A Protestant Minister Converts to Catholicism
Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ, Scott and Kimberley,
My name is Victor Hafichuk. Harley Laporte brought me a video of a speech you once delivered, the text of which I copied from the net in order to reply to you. Harley promised to deliver my reply to you personally. It is a rather lengthy document, including significant portions of your delivery speech.
There are things said herein that you have not heard before, and if you have any genuine desire for truth, you will be forced to consider these things. In fact, you will not be able to resist them. This delivery contains:
1) my reply to excerpts of your speech,
2) a reply from Paul Cohen, a brother in the Lord, to some of your statements, and
3) a letter I wrote to another Catholic, which I thought might be appropriate in this case. [Not posted here, but available upon request.]
Throughout the reply, you will find portions of my testimony of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done with and for me, for which I am very thankful. I hope that you and Kimberly, and many others, will read every word carefully and thoughtfully.
In the meantime, Scott, I give you fair warning that I will prove you to be in great error. I will be speaking according to what the Lord has revealed to me.
It is recorded that you converted from the Presbyterian Church to Catholicism. You see yourself, and Catholics see you as a champion of the "true faith," as one who has "seen the light." However, I do say that you are not only leading others astray, as you are astray, by promoting the Catholic Church and its teachings, but you are also greatly deceiving Catholics, justifying them in falsehood, and giving them a false sense of security in their darkness. They think you have seen both sides, and so this lends credence to your perspective. While you have seen two portions of one side, you have not seen the "other" side. You deceive, wittingly or otherwise, those you presume to teach and to succor, and they cheer you for it. Also, you enjoy their admiration, do you not?
I perceive that to many Catholics it seems to be a matter of only two camps existing, those of Catholics and Protestants, or in other words, those of the "Mother Church" and its "wayward children." You refer to Luther, his alleged error, and address the Protestant world based on Luther's teachings (so it seems in this speech), as though Luther and his teachings were the foundation of Protestantism. I do not approach you with either "Protestantism" or "Lutheranism" now.
Yes, Luther was in error, though he also had some truth, and yes, some of the truths that Luther preached are foundational in non-Catholic circles. I declare such, not as a Catholic, though I was born and raised Catholic. I declare it not as a "Protestant," because while the Catholic Church might see most, if not all Christ-professing non-Catholics, as "Protestant," I decline being called a "Protestant," simply because I am not protesting. My foundation is not, nor is my ambition to correct the Catholic Church. My foundation is a positive one, none other than the Lord Himself. I declare what I declare as a man who has been given to know the Lord Jesus Christ personally, as a man whose sins have been washed away by His shed blood, as one given His Spirit and understanding, as one who has identified with Christ crucified, on the cross, having lost all things for His sake. I speak out of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. I see that which you are in, and that out of which you came, as a mockery of all that is of God, good and true.
Though you are correct in some of your assessments of Luther's teachings and doctrines, you are in great error, as I will explain. I speak not to condemn you, though your assertions stand to be condemned, and I do condemn them. But I condemn them with Truth, and with my own personal testimony of how the Lord Jesus Christ made Himself known to me, apprehended me, and removed me from the Catholic Church and all organized religion, to be His servant, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth, by His grace, and not because of any virtue or power of my own.
You will know the truth of the words that the Lord spoke saying, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes, for so it seemed good in Your sight" (Mt. 11:25). God delivered me from the carnal mind, which is at enmity with Him (Ro 8:7). He has given me His mind (1 Cor 2:16), and today, from His Mind I speak. You do not know now, but one day you too will know whereof I speak. I hope it to be soon, but His time is perfect.
My brother in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul Cohen, also addresses portions of your speech in a separate letter. We met in Israel in 1979 when the Lord sent me to meet and speak to him. He and I work together in the Lord Jesus Christ, as co-laborers, two men God has chosen to bring together to bear witness to many. Though it may appear otherwise in the beginning of my response, we will address only some of the errors. We have other things to say as well. Today, you will hear that which will clearly tell you your error. We speak not against, but for your sake. Very few preach the truth. What will each of you do with what we are given to say to you?
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORKS OF RELIGION AND WORKS OF FAITH
Abraham was circumcised, in obedience to God. He offered up Isaac, in obedience
to God. Obviously, he could not repeat the first act of obedience, except that
he would direct his household to be circumcised, but it was not a regular ritual.
It was not a ritual at all in the beginning, though Jews, in their unbelief,
have made it so. One need only read the account of Moses having his son circumcised.
Some ritual...Zipporah, in anger, tossed the foreskin and knife at his feet!
Apparently he had her do it. As for offering up Isaac, Abraham also did that
only once, as personally directed by God, who did try him.
You err between spontaneous works/fruits/manifestations/evidences that grow from true faith, on the one hand, and on the other hand, works of the flesh, of the keeping of man's laws and traditions to display faith, but which truly display unbelief. One is a display of God's righteousness (that which He has performed in the believer); the other is man's righteousness (that which religious man performs out of his own "good" works). One is of the Spirit of God, glorifying God; the other is of the carnal man, seeking to retain his rights and dignity. One is the sacrifice of Abel, the other of Cain. One is by faith of the Son of God, the other by faith of man. One is of the Last Adam and is risen; the other is of the First and is fallen.
Concerning "Sola Fide"
Of Abraham, Paul wrote:
"What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he has [whereof] to glory; but not before God. For what says the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that works not, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:1-5 KJV).
Paul went on to say:
"Even as David also says of the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness
without works" (Romans 4:6 MKJV).
Is that not "faith alone," that is, righteousness not by works but by faith? Yes, James, by the Spirit, speaks of there being fruits produced by faith. He writes:
"My brothers, what profit is it if a man says he has faith and does not have works? Can faith save him?" (James 2:14 MKJV)..."Even so, if it does not have works, faith is dead, being by itself. But someone will say, You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith from my works. You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Do you see how faith worked with his works, and from the works faith was made complete? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God." You see then how a man is justified by works, and not by faith only" (James 2:17-24 MKJV).
James was telling people that they can talk about faith all they want, and claim to be newly born from above, but if the fruit is not there, if there is no obedience, if there is no evidence of a new birth, of a change in nature, then they really don't have the faith they claim to have.
Luther is reported to have had a problem with the book of James, thinking it was not inspired because it spoke of works. Luther did not understand. James was speaking of natural, spontaneous fruits coming forth of a living faith.
The works of the new creature are not ordinances or "sacraments" at all, but MANIFEST FAITH, that is, automatic fruit produced by a certain nature. Any fool or Mafioso or scoundrel can partake of the sacrament of the "eucharist," and has done so (I did it), but no man can produce the fruit of faith (I could not before I believed). It is either there or it is not. Any religious or irreligious person can go to a priest for confession, or go to mass, or take the "eucharist" (I did all those things), or memorize the Bible, but not any man can obey God (I had tried and failed). To obey God means death; it means denial of self, which is the very opposite of religious observances. "With men, these things are impossible," said Jesus. Indeed, rituals and ceremonies are very possible, and puff up and give one confidence that by his observance or partaking of these, he has somewhat to be confident before God. As it is written:
"For if Abraham was justified by works, he has a boast; but not before God" (Romans 4:2).
You place faith in sacraments, rather than observe the sacraments because you have faith. Paul writes:
"Is this blessedness then on the circumcision only, or on the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it reckoned? Being in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision" (Romans 4:9-10 MKJV).
He already had faith before circumcision (an external act). It was not the repetitious observance of an ordinance that gave him or proved his faith. Repetitious prayer, as with the rosary, or observances of rituals demonstrate that there is no faith at all. Jesus said so:
"And in your prayer do not make use of the same words again and again, as the Gentiles do: for they have the idea that God will give attention to them because of the number of their words" (Matthew 6:7 BBE).
Abraham's obedience to a personal command or direction of God demonstrated that he believed. That is the fruit of faith. Was this only for Abraham or for Jews? As it is written:
"And he received a sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith while
still uncircumcised; so that he might be the father of all those believing through uncircumcision, for righteousness to be imputed to them also; and a father of circumcision to those not
of the circumcision only, but also to those walking by
the steps of the faith of our father Abraham during uncircumcision. For the promise that he should be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the Law, but
through the righteousness of faith" (Romans 4:11-13 MKJV).
When Abraham made sacrifices, it was not a repetitive ceremony. It was real life. He was saying, not in some religious spirit or from a mechanical, man-devised missal or predetermined script, but from the heart, "God, I seek You! I honor You! I acknowledge You as my Source! You are Creator! You gave me everything I have and am! Make Yourself known to me! Help me! I need You! I believe You!"
Scott, (and Kimberly), it was real life, reality, and not religion. Don't you see? There is no virtue, "sweetness" or goodness on our part. There is no pleasing God with ceremonial acts. True faith, a true walk with God has nothing to do with religious observances. As David said:
"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part You shall make me to know wisdom" (Psalms 51:5-6 MKJV).
"For You do not desire sacrifice; or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise" (Psalms 51:16-17 MKJV).
"Do you not mistake religious ceremony for obedience? God never asked for religious ceremony. Even in water baptism, it was not a religious ceremony, or, if it was, with value, Paul would not have said, "I thank God I didn't baptize any of you..." and "God sent me not to baptize..." If ritual and ceremony were so important, would he have said those things? When faith came, he regarded external religious factors in his life as loss, as dung (that which is past, worthless, and even vile) for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:8).
Jesus said: "But go and learn what this is, I will have mercy and
not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matthew 9:13 MKJV).
Do you not make yourselves righteous by your works? You deem to have virtue in yourselves by keeping the "eucharist," simply in that you do it, though you would insist the opposite, that you need virtue, and therefore take it. But is that not saying the same thing? To attribute virtue to a religious ordinance flies in the face of God. God is not made real by ceremony or ritual as you say and think. What you experience, rather, is the exaltation of the carnal man, of the flesh. Therefore your sin remains, because you deny the one-time-only sacrifice of the Son of God. You crucify Him afresh, over and over and over again, at every mass, "lifting Him up" as did the angry and crazed Jews on that fulfilled Passover by the hand of the Romans. It is written:
"But when Christ had become a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building nor by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered once
for all into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:11-12 MKJV).
He abolished the ordinances, which were shadows, those God-appointed, temporary ceremonies (the Catholic ones are not even God-appointed but man-made), along with the priesthood and the Temple, by one supreme act of obedience and sacrifice. Do not you, and all Catholics, and so many others, reverse the clock, negate His finished work, and re-assign the Christ to open shame and mockery? Do you not trample upon His blood afresh, with every mass or religious ceremony you perform or attend? Surely. As it is written:
"Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, even as the high priest enters into the Holy of Holies every year with the blood of others (for then He must have suffered often since the foundation of the world), but now once in the end of the world He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:25-26 MKJV).
He does it once for all, but do you not deny the finished work, and contradict Him, by repeating that which He intended to do once for all and only once? Yes, you may have your explanations and rationalizations, but will God accept them, Scott, and Kimberley? You need to experience the saving grace of God. I desire and write that you might, you and all those who will read this document.
A note: We have a problem here. You have experienced something, Scott (I take your word for it) but because you have, you think that therefore you have the real thing. I have to stand here and say that you have not, knowing myself what the real is, and knowing that what you verbalize has nothing to do with the real. Perhaps you think to say the same of me. Therefore, God's grace is our only hope to resolve. I hope that His Word spoken by me to you will lead you in the Way.
"For if they of the Law (deeds of the flesh) are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is made of no effect; because the Law works out wrath, for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith so that it might be according to grace; for the promise to be made sure to all the seed, not only to that which is of the Law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all..." (Romans 4:14-16 MKJV).
Was it only for Abraham? As it is written:
"Now it was not written for him alone that it was imputed to him, but
for us also to whom it is to be imputed, to the ones believing on Him who has raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered because of our offenses and was raised for our justification" (Romans 4:23-25 MKJV).
Rahab performed no religious works demonstrating faith. She simply did the right thing, according to what she believed. God gave her the faith, and the fruits were there. It says:
"And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she had received the messengers and had sent them out another way?" (James 2:25 MKJV)
You make the case of "faith plus," adding the religious works of the Roman Church, which have nothing to do with faith at all. Scott and Kimberley! Wake up! Repent! Repent of pride, of your own understanding, of your own righteousness in "serving God!" He will no longer wink at ignorance, much less deliberate ignorance, least of all wilful seeking of self-glory and satisfaction.
