Showing posts with label reformation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reformation. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Roman Catholic Church Is Now A Christian Denomination?

Posted by Christine Pack
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
A Roman Catholic scapular.
The wearer is promised release from hell.
 (Similar to New Age amulets
& witchcraft incantations to ward off evil.)
A recent article by Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries reveals that more and more inroads are being made to unite Catholicism and Christianity. To give a little background about why this is such a big deal to Christians (or should be, anyway), it should first be understood that Catholicism and Christianity went through a split during the Protestant Reformation, during which the Reformers (Martin Luther, John Huss, John Wycliffe, William Tyndale and others) separated from the apostate teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Pure and simple, Catholicism and Christianity have different beliefs on how it is that man is saved. The Reformers (precursors to the Protestant Christian faith as we know it today) championed the concept, straight from God's word, that man is saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. Catholicism, on the other hand, while it affirms concepts that are familiar to Christians (God, Jesus, salvation, hell, heaven, forgiveness for sins, etc.), also teaches that Jesus's death wasn't all sufficient, that Jesus didn't have the power to save to the uttermost, and that His death only served to help us get closer to God, but that our own works must close the rest of the gap. That's heresy.

From the article by Pastor Silva, which highlights a recent TV show with professing Christian James Robison, in which Robison affirmed to the current Catholic pope that he views him as a Christian brother:
James Robison: "Pope Francis, let me just say to you that I see Jesus in you; and in Christ we are brothers, we are family. Thank you for speaking the language of love that all may come to know him and love him and love one another. Tony, that is incredible. I have had a longing in my heart for many years now to see the prayer of Jesus answered that we be one with the Father God through Christ, perfected and sanctified in truth, not divided by it."
Continue reading the rest of the article here.

The Rosary. This is a "Christianized" ritual designed to
assuage the consciences of those enslaved to the
dead religious system of Roman Catholicism.
A prayer to Mary, mother of Jesus, from the cover of an "indulgence."
Roman Catholics can purchase indulgences in order to reduce time in
Purgatory (a concept found nowhere in the Bible): From the front
of the indulgence, in small print encircling Mary: "O Mary,
conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

 Additional Resources 

Explaining The Heresy of Catholicism (GTY)

Rick Warren Calls Christians to Pray For the Catholic Council?

Rick Warren Endorses "Catholics Come Home" Campaign

Catholicism is Not Just Another Christian Denomination

Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism - A Side-By-Side Chart of the Beliefs

Testimony of Richard Bennett
 (former Roman Catholic priest)

Berean Beacon (website of former Roman Catholic priest Richard Bennett)

Catholics, Physical Suffering and Doctrines of Demons (Sola Sisters)

Preparing for Eternity (former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron)

Proclaiming The Gospel (former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron)

Why the Reformation Was Important (Sola Sisters)

After The Darkness, Light (Post Tenebras Lux) (Sola Sisters)

Redeemer's Tim Keller Recommends Ignatius of Loyola? (Sola Sisters)

Far From Rome Near To God (Amazon)

On The "Faith" of Mother Teresa: John Ortberg Strikes Out (Sola Sisters)

The Myth of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, A Lost Soul (Berean Beacon)

Mother Teresa in Her Own Words (Sola Sisters)

CNN Reports That Mother Teresa Underwent Exorcism (CNN Archives)

BBC Reports About Exorcism Performed on Mother Teresa (BBC Archives)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

After the Darkness, Light

Posted by Christine Pack (another essay on the Reformation, this one by my younger son)

From the 5th century to the 15th century, a spiritual darkness gripped  the world. This period of time was known as the Dark Ages (sometimes also known as the Middle Ages), and was a time of war, disease, and famine. Centuries before this time, God's own Son, Jesus, the light of the world, had come to offer his life for the sins of mankind.  But now the true Church, the one set up by Jesus, had been persecuted horribly and driven underground. So the greatest problem for the people who lived in this period was not their suffering.  It was Satan's spiritual deception—the Catholic Church which had come to dominate the world, masquerading as Christ's true Church.

The Catholic Church looked in many ways like the true church.  It taught some true things of God: the biblical timeline, the creation, the fall, and the death and resurrection of Jesus. There was, however, one important flaw amongst the teachings of the Catholic Church, one mistake that was sending thousands of people to Hell.  The Catholics believed that Jesus had NOT paid it all.  The way to get to heaven, they taught, was to get there through works.  The Bible says this is wrong.

