Vatican Fake News - "The Reformation is Over"

By Richard Bennett and Stuart Quint

The Lord Jesus Christ condemned the Pharisees as they attempted to suppress the truth of the Gospel by equating their traditions with the Bible.  “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees!  For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (1) 

Today, the senior leadership of the Roman Catholic Church also undermines truth by equating man-made traditions with God’s Word.   Pope Francis and the Roman hierarchy exalt their own authority above Holy Scripture.  Consequently, the Catholic person believes not in the Almighty God and His immutable Word, but rather in the Catholic Church and her evolving tradition.  

Ever since the Reformation began 500 years ago, the Roman Church continues to use its influence to camouflage the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Rome’s Latest Scheme to Camouflage the Truth of the Reformation


By convincing misinformed people that the Reformation was a mistake, Rome seeks to advance a more sinister objective.  Indeed, Rome’s intent is to suppress the truth rediscovered by the Reformation – the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Why does Rome concern itself with an historical event that occurred 500 years ago and is barely remembered by many today?   Author George Orwell once said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of history.”(2)   The Vatican legacy abounds with examples of “doctoring” history to deceive and manipulate ignorant people.  Two prominent examples include Rome’s distortion of Biblical figures such as the Apostle Peter into the first Roman Pope (3) and Mary into “the All-Holy One.” (4)

Up until recently, Rome has raged against the need for the Reformation.  As shown in the Council of Trent and Vatican Council I, the Roman Catholic Church has taken the tact of debating and condemning the tenets of the Reformation.   However, the Papacy now employs a new tactic begun around Vatican II.  Under the guise of false unity, Rome seeks to exploit the many professing Evangelicals ignorant of the truth of the Gospel of the Reformation.  The Vatican will promote this deception aggressively during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

A leading UK Catholic journal quotes Pope Francis after a meeting with Lutherans in January 2017:

“’After 50 years of official ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans, we have succeeded in clearly articulating points of view which today we agree on. For this we are grateful...’   ‘At the same time, we keep alive in our hearts sincere contrition for our faults,’ the Pope said. ‘In this spirit, we recalled in Lund that the intention of Martin Luther 500 years ago was to renew the Church, not divide Her...’

The materials for the week, published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, say that, after 50 years of dialogue, ‘Catholics are now able to hear Luther’s challenge for the Church of today, recognizing him as a ‘witness to the Gospel.’” (5) Pope Francis is wrong to claim Martin Luther as a fellow “witness of the Gospel”.  Francis and Luther hold to entirely different gospels!  The same conflict 500 years ago still exists today!    

In 2017, Rome continues to persuade the world that Protestants no longer have reason to stay separated from her and that the Reformation is no longer necessary.   The Vatican announced in January a new postage stamp to commemorate Martin Luther. (6)  Different Catholic sources debate the significance of this change in Vatican efforts from defaming to honoring the Reformation.  Regardless, this event has profound implications.   Mauro Olivieri, the head of Rome’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office, views the stamp issuance not only as significant but under the direct orders of the Papacy:

“We have to try to understand the present time and be interpreters of the messages that the Holy Father wishes to convey…  no doubt the issue dedicated to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation marks the rapprochement and overcoming of mutual misunderstandings between Christians, and the philately there is.” (7)This perceived “rapprochement”, or reconciliation, and “overcoming of mutual understandings between Christians” are mere propaganda for the Vatican agenda.  


The Gospel of the Reformation: The Authority and Truth of the Bible Alone (8)

The Reformers in the sixteenth century rediscovered God’s written Word as the absolute authority for faith and practice. The Scriptures do not substitute for God, but rather express the very mind of God.  Christ forbids men to invent subjective interpretations of God’s Word.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:  I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (9)  

To elevate manmade ideology higher than the Bible is tantamount to calling God a liar.   Rome demotes God’s glory in promoting tradition as equal to His Word:  “Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (10) 


The Gospel of the Reformation: Salvation Worked by God’s Grace Alone

The Reformers showed that the Scripture wonderfully declares that sinners, “dead in trespasses and sins” (11) are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (12)  They echoed the Word of God itself, “for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (13)  

In opposition to this truth, Rome alleges grace to be a mere aid transmitted through its sacraments.  “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.  ‘Sacramental grace’ is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament.” (14) 


The Gospel of the Reformation: Salvation Comes Through Faith Alone

The Reformers taught that God grants faith that brings a sinner to salvation.  The object of such faith is the Person of Christ Jesus Himself.  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (15)  God grants such faith through the means of hearing the Word of God: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (16)    

Regardless, the Catholic Church completely distorts the concept of faith.  Indeed, Rome boasts, “It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes and sustains my faith.” (17)  Then she has the audacity to declare that faith comes through the Church because the Church is our Mother.  “Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother.” (18)  Rome compels a person to believe in Mother Church and not in the Lord Jesus Christ.  “‘Believing’ is an ecclesial act.  The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith.  The Church is the mother of all believers.  ‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.’” (19) 


The Gospel of the Reformation: Salvation Driven by Christ Alone

Christ alone saves believers.   “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (20)  The Apostle Paul explicitly defines Christ as the origin of granting the believer external justification before God: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (21)

The Catholic Church explicitly denies the Bible on this point.  “Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.  It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy.” (22)  Rome teaches: “Justification is not a declaration of righteousness based on the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ but a declaration of the believer’s righteousness before the judgment seat of God based on an infusion of grace in a believer’s life.  This means that justification is not grounded exclusively on the work of Christ but also in the works and merits of the individual.” (23) 


The Gospel of the Reformation: Glory Belongs to God Alone

The Reformers understood the principle of giving glory to God alone follows logically from the other principles.  Because justification is by grace alone through God’s gift of faith alone and in Christ alone on the written authority of his Word, to God alone be the glory!  He has no room for Mary, the Pope, nor dead saints. In fact, the Catholic Church addresses Mary as if she were God.  “By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All Holy One.”(24) The Pope competes with the God’s glory in assuming the titles of “Holy Father” and “Vicar of Christ.”  

The Roman Church dilutes God’s glory with its veneration of saints: “Communion with the dead.  In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead…  Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.” (25)  


What Will We Do with The Gospel of the Reformation?

It is not enough to celebrate the Reformation.  We need to obey and treasure the same Christ and the very Gospel that inspired revivals throughout history. Will we awaken from the slumber of our postmodern age that consents with Rome to suppress the Gospel of Christ?  Will we run the same race as believers of the past and look unto Christ as our source of power and example?  Will we love Christ at our own expense and be willing to endure scorn for Him?

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (26)   

(1) Matthew 23:13. Unless otherwise specified, all verses are from the King James Version.
(2) accessed on July 24, 2017.
(3) Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition (1994: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City), Paragraphs 880-2.
(4) Catechism, Paragraph 2677.
(5) accessed on June 23, 2017.
(6) accessed on June 23, 2017.  Authors’ emphasis.
(7) English translation and screenshots of original interview in Italian by Danilo Bogoni, “Novita Vaticane Targate 2017”, Arte del Francobollo, January 2017, p.8 on cited on accessed on June 25, 2017.  Author’s emphasis.
(8)  For more detail, please see the article by Richard Bennett titled “Five Biblical Principles of Reformation”, October 17, 2015, Berean Beacon on .
(9)  Matthew 5:17-20.
(10)  Catechism, Paragraph 82.
(11)  Ephesians 2:1.
(12)  Romans 3:24.
(13)  Ephesians 2:8-9.
(14)  Catechism, Para. 1129.
(15)  Acts 16:31.
(16)  Romans 10:17.
(17) Catechism, Para. 168.
(18)  Ibid., Para. 169.
(19)  Ibid., Para. 181.
(20)  Ephesians 1:3-4.
(21)  Romans 5:8-9.
(22)  Catechism, Para. 1992.
(23)  William Webster, Saving Faith: How Does Rome Define It? (1997: Christian Resources, Battle Ground, WA), 42.
(24)  Catechism, Para. 2677.
(25)  Ibid., Para. 958.
(26)  Hebrews 12:2-3.


Baptism in the New Testament

The glorious history of the Reformation has been entangled in the whole question of the efficacy of the waters of baptism.  It appears that impressive Gospel message of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone has been ensnared by a Reformed tradition.  In the Reformed and Presbyterian world, a huge conflict has taken place over the meaning of water baptism.  The reason for this is what is called the Auburn Avenue controversy.[1]  From 2002 Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins and Steve Schlissel, leading Presbyterians have advocated the new birth in Christ Jesus by means of the waters of baptism. Thus Doug Wilson states, “Baptism is our introduction to union with Him.”[2], and “while we do not take the connection between water baptism and grace and salvation as an absolute, we do take it as the norm.”[3]

In Jeremiah 31:31-34 we read that the New Covenant was not to be like the Mosaic Covenant, which the Israelites broke.  Plainly put, the New Covenant is unbreakable.  Furthermore, as the Lord reports through Jeremiah, God will write His law upon the heart of every member of the New Covenant, and every member of the New Covenant will know Him.  In stark contrast to the word of the Lord through the Prophet Jeremiah, Steve Wilkins teaches that by means of water baptism God elects His people into a conditional covenantal union.  Wilkins states, “The elect are those who are faithful in Christ Jesus.  If they later reject the Savior, they are no longer elect.”[4]  In other words Wilkens teaches that there can be covenant breakers within the New Covenant, when the Lord clearly declared the opposite through the Prophet Jeremiah.  This is just the top of the iceberg of what is now a massive movement inside Presbyterian Reformed circles and beyond.  There is an equally strong movement that opposes these teachings by upholding the traditional teachings of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the teachings of such as Calvin and Luther.[5]  What is necessary in the face of this monumental struggle is to go back to the clear-cut teaching of God’s Words in the New Testament. 

In the New Testament there is an absolute connection between the Spirit and the Word of God and not between physical water and grace.  Thus the Lord Christ Jesus said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”[6]   The Apostle Paul spoke of “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”[7]  The Word of God and the Spirit of God are so connected that they cannot be separated.  Coming to new birth in the New Testament is by the Holy Spirit through the instrument of God’s Word.  Thus the Apostle Peter proclaims, “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”[8]  Consistently and absolutely in the teaching of Christ Jesus and the Apostles, sinful people receive the Spirit simply by the hearing of faith, “this only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”[9]  Conversely the absolute word of God also proclaims how salvation is not accomplished.  It is “not of works, lest any man should boast.”[10] Similarly, when the Jews asked Jesus what they should do to work the works of God, He responded, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29 --- footnote it if you like it).  Salvation is not by means of the moral law or any ceremony, as the Scripture states, "and if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace”.[11]  Thus the Lord Christ Jesus clearly stated, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”[12]  The Apostle Paul states how this same Biblical principle is lived out, “for we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”[13]  In this passage Paul has reference to the true circumcision, the circumcision of the heart, as opposed to that ritual which was merely outward in the flesh.  

