to believe?|
Roman Catholicism and the Gospel – Does the Roman Catholic Church Teach a False Gospel?
[A lecture given by Mr. Dave Hunt at the 1991 ATRI Apologetics Conference Orlando, Florida]
Dr. John Ankerberg: Information in this program was taped live at the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute’s Apologetics Conference in Orlando, Florida. We invited laymen, students and pastors to attend this conference and hear seven or eight of the best professors and apologists in Christianity teach on topics of vital interest to all of us. Our instructor for this session is Mr. Dave Hunt.
Dave is an internationally known researcher, author and lecturer. His books include the best selling titles, The Seduction of Christianity, America, the Sorcerer’s New Apprentice, and Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist. Dave Hunt has been a guest a number of times on our program, “The John Ankerberg Show”.
Dave Hunt’s topic for this session is “Roman Catholicism and the Gospel.”
As you listen to this information, it will be my prayer that God will increase your faith and draw you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mr. Dave Hunt: O.K. Roman Catholicism and the Gospel. Tough topic and not a popular one. It is getting very popular to accept Roman Catholicism as just another Christian denomination. Well, in fact it’s the Grandma or Granddaddy or something, you know-the true church, which is claimed by all the cults. It’s not popular to say that Roman Catholicism is the largest and most dangerous cult that exists, which indeed it is. And I didn’t always think that. I can remember ten years ago when rather irate ex-Catholics would ask me in question and answer sessions, “Why don’t you call the Roman Catholic Church a cult?” and I would say, “Well, you know when you start a cult, you’ve got to start from scratch like the Mormons. They’ve got the wrong God, the wrong Jesus, the wrong everything, but at least the Catholics believe in one God, eternally existent in three persons. They believe that the Son of God came to this Earth, was born of a virgin, became a man to die on the cross to pay the debt for our sins. They believe that He rose from the dead and so forth.”
I didn’t know the facts. Now they do believe that, but they believe a lot else, unfortunately. When I investigated, not what Alberto I wouldn’t read Alberto, I’m sorry to say that, but he is not what he claims to be, although much of what he says about the Catholic Church is true. But when I read, not what ex-Catholics, or much less anti-Catholics said, but what the Catholic Church itself teaches, you cannot escape the conclusion that this is the largest and most dangerous cult. It is the Granddaddy not of the church, but of the cults, as a matter of fact. But we will seek to document that.
Now, first of all, the Reformation occurred. You know we had a Reformation back there, believe it or not. People have forgotten it. Four hundred and fifty years ago or so, there was a Reformation. Why did it occur? Our topic is “Roman Catholicism and the Gospel.” It occurred because a number of Roman Catholic priests and monks saw the Gospel, and they didn’t get it from the Catholic Church, they got it from the Bible. The Reformation is because within the Catholic Church there were those who realized that what they had been taught and what they as priests and monks were teaching others was not true, was not according to the Bible, was not the Gospel, and, in fact, they saw the Gospel —salvation by grace through faith, and they were converted. They hoped to bring this new, not new, this old truth, this wonderful truth to the Catholic Church. And the Catholic Church would not receive it. And they were thrown out, and thus began the Reformation. Now not everything about the Reformation was good, and I don’t know whether we will have time to get into that.
So, it was accepted for about four hundred years that the Roman Catholic Church taught a false gospel. There wasn’t any doubt about that. In fact, all the creeds of the Reformed churches, they all called the Pope the Antichrist. Now I don’t think the Pope is the Antichrist, he’s the false prophet. The Antichrist will be the new Constantine. I don’t know again whether we will have time. We’ll probably get into that when we talk about the last days. In fact, I don’t even know, maybe it’s on my notes here, I don’t know. I’ve got so many topics to talk about, I’ll find out when we get to it.
But for four hundred years it was accepted that Roman Catholicism is false, leading people to hell. It’s not the Gospel. Now that’s changing. It’s becoming popular today for Protestant leaders to make overtures to Rome. Robert Schuller, as you may, [or] probably don’t know, said that when it came time to build his Crystal Cathedral, he wouldn’t dare to build it without the Holy Father’s blessing, and he went to Rome with an artist’s conception of the Crystal Cathedral to get the Holy Father’s blessing. And he met with the Pope and received his blessing, and he proudly tells us he had his photograph taken of them together on the twelfth floor of his building there, and so forth.
Paul Crouch, on Trinity Broadcasting Network, an incredible man-I don’t know if you saw him recently. Trinity Broadcasting Network, largest network in the world, Paul Crouch said, “You heresy hunters can go to hell.” (O.K., I’ll give you the quotes in our next Christian Information Bureau Newsletter, July 1991. If you don’t get it, you can sign up for it. It’s free. He said, “I don’t care what your doctrine is and if you want to argue doctrine, if you want to find fault with Ken Hagin or Ken Copeland or whatever, don’t you call me! I don’t want to see your dirty face! And if God doesn’t shoot you, I will!”
