Monday, September 23, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Different Gospels

Today offers a lot of challenges that we must face, some are good, a lot of them are not so good.

It is becoming more difficult to practice our faith because of the secularization that has hit our Country by storm.

Yet, what an honor it is for us to be able to stand as witnesses for the Lord and his Church.

At this point, in the United States, we do not have the persecution taking place that we see in the Middle East.  Dealing with anti-Catholics is not the same as dealing with fanatical Muslims.  The Catholic Church is the same everywhere but the devil constantly takes position on the sand of the sea.  Like a hawk or buzzard he is looking where to make his next attack.

To the anti-Catholic, examples like the culture war, abortion, Homosexuality, divorce, pornography, and many other hot issues come in behind the Catholic Faith in importance for them to oppose?

There is a certain hatred towards the Catholic Faith. Steve Ray had said on our show that a Baptist believes in "once saved, always saved" except when one converts to the Catholic Faith.

Steve knows that sentiment personally. So do I as I have been raised around it most of my life. I believe that faith is a gift and you must receive this gift with a pure heart.

That is hard to do with all the bias out there that takes shape and many forms as it morphes from one group to another.

Protestantism has ushered in the "me" generation. I think that many Protestants are so locked into their system of thinking that it is an act of de-brainwashing them out of it.

Galations 1:6-9 warns, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel, not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed."

What St. Paul is really concerned with here is the act challeging apostolic authority. The gospel was entrusted to the Apostles whom Christ sent to the world. 1 Corinthians 1:10 says, "I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment."

Consider Dathan, Abiram and several of the Elders of Israel who had followed them in challenging Moses? Moses said this warning to the people, "And Moses said, 'Hereby you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they are visited by the fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord creates something NEW, and the ground opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.' And as he finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split asunder; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men that belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly" (Numbers16:28-33)

To me, this speaks volumnes, vs 34 and 35 continues, "And all Israel that were round about them fled at their cry; for they said, "Lest the earth swallows us up!" And fire came forth from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men offering the incense". What would you do if you were witnessing this event? Would you have a sudden conversion?

Moses warns, "But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die" (Deuteronomy 18:20).

This problem is nothing new, but the judgment is always the same. People will seem to always follow these "prophets". St. John gives this instruction, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). What is the meassuring stick to know what the truth is? Who decides? Can I simply take the bible on it's own merit and make such a decision on my own?

Jesus warns, "And then many will fall away, and betray one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray" (Matthew 24:10-11). Something begins to become very obvious to me, anyone who would create new gospels and new denominations are not based in scripture, but rather are warned about from scripture.

Jesus states, "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me" (Luke 10:16). Jesus didn't say whoever rejects the bible rejects me? Those who reject the Catholic Church spiritually place themselves with the same sin as Dathan and company?

St Paul warns about those he called "traitors" saying, "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wonder into myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Today, people will go to this church or that church because they like the preaching, they like the youth group, they like the music, they like this, they like that, but the truth is not in them.

Titus 3:10 warns, "As for a man who is factious (heretic), after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned." This very evening I was speaking with a lady who had just moved here from Chicago. Because of her name, I asked her if she had a Catholic background. She did, but she was thinking of going to another church. I attempted to say something when she quickly shut me off showing hatred towards the Catholic Faith. The truth was not in her, she held the truth up in contempt.

"As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith... They are "holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people". I wish I had a nickel every time someone condemend the Catholic Faith for being a "religion". Without the Catholic Faith, there would be no Covenant! They create their own counterfiet faiths based on different gospels.

Anti-Catholics will commonly accuse the Catholic Faith for creating new dogmas and doctrines when in truth, the opposite is true. Many will accuse Constantine of introducing Paganism into Christianity such as Purgatory, praying for the dead, saints, Mary, on and on it goes, yet, these are in scripture and historically part of the apostolic witness.

On the other hand, consider Sola Scriptura and Sola fide, these were originated by Martin Luther in the 16th century. Yet, these are cherished by Protestants. It matters not that these doctrines where not taught by the apostles and in truth, opposed by them. Yes, there is a great love for the written word, but it was not sola.

Once Saved always saved, the rapture, are a couple of more, there are so many it would take volumnes to identify them.

The Catholic Faith was founded by Jesus Christ personally and the authority has been handed down from one generation to another. St. Peter was the first Pope crucified at Vatican Hill in 67 A.D. Pope Francis I is the 266th successor in an unbroken line of apostolic Succession. All the great Councils of the Church reflect that Apostolic Tradition, that Apostolic witness, the "Deposit of Faith" that was entrusted to the Church by Our Lord Himself. Jesus is the Master Builder, the Church is his body.

I've heard Protestants acknowledge that the Church is the body of Christ, but they reject the Shepherds Our Good Lord established in leading the flock! That is a "new gospel".

I've had Protestants challenge me why we as Catholics have to go to a Priest for Confession, to reject the "Ministry of Reconciliation" is another gospel. The Sacraments come from Christ and His Church administers them in His name. Literally, we see the Catholic Church on every page of Scripture, the bible comes through the Catholic Church.

Jesus said that only those who persevere to the end shall be saved! We must hold tight and navigate through the jungle of all these false gospels, which there are more than 42,000 denominations and growing. Jesus prayed, "I do not pray for these only (Apostles), but also for all those who believe in me through their word (notice it does say 'through the bible alone') that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me".

The Catholic Faith is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory" (1 Timothy 3:15-16).

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