The Scripture clearly states that, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.[14] The parameters of salvation are the Lord and His grace, as is stated in Romans and Ephesians, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”[15]  The Gospel of the Lord Christ Jesus in the Word of God is the only channel through which the Spirit of God communicates new life to a sinful human being. 

The Holy Spirit’s Baptism That Brings New Life

The direct work of the Holy Spirit on the soul of man is necessary because man is spiritually dead.  In the words of the Apostle Paul, “for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”[16]  In similar fashion the Apostle Paul wrote,  “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God”.  The new birth is a change wrought by God’s sovereign Holy Spirit.  The new birth by the Holy Spirit is essential because natural man is totally deficient in and of himself.  It is not that he is weak and needs stimulation.  Spiritually he is dead.  As the Apostle writes elsewhere, “and you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”[17]  Because there is a direct connection between the redemption of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, it is a soul damning error to substitute ritual or ceremony for the work of the Holy Spirit.  “God hath given to us eternal life and this life is in His Son.[18]  The work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary to bring the sinner to Christ, to overcome his innate opposition, and induce him to believe.  And it is sinful arrogance to suppose that you have had either the inclination or the capacity to affect this change in yourself by any work or ritual.

Concerning the Holy Spirit, the Lord promised that, “when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”[19]  The Holy Spirit convicts of sin as He makes the sinner realize his lost condition and brings him to sense his need of Christ’s righteousness.  The Holy Spirit alone can impart spiritual life to the soul and supernatural light to the mind.  Therefore the Lord Himself proclaimed, “verily, verily, I say unto thee except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”[20]  The Holy Spirit is the sole and only efficient cause of being “born again”.  The same principle of life is later repeated by the Lord, “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…”[21]  The wonderful work of the Holy Spirit opening the mind and heart to redemption is highlighted by the Apostle Paul, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”[22]  The Lord God saves sinners gloriously, “according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”[23]  True believers are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,”[24] for “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.”[25]  This is utterly splendid, clear, and profound.  The Spirit of God’s unique work is to apply Christ’s redemption to the sinner.  In this regeneration He works as a free agent.  He dispenses His power where, when, and on whom He pleases.  In the words of the Lord, “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”[26]  The wind is an element which man cannot control.  As the wind is not regulated by man’s desires or plans, so likewise it is with the Spirit of God.  He is absolutely sovereign in all His operations. 

Water Baptism in Contrast

In stark contrast to the written statements of leading Presbyterian Pastors, the words of the risen Christ in giving the Gospel are crystal clear.  “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned.”[27]  Faith is the key of saving grace, and unbelief is the chief damning sin.  Faith is what is necessary for salvation, and baptism is an ordinance that follows faith and simply testifies to it.  Proof of this is found in the fact of the omission in the second half of the verse:  it is not “he that is not baptized shall be damned,” but rather he that believeth not.  

The sign of the New Covenant is not baptism but regeneration.  Nevertheless, many force a parallel between circumcision, the Old Covenant sign, and baptism, far beyond anything, which the Scriptures intend.  Nevertheless, if for the sake of argument we concede such a parallel, we must consider the significance of the fact that Paul declares that Abraham was justified prior to his circumcision.  And he received circumcision as a sign of the faith, which he had previously exercised.  If we are to force a parallel between circumcision and baptism, is it not obvious that baptism should be the sign of a faith previously exercised?

Faith is so indispensable that though one is baptized yet believes not, he shall be damned.  The sinner is condemned because of his sin nature and his personal sin.  God’s divine justice is upon him; nothing can propitiate God’s justice but saving faith in Christ.  This faith, by God’s grace, brings instantly God’s act of justification.  

Doug Wilson teaches that the sacrament of baptism creates a union with Christ. He says, “Moderns who are stuck with the language of Westminster want to say that we actually have to understand this as a sacramental union, with the word sacramental being understood as some sort of diluting agent. But I want to say that it is a sacramental union, with union meaning union.”[28]  This teaching mocks both the justice and grace of the Lord God.  The Scriptures proclaim the Holiness and Righteousness of God in the flawless life and death of the God-man the Lord Christ Jesus. Justification in the first place has to do with God Himself, to show that He is just in justifying the sinner in Christ.  He brings about legal union with Christ only by the Gospel that deals with who God is in His Holy and Righteous nature.  The Gospel demonstrates that because of who God is, He alone justifies.  Thus Romans 3:26 states, “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  The final cause of justification is the glory of the Divine Holiness, Justice, and Goodness.  Thus the one who teaches union with Christ by means of a sacrament is teaching another gospel accursed by God.[29]  In the ministry of the Apostle Paul, the jail keeper in great agony of spirit, asked, “What must I do to be saved?”  The clear and direct answer of the Apostle Paul and Silas to the question was, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”[30]  The jail keeper and his household heard the Word of the Lord first in order that they might believe.  “And they [Paul and Silas] spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”[31]  Believing on Christ Jesus is life and salvation.  In the words of the Apostle, baptism is important because the Lord commanded it.  It testifies to saving faith and is a public declaration of the finished work of Christ applied to an individual soul.  Faith is what is necessary for salvation; but baptism, while important, is not of the essence of salvation.  In Christ Jesus’ own words, “he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”[32]


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[1] Going back the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church (PCA) conference in 2002 when Steve Schlissel, Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins, and John Barach sought to redefine reformed doctrine. 

[2] “Reformed” Is Not Enough by Douglas Wilson (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003) p 168.

[3] Ibid., p. 105

[4] “Covenant, Baptism, and Salvation’ by Steve Wilkins 56-58

[5] Reformed” is Definitely Enough: A critique of Douglas Wilson’s book, “Reformed” is not Enough” By C. Matthew McMahon on:

[6] John 6:63

[7] Ephesians 6:17

[8] 1 Peter 1:23

[9] Galatians 3:1-2

[10] Ephesians 2:9

[11] Romans 11:6

[12] John 3:6

[13] Philippians 3:3

[14] Romans 10:17

[15] Romans 3:24, Ephesians 2:8

[16] Romans 8:2

[17] Ephesians 2:1

[18] I John 5:11

[19] John 16:8

[20] John 3:3

[21] John 6:63

[22] I Corinthians 2:9-10

[23] Titus 3:5

[24] John 1:13

[25] James 1:18

[26] John 3:8

[27] Mark 16:16

[28] “Reformed” Is Not Enough by Douglas Wilson (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003) p 89

[29] Galatians 1:8-9

[30] Acts 16:31

[31] Acts 16:32

[32] John 5:24

Delighting in Our Salvation

I wish to explain to you what was basic to me in my fourteen years as a Catholic Priest searching to know how I could be right with God.  In those years I greatly longed for a deep joy and personal security that can only be found in God Himself.  

First the Lord’s mercy I discovered what was true Christian faith.  I had been ordained as a Catholic priest in 1963, and after a year in Rome I was sent to the island of Trinidad in the West Indies.  It was in 1972, after serious accident in which I nearly died, that I began seriously reading the Bible to see how one is right before the all Holy God.  Some days I would read Ephesians Chapters one and two, ten to twenty times.  I saw in those two chapters the concept; it “in Christ” was stated forty two times.  Most of all I understood that salvation is in Christ.  Thus being made acceptable to God is in Christ, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”  However for some years I struggled hard between the oft-repeated phrases of being “in Christ and the Catholic teaching, that I knew so well, that salvation is in the human heart by receiving the Sacraments of the Church.  Then I struggled with Ephesians 2:1 and the fact that I wasspiritually “dead in trespasses and sins.  This fact of recognizing that I was spiritually dead was essential, as no one can understand the good news of the Gospel without it.  Finally by the grace of God alone, the testimony voiced by the Apostle Paul became my own heart’s cry, “that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.  

However in those years of search my deep desire was not just to be right with God, but also to know intimately the love and the protection of the Abba Father as portrayed in Scripture in Romans 8:14-17,  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  

I could believe that God loved others, but I saw no reason why He should turn one thought of love or kindness towards me.  I dared not cast myself upon Him.  Then I came to realize that no one who believes in such intimate love of God as Abba Father and puts his trust in that love is ever deceived.  The fact that I desired deeply to turn my affections on the Abba Father showed me that the heart of the Abba Father was first set upon me!  It was then like a bright light that things began to make sense.  The meaning of love is that He loves us first, and then we respond to His love.  Such love draws us into a living relationship of contentment and deep security.  When God is seen in Scripture as the Abba Father, acting love, we respond to His love.  This is living faith. To love God is to obey Him.  He commands us to rest and delight in His love.   This was by far the most significant part of my conversion, and I wish to explain it to you today. 

The greatest joy we have in this world is our awareness of everlasting life and our living that life. It is our privilege to taste fellowship with God Himself, and to take great comfort in it, as Scripture states, “if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” Experiencing fellowship with God is that for which Jesus Christ prayed on the night before He died.  We are encouragingly reminded by the Lord that this profound fellowship is the essence of our Christian walk.  Thus, we are told, “because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” 

The word “Father,” speaking of His heavenly Father, was on the lips of the Lord one hundred and seventy times.  As Christ Jesus has revealed Him, He is distinctively the Father, the Abba Father.  The Lord in His agony in the garden prayedAbba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”  The Apostle Paul uses the same term teaching us how to intimately commune with the Father.  “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  All Christ’s prayers were addressed to the Father, with the exception of His prayer on the cross when He quoted Psalm 22.  The Father is the great fountain and spring of all gracious fruits of His love.  This is that which Christ came to reveal, namely, God as the Father to you; even in the loving, endearing term “Abba Father.” 

We are instructed emphatically in Scripture that “God is love.”  We know that God in this statement is taken personally for the Father because following verse distinguishes Him from His only begotten Son whom He sent into the world.  Consequently the Word of God proclaims “The Father is love.”  Not only is He graciously tender and compassionate as proclaimed in the Old Testament, but also He eminently portrayed to us as love.  Thus, His Word continues, “He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Distinctively, the Father loved us.  The love of the Father is, in fact, declared to be before the foundation of the world. As stated in Ephesians 1:4-7,   “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Christ Jesus to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”

Our beloved Savior Himself told us, “I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you.”  The Father Himself loves each one of us in particular, therefore we must resolve to hold communion with Him in His love, and never be in doubt or troubled about it.  

