We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Monday, July 30, 2018

Pedophile Priests

Over the last few decades I have learned about hundreds, if not thousands, of priests who molested children (age 12 and under specifically) and yet were kept in their positions; the ungodly Papist Church just moved them around and around whenever they were caught.  This, of course, has led to many ruined lives as well as victim suicides.

This is one of the issues which is blatant proof that the Papist Roman Catholic Church has never represented God.  (Really, just take a look at the history of the
sexual immorality among the popes!).

I have always said that this rampant pedophilia among priests is a result of the Papist dogma requiring priests to be celibate, which is an unnatural state for most men.  These priests then seek sexual gratification among the innocent, and then coerce them into silence.

I recently viewed the movie, “Spotlight,” which is about a 2001-2002 Boston Globe investigation exposing almost 100 pedophile priests in the Boston area, as well as the cover-up by the local Cardinal and the Papist Church while they shuffled known predators from parish to parish.

This past week we have another news item about an investigation into over 300 pedophile priests in Pennsylvania.

Then Lighthouse Trails has a report of a Cardinal stepping down due to sexual abuse.

This sex abuse takes place around the world, always protected by Rome.

Popes, Cardinals, Priests — centuries and centuries of rampant sexual immorality among Papism’s leaders is 100% proof that the Roman Catholic Church is a man-made organization, invented to control people.  They are a very cultic organization who exercises onerous control over their members as well as abusing them sexually.  (Interesting how virtually every cult has includes sexual immorality and abuse by their leaders!)

And yet Roman Catholics refuse to acknowledge the fact that their organization is not from God.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Good, Bad, and Ugly

Quite a few good articles to link to this time; some for education and some for edification.  

The Shroud of Turin is NOT genuine.  I’ve been saying that since I first heard of it years and years ago.

Romanism’s false hope of purgatory.

The moral law reflects God’s character.

Jesus is NOT a copy of pagan Gods.  But we knew this, didn’t we?

A book review of a new biography of Aimee Temple McPherson; she is the origin of the Foursquare Church.

Troubling terms of the “Social Justice Movement.”

The great Flood of the Bible or uniformitarian geology? I’ll go with the former, which makes much more sense scientifically!

The Bad and/or Ugly
The ELCA needs to quit pretending it is a Christian organization. In this incident they are promoting child abuse and perversion. If you are a member of the ELCA, WHY?

Former President Jimmy Carter worships a different Christ — a Christ who accepts an abomination.

Catholic defense of Marian devotion is actually no defense at all, and horribly bizarre  unbiblical nonsense.

Sarah Young has a devotional Bible out now, with all sorts of direct teachings from God and Jesus, or so she claims. Stay away from this spiritually dangerous publication.

Matt Chandler continues to implode with false teachings.

Rachel Held Evans has a new book: be forewarned that it is 100% false teaching.

The humorous
Oh, wouldn’t this be great!!

Oh how I wish this was true!

I love these jabs at Joel Osteen — they are so poignant!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

History Lesson Follow-Up

Jesse, at Rational Christian Discernment, has written some articles about the history of Roman Catholicism that you might find to be an interesting addition to the series I just finished. Search around.

The Historical Development of Papal Authority.  For more on papal authority, I direct you to an article I wrote in 2010.

A good, concise history of the Roman Church (previously linked to on a “Good, Bad, and Ugly” post).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

A History Lesson, Part 7

The greatest military challenge to the Eastern empire was the rise of Islam.  When Mohammed died in 632, his followers carried their faith with the sword into the Persian and Byzantine empires. Major centers were lost to the Muslim hordes: Damascus fell in 635, Jerusalem in 638, Caesarea in 640, and Alexandria in 641. As the Muslims swept across North Africa and into Spain, they were finally stopped by Charles Martel and the Franks in 732, but in the Eastern empire they continued on up into the Balkans. As time went by, this caused more and more isolation of the East from the West.

“When the Goths swept down upon Rome, that city turned for help - not to Constantinople, but to the Franks; in gratitude for his aid the pope crowned Charles the Great - Charlemagne - emperor on Christmas Day in 800, and the Roman Church became coterminous with the Holy Roman Empire.”  (Frank S. Mead, Handbook of Denominations, p. 183). Due to the leadership of the Roman Bishop holding the western empire together, the Roman bishop was able to provide the spiritual leadership for all those under the new government of Charlemagne. This met with resistance and resentment in the East.