This is incredible stuff. Proving that we are in the last days when it says that they will not endure sound doctrine. Doctrine means nothing. He says, “What we want to do is to get out and preach this Gospel.” What Gospel? That’s the question. What is the Gospel? So it’s popular today for Protestant leaders to join with Rome in evangelizing the world. Again with what Gospel?
On TBN, Trinity Broadcasting Network, his “Praise the Lord” program, Paul Crouch said that he is taking Protestantism out of his vocabulary. He says we’ve got nothing to protest. It was a semantic problem. It’s just a matter of semantics. Well, that’s an insult both to the more than one million martyrs who died at the hands of Rome, and it’s an insult to those who killed them. They killed them for a semantic difference? They died for a semantic difference? Martin Luther wasn’t stupid. Calvin wasn’t stupid. There is something wrong. They believed that Rome taught a false gospel, and they gave their lives for this.
Now why then, suddenly are we saying we’ve got to join with them? Let’s say, let’s just name a few of the people who have joined with them. Billy Graham joined with them, Youth With a Mission, Campus Crusade for Christ, InterVarsity, Chuck Colson-his prison fellowship, and Pat Robertson and so forth. I could go on and on. So, those who are recognized as leaders in the Evangelical movement today are, in fact, joining with Rome to evangelize the world. Now how could you possibly justify that?
Well, two possibilities, I already mentioned one of them: the Reformation was a terrible mistake. Well, we just can’t accept that that these martyrs died in vain. Well, but Rome has changed since Vatican IL This is what they say. It’s not true. Absolutely not true.
Pope John the XXIII, Vatican II, the Second Vatican Council, is what it is officially called. It began in 1962 and ended in 1965. It was opened by Pope John XXIII who died during that council. But in his opening speech he said, “I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent.” Vatican II, in fact, confirmed the Council of Trent. If you want to know what the Council of Trent teaches, you can get The Cannons and Decrees of the Council of Trent published by Tan Books or there are other publishers, and you can read it.
The Council of Trent met in 1545 through 1563. It was the top theologians, mostly Jesuits and Dominicans, and they met to refute the Reformation. It was in fact, called a Counter Reformation. The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent remain today the most official declaration of Catholic dogma, doctrine that you can find in one place. And this was all reconfirmed by Vatican II. You should know, if you are not familiar with it, The Council of Trent rejected everything, everything, that the Reformers had stood for, from Sola Scriptura to salvation by faith, the priesthood of all believers, throwing out images, I mean that the Reformers wanted. They rejected everything. The Council of Trent, The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent contain about 125 anathemas, damnations against those who would dare to believe the doctrines that you as Evangelicals believe and hold dear. Then how could it be that Evangelicals are joining with Rome in supposedly evangelizing the world? I deal with this in a number of my books, and some of our recent newsletters.
I am quoting from a catechism, and there are a number of catechisms, probably the Baltimore Catechism would be one of the best known, but they are all very much in agreement. Here’s what you are required to attest to as a Catholic today: “I accept without hesitation and profess all that has been handed down and defined and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the sacred Council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council,” that’s Vatican II, “and in a special manner concerning the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff” Going on, quoting from the catechism, “I recognize the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church as the Mother and Teacher of all, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of Saint Peter.”
Well, I could launch off into something there. Not the successor of Saint Peter, and I mean, we could give many arguments for that from the Scripture. But Apostolic Succession? For that to exist, each, Peter would have had to lay his hands on somebody who became his successor, who would in turn have to lay his hands on somebody and pass it on and so forth. That’s not the way it happened. Even today, they don’t do it that way. After the Pope dies, he [his successor] is voted in by the cardinals and the bishops and so forth. There were times when a mob put him in. In the early days it was the Roman populace that voted them in. There were emperors who put them in, who deposed Popes. There were Popes who bought their way in. I mean there is no way, and some Popes met some untimely deaths, like being shot in bed with the wife of somebody else you know. More than one Pope ended his life that way. They obviously didn’t have time to pass on Apostolic Succession by the laying on of hands. And these were some of the most inhuman monsters. I would recommend you could read a book, for example, Vicars of Christ, by Peter de Rosa. He is a Jesuit or a former Jesuit, a Catholic still. He just lays it out for you. You couldn’t possibly call these people, “His Holiness, Vicar of Christ.”
Now the Vatican II, and I don’t know, I may be getting ahead of myself here, but I have some of the quotes of Vatican II, but since there is one on the page right across, let’s just take it right now. You see, most people have the idea that you obey the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra, that is from the chair, officially on morals and doctrine. That’s not true. Let me quote from Vatican II, quote:
This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given in a special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff. Even when lie does not speak ex cathedra. It is such wise indeed that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect and that one sincerely adhere to decisions made by him conformably with his manifest mind and intention.
I am quoting now from the Baltimore Catechism, Question 561 says, quote:
Must we ourselves seek in the Scriptures and traditions for what we are to believe?
Answer: We, ourselves, need not seek in the Scriptures and traditions for what we are to believe. God has appointed the church to be our guide to salvation, and we must accept its teachings as our infallible rule of faith.