Christians walk sometimes with troubled hearts concerning the thoughts of the Father towards them.  They are convinced of the Lord Jesus Christ and His love; their difficulty lies what to think regarding the Father’s love.  Christians ought rather to see the Father as the very fountain from which all other kindnesses flow.  This love of the Father is the axis on which all the great changes and blessings of believers revolve.  Thus, the Apostle says, “We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.”  The whole source of the recovery was from the love of the Father.  When the kindness and love of the Father appeared, then changes resulted!  To utterly convince us of His love, the Father compared Himself to all that is loving and tender in the world.  He is portrayed as a father, a mother, a shepherd, even as a hen caring for her chicks.   Thus, for example, He promises, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.”  This is love of the Father peculiarly intended for you, His own, and in which He holds communion with you.  Now, to experience communion with the Father in love, two things are required of us.  Firstly, that we receive it and rejoice in it.  Secondly, that we attempt to make suitable returns to Him.

Fellowship consists in giving and receiving; until the love of the Father is received, we have no experiential communion with Him.  How then is this love of the Father to be received, so that we can hold fellowship with him?  We receive it by faith.  God has so fully and eminently revealed His love, that we may receive that love through faith.  “Ye believe in God,” Christ declared, namely, you believe in the Father.  And what is to be believed first of all in Him?  It is His love, because He is “love.”  

It is by and through Christ we have an access to the Father, and we are able to see the love that He peculiarly has for us.  As the Lord Jesus Christ clearly told us, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”  Thus, by Christ and by faith through Christ we are brought to realize and appreciate the love of the Father.  Accordingly we can be certain of the Fathers’ love, and there in His love we repose and rest.  Thus the first thing required of us is to be fully persuaded that God personally loves us.  Thus, He commands us, “My son, give me thine heart.”  When we see the Father in His gift of love, then we rest on and delight in Him, and have communion with Him in love.  This love is heartfelt fondness, a sense of His presence and a deep contentment with Him. As long as the Father is looked upon in any other way than acting in love towards us, our souls can remain spiritually lukewarm.  To love God is to obey Him, and He commands us to rest and delight in His love.                        

To rest in the Father’s love, believers of old, such as John Owen, dwelt on and relished the prophecy of Zephaniah, “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.”   Both rest and delight are here assigned to God in His love.  First rest as the Father is fully satisfied in His love for us. The Father rests on account of His own love so full and in every way complete and absolute; He rests in His own love.  He will not remove His love; He will not seek any further for other persons to love; His love has been from everlasting.  As He also proclaims, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.”  

Then to continue with the prophecy from Zephaniah it is proclaimed, “he will rejoice over thee with joy.”  This expresses the delight that He has in His love, denoting His inward affection of the mind and joy of heart.  To have joy of heart is the highest expression of delight in love.  All of this is exceeding wonderful to comprehend nonetheless it is even expressed more precisely.  The Word of the Lord continues, “he will joy over thee with singing.”   This denotes not the inward affection alone, but also an outward demonstration of it.  An outward demonstration of delight is when men leap for joy when overcome with some enjoyable surprise.  Therefore, the Father is said to, “joy over thee with singing.”   To rejoice with singing and praise even in an outward demonstrative way, reveals the greatest delight and contentment possible.  This is why believers of old were so realistic in looking for the manifestation of the Father’s love in the details of their lives.  This they called the providence of God.  Knowing that the Father’s love is expressed in external happenings of our lives they remembered the providences of God’s love over the years of their lives.  By constant review of the providences of God’s love as manifested in their lives, they sucked as it were, fresh sweetness out of them.  They were motivated by such as Psalm 77:11-12 where it is stated, “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”  They looked at what the Father had done in their lives in order to know more of His love.  We truly benefit from a regular remembrance of what the Father has done in the context of our daily lives.  We must dwell upon them in our thoughts, and must talk of them, reminding ourselves and others of the great providences that the Father wrought in our lives.  This remembrance of Father’s care of us is a powerful antidote against having any doubts about His love.  For He is the Lord God and changes not!  As He began so He will finish His work and show more and more evidences of His loving kindness.  If we would but sit down and make note what the God’s providence has done for us in manifestations of His faithfulness and love we would joyfully praise Him in the words of the Apostle, “Eye hath not see, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” 

(1 Corinthians 2:9) Is it not true that few of God’s people really search out and enjoy what the Spirit has revealed in the Word about the love of our Abba Father?  If we were more occupied with our Father’s love than with our poverty, His divine bounties than our failings, what a different it would make to how we live each day. 

These blessings of relishing day by day the Fathers’ presence providence protection and provision for us are all are based on the value of Christ’s sacrifice for His people.  The abiding worth of that sacrifice is as immeasurable as the personal excellence Jesus Christ Himself. The nature and amount of those blessings are given to us on the basis of Christ’s finished work, which the Scriptures describe as the divine bounties already bestowed on us not just we will enjoy forever in heaven   Take first Father’s grace. Not only are we told of the “riches of his grace” in Ephesians 1:7 and of the “exceeding riches of His grace” in Ephesians 2:7 but also we read that the Father’s grace has “abounded unto many,” and that we receive “abundance of grace.”  Yes indeed the Father’s grace is super abundant.  When the only begotten Son became flesh and dwelt among us it was as the Lord who was “full of grace and truth.”  Because we have been made joint heirs with Him it is written, “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.”  

Take again the Father’s love.  There has been neither reserve nor restraint in the outflow of His love to us.  He so love the world as to give His only begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  Love unmeasured fills our lives with its ever active providence and care truly it is love super abundant.  Our present theme is inexhaustible.  Our Lord came here that His people, might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”  There are things which the angels “desire to look into yet they have been made known to us.  What an encouragement what is our inheritance as   explained in Ephesians 1:8-9 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will.”  The Father has blessed us with the divine revelation of the mystery of His will.   That reveals His concern and grace for us while concealed from a great a part of the world.  For this we are indebted to Christ, who, having been in the bosom of the Father from eternity, came to declare the Father’s will to us.  His love for our redemption was planned in and from Himself, and not for any thing in us.  The making known the mystery of His will to us, is the Gospel of our salvation. 

But it is one thing to know intellectually the love of our Abba Father it is quite another, by faith, to make this part in our daily lives.  It is one thing know our salvation it is another to relish its power and personally to speak of it day by day.

Coming to faith in Jesus Christ is initiated by the Father’s love Who draws each individual to His Son. Salvation is accomplished by His grace alone.  It is His free gift through faith alone.  Coming to Jesus Christ is having eternal life now, and this life will be fully glorified in heaven.  In witnessing if we talk about how to get to heaven, we change the focus from the Father’s love to man’s fulfillment.  Rather than talking about getting to heaven, we should emphasize the fact that daily we experience eternal life.   As the Lord Himself proclaimed, “this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”  The actual words of Scripture should be on our hearts and on our tongues day by day.  Whether we are in the supermarket or at the hairdresser or on the telephone we talk about the everlasting life that we enjoy and the love we experience in love of our Abba Father.  And it that context we tell that we meet that they need to believe on the Lord Jesus and to know everlasting life in the love of the Father. And it that context we tell those that talk to, that they are commanded to “believe on the Lord Jesus.”  The Lord put the command to believe in a nutshell when He said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (John 6:29). Likewise, the Apostle Paul and Silas declared, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).  

The central importance of faith was given by the Lord in the words, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47).  In a word, the Lord summarized the situation, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).  The Lord Christ Jesus states clearly the reason for this, “He that believeth on Him [Christ] is not condemnedbut he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18-19).

The Apostle Paul’s summary of the Gospel is an example of the exact meaning of salvation. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. The Lord Jesus Christ was personally All Holy; yet as the substitute for the believer’s sin, He rendered Himself legally responsible to the wrath of God.  The purpose of Christ’s faithfulness in all that He did, culminating in His death on the cross, was that His righteousness might be credited to the believer.  God legally constituted Christ to be “sin for us.”  He was “made sin” because the sins of all of His people were transferred to Him.   In like manner, God’s reckons to the believer Christ’s righteousness.  Quite clearly, salvation is a judicial and gracious act of God whereby a believing sinner has legal right standing in Christ Jesus. 

When full credit is given to the Father’s love and grace and when His powerful written Word is used in witnessing, He saves the sinner; and gives a manifestation of His loving kindness.  This is the culminating aspect of our relishing love of our Abba Father in salvation.  The God of all grace has called us be partakers His eternal love.   How ungracious it would be for us not to relish and bathe in His love day by day.   How can we give explanation our silence if we do not speak of His love daily?  As constantly we dwell on the love of our Abba Father may that very love motivate and inspire us look for more and more opportunities to share His Gospel of grace as part and parcel of our lives, “to the praise of the glory of His grace.” 


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Liberation Theology Infused in Western Thinking

Latin American liberation theology has for the most part been a movement identified with the Roman Catholic Church.  It is in fact just the tip of the iceberg; the principles that it proclaims have affected western society.  Much of the present welfare societies in the USA and in Europe are just different expressions of the same Catholic mentality seen in official statements of the Vatican.[1]  The Politics of guilt and shame permeate our society.  The Catholic Priests, Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff, in Introducing Liberation Theology give a sample taste of what is proposed by Liberation theology.

“Every true theology springs from a spirituality – that is, from a true meeting with God in history.  Liberation theology was born when faith confronted the injustice done to the poor.  By ‘poor’ we do not really mean the poor individual who knocks on the door asking for alms.  We mean a collective poor, the ‘popular classes,’ which is a much wider category than the ‘proletariat’ singled out by Karl Marx (it is a mistake to identify the poor of liberation theology with the proletariat, though many of its critics do): the poor are also the workers exploited by the capitalist system; the underemployed, those pushed aside by the production process – a reserve army always at hand to take the place of the employed; they are the laborers of the countryside, and migrant workers with only seasonal work.”[2]   

Then in the chapter called “Claiming the Promised Land: A New Jubilee for a New World” they state,

“‘The profit of the earth is for all’ (Eccles. 5:9).  The Old Testament ethic, to assure everyone the same natural opportunity, asserts that all people have an equal right to economic rent…”[3]

Liberation theology is the easier to identify form of a wide-ranging Roman Catholic social thought.  As such, it serves a window into the Economic and Political strategy of the Vatican that pervades Western society.  It is quite informative to read the “A Concise History of Liberation Theology” by Leonardo and Clodovis Boff.  In the last paragraph they state,

“The general tenor of the pronouncements of the magisterium, whether papal or coming from the Synod of Bishops, has been to recognize the positive aspects of liberation theology, especially with reference to the poor and the need for their liberation, as forming put of the universal heritage of Christian commitment to history.”[4]

Roots of Liberation Theology

The theological roots of the movement go back to the most influential of all Catholic Theologians, Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas wrote,