According to Reardon, “The causes of the break between Eastern and Western Christianity were complex, but the chief one was probably the Roman Papacy. The political disintegration resulting from the barbarian invasions solicited a strong, highly centralized form of oversight in the Western Church, and Rome was the only one of the original patriarchs found west of the Adriatic Sea. As more and more problems in the West were referred to the Roman Papacy for adjudication, Rome’s recognized authority grew. This authority was considerably aided by certain forged documents, one of which purported that Constantine had given the government of central Italy into the hands of the Roman Pope. In the East, meanwhile, marked by greater political unity and stability, the Church felt no need for such centralized oversight.”  The History of Orthodox Christianity, p. 20)

The Roman Pope and the patriarch of Constantinople continued in conflict over various matters.  “In 857 Ignatius, in Constantinople, refused to administer the sacrament to Caesar Bardas on the ground that he was immoral. Tried and imprisoned by the emperor, Ignatius was succeeded by Photius…” (Mead, p.183). Pope John VII opposed the appointment of Photius, who in his turn refused to accept the supremacy of the pope in the Eastern Church. When the Latin delegation at his council of his consecration pressured Photius to accept the filioque to get their support, he refused that also. More controversy developed over ecclesiastical jurisdictional rights in the Bulgarian church.

In the tenth century Vladimir, grand prince of Kiev and of all Russia converted to Christianity.  His envoys to Constantinople were captivated by the Church of Holy Wisdom and the liturgy.  

In 1054 what is known as the “Great Schism” took place between Rome and Constantinople when the pope excommunicated the Eastern Patriarch and was in turn excommunicated himself by the Patriarch. The primary doctrinal issues were the filioque clause and the authority of the pope.  Other issues included the dates for Easter, priestly celibacy, disagreements over different Lenten practices, and the type of bread to use for the Eucharist.

Further separation was caused by the sacking of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, including the sacking of the Church of Holy Wisdom. “The Crusades, which had been called to fight against the Moslem invaders, also turned the sword against the Orthodox Christians in the East.”  (Reardon, p.21)  The Orthodox Church was suppressed in its own capital for the next 50 years.

“As Moslem forces began to take the territory all around Constantinople, Byzantine emperors pleaded for military help from fellow Christians in the West.  In response to these pleas, Rome summoned a synod of reunion at the city of Florence in 1439.  Eastern Orthodoxy’s small delegation, including the Emperor, the Patriarch of Constantinople and a few bishops, capitulated to Rome’s insistence on the filioque and the supremacy of the Roman Pope over all of the Church. This “Union of Florence” was immediately and universally rejected in the East, nor did it bring very many Christians from the West to fight for the survival of Byzantium.”  (Reardon, p.21)

In 1453 Constantinople finally fell to the Ottoman Turk Muslims, and the Byzantine empire ceased to exist. “After eleven centuries, the original Christian empire was at an end, and the Christians became a minority in a community run by Muslims. Without an emperor as their head, they looked to the patriarch for political guidance. Muslims tended to follow the Christian lead and consider him the spokesman for the Christian community.”  (Shelly, p.150)

After the fall of Constantinople, leadership of the Eastern church flourished in Russia.  “Over the years Russia made the aesthetic glories of Orthodox Christianity her own.  Gradually Moscow came to see herself as the leader of the Orthodox world.  A theory developed that there had been one Rome, in Italy, that had fallen to the barbarians and to the Roman Catholic heresy. There had been a second Rome: Constantinople. And when that fell to the Turks, there was a third Rome: Moscow. The emperor took his title from the first Rome - Tzar is the same word as Caesar — just as he had taken his religion from the second.” (Shelly, p.151)

Both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches consider themselves to be the one true Christian church, both claiming direct apostolic succession, to the earliest church established by Paul. Unlike Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy “is composed of several self-governing ecclesial bodies, each geographically and nationally distinct but theologically unified. Each self-governing (or autocephalous) body, often but not always encompassing a nation, is shepherded by a synod of bishops whose duty, among other things, is to preserve and teach the Apostolic and patristic traditions and related church practices.”  (Wikipedia, Orthodox Church). “It is not a monarchy with one all-powerful ruler at the top, but ‘an oligarchy of patriarchs,’ based on the body of bishops and responsible to local or general (ecumenical) church councils.  No one patriarch is responsible to any other patriarch; yet all are within the jurisdiction of an ecumenical council of all the churches in communion with the patriarch of Constantinople, who holds the title Ecumenical Patriarch.”  (Handbook of Denominations, p.183).  

