Roman Catholicism

Lutheran and Roman Catholic evangelism: we have sacraments that actually do something...

[If you're interested in the magazines-for-Christian-intellectuals scene, read on. If the scene makes you yawn, skip the next four paragraphs and start with the paragraph, "Let me call..."]

Before founding First Things, Richard John Neuhaus edited the Rockford Institute's Religion and Society Report and I was a subscriber. Then came the May 1989 nastiness when the Rockford bumpkins booted Neuhaus from his editorial digs in New York City. What became known as the "Rockford Raid" left Neuhaus shaking the dust off his captoes and moving on to found First Things. My favorite quote of the fracas comes from the Rockford side: "A lot of folks in New York aren't used to being judged by the Midwest." Rockford saying "no" to Manhattan was just chutzpah...


Roman Catholics are not immune...

Top of the morning to you! This past week, I received this e-mail solicitation from John MacArthur. Or was it Chuck Swindoll or Al Mohler?

Oh, alright. Same verse just a little bit worse. The solicitation was from my Tridentine (Latin) Mass Roman Catholic friends who published Joe Sobran until he died. They're holding a conference on the coming persecution, which I'm very much in favor of conferences examining. For many years I've been saying to Christian parents that we need to be raising our children to suffer for their faith. Not to be rich and well-educated and successful, but to suffer for their faith.

So when I scanned down the ad and hit the venue, I laughed and forwarded it to my family. Reminds me of Wheaton a decade and a half after its storied Auca Indian martyrs burnished the image of Wheaton as a conservative Christian college. At the time I was going to Wheaton Christian Grammar School with all my Van der this and Van der that classmates from  the CRC church just down the block. All of a sudden, a magnificent building began rising from the ground in the large lot next door to the school...


From a thousand years ago, St. Peter Damian's warnings against sodomy...

New Oxford Review just ran a review of a new translation of St. Peter Damian's eleventh century jeremiad against sodomy within the Roman Catholic priesthood and hierarchy in his time. Damian's Book of Gomorrah: An Eleventh-Century Treatise against Clerical Homosexual Practices is translated and edited by Pierre Payer and the reviewer is Anne Barbeau Gardiner, Professor Emerita of English at CUNY's John Jay College.

Professor Gardiner summarizes Damian's warnings:

As a result of their laxity, priests who have “fallen into this wickedness with eight or even ten other equally sordid men” have remained in their ranks. And so the sin has come “to be committed freely” without its practitioners fearing the loss of their priestly faculties. Damian calls this negligence rather than love because it allows a wound to spread in a neighbor’s heart, a wound “from which, I have no doubt, he dies cruelly.” Therefore, Damian himself will not “neglect to cure” that wound with the “surgery of words,” for if he remains silent, he too will deserve punishment.

And:

Rather than “fear the hatred of the depraved or the tongues of detractors,” Damian fears God, who warns him through the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel, “If you see your brother doing evil and you do not correct him, I will require his blood from your hand” (3:20). Damian will not be silenced, no matter how many tell him to put the sword of his tongue in the sheath of silence: “Who am I to see such a harmful outrage growing up among the sacred orders and, as a murderer of another’s soul, preserve the stricture of silence, and to dare to await the reckoning of divine severity? Do I not begin to be responsible for a guilt whose author I never was?”

Last night, I was talking to a pastor who told of one of the men of his church...


Recommended reading: Flannery O'Connor...

In March, 1961, an English professor wrote Flannery O'Connor asking for her intention in writing the story, "A Good Man is Hard to Find." He and his colleagues, along with 90 students, had been debating its meaning for weeks. Finally, they'd settled on a clever, academic reading, which interpreted the Misfit and his murder of the Georgia family (spoiler alert) as an extended dream sequence. In other words, a twist ending that only a professor reading into things never meant to be read into could dream up.

O'Connor’s response?

If teachers are in the habit of approaching a story as if it were a research problem for which any answer is believable so long as it is not obvious, then I think students will never learn to enjoy fiction.

For she did intend something with the story...