Now that is one of the primary marks of a cult. You check your mind at the door and you must accept what the guru or whoever it is, declares is the truth. You don’t know what the Bible says, except what the Church says what the Bible says. You don’t, you can’t come to know Jesus Christ personally and come to know God personally, but the Church stands in between, and it is only through the Church mediating this relationship and mediating these graces that you can supposedly come to know, but that’s salvation. Salvation is something else again, and we will get into that in a moment.
Let me just quote from, I think it was the June newsletter in which I tried to reason with our cult experts out there. In fact, I made the statement in this newsletter, “I challenge any church leader to public debate who declares that this is false.” What I am saying is false: that Roman Catholicism is not a cult. If they want to debate me, and if they can prove it is not a cult, I will publicly repent. I began, for example, with Walter Martin’s book, The Rise of the Cults, and in that he defines a cult as “Any major deviation from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith.” Now that would be regarding salvation. We’re talking about Catholicism and the Gospel. Well, he doesn’t mention Catholicism as a cult, but it is undeniably a major deviation from orthodox Christianity on many cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, and we’ll get into that. So by his own definition, it’s a cult.
I go to Answers to Cultists at Your Door, by Bob and Gretchen Passantino, and they include such marks of a cult as the claim that, “It’s the only organization on Earth that is following God’s will.” Now if you are an ex-Jehovah’s Witness, well, you know that’s what they teach, and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Or if you are an ex-Mormon, as I see some here, you know that’s what they teach. What is the first thing that the Mormon missionaries want to prove to you when they arrive at your door? They want to prove that there is the one true church. And that it has had the prophet of God, who can be traced back by Apostolic Succession. Does it sound familiar? Exactly what Roman Catholicism teaches. It is the one true church outside of which there is no salvation, and it must interpret the Bible for you. Vatican II says it over and over and over, the Magisterium, is what they’re called. The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church are the only ones who can interpret the Bible. You can not interpret the Bible. You can’t come up with your own idea, and what they tell you, you must accept. So a Catholic goes to great lengths to prove that Peter was the first Pope, and Apostolic Succession, because that is important to show that this is the one true church founded by Jesus Christ. Once you know that, then you accept everything that they teach, which is one of the primary marks of a cult. So, the Passantinos say, well, the mark of a cult is that they claim it’s the only organization on Earth that is following God’s will, that it’s leader is uniquely chosen by God to lead God’s people, and that it alone offers the Bible’s true interpretation on all matters. This is what they say is a cult. Why don’t they then call the Roman Catholic Church a cult, because that’s exactly what it teaches?
Canon 212 of Catholicism’s Code of Canon Law requires that Catholics must give absolute obedience to their sacred pastors. Canon 333, Section 3, declares, “There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.” Vatican watchdog, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, recently issued a 7500 word instruction, and he declared that dissent about church teachings cannot be justified as a matter of following one’s conscience. Well, ex-Mormons will recognize that-sounds like what they say about the First Presidency over there in Salt Lake City. You cannot disagree with them.
I find it most interesting, in Scripture Twisting, James W. Sire-he’s been the long-time editor-in-chief of InterVarsity Press. He defines a cult as, “having doctrines and/or practices that contradict those of the Scriptures as interpreted by traditional Christianity as represented by the major Catholic and Protestant denominations.” So he makes Catholicism a standard of orthodoxy. Now how can he possibly do that? He accuses the cults in his book, Scripture Twisting, he accuses the cults of twisting Scripture. That is the technique of which Rome is surely the ultimate master—twisting Scripture. He indicts Mormonism as a cult for adding other revelations to the Bible. The Roman Catholics have added far more new revelations than the Mormons ever dreamed of, because they’ve been around a whole lot longer. And, in fact, a Catholic will tell you, “We do not go by the Bible.” They make no bones about this. They don’t try to weasel around it, they say, “No, we don’t go by the Bible. We go by the Bible plus tradition, and what the Magisterium teaches.” So then you ask, “Well, what do you do?” I had a debate, well, he’s too nice a man to debate with, Malachi Martin, recently on the radio, and he sat down, and I said, “Malachi, what do you do when your tradition contradicts the word of God and what the Magisterium teaches contradicts what the word of God plainly says?”
“Oh,” he says, ” We go with the Magisterium. We go with the Church. We must accept what the Church says.” You can’t even use your common sense, because you can not possibly interpret the Bible. Well, James Sire says that’s the mark of a cult. Then why does he make Roman Catholicism, who is the master of this, a standard of orthodoxy? He says, “There is no guru class in Biblical Christianity, no Illuminati, no people through whom all proper interpretation must come.” Well, that’s exactly the situation in the Roman Catholic Church today.