During the Dark Ages, the Bible was only viewable by priests, and then only the most highly educated ones could even understand it.  But, from about 1400-1550, some brave men started smuggling Bibles into Europe and other countries, and translating the Bible into different languages.  This was called the Reformation.

Martin Luther
Martin Luther was one of the best known characters of the Reformation.  Luther became a monk after he prayed during a frightening thunderstorm, asking for God to protect him.  God brought him through the storm, and Luther kep his promise to God.  While he was a monk, he wrote 95 challenges to the Roman Catholic Church, or theses, as most people tend to call them.  He understood from reading the Bible that the Catholic Church was wrong in what they were teaching the people. What the priests taught the people kept them in spiritual darkness.

John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale and others also played important parts in the Reformation, but Martin Luther is the one that we know best today, because of the dramatic thunderstorm, the 95 Theses, and his part in God's plan to pierce the spiritual darkness of the Catholic Church, letting the light of God's truth into the world.

 Additional Resources 

The Reformation (a short paper on the Reformation by my older son)

"Luther" - the full length movie available at Amazon

The Reformation: Post Tenebras Lux

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Reformation

Posted by Christine Pack (a short paper written by my oldest son)

After Christ's death and resurrection, the true church was driven underground by fierce persecution. During the Middle Ages, Satan's counterfeit church (the Roman Catholic church) began to gain control over the citizens of Europe. This happened because of the deceit of the Catholic church and its leaders. Many lies spread by the Catholic church served to keep the people in spiritual bondage. One lie was that the priests could pray to help deceased loved ones enter into heaven. The church was “selling” these prayers for money. Another lie of the false church was that dying people should deed their properties to the priests. This lie also served to enrich the Catholic church. Unsurprisingly, at this time, the Catholic church grew in power and control over the people.

The printing press
The beginning of the Reformation was, surprisingly, the printing press. Who would have thought such a humble invention would bring about such great things? Soon, the Bible and other books were being spread throughout Europe. Yet, there was another problem. The Bible had not been translated into the common languages of the people of Europe. Only priests and trained scholars could read the Bible, and they weren't exactly about to spread the Good News of how man was reconciled to God. They were too entrenched in their luxurious lifestyles. This is why the printing press did not bring about dramatic changes at first; that is, until a certain man came along. This man was Martin Luther. Martin Luther was a scholar born into a highly educated family, whose father desired for him to become a lawyer. At one point in his life, being afraid of a fierce storm, Martin Luther prayed and vowed that he would be God's servant if God would deliver him from the storm. God spared his life and Luther became a monk. But Luther became angry at the Catholic church because he read in the Bible that salvation was through grace alone by faith alone in Christ's atoning death – and this was radically different from what the priests taught the people.

Martin Luther acted boldly to free the people from spiritual bondage. He wrote ninety-five points (or theses, as they came to be known) that directly challenged the teachings of the Catholic church, and which explained to the citizens the treachery of the church leaders. He then nailed these Ninety-Five Theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany! This act was the spark that ignited what came to be known as The Reformation. Martin Luther, along with others, worked to translate the Bible into the languages of the people. Those who fought for truth, and against the teachings of the Catholic church, were called “Protest-ants,” (because they were protesting against Rome) and eventually became known as Protestants, a designation still used today. The Reformation was the way that God brought the light of truth into the darkness that characterized most of the known world during the Middle Ages. To God be the glory!

 Additional Resources 

After The Darkness, Light (another short paper written by my youngest son)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Reformation: Post Tenebras Lux

Posted by Christine Pack

Post Tenebras Lux - this was the Latin phrase that became the rallying cry of the Reformation. Its meaning:
"After the Darkness, Light"

The Middle Ages were a dark period of time, filled with despair and disease. It was a time when an illness could ravage an entire village in a week’s time, and almost a third of all children born would die before reaching the age of five. In this bleak world, there was only one thing the people could look to for comfort: the Church, with its promise of heaven. But the “Church” that the people looked to for hope and consolation was not the true Church, but instead had become a sly counterfeit that required the people to purchase, and work, their way into heaven. This apostate, counterfeit "Church" was the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, while having an appearance of being Christian, was instead a powerful political and military institution based in Rome that had grown steadily in wealth and power, and now controlled every facet of life.