The Apostle Paul against Reformed blogs, booksellers, and lecture venues...

A couple weeks ago in the middle of our sermon series going through the book of 1Corinthians, I was preaching on the last few verses of 1Corinthians 11 which include the loving explanation from the Apostle Paul of God's kindly discipline of His sons and daughters by causing many of them to become weak and sick, and a number of them to die. Preparing, I read this commentary by John Calvin:

1Corinthians 11:30: For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.

After having treated in a general way of unworthy eating, and of the kind of punishment that awaits those who pollute this sacrament, he now instructs the Corinthians as to the chastisement which they were at that time enduring.

It is not known whether a pestilence was raging there at that time, or whether they were laboring under other kinds of disease. However it may have been as to this, we infer from Paul’s words that the Lord had sent some scourge upon them for their correction. Nor does Paul merely conjecture that it is on that account that they are punished, but he affirms it as a thing that was perfectly well known by him. He says, then, that many lay sick—that many were kept long in a languishing condition—and that many had died in consequence of that abuse of the Supper, because they had offended God.

By this he intimates, that by diseases and other chastisements from God, we are admonished to think of our sins; for God does not afflict us without good reason, for he takes no pleasure in our afflictions.

The subject is a copious and ample one; but let it suffice to advert to it here in a single word. If in Paul’s times an ordinary abuse of the Supper could kindle the wrath of God against the Corinthians so that he punished them thus severely, what ought we to think as to the state of matters at the present day?


Can a leopard change his spots...

Across history, the Roman Catholic church has made it crystal-clear who and what she is. Century after century, pope after pope, she is the song that never ends. The Reformers nailed it five centuries ago, but few of the men claiming to be their spiritual and theological descendants want to push the refresh button of the Reformers' forthright denunciations of Rome. 

Each scandal gets a pass and there's no reason to believe Reformed church officers today will say anything about Rome herself based on this latest one revealed by...


Recommending the work of E. Michael Jones...

Just now I added links for a number of periodicals David and I suscribe to. One is Fidelity/Culture Wars, a magazine edited by E. Michael Jones whom I met about thirty years ago at an Allies for Faith and Renewal conference in Ann Arbor. For years the magazine was called Fidelity, but it's been renamed Culture Wars. Mike's published a number of books out of the articles he first wrote for the magazine and I recommend most of them to you.

You should know that Mike is an orthodox Roman Catholic of a rather unique stripe. He believes that Biblical doctrine and faith in Jesus Christ often suffer at the hands of false apparitions like Medjugorje and false shepherds like any number of Roman Catholic hiercharchy including bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and...

Mike is no Protestant and denies the five solas of the Reformation as well as that doctrine by which the church stands or falls, justification by faith alone. Sad it is.

Yet Mike has taught me (and friends like the Liverpudlian Peter Jones and Muscovite Doug Wilson) very much about the culture and politics of our age we would never have learned had we made the mistake of so many Reformed men today who...


R2K: If you're gonna outlaw baby slaughter, you gotta outlaw Moslems, Roman Catholics, and Jews...

I don't want to direct anyone to Darryl Hart's blog, but here's a short exchange Darrell Todd Maurina just had with Darryl Hart that is so typical of R2K men that I deposit it here for permanent reference. As always, they claim that any law that enforces any one of the Second Table of God's Moral Law requires the civil magistrate also to enforce the laws of the First Table of God's Moral Law. Thus they claim the man who wants the civil magistrate to prohibit the wholesale slaughter of the unborn (abortion) must also shutter every Islamic mosque, Roman Catholic cathedral, and Jewish synagogue...


An open letter to Senator Joe Donnelly...

Dear Senator Donnelly,

As happens to most men who move inside the Beltway in order to fulfill a calling from the people to "public service," you have succumbed to D.C.'s blandishments and, as the New York Times would put it, you have "grown."