So how does he make it the standard of orthodoxy? It’s staggering, what’s happening. Can we call it blindness? A lack of information? I don’t know because a lot of the information-here’s an article Los Angeles Times-big headlines over the article: “`No Forgiveness Directly from God,’ Pope Says.” So they don’t keep this stuff a secret. “Vatican City, rebutting a belief widely shared by Protestants and a growing number of Roman Catholics, Pope John Paul II on Tuesday dismissed the widespread idea that one can obtain forgiveness directly from God and exhorted Catholics to confess more often to their priests,” and so forth. Now, in spite of the facts there is an ecumenical movement, a lack of zeal for truth, for doctrine, a spirit of compromise. Well, let’s be positive. Let’s not suggest that anybody is wrong. You might shatter their fragile self-esteem, and James Dobson says that’s the secret of everything. So we don’t want to knock down their self-esteem by telling them that they are wrong. And he, in fact, cooperates with Catholics as well and has called the Pope one of the greatest moral and spiritual leaders of the century, and Billy Graham has called the Pope, I think, the greatest moral and spiritual leader of the century.
So, we have some amazing things happening. We had for example, it was called Indianapolis 90. It was held, I think, August 1990 in Indianapolis. I think there were about 23,000 people there. It was a great Congress on world evangelization and the Holy Spirit. And Charisma magazine last October, said, well, every afternoon, the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, whoever were there, they all had their own evangelism training sessions. I am quoting Charisma magazine, last October, commenting on this conference, it said, “The Roman Catholic Evangelism Training Session was centered on leading people to salvation in Christ, not on persuading them to join the Catholic Church as was feared by some people.” And I think they had me in mind very few others who are even saying this. Now these are Charismatics and again I say I am not an anticharismatic. They claim to have the word of knowledge, the discernment of spirits. They don’t know the wool was being pulled over their eyes. In fact, I quote here, and I won’t take time to try to find it, but I quote from some, well, you might say, secret minutes of meetings of the leaders behind the charismatic movement back in the 70’s, and show you that they say that everything that they did had to be approved by Cardinal Suenens from Rome. So there was a Catholic influence back even in those days. And yet, they claim they have the discernment of spirits. I think I mentioned earlier that the-in a previous session- that the first message in tongues, and by the way many of these people in the Catholic Charismatic movement who supposedly were baptized in the spirit began to speak in tongues, it happened while they were saying their rosary. It happened while they were praying to Mary. They became even more enamored with Mary and with the Mass afterwards. That is not the Holy Spirit. And the first message in tongues with interpretation at Notre Dame University, and I get this from a Catholic book, by a Catholic author who is proudly telling this, was “What Our Lady of Fatima has said shall surely come to pass.” Well, we’ll get back and talk about Our Lady of Fatima.
Now here’s a conference on world evangelization, and Charisma magazine says the Catholics are just as straight down evangelical as you could possibly ask. They are not trying to get people in the Catholic Church. Now I quote you from Tom Forrest at that same conference, Saturday morning, Catholic only audience, and this is what he said. By the way, Tom Forrest is the head of new Evangelization 2000 which is the Roman Catholic World Evangelization. They are going to evangelize the world by the year 2000. He works right under the Pope in Rome. He says masses for the Pope and so forth. This is what he said to his Catholic only audience, “Our job is to make people as richly and fully Christian as we can by bringing them into the Catholic Church, our visible sacrament of salvation.” I like saying those words, “our visible sacrament of salvation.” That’s what the church is, and we have to be evangelizing into the church. No, you don’t just invite someone to become a Christian, you invite them to become Catholics. Why would this be so important? Obviously, it’s important if you believe it’s your sacrament of your salvation, outside of which there is no salvation. You surely want to get them into this church, because salvation is mediated by the church through the seven sacraments. That’s how it comes. It’s a process. The death of Jesus on the cross only made it possible for you to earn your way to heaven. That’s what happened. You have been forgiven of original sin, but in the meantime you can pick up venial or mortal sins and so forth. It’s like Mormonism. The road to Godhood, as Joseph Smith said, could take eons. It’s a ladder that you climb, and you earn eternal life, although the Bible says it’s a free gift from God. And in Roman Catholicism, you earn, see the death of Christ made it possible now for you to earn your salvation, and we’ll get into that a little bit more.
So, you don’t just invite someone to become a Christian, you invite them to become Catholics. Why is this so important? There are seven sacraments, and the Catholic Church has all seven. We have the body of Christ. We drink the blood of Christ. Jesus is alive on our altars as offering-we’ll come back to that at the mass, what it is. It is a sacrifice, a propitiatory sacrifice, and if you dare to say that it is not, you get one of those 125 anathemas from the Council of Trent.