Jesus Christ had lived and ministered several centuries before, bringing the gospel message of reconciliation with a holy God through repentance and faith in his atoning sacrifice alone. But this message was no longer being taught or preached. Instead, this message had been added to and perverted by the Roman Catholic Church: it was now a complex system of works through which adherents were meant to "earn" their way into heaven through their own efforts.

As Rome grew in power and influence, severe persecution of true Christians by the Roman Catholic Church had forced Christians to go underground. By God’s providence, God’s Word, the Bible, had survived this persecution, but was now kept locked in monasteries, where only the most educated priests had access to its life-giving message.

During this period of time, from the 4th century and into the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church had grown to have a stranglehold over all of Europe. Those courageous enough to refuse to bend to Rome’s authority were cruelly persecuted, often to the point of death. Under the iron fist of Rome, the people were purposefully kept ignorant, enslaved to superstition and tradition. This was when the particularly wicked tradition of “Papal Indulgences” was born, a practice in which monks encouraged people to "buy salvation," both for themselves and for loved ones who had already died. Dying people were also convinced to deed their land and other assets to abbeys and monasteries, in order to “atone” for their earthly sins, and ensure an entrance into heaven. Not coincidentally, it was during this time that the Roman Catholic Church grew wealthy beyond imagining.

It was into this dark, despairing time that God started a revolution. It started quietly at first, with the providential invention, of all things, of the printing press. In Germany during the 1400s, a man named Johannes Gutenberg invented what came to be known as the printing press, a device which greatly increased the speed at which books could be printed…and produced them in prices that people could afford. Note the lines upon which freshly printed pages have been hung so that the ink will dry without being smudged. This may appear to be a laborious and time-consuming process to modern eyes, but up until the invention of the Gutenberg press, all books had to be hand-lettered, a process that could take many months just to produce one single book. Thus, all books, including the Bible, were very expensive, and only the wealthy, privileged and political/religious elite had access to them.

Courageous early reformers – called “Protest-ants” because they were protesting against the oppression Rome - paid with their life’s blood for the crime of translating the Bible into other languages. Other reformers spent their lives smuggling and distributing these Bibles all over Europe. People could now read for themselves what God’s Word said. The “light” was beginning to dawn all over Europe.

Through the providential invention of the printing press, and with the courageous actions of the reformers who translated the Bible into the languages of the people, the Roman Catholic Church was beginning to lose its control over the will of the people. The common people no longer had to rely upon monks and priests to “explain” the way of salvation to them. They could now read for themselves.

Some of the best known figures of the Reformation:

John Wycliffe (1320-1384) was best known for working with a colleague to translate the Bible into English. He also stated that the monks had no power to forgive sins, and that to claim such was fraudulent and unbiblical. "Who can forgive sins?" Wycliffe taught: "God alone!"

John Huss (1369-1415) translated Wycliffe’s works into Czech, and also exposed superstitions, fraudulent "miracles" and papal indulgences. He paid for his “crimes” against Rome by being burned at the stake.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) Perhaps the best known of the Reformers, Luther was a German monk who yearned for peace with God….he found it in studying the book of Romans, which he realized taught that man is justified by faith in Christ alone, and not through works. After realizing that the Roman Catholic Church was keeping the people enslaved through emphasizing good works as efficacious for salvation, as well as teaching superstitions and tradition, he wrote a famous document entitled the 95 Theses, and on October 31, 1517, nailed this document to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This action became known as the spark that lit the fuse that ignited the Reformation.

Martin Luther particularly despised the selling of what were known as "Indulgences." The Catholic priests of that time invented a little rhyme, well-known even to Catholics today, to encourage the sale of Indulgences:
"When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from Purgatory springs." 
Indulgences were a man-made tradition, found nowhere in Scripture, which were claimed to reduce one's time in "Purgatory," something that also does not exist and was also a man-made teaching. The Catholic church had grown very wealthy through scaremongering people, who had no access to God's word, into paying into this system of Indulgences.

During his lifetime, Luther was hard-pressed from all sides to recant his view of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Eph 2:8-9), but he would not. It was at the Diet of Worms (a council drawn up to exert pressure upon Luther to recant) that he gave what came to be one of his best known dissertations in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, as well as a concise defense of the Protestant faith. Excerpt below:
"Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the Pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen"
Although many of the Reformers paid for their "crimes" against Rome with their lives, God providentially provided protection for Martin Luther, who spent 10 years translating the New Testament into German. Luther married a former nun who had also renounced her ties to Rome, and the couple had five children. Martin Luther is credited with founding the Lutheran church.

Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) Zwingli brought the Protestant Reformation to Switzerland, and engaged in what came to be known as the Marburg Colloquy, in which he and Martin Luther disputed various theological points. These theological distinctives, while within orthodoxy, were enough to keep the two Reformers from reaching agreement on these issues, although they did still affirm each other as brothers in the faith, and the Reformation continued.

William Tyndale (1494-1536) Tyndale was an English scholar who is known for his translation work. Tyndale authored the first English translation of the Bible that came directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts. Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536. His crimes: translating the Bible, smuggling copies of the Bible into England in bales of cotton.

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) was known as the "reluctant reformer" because he believed in reform, but wanted to see reforms from within the Catholic Church. For a season he seemed to capitulate to the demands of Rome, but in the end, he publicly broke all ties to the Roman Catholic system and went to his death (he was burned at the stake) as a Protestant martyr. When Cranmer was taken to the stake upon which he was to be burned, the hand he had used to communicate his ties to Rome was the first thing he plunged into the flame, stating: "As my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished."

John Calvin (1509-1564) Originally trained as a lawyer, Frenchman John Calvin eventually became a key figure in the Reformation after breaking with Rome. His teaching earned him an exile in Switzerland of three years, after which he published The Institutes of Christian Religion. Calvin was a prolific writer, and during his lifetime he authored commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. His writings are credited with being foundational to the formation of the Presbyterian church.

John Knox (1514-1572) Known as the "Thundering Scot" because of his fiery preaching, John Knox led the Protestant Reformation in his homeland of Scotland, and was known for his courage. As a result of his preaching, Knox endured imprisonment in 1547 for two years as a galley slave. This grueling punishment was the cause of enduring health problems that plagued him for the rest of his life. Knox's boldness and unwavering devotion to the cause of the Reformation brought him head to head with Mary Queen of Scots who had re-established Roman Catholicism in Scotland at one point during several turbulent years of the Reformation. Known for her charm, Mary Queen of Scots was unable to work her wiles on the steadfast Scotsman with whom she had many contentious meetings. Upon his gravestone were carved the words: "Here lies one who never feared any flesh."

The Latin phrase “Post Tenebras Lux” (After Darkness, Light), then, was used to sum up what had happened during the Reformation: Truth, in the form of God’s Word, was being widely read by the common people. And into this dark world of pagan superstition, mysticism and religious tradition, people were understanding for themselves the way to salvation, which was through faith in Christ.

But if Post Tenebras Lux was the rallying cry of the Reformation, it was the Five Solas that came to stand for the core theological beliefs of the Reformers:
Sola Fide 
Sola Scriptura 
Sola Gratia 
Solus Christus 
Soli Deo Gloria
In our next article, we'll go into the Five Solas and discuss specifically how the Solas challenged and corrected the false theology of the Roman Catholic church which had taught salvation through one’s own merit, mystical practices and the sacraments. Below is a snippet of one of my favorite Reformation movies, "Luther," which stars Joseph Fiennes. You can order the entire movie here at Amazon

 Additional Resources 

Christianity vs. Roman Catholicism - A Side-By-Side Chart of the Beliefs (Sola Sisters)

The Reformation (a short paper written by my oldest son)

After The Darkness, Light (a short paper written by my youngest son)

Preparing for Eternity (former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron)

Proclaiming The Gospel (former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron)

Testimony of Richard Bennett (former Roman Catholic priest Richard Bennett)

Berean Beacon (website of former Roman Catholic priest Richard Bennett)

Catholics, Physical Suffering and Doctrines of Demons (Sola Sisters)

Biblically Explaining The Heresy of Catholicism (Dr. John MacArthur, GTY)

Redeemer's Tim Keller Recommends Ignatius of Loyola? (Sola Sisters)

Far From Rome Near To God (Amazon)

The Myth of Mother Teresa (Challies)

Mother Teresa, A Lost Soul (Berean Beacon)

Mother Teresa in Her Own Words (Sola Sisters)

CNN Reports That Mother Teresa Underwent Exorcism (CNN Archives)

BBC Reports About Exorcism Performed on Mother Teresa (BBC Archives)