Pope Francis and many modern Catholics no longer believe the only way to Heaven is via the Roman Catholic Church. Wonder what changed. Apostasy, the act of giving up your religion and leaving religion has always been disdained, but obviously, Catholic leaders, as well as Protestants, have been flirting with apostasy for decades.
Even well-educated people believe the Roman Catholic Church started with the Apostles and has a clear history of Popes from that time. Of course, that is not true as quick research will prove. The misinformation is believed because biased historians, kowtowing to an ever-growing authoritarian church carefully wrote a favorable, not factual history. As time passed, religious leaders got further from biblical truth and usurped authority not approved by Christ or the Bible. It took hundreds of years for a “universal” authoritarian church to emerge about 600 A.D. from the chaos of the crumbling Roman Empire.
Through the Dark Ages into the Middle Ages, Rome garnered support from political leaders throughout Europe. As the church’s power grew, so did its arrogance and pomposity followed by the exploitation of ordinary people. Slowly, as people became better educated through the invention of the printing press and reading of the Bible in their own language, they began to demand answers until a fire was burning all over Europe.
Then came the Reformers and the world experienced an unprecedented shock. Ordinary people realized that rulers, civil and religious, could and should be held accountable. While there were non-Catholic churches throughout history, the Roman yoke was broken as the light began to shine in Europe.
Rome is now trying to reconcile the “separated brethren” (rebels) and bring them back to Rome.
Compromising Lutheran leaders have almost pled with the Vatican to “fully heal their divide with Rome”; however, Luther was not consulted for his opinion since he is persona non grata. You may remember that Luther called the Pope, Antichrist. He gave credit to John Hus for that title, but Hus was not the first person to use it.
It goes back to 991, when Bishop Arnulf of Orleans, describing papal murder, lust, and intrigue, asked, “Are there any bold enough to maintain that the priests of the Lord over all the world are to take their law from monsters of guilt like these?” When a person so deficient in virtue sits on the papal throne, Arnulf suggested that he must “be the ‘Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God.’”
That was the assessment of a Roman Catholic official, who like Luther had nothing good to say about the Pope.
Luther is considered one of the major villains in the great split in the 16th century, but the founder of the Lutheran Church in Germany has been rehabilitated—without his approval. In 1999, the Lutheran World Federation signed a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification with the Vatican. The major difference was the doctrine of justification, but that disagreement has been overcome. Bible teaching doesn’t seem to matter to dishonest, defective, and devious religious leaders.
Most present-day Lutherans are embarrassed at Luther’s bellicosity and would like to cancel the Reformation if possible. Being impossible, they will apologize for the courage and commitment and character of the Reformers. Luther’s character makes compromising Lutherans look like American Indian shamans or African witch doctors.
In October 2015, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s presiding bishop, Elizabeth A. Eaton declared, “Five hundred years ago, wars were fought over the very issues about which Lutherans and Roman Catholics have now achieved consensus.” However, the two groups are not meeting in a basement singing Kumbaya and drinking hot chocolate. There are still some points of disagreement, but “much of the heavy lifting has been done already.”
Lutherans are rushing back to the fold although there are still principled leaders in all religious groups that are not willing to bow to Rome.
To produce a world church Rome must reconcile with the Eastern Orthodox that broke off in 1054 and then try to pull other wandering Protestants back into the fold. In 2007, the Catholic Church along with Lutheran, Orthodox, Methodist, Anglican, and Armenian-Apostolic churches in Germany all agreed to recognize each other’s baptisms as valid. Wow, they voted to undo the Reformation with a single vote. Then January 25, 2016, the Pope declared, “As the bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I would like to invoke mercy and forgiveness for the non-evangelical behavior of Catholics toward Christians of other churches.”
That’s nice but it doesn’t help the millions killed by the Papacy during the Middle Ages. “The numbers given include 50 million, 68 million, 100 million, 120 million, and 150 million.” Of course, those deaths are not the responsibility of living Catholics today who are horrified at such genocide.
The Catholic Church is making great strides in its push for unity with other churches. The Orthodox Schism in 1054 gap is closing quickly. A Catholic can now receive communion in an Orthodox Church and, in many cases, vice versa. However, there are different offshoots of Orthodox Churches. The big disagreement revolves around the role of the Pope, but all the above religious leaders agree on his preeminence, but there is no agreement that he is the top honcho of all “Christians.”
The Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion have been courting each other with a passion—like two out-of-control teens who just recognized their raging hormones. In 2009, Pope Benedict xvi made it possible to allow “groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world” to return en masse to the Catholic Church. That included married priests who could remain in their own group. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby fervently seeks a church marriage between Anglicans and Catholics even if a religious shotgun is necessary to make the union.
