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     Recognizing Deception and Apostasy
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Part II

RECOGNIZING APOSTASY


 Chapter 4

 Ecumenism and the Roman Catholic Church

One of the early signs of apostasy is the ecumenical movement.  The only way to bring all the churches together is to compromise the truth.  It seeks to dismiss the importance of doctrine (and even criticize it as divisive) and just emphasizes love and forgetting our differences. Some of the liberal churches have already begun to move back into the Catholic fold and many American charismatics have paid homage to the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith. Just watch the rest of the evangelical churches find commonality with Rome.

We need to take a close look at what the Roman Catholic Church believes about itself.  We look at the church in America and think it is changing.  It is not.  It has not changed its official position on any of the major issues: communion, transubstantiation, the deification of Mary, the nature of salvation, purgatory, indulgences, or the fact that any one outside the church is condemned.

Revelation 17 describes a religious beast, “I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, have in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and full of the unclean things of her immorality, and upon her forehead a name was written, a mystery, ‘BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.’ And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered greatly. And the angel said to me, ‘Why do you wonder? I shall tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns... Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. (Revelation 17:3-7, 9,14)

The Catholic Encyclopedia states: The Roman Catholic Church“ is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined.” There is only one church that so proudly traces its origins back to the beginning and only one church that fits the description of Revelation - the Roman Catholic Church. Historically, Bible scholars have agreed that this refers to the Roman Catholic Church, a church that is a mixture of pagan religion, which to this day holds to the same heretical teachings it has promulgated for the last 1900 years. It has not changed. However, as we shall see, there are some historical revisionists who would whitewash the image of the church whose hands are stained with the blood of martyrs.

The Roman Catholic Church is described as the Mother of Harlots, which includes those churches that split off from her and will come back under her wing in the “last days.” There never was a doubt that the liberal Protestant churches that belong to the World Council of Churches would come back to the Catholic fold. But until recent years, there was absolutely no thought that the conservative evangelical would ever consider a rapprochement with the Catholic Church. Historically most conservative evangelicals understood what Roman Catholicism practices and stands for. There was no way a Bible believing Christian could ever condone what it believes and does. Something would have to be done to clean up her image or history would have to be rewritten and that is exactly what has happened. Today, we are told the Reformation was just a misunderstanding and the Roman Catholic Church is emerging as the leader of divided Christendom and evangelical churches. The liberal churches are seen as morally bankrupt, the evangelical churches are divided on issues, but the Catholic Church the moral high ground on questions such as divorce, abortion, and homosexuality.

The softening of attitude is going so far that Paul Crouch, president of Trinity Broadcast Network declared that he is "no longer a Protestant because he has nothing to protest." Pat Robertson is sharing the pulpit with archbishops and priests in various forums co-sponsored by the Christian Coalition and the Catholic Church. Christianity Today came out with a series of articles in the December 1994 written by such well-known scholars as J.I. Packer and Charles Swindall. One article suggested that the Reformation was just a semantic misunderstanding and that the Catholic Church always believed in salvation by grace. What a travesty to twist history in such a way!

On March 29, 1994 evangelicals and Catholics signed a joint declaration titled Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium. This paper is signed by forty notable Christian leaders such as Chuck Colson, John Neuhaus, Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Jesse Miranda of the Assemblies of God, J.I. Packer, John White of the National Association of Evangelicals, Monsignor William Murphy, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Boston, Archbishop Francis Stafford and endorses such as Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, Pat Robertson of CBN and many, many more. The purpose of the declaration is to minimize the differences. In fact, some are calling the Reformation a semantic misunderstanding. One of the most well-known Christian apologists says that Catholics “believe in justification by grace” and that differences between Catholics and evangelicals “are not as great as generally perceived and they are not crucial...involve heresy...the whole theological core of historic Christianity is held in common.” (The Southern Cross, January 13, 1994, p. 11 as quoted in Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, p. 406) Recently, they made an attempt to define salvation, but even those who developed the statement said it meant different things to each group. Mormons, Catholics and Evangelicals use many of the same terms but they mean something completely different to each. Now either we have a huge misunderstanding on our hands or there is a titanic effort at historical revisionism and a cover-up of massive proportions. There are only three possibilities: 1) the Reformation was a mistake, 2) the Roman Catholic Church has changed or 3) our foremost “evangelical” leaders have fallen further into apostasy than anyone ever expected and are leading the church into apostasy. We need to examine the facts.

