Now I am not one who spares Catholics criticism. As a matter of fact, I do not even spare Jews criticism, despite their still being God’s chosen people and Israel their land and nation, and God’s Promises to them still being valid (including His Promise to curse those who curse the Jews … I constantly wonder if my many criticisms of Jews and modern – as opposed to Torah – Judaism violates God’s Word after that fashion). And yes, there are documented cases of Catholics and Orthodox Christians persecuting and suppressing Protestants in modern times, usually in concert with the government in those areas. Case in point: Russia, where the Orthodox Church is helping Vladimir Putin consolidate his power and restrict media, and a result the outstanding Through The Bible Radio Ministry has been banned from Russia’s FM airwaves.
But this story about shameful treatment of Mexican evangelicals by “Catholics”, is extremely unfair. So, count this as one of the times when this blog will defend Catholics and instead denounce the fundamentalist and evangelical Christians who are circulating this story. Yes, evangelicals are being persecuted in southern Mexico, and Mexico is a 94% Catholic nation, and of course Catholics want to keep it that way (and of course, to be fair evangelicals and fundamentalists do not want any of their ranks to switch to Catholicism). But these people committing such acts that previous to now were being done by Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists (ok, to be fair Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist criminals) ARE NOT CATHOLIC. They call themselves Catholic, but just like Mitt Romney and any other number of “many paths to Heaven” liberal and moderate universalists and pantheists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals or other anti – Trinitarians call themselves “Christians”, saying so doesn’t make it true.
Instead, these “Catholics” are really folks who have begun to mix their own idolatrous and paganistic practices with their Catholic practices and beliefs. They also have added their own laws, traditions, and what have to you to Catholicism. Further, they have disassociated themselves with and have nothing to do with any Catholic diocese or anything else connected to Rome. Hard core Catholic bashers – a road which I was heading down until a preacher showed me the error of my ways – would say “six of one, half a dozen of another”, but to me that is the same thing as tarring fundamentalist and evangelical Christians by associating us with people like Eric Rudolph
, Timothy McVeigh
, Adolph Hitler, those who bomb abortion clinics and shoot abortion doctors, David Koresh, and those people who disrupt funerals screaming homophobic slurs.
Yes, I have real problems with Catholic teaching and tradition. I also have problems with PROTESTANT teaching and tradition; folks pretending that people like Luther, Calvin, Wesley, etc. helped write the Bible (or what they said has as much force as the Bible). I have a problem with all of these denominations bickering, debating, and voting on “resolutions” (some binding and some not) that often have more to do with bureaucracy, legalism, and politics than promoting Jesus Christ. I also have a problem with a great many of these “charismatics”, many of whom are absolutely convinced that they are so brilliant and so anointed that they have discovered or had revealed mysteries of the Bible that were hidden from all else because all the other Christians in the history of the church were either not as righteous or “anointed” as they, or because “the time wasn’t right and we weren’t ready to handle it back then, but now we are because these are the last days and Jesus Christ is coming back within the next five or ten years!” (I, er, used to be in the latter group myself, and anyone who reads some of the older archived content on my http://www.healtheland.bravehost.com website, you will easily be able to tell.) So the Catholics certainly have their problems, but with mainline denominations running headlong into apostasy and heresy, fundamentalist Christianity heading into legalism, and evangelical and charismatic Christianity heading into gnosticism, spiritism, animism, and modalism, and ALL of them obsessed with power, influence, and money, we have our fair share too. People going around claiming that the Catholic Church is the beast or that the anti – Christ will be the pope and that all these Catholics are going to hell … even if that is true, then the Catholics are going to have a lot of company, because when the great tribulation comes ALL WHO ARE NOT TRUE CHRISTIANS WILL FOLLOW THE BEAST. Repeat for clarity … ALL OF YOU FUNDAMENTALISTS, EVANGELICALS, AND CHARISMATICS WHO DO NOT HAVE A PURE HEART TOWARDS GOD AND A STRONG LOVE FOR GOD WILL FOLLOW THE BEAST. And in that respect, the warnings given to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 were to were to ALL OF US, not just Catholics!