King Henry VIII, the founder of Anglicans in the mid-1500s, broke with the Roman Catholics because the Roman Pope refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon permitting his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Henry ended up beheading his wives Boleyn and Catherine. No, not the most principled reason to decide on church membership but then no one said Henry was a principled person. He was a gluttonous, obese, head-chopping despot. Not the best credentials to start a religion.
Whatever, Catholics and Anglicans (Episcopal in the U.S.) can now share each other’s communion, and married Anglican clergy can become Catholic priests. The fences are coming down and the rebels are going home! However, it is clear to everyone that any union “will be under the Pope of Rome.”
America’s largest Presbyterian denomination, along with other major Protestant groups, signed an agreement with the Catholic Church in 2013 that recognized baptism reciprocity. The Pope met with major American clergy including Joel Osteen in 2014. Osteen is pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston with about 43,000 weekly attendants.
Of course, as Osteen goes, so will go lesser Evangelical leaders to the theological slaughter.
While Osteen was meeting with the Pope in Rome, his wife took 300 children to visit the Bronx Zoo. My opinion is that his wife had the more gratifying, biblical, productive, and most important meeting. Joel and Francis used each other: Joel got international attention and Francis made another push to get all the “separated brethren” to rejoin his church.
Osteen said it was a great honor to represent the pastors of America in the meeting with the pontiff, whom he described as warm, personable, and “full of joy.” Of course, Joel didn’t say that “the pastors of America” did not ask him to represent them. Joel is as arrogant as the Pope.
“I like the fact that this pope is trying to make the church larger, not smaller,” Osteen said. “He’s not pushing people out but making the church more inclusive. That resonated with me.” A few days earlier he and a group of others met with Vatican staff members, toured the Vatican, and attended the Convocation of Renewal at Olympic Stadium in Rome. At that convocation, more than 50,000 tongue-speaking Roman Catholics also attended the convocation where the Pope knelt and prayed.
The Pope is even making fervent overtures to other Evangelicals, including Pentecostals. In 2014, the Pope sent a recorded message to Kenneth Copeland Ministries, a large Pentecostal group, seeking unity. “Brothers and sisters, Luther’s protest is over. Is yours?” asked a speaker at the event. The Pope also beseeched the audience, “I am [yearning] that this separation comes to an end and gives us communion.”
While most denominations are willing to apologize for the Reformation and denigrate the brave reformers, the world uniters will never get authentic Baptists since they were never part of the Roman Catholic Church.
Two historians (not Baptists) admitted that fact when they wrote, “We have now seen that the Baptists, who were formerly called Anabaptists, and in later times, Mennonites, were the original Waldenses… On this account, the Baptists may be considered as the only religious community which has stood since the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the gospel through all ages.” Dutch Reformed historians Dr. Annaeus Ypeij (professor of Theology at University of Groningen) and Isaak Johannes Dermout, Chaplain to the king).
E. Gotch, in the Encyclopedia Britannica declared, “Baptists can be traced to 618 A.D., and it is presumed that they originated from the original source of the churches.”
Uneducated people often smile when they hear something that is completely new to them; moreover, they often put their foot far into their mouths proving they make judgments without looking at the facts. The truth is there were always non-Catholic churches all over the Levant and North Africa from the earliest days of Christianity.
It appears the Catholic courtship of wandering brothers is paying off. No doubt, thousands of martyred reformers are twisting in their graves. If not, they are observing such religious treason from Heaven and shaking their heads at shameful religious leaders.
It is shocking to see religious leaders succumb to such unabashed courting and more shocking that it is working. Current weak Protestants willingly overlook all the heresy their predecessors warned about for hundreds of years and meekly surrender to the authority of the Pope.
Furthermore, they are marching, almost running, lemming-like to produce what God rejects—a world church where truth doesn’t matter all for the sake of unity. Revelation 17 reveals the condition of Christianity in the last days when a world church has been established and will be known for its biblical and moral corruption. That world church will be established with the concurrence of political officials who will turn on it and destroy it.
During a convocation of one-worlders pushing, not only for a world church, but for one world religion, witches, earth worshippers, heretics, shamans, and pagans were present along with traditional “Christianity.” The evil religious conglomeration has said their holdouts and threats come from “Fundamentalists and orthodox Catholics.”
Evidently, Pope Francis does not seem to qualify as an orthodox Catholic; however, I gladly identify with the Fundamentalists who were never part of the Roman Church or the one-world convocation.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives who ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. Boys authored 20 books, the most recent, Reflections of a Lifetime Fundamentalist: No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets! The eBook is available at Amazon.com for $4.99. Other titles at www.cstnews.com. Follow him on Facebook at Don Boys, Ph.D., and visit his blog. Send a request to DBoysphd@aol.com for a free subscription to his articles and click here to support his work with a donation.)