Evangelicals are so eager to accept Rome’s revisionism that they don’t bother to check the facts. It seems that no sacrifice is too great for evangelicals to further the “unity”. The fact is Vatican II reconfirmed all of the basic teachings evangelicals should abhor: the Eucharist, Mary worship, papal infallibility, purgatory, etc. “This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable faith of our ancestors...and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicea, of the Council of Florence and of the Council of Trent. (Vatican Council II as quoted by Dave Hunt, op.cit., p. 351) This means they haven’t changed! Here is another example, “There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind ‘that all the faithful ought to show to this most holy sacrament (i.e. the wafer which they believe has been transformed into Christ’s body) the worship which is due to the true God, as has always been the custom of the Catholic Church... through that conversion of bread and wine which, as the Council of Trent tells us, is most aptly named transubstantiation.” (Vatican Council II as quoted by Dave Hunt, op.cit. p. 368). This teaching of the mass or Eucharist is one of the most onerous anti-Christian teachings of the church and we will get back to this later. When it comes to ecumenism, it is a one-way street. We are the ones that have to change. According to Vatican I and II, the Reformation and we evangelicals are still anathema (condemned) on over 100 points, including believing in salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

Pastor Jack Hayford, writes in Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, Redeeming worship centers on the Lord’s table. Whether your tradition celebrates it as communion, the Eucharist, the Mass or the Lord’s Supper, we are all called to this centerpiece on Christian worship.” A statement such as this should raise a cry from every Bible believing evangelical in the country. Yet, there is silence from leaders across the land. (Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, p. 19) Instead, we have the head of the Vineyard movement lending his support to Catholics: “Wimber is as comfortable with Roman Catholic dogma as he is with evangelicalism. As we have noted, Wimber defends the Catholic claims of healing through relics. He advocates the reunification of Protestants and Catholics. A former associate says, ‘During a Vineyard pastors’ conference, {he} went so far as to ‘apologize’ to the Catholic church on behalf of all Protestants.” In his seminar on church planting, Wimber stated, “the pope by the way is very responsive to the charismatic movement, and is himself a born-again evangelical. If you’ve read any of his texts concerning salvation, you’d know he is preaching the gospel as clear as anybody is preaching it in the world today.” (Phil Arms, Promise Keepers: Another Trojan Horse, p.265 quoting John MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, p. 148)

These are both ridiculous and blasphemous statements from the highest leadership of evangelical circles! Let’s look at what the Roman Catholic Church is and stands for and see if these statements can be justified.

What Does the Roman Catholic Church Believe?

Although there may be some "born again" Catholics, the question is, has the Roman Catholic Church officially changed any of its historic positions? The answer is no! In fact, Vatican II and every council and edict since confirmed these positions. Exactly what does the Roman Catholic Church believe? Unfortunately, because of the vastness of this subject, I will only highlight a few. All of these points can be fully documented. The following are just a few of the historic and present day positions of the church, which are absolutely opposed to historic Bible, centered Christianity:

  • The Catholic Church teaching and tradition are equal to the Scripture even though traditions are often inconsistent and contradictory.
  • An infant is saved through the sacrament of baptism, which removes "original sin."
  • God forgives sin through the Church, specifically the judicial act of the priest following confession and contrition.
  • The atonement of Christ is not sufficient - the sacrament of the Eucharist converts the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ through a process called "transubstantiation. The bread and wine are worshipped as God.
  • Only a priest can administer these sacraments.
  • Mary is the sinless Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven and co-Redeemer, sitting at the right hand of God mediating for us. People worship and pray to Mary as well as saints.
  • The Roman Pontiff is the head of the church and the representative and authority of God on the earth.
  • The Pope is infallible and the infallible interpreter of Scripture.
  • From an eschatological or "last days" point of view, the Roman Catholic Church sees itself exercising dominion over the earth. The Vatican is a country with embassies in most countries throughout the world.
  • Indulgences, purgatory, praying to the dead, etc.