“…whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor… In cases of need, all things are common property, so that there would seem to be no sin in taking another’s property, for need has made it common. …it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another’s property by taking it either openly or secretly; nor is this, properly speaking, theft and robbery…. It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another’s property in a case of extreme need; because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need….  In a case of a like need a man may also take secretly another’s property in order to succor his neighbor in need.”[5]

In Aquinas’ philosophy, need is the criterion for what is right regarding the possession of property.  Need can make another’s goods one’s own.  This is simply a philosophical justification for theft.  The Robin Hood principle of robbing the rich to feed the poor is also contained in Aquinas’ reasoning.  He stated,

“In a case of a like need a man may also take secretly another’s property in order to succor his neighbor in need.”[6]

This is plainly the Robin Hood principle and the basis for later Liberation Theology.  From the time of the Industrial Revolution on, different Popes reiterated the principles of Aquinas.  pope Leo XIII wrote that to be the owner of goods is a right “natural to man,’’ but he makes the distinction that while property may be privately owned, it must be publicly used.  He wrote:

“How ought man use his possessions, the Church replies without hesitation: ‘As to this point, man ought not regard external goods as his own, but as common....’”[7]

A big part of the roots of Liberation Theology are found in the Catholic Vatican Council II held in Rome from 1962-1965.  The council basically endorsed the principle of Aquinas that man legally possesses property that he may benefit not only himself but also others.  The exact words of the Council are, 

“God intended the earth with everything contained in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should be in abundance for all in like manner.  Whatever the forms of property may be, as adapted to the legitimate institutions of peoples, according to diverse and changeable circumstances, attention must always be paid to this universal destination of earthly goods. In using them, therefore, man should regard the external things that he legitimately possesses not only as his own but also as common in the sense that they should be able to benefit not only him but also others.  On the other hand, the right of having a share of earthly goods sufficient for oneself and one's family belongs to everyone.”[8]

This Council elucidated the wide disparity between rich and poor nations, and endorsed Aquinas’ philosophical justification for theft.  The official words of the Council are,

“The Fathers and Doctors of the Church held this opinion, teaching that men are obliged to come to the relief of the poor and to do so not merely out of their superfluous goods.  If one is in extreme necessity, he has the right to procure for himself what he needs out of the riches of others”[9]

Based on the Council’s teachings, Catholic leaders proclaimed “a preferential option” for the poor.  The Catholic Conference at Medellin 1968 denounced the extreme inequality among social classes as well as the unjust use of power and exploitation.  Pope John Paul himself devoted much time trying to establish a policy of political activism that emphasized goods belonging to all.  In 1987 pope John Paul II wrote,

“It is necessary to state once more the characteristic principle of Christian social doctrine: the goods of this world are originally meant for all.  The right to private property is valid and necessary, but it does not nullify the value of this principle. Private property, in fact, is under a “social mortgage,’’ which means that it has an intrinsically social function, based upon and justified precisely by the principle of the universal destination of goods.”[10]

This Papal teaching was implemented as,

“The magisterium of the church in Latin America has expressed itself primarily through the documents of two conferences. The second general conference of the episcopate of Latin America, held at Medellin, Colombia, in 1968, spoke of the church ‘listening to the cry of the poor and becoming the interpreter of their anguish’; this was the first flowering of the theme of liberation, which began to be worked out systematically only after Medellin. The third general conference, held at Puebla, Mexico, in 1979, shows the theme of liberation running right through its final document. The liberation dimension is seen a an ‘integral put’ (§355, 1254, 1283) of the mission of the church, ‘indispensable’ (§§562, 1270), ‘essential’ (§1302). A large put of the document (§470-506) is devoted to evangelization, liberation, and human promotion, and a whole chapter (§1134-56) to the ‘preferential option for the poor,’ a central axis of liberation theology.”[11]

Besides Catholic sources, other European writers, such as Jurgen Moltmann and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, were foundational to Liberation Theology.  These writers intertwined theology with political movements and stressed that the hope of mankind was in a movement towards better political activity.  Bonhoeffer, in Germany, redefined religion in a secular context.  He emphasized human responsibility and stressed the value of seeing the world from below.  That view meant a preference for the poor and the oppressed.  Marxism, of course, had a very big part to play in forming Liberation Theology.  While some famous Liberation Theologians say that their work is not Marxist, one will see however the same principles in Liberation Theology as in Marxism. 

Liberation Theology: an Attraction into Catholicism

The Maryknoll and Jesuit orders began their support of Liberation Theologians by the building up of “base communities” in South America, Central America and the Philippines, back in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s.  These Catholic orders continue to have members implementing the principles of Liberation Theology.  In New York City we have the headquarters of the Maryknoll order; it is a dominant force for Liberation Theology in the Americas.  And the Paulist Press, of the Catholic Missionary Society of St. Paul, also implements many principles of Liberation through the radical feminist theology movement.  In San Antonio, Texas we have the Mexican-American cultural center promoting Liberation Theology.

The Catholic Church uses many different fronts to attract.  The Catholic “Servol” socialist group in Trinidad, that I had been part of while I was Parish Priest in Pointe-a-Pierre, sent help to Robert Mugabwe, in Zimbabwe, for his African Unity Party.  The party over the years has issued official statements on Revolutionary Theology and their present takeover of white farmers land and giving them to “poor and oppressed black farmers,” is part of the whole theology of the Liberation Movement.  In the Philippines, the Liberation Movement, with Priests and Nuns, supported the Marxist Movement that tried for many years to topple the Philippine democracy.  There are still movements going on in nations such as Peru, where Gustavo Gutierrez began what was in many ways the whole South American version of Liberation Theology with his Theology of Liberation in 1971.  From Lima, Gutierrez continues to have a worldwide influence and has come to the United States to show how Liberation Theology can work in other avenues for the lifting of oppression from those who are downcast.  “Most students of Liberation Theology are familiar with the Jesuits, primarily because Gustavo Gutierrez, father of modern Catholic liberationism, comes from that order.  The works of other Jesuit advocates widely read in the United States include Juan Luis Segundo’s five-volume “A Theology for Artisans of a New Humanity” and Arthur F. McGovern’s, “Marxism: an American Perspective.”  McGovern, a Jesuit professor at the University of Detroit, contends that much diversity exists among liberation advocates in regard to their commitment to Marxism.  He does not, however, deny that they derive their insights from overtly Marxist critiques of society.”[12]

Personal Involvement in Liberation Theology

I have already told of the incident in my life where I nearly died, having been unconscious for three days.  That was not my only “near encounter” with death.  Another traumatic incident, which I will soon explain, happened while I was involved in contending for Liberation Theology. 

In the first parish to which I was assigned, in Southeast Trinidad called Mayaro, I saw women working gathering coconuts for few dollars a day.  Some of them explained to me that their condition was worse than that of their forefathers under slavery.  They said that they did not have enough money to provide food for themselves and their children.  I was reading at the time the quite famous book by Jose Miranda, “Marx and the Bible” outlining the great sins of the rich against the poor.  I took this as just one of many examples of the oppression of the poor, and I decided that I would do something for the cause of the poor.  I began preaching on the cause of the poor and underprivileged.  I moralized in sermons to estate owners, and the wealthy merchants from the principle cities of Port of Spain and San Fernando, who came to their holiday homes on the beach in Mayaro for the weekends.  I used such passages as Isaiah 58:6-7 preaching, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?[13]  I proclaimed that if they were to be truly Christian they must pay fair wages and thus let the oppressed go free.  I announced that the poor had a right to a fair share of the community goods.  I quoted such Scripture passages the end of Matthew chapter 25 saying that at the last day, men will be judged on how they have treated the poor and the needy.  I preached to sound the alarm that we needed to do something to lift the oppression from off the poor peoples’ back.  The majority of my congregation was in fact the working classes and they quite liked what I said.  Estate owners and merchants did not, invitations to dinner do longer came my way, most however continued to attend as there was just one Catholic church in the area, and they were obliged under pain of mortal sin to attend.

My own living what I preached was seen it the case that I brought against the local doctor, for cruelty to a child.  The doctor would not treat the child at the local hospital, where the government paid for all visits, unless the mother of the child paid an additional bribe.  The mother came and told me of the cruelty done to her child and I prepared to take judicial action against the doctor.  At the same time I was asked for a bribe myself to get plans approved for a building in one of the smaller villages.  I threatened a judicial action against the minister in charge of that section of government.

It was while considering these two judicial processes, that I was attacked in my parish house.  Just after sunset one evening three men came to the back door, one carrying a machete, the other a revolver, the third a knife.  I did not realize till later that a fourth man had come in the front door, which was not locked at the time.  They looked intent on killing me.  I lectured them on my holiness as a Catholic priest, and how the wrath of God would be on them as a curse for the rest of their lives, if they put one finger on me!  I told them that they could have all the money in the safe, and that they could take whatever they liked in the house.  But I told them that if they put one hand on me, that the blight of God would be on them, and that their lives would be eaten up with disasters.  The men were for the most part Indian, and maybe Hindus.  They listened to me as I continued to preach on the wrath, fury, and rage of God that would be on them, and they contented themselves with what money could find in the house.  After tying my hands and feet to my bed they departed.

That incident did not bring an end to my desire to see the poor liberated; rather I got even more determined.  I reported the incident to the local Express Newspaper and it carried the headline, “LET’S STOP THIS ‘BOBOL’ SAYS ROBBED PRIEST.”  (A local term for corruption, the article told of my efforts to free the poor from destitution and oppression.  See the insert below of a scan of the newspaper.)

The “Black Power” movement worked together with Liberation Theology in Trinidad. I consulted with one of the leaders of the “Black Power” movement and gave the movement all the support I could muster in preaching at Mass.  The Black Power coup d'état did not succeed in Trinidad, in curfews imposed after the aborted revolution, much hatred and strive broke out.  In Mayaro, some of the homes of the white estate owners were burned down.  I feared for my own life as gangs of black youth threw poles of burning pitch, called “flambos” into white homes at night.  I prayed to God that the black youth would remember which side of the conflict that I was on.  I was in Mayaro for more than six years, the last two and a half being the most dramatic.  Nothing much came out of all my work and turmoil.  Even an automotive Trade school that I had started in the small village of Mafeking had to close down because of a lack of interest of those that I was trying to assist.  I was emotionally very drained when in 1971 I left for an extended vacation to Ireland.