And note that I said “have a pure heart towards God” and not “practice a pure form of Christianity” or “are in a pure church.” Why? Because otherwise virtually all of us would be in real trouble. Why? Because the current Christian system is NOTHING like the early church anyway. The early church met every day of the week, and not in buildings but in each other’s homes and in public places, and in SYNAGOGUES. Further, virtually any believer was allowed to minister, teach, testify, prophecy, and preach, not just members of a professional preacher class. The early church was an integral part of the societies that they lived in, not segregated it from it in some alternate culture or universe, and the church preachers and leaders were part of the people they preached to and served, not separated from it and elevated above it as a profession and a bureaucracy. And the early church was extremely intellectual. They loved to get together, study the Scriptures, and debate doctrine. It was also very experiential. They would go out and try themselves to do the great things that Jesus Christ and the apostles did: they would go out in groups all over the cities and countryside looking for opportunities to preach the gospel, heal people, cast out demons, and see signs and visions. None of that stuff is going on today among 99% of the believers. So it is by GOD’S GRACE AND THROUGH FAITH IN THE RISEN JESUS CHRIST THAT ANY OF US WILL BE SAVED, NOT JUST CATHOLICS! But you say that Catholics are idolators who pray to saints and to Miriam (Mary). Well, do you say the pledge of allegiance? Do you have patriotic paraphernalia around your home, and swear by our mighty system of democracy, military might, and capitalism, revere the founding fathers, and are a strong patriot? Or let us say that you are more liberal, and just think that Martin Luther King, Jr. and all of these other 60s counterculture icons were the coolest, and you are dedicated to influencing the government to help the poor, minorities, marginalized, and to renounce war and regulate private property. Or suppose you can talk for hours and hours about what great men and women Emmanuel Moody and some of the others who laid the foundations for modern Christianity were, and you have all of their books and have taken their philosophy to heart. Or maybe you are after a more modern fashion, with guys like Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, Billy Graham, and similar more to your speed. Ummm … like that is any different? I am serious, go read your Bible, especially the things in Daniel regarding Daniel going to the lion’s den, or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. TONS of Christians practice idolatry through our religion, our love of celebrity, and our political and worldly beliefs. As a matter of fact, some would go so far as to say that we should not have crucifixes (especially if there is an image of Jesus Christ on it) and the cute little statuettes of angels and such around. Sure, maybe it is not the same as actually praying to Mary and the angels and saints, but according to a strict (not legalistic, but strict) reading of the scriptures, it is a sin and should not be done. That is why the Heal The Land/God’s Love websites (http://www.embark.to/godslove, http://www.healtheland.bravehost.com, http://study-the-bible.blogspot.com, and http://healtheland.wordpress.com) have so few graphics and images: only a rotating cross, the cover art for the God’s Love poetry book, a graphic of the Ten Commandments (for people to print and post in their workplaces and hand out to people), a graphic of the Hebrew alphabet, and will soon include some outlines of “Bibleman” and other characters that can be printed and used as children’s coloring pages. The only things that we have in our home is a keepsake from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and a small statue of Yeshua HaMashiach’s return riding a white horse wielding a sword and blowing a trumpet. Does this make me better or more holy than the next Christian? Of course not! For one, I still have a great many flaws and shortcomings, for another there are a great many works that other Christians have done that I have not yet, and most of all we are made holy through faith and Christ’s Blood anyway, not by what we have or do not have in our homes and on our websites (although I would warn you that if you have anything pertaining to another religion or depicts any manner of sin in your home or on an article of clothing, get rid of it immediately).
So please, stop the Catholic bashing. It is OK to list their many deviations from Bible teachings and oppose those things, but to oppose people merely because they are Catholic is wrong because, quite simply, Catholics will be well represented in Heaven, and fundamentalists, evangelicals, charismatics, and mainline denominationals will be well represented in the lake of fire. And don’t you forget it lest you be counted among those who are in the latter. technorati tag: Adolph Hitler