There is a vast difference between Abraham's circumcision, and the offering up of Isaac. Faith was accounted to him for righteousness before he was circumcised. The
circumcision was a mark of the covenant that God had made with him. He had
believed. When it came to offering up Isaac, Abraham was laying his life on the line. He believed. His faith was real, and therefore he was willing and able to do about the hardest thing he could be asked to do, howbeit solely by the grace of God. Therefore it was true faith tried and found substantial. That was not so with circumcision, and it is not so with religious observances, whether one time or repeated, like the "eucharist."
A note: Heathen worshippers also sacrificed their sons to Molech and other gods. The difference? Abraham heard the Voice of God, believed, obeyed, and trusted that God was able to raise the dead. Those sacrificing to idols, to devils, did so because of their own effort to please their gods. Neither did they believe in any substantial resurrection of their children.
I will now get into your speech, in hope I have not lost you already. You are very intellectual and philosophical, and I will not primarily deal with you on those grounds because those are not the grounds of faith, of the sons of God, but of men, of the sons of Adam. I do not dwell there, and the Kingdom of God does not come that way. You need to hear the truth by the Word of God. This I know, that if you receive the grace to heed what I have been given to write, you will believe. You cannot help but. Truly, you will receive because you believe.
You said: "...for years I opposed the Catholic Church, and I worked hard to get Catholics to leave the Church. But I came to see through a lot of study and considerable prayer that the Roman Catholic Church is based in Scripture."
Scott, your words are revealing. It was not through considerable prayer and study that Saul of Tarsus came to see that being a Pharisee and doing what he was doing was contrary to Christ. It was not through considerable study and prayer that I came to know that the Catholic Church was quite the opposite of the testimony and Spirit of Scripture, and of true faith in God. Genuine faith is a gift, granted to those whom God chooses. This I know personally. Truth comes by revelation by the Spirit, and not by works of the carnal mind. It is a matter of nature, and not of the intellect. As it says:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know" (Proverbs 3:5 GNB).
A lot of study and considerable prayer? "I did it," you say. You are taking credit, Scott. But what does the Bible say?
"Because by grace you have salvation through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is given by God: Not by works, so that no man may take glory to himself" (Ephesians 2:8-9 BBE).
1 Corinthians 1:19-21 GNB
(19) The Scripture says, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and set aside the understanding of the scholars."
(20) So then, where does that leave the wise? or the scholars? or the skilful debaters of this world? God has shown that this world's wisdom is foolishness!
(21) For God in His wisdom made it impossible for people to know Him by means of their own wisdom. Instead, by means of the so-called "foolish" message we preach, God decided to save those who believe.
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: Which were born, not
of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13 KJV).
Teenage Conversion To Jesus
You say: "That's what I'd like to share with you this morning. It begins with a conversion experience that I had in high school. I didn't grow up in a strong Christian family."
According to Biblical definition, you didn't grow up in a Christian family of any kind.
You go on: "We didn't go to church very often, and so I wasn't very religious. What the Lord used in my life was an organization called Young Life, an outreach to unchurched high school kids, and a man named Jack in particular who befriended me and also shared with me the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It made a profound difference in my life.
Early in my high school years I made a commitment and I asked Jesus Christ into my heart; I asked Him to be my savior and Lord. I gave Him my sins and I received the gift of forgiveness and salvation. It made a world of difference for me. It cost me a lot of my friends, but the Lord in a sense more than made up for that by giving me real friends, friends in Christ.
Jack, who taught me to love the Lord, also taught me to read the Bible and not just to read it but to study it, and not just to study it, but to soak in it - to read it and to re-read it from beginning to end. By the time I was finishing high school, I had gone through the Bible two or three times in its entirety. And I had fallen in love with Sacred Scripture. As a result of that I'd become convinced of a couple things."
We have somewhat similar features in our testimonies, Scott, but also a crucial difference. About eight months before I was converted to Christ, I had been searching for Him, crying out, praying and fasting. At that time, I had a dream of the "Second Coming," as I knew it then. That was the first time the Lord had made Himself known to me. I was terrified! In that dream, I saw His face, His character perfect in every way, but He was not condemning me. I simply was condemned because I knew I was not acceptable to Him as I was. He was perfect love, and I was perfect corruption. Catholic doctrine also condemned me. You know how it goes, that if you have mortal sin on your soul, and you die, or if He comes, you are toast, forever; a trillion years from now, there will be no parole. You continue to burn and scream in excruciating pain, forever and ever and ever. What worse fate can one think of? I awoke from that dream soaking wet in sweat. What a relief that it was only a dream! However, I had things to face and deal with. I knew I was unacceptable to God.
Believe me, I set out to do everything in my power to repent of my sins. I tried so hard to rid myself of my evils, and habitual vices like masturbating (which I had confessed for many years to priests) and smoking (which I didn't think was sin anymore...many priests smoked), and found myself powerless to do so. I tried, for months, and failed. About to give up, another dream came and in it, I was encouraged to keep going, to not quit, that I was almost there.
When I was first converted to Christ, by the knowledge of the Scriptures shared with me for seven days by an elderly man, my life was immediately changed, within and without. In the days after my conversion, Scott and Kimberly, those vices were disappearing, and I was not the one doing it. Chain after chain was removed, and thirty-one years later, I have not looked back. I learned the great lesson of the futility of man's efforts versus the grace and mercy of God. I now had new purpose, a new life, and a peace I had never come close to knowing.
However, my Catholic and physical families were greatly disturbed. I lost everything, sorrowfully, but willingly and thankfully.
What amazed me shortly after my conversion to Christ was the fact that while I was Catholic, I was a great fool, a drunk, rebel, liar, glutton, clown, railer, coveter, pervert, fraud, idolater, cheat, thief, fornicator, adulterer, masturbator, blasphemer, curser, and more, and though they knew most of these things, nobody in the Church or family had much of a problem with me; I was still Catholic, one of them, and they could live with that. But the day Jesus Christ took over my life, and my life was cleansed and healed, totally independent of the RCC or its adherents, of necessity, and I gave the credit to the Lord, where it belonged, they wanted no more of me and "my religion!" Not only Catholics, but also all my non-Catholic friends, business partners, drinking buddies, whoremongers, atheists and more shared that reaction. They were all one in their varying degrees of disagreement with, rejection of, and opposition to my new life in Christ. How is it that your "family of God," the Catholic Church, was one with the whole world in hating and condemning the new life from God in me? You have to ask yourself whether you had a new life in Christ as you presumed or were taught. How can you consider the Catholic Church to be the true family of God, except by carnal and doctrinal reasonings?
(I have also included in this delivery to you a letter written to someone
who too proclaimed devotion to the Catholic Church. The Lord gave me to speak
to him. I considered that letter applicable and appropriate for you to read
and so include it.) (If interested, reader, ask us for this letter.)
About three months after my conversion, and now being with Alliance people, I decided that God wanted me to go back to the Catholic Church. The old strings were still tugging: I was tarrying, as had Lot's wife. I had picked up and read a book by "Reverend" John A. O'Brian, titled "The Faith of Millions." In any case, it was an apology of the Catholic origin, doctrine and practice. He eloquently defended the "true faith" and persuaded me that the Catholic Church was indeed the right and true one. I was about to go forward in the Alliance Church, before all my newfound friends and announce to them that I was going back. But God had mercy! I did not make it because within days, I ended up with acute appendicitis, was rushed to the hospital, immediately operated on, and ended up sitting still for close to a week.
In hospital, I had asked for a Catholic priest to visit me, and not the Alliance pastor. The priest was a smoker (something from which the Lord had freed me) and one who did not believe that Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden had literally existed. It was apparent to me that he simply did not believe, yet, here he was, presuming to lead in spiritual life, a mediator between God and people. That same week, the man who had led me to the Lord happened to be back in town for a couple of days, and we talked. I argued logically for the Catholic Church, strengthened by the author of the book I mentioned, and he could not answer me. I was not rude; on the contrary, I was quite considerate, though convinced, and he could not but become upset and frustrated.
Also that week, I was reading Paul's epistles, starting from Romans, and I read to Hebrews, in one sitting, so to speak. Scott and Kimberly, my eyes and heart were opened. The Scriptures came alive, and I began to realize and understand that what the Catholic Church taught and practiced, and what the apostle Paul had written and taught in his epistles were as opposite as black and white. The contrast was obvious and the event decisive for me. I did not figure it out. God had set me down and caused me to understand what the Scriptures taught. I could not go back to the Catholic Church and at the same time be faithful and true to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who had apprehended, cleansed and healed me. It was one or the other, not both. One would be life, and the other, death.
During those early days of my conversion, I was still experiencing doubts about my relationship with God. My Christian friends were all telling me I was saved, and indeed, my life was radically transformed. Nevertheless, a still small voice continued to urge me to go on, that I was not "there" yet. Whenever I confided this to them, they would tell me that it was Satan seeking to cause me to doubt my salvation. They would pray with me, and remind me of Scripture, but I could not resist that voice.
I sought out a Bible school to learn the Scriptures, thinking that if they had such an impact on me, I needed to study and learn them in depth. I was disappointed. We studied church history (which, as a matter of record, condemns the Catholic Church as a vicious harlot, by the way, not that others, such as Anglicans, Luther and Calvin were innocent), we studied church administration, denominational history, homiletics, choir direction, evangelism, witnessing techniques, Sunday School organization, Greek, and very little of the Bible, except for "surveys." However, the Lord was leading, teaching, and dealing with me. I was experiencing a few months of deeper drawing, heart-searching, and repentance. There I also met my wife, who joined me during some doctrinal controversies in the church. These had arisen because I was judging matters by the testimony of the Scriptures. Some things did not add up, and I was not one who could let them slide.
Then on the evening of January 1, 1975, a month after Marilyn and I were married, nearly two years after my conversion, after reading a booklet by R. A. Torrey, called the "Baptism in the Holy Spirit," she and I received the Holy Spirit. This was while in the Baptist Bible school, though in spite of it, because they did not accept the validity of such an experience. As you would know, one reads of being baptized in the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, chapters 2, 8, 9, 10, and 19, which had been promised by John the Baptist and the Lord.
Thus, my wife and I had entered yet another spiritual dimension. That night we went to bed at one-thirty in the morning and still could not sleep. As soon as we would turn off the lights (and this happened repeatedly), we would turn them on again, because something else was coming to mind from the Scriptures. This went on till seven o'clock. The Bible had become a new book all over again. The Scriptures were alive as never before, and we were so excited. That day, my doubts were forever erased. The constant small voice no longer disturbed me. I had been "sealed" with the Holy Spirit and knew it. That was on January 1, 1975. I have never looked back.
When my wife and I were baptized in the Spirit, suddenly all those who were our newly found evangelical friends "in Christ" were chagrined and opposed to us. They were opposed doctrinally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. They were afraid, without understanding or desire to understand what had happened to us. They thought we had fallen victim to the devices of Satan, contemptuously calling it "pentecostalism." We were not trying to be something; we suddenly WERE something that they were not, and which we had not been theretofore. I experienced a major change, not by much study and prayer, but by an act of God. It was He Who was doing it, and not we; it was His righteousness and power at work, and not ours. It was His grace, His unmerited favor, and not something I figured out or accomplished. He had immersed us in His Spirit. THAT, and not water baptism, my friends, is the new birth.
I must add that I had gone through a great struggle with sin, and the confession of it to God, before my conversion and at this event wherein we received the Spirit. Deep recognition of sin is a primary hallmark of true conversion to Christ. I did not hear you mention one word of such experience or confession in this speech...not one. It was all about Scott figuring it out.
You say: "And so this first conviction was to help my Catholic friends to see the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ, to show them the Bible, and to show them that in the Bible, you just accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and that's all it takes."
Scott, based on my experience, Scripture, revelation, and spiritual witness, it is plain to me that you fell into a false, what Paul calls "another," gospel. There is a gospel that parades itself as God's, and is subtle, with truth, but is attractively deceptive. Young Life does not preach the true gospel, nor would any of those participating in that organization, or they would have recognized your state.
You say: "None of this claptrap: Not Mary, not the saints, not purgatory, not devotions, just asking Jesus to be Savior and Lord."