To better understand the nature of Eastern Orthodoxy compared to Roman Catholicism in the way they operate as organizations, Reardon gives a good explanation:
“A single illustration may serve the purpose. When monks from Rome established their mission in England, centered at Canterbury, near the end of the sixth century, they continued to remain under the immediate jurisdiction of the Roman Pope and their language in worship continued to be Latin. The same pattern attended the missionary work in Gaul, Germany, Scandinavia and elsewhere in the West. Latin was the language of worship in all these churches (until Vatican II in the early 1960’s), and Rome endeavored with varying success to gain and retain appointment of local bishops.  By and large the latter is still the case today.
“Such centralization and uniformity did not characterize the historical development of Eastern Orthodoxy, as we may see in the matter of language.  Notwithstanding the dominance of the Greek tongue throughout the Byzantine Empire, there had always been Eastern Christians who worshiped in Syrian, Ethiopian, Coptic and eventually Arabic; so as Orthodox missionaries moved northward it was understood from the beginning that the native tongues of the new regions would be the languages used for worship and life of the new congregations.  In fact, since these native languages had never previously been written down, the missionaries themselves were obliged to elaborate a new alphabet for them and commenced their literature from scratch.  One should keep in mind that between the Slavic mission of 863 and the Alaskan mission of 1793 the Orthodox Church put the Gospel into nearly 3 dozen languages that had never been written down before.” (The History of Orthodox Christianity, pp. 23-24)

This idea of keeping the individual cultures where the Gospel was preached by Eastern Orthodoxy leads to branches known as “Russian Orthodox,” “Greek Orthodox,” etc (although often the whole denomination is called “Greek Orthodox“). There have even been schisms over the centuries based on some doctrinal issues so that there are also sects called Oriental Orthodox (Coptic and Syrian Orthodox, e.g.)

I hope this short history lesson demonstrates that Rome became the leading church not because of any foundation of Christ, but a foundation in the Roman Empire’s political system.  The Eastern Orthodox Church received its headship in the very same way.  Neither are the successor to the New Testament Church.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A History Lesson, Part 6

Excursus:  Icons and Iconoclasm

From the earliest beginnings of the church, artwork of various biblical scenes began to adorn meeting places.  During the fourth century, when Christian architecture became possible, buildings were adorned with paintings and mosaics of Jesus, the apostles, and biblical scenes.  However, there was concern by some bishops that many people would slip into idolatry by looking at these images.

During the sixth century in the Eastern empire, the church and imperial government encouraged the making of icons.  Where once the art most likely was used to remind Christians of their faith and its origins, the practice of not just appreciating the art but of actual venerating these icons spread. “Most ordinary Christians failed to distinguish between the holy object or holy person and the spiritual reality it stood for. They fell into idolatry.”  (Shelly, p. 147)  Justinian erected a huge statue of Jesus over the main gate of the imperial palace. “By the end of the sixth century, icons of Christ or Mary replaced the imperial icon in many situations. Eventually the icon of Christ appeared on the reverse side of coins. Early in the eighth century, however, Emperor Leo III (717-41) launched an attack on the use of icons.” (Shelly, p.148)

“After an apparently successful attempt to enforce the baptism of all Jews and Montanists in the empire (722), he issued a series of edicts against the worship of images (726–729). This prohibition…seems to have been inspired by a genuine desire to improve public morality, and received the support of the official aristocracy and a section of the clergy. A majority of the theologians and all the monks opposed these measures with uncompromising hostility, and in the western parts of the empire the people refused to obey the edict. A revolt which broke out in Greece, mainly on religious grounds, was crushed by the imperial fleet in 727. In 730, Patriarch Germanos I of Constantinople resigned rather than subscribe to an iconoclastic decree. Leo had him replaced by Anastasios, who willingly sided with the emperor on the question of icons. Thus Leo suppressed the overt opposition of the capital. In the Italian Peninsula the defiant attitude of Popes Gregory II and Gregory III on behalf of image-veneration led to a fierce quarrel with the emperor. The former summoned councils in Rome to anathematize and excommunicate the iconoclasts (730, 732); In AD 740 Leo retaliated by transferring Southern Italy and Illyricum from the papal diocese to that of the Patriarch of Constantinople. …The emperor died of dropsy in June 741.”  (Wikipedia  article, Leo III the Isaurian)