When it comes to salvation, semantics are subtle but important. They say they believe in Jesus Christ as their savior. They believe Christ died for their sins but that salvation comes through the Roman church. There is a one-time salvation through infant baptism, which is imparted by the church. But salvation is literally imparted by the priests as a member partakes in the mass. The Scripture says that “Christ entered in once into the holy place to obtain our salvation” (Hebrews 9:12). To say that “the priest is indispensable, since he alone by his powers can change the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ” is an abomination (John A. Hardon, Picket Catholic Dictionary, Doubleday, 1966, p. 249). The more Masses they attend the better because they are physically eating and drinking Jesus Christ. The true gospel of grace is denied by the teaching that ‘merits and graces” won by Christ are dispensed by installment each time they participate in the mass. To turn a wafer and wine into Christ’s flesh and blood through transubstantiation is not only blasphemous but also ridiculous! Please notice that the laity only has a “relationship with God” through the mediation of the priests and the Church.

To acknowledge the priesthood of Rome is to deny the priesthood of Christ and the believer. To accept the mass and the Eucharist is to deny the efficacy of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Many Catholics may not be fully aware of what the church teaches and others may not agree with them. Of course there are some saved Catholics, but one would have to think that anyone who fully understands, could not continue in the way of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholicism and true Christianity are diametrically opposed. The path to unity is to overlook their positions on essential truths. We can have unity with the Roman Catholic Church at the expense of the truth or we can have truth.

We could spend a lot of time on the Roman Catholic Church. There is so much that can be said. But here are just a few examples. Their claim that there is an unbroken succession of Pope’s is historically inaccurate. There are huge gaps. There are times when there was no Pope and others with more than one Pope. Further, many of the Popes down through the ages as confirmed by many solid historical accounts were involved in the most heinous sin, immorality, and crimes against humanity. There is a lot of documentation, so if you are interested, please check it out. There are so many inconsistencies as to be laughable. Priests married for a thousand years but once it was forbidden, the only sin was marriage - not fornication. The Vatican became the home of one of the biggest brothels the world has ever known. Rome - the mother of harlots. “Popes had mistresses of fifteen years of age, were guilty of incest and sexual perversions of every sort, had innumerable children, were murdered in the very act of adultery....In the old Catholic phrase, why be holier than the Pope?” (Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy, Crown Publishers, 1988, pp.396-397)

I will only deal in depth with one other topic and that is Mary worship. Many deny that this takes place, but just listen to the Rosary - Mary is more prominent than Jesus Christ Himself. I have been in and out of churches all over Europe and Latin America, and it is obvious who is at center stage -Mary! The current Pope goes to Mexico and venerates Our Lady of Guadalupe. He is convinced that the Fatima visions will restore Mary to her rightful place. The Immaculate Conception is Mary - the Co-Redeemer. Mary is venerated far above God or Jesus. This is blasphemous and superstitious at best, and Satanic at worst.

Let us be clear, the Roman Catholic Church believes it is the only true Church, that it alone provides the sacraments which lead to salvation and that it can never share that distinction with others. So where does that leave Paul Crouch, Benni Hinn, Bill McCartney (founder of Promise Keepers), J.I. Packer, Charles Swindall and even Billy Graham and many others who believe they hold to the fundamentals of the historic Christian faith and are “brothers and sisters in Christ?” I am ashamed and embarrassed to say it but one day history will show that people like Billy Graham and Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade) have done more for the ecumenical movement than anyone. Graham has always worked with the Catholic Church and sent people “saved” in his crusades back to the Catholic Church - back to what? - back to an apostate cult! Bright and a number of other ministries agreed to not try and proselytize Catholics in Colorado Springs because “we are all Christians.”