It is not difficult to defend the Catholic falsehood by irresponsibly "simplisticating" and condemning falsehood that contradicts the Roman Church. However, because what is taught and preached in Protestant circles is wrong (if wrong) does not make the Roman Church right. Rome IS teaching claptrap such as you mention.
While Mary is a saint, that is, one truly believing on the Lord Jesus Christ or God, as are all who believe, she is not a saint as Rome defines and presumptuously canonizes saints. If you were a true believer of the Lord Jesus Christ, you too would be a saint, according to Scripture. There have been countless saints throughout history, born of, and sanctified by God, and not the sparse, deified few named by Roman presumption and blasphemy. The saints are true Christians, and all Christians true saints.
"Devotions?" What are those? Every true believer, walking by faith, is "devoted" to the Lord Jesus Christ; every saint prays, believes, and obeys; every saint loves the Lord Jesus. That is "devotion." But carnal man likes to ceremonialize, ritualize, formalize, deify, canonize, or enshrine anything and everything...if
it will SALVE HIS CONSCIENCE AND GET HIM OFF THE HOOK OF DIRECT ACCOUNTABILITY
TO GOD. THERE IT IS. SUBSTITUTION TO OBEDIENCE IS THE HALLMARK OF THE RELIGIOUS,
CARNAL MAN. THE ROMAN CHURCH IS THE GREATEST MONUMENT OF ALL TO THAT ERROR.
IT IS THE INCARNATE SPIRIT OF THE DENIAL OF GOD AND OF THE ENSHRINEMENT OF
THE CREATURE. The Roman Church is the sacrifice and spirit of Cain, more than one billionfold. Cain sacrificed to the true God, you know.
Asking Jesus to be Lord and Savior? That is a false gospel. Did Saul of Tarsus "ask Him to be Lord and Savior"? Not according to the testimony of the Scriptures. Jesus IS Lord. The Bible declares that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. It will not be a matter of asking something that is, but of acknowledging that which is. That is the essence of the change of heart. It is not something we do, but what God does, and the fulfilment of what He has already done.
You say: "And I say that with a certain shame and sorrow, but I say that to illustrate the sincerity that many Bible Christians have when it comes to opposing the Catholic Church."
There are true Christians and there are "Bible Christians," as you put it. "Bible Christians" know only the letter, but are opposed in spirit to the Author of it, as were the Pharisees, though they think to be saved and to serve Him. As Jesus said to Jews opposing Him:
"Search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have life, and they are they which testify of Me..."
There are Christians who believe the Bible because they know the Author. These are not Bible Christians. They are spiritual Jews, circumcised in heart, endowed with the Spirit of God. Bible Christians are "Bibliolaters." You were with such, and were not exposed to the true faith. I know that by your own words, generally, and specifically, as with your experience with "Jack." Jack did not teach you to love the Lord Jesus Christ at all. It was another Jesus that both of you were worshiping.
You say: "The only Catholic in my family on both sides was my beloved grandmother. She was very quiet, very humble, very holy, I have to admit. And she was also a devout Catholic."
"Holy?" How do you define "holiness?" There is a difference, though not apparent to the carnal eye, between holiness and religiosity. How would you know, without the Holy Spirit's gift of the discerning of spirits? These things are impossible with men, and only possible with God. As it says:
"For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man within him? So also no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:11 MKJV).
"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 MKJV).
Scott, true holiness in the Lord and devout Catholicism are as fire and water, the kind of fire that burned up Elijah's sacrifice with the water.
You say: "I knew my grandmother had a real faith in Jesus..."
You are wrong, Scott. As I said, you had no way of knowing if she had a real faith in Jesus. You mistook her religiosity for piety and faith. I have known several such Catholics and others. I simply tell you the truth. First, to have a real faith in Jesus, one needs the Spirit of God. Second, of the Spirit, to Whom Jesus referred as the Spirit of Truth, He said:
"However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will announce it to you" (John 16:13-14 MKJV).
As I have already related, when the Lord set me down to read Paul's epistles, He revealed the truth to me. In the Roman Church, there is no truth, and if you had ever received the Spirit of Truth, you would have known that. You are in darkness, and have never known the Light. As we go on, I will prove it to you. You say:
"Well, after graduating from high school, I decided not only to pursue the ministry but to study theology as well."
When in Bible school, before I had received the Spirit, I wrestled with a dilemma. I walked into our tiny library, which held no more than 2000 books. One of those books was a big one, "Strong's Systematic Theology," I think it was. That book alone overwhelmed me. Then there was the rest of that tiny library, then the world's libraries! I wondered, "How am I going to know the truth? It is so complex! There are so many things to consider. Many thousands have preached and written that which they believed to be the truth. Who am I to believe? How can I possibly review everything in this world? I don't have the time if I lived a hundred lifetimes!" The Catholic argument, of course, is that they have the truth, that the Protestant world is confused, contradictory, and utterly divided because it has rejected the truth of "THE Church." However, I knew there were no answers whatsoever in Rome.
Scott, when we were baptized in the Holy Spirit, I was released from that terrible dilemma. I was, and have been to this present hour, completely free. Suddenly, I knew what formerly I had only been told and suspected. Now I had the Spirit of Truth within, and I knew the Truth. No more books, no more concerns about studying. I also knew my time was over in Bible school. They could teach me no more, not because I felt I knew it all, but because I suddenly had a dimension of understanding of the things of God that they did not have. The Scripture was suddenly fulfilled, which said:
"But the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and no lie, and as He has taught you, abide in Him" (1 John 2:27 MKJV).
If you had the Spirit of Truth, you would have known that most so-called "theology" was not only unnecessary, but also erroneous. Man's doctrines and education can never match or meet the needs of the soul of man, as can, and must, the Spirit of Truth. As to "the ministry," it was not of God. Search the Scriptures, and see how many "decided to pursue the ministry." None. In the world, in pursuit of men's ministries, there are many, but in reality, in the Truth of God, none, not one. They were called of God, and constrained, like Jeremiah, like Moses, like Hosea, like Amos, like the Lord's disciples, and so many others. To those who had carnal desires and ambitions for ministry, Jesus said, "Go home and testify there," or "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Your desire was of the carnal man.
More on Sola Fide
You say: "The decision came as a result of the senior research paper that I wrote my final year in high school. I wrote a paper entitled Sola Fide. That's a Latin phrase which means Faith Alone or By Faith Alone. It's actually the phrase that Martin Luther used to launch the Protestant Reformation."
Here we go, Scott. While Luther did protest the doctrines and corruption of the RCC, he was by no means the only one to "launch the Protestant Reformation." There were many who believed, and sought out the truths of Scripture, and many of these, Rome tortured and exterminated because they did not agree with "The Church." Fox, in his Book of Martyrs, records many of these. His book is by no means the only one, and certainly not the most original of documents, but the record is there. It is a horrible one indeed, with such giants as the formidable, merciless "Saint" Ignatius Loyola, who stopped at nothing to persecute and stamp out anything that even suggested disagreement with Rome, and this under the rule and sanction of the "sole vicar of Christ." Moreover, from his organization comes the "Society of Jesus!" What a foundation! What a heritage! What a legacy! What blasphemy! And you have swallowed it all for the glory and praise of men!
You say: "He said that we are justified, we are made right with God by faith alone, not by any works that we might do. And for him, that was the article on which the church stands or falls, as he put it. And because of that, the Catholic Church fell and the Protestant Church rose. I wrote that research paper fully convinced after much study that, if you get it wrong on this point, you get it wrong on everything else. If you say faith plus anything, you have polluted the simple truth of the Gospel. And so I went into college with this strong conviction."
One thing I have learned, and that is that with carnal reasoning, and "leaning unto one's own understanding," one may come up with many and diverse conclusions, but they will all be wrong, and cannot be otherwise. How in error you were, learning from teachers who knew no better! You went from the frying pan to the fire, from darkness to utter darkness, and there was nobody there to tell you differently.
You say: "My four years of college were spent triple majoring in Philosophy, Theology in Scripture and Economics. But they were also spent doing ministry in Young Life. I wanted to in effect repay God out of gratitude for how He had used Young Life in my life to introduce me to Christ. So for those four years I devoted myself to reaching unchurched kids who didn't know about Christ, and I confess that this category included Catholic kids in the high school where I worked because I looked at these poor benighted souls who really didn't know Jesus Christ. I discovered after several Bible studies that not only did these kids not know Jesus Christ, but practically every Catholic high school kid I met didn't even know what the Catholic Church taught. If one or two of them knew what the Church taught, they didn't know why. They didn't have any reasons to back up their beliefs as Catholics. So getting them to see from the Bible, the Gospel as I understood it from Martin Luther, from an anti-Catholic perspective, was like picking off ducks in a barrel. They weren't ready, they were unequipped, they were defenseless.
I don't know exactly what has happened in the last fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years, but I look back on those kids and wonder if they weren't guinea pigs in some sort of catechetical experiment, that people thought we could bypass instructing them in the doctrines they need to believe and in the reasons for those doctrines. But there they were. I saw many of them leave the Church and I opposed them in a certain sense out of a sincere good faith, but also I opposed them because I myself was uninformed."
Consider what I say, Scott. You say you had a genuine experience with the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, through Jack, and yet you admit you were in error, and for all intents and purposes, opposing Christ. Let me tell you that had you begun with Jesus Christ, you would not have found yourself in such error. He kept me from it, and keeps all those who begin and continue in Him.
You say, "...I made a commitment and I asked Jesus Christ into my heart; I asked Him to be my savior and Lord. I gave Him my sins and I received the gift of forgiveness and salvation." You had a false start from a false gospel, as you yourself confess, with a false Jesus, Who, if true, would not inspire you to oppose the True Church, to which you say you now belong.
THE Lord Jesus Christ calls none of His disciples to oppose the false church either. I do not write to oppose Rome; I write to bear witness to Christ, to speak the truth, so that people in darkness might hear, believe, and be redeemed. He called me to lay down my life so that His people would receive the knowledge whereby they might cease suffering. He is hurting for them, and I am His friend to ease His hurting in any way He gives me to do so. That is my calling. It is not to condemn the Roman Church or any other person or thing. However, when the truth is spoken, naturally the contrast between it and falsehood is immediately manifest. Take Jesus Himself for example: He did not come to condemn the Pharisees, Sadducees or Scribes, but He did not mince words when they publicized their errors. "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy," He warned. Pharisees made laws, which contradicted and replaced the laws of God. That is precisely what the Roman Church does, and worse.
You say: "My third year of ministry in Young Life I asked a young lady, the most beautiful girl on campus, if she would join me in working together to reach these unchurched kids. Kimberly said, 'Yes.' We worked together for two years and had a blast."
"Had a blast." Paul, in preaching the true gospel, "had a blast," did he? Any of the saints and prophets, I assure you, spoke, as Paul said, "with fear and trembling," but you "had a blast." Again, you reveal and condemn yourself by your own mouth. It would be different if you spoke of those days with regret and shame, but you do not. You speak of the past with nostalgia, concerning what was supposedly a work in the Lord but which was not. Even according to you it was opposing the Lord, and you still think of it as "a blast." It was all works of the flesh, uncrucified flesh, and what is worse, in His Name. Things have not changed; YOU have not changed.
You continue: "Sometimes we'd fight like brother and sister in discussing various ways and means to reach these kids. But we really grew to respect one another so that at the end of these four years of college, I posed the question. And I think the dumbest thing she ever said, but the greatest thing she ever said was "Yes." We got married right out of college. Both of us had so much of the same vision. We wanted to do ministry together, we wanted to share the good news of Christ, we wanted to open up the Bible and make it come alive for people."
Carnal knowledge versus spiritual knowledge
You say: "People who knew me at seminary, knew me to be rather intense. I would spend just about every waking hour reading and studying Scripture or books about Scripture that would make more sense out of the Bible. If I wasn't reading and studying, I was out looking around at used book stores finding resources."
When baptized in the Spirit, I knew I would no longer find answers in books. The Lord had us toss out all books, set us to reading the Bible, for hours each day. He began to teach us, and what He taught us was so contrary to what we had been learning, or trying to learn, in books. I was free of that bondage, according to the Scripture I gave you, I John 2:27. You speak of your days of study as an asset or virtue. They were instead days of carnal pleasures, of darkness, and of lostness, not to you, but to any who know the truth. These things I know not from Scripture, but by experience and teaching directly from God, though entirely confirmed by Scripture.