The supporters of icons were mostly monks and ascetics, as well as the uneducated and superstitious from the general populations who followed them. In fact, some monasteries made and sold icons for a living. (Shelly, p.148)

When Emperor Leo IV died in 780, Empress Irene of Athens became regent for her 10-year-old son, Constantine VI.  As her son grew older and challenged his mother, Irene had him blinded and took on the title of Emperor. She was a strong advocate for icons so in 787 she arranged for a council of bishops from both Roman and Byzantine empires to meet in what is now known as the Seventh Ecumenical Council, or the Second Council of Nicea. (She was also a patron of monasteries and for these two reasons is considered a saint in the Orthodox Church.).

The outcome of this council was the restoration of the use of icons for worship and veneration:  "As the sacred and life-giving cross is everywhere set up as a symbol, so also should the images of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the holy angels, as well as those of the saints and other pious and holy men be embodied in the manufacture of sacred vessels, tapestries, vestments, etc., and exhibited on the walls of churches, in the homes, and in all conspicuous places, by the roadside and everywhere, to be revered by all who might see them. For the more they are contemplated, the more they move to fervent memory of their prototypes. Therefore, it is proper to accord to them a fervent and reverent adoration, not, however, the veritable worship which, according to our faith, belongs to the Divine Being alone — for the honor accorded to the image passes over to its prototype, and whoever adores the image adores in it the reality of what is there represented. …

“The Orthodox Church came to believe that, in the iconoclasm controversy, the very essence of the Christian faith was at stake - not because of the images as such but because of the underlying principle of the Incarnation, the doctrine that the Son of God had actually become a visible man.  The defeat of the iconoclasts came to be known, then, as ‘The Triumph of Orthodoxy’ and gave the Orthodox Church that certain enthusiastic confidence, even ebullience, that leaves it vulnerable, at times, to the charge of ‘triumphalism.’ It is an historical fact that the defeat of iconoclasm led almost immediately to a massive expansion of the Orthodox Church, especially in the great missions of 863 and 988...”  (Patrick Henry Reardon, The History of Orthodox Christianity, p. 18)

Next time we will meet the invasion of Islam.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:
A very interesting discussion with a Roman Catholic. The author knocks it out of the park against the Papists.

Interesting article about the arrangement and history of the books of the Bible.

Should Christians observe the Torah? Absolutely not, and I’ve previously warned about the false teachings of the Hebrew Roots Movement.

A Parent’s guide to the 5 skeptics who want to shame your kids for being Christian.

Jesus is NOT a Democrat. I’ve been saying for years that Jesus would never be a liberal, because liberal ideology is in direct opposition to everything the Bible teaches.

9 Bible verses which teach that sex before marriage is sin — contrary to what modern culture says.

The historic St. Patrick. I’ve previously linked to articles which demonstrate that the Irish Catholics totally misrepresent Patrick’s teachings (here and here).

The Bad and/or Ugly
This is what happens when wolves forget that God calls us to obey the laws of the land that don’t conflict with God’s laws.  If your “pastor” teaches this, run from that church.

Ask Google, “Is Beth Moore a false teacher?”

With cults, always make sure you define your terms.  A perfect example is the Mormon teaching about Adam and Eve, who certainly aren’t the Adam and Eve of the bible.

I saw a video this past week (to which I can’t link - it was posted on Facebook) with Billy Graham saying he believes in abortion for those who have been raped or if there are diseases that might affect the unborn child.  How sad for a man with such a following to be teaching it is good to murder the unborn!

Sweeping the devil out of the church — more charismatic foolishness.

If this is the type of VBS at your church, you really need to find another church.

Don’t be a “woke” Christian — the ideology is apostate.

Really “ugly” is Hillsong and Christine Caine, as exposed by Pulpit & Pen.