The whole idea of winning people through revolution, instead of the Gospel, is part and parcel of Liberation Theology.  It had major successes in Nicaragua and San Salvador.  In Brazil there are an estimated 80,000 Basic Christian Community cells advocating the principles of Liberation Theology.  This type of theology attracts many people.  When, as a Priest, I was involved, we invited people into our Basic Christian Groups, telling them that we would together do whatever was needed in a community, so as to bring equality into that community.  With some of us Priests in Trinidad the rule was that we would not speak about anything regarding religion for two years, until we had people involved in social projects.  Afterwards of course when we did speak about religion, it was about the Catholic religion and how a person could be received into the Catholic Church.  As I was getting disillusioned with the Liberation Theology movement in the early ‘80’s, I had the opportunity to visit the island of Grenada, which is quite close to Trinidad.  It was there that Maurice Bishop had succeeded in a revolution with the aide of Castro and other Communist powers.  I saw with my own eyes the oppression of the very poor people that were supposed to be liberated.  I saw the huge jail where people opposed to the movement were confined and tortured.  Even on street corners young military personnel harassed people in show of their power, rifle butts and curse words were what the populace had to endure.  On return to Trinidad I renounced Liberation Theology because I thought it did not work.  Now I see that it brings people into servitude and Catholicism and away from the Gospel.  I see that the very principles of liberation are totally untrue, and liberation that is in the Gospel of Christ Jesus is keep from the poor.

Christ Jesus the Redeemer and Liberator

In Liberation Theology, Christ is made to look as if He were a revolutionary.  He is presented as one who liberates from existing political and social structures.  People are told that the Lord wishes them to be able to be free from slavery and that they would come into a state in which they are free to exercise their God given rights.  They say that Christ Jesus completely committed Himself to the destruction of poverty, and that it is His will that we should have a classless society.  They show Christ as a hero in the struggle against oppression, to free the victims of the Bourgeoisie. 

When we study the historical Biblical accounts of Christ Jesus we find a totally different picture.  Christ Jesus said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.[14]  Christ Jesus strongly rebuked violence and proclaimed peace and forgiveness. “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.[15]  Moreover, Christ Jesus taught good, wise stewardship and investment (Matthew 25:14-28).  The Lord Himself spoke of the Eternal unchangeable God and His unalterable Word of God and did not advocate a mobile, fluctuating, theology as Gutierrez’s, but a theology that is consistent with the mind of God, expressed in His written Word.  Christ Jesus mixed freely and gave His message to every social class including government workers.  Most of all Christ Jesus spoke of “spiritual hunger,” “blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.[16]  Christ Jesus the Lord gave His life freely for an atonement of sin.  Sin, for Christ Jesus and His written Word, is an offence against God.  Sin that brings all evil and catastrophe upon man is personal sin, and that must be repented of.  Christ Jesus clearly taught that one must repent and believe the Gospel.  Christ Jesus did not differentiate those who were oppressed or who had suffered, from all other types of people, all must repent and believe.  Christ Jesus’ message to you and to me is except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish[17] His message is to repent of our personal sinfulness, to repent of looking to any theology or church for salvation, and to look to Him alone. 

Christ Jesus’ purpose and His intent was and is to save His people from their sin. He did indeed speak of “being set free” the means, however, is the truth. “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.[18]   When the Jews of His own day did not understand His words, He explained them, “whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.[19]  Christ Jesus also spoke strongly against tradition contradicting and making void the Biblical truth of the Word.  This is exactly what Liberation Theology does.  The New Testament Word of God teaches that the believer must obey legitimate governing authorities.  “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.[20]  “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”[21]

Social Fruits from the Gospel

The failure of Liberation Theology is admitted even among those who persist in trying to implement its fantasies.  “The revolutionary fervor of the 1980s has not abolished the grueling poverty that some now call an economic holocaust for the poor in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and, more recently, Costa Rica.  So this new generation of Latin American theologians is ‘rereading the Bible,’ searching for words to describe what Christians have traditionally called the ‘new creation’ – a transformation that ultimately alters the political and economic spheres, though it does not begin there.  Realizing that political and economic power is too easily corrupted and that it too readily ignores the needs of the poor, these new liberationists look first for a pastoral response to the suffering all around them.”[22]

It is quite interesting when we see that where the true Gospel has gone forth throughout the world, there has been a freedom from sin, and there has followed better social conditions.  It is most interesting that after the Reformation, there came the whole economical structure of the western world whereby we have finance, credit, bank accounts, title deeds to land and property and such.  These things came about by an understanding of imputation; that is, things being credited to someone.  Because men were freed from sin against God, they were set free to live better social and political lives.  By the Gospel man is free before God and free also to serve God and to live a better human life.  

The founding fathers of the United States were for the most part Christian, and the very principles behind the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are principles that show the depravity of man and the need to separate judicial, legislative, and executive power.  These have meant a stable form of political and social life for the United States.  Even though many of the founding principals are no longer predominant in the United States, there is still a solid base because of the biblical understanding of the founding fathers.

Correct understanding of the Bible is to see man as a sinner, utterly destitute in sin.  To see his personal need of salvation before God, and then as he trusts on Christ, and Christ alone, he knows the true freedom in peace that comes with salvation and thus he becomes a responsible citizen.  This is the Good News, and Liberation Theology is a curse because it subordinates the Gospel and Biblical evangelism to a secular ideology.  Liberation Theology, acclaimed by many Catholic theologians, has been allowed to grow wildly in South America, Central America and other Catholic nations, bringing with it increased destitution, poverty, and most of all spiritual death. 


[1] Documented in Ecclesiastical Meglomania:  The Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church by John Robbins.  Available from

[2] How to Be Christians in a World of Destitution From the book Introducing Liberation Theology by Leonardo Boff and Clodovis Boff.  7/1/03

[3] Ibid.,  01/07/03

[4] Ibid.,,   

[5] Summa Theologiae, 11-11, 7th article

[6] Summa Theologiae, 11-11, 7th article

[7] Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum 1891 36

[8]  Para 697/4/03

[9] Ibid., Para 69

[10] Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, On Social Concern  section 42

[11] A Concise History Liberation Theology 7/4/03

[12] Liberation Theology on the Move in the United States By Bill McIlhany 7/4/03

[13] Isaiah 58:6

[14] Matthew 22:21

[15] Luke 6:27-28

[16] Matthew 5:3

[17] Luke 13:5

[18] John 8:32

[19] John 8:34-36

[20] Romans 13:1-2

[21] 1 Peter 2:13-14

[22]  7/4/03

Biblical Reflections on September 11 2001

By Richard Bennett and Robert Nicholson

September 11th, 2001 was for Americans and the world an unforgettable day.  We all know the details.  Four commercial jetliners were hijacked shortly after taking off from the east coast of the USA bound for the west coast.  Two, from Boston, were flown into the gigantic twin towers of the New York World Trade Center, completely demolishing them.  A third, from Washington’s Dulles Airport, was flown into the Pentagon.  The fourth, from Newark, New Jersey, failed to reach its target and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing all on board.  Besides those maimed and injured, more than 3,000 people were killed that day.  From a natural perspective, the terror created by such clearly premeditated evil events can be devastating. Yet God is still God; He has not ceased to reign.  He remains sovereignly in control of all events.  We therefore must ask the question, what was His purpose in allowing such atrocities to be perpetrated?

The human mind as constituted by its Creator has an innate need to understand, that is, to know how events and their circumstances relate to the world He made and governs.  Men are compelled by their own nature to try to make sense of things.  The testimony of Holy Scripture and history is that man by his own resources and research cannot adequately understand God.  The depths and riches of His wisdom are past human comprehension.  The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed the means by which the believer is to know who God is, and how He acts.  He said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  God’s Written Word not only contains the truth but rather, it is truth itself.  This is consistent with the declarations throughout the Old Testament in which the Holy Spirit continually proclaimed that the revelation from God is truth as, for example, Psalm 119:142, “thy law is truth.”  The Lord Himself therefore identified truth with the Written Word.  There is no source, other than written Scripture alone, to which the statement, “thy word is truth” can apply.  That source alone, the Holy Scripture, is the believer’s standard of truth in his search to know the One true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.  No creature of His can know Him beyond how He chooses to reveal His character and purposes in His Written Word.  Hence the foundation of all true knowledge and understanding of God and His works is the Bible.  Such is the God-given means to know God, in Himself, and in His purposes.

A Pattern from the Past

As believers, it is wise to try to make sense of the events of September11th, 2001, according to biblical faith.  In this regard, there is a remarkable parallel between our time and condition and those of the believers of the Old Covenant to whom the Prophet Habakkuk wrote.  Habakkuk was living in a nation of professing believers, that is, among a people at least nominally adhering to revealed religion, but only nominally, as redemptive history records the terrible political circumstances and woeful spiritual condition of this professing people.  As profoundly disturbing to the prophet as the apostasy and declension among his people were, they were not the main cause of his perplexity and distress.  He was mightily perturbed by God’s expressed intention to raise up the Chaldeans as an instrument of judgment against His covenant people!  The questions in his mind were basic ones.  It seems there were at least three of them. (1) How can God, righteous and holy as He is, use a patently wicked and evil nation to execute judgment on His own people?  (2) Why was it that a people at least nominally more moral, and comparatively more righteous than the Chaldeans, were to be made subject to the most terrifying and destructive means of warfare imaginable to them at the hands of men that are obviously enemies to all truth and goodness?  And, (3) what final Divine ends and purposes could follow from judgment and overthrow of His covenant nation?

Now while this does not encompass the entire content of the book of Habakkuk, and there obviously remain elements distinct and unique to the time of the prophet, it is fair to note that the parallel between his time and ours cannot be called accidental.  No true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ really thinks that any event in history, past or present, can be accidental.  History has a design, a meaning, and an aim because God is working all things according to the counsel of His own will.  The questions rising in the mind of Habakkuk concerning the ways and works of God are the very same in substance that have always occurred to the minds of sincere believers.  These same serious questions are for us to address right now. 

Our Sovereign God

As a Christian, the only way one can understand the events of September 11th 2001 and their aftermath is in the light the sovereignty of God as explained in His Word.  He is the High and Holy One who inhabits eternity.  Scripture states that it is He “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”  The failure of many men in their ideas about God is that they imagine Him as being subject to circumstances and events rather than being the source and fountain of all things.  Such a concept of God disgraces the basic knowledge of God as all-powerful and absolutely supreme, including over evil and wickedness.  Ignorance regarding the nature of God is the mother of destruction—for lack of the knowledge of God is ruinous to any person or people.  In the words of Scripture, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”  In stark contrast to that, the Scripture also states, “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits....”  Those that rebel against the knowledge of the sovereignty of God can expect no other than to perish in darkness.  God’s absolute supremacy and unlimited sovereignty naturally flow from His omnipotence and from the fact that He is the origin and support of all things.  Moreover, if it were not so He would not be God, for such is His essential nature.  As God He is all good and perfect in wisdom.  He will not and cannot err.  Being perfect in holiness, He can do no wrong; being supremely just, He always acts in accordance with the principles of His holiness, justice, and truth.  Even His loving kindness is holy, as He is holy, for God always corrects and chastises His own people in accord with His beneficent purposes for their eternal good.   It was not from want of power that He allowed evil men to do extreme wickedness on September 11th 2001, but rather it was His purpose to so allow.  In that purpose, His actions were perfect and wholly just.  