Sex, its place and significance, doctrinal origins, contraception
You say: "Kimberly and I had a great three-year experience. But a couple of things happened along the way that I need to relate because in retrospect I see them as landmark experiences.
The first thing was a course that Kimberly took her first year, a class that I had taken the year before entitled Christian Ethics. Dr. Davis had all the students break up into small groups so that each small group could tackle one topic. There was a small group on abortion, a small group on nuclear war, a small group on capital punishment. One dinner she announced that she was in a small group devoted to studying contraception. I remember thinking at the time, "Why contraception?"
The year before when I took the class, nobody signed up for that small group and I told her. She said, "Well, three others have signed up for it and we had our first meeting today. So and so appointed himself to be chair of the committee, and he announced the results of our study even before it began. He said, 'Well, we all know as Protestants, as Bible Christians, that contraception is fine, I mean so long as we don't use contraceptives that are abortafacients like the I.U.D. and so on.' He announced further that really the only people who call themselves Christians who oppose artificial birth control are the Catholics, and he said, 'The reason they do, of course, is because they are run by a celibate Pope and lead by celibate priests who don't have to raise the kids but want Catholic parents to raise lots so they can have lots of priests and nuns to draw from, you know.'
Well, that kind of argumentation did not really impress Kimberly. She said, "Are you sure those are the best arguments they would offer?" And I guess he must have mocked or said, "Well, do you want to look into it yourself?" You don't say that kind of thing to Kimberly. She said, "Yes," and she took an interest in researching this on her own. A week went by and Terry stopped me in the halls. He said, "You ought to talk to your wife; she's unearthed some interesting information about contraception." Interesting information about contraception? What is interesting about contraception? Well, you know he said, "She's your wife; you ought to find out." "Yeah, all right; I will, Terry."
So that night at dinner I asked her, "What is Terry talking about?" And she said, "I've discovered that up until 1930, every single Protestant denomination without exception opposed contraception on Biblical grounds." Then I said, "Oh come on, maybe it just took us a few centuries to work out the last vestiges of residual Romanism, I don't know." And she said, "Well, I'm going to look into it."
Then another week later, Terry stopped me and said,"Her arguments make sense." I said, "Arguments against contraception from Scripture?" He said, "You ought to talk to her." "All right, I'll talk to her." You know, given the subject matter, I thought I better."
The self-appointed chair of the discussion committee who spoke was speaking out of ignorance and religious indoctrination. This is the very kind of thing to be expected from men's institutions of learning, be they religious or secular. As I said, I speak to you, not as a Catholic or "Protestant," but as a servant of Christ Jesus. There is no defense in Scripture for contraception.
You continue: "So I raised the issue and she handed me a book. It was entitled Birth Control and the Marriage Covenant by John Kippley. It just recently was reissued, entitled Sex and the Marriage Covenant. You can get it from Couple to Couple League in Cincinnati. I began to read through the book with great interest because in my own personal study, going through the Bible several times, I had come upon this strong conviction that if you want to know God, you have to understand the covenant, because the covenant was the central idea in all of Scripture."
You know nothing of the ways of God at all, Scott. Your words expose you again and again. When one is born again, there is no need of understanding anything other than what He gives one to understand. "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He has sent," said Jesus. Where in the Scriptures is there any indication of understanding 'the' covenant" in order to know God? Must I, as a child of my father, understand some kind of intellectual concept in order to know and love him? Of course not! I know and love him because he is my father, by nature, by birth, and not by understanding some concept. Is this not intellectual pride and arrogance at its best on your part? As Paul has said, God has made foolish the wise. Jesus too thanked the Father for "hiding these things from the wise and prudent, and revealing them unto babes."
You say: "Well, I began to read the book. I went through two or three chapters and he was beginning to make sense, so I promptly threw the book across my desk. I didn't frankly want him to make any sense. But I picked it up again and read through some more. His arguments made a lot of sense. From the Bible, from the covenant, he showed that the marital act is not just a physical act; it's a spiritual act that God has designed by which the marital covenant is renewed."
Not many greater lies have been told. Was this true when Sara handed Hagar, her handmaid to Abraham? Was this true when Jacob married Leah? Was not Leah with six sons of the twelve, by God's favor, because Jacob did not care for her, while Rachel, the one Jacob loved, had only two sons? She also died in giving birth to the second. She and Jacob, had they known, would have said, "Mmm, let's not renew anything tonight, okay?" What about Solomon's three hundred wives and seven hundred concubines? Did he have a "spiritual act, designed by God to renew the marital covenant" with each of them, and if so, how often? And what about Judah, who had relations with his daughter-in-law, who played the harlot, from whom came none other than the Lord?
Not once does the Bible speak of the sexual act as a renewal of a covenant, but it does speak contrariwise. God first spoke of the sexual act, indirectly, when He blessed, saying, "Be fruitful, and multiply!" If Adam and Eve had a "spiritual act to renew their marital covenant," their first fruit of it was Cain, who turned out to be a child of the flesh, and who slew the child of the spirit, his brother no less. So much for "the highest expression of love" as certain also call it. By your own experience, Scott and Kimberly, you know that what I speak is true.
What is curious to me is that this very Catholic teaching, which wayward Catholics such as "Protestants" teach as well, comes from the mouths of celibates. Why would celibates be teaching such things, and placing such an emphasis on sex? It just came to me, Scott, as often, God gives me revelation when I ask or need it. As you stated earlier in this, your speech, though not as of yourself, Rome is teeming with pagan doctrines and practices concerning idolatry of sex. For example, the Catholics celebrate May Day by marching around the May Pole. The origin of this custom dates back to fertility rites of pagans, and the May Pole represents the male organ.
Another example: The Catholic Church also has Easter (Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Astarte), named after the "many-breasted sex goddess of fertility, prosperity and "love." This is that "queen of heaven" Jeremiah prophesied against, and which is now represented as Mary. You worship Ashtoreth in her name. It is a heathen worship practice, an abomination to God.
God calls us to worship Him and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ calls us to worship Him and the Father. Did Mary or God call any to worship her? Not at all. Those who worship Mary and teach others to do the same bring damnation upon themselves. When on the cross Jesus assigned John to His earthly mother, the mother not of God, but of His earthly person, and her to his care, do you suppose that John and the other disciples prayed to her thereafter, whether before or after the grave? Were they praying to her in the upper room? Not at all, Scott. Not at all! She died; they buried her, and then you suppose they prayed to her? That would be as bad or worse than taking a tree, cutting it up, using some for firewood to bake and to warm yourself, then taking the rest and shaping an idol to pray to. As Isaiah says:
"They have not known nor understood; for He has shut their eyes so that they cannot see; and their hearts so that they cannot understand. And none thinks within his heart, nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread on the coals of it; I have roasted flesh and eaten; and shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?" (Isaiah 44:18-19 MKJV)
"When you pray," Jesus taught, "pray in this way: "Our Father in heaven..." Not to Abraham, or Moses, or Elijah, or Michael, or Gabriel...not once.
There is an emphasis on the sex act because the pagans had sexual orgies and ceremonies to honor their gods, but mostly to indulge in the lusts of their flesh. That is where the Catholic Church received this belief, this conviction, turned into doctrine about the sex act being a spiritual one, the highest expression of love. You discredit and malign Mary and all saints in doing so. No wonder the wrath of God rests on the Catholic Church! No wonder sexual perversity is rampant in her! Will you deny that in your "family?"
Who are celibates to talk about sex, at least in marriage? Not that they are totally ignorant of sex, though their knowledge is often perverse. The newspapers can testify to that. Mount Cashel, a Catholic private boys' school in Eastern Canada was leveled as a testimony to that. Many are the reports of sexual perversion and abuse, evasive ecclesiastical transfers, court cases, counter suits and cover-ups. I know of several people who have been personally assaulted sexually by priests. We hear of these things privately and publicly from many credible and hurting "family" sources.
If the sex act is such a great spiritual act of love, as I have heard many say, in church systems, Catholic and otherwise, then why don't they have marriage for the priesthood? Does not the Bible say that if any cannot contain themselves, that they should marry...and better to marry than to burn? The Orthodox Church, for example, does not have anywhere near the number of exposures (I have not heard of one) as does the Catholic Church. Why? Because to some extent, on this matter, they follow the counsel of the Scriptures:
"Then it behooves the overseer to be without reproach, husband of
one wife, temperate, sensible, well-ordered, hospitable, apt at teaching" (1 Timothy 3:2 MKJV).
"Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and households well" (1 Timothy 3:12 MKJV).
"If anyone is blameless, husband of one wife, having believing children, not accused of loose behavior, or disobedient" (Titus 1:6 MKJV).
The emphasis was not so much on having only one wife as to having a wife. Paul said he had the gift of celibacy but that not all men did. We just watched a documentary wherein they were interviewing young men training for the priesthood. They took or were going to take their vows of celibacy. When asked if he could keep that vow, one novitiate replied, "We are only human; we make mistakes." Clearly, if one makes a vow to God, the Bible says, one keeps it, or one does not make it. As it is written:
"When you vow a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for [He has] no pleasure in fools: pay that which you have vowed. Better is it that you should not vow, than that thou should vow and not pay" (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 KJV).
But the sexual act is not the highest act of love. Love is sacrificial. True love is the laying down of the life in obedience to God. The highest act of love is the laying down of the life, as Christ laid down His life for His Body, the True Church. It is not that of the act of procreation. Sex is a fulfilment of the natural drive given us to procreate. Couples do not sacrifice themselves; they love it, and can hardly keep from it. Can't you just hear it, Scott and Kimberly? "Let's have a sacrifice tonight, dear." It is not a renewal of the marriage covenant, and in all honesty, you ought to know that.
Where did all this antiScriptural, antiChrist nonsense come from? It came from men who were greedy for gain, looking to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and wily enough to use sex to get their gain. Religions with services around the sex act, teaching that the procreative act was the highest act of giving one's self would be very popular, accommodating the flesh wonderfully. It would not be hard to gather people to "Easter." According to Jeremiah, they much preferred her to Jehovah, despite their tragic consequences. The concepts you express have their origin in paganism.
The flesh loves and reproduces itself by the sex act, Scott and Kimberly, but those who enter life are as the angels, neither marrying nor giving in marriage. And while sex is clean in marriage, with "the marriage bed undefiled," it is not a renewal of any covenant, and certainly not a spiritual act, except that believers live according to the spirit and not the flesh.
As well, Paul spoke to married couples saying:
"The wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband has not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency" (1Co 7:4-5).
Can you and Kimberly, or any couple, declare that you are "covenanting" and at your highest spiritual state during the sex act? You may be impassioned, highly energized, awesomely stimulated, but if you think that it is some sort of communion with God or some heavenly ecstasy, you are sadly mistaken. You have never experienced the Lord. Where in that passage is there any suggestion of the sexual act as being "a spiritual act renewing the marriage covenant?" Where is there any indication in that passage, or in any other, that understanding this covenant renewal act teaches one to know God? I address the gods of paganism and of Rome, one and the same.
You say: "And in all covenants you have an opportunity to renew the covenant, and the act of covenant renewal is an act or a moment of grace. When you renew a covenant, God releases grace, and grace is life, grace is power, grace is God's own love. Kippley shows how in a marital covenant, God has designed the marital act to show the life-giving power of love. That in the marital covenant the two become one, and God has designed it so that when the two become one, they become so one that nine months later you might just have to give it a name. And that child who is conceived, embodies the oneness that God has made the two through the marital act. This is all the way that God has designed the marital covenant. God said, "Let us make man in our image and likeness," and God, who is three in one, made man, male and female, and said, "Be fruitful and multiply." The two shall become one and when the two become one, the one they become is a third child, and then they become three in one. It just began to make a lot of sense, and he went through other arguments as well. By the time I finished the book, I was convinced."
What if a couple has twins, or triplets, or quadruplets? Does that make God "sextune"? If your representation depicts "the Trinity," how did God get to be trinity? Did the Father join with the Holy Spirit and have a child? In pagan mythology, such legends exist. Or will you add sin to sin, and confusion to confusion by saying that one of the "coequals" of the trinity was begotten by an earthly created being (which is effectively declared by calling Mary the mother of God with a capital "M," of course)? What perversity! What confusion! What idolatry! What insanity, Scott and Kimberly!