John Wimber, of course, would be involved. John Wimber who was featured on the cover of New Covenant Magazine, a Catholic magazine, wrote an article, “Why I Love Mary,” and so forth, representing some of the fastest growing churches in Christian history. “The vision, this time has been given to a Roman Catholic, Father Tom Forrest.” So there we have Tom Forrest again, who is the guiding light behind another ecumenical movement, supposedly joining with our Protestant brothers to evangelize the world, but literally saying, the only way we can make people fully Christian is to get them in the Catholic Church. Why do they continue to cooperate? I don’t know. At the same time that Rome is making overtures to our separated brethren, she is holding increasing numbers of conferences to combat fundamentalism. O.K.? The Catholic writers I think are dishonest. I think in our February newsletter I analyzed one of many books that are coming out now. It’s called Evangelical Catholics, by Keith A. Fournier. There’s no such thing as an evangelical Catholic. They’ve got the wrong gospel. It has a foreword by Chuck Colson, published by Nelson, a leading evangelical publisher. And in that book, he is dishonest, and I explain his dishonesty.
So we have a number of books now that are being written by leading Catholics to prove that Catholics preach the true gospel-that they are true evangelicals. You have books such as Karl Keating’s, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, which argues against fundamentalism, so on the one hand they’re saying we’re one with you and on the other hand they’re undermining it. If I can find a quote from the Pope at the same time that the Pope is going around the world… in fact, he addressed the World Council of Churches in Geneva, representing 400,000,000 Protestants worldwide, and he said, “From the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome, I have insisted that the engagement of the Catholic Church in the Ecumenical Movement is irreversible.” Yet at the same time he warns Catholics against fundamentalist doctrines. They have really, you might say, an offensive on now to undermine fundamentalism, and to show what is wrong with Evangelicals at the same time that they supposedly are joining hands with Evangelicals to evangelize the world.
This is just a newspaper article, it says, “Bishops Decry Fundamentalist Simplicities: The nation’s Roman Catholic Bishops, acknowledging Fundamentalist Protestant inroads into their constituency, have called for new efforts to counteract the simplicities of Biblical Fundamentalism.” They don’t like Fundamentalism’s emphasis on the Bible as the sole source of religious truth. They say that the church produced the Bible and so forth. Well, that’s not true, and I don’t have time to go into that. The church did not produce the Old Testament, obviously, nor did the church produce the New Testament. The church did not decide what was in the New Testament. The Council of Nicea didn’t even talk about it in 325 AD. It was not until the end of the Fourth Century that the Councils defined the 27 books [of the New Testament] that we have today, and they left out the Apocryphal books that the Catholics have. The earliest councils argued from the Bible as we have it today, because it had been accepted by consensus by the Christians what was the Word of God-which, in fact, is the way that Paul said it must be. In 1 Corinthians 14 he writes, “If any man among you think of himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write are the commandments of the Lord.” In other words, it must be the witness of the Holy Spirit within the hearts of individual believers who recognize that this is the Word of God. But you as a Catholic, you can’t do that. You can’t even go into the jungles of South America, for example, and preach from the Word of God and expect the Holy Spirit to convict them. No, you have to, first of all, prove that there is a one true church, and it is that church that gave us this book and which interprets it, and now you must accept what it says. It simply is not true.
As far as the Gospel is concerned, I have Basic Catechism of Christian Doctrine. You need to understand what a sacrament is because when we get into salvation here, we have to rush along. “A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace ordained by Jesus Christ, by which grace is given to our souls. The sacraments always give grace to those who receive them worthily. The sacraments have the power of giving grace from the merits of Christ’s precious blood which they apply to our souls. We ought to have a great desire to receive the sacraments, because they are the chief means of our salvation.” So, you see, the sacrament isn’t ministered once. We believe that Christ died once for all, and when you believe in Him, you are saved. When Paul was asked by the Philippian jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” He didn’t say, “You’ve got to join the one true church, then you have to get involved in the sacraments and wear a scapular and have Mary intercede for you and get some indulgences,” and all this stuff. No!-he said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” John 3:16, everybody knows it, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever… “what? “. ..believeth in Him, should not perish…” Salvation is by faith alone, and it is through the grace of God that comes through what Christ did upon the cross, not a continual ministration of sacraments by a priesthood in a church that then has you at their mercy. And you’re afraid to die without last rites and afraid to be excommunicated and so forth.
The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent say:
- Our Lord Jesus Christ merited for us salvation by His death upon the cross, but the instrumental cause of justification is the sacrament of baptism without which no man was ever justified. If anyone says that baptism is not necessary for salvation or denies that infants newly born ought to be baptized for the remission of sins, let him be anathema. For by baptism we put on Christ and are made in Him an entirely new creature receiving full and complete remission of all sins.
Now maybe some of you here believe in baptismal regeneration, and I don’t want to get into that argument, but I can tell you it comes from Rome, and it is a part of Rome that Martin Luther, himself, didn’t get himself delivered from. And we still have some of these trappings hanging on. The idea that a baby who has never made a decision for Christ, understands nothing, by putting a wet hand on it, or pouring a little water on it and declaring it to be a child of God that it becomes a child of God, simply is not true. And 98 percent of Catholics enter into the church that way, and they are told that their sins are forgiven, they become a child of God through baptism. But they’re only on the road to salvation, you understand, and now, that involves the six other sacraments and a great deal more is involved in that. So there’s confusion. Why is there confusion? D. Martin Lloyd-Jones put it like this, and I think he said it very well. This is a famous sermon that he preached on Catholicism, that you can get in your Christian book stores. He said:
In one sense you might well think that the Roman Catholic Church is the most orthodox church in the world. It believes that Jesus of Nazareth was the Eternal Son of God. It believes in the Virgin Birth. It believes in the incarnation. It believes in His miracles. It believes in His substitutionary work upon the cross and His resurrection, etc. But at this point the subtlety comes in and the difficulty arises. To all that orthodox truth, she adds with a damnable plus, things which are utterly unscriptural and which indeed become a denial of the Scripture. So she lands us eventually in a position in which if we accept her teaching we are believing a lie.