There is not one single verse in the Word of God that concedes the slightest ability of mere creatures to originate any purpose or execute any intention independent of the Divine Will.  The supreme example in history was the murder the Lord Jesus Christ by wicked men, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.”  Hence we must acknowledge God’s hand in everything, and ask this question: was one of His main purposes on September 11,th among many, no doubt, to bring judgment on our modern secular Western civilization and chastisement on His people, the Church of Jesus Christ? Here we make no statement whatsoever concerning the destinies of the thousands of individuals who lost their lives.  Christians died along with those who knew not salvation in the Lord.  Our Lord taught us not to judge concerning individuals in these matters.  The Lord’s admonition and command are given in Luke 13:1-3, “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”  He cautioned His hearers not to make an ill use of these and similar events, nor take occasion thence to fault the great sufferers, as if they were therefore to be accounted great sinners.  While judging no one and offering heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of those killed that day, what should not be missed is the Lord’s strong warning, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Surely, this present tragedy should drive everyone to repentance before a Holy God, and especially those who profess His name but will not acknowledge His sovereignty or the glory that He will not give to another.

Some Great Works of Christ in History

In history, the Lord raised up the King of Babylonia to destroy and exile the nation of Judah.  The overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians for their idolatry prefigured its later razing by Titus and the Roman army for rejecting Christ and His Gospel.  The destruction of the Jews at the time of the exile and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD are examples of God using huge disasters to typify the destruction to be brought upon the despisers of Christ and His Gospel (Luke 21:20-24).  To prepare for the calling of His people from the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, the Sovereign Lord used Islam to substantially weaken the power of the corrupt Holy Roman Empire and debased Eastern Orthodoxy across Europe and Asia.  Like dominoes, many cities and countries fell to the sword of Islam.  The Muslims invaded Greece and the Ukraine, and captured the Crimea in 1475.  Islam moved up toward eastern Germany, where Luther was to be born in 1483.  Albania was crushed in 1500, Moldavia in 1512, Romania in 1516, Montenegro in1517, the same year that Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Church door.  Belgrade and Serbia fell in 1521, and Bosnia in 1527. Vienna was besieged in 1529, and the zealots of Mohammed marched through Hungary toward Austria, Poland, Russia, and Lithuania.  In the midst of that judgment, the Lord brought forth the five principles of the Gospel anew for the salvation of millions of souls during and after the Reformation.  These principles were, (1) in all matters of faith and morals, the final authority is the Bible alone; (2) before the all-Holy God, an individual is saved by grace alone, (3) through faith alone, (4) in Christ alone, and following on this, (5) all glory and praise in the salvation of men is due to God alone.

The Right of Christ Jesus to Rule

The Lord Christ Jesus Himself declared, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”  All right and power of administrative judgment and correction has been given to Christ Jesus as ruling King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The Lord Himself declared, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father;” and “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”   The good news is that the revival and renewal that comes from correction is also from His hand.  “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  The Lord Christ’s judgments and chastisements are always just because, as His own words explain, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”  The events of September 11th 2001, and the subsequent war against fundamentalist Islam appear to have come upon us as a parcel of chastisement from Christ Jesus on His people, and of His judgment of sinners, east and west.  In the words of Scripture to the Church, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”  And for the unbelieving world, the Scriptures portray Christ Jesus as the ruler and judge of the nations, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Judgment of Spiritual Blindness?

The events of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 have shown that in modern times there are great inadequacies in understanding of the present rule of the Lord Christ Jesus in His kingly role.  On one hand, the Roman Catholic Church is still vainly attempting to usurp His kingdom as hers exclusively to rule over as she wishes through her own power and authority.  To do this, she must quench the Gospel and substitute her sacraments, as in centuries past when she attempted to do this by force and flames.  Now, with her goal still unchanged, her method is to usurp His authority and reign by civil concordats establishing her right to teach and rule her subjects according to Roman Catholic law within a nation, and by false ecumenism with those who will not bow to her ancient agenda requiring reunification of Church and state under one earthly head.  On the other hand, some systems of Evangelical eschatology are so intent to establish Christ as the future King to come that they have understood His present rule and dominion primarily to be as an actor waiting off stage for His hour to come.  In contrast to both of these, the Apostle Paul declares that His future coming will show forth the fact that He now “is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.”  

Many Evangelicals, because of their mindset that Christ Jesus is to be the future ruler and Lord instead of presently reigning, leave themselves open to be seduced by patriotic fervor and worldly religious interests that in fact run contrary to the principles of the reigning Lord Jesus Christ.  Some, by confusing the aims and interests of the Kingdom of God with the political concerns of the United States of America, have stumbled blindly into the pit of an ecumenical and inter-faith religious synthesis.  Such confusion leaves them vulnerable to the insidious but rampant idea of salvation by patriotism.  This was seen clearly in their whole-hearted participation in the national prayer meeting on the Friday after the attack.  The unholy union before a thoroughly civilized multicultural god was visible in the representatives who gathered there, and was expressed in words by Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon when she identified the participants, “Those of us who are gathered here, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, all people of faith....”  The hocus-pocus meeting was comprised of a Muslim cleric, a Roman Catholic Cardinal, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Billy Graham.  The disgraces called “prayer” were typified in the invocation offered by the Methodist minister from Houston when he said, “God of Abraham and Mohammed, and the Father of Jesus Christ.…”  In the words of the Prophet Isaiah,  “Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations…they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.”

Darkness in the Daytime

It is plain that large sections of the Church of Jesus Christ in the United States are under the judgment of Christ Jesus the Lord, a judgment of spiritual blindness consequent to departing from the Word of God in general and the revealed truth of the Gospel in particular.  The leadership of major Protestant denominations and Evangelical institutions has openly joined in company with the Roman Catholic Church and other false religions.  Even an elementary knowledge of the rule of Christ as portrayed in the Scriptures, indicates that the Lord is now abandoning much of the Evangelical leadership to the consequences of their corrupt and anti-Biblical opinions.  Over the past forty years they have ignored clear biblical teaching of holding the "mystery of the faith in a pure conscience", by having fellowship with "the unfruitful works of darkness" unmistakably manifest in ecumenical apostasy.  Continued “loving dialogue and discourse” with the Roman Catholic Church is becoming their undoing.  In sanctioning the Roman Catholic system as “Christian”, they have publicly denied the distinctive character of the worship, service, and salvation of the one true and living God of the Bible, who has revealed Himself only in and by His Son.  The final personal cost to them is obviously now terrible beyond all anticipation! Now sadly this false ecumenism seems to be propelled by a wave of patriotic fervor consequent to the terrorist attacks.  An entire generation of Evangelicals love the worldly ways of humanism more than they love the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ found in the Bible.  The Roman Catholic Church, a worldly instrument prepared for the destruction of any who go in to her, is at hand—even as Israel in her confusion found Egypt to be at hand.  Now for the fatherland, many in the Evangelical Church seem willing to sacrifice the very distinctives that in the first place made them Evangelical.

It might be argued that such a thesis is emotive and unkind.  Consider, however, that official State prayer meeting held the Friday after the attacks at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. which was itself alone enough to warrant more of Christ Jesus’ judgment on the Church and the nation.  The god addressed that day was not the true God; it was a god under many names, those of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and false or nominal Christianity.  It was a god that is politically acceptable but non-existent.  The worship and service offered to this deity of the national imagination was an insult and blasphemy against the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ because the Scripture not only establishes Who God is, but it excludes all others from that glory.  “Look to Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”  Is there not corporate arrogance and idolatry in our day, as in Israel of old?

Confusion of Face: Then and Now

In his confession and lamentation over the sins of the Old Covenant nation that led to their chastisement in the Babylonian captivity, the prophet Daniel prayed, “O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.”  Overall in this intercession, Daniel acknowledged the corporate guilt of Israel, the justice of the Divine chastisement presently experienced, and the “confusion of face”, or otherwise stated, the rebuke of shame that adhered to them.  They had reaped exactly what they had sown.  Public wickedness, idolatry, and stubborn refusal to obey the commands of the Lord to keep separate from the other nations had led to their undoing.  Daniel did not assign the low condition of God’s people and the state of the true religion to the opposition of the world, nor even the manifold evils in it.  He laid the blame squarely where it belonged, as was testified in the book of Haggai.  It was the refusal to stop, think, and measure themselves by the Word Of God and His adverse dealings toward them that perpetuated their self-deceit.  What eventually came upon them was in accordance with the Word of God in Jeremiah 2:19, “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”  Has not the foolishness of the American and Western Evangelical Church today through its compromise of its own principles and its unholy alliances also fallen under this judgment?

Consider Your Ways

Plainly it is the determined path of many so-called Evangelical leaders to associate the Church of Jesus Christ and His people in an apostate multi-faith association to support instrumentalities of human government and its political interests.  What their real motives are the Day of Judgment will show.  Certainly it is not wrong for the Church to decry the stupidity, wickedness, and evil of man manifest in the catastrophe of September 11th.  Nor, of course, is it wrong to mourn the great loss of life, to comfort those in sorrow, and to help alleviate whatever sufferings have arisen from this tragic event.  But it is obviously wrong for the Church to confuse its worship, service, and Gospel message with the designs and interests of civil power.  When it does this, it breaks down the biblical distinction between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world and denies the clear teaching of the Word of God on separation.  Suddenly, the Church is not merely in the world, it is of it.  The consequence is an inevitable loss of privilege as being the “Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  Simply, there is no way to maintain a biblical-evangelical testimony for the Gospel of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone while granting legitimacy in social-civil associations to false religions like Judaism, Islam or Buddhism.  Likewise it is impossible to hold out that one is a Bible-believing Evangelical Christian who accepts both the inspiration and authority of the Word of God and still give standing as part of the Church of Jesus Christ to institutional elements of apostate Christendom, like Roman Catholicism, which forthrightly reject that principle.  Such behavior is an affront to Christ in His work of redemption and likewise to the Holy Spirit in His ministry of convincing the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.