You say: "It bothered me just a little that the Roman Catholic Church was the only denomination, the only Church tradition on earth that upheld this age-old Christian teaching rooted in Scripture, because in 1930 the Anglican Church broke from this tradition and began to allow contraception, and shortly thereafter every single mainline denomination on earth practically caved in to the mounting pressure of the sexual revolution. By the 1960's and 70's, my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, not only endorsed contraception, but abortion on demand and federal funding for abortion, and that appalled me. And I began to wonder if there wasn't a connection between giving in a little here and then all of a sudden watching the floodgates open later. I thought "No, no, you know the Catholic Church has been around for 2000 years; they're bound to get something right." We have a saying in our family that even a blind hog finds an acorn, and so it was, I thought. That was my second year."
All these church organizations are formal, man-made entities, doing their own thing because they have not known God, no matter what claims they make. If it were otherwise, there would be spontaneity and life, a nature that needs no formality or ritual. They are truly, as the Roman Church sees them, wayward children, flesh and blood of the Roman Church. Like mother, like daughters. I am not Catholic, but I disagree with Rome's daughters on abortion and contraception. Though I am not Catholic, I can agree with some of the things it says. There is some truth everywhere, with all, one way or another.
You might ask how it is that Rome is like these other churches if standing against them on these issues. Abortion and contraception are not the issues. These are simply moral issues that many can agree or disagree upon, believer or otherwise. The issue is true faith in God. In that respect the mother and daughters are alike. They are religious, they profess faith, but as the Scripture says, "Devils also believe, and tremble." They are void of the true faith, and steeped in religious works of the flesh, in which they deny the true faith. The rest of that passage goes on to say, "But will you believe, oh vain man, that faith without works is dead?" In this speech, you define works erroneously, and I will continue to address that.
You say: "During my third and final year at seminary, something happened that represented a crisis for me. I was studying covenant and I heard of another theologian studying covenant, a man by the name of Professor Shepherd in Philadelphia teaching at Westminster Seminary. I heard about Shepherd because he was being accused of heresy. People were suggesting that his heresy grew out of his understanding of the covenant. So I got some documents that he had written, some articles, and I read through them. I discovered that Professor Shepherd had come across the same conclusions that my research had led me to."
True understanding does not come by research, certainly not by the kind of which you speak.
You say: "In the Protestant world the idea of covenant is understood practically as synonymous with or interchangeable with contract. When you have a covenant with God, it's the same as having a contract. You give God your sin; He gives you Christ, and everything is a faith-deal for salvation."
Earlier you said you gave God your sins. This is not merely a poor choice of words or expression, but darkness in understanding the things of God. Why would one wish to "give God his sins?" Who can do such a thing? Why would He want them? What kind of deal or contract or covenant is that? Christ paid for our sins. We gave God nothing. The Bible is clear on that. It says:
"For we yet being without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will with difficulty die for a righteous one, yet perhaps one would even dare to die for a good one. But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8 MKJV).
Such Protestant teaching is wrong. If wrong, you learned wrongly, and nothing happened in you. Not only have you not given Him your sins, I say that you are still in your sin. If it were not so, you would understand, and not say and believe and practice the things you do, not at all. You have never known the Lord, Scott. Measuring by the standards of the Roman Church, the Presbyterian Church, Young Life or any of these organizations in which you have been involved, is erroneous. There was no contract between God and man. In order for there to be a contract, both parties would have to have powers to fulfill. Man is unable to do anything for God, much less act as an equal with Him. It is that simple.
You say: "But the more I studied, the more I came to see that for the ancient Hebrews, and in Sacred Scripture, a covenant differs from a contract about as much as marriage differs from prostitution. In a contract you exchange property, whereas in a covenant you exchange persons. In a contract you say, "This is yours and that is mine," but Scripture shows how in a covenant you say, "I am yours and you are mine." Even when God makes a covenant with us, He says, "I will be your God and you will be my people." After studying Hebrew, I discovered that 'Am, the Hebrew word for people, literally means, kinsman, family. I will be your God and father; you will be my family, my sons and my daughters, my household. So covenants form kinship bonds which makes family with God."
Let's add some context here. You need the rest of that statement, Scott. As it says:
"And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, 'I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.' Therefore
come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch
the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:15-18 MKJV).
You go on: "I read Shepherd's articles, and he was saying much of the same thing: our covenant with God means sonship. I thought, "Well, yeah, this is good." I wondered what heresy is involved in that. Then somebody told me, "Shepherd is calling into question sola fide." What! No way. I mean, that is the Gospel. That is the simple truth of Jesus Christ. He died for sins; I believe in him. He saves me, pure and simple; it's a done deal. Sola fide? He's questioning that? No way.
I called him on the phone. I said, "I've read your stuff on covenant; it makes lots of sense. I've come to pretty much the same conclusions. But why is this leading you to call into question Luther's doctrine of sola fide?" He went on to show in this discussion that Luther's conception of justification was very restricted and limited. It had lots of truth, but it also missed lots of truths."
From what I know of Luther, I would tend to agree, though I would see it differently. However, it is not a matter of "truths" so much as Truth. Many, even Rome, have truths, but to know the Truth is the issue.
You say: "When I hung up the phone, I pursued this a little further and I discovered that for Luther and for practically all of Bible Christianity and Protestantism, God is a judge, and the covenant is a courtroom scene whereby all of us are guilty criminals. But since Christ took our punishment, we get his righteousness, and he gets our sins, so we get off scot-free; we're justified. For Luther, in other words, salvation is a legal exchange, but for Paul in Romans, for Paul in Galatians, salvation is that, but it's much more than that. It isn't just a legal exchange because the covenant doesn't point to a Roman courtroom so much as to a Hebrew family room. God is not just simply a judge; God is a father, and his judgments are fatherly. Christ is not just somebody who represents an innocent victim who takes our rap, our penalty; He is the firstborn among many brethren. He is our oldest brother in the family, and he sees us as runaways, as prodigals, as rebels who are cut off from the life of God's family. And by the new covenant Christ doesn't just exchange in a legal sense; Christ gives us His own sonship so that we really become children of God."
That is provided this occurs:
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13 KJV).
There can only be a "family room" with a family. Who is of the family, and how does one get to be so?
You say: "When I shared this with my friends, they were like, "Yeah, that's Paul." But when I went into the writings of Luther and Calvin, I didn't find it any longer. They had trained me to study Scripture, but in the process, in a sense, I discovered that there were some very significant gaps in their teaching. So I came to the conclusion that sola fide is wrong. First, because the Bible never says it anywhere. Second, because Luther inserted the word "alone" in his German translation, there in Romans 3, although he knew perfectly well that the word "alone" was not in the Greek."
You judge by the letter, which serves your interpretation as you fashion it. The Bible may not insert the word "alone" along with the word "faith," but how can you say that because it does not do so in letter, that it therefore does not do so in spirit? You are wrong, Scott.
"For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10 MKJV).
Again, here is what the apostle Paul said of Abraham:
"What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh,
has found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory;
but not before God. For what says the scripture? Abraham believed God, and
it was counted to him for righteousness. Now to him that works is the reward
not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that works not, but believes
on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans
You say: "Nowhere did the Holy Spirit ever inspire the writers of Scripture to say we're saved by faith alone. Paul teaches we're saved by faith, but in Galatians he says we're saved by faith working in love. And that's the way it is in a family isn't it? A father doesn't say to his kids, 'Hey, kids, since you're in my family and all the other kids who are your friends aren't, you don't have to work, you don't have to obey, you don't have to sacrifice because, hey, you're saved. You're going to get the inheritance no matter what you do.' That's not the way it works."
Because one stone is not a gem does not mean that a second stone of a different shape and color is a gem. Furthermore, we are not talking about getting an inheritance as sons. We are talking about first becoming sons. If we are true sons, spiritual fruits will be there; if we speak of false sons (tares), religious works will be there, or other works of the flesh. You are also saying that by doing religious works, as did Cain, one can be a true son. Believing such lies kills or keeps one dead.
You say: "So I changed my mind and I grew very concerned. One of my most brilliant professors, a man named Dr. John Gerstner, had once said that if we're wrong on sola fide, I'd be on my knees outside the Vatican in Rome tomorrow morning doing penance."
This man understood nothing, having experienced nothing. To him, clearly, it was merely a matter of doctrine and philosophy, and nothing to do with change of nature. If his nature had changed, he would not be a "doctor."
You say: "Now we laughed, what rhetoric, you know. But he got the point across; this is the article from which all of the other doctrines flow. And if we're wrong there, we're going to have some homework to get done to figure out where else we might have gone wrong. I was concerned, but I wasn't overly concerned. At the time I was planning to go to Scotland to study at Aberdeen University the doctrine of the covenant, because in Scotland, covenant theology was born and developed. And I was eager to go over and study there. So I wasn't particularly concerned about resolving this issue because, after all, that could be the focus of my doctoral study."
You speak of that very kind of knowledge and learning that Paul the apostle spoke of as follows:
"For we are the circumcision who worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh; though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other thinks that he has reason to trust in the flesh, I more. I was circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As regards the Law, I was a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness in the Law, blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith..." (Philippians 3:3-9 MKJV).
Scott, you live and glory in the flesh. You have never known the true faith of God. Wise men will not know the knowledge of God, as Jesus prayed, "I thank You, O Father in Heaven, that you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes, for so it seemed good in Your sight."
Becomes Pastor of a Church in Virginia
You continue: "The phone rang. A church in Virginia, a well-known church that I had heard a lot of good about called me up and said, "Would you consider coming down to candidate for the pastorate here?" This meant preaching a trial sermon, leading a Bible study, interviewing with the elders who ran the session. I said, "Sure." I went down, preached a sermon, led a Bible study, met with the session. They said, "That was great; we want you here. In fact we'll pay you well enough so that you can study at least 20 hours a week in Scripture and theology. We want you to preach, however, at least 45 minutes each Sunday morning to open up for us the Word." 45 minutes! Can you imagine what a priest would get if he preached for 45 minutes? The next week that sanctuary and the whole Church would be empty. Here they were asking me to preach at least 45 minutes. I said, "If you insist, you know, twist my arm. Sure." And they said, "We want you to immerse us in the Word of God," and so I began."
Scott, without the Spirit of God, you are in no position, nor is any man or woman, to be teaching much of anything about God and His will and ways. If you search the Scriptures, you will find no instance of Godly instruction without the anointing. You would only be teaching the product of your own carnal reasoning, which would be at enmity with God, no matter how intelligent or "educated."
You continue: "The first thing I did was to tell them about covenant. The second thing I did was to correct their misunderstanding of covenant as contract to show them that covenant means family. The third thing I did was to show them that the family of God makes more sense of who we are and what Christ has done than anything in the Bible. God is Father, God is Son, and God through the Holy Spirit has made us one family with Him."
"But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name, (13) who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but were born of God" (John 1:12-13).
The birth does not come by water baptism, Scott. Of the new birth, the apostle Paul said:
"So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17 MKJV).
This is not mere theory or fiction; it is truth and reality. I know it by experience, and by my experience, I know these words to be real. Both of you ought to know that though many are baptized, yet they are still the same old creatures. Even many who seem to have changed by religion have only done so externally. Muslims have many such cases, as do Buddhists. But Paul speaks of definite, revolutionary, transforming changes within, which are manifest outwardly, and every man or woman that is born again cannot help but testify, and that publicly, that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every man or woman born again hears His Voice and obeys. Every man or woman born again is divided from family. I guarantee it, and Jesus too guaranteed it:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:34-39 MKJV).
You say: "And as soon as I began to preach this and teach this, it just took off like wildfire. It spread through the parish; you could see it affecting marriages and families. It was exciting. The fourth thing I did, was to teach them about liturgy and covenant and family, that in Scripture the covenant is celebrated through liturgical worship whereby God's family gathers for a meal to celebrate the sacrifice of Christ. I suggested in my preaching and teaching that maybe we ought to have the family meal, communion. I even used the word "Eucharist." They never heard it before. I said, "Maybe we ought to celebrate being God's covenant-family by communion each week." "What?" I said, "Instead of being sermon-centered, why not have the sermon be a prelude and a preparation to enter into celebrating who we are as God's family?" They loved it.
