What do you get when you mix error with truth? We all know the answer. We’ve heard the analogy of the water glass of pure truth to which has been added a few drops of doctrinal poison. No informed person would drink it.
Well, you might just get a drool bib emblazoned with the crest of “The Holy See.” We’ll find out later this month if such party favors are passed out since the usurper of Christ on the apostate throne by the Tiber has plans to celebrate Pentecost with a charismatic flair.
According to the Catholic webzine CruxNow, “Pope Francis has invited thousands of Catholic charismatics and members of Pentecostal and Evangelical churches to Rome to celebrate Pentecost and mark the 50th anniversary of what became the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.”
The actual 50th anniversary of Catholic charismania was back in February 2017. (See more about it HERE) It was half a century ago that participants at a Catholic retreat at Duquesne University of Pittsburgh claimed to have experienced the “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Just as with the evangelical movement – it having started at the turn of the 19th century (See more HERE) – the movement rapidly gained traction among Roman Catholics.
According to the official website for the movement, International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS), the expanse of the movement reaches over 200 countries and claims some 120 million adherents. Barely a decade passed from the inception of the movement in the 1967 college gathering until Pope John II, in 1979, affirmed its authenticity as a movement of God, saying, “I am convinced that this movement is a sign of the Spirit’s action . . . a very important component in the total renewal of the Church.” (SOURCE) The movement’s agency, ICCRS, would be officially recognized “by the Holy See” in 1993. (SOURCE)
“The pope will lead a prayer vigil June 3, the eve of Pentecost, at Rome’s Circus Maximus, an open field that was the site of an ancient Roman stadium used for chariot races. Participants will join the pope the next morning for Pentecost Mass in St. Peter’s Square.” (SOURCE)
Not content to merely blaspheme God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit by its diabolical, anti-Gospel teachings from its gilded basilica-bound throne, Rome’s 2017 Pentecost celebration will find Francis and the church also blaspheming on the very ground where some two millennia ago authentic believers were slaughtered for their faith in the genuine Gospel. This year Circus Maximus will be ground zero for a different sort of “circus” – one in which Rome celebrates its “birthday” as “the” church.
The website Catholic.Org, in an article presuming to explain the Pentecost celebration to Catholics, says the following:
“Happy birthday to the Catholic Church! Happy birthday to you, who are the body of the Church!
We’re all familiar with our own birthdays, and we celebrate them because they mark the day of the year in which we entered into this life. But did you know you have a second birthday?
Because you are part of the body of the Church, Pentecost is the Church’s birthday, and yours as well. And like any birthday, it’s a cause for celebration.
The word Pentecost is Greek and it means “50th day.” Fifty days after Easter Sunday, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and their followers, and the beginning of their Earthly ministry to make disciples of all nations.
Pentecost is also a Jewish holiday, which the Jews use to celebrate the end of Passover. Jews celebrate the gift of the law to Moses at Mt. Sinai on this day. But we, as Catholics celebrate the birth of our Church.” (Emphasis Added)
On June 29, 2007, Pope Benedict approved a statement affirming the exclusivity of the Roman Catholic Church as “the church of Christ.” It came in response to an officially submitted question seeking pontifical clarification:
“What is the meaning of the affirmation [From the Second Vatican Council] that the Church of Christ subsists in the [Roman] Catholic Church?”
The answer was:
“Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the [Roman] Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”. (SOURCE)
Though Rome claims to be “this one Church of Christ,” bolstered by its historic maxim, Extra ecclesiam nulla salus, –meaning “Outside the church there is no salvation” – such a claim is built on the erroneous assumption that the church is defined by apostolic succession, rather than, as Paul wrote, “ built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).
The “foundation” and “cornerstone” about which Paul wrote are constituted in the Word of God. The Christian faith, as Jude 3 confirms, has been delivered once for all. No progressive transfer of authority is needed for our faith. God’s Word suffices. That Word is to be preached (2 Timothy 4:2) and its sound doctrine taught (Titus 2:1). Scripture hints nowhere of a post-first-century apostolic chain of authority as the identifying hallmark of the church. There is, rather, the singular, complete, and sufficient authority of the Word of God. Christ reminds us that His disciples are identified by abiding in His Word, (John 8:31) not by abiding in an institution claiming apostolic succession.
Unlike Rome, the true church has Christ as its head (Colossians 1:18) and exhibits three key features: the preaching and teaching of sound doctrine from Scripture, the administration of the Lord’s Supper and baptism as Christ-commanded ordinances, and the Biblical practice of church discipline.