Now that is a trick of the cults. You know, you talk to Mormons and they can sound very biblical. They’ll try their best. You talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses; they can sound very biblical. The World Wide Church of God, Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, and so forth, they all can put on biblical Evangelical language, but they mean something different. They don’t have the same meaning to these words that you have.
For example, some of the people who are not willing to accept the Catholics as a cult, they say, “Well, the Catholics, they subscribe to the creeds.” Well, let’s take part of the creed, that Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate. Of course, the Catholics subscribe to that! So does everybody else. But they mean something entirely different by His suffering under Pontius Pilate.
D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, who I think most people would regard very highly, said, “I do not hesitate to say that Roman Catholicism is the devil’s greatest masterpiece.” You see, Satan damns a lot of people by getting them to reject the Gospel, but what could be more clever than to pervert the Gospel, so that what poses as the one true church that goes right back to Peter, that Jesus founded, outside of which there is no salvation, has so perverted the Gospel that it destroys it and damns those who believe this message. He said, “It is such a departure from the Christian faith and the New Testament teaching that I would not hesitate with the Reformers of the sixteenth century to say, as the Scripture puts it, `She is the whore. “‘ Christian people, your responsibility I’s terrible. You must know the truth. There are innocent people being deluded. It is your business and mine to open their eyes and to instruct them and that is the purpose, really of this seminar.
Well, what are the facts? Let’s take the major doctrines and compare them with the Bible. Salvation: I want to read from the Catechism here. “Faith alone will not save us, without good works. We firmly trust that God will give us eternal life and all the means necessary to obtain it if we do what He requires of us.” Now, what does He require of us? Well, obedience to the church and so forth. Now, Article 138 says, “We can do no good work of ourselves towards our salvation, we need the help of God’s grace.” But then it says, “We must obtain God’s grace chiefly by prayer and the Holy Sacraments.” The Council of Trent says, “No one can know with the certainty of faith that he has obtained the grace of God, or that he is among the number that God has chosen. Anyone who claims to be certain of his salvation is anathematized.” You find that [on] pages 43 – 45 in The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, published by Tan Books in 1978.
So grace is through the sacraments ministered by the church. Now let me go to page 43-and we just read that-that the sacraments are our chief means of grace; that baptism forgives sin. It makes us Christians, children of God, and so forth. “Baptism is given by pouring water on the head of the child saying at the same time these words, `I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost.’…”, and so forth.
Now, they reject imputed righteousness, and they say we must literally be purged, be made clean, and that’s where Purgatory comes in. You remember Tom Forrest said, “I thank God for Purgatory, because that’s the only way to go. I wouldn’t get there without Purgatory.” Now Purgatory is a place where you are cleansed.
I was on a talk show recently on the radio, and a Catholic called in and he said, “I want you to know that we Catholics don’t believe what you Evangelicals teach.”
I said, “Thank you very much for saying that, because when I say it, people don’t believe me, but maybe they’ll accept it from you as a Catholic.”
And then he said, “and I want you to know, we don’t believe in the Rapture. That’s a myth!”
And I said, “Of course, you couldn’t believe in the Rapture, because you believe in Purgatory.”
See, people have to spend different lengths of time in Purgatory. Some people may be there a thousand years, some ten thousand, some maybe only a few days. It depends on how many indulgences you get, too. You could knock off days and months and years from Purgatory if you get enough indulgences. So you couldn’t possibly, as 1 Thessalonians 4 says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first…”-you couldn’t possibly have a simultaneous resurrection of all the dead, because they all have to do different lengths of time in Purgatory. And you certainly couldn’t then-` `and we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them….” you couldn’t have that because the living haven’t even been to Purgatory.
Then I said to him, “Of course, some people get out very fast-because if you wear the scapular, the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, then she has promised if you die wearing her scapular, the Saturday after her death, she will personally go into Purgatory and take you out.”
Here’s a Catholic publication about the scapular. It says, “The scapular is an assurance of salvation. Whosoever dies clothed in his scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” This is Mary’s promise made July 16,1251 to St. Simon Stock. She also allegedly appeared in 1322 to Pope John XXII and told him that she would go in, as I mentioned, the Saturday after your death if you die wearing the scapular and take you out of Purgatory. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wear the scapular? What easier way to get to heaven?