But one guy came up and said, "Every week? You know familiarity breeds contempt; you sure we should do it every week?" I said, "Well, wait a second. You know, do you say to you wife I love you only four times a year? After all, honey, familiarity breeds contempt. You know I don't want to kiss you more than four times a year." He looked and he said, "I get your point."
As we changed our liturgy, we felt a change in our lived experience as a parish but also in our families as well. It was exciting to see, and as I taught them more about the covenant, they just hungered and thirsted for still more.
Meanwhile, I was also teaching part time at the local Christian high school that met there at the church. I had some of the brightest students I have ever taught, and they also responded with enthusiasm to this covenant idea. I began to teach a course on salvation history, and at first they were scared because it was so confusing, all those names and places that you can't even pronounce much less make sense out of. So I showed them, "Hey, once you think of covenant as family, it's really quite simple." I took my students through the series of covenants in the Old Testament which led up to Christ. First, you have the covenant God makes with Adam; that's a marriage, a family bond. The second covenant is the one that God makes with Noah. That's a family, a household with Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their three wives; together they formed a family of God, a household of faith. Then in Abraham's time you actually have God's family growing to the extent where it becomes a tribal family. Then the next covenant God makes with Moses and Israel has twelve tribes that become one nation, but through the covenant they become God's national family. Until finally when Christ establishes the new covenant. Instead of having God's family identified with one nation, the distinctive greatness of the New Covenant, I taught them, was that now we have an international family, a world wide family -- a catholic family."
Yes, there is such a thing as a family in Christ, but it is not the "Catholic" Church. The Catholic Church is the counterfeit, which, to the carnal mind, can seem legitimate.
You say: "One of my students raised her hand and said, "What would this look like if we could actually redevelop it?" I drew a pyramid on the board and I said, "Think of it like a big extended family with father and mother figures at all these different levels, and all of us being brothers and sisters in Christ. I heard somebody murmur in the back, "Sure looks like the Catholic Church to me." I said, "No, no, no! What I'm giving you is the solution to the problems, the antidote to the poison." Well, Rebecca came up one day at lunch time. I was eating lunch and she said, "We took a little vote in the back of the class; it's unanimous; we all think you're going to become a Roman Catholic." I choked on my sandwich, "Quiet, quiet. I don't want to lose my job..."
It was not a matter of reality and truth to you, but of holding a job. How simply and clearly you reveal yourself by your words, Scott. I don't condemn you; I simply point out that your error is so obvious to those who know and see, and by "those," I am not referring to the indoctrinated or partisan, but those to whom God has made Himself known and has brought forth out of darkness into great light.
You continue: "...but Rebecca, I assure you that what I'm giving you is not Catholicism; it's the antidote to the poison of Catholicism." She just stood there looking at me, "No, it's unanimous, you're going to become a Catholic." And she turned around and walked away.
Well, I was stunned by that. I went home that afternoon, walked into the kitchen, saw Kimberly over by the refrigerator and I said, "You'll never guess what Rebecca said today." "Tell me what, another Rebecca story?" I said. "Well, she came up at lunch time and announced that they had taken a vote in the back of the class, and it was unanimous that I'm going to become a Roman Catholic. Can you imagine that, me becoming a Catholic?" And she wasn't laughing one bit. She just stood there staring at me, she said, "Well, are you?" It was as though somebody plunged a dagger into my back. You know, "Et tu, Brute, Kimberly? Not you, too." I said, "You know I'm a Calvinist, a Calvinist of Calvinists, a Presbyterian, an anti-Catholic. I've given away dozens of copies of Boettner's book; I've gotten Catholics to leave. I was weaned on Martin Luther." She just stood there and she said, "Yeah, but sometimes I wonder if you're not Luther in reverse." Whoa, wait a minute here! I had nothing to say.
I just slowly walked back in my study, shut the door, locked it, sank into my seat and really began to brood. I was scared. Luther in reverse. For me at one point that meant salvation in reverse. I was scared. Maybe I'm studying too much and praying too little, so I began to pray much more. I began to read more anti-Catholic books, but they just didn't make sense anymore. So I began to turn to Catholic sources and read them.
Teacher at a Presbyterian Seminary
"Meanwhile something dramatic occurred. I was approached by a seminary, a Presbyterian seminary, and asked if I would teach courses to the seminarians beginning with one Gospel of John seminar. I said, "Sure." So I began to share from the Gospel of John all about the covenant, about the family of God, about what it really means to be born again. I discovered in my study that being born again does not mean accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord and asking Him into your heart -- although that is important and every believer, Catholic or otherwise, should have Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and a living personal relationship with Him. But I discovered what Jesus meant in John 3 when He said that you've got to be born again. He turns around and says that you've got to be born of water and spirit. In the previous chapters He was just baptized with water and the Spirit descended upon Him. And as soon as He is done talking to Nicodemus about the need to be born from water and Spirit, the very next verse says that Jesus and the disciples went about baptizing. I taught that being born again is a covenant act, a sacrament, a covenant renewal involving baptism. I shared this with my seminary students; they were convinced."
1) Not having been born again, how can you teach of it?
2) It is true that being born again does not simply come by "accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord and asking Him into your heart."
3) One who is born again must of necessity "come out of her." As it says:
"And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you may not be partakers of her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4 MKJV).
In true faith and obedience, one will do just that. There will be no choice in the matter. I had no choice, if I was going to walk with the Lord, and indeed, I have been spared the plagues, which continue upon those who have remained. What is more, He is a Father to me:
"Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 MKJV).
4) The new or second birth is no "sacrament" any more than was the old or first birth. As for water baptism, it is not a covenant renewal. It is simply a one-time act of obedience.
5) "They were convinced," you say. Many can be convinced of many things, obviously. It does not make those things valid.
You say: "Meanwhile I was preparing my sermons and some lectures ahead of John chapter 3. I was delving into John chapter 6. I don't know how many of you've ever studied the Gospel of John. In many ways it's the richest Gospel of all. But John chapter 6 is my favorite chapter in the fourth Gospel. There I discovered something that I think I read before, but I never noticed. Listen to it. "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink His blood you have no life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day, for my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.'" I read that; I reread that; I looked at it from ten different angles. I bought all these books about it, commentaries on John. I couldn't understand how to make sense out of it.
I had been trained to interpret that in a figurative sense; Jesus is using a symbol. Flesh and blood really is just a symbol of His body and blood. But the more I studied, the more I realized that that interpretation makes no sense at all."
It takes the grace of God and revelation to know the truth of those words, Scott. I know the truth of those words, and you do not. One can only know them by experience, through faith, and never by carnal study, as you have claimed.
You continue: "Why? Because as soon as all the Jews hear what Jesus says, they depart. Up until this point, thousands were following him, and then all of a sudden the multitudes just simply are shocked that He says, "My flesh is food indeed, my blood is drink indeed" and they all depart. Thousands of disciples leave Him. If Jesus had intended that language to only be figurative, He would have been morally obligated as a teacher to say, "Stop, I only mean it figuratively." But He doesn't do that; instead, what does he do?
My research showed me that he turns to the twelve, and he says to them, what? "We better hire a public relations (P.R.) agent; I really blew it guys." No! He says, "Are you going to leave me too?" He doesn't say, "Do you understand I only meant it as a symbol?" No! He says that the truth is what sets us free, I have taught the truth. What are you going to do about it?
Peter stands up and speaks out; he says, "To whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life and we've come to believe." Peter's statement, "To whom shall we go?" implies that, "You know, Jesus, we don't understand what you mean either, but do you have another Rabbi on the scene you can recommend? You know, to whom shall we go? It's too late for us; we believe whatever you say even if we don't understand it fully, and if you say we have to eat your flesh and drink your blood, then somehow you'll give us the grace we need to accept your words at face value." He didn't mean it figuratively."
Where do you propose, in your "wisdom," to draw the line? If He meant it literally, then they could have bitten Him, then and there, Scott. What a horribly carnal and gruesome concept! To eat His flesh and to drink His blood is to be and to partake of Him as He is, laying down His life in obedience to the Father. Those who obey the Lord Jesus Christ must lay down their lives. They must be as He is. As John says:
In this is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, that as He is, so also we are in this world. (1 John 4:17 MKJV)
His laying down of the life was from the beginning of His ministry, if not sooner. He was constantly forsaking the things of the flesh and of the world. That is the calling of every son of His. You have never known that, Scott. Therefore it is impossible for you to understand, and for me to explain to you. I know whereof I speak. How great is your error!
You say: "As I began to study this, I began to realized it's one thing to convince Presbyterians that being born again means being baptized, but how in the world could I possibly convince them that we actually have to eat His flesh and drink His blood?"
Presbyterians are no less in the dark than are Catholics, or Methodists, or Baptists. If they can be convinced that water baptism is the new birth, it is because they have never been born again. Paul's desire was to save men. If water baptism were the new birth, why would he say, for example:
"For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect" (1 Corinthians 1:17 MKJV), or
"I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius?" (1 Corinthians 1:14 MKJV)
It is a matter of doctrine to you and to them. True baptism and obedience are both foreign to the carnal man. As it is written:
"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14 MKJV).
You say: "I focused then a little bit more on the Lord's supper and communion. I discovered that Jesus had never used the word "covenant" in His public ministry. He saved the one time for when He instituted the Eucharist and he said, "This cup is the blood of the new covenant." If covenant means family, what is it that makes us family?"
Eucharist? He instituted nothing of the kind. You read with carnal religious indoctrination, Scott. Catholic tradition contradicts the Scriptures. He was teaching the disciples the significance of the Passover, (which the Catholic Church redesigned and called "Ashtoreth") and of His death as the Lamb of God. Nowhere does it say that He was instructing them to perform a ritual from thereon in for any amount of time.
If it is the "eucharist," as you declare, and if that pertains to eating His flesh and drinking His blood, then by the following words He spoke, you would have to say that in future, He would be eating Himself and drinking His own blood:
"But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:29 MKJV).
No, Scott. I will tell you what He was talking about. He was talking about being in spiritual fellowship with His disciples once they received the Spirit (were born again). He would share that obedient laying down of the life with them, and they would be fellowshipping with Him in His sufferings and victory. I know whereof I speak, for I know Him. I repeat: you are in great error. Yet, as with the problem Jesus had with Nicodemus, how shall I explain heavenly things to you when you can't comprehend the earthly?
You say: "Sharing flesh and blood. So if Christ forms a new covenant, that is a new family, what is He going to have to provide us with? New flesh and new blood. I began to see why in the early Church for over 700 years, nobody any place disputed the meaning of Jesus' words. All of the early Church fathers without exception took Jesus' words at face value and believed and taught the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I was scared..."
Nonsense, Scott. The false believed as they pleased, and the true knew what they believed. You have a record of the false, but not of the true.
You "confess": "I didn't know who to turn to."
A revealing confession of unbelief. A believer turns to the Lord for his answers, and only the Lord can answer. True believers know that. "Let God be true, and every man a liar," says Paul.
Tradition, a Primary Pillar and Defence of Rome
You say: "Then all of a sudden an episode occurred one night in a seminar I wasn't ready for. An ex-Catholic graduate student named John raised his hand. He had just finished a presentation for the seminar on the Council of Trent. The Council of Trent, you'll recall, was the Church's official response to Martin Luther and the Reformation."
Luther may have had error, but the truths he had would have done Catholics good, had they accepted, and many did. I thank God we are free of the tyranny that was. I harbor no illusions that the Catholic Church would do any differently than it did before the Reformation if it had the opportunity and the freedom to do so. It may yet have that, and I know that I lay my life on the line speaking against the falsehood of the Roman establishment.
On Sola Scriptura
You continue: "In about an hour and a half he had presented the Council of Trent in the most favorable light. He had shown how many of their arguments were in fact based on the Bible. Then he turned the tables on me. The students were supposed to ask him a question or two. He said, "Can I first ask you a question, Professor Hahn? You know how Luther really had two slogans, not just sola fide, but the second slogan he used to revolt against Rome was sola Scriptura, the Bible alone. My question is, 'Where does the Bible teach that?'"
The Bible does not teach that. Ill-informed Bibliolaters do.