The Reason for the Curse

It is a heavenly disgrace to the Church of Jesus Christ when men, alleged to be its leaders, are found in company with the wicked, making a pretence at civil religion.  It is a mark of Divine displeasure when God gives men up to their delusions in this way.  It is not the world’s fault, however, that Christian men fall to worldly allurements and enticements and bring shame on the Gospel.  This disgrace is not caused by the corruption and wickedness in the world, which Evangelicals have become so foolishly fond of denouncing in corporate right wing moralistic organizations instead of preaching the Gospel.  Rather, the roots of this disgrace lie in the corruption of the Church; that is, in the Church’s abandonment of the Gospel message with concomitants of biblical doctrine and the divine authority of the Word.  In the rush of the last generation of Evangelicals to validate their faith to the world by demonstrating the “intellectual veracity” of the Gospel and by building bridges to the religious enemies of Christ, the very substance of truth has been laid aside in order to make Christianity palatable and acceptable to unconverted men on their own terms.  Consequently it has becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the Church and the world.  Small wonder now that programs of psychological renewal, Church growth recruitment, and sociological research from the pit of academia have supplanted the biblical doctrine of the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in evangelism and conversion.  

Frankly, it seems that the leadership of large sections of the professing Evangelical Church have no idea what is the Gospel.  It appears that the “household of God” is on the verge of transforming itself into a house of entertainment.  Such an assessment, while disconcerting, is obvious on the face of it to anyone prepared to measure our spiritual condition by Holy Scripture rather than what has lately arisen from a seething swamp of sentimentality called Evangelical Christian pop culture, represented in glossy magazines like Christianity Today.

Death of America: Fault of the Church?

In its rush to self-promotion by creating a form of religion acceptable to the natural man, the Evangelical Church in the United States has been blatantly unfaithful to its heavenly calling.  In trucking off to indulge in evil associations with Romanism and Liberalism, it has discarded truth at the siren call of a human sentimentality that makes a mockery of authentic Christian love.  It is not Christ-like love to promote and entertain lies and call it sincere dialogue.  It is not a mark of spirituality or nearness to Christ to shake hands with, to unite in worship with, or to grant some ethereal brotherly legitimacy to the ambassadors of hell from false religions!  The biblical view is that this behavior is born of the roots of human pride and love of the world’s applause.  The fearful message to the unfaithful Evangelical Church and its leadership in this generation is the same as that given by the Prophet Ezekiel to the people of old, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”

Measured by the Word of God rather than the sentiments of men, the United States is a kingdom of this world that rejects the Lordship of Jesus Christ; it flagrantly violates every one of the Ten Commandments in its public life. Socially, it is an empire of political craft, institutionalized theft, covetousness, and tolerated sexual perversions, awash in the blood of the unborn.  The victims of the abortions since September 11th far out number the victims of that day’s disaster.  But worse, it is a kingdom of this world with a civil religion that daily prays, bows and does homage before images and icons of the “Father” and statues of “Christ Jesus”, “Buddha”, “Shiva”, “Mary” and the “Saints”.  It is over-run with moralizing and graceless legalistic cults such as Mormonism, Adventism, and hundreds of others, all promoting “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”  And it is stylishly draped in an outward respectability and moral order cut from the cloth of humanistic tolerance of diversities of social and scientific wickedness that most assuredly must invoke the judgment of God against it. 

The Present-Day Message for the USA

The message of the true Evangelical Church to the people of the United States is that if they do not repent and believe the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, they will die in their sins.  If this people, as any others of the nations on the earth, continue to harden their hearts, then the Lord will not be merciful and calamity will continue.  As the Apostle Paul wrote under the direction of the Holy Spirit, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”  Some of this judgment has been seen in the events of September 11th but who can bear with the devouring fire of God’s everlasting wrath?  The Scripture also says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”  The Lord Himself declared, “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.”  The Lord will always be merciful to those who turn to Him in faith for the remission of sins.  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest to your souls.”

True Repentance and Hope for the People of God

Finally, the warning of Holy Scripture stands toward the Church in the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, “Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?”  The professing Evangelical Church is guilty of all of those things and much more!  What audacity, to pray and ask God to bless America apart from the Gospel call for genuine repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ!  What futility and prideful presumption there is in such for professing Evangelicals to abandon the cause of God and truth in favor of indulging civil-religious patriotic fervor for a kingdom of this perishing world!  Have we forgotten entirely that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”?  The only appropriate biblical lesson for the people and leaders of the Church in these circumstances is to address themselves to their own repentance.  We live in New Covenant times and if, as a people, we truly call our sin what it is and repent, we can expect grace from the Lord.  “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”  The parallel between the day of the prophet Habakkuk and our own has been shown.  In those ancient days, after seventy years, there was repentance and a return to the Lord God.   We have a High Priest over the house of God, the Lord Christ Jesus! “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.”  “Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord.  Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.”

A Warning for the Years Ahead

The Lord Jesus Christ will also exercise discipline and care over His Church on earth--even upon those who, while calling themselves believers, refuse to accept His authority as the head of the Church.  These have a name of being alive but are dead.  They have high thoughts of their Evangelical substance as “being rich, and increased with goods”, but are so far departed from the cause of truth as not to possess even the vaguest sense that by the measure of the Word of God, they are already “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”  A signal evidence of this is the silence of the majority of Evangelicals while some of their well known leaders trample under foot the blood of the everlasting covenant in proclaiming to the world that Roman Catholics are “our brothers and sisters in Christ”

The Evangelical decline into doctrinal and practical apostasy, that is, the departure from the faith once delivered unto the saints into a religion of sentiment and fleshly experience, should be our gravest concern.  The delusion that doctrine, faith, and practice are separable elements in the Christian life is widespread among their popular teachers.  Likewise, an appalling ignorance of the Word of God is manifest in the general Evangelical constituency.  The Ecumenical-Evangelical vessel of “love” now lies a beached derelict on the shifting sands of subjectivity.  Hundreds of thousands of souls, likely now millions, around the world have succumbed to the presentation of a false gospel vomited tiresomely from Neo-Evangelical pulpits and presses.  Consequently grandiose Evangelical Church buildings and teaching institutions are presently overrun with people that have been taught by their leadership to confuse their motions of psychologically manufactured human religious feeling for a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.  Multitudes credit themselves as being “born again Christians” while rejecting the Lordship of Christ and authority of His Word that is the mark of authentic discipleship.  

The Word of God teaches that when men prefer lies in the place of truth it is a sign from heaven of God having already delivered them up to their fleshly religious preferences.  If there is not true repentance and a crying out to the Lord for forgiveness, more serious chastisement on the People of God can be expected in the form of increasing spiritual stupor and blindness and a further increase in the population of sociologically sanctified worldlings inhabiting our pews.  This will be a judgment upon the professing people of God more to be feared than aircraft flying into buildings, bio-terrorism, and general warfare.  The Holy Spirit strongly warns of the apocalyptic consequences of religious self-will resulting in the judgment of being delivered over to endorsing and promoting lies in the name of God.

No Human Remedy

The Lord will sift His people; he will search out and try His visible Church, and will discover and detect those who say they are Evangelical believers and are not, but act as the synagogue of Satan.  He, who punished the sinners in Zion with great severity, warns the believers of the New Covenant that He will be even more severe.  The Lord God is always true to His Word.  “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord.”  The terrors of the Lord are known both by revelation and reason; both now sound the alarm for New Year 2002.  What has been forgotten is that for the Lord God, the sanctification of His People is His first priority and He will certainly attend to that business.  Only a gracious outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our time, to turn the hearts of His people back to Him, will be a sufficient remedy.  Pray then that the Lord may be pleased in mercy to heal the affliction of spiritual blindness that plagues the contemporary Evangelical Church rather than to permit it run further into darkness.  It is mercy for which we are praying.  Given the pattern of stubborn and sinful rebellion manifest these last years in trucking off to make a false peace with the enemies of Christ and the wicked denial of the truth in so doing, it is certain that the Evangelical Church deserves nothing but a severer dispensation from His hand.  This is no time to presume on the grace of God, but rather to pray urgently for it! The Lord’s Glory, Gospel, and promise are at stake! “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” ♦


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A Portrayal of the Woman of Revelation Chapter Seventeen

The Holy Spirit in Revelation Chapter Seventeen vividly depicts the features of the Apostate Church.  It is done in graphically precise detail.  The Apostle John beheld the ten-horned beast carrying a woman dressed in purple and scarlet, decked with gold, precious stones, and pearls, a harlot, and the mother of harlots and abominations.  She is the paramour of kings, merciless, cruel, intoxicated with the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Christ Jesus.  These symbols are brilliantly portrayed.  “The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth” (v 9).  This the Holy Spirit clarifies by proclaiming, “the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (v 18).  The city indisputably is Rome.  The name upon the harlot’s brow is “mystery” (v 5).  She cannot be heathen Rome of which there was no mystery because her character was never concealed.  “Christian” Rome, however, is a mystery, for she is not what she appears.  Babylon, in the book of Revelation, is a city and a harlot.  Jerusalem, in the same book, is a city and a bride.  Babylon is the fraudulent lover of earthly kings; Jerusalem, the chaste bride of the King of Kings.  The contrast is between the faithful Church and the Apostate Church.  Chapter Seventeen thus describes in detail the character of the Apostate Church.  

Religious Power Seated on Civil Power

The woman is seen “sitting upon the scarlet-colored beast” (v. 3).  The woman, the Papal Church, is seated upon a scarlet-colored beast, the civil power.  She controls and directs for her own ends the civil power on which she rides.  The political civil power is subordinate to the spiritual control of apostate Rome and is the Pope’s necessary instrument used to fulfill his aspirations and objectives.  This is exactly the history of the Papal Church.  

The Papal Church arose through the favor of the Emperors of the old Imperial Roman Empire.  Constantine who in 313 AD declared Christianity to be the state religion of Imperial Rome set the stage for this.  Before that time, the church was the fellowship of believers under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ, working under their pastors by the authority the written Word as received in the gospel accounts of the life of the Lord, and the writings of the Apostles together with the Old Testament.  The church by Constantine’s design, however, was to be organized and governed on the Imperial Roman Empire model.  Thus was governance of the church divided into four great provinces and a bishop in each province elevated above his brothers.  Historically, the power of the Bishop of Rome increased as the imperial power of the Emperor declined.  Besides Justinian’s edict in 538 AD, the edicts of the Emperors Theodosius II and Valentinian III proclaimed the Roman Bishop “as Rector of the whole Church.”  So it is that by the edicts of civil powers, with the sanction of the Italian bishops, the Roman Bishop became the head of the Western clergy.  By this time, however, the demise of the Imperial Roman Empire was at hand, and one might have thought that the state church would fall with the Empire.  The Bishop of Rome, however, claimed an authority on a higher than that given by civil power, in order that his position would be secure perpetually.  Skillfully he grasped to himself the ideal tool, the title of successor to the Apostle Peter, through which he claimed himself to have been invested with the authority of Holy God.  In doing this, he rose to a position far above that of mere patriarchs and emperors.  Wylie summarizes,

“With the assertion of this dogma the system of the Papacy was completed essentially and doctrinally, but not as yet practically.  It had to wait the full development of the idea of vicarship, which was not till the days of Gregory VII [Hildebrand, 1073-85].  But here have we the embryotic seed—the vicarship to wit—out of which the vast structure of the Papacy has sprung.  This it is that plants at the centre of the system a pseudo-divine jurisdiction, and places the Pope above all bishops with their flocks, above all kings with their subjects.  This it is that gives the Pope two swords….The day when this dogma was proclaimed was the true birthday of the Popedom.  The Bishop of Rome had till now sat in the seat of Caesar; henceforward he was to sit in the seat of God.”