Brothers and sisters, I could go on and on and on, but don’t you see something wrong? Thirty years ago we evangelicals expected the liberal World Council of Churches members to end up in the Catholic fold, but one would have never expected a fundamental church such as the Baptists to ever even consider it. Yet today, we see a quantum shift. Today evangelicals are leading the bandwagon to celebrate a Jubilee 2000 and a Papal Mass for as many as 5 billion! Evangelical leaders are flocking to Rome to kiss the Papal ring! So where does this leave their flocks?

If there were only one sign of the Apostate Church that should make every true Christian sit up and take note, it is this rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, although there are a number of voices crying in the wilderness, few take note. Dave Hunt, whose excellent book, A Woman Rides the Beast, brought nothing but ridicule from the establishment. Where are the watchmen? Where are the spiritual leaders? Where is the cry of protest from today’s spiritual giants at this travesty? Our so-called evangelical leaders are strangely silent. Many of the leaders of the New Revival - the Vineyards, Kansas City Prophets, and most dominionists have pilgrimaged to Rome. The Promise Keepers and similar men and women’s organizations promote an ecumenical agenda, as do most para-church organizations such as YWAM, Campus Crusade, Youth for Christ, etc. There are very few left who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon.

This just came out on the Internet on May 1, 1998. “Kampen, The Netherlands, 28 April (ENI)--Dr. Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, has renewed his call for the main Christian churches to start, in the year 2000, a process to lead to a universal Christian council uniting all churches and Christians.

Speaking at the opening of the Dutch Kerkendag (church day) on Saturday, 25 April, Dr. Raiser said that in the year 2000, leaders of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Pentecostal churches should make a solemn promise not to rest until such a council had been achieved.”

I used to think, hey just think of all the “born again” charismatic Catholics! They must be Christians. Now I realize that speaking in tongues is not necessarily evidence of being “born again.” Mormons, Buddhists and Hindus, and most other religions have this phenomena. If all of these people were truly saved, I doubt the Lord would allow them to stay in such an idolatrous institution. The Lord doesn’t say stay and evangelize, he says get out of that apostate church lest you partake of her plagues! I know too many Catholics that are truly “born again” and the last thing they would do is to back to the Roman Catholic Church. Those of us who are “evangelicals” are the naive ones who fail to recognize the utter evil of the Harlot church.

Why has this happened? Why have we drifted so far? First, I think it is because we are in the last days. It was prophesied to happen and it is. Second, Christians are Bible illiterates, and are not grounded in the faith. But third, you have to lay the blame squarely on the leadership. There isn’t a single Bible School or Seminary in the country that is untouched by this apostasy. The pastors and professionals are leading the trusting flock - a good argument for not being a dumb sheep.

Anyone who would question is considered to be rebellious, not under authority, a troublemaker, negative, unloving, divisive, a heresy hunter. People who resist the rush to unity are ridiculed, and marked. It is incredibly frustrating because people will not discuss the issues. They attack the person. I used to ask my pastor, have you ever read this book or that, and he would reply, “oh no, that is too negative.” These people are afraid to be informed about the issues! And they are our leaders! Dear readers, if you remember nothing else, please don’t forget this. There is a move that calls for unity at any cost. Instead of being a protection for the believer, doctrine is considered divisive. The whole Word of God is no longer the standard, but the five essentials (e.g. as defined by the Promise Keepers) or whatever the number may be. This will be defined by the experts, so don’t bother to argue. Who are you? What are your credentials? This is a juggernaut, which will run through the churches of this land, so be careful if you get in the way. You will be run over, mowed down, personally discredited.

I am frankly disgusted as I read one book after another on the “last days.” They warn that the real threat to the church is the New Age movement. They think the threat is from the Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim, the Universalist or the modern New Ager who sits in the lotus position and meditates. The threat is not from without but from within! It is coming from the evangelical church, which has embraced the most New Age humanistic pseudoscience ever concocted by man. This isn’t my bright idea. Why can’t our leaders see it? We opened our doors wide and invited humanism into the church and few there are that have not been affected by it! Let’s examine how leaven affects the church.

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Psychology - the Trojan Horse

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