Grown way down and below God and His Word and His Own Moral Law, not to mention the Magisterium of your own Roman Catholic Church. Way down below many, many of your constituents (of whom I am one). And way down below the founding fathers and the rule of law they bequeathed us in the form of the people's Constitution you swore to uphold in your oath of office. So who has met you as you've entered this Hell you chose when you announced (fittingly on Facebook) "I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all?"

Rebels against the Holy God who live worldlings' lives under the curse of the absence of any fear of God. These men and women are now your partners in crime...


Is the pope an Apostle?

The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles. - 2 Corinthians 12:12

Well, we must grant one thing, the Vatican does know how to put on a spectacle! As a local radio host and friend who is Roman Catholic posted on Facebook upon the selection of Francis I as pontiff: "I just cracked open some Champagne. Let's see you Protestants top that!" 

But now that the show is over and the crowds have gone home, we have an important two-fold question to ask ourselves, "Is the office of the papacy from God and is the Roman Catholic pope what Catholicism claims he is?" If you are uncertain of the claim of Roman Catholicism concerning the papacy, here it is in part:


"But Tim, there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic Church!"

For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. - Galatians 6:13, 14

Ideas have consequences. So does doctrine. That there are true Christians who trust the blood of Jesus Christ alone to make their garments white who worship in the Roman Catholic church is no less extraordinary for being true. They are the exception that proves the rule. They go against the grain of their entire doctrinal system and many Anglicans and Protestants across the centuries put their life at risk to recover Biblical doctrine, calling to those in the Roman bondage to repent and believe. Those who imply that Luther and Calvin and Knox were fools for doing so are ignorant of what Scripture and Rome teach, or they are opposed to the very idea that ideas have consequences and that it is the job of the Church to make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything He commands.

But really, we do run into the most basic failures of logic in our blind world. Systems of doctrine which are heretical (of which Rome is our primary example, here) are generally held by those who align themselves with the churches who claim that system of doctrine. What a world we live in that we must say such an inane thing!

Which is to say, priests sacrifice Christ over and over again...


Roman Catholic cardinals have their new pope...

The smoke is white; the votes were counted and a new pope got enough votes to mount the throne. Who is it?

My bets were on E. Michael Jones, but alas, it's only a humble Jesuit.

And I like what I'm reading about him.


Rome's attire...

If God gon take me as I am I guess I already got on my Church clothes.

- Lecrae, "Church Clothes"

Seeing the exchange under David's post poking a stick at the effeminacy of the Cardinals and their histrionic robes, how about a sample of some of the more temperate condemnations of Roman Catholic finery and licentiousness by John Calvin. Please keep in mind that Calvin is trying to "spare modest ears" as he writes...


Was the Apostle Paul a rebellious Cardinal?

For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. - 2Corinthians 11:5

As the world awaits the election of a new Roman Catholic pope, former Roman Catholics like myself grieve at the deception inherent in Catholicism—particularly the un-Scriptural office of the papacy.

If we accept Rome's claim that Peter was the first pope, we must also assume the other Apostles were the first Cardinals? But check out the passage at the head of this post.

If Peter was the first Pope, how may Paul claim he is not inferior to the most eminent apostles? Would this not include Pope Peter? This isn't quite the reverence a cardinal should offer the Holy See, is it?


Young, restless, and Reformed...

Reading Acts 17 yesterday, verse 21 hit me. Luke provides this parenthetical aside as a summary of the sitz im leben (most of us just say "context") of the Apostle Paul's sermon to the Athenians of the Areopagus:

(Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

What a perfect description of the college towns where Mary Lee and I have made our homes—Boulder, Madison, and Bloomington. Matter of fact, a giggling excitement over fashion is the defining trait of the academy and its environs as Chesterton pointed out a century ago.

But thinking more, I realized this giggling excitement over fashion is also characteristic of major portions of the young, restless, and Reformed crowd...


Yes, it's serious...

For years there's been a growing movement within the Roman Catholic Church calling for the ordination of women to the priesthood. Donna Steichen has documented that movement in her classic, Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism.

One part of this movement is Womens Ordination Conference which recently put out this original musical composition titled, "Ordain a Lady."