“The basic task of the church is to teach sound doctrine.” John MacArthur
However, an interesting – and thoroughly unbiblical – caveat exists in Rome’s teaching regarding its “outside of the church there is no salvation” axiom. Consider the following through the lens of Gospel truth:
“This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. (CCC 847)” (SOURCE)
So, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), salvation is actually possible apart from Jesus and the Gospel. If one is sincere enough and “try in their actions to do his will,” they too “may achieve eternal salvation.” This distinctly conflicts with the words of Scripture, however.
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)
Couple Luke’s words from Acts with Paul’s to the Galatians:
“yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:16
Rome denies the exclusivity of Christ’s Gospel, apprehended by faith alone. Sola fide – justification by faith alone – remains a doctrine condemned by Rome. (See HERE for a good resource on this.)
Despite its claims, Rome is not “the” church of Christ. In fact, Rome is not even “A” church of Christ. Roman Catholicism is not Christianity, beslimed though it is with the elegant appearance of religious provenance, a works-rich history of gospel-absent social justice charity, and a touted lineage that elevates its man-made traditions alongside God’s Word in authority. To adhere to the tenets of Roman Catholic teaching is to remain as Christ said, “condemned already.” (John 3:18) (For why we don’t consider Roman Catholics Christians, see HERE.)
Given Rome’s lack of Scripture-centric focus and its jettisoning of the genuine Gospel, it is little wonder then that Francis is the ecumenical zealot that he is. Which, of course, is why he’s celebrating Pentecost by inviting “charismatics and members of Pentecostals and Evangelical churches to Rome” for the gospel denying, doctrine-void Circus Maximus soiree. For Rome, it matters little what you believe, so long as you’re sincere and just want to do good. The true church of Christ looks nothing like Rome. It is primarily the temporal steward of God’s Gospel, with the primary function of teaching sound doctrine to the previously dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) who have been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Sincerity doesn’t save you and goods works don’t justify you.
An important point must be made, though, about Rome’s eager embrace of charismania within its fold. Charismania is a growing movement among evangelicals and Catholics. But charismania is not a legitimate, Scripture-verified phenomenon. Within the broad umbrella of evangelicalism, charismania is most often coupled with the heretical prosperity gospel. Within the Roman Catholic, the charismatic phenomenon is attached to an apostate church with “another gospel.” (Galatians 1:8-9)
It is this dual appeal – one to the apostate Roman Catholic cult of Mary and one to those who would consider themselves Gospel-affixed evangelicals – that is glaring evidence of the charismatic movement’s illegitimacy. Were charismatic gifts an authentic work of the Holy Spirit, we can be sure that He would clearly and firmly align them with sound, Biblical doctrine, not with the well-known theological, gospel, and orthopraxic errors of Rome. But, since charismania leaps across all doctrinal and gospel boundaries, it’s disregard for Scripture is abundantly evident. And it is this characteristic of charismania (among others) that notably invalidates its claims to genuinely be a move of God. If charismania were authentic, you would not see it’s presence in both places for God’s kingdom is not divided. (Mark 3:24)
Writing of Rome’s 2016 Pentecost celebration, one American Dominican priest noted on his church’s website the following blasphemous comment about Pope Francis.
“Using Pope Francis as a guide who, along with the Holy Spirit, continues to breathe life into the Church, we must open our personal lives to the surprise breadth and depth of the Spirit. Inhaling the intoxicating joy of the Holy Spirit, we can harness the energy of love in a world of indifference and violence.” (Source)
While this comment is flush with error, hinting at Rome’s “another gospel” of good works and repentance-absent message of “God loves you,” it is the blasphemous elevation of Francis alongside the Holy Spirit that demands the same warning Christ gave to His first-century disciples:
How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew 11:11-12
For many today, the “leaven” being hurled by Rome is being coveted by those misled with an errant, unbiblical charismatic yearning. By adding the powerful emotional appeal and presumed spirituality of charismania, Rome is seeking to create a perfect storm of deception that is nothing less than seeking to destroy “the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) We must contend for the Truth, stand firmly on Gospel exclusivity, and abide by the apostle’s command about those who would, “by smooth talk and flattery … deceive the hearts of the naive” (Romans 16:18) … we must “avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)
Rome will be greasing the wheels of anti-Scriptural ecumenism with the slimy accelerant of doctrine-crippling charismania. But what Rome celebrates isn’t driven by the Word, by the Gospel, or by the knowledge of Jesus our Savior. (2 Peter 3:18).
What will be served is merely a toxic religious cocktail mixing apostasy with error. No one who knows should ever want to consume that.
For sound resources on sharing the true Gospel with the deceived trapped within Roman Catholicism, please consider Mike Gendron’s excellent ministry, Proclaiming The Gospel.
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]