It’s again I say, like Mormon’s magic underwear that you wear when you become a temple Mormon. I mean, this wards off all evil and so forth. Who wouldn’t want to wear that magic underwear? And who wouldn’t want to wear the scapular if that is your sure ticket to heaven? They make no bones about this. That this is the way you obtain eternal life. But it is only one of the ways. This is another document on the scapular.
It’s not enough for God to forgive you and impute to you the righteousness of Christ. You must literally be made clean. You’ve got to be purged by the fires of Purgatory. It’s that place of purging. So that’s where that teaching comes [from]. Now, you have to ask yourself a question, “Can you believe both a false gospel and a true gospel at the same time and be saved?” I don’t see how you could. It seems to me the false gospel nullifies the true gospel. So if you claim to believe the truth, what the Bible says, but at the same time you believe this, you’ve got some real problems.
It’s a “works” gospel which all the cults are involved in. I remember listening to Bart Brewer, a former Catholic priest talking about when he was a monk they wore hair shirts just to torture themselves to help to earn their salvation. Every Wednesday and Friday, I think he said, they would take the elevator to the fifth floor, and they would pull their robes up and their pants down and start to beat themselves, flagellation, to earn their salvation. Or you think of the people, my wife was recently at Fatima, Portugal, walking on their knees for hundreds of yards on the pavement, trying to walk up steps on their knees to get so many years knocked off of their time in Purgatory. How can you believe in salvation by grace through faith when you also are trying to earn your way to heaven? It doesn’t fit. It doesn’t compute.
Now, the Mass. Let me just read it from the Catechism here. “The sacrament of the holy Eucharist is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, together with His soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ by the power of God, when the words of consecration, ordained by Jesus Christ are pronounced by the priest at the Holy Mass. The Holy Mass is the sacrifice….”
We [Evangelicals] believe it is a remembrance. “This do in remembrance of Me.” We believe it is a memorial. The Council of Trent says, if you dare-and the catechisms and the canons say, if you dare to say that this is just a remembrance, that this is not a real propitiatory sacrifice, “Let him be anathema.” So, it says, “The Holy Mass is the sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ really present on the altar under the appearances of bread and wine. The Holy Mass is one and the same sacrifice with that of the Cross, inasmuch as Christ, Who offered Himself a bleeding victim on the cross to His heavenly Father, continues to offer Himself in an unbloody manner, on the altar, through the ministry of the priest.”
Now, what is happening then is that they are taking the resurrected, gloried body of Jesus, which has no blood in the veins, now, “spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me.” That blood was poured out upon the cross. They are taking His resurrected, glorified body, reconstituting it into a pre-crucifixion body of flesh and blood to be offered again. Not only that, but this little wafer is the entire body, personality, divinity, and soul and spirit of Jesus, but you’ve got thousands of them in Catholic[ism]… they say, “We take Jesus literally when He said `Except you eat my flesh and drink my blood….”‘ Well, for centuries they didn’t allow the common people to drink the blood, so if you couldn’t have life without drinking His blood, “eating My flesh and drink My blood….” Well, those millions and millions were damned, because they couldn’t have it. Now they let you have the cup as well.
But what Jesus was saying in John 6 had nothing to do with the communion service but He was talking about His sacrifice. If you go back to Leviticus, you find that the priest had to eat the sacrifice. He was teaching the priesthood of all believers. He was teaching that He would be the fulfillment of all the Old Testament sacrifices. We must literally believe that He became a flesh and blood man. That God became a man to die, and how do we eat Him, He said, “He who comes to me and believeth on me….” Over and over He mentioned this “believing on Me.” That’s how we eat. That’s how we receive Christ by faith.
I was watching a Catholic program on television a couple weeks ago. These dear ladies, they are so sincere. And they were telling how a non-Catholic came into a Mass, and as the priest held up the wafer, it glowed with a light. And when he took the wafer, he began to glow. This is an occult manifestation. The people, when they came up and took it, they began to glow. It so impressed this woman that she became a Catholic, and these two dear Catholic ladies… I mean -I have to call them dear ladies-they are so loving and sweet and kind and sincere, but deceived. And they said, “What is this? Why were they glowing with a light?” They said, “Because that’s eternal life! We get eternal life by eating His body and drinking His blood.” Well, now, how are you possibly going to get a person to receive Christ into their heart when they believe that ingesting Him into their stomach, that’s the way they are receiving [eternal] life. So this false gospel confuses and really undermines the truth. It is very, very difficult to bring the truth.
Furthermore, it’s a denial of Scripture. I would remind you of Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, I mean, they were among 288 who were burned at the stake, and if you get to England, you must go to Oxford, you must go outside of Balliol College and see there the marks in the street. 288 in four years were burned at the stake under Bloody Queen Mary, who brought Catholicism back in, because they refused to acknowledge transubstantiation. They said, “We can’t acknowledge it, because it is a denial of the Scripture which says, (Hebrews chapter 9 around verse 27) `As it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered at the end of the age. He hath appeared once at the end of the age to put away sin.”‘ Chapter 10 of Hebrews argues the Old Testament sacrifices couldn’t possibly take away sin, because they had to be repeated, and there was a remembrance of sin and a repetition of those sacrifices. In contrast to the sacrifices in the Old Testament that had to be repeated, it says, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, for by one sacrifice He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.” And the mass is a denial of this teaching. It’s a re-sacrifice. It’s called the sacrifice of the Mass, and these , they could not embrace this, and they were burned at the stake.