Filed on YouTube under "Nonprofits & Activism," cheers!


Pastors and their sinecures...

SI'NECURE, n. [L. sine, without, and cura, cure, care.] An office which has revenue without employment; in church affairs, a benefice without cure of souls. [This is the original and proper sense of the word.] - Websters Dictionary, 1828 edition

And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” - Acts 19:15

Whenever you read Luther and Calvin, you find them relentless in their attacks on the principal wickedness of their day. Whatever doctrine they're expounding, whatever text they're preaching, their swords are wielded against Rome. Their language is unseemly, their accusations strident, their metaphors make you blush, their condemnations unequivocal, and each attack very, very personal.

Church officers who miss it do so because their preference for calm and security has reduced their ministry to a Reformed curatorship. The director of a museum wants bloody reform on exhibit. Museums don't allow guns, let alone live ammunition. Such things would threaten their patrons' sense of security so it's perfectly understandable that curators are the sworn enemies of reform.

They fawn over each other's procurement of dead men's works. They're Christian scrapbookers pawing through manuscripts and photos of the deceased. They have the sort of character that finds theses unseemly. With tastes running in the direction of the patrician, they don't write theses; and if they ever chose to do so, they'd only produce two or three and it's inconceivable they would nail them to any door.

So I repeat myself: the Reformers are the sworn enemies of Rome. They never stopped fighting and they gave themselves to the battle with nothing held in reserve. They had not the slightest doubt where their age's breach in the wall was nor whose hands were bloody.

The wicked, godless, fat, corrupt, hellish, whorish, beast-like, arrogant, demonic wolf was Rome...


We have no Reformed public intellectual...

Recently dear Fran Griffin brought out a compilation of Joe Sobran columns celebrating his life and witness, particularly during the years he did the most popular column in National Review. Sobran had a coherent social and political philosophy--something no Reformed man I'm aware of has today--and it was unsurprising it came out of his orthodox Roman Catholicism.

If there is a wise public intellectual writing in these United States today who is Reformed, it's news to me. All those with gifts in that direction I know of are gagged by terror because their life's goal is financial peace. Have you also noticed how Reformed men never sign their first and last names to anything Biblical that's politically incorrect?

So we have decayed from Augustine and Calvin and Knox to Hart, whose specialty is providing all the cover needed by Reformed Walter Mittys who write anonymously during their evenings while spending their days the petty bourgeoisie their seminaries and elders called them to be. Who knows, maybe it's the Protestant work ethic after all? But I'm very sad at the absence of any coherent public witness by Reformed men throughout my lifetime who consider it a life worth living to speak to the sins of the age, loving their neighbors through their pens as Augustine and Calvin and Knox did.

Jesus didn't call us to private thoughts and anonymous observations...


Roman Catholicism's Mary and Mormonism's Heavenly Mother...

On the web site of the Mormon magazine, Meridian, we find this pic accompanying an article titled, "Debunking Myths About Heavenly Mother." Mormons and Roman Catholics both evidence the timeless propensity of all idolaters to make God less scary by tying Him to a woman. It's Mary the Mediatrix for Roman Catholics and the Heavenly Mother for Mormons. And doesn't that picture say it all? What glorious art for those whose hope for the world to come, their "celestial homecoming," is this:

“…when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and you look into Her eyes and behold Her countenance, every question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny.” - 2010 devotional address at BYU of Provo Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy


Baylyblog's latent Roman Catholicism...

Some man or woman--can't tell by the first name--just sent me the following rebuke:

Dear Tim

Shame on you for praising the Pope!  Your endorsement is now posted on the internet for all to see...

Your endorsement of the pope is an embarrassment to every Bible believer—not to mention the Reformed Presbyterian church. I am disgusted and horrified by your praise for the Pope.

Sincerely

(John or Jane Van der something)

Receiving this as a private e-mail, I thought Baylyblog readers should be warned, also. Beware of Baylyblog's incipient Roman Catholicism! Also our waiting-to-be-born feminist sympathies and secret love for Tupperware.