You continue: "I looked at him with a blank stare. I could feel sweat coming to my forehead. I used to take pride in asking my professors the most stumping questions, but I never heard this one before. And so I heard myself say words that I had sworn I'd never speak; I said, "John, what a dumb question." He was not intimidated. He look at me and said, "Give me a dumb answer." I said, "All right, I'll try." I just began to wing it. I said, "Well, Timothy 3:16 is the key: 'All Scripture is inspired of God and profitable for correction, for training and righteousness, for reproof that the man of God may be completely equipped for every good work....'" He said, "Wait a second, that only says that Scripture is inspired and profitable; it doesn't say ONLY Scripture is inspired or even better, only Scripture's profitable for those things. We need other things like prayer," and then he said, "What about 2 Thessalonians 2:15?" I said, "What's that again?" He said, "Well, there Paul tells the Thessalonians that they have to hold fast, they have to cling to the traditions that Paul has taught them either in writing or by word of mouth." Whoa! I wasn't ready. I said, "Well, let's move on with the questions and answers; I'll deal with this next week. Let's go on."
He was right, Scott. There is "extra-Biblical" revelation; there is prayer; there is faith and obedience; there is fasting, praising, bearing witness, and tradition... However, what were those traditions? Whatever traditions Paul spoke of would be in agreement with the Bible, and not contrary to it. For example, he warned against some traditions, like old wives' and Jewish fables:
"Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God--no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever" (1 Timothy 4:7-8 MSG).
And: "Not giving heed to Jewish myths and commandments of men, turning away from the truth" (Titus 1:14 MKJV).
Because it is tradition does not make it valid before God, Scott. How foolish to deduct so! Would you take the traditional practices with Baal and Ashtoreth because they are traditions? Rome practices pagan traditions, like the lifting up of the wafer, in worship of the Sun God, declaring it to be the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It is an unholy mixture, and an abomination in God's sight. You fought those things in ignorance, having no understanding. They have now overcome you, and you are in greater darkness than before.
Paul said: "And I progressed in Judaism beyond many contemporaries in my race, being much more a zealot of the traditions of my fathers" (Galatians 1:14 MKJV).
Of those things, he also said:
"I was circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As regards the Law, I was a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness in the Law, blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. But no, rather, I also count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them to be dung, so that I may win Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death; if by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead" (Philippians 3:5-11 MKJV).
Scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus, accusing Him and His disciples of violating tradition:
"Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread" (Matthew 15:2 MKJV). But Jesus rebuked them for their tradition, because it violated the teachings of God and of Scripture:
"But He answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" (Matthew 15:3 MKJV)
You quoted Paul speaking to the Thessalonians of honoring tradition, but why did you not think of him in speaking to the Colossians of "dishonoring" it:
"Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8 MKJV).
Why did you not think of Peter's words concerning tradition?
"Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, silver or gold, from your vain manner of life (tradition, KJV) handed down from your fathers..." (1 Peter 1:18 MKJV)
I quote this version here to point out that there is vain tradition, and to define what it is. The traditions of Rome helped me not one whit. I was in bondage with them. Christ delivered me from those lies and delusions.
You say: "I don't think they realized the panic I was in. When I drove home that night, I was just staring up to the heavens asking God, why have I never heard that question? Why have I never found an answer? The next day I began calling up theologians around the country, former professors. I'd ask them, "Where does the Bible teach sola Scriptura? Where does the Bible teach us that the Bible is our only authority?" One man actually said to me, "What a dumb question coming from you." I said, "Give me a dumb answer then." I was catching on. One professor whom I greatly respect, an Oxford theologian, said to me, "Scott, you don't expect to find the Bible proving sola Scriptura because it isn't something the Bible demonstrates. It is our assumption; it is our presupposition when we approach the Bible."
What a foolish and ignorant answer! No matter how intelligent or educated men may be, without faith, they are fools. Of course, it should not have been accepted, though you were quite prepared to believe, and did believe other lies. Of this respected Oxford theologian, it is written:
"...so that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. But, we speak wisdom among those who are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, that come to nothing" (1 Corinthians 2:5-6 MKJV).
And: "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14 MKJV).
You continue: "That struck me as odd; I said, "But professor, that seems strange because what we are saying then is that we should only believe what the Bible teaches, but the Bible doesn't teach us to only believe what the Bible teaches. Our assumption isn't taught by the Bible." I said, "That feels like we're cutting off the branch that we're sitting on." Then he said, "Well what other options do we have?" Good point, all right."
Good point? Hardly. My question for you to ponder (I know the answer to it) is, "How is it you can apply sound logic and reason so easily in some cases, and be devoid of it when so desperately needing it in others?"
Continuing: "Another friend, a theologian, called me and said, "Scott, what is this I'm hearing that you're considering the Catholic faith?" "Well, no, Art, I'm not really considering the Catholic faith." Then I decided to pose him a question. I said, "Art, what for you is the pillar and foundation of truth?" And he said, "Scott, for all of us Scripture is the pillar and foundation of truth." I said, "Then why, Art, does the Bible say in 1 Timothy 3:15 that the pillar and foundation of truth is the church, the household of faith?"
What a goldmine of opportunity for me to address you, Scott! While Art was wrong in the letter, he was right in his words, not that there is justification for contradiction of the letter with one's words. The Bible is inspired by the Word (Jesus Christ). The true Church is His Body. The two are one. He, the Lord Jesus Christ, is, in fact, our Pillar and Foundation (the Rock) of truth ("I am the...Truth"). It is all about HIM! When we become one with Him, and members of His Body, we are on that Rock. We are grounded securely when believing and abiding in Him, as a branch is connected to the trunk of a tree. He is that Tree of Life and we are the branches.
You continue: "There was a silence and he said, "Well, Scott, I think you're setting me up with that question then." And I said, "Art, I feel like I'm being set up with lots of problems." He said, "Well, which church, Scott? There are lots of them."
"Lots of them?" If he only knew! Right, and wrong. There are many false churches, though all of the same spirit, one in nature. There is only one true one, without formal structure or organization, the members of which are as the wind. As Jesus said:
"The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. That's the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8 ISV).
You continue: "I said, "Art, how many churches are even applying for the job of being the pillar and foundation of truth? I mean, if you talk about a church saying, 'We're the pillar and foundation of truth; look to us and you will hear Christ speak and teach'? How many applicants for the job are there? I only know of one. I only know that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that it was founded by Christ; it's been around for 2000 years and it's making some outlandish claims that seem awfully similar to 1 Timothy 3:15."
"Outlandish claims" is right. The true church "applies for no job," just an expression or not. It IS. You look to the outward, the carnal, that of this world. "My kingdom is not of this world." Jesus said, and, "If it was of this world, then would My servants fight." They would also tyrannize, persecute and torture, and fulfil their lusts, in the Name of Christ, as Rome did and does. Founded by Christ? Not Rome, not as His Body in any case. You had "slim pickens," Scott, and in the flesh, you chose what you deemed to be the biggest and the best.
You say: "Well, at this point I wasn't sure what to do. I got a phone call, though, one day from the chairman of the board of trustees at the seminar where I was teaching. Steve asked me out for lunch. I wasn't sure why. I thought, "Word has reached the chairman of the board that I'm teaching things that are perhaps somewhat Catholic." When I joined him for lunch, I was very scared and unsure. He proceeded to announce that the trustees had reached a unanimous decision. Because my classes were going so well, because so many people were signing up for my courses, they asked if I would consider becoming dean of the seminary at the ripe old age of 26. I couldn't believe it. He said, "We will let you teach the courses you want. We will let you hire faculty if you need them. We'll even pay for your doctoral program in theology." I said, "Where is there a doctoral program in theology nearby?" He said, "Catholic University." I thought, No, no, no. I don't want to study there; I'm fleeing that perspective at present." I really didn't say that to him because I didn't know what to say. In fact, he said, "Well, would you pray about it?" I said, "I will, but, Steve, I think I already know the answer. And oddly enough, I think I'm going to have to say no and I'm not going to be able to explain why because I'm not sure myself."
No doubt the daughters are of the mother, of like flesh and blood and spirit.
You continue: "When I got home, Kimberly was waiting for me. She said, "What did he want?" I said, "He asked me to become dean." "You're kidding!" I said, "No." "What did you say?" I said, "No." "I'm sorry, what did you say?" I said, "No." "Why did you say no?" I said, "Kimberly, because right now I'm not sure what I would teach. Right now I'm not sure what Scripture is teaching, and I know that someday I'm going to stand before Jesus Christ for judgment and it is not going to be enough for me simply to say, 'Well, Jesus, I just taught what I had been taught by my teachers.' He has shown me things from Scripture that are true and I have got to be faithful to what He has shown me."
Sorry, Scott. Decades later you know no better, seeing you are Catholic. Jesus Christ did not teach you those things, but men and devils did. I know Him; you didn't then, and don't now. That is why I write.
You continue: "She walked right over to me, threw her arms around me and gave me a big hug. Then she said, "Scott, that's what I love about you, that's why I married you, but, oh, we're going to have to pray then." She knew what it meant: It meant not only turning down this offer; it also meant resigning from a booming job as pastor of a growing church. I loved both opportunities."
Administrative Assistant to the College President
"We didn't know what we were going to do. We were high and dry in July. After a lot of prayer, we decided we ought to move back to the college town where we met. When we moved back, I applied for a job at various places, but the college hired me as an administrator to be assistant to the president. For two years I worked there, and it was rather ideal because I worked during the day and it left me free in the evenings to pursue in-depth research. From around eight in the evening after putting our children down until around one or two in the morning, I would read and study and research.
In two years time I had worked through several hundred books, and I began for the first time to read Catholic theologians and Scripture scholars. And I was shocked at how impressive their insights were but even more, at how impressive their insights were which agreed with my own personal discoveries."
No doubt the carnal mind, eating from the Tree of Knowledge, can have very impressive insights indeed. As it is written:
"And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man has become as one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever, therefore Jehovah God sent him out from the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he had been taken" (Genesis 3:22-23 MKJV).
You say: "I couldn't believe how many novel, innovative discoveries that I had come up with they were assuming and taking for granted, and it bothered me.
At times I'd come out and read sections to Kimberly and say, "Hear this, name the author." Because she was a theologian in a sense, and she was so busy with raising children that she really didn't have as much energy. But she would sit there listening in, and I would say, "Who do you think that was?" She said, "Wow! That sounds like one of your sermons down in Virginia. Oh, I miss those so much." I said, "That was Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes. That was the Catholic Church." She said, "Scott, I don't want to hear that." I said, "Kimberly, this stuff about liturgy is so exciting. I'm not certain, but I think God might be calling us to become Episcopalians." It's a halfway house. She looked at me and her eyes filled up with tears and she said, "Episcopalian!" She said, "I'm a Presbyterian, my father's a Presbyterian minister, my uncle's a Presbyterian minister, my husband was a Presbyterian minister, my brother wants to be one, and I thought about it myself. I don't want to be Episcopalian." She felt so abandoned at this moment, so betrayed.
I remember that because a few months later after reading a lot more, one night I came out and said, "Kimberly, I'm not sure, but I'm beginning to think that God might be calling me to become a Roman Catholic." This look of desperation came over her. She said, "Couldn't we become Episcopalians? Anything but Catholic." You don't know what it's like, you cradle-Catholics. You just don't know the terror that comes over you when you think you might have to swim the Tiber, you might have to "Pope", as my friends put it. Well, she was getting so desperate. She began to pray for somebody to rescue her husband -- some professor, some theologian, some friend."
If Kimberley believed, she would have sought the Lord, her Savior. If you had believed, you would have sought to bring her to faith, not to religion, to Christ and not the pope, to Jerusalem and not to Rome.
Direct Journey to Catholicism
You continue: "Finally it happened. I got a call one day from Gerry, my best friend from seminary. A Phi Beta Kappa scholar in classics and New Testament Greek. He was the only other student at seminary along with me who held to the old Protestant belief that the Pope was the anti-Christ. We stood shoulder to shoulder opposing all the compromises we saw in our Protestant brethren. He talked to me one night on the phone. I read to him a passage from a book by Father Bouyer. He said, "Wow, that is rich and profound. Who wrote it?" I said, "Louis Bouyer." "Bouyer? I'd never heard of him, what is he?" "I said, "What do you mean?" "Well, is he a Methodist?" I said, "No." "Is he a Baptist?" "No." "I mean is he Lutheran? What is this, twenty questions? What is he?" I said, "Well, he's a Cath-----." "I'm sorry I missed that." I said, "He's Roman Cath-----." "Wait a second, there must be a bad connection, Scott. I thought you said he's Catholic." I said, "Gerry, I did say he's Catholic and he is Catholic, and I've been reading lots of Catholics."