I think probably the most famous words that have come down to us from any martyr are words spoken by Hugh Latimer, bound back to back at the same stake with Nicholas Ridley, and as the flames began to mount, he said, “Be of good courage, Master Ridley, and play the man, for we shall by God’s grace this day, light such a candle in England as I pray will never go out.”
Well, it’s gone out. If it hasn’t gone out, it’s just barely flickering, because they are denying that the Reformation had any significance.
Mary. I’ve just got all kinds of stuff here that I want to share with you, and time runs out very fast. So we haven’t had time to get to it. But if you want to, go into your Catholic bookstore and pick up this little booklet, Devotions in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
You say to your Catholics friends, “Why do you pray to Mary?”
And they say, “No we don’t pray to Mary, we simply ask Mary to pray for us like you would ask a friend to pray for you.”
Not true. In this book, for example, Evangelical Catholics, by Keith Fournier, telling you the dishonesty of the man, he says, “Oh, we honor Mary.” And then he goes right on, failing to acknowledge that they honor Mary, and let me just quote from Catholic teaching:
Mary is co-redemptress of the human race, because with Christ, she ransomed mankind from the power of Satan. Jesus redeemed us with the blood of His body, Mary with the agonies of her heart. The church and saints greet her thus, “You 0 Mary, together with Jesus Christ, redeemed us.” God has ordained that no grace will be granted to us, except through Mary. No one will be saved or obtain mercy except through you, 0 heavenly lady. No one will enter heaven without passing through Mary as one would pass through a door. 0 Mary, our salvation is in your hands…, etc.
Now, I’ll just read you one page. Get this book, a very popular book among Catholics. It’s Prayers to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the goods which God grants to us miserable sinners. Come then to my aid, dearest mother. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee do I entrust my soul. For if thou protect me dear mother, I fear nothing. Not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them.
I thought Jesus had obtained-you see, a Catholic doesn’t know the pardon of his sins. He is still hoping and praying to Mary that she will somehow down the line obtain for him the pardon of sins.
Nor from the devils I fear nothing, nor from the devils because thou art more powerful than all hell together, nor even from Jesus my Judge Himself, because by one prayer from thee, He will be appeased.
So here’s my Advocate, the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me, who died for my sins, who pleads for me at the Father’s right hand, and He is depicted as my adversary and unless Mary appeases Him, He will condemn me. This is an abomination! This is blasphemy!
…But one thing I fear, that in the hour of temptation, I may neglect to call on thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me then the pardon of my sins.
The Pope is a Marian priest. He has inscribed in Latin inside of his robes, Totus, Tuus Maria (Mary I am all yours). He believes that Our Lady of Fatima saved his life during that assassination attempt. She appeared to him during his period of recovery, and gave him a mission. And the Pope believes that Our Lady of Fatima, by the way Fatima was the favorite daughter of Mohammed, and here is a means of joining Mohammedans, the Moslems, and Christians, you know the woman’s movement, the fertility goddesses, the arousal of goddess consciousness of women.
The Catholics have a woman. She is depicted in Revelation 17 as the whore of Babylon riding upon this beast, a woman, and it makes no bones about the identification of that woman. She is a city on seven hills. Rome is classically known as the city on seven hills. Well, you could say Rio de Janeiro claims to be built on seven hills as do others, but they don’t fulfill the other criteria. She is a city on seven hills, drunk with the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Jesus, a city that exercises dominion, authority over the kings of the Earth. The U. S. and over a hundred other countries all have ambassadors to the Vatican. Gorbachev didn’t go to Nashville, Tennessee to meet with the head of the Southern Baptist Convention. He went to Rome to meet with the Pope, and he introduced him to his wife Raisa as the highest spiritual authority on Earth. They all go there. Vatican exercises authority, and it has committed fornication with the kings of this Earth in bed with the kings.
What should be the bride of Christ, what claims to be the church, espoused to Christ as a chaste virgin, has now committed fornication and has gotten in bed with the authorities of this world. A woman, the woman’s movement, Our Lady of Fatima, when she appeared said, “Say the rosary every day to obtain peace, pray, pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them.”
Yes, Jesus made the sacrifice. It’s a lie. It’s a false gospel. It’s a cult, and we don’t show love to these people if we just accept them as Christians. What we need to do, if we love them or are concerned for their soul, is we give them the true Gospel. And to do that we have to tell them. We have to pull the rug out from under the lies that they have believed.
Father, I pray that you will help us to be earnest about Your Word and Your truth and to stand for it. Stand firm. And Lord to love the Catholics and to seek to win them with the truth. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.