Another excellent examination of false teacher Christine Caine.  Avoid her like the plague. As the author of the article says at his conclusion:  
While Christine Caine’s A21 Campaign is most definitely a good work, it cannot be overstated how important it is for fellow believers to mark and avoid her (Romans 16:17). She is a false teacher and heretic who preaches herself, twists Scripture, unashamedly engages in unbiblical practices and flagrantly disobeys God’s Word with her teaching of men. May she repent of her wickedness before it is too late.

The historic St. Patrick.  I’ve previously linked to articles which demonstrate that the Irish Catholics totally misrepresent Patrick’s teachings (here and here).

Meanwhile the United Methodist Church continues its spiral to totally apostate oblivion.

The humorous
I don’t think this will every happen.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A History Lesson, Part 5

In June 452, Attila the Hun was destroying everything in his wake and the weakened Roman army avoided him as the population of Rome fled. Since the Roman emperor was doing nothing to save Rome, Bishop Leo — on the emperor’s authority — met Attila at the Po River with a peace delegation. Attila granted Leo’s request to save the city and even promised to withdraw from Italy. The Bishop of Rome had now taken on a new role as the emissary of the emperor.

Three years later the Vandals approached Rome with a huge army, creating a panic in the city. The Roman army mutinied and Emperor Maximus was killed by his bodyguards as he tried to escape the city. With disorganized troops and no general taking leadership, the Vandals invaded the city unopposed on June 2nd. Leo met the Vandal King, Gaiseric, at the city gate leading priests with him. Leo begged for mercy, asking Gaiseric to restrain his troops and not burn the city, even offering money. Gaiseric agreed to let his troops have 14 days looting.

The Vandals thoroughly looted the city for 14 days and then left. Although every house had been looted, the city was not burned and no one was killed. Rome was thankful for their bishop’s actions and he told them is was because of God’s grace. He had now assumed a heathen title of Pontifex Maximus, high priest of religion for the empire (which was also Constantine’s title). Leo had saved Rome a second time as an emperor did nothing.

Leo died in 461, but the bishop of Rome held more power over the people than the emperor did, and after a succession of emperors the western Christian empire fell to the barbarians from the north in 476, leaving numerous kingdoms with people who had allegiance to the Christian leadership, the bishop of Rome. As noted by Shelly, “When the barbarians destroyed the Roman Empire in the West, it was the Christian church that put together a new order called Europe. The church took the lead in rule by law, the pursuit of knowledge, and the expressions of culture. The underlying concept was Christendom, which united empire and church. It began under Charlemagne in the eighth century, but the popes slowly assumed  more and more power until Innocent III (1198-1216) taught Europe to think of the popes as world rulers.”  (p.161)
Meanwhile, after the fall of the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire  became more and more of a theocracy, with the emperor performing priestly functions, “and the Orthodox Church constituting a department of State in charge of spiritual affairs.” (Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity, p.126)  “Constantinople relied more and more on its political position and was drawn into the orbit of eastern imperial politics. The more religion and politics became intertwined in the East, the less independent became the patriarch of the church.”  (Shelly, p.136)

An example of this merging of church and state would be Justinian, who ascended the throne of the Eastern empire in 527 and rebuilt the Church of Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia, consecrating it in 538. With this he claimed he outdid Solomon. Justinian considered himself not only a Roman emperor, but also a Christian emperor, his theory being that the empire and Christianity were to be unified. “He defined his mission of the pious emperor as ‘the maintenance of the Christian faith in its purity and the protection of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church from any disturbance.’” (Shelly, p.146)

An important thing that happened doctrinally, which was part of the reason for the eventual separation of the Eastern from the Western church, was Rome’s addition of what is known as the “filioque clause” to the Nicene Creed.  In its original Greek in the fourth century, the Nicene Creed said that the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father,” but in 589 Rome added “filioque” to the statement so that it read, “from the Father and the Son.” This change was not accepted by the Eastern Church, which caused conflict between them and the Western church.  (John 14:26 specifically states the Spirit proceeds from the Father.  Rome says the John 15:26 supports the Spirit proceeding from the Son, but that just says that the Son will send what proceeded from the Father.  They also use Acts 2:33 for their justification, but that again just says Jesus sends what He receives from the Father.)