To do this, of course, required intrigue, deceit, suppression of the Bible and the Gospel—all of which was accomplished over the course of time so that by the time of the great Reformers of the sixteenth century, it was clearly understood that the Papal church was the woman who rides the beast.  Among us today is this same church, the Roman Catholic Church, still claiming the same authority and still pursuing the same agenda.

In Daniel chapter seven, the little horn, symbolizing the papacy, persecuted the saints and spoke against God “the most High” but would come to its end at the termination of 1260 years.  That occurred in 1798 with the arrest of Pope Pius VI in the wounding of its head, 1260 years after Justinian’s edict of 538 AD.  The Papal Church languished and lost its civil power for decades.  Revelation chapter thirteen explains however, a second rise of this same political-ecclesiastical institution as a last day power, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed:  and all the world wondered after the beast.”  This came to fruition, just as Scripture had foretold.  In 1929 Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with Pope Pius XI officially conceding Vaticanus Mons (Vatican Hill) from the nation of Italy to the Pope.  The wound was healed!  At the hand of civil power, the Papal Church had once again sprung forth as a landed theocracy, still claiming for her Pope the titles of Successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ.  

While she became the smallest independent state in the world (108 acres) she again has become one of the greatest in political intrigue, in the words of Lord Acton “the fiend skulking behind the Crucifix.”  Because she is established on civil power and as a sovereign state, she wields much sway in national and international law, particularly in the nations in which she has papal nuncios as ambassadors.  At present she maintains civil relations with 172 countries at Embassy level.  According to the Catholic Almanac, “An apostolic nuncio has the diplomatic rank of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary…a nuncio has precedence among diplomats in the country to which he is accredited and serves as dean of the diplomatic corps on state occasions.”  The history of Papal Rome, her seeming demise, and her present day position in the world, show that she fits what the Holy Spirit revealed Revelation 17.  

Significance of Place, Attire, and Possessions

The place of residence of the Papal church was never in doubt, “the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth” (v. 9).  The system itself still delineates the area of residence of the Papal State, “...It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper now is confined....”  The revelation of God shows forth the attire and possessions of the Apostate system, “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication” (v. 4).  Scarlet, the usual color of the robes of kings and military men, was and still is the favorite color of Papal Rome.  Cardinals for example, are clothed all in scarlet.  Papal patriarchs, metropolitan archbishops, archbishops and bishops wear purple and “the Pectoral cross”.  “The Pectoral cross” is declared by Rome to be “decorated with gems; that of a bishop usually contains relics of a martyr.”  Papal Rome has the “the golden cup” in the chalice on her altar, which must be gold or gold-plated.  Biblically, gold represents perfection and the things of God.  Deceptively Rome offers a “pure” outward display, but of her Eucharistic use of that golden cup she states, “…in the sacrifice of the Mass Our Lord is immolated.”  In Scripture Lord Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice was once offered.  Thus the golden cup she holds out as the center of her worship to God is filled with the most odious of abominations, an apt image to denote her idolatry and superstition. 

Description of the Inner Character

Verse 5 delineates her inner character “upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”  She is called “great” because of the scale of the Papal influence, and because of the multitude of kings, princes, and presidents with whom she has done business.  The Papal Church is also invested with the title, “Mystery Babylon the Great”.  Throughout her history she has been an enigma.  She continues to be so, even to those within her own system.  Truly God’s Word describes her as a “Mystery”.   She is also called “Babylon” as she is the exact antitype of the ancient Babylon in her idolatry and cruelty.  Babylon of old was only a miniature pastel portrait of her.  “Babylon the great” titles herself as “Holy Mother Church”.  She has the audacity to proclaim, “‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.’”  In truth the Bible has revealed her inner character as, “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” (v. 5).  The Pope and his Church bring into the worship of God the worship of the communion bread and Mary as “‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All Holy One,” with the Pope himself designated as “Most Holy”.  The traditions of “Holy Mother Church” also bring into the worship of God the frustrated lives of celibate men and women, and worst of all, it brings in the idolatry which God hates.  Icons and saints’ bones alike are venerated as relics.  Papal Rome encourages people to contact the dead.  She teaches, “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead...Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping ‘them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.’”  As the promoter of lewdness through the institutions of her unholy traditions, there never was a more expressive or appropriate title applied to her than that penned by Holy Spirit through the Apostle John.

Her History of Persecution of True Believers

The Roman Church has employed kings and princes in her work of persecution.  Her courts first tried and condemned the believers, after which they were delivered over to the civil authority to be executed.  In the Papacy’s crusades against Bible believing cities, towns and territories, Rome enlisted the civil power of kings and potentates to carry out her cruel deeds.  In those many years, the Papal system was “drunken with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs” (v. 6).  The Crusades against the Albigenses, the Vaudois, and the Waldenses were replete with outrageous slaughters and barbarities.  The individual hounding down of true believers that resulted in atrocious torture and death is the documented history of the state religion of the Papacy.  For centuries through her Office of the Inquisition, she organized wars against Bible believing cities and territories.  In the middle of the thirteenth century, Pope Innocent IV devised in detail for the many inquisitors how torture was to be perpetrated.  “Innocent IV gave comprehensive instructions regarding how torture was to be applied in his bull At Extirpanda (1252).  This was revised and reissued by subsequent Popes.  Torture is prescribed, but it was to stop short of pulling off limbs or causing death...Ruinous punishments are enacted on all who harbor or give advice or favor to a heretic.  How completely the abominable system was the direct achievement of the Papacy is show by the clause that no change could be made without the special authority of the Apostolic See.”  

“From the birth of Popery in 600, to the present time, it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than fifty millions of the human family, have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by popish persecutors, an average of more than forty thousand religious murders for every year of the existence of Popery.”  Roman Catholic author, Peter de Rosa, wrote of the atrocities of the Roman Catholic torture machine,  

“The record of the Inquisition would be embarrassing for any organization; for the Catholic Church, it is devastating.  Today, it prides itself, and with much justification, on being the defender of natural law and the rights of man.  The papacy in particular likes to see itself as the champion of morality.  What history shows is that, for more than six centuries without a break, the papacy was the sworn enemy of elementary justice.  Of eighty popes in a line from the thirteenth century on, not one of them disapproved of the theology and apparatus of Inquisition.  On the contrary, one after another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this deadly machine.”  

The Papacy has shockingly fulfilled the image from Revelation of the woman blood-drenched from six centuries of her murderous rampage.  In the Bible, the Holy Spirit foretold of her lust for power and blood.  History has recorded some of the gruesome details.

Mixture of Political and Spiritual Power

How could the fusion of the political and deceptive spiritual power of the Papacy be better represented than in Revelation 17?  In her unending challenge to the Lord Jesus Christ for His place and prerogatives to rule over the kings of the earth, her monarchy and priesthood persist in associating with rulers and governments as she continues to grasp insatiably at the power to rule supreme on earth.

As the Word of God is fulfilled, and until the Lord Christ Jesus comes, it is the commission of believers to warn one another with that same clarity that the Bible sounds forth.  It is the duty of true believers to show forth the fulfillment of what was predicted in Revelation 17.  Such was the conviction of the believers of old.  It is only by honest and faithful testimony to the revelation of the Holy Spirit that freedom from her control will come to those presently ensnared by her lies.

Present Day State of Affairs

Papal Rome has stood in direct opposition to the Gospel of Christ.  For this, the judgment of God will come upon her.  There never was a clearer duty than that of withdrawing from Papal Rome and her ecumenical followers.  Her iniquity is corrupting and intoxicating the nations with a counterfeit head of the Church, a sham gospel, and will make her utter ruin the just and righteous act of God!  The voice of the Lord thunders from the final chapters of the Bible and reverberates throughout the world, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”  The Woman sitting upon the scarlet-colored beast will continue and wax strong and draw to her bosom multitudes, nations, and power and glory of the world, as the Lord said she would.  However the final condemnation of her and those within her is already written, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”  God’s reserved wrath, His punishing justice, and His enmity to sin, will be revealed to the entire world.  The destruction of Papal Rome will proceed from the glory of His power.  “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.”  Idolatry is a damning sin of human nature.  It will prove fatal to those who persisted in it, in the very presence of the Savior they have slighted and rejected.

Bible believers of old recognized the Apostate Church from the pages of Scripture and were prepared to both expose her and to face her in the strength and wisdom of the Lord.  Among many others there were John Wycliff, John Huss, and Savonarola.  During the Reformation, among many others were Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, John Bradford, and John Foxe.  In the 17th and 18th centuries produced believers such as John Bunyan, the translators of the King James Bible, and the men who published the Westminster and Baptist Confessions of Faith.  Sir Isaac Newton, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley add to the list.  In more recent times there were men such as Charles Spurgeon, Bishop J. C. Ryle and Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  All these men and many more knew the precision of Scriptures regarding both the true bride of Christ and the Apostate woman “drunken with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs.”  The Written Word has been fulfilled in history, in both light and darkness.  Like those believers of old, we must enter into battle.  He is with us, and we will have the final victory.   The words of the Apostle we repeat,  “…having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore.”.  The certainty of the final triumph should animate us in our efforts, and encourage us in our struggles.  The punishment Christ Jesus will inflict in “the wine of the wrath of God” is echoed the words of the great The Battle Hymn of the Republic: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;  He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on….Glory! Glory! Halleluja! His truth is marching on….He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;  Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him!  Be jubilant, my feet; Our God is marching on.  Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!  Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!  His truth is marching on.”   ♦

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It seems as if most denominations use Warner Sallman’s “Head of Christ” painting, or images like it. These pictures obviously are acceptable images of “Christ” for modern Christians. But in the light of Scripture, can they really be excluded from falling under the Second Commandment?

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Where do Evangelical ECT signatories now stand?

The fanfare of Jubilee Year 2000 continued when on May 13th Pope John Paul II gave his homily at the occasion of the beatification ceremony for Francisco and Jacinta Marto at Fatima, Portugal. (For those unfamiliar with Fatima, in 1917, a vision claiming to be Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.) What John Paul II has done, perhaps inadvertently, through his homily is to cause two very significant issues to rise to the surface regarding “Marian devotion”: first, the apparition’s message concerning salvation, and second, how the Pope has explained the same message.

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