All of a sudden it started gushing out like Niagara Falls. I said, "I've been reading Danielou, and Ratzinger and de Lubac and Garrigou-Lagrange and Congar, and all these guys and man is it rich; you've got to read them, too." He said, "Slow down." He said, "Scott, your soul may be in peril." I said, "Gerry, can I give you a list of titles?" He said, "Sure, I'll read them, anything to save you from this kind of trap. And I'll give you these titles." He mentioned to me about ten titles of anti- Catholic books. I said, "Gerry, I've read every single one of them, at least one or two times." He said, "Send me the list," and I sent it to him.
About a month later, we arranged to have a long phone conversation. Kimberly couldn't have been more excited; at last a Phi Beta Kappa knight in shining armor coming to rescue her husband from the clutches of Romanism. So she was waiting with bated breath when the conversation was done, and I told her that Gerry's excited because he's reading all this stuff and he's really taking me seriously. She said, "Oh, great, I knew he would."
Well, this went on for three or four months. We would talk on the phone, two, three, sometimes four hours long distance discussing theology and Scripture until three or four in the morning. Kimberly was so glad and grateful for him taking me so seriously.
One night I came to bed around two or three; she was still up. The light was out, but she sat up in bed and said, "How's it going?" I said, "It's great." "Tell me about it." I said, "Gerry is almost intoxicated and excited about all the truth from Scripture that the Catholic Church puts forth." "WHAT!" I couldn't see her face, but I could almost feel it sink as she just slumped back down into bed, put her face into her pillow and began to sob. I couldn't even put my arm around her; she was just so wounded and abandoned.
A little while later Gerry called and said, "Listen, I'm a little scared. My friends are a little scared. We ought to really take this seriously. I talked to Doctor John Gerstner, this Harvard-trained Presbyterian, anti-Catholic theologian . He will meet with us as long as we want." We arranged Gerry, Dr. Gerstner and me for a six hour session, going through the Old Testament in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek, and the council documents of Church history. At the end of six hours, Gerry and I expected to be completely blown out of the water by this genius. Instead, what we discovered was that the Catholic Church almost doesn't even need a defense. It's more like a lion; just let it out of its cage and it takes care of itself. We just presented the Church's teachings and showed the text in Scripture, and we didn't feel like he had answered a single one of our questions or objections. In the end we were like, "Wow, what does this mean?" Neither of us knew. The most anti-Catholic seminarians wondering whether God might be a Catholic -- we were terrified."
That the man is "Harvard-trained, Presbyterian, anti-Catholic, and a theologian" says he could not help you to come to a knowledge of the truth. He was in darkness himself. How could he then bring light to you? I have given you the Scriptural backing for this.
You say: "Meanwhile, I sent an application off to Marquette University because I had heard they had a few really outstanding theologians who were based on the covenant who were studying the Church and doing lots of good things. Right before I heard back from them that I was accepted, and I got a scholarship, I began to visit a few priests in the area. I was scared. I'd do it at night so nobody would see me. I almost felt dirty and defiled stepping into the rectory. I'd sit down and finally get some questions out and, to a man, each priest would say to me, "Let's talk about something else besides theology." None of them wanted to discuss my questions. One of them actually said, "Are you thinking of converting? No, you don't want to do that. Ever since Vatican II we discourage that. The best thing you can do for the Church is just be a good Presbyterian minister." I said, "Wait a second, Father..." "No, just call me Mike." I said, "OK, Mike. I'm not asking you to break my arm and force me in. I think God is calling me." He said, "Well, if you want help from me, you've come to the wrong man."
After three or four or five encounters like this, I was confused. I shared it with Kimberly. She said, "You've got to go to a Catholic school where you can study full time, where you can hear it from the horse's mouth, where you can make sure that the Catholic Church you believe in still exists." She had a good point. So after a lot of prayer and preparation, we moved to Milwaukee where I studied for two years full-time in their doctoral program."
Scott, and Kimberly, did Moses or Samuel send the people to the nations about them to learn of their gods in order to come to a knowledge of the truth? Indeed, God warned them against even thinking it. Did Jesus send disciples to learn from the Pharisees, or Sadducees, or Essenes in order to come to a knowledge of the truth? Those who went in those directions were snared and taken in them, as you were. As it is written:
"For the ways of man are before the eyes of Jehovah, and He watches all his paths. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be held with the cords of his sin. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray" (Proverbs 5:21-23 MKJV).
And: "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life; to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart; nor let her take you with her eyelids" (Proverbs 6:23-25 MKJV).
And: "With her much fair speech (by all her theologians) she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goes after her immediately, like an ox goes to the slaughter, or like a fool to the correction of the stocks; until a dart strikes through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare and does not know that it is for his soul. And now listen to me, sons, and attend to the words of my mouth. Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not go astray in her paths. For she has cast down many wounded; yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the rooms of death" (Proverbs 7:21-27 MKJV).
Do I know whereof I speak, Scott? I assure you that I do. But it will take the Lord to give you to know that. It is only in my power to speak; it is not in my power to make one understand.
You continue: "Those two years were the richest years of study I ever experienced and the richest time of prayer as well. I found myself in some seminars, though, where I was actually the lone Protestant defending the Church's teaching against the attacks coming from Catholics. It was weird. John Paul's teaching, for instance, which is so Scriptural and so "covenantal," I was explaining to these people. But there were a few good theologians who made so much sense out of it all. I really enjoyed the time. But something happened along the way, actually two things.
First, I began to pray a rosary. I was very scared to do this. I asked the Lord not to be offended as I tried."
Why would you make such a request, except out of ignorance and unbelief? If acceptable to Him, He would not be offended. If not acceptable, yes, it would be an offense to Him. However, He was not offended as with a son, because you were not His son. Yet He knew you would be taken over, because you were after religion, to the satisfaction of the flesh, of the carnal mind, and not after Him, and truth, and righteousness. If concerned about doing it right, how can one do something wrong right, or right wrong, seeing He looks at the heart?
You continue: "I proceeded to pray, and as I prayed I felt more in my heart what I came to know in my mind: I am a child of God. I don't just have God as my Father and Christ as my brother; I have His Mother for my own.
A friend of mine who had heard I was thinking about the Catholic Church called up one day and said: "Do you worship Mary like those Catholics do?" I said, "They don't worship Mary; they honor Mary." "Well, what's the difference?" I said, "Let me explain. When Christ accepted the call from His Father to become a man, He accepted the responsibility to obey the law, the moral law which is summarized in the Ten Commandments. There's a commandment which reads, 'Honor your father and mother.'" I said, "Chris, in the original Hebrew, that word "honor," kaboda, that Hebrew word means to glorify, to bestow whatever glory and honor you have upon your father and mother. Christ fulfilled that law more perfectly than any human by bestowing His glory upon His heavenly Father and by taking His own divine glory and honoring His Mother with it. All we do in the rosary, Chris, is to imitate Christ who honors His Mother with His own glory. We honor her with Christ's glory."
That may sound convincing to the unlearned but the error of it is obvious to those who know the Lord and the Scriptures. As Jesus said to the Sadducees, "You do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power thereof." Jesus Himself had to forsake His mother, family and friends:
"Jesus said to her, Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4 MKJV).
"And hearing, those with Him went out to take hold of Him; for they said, He is insane" (Mark 3:21 MKJV).
"Then His brothers and His mother came. And standing outside, they sent to Him, calling Him. And the crowd sat about Him, and they said to Him, Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking for You. And He answered them, saying, Who is My mother, or My brothers? And
He looked around on those who sat about Him, and said, Behold My mother and
My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, the same is My brother and
My sister and My mother" (Mark 3:31-35 MKJV).
Scott and Kimberly, do you not know these things? Do you not see them?
Jesus never prayed to His mother, and He never used a pagan prayer tool such as the rosary. He spoke against repetitious prayers as a "tradition" of the heathen, who think to repeat same prayers to be heard.
You mince words, Scott, having willingly deceived yourself. You pray to the one to whom you attribute great worth (worth-ship). "Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners..." How could she not be worshiped as God, if His Mother!?! You do dishonor to Him and to all saints (again, all those that believe). How simple is the truth, but how hidden to the simple ones!
You continue: "The second thing that happened was when I quietly slipped into the basement chapel down at Marquette, Gesu. They were having a noon Mass and I had never gone to Mass before. I slipped in. I sat down in the back pew. I didn't kneel. I didn't genuflect, I wouldn't stand. I was an observer; I was there to watch. But I was surprised when 40, 50, 60, 80, or 100 ordinary folk just walked in off the street for midday Mass, ordinary folk who just came in, genuflected, knelt and prayed. Then a bell rang and they all stood up and Mass began. I had never seen it before.
The Liturgy of the Word was so rich, not only the Scripture readings. They read more Scripture, I thought, in a weekday Mass than we read in a Sunday service. But their prayers were soaked with Biblical language and phrases from Isaiah and Ezekiel. I sat there saying, "Man, stop the show, let me explain your prayers. That's Zechariah; that's Ezekiel. Wow! It's like the Bible coming to life and dancing out on the center stage and saying, 'This is where I belong.'"
"Liturgy?" When did Jesus ever practice, teach, or institute such an abomination? As for the lack of Scripture, it does not say much for the Sunday "services," (which services, by the way, are very Catholic, and antiChrist, in that they are formal and ceremonial to varying extents). As for the Scriptures, they are quoted, repeated, ceremonialized, but not believed. "In vain do they worship Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me," said Jesus. This I know, because I was there, for years, in several churches. I was in a minor seminary for one year, attending mass every day. It was "churchianity," religion, ceremony, ritual, formality...all the spiritual components of Satan, and his glory, "savoring the things that are of men," but with no reality. There was emotion, comfort, excitement, passion, learning, but no true, valuable, necessary, life-giving substance. Whatever was did not last nor did it serve well in the long run...yea, not even in the short.
You continue: "Then the Liturgy of the Eucharist began. I watched and listened as the priest pronounced the words of consecration and elevated the host. And I confess, the last drop of doubt drained away at that moment. I looked and said, "My Lord and my God." As the people began going forward to receive communion, I literally began to drool, "Lord, I want you. I want communion more fully with you. You've come into my heart. You're my personal Savior and Lord, but now I think You want to come onto my tongue and into my stomach, and into my body as well as my soul until this communion is complete."
Yes, the flesh. Now you understand why there are 1.3 billion Catholics, and a Muslim nation growing worldwide with religious works, and Mormons and JW's and Buddhists increasing in significant numbers. As it is written:
"Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they're just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important" (Colossians 2:23 MSG).
"Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh" (Colossians 2:23 KJV).
You continue: "And as soon as it began, it was over. People stuck around for a minute or two for thanksgiving and then left. And eventually, I just walked out and wondered, what have I done? But the next day I was back, and the next, and the next. I couldn't tell a soul. I couldn't tell my wife. But in two or three weeks I was hooked. I was head over heels in love with Christ and His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. It became the source and the summit and the climax of each day, and I still couldn't tell anybody."
That which is physical is physical, else life and creation have no meaning. As Paul wrote:
"So as we now know no one according to flesh, but even if we have known Christ according to flesh, yet now we no longer know Him so. So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 MKJV).
You continue: "Then one day Gerry called me on the phone. He'd been reading hundreds of books himself. He called to announce, "Leslie and I have decided that we're going to become Catholics this Easter, 1986." I said, "Now wait a second, Gerry. You were supposed to stop me from joining; now you think you're going to beat me to the table? This isn't fair." He said, "Listen, Scott, I don't know what objections or questions you've got left, but all of ours are answered." I said, "So are mine." He said, "Well, look, I'm not going to pry."
When I hung up the phone, it occurred to me that delaying obedience for me was becoming almost like disobedience. God had made it so clear in Scripture on Mary, on the Pope..."
Call no man "Father" said Jesus, obviously speaking in a spiritual context, for He also said to call no man "Rabbi" or "Master" (Teacher with a capital 'M'), but you call "Papa" the "Most Holy Father." None of these doings have anything to do with truth, faith, and obedience to God, Scott.
You continue: "...even on Purgatory from 1 Corinthians 3:15"
What a proof text! Purgatory? No wonder you can make any kind of doctrine out of anything you please!
As to the reality of purging, I've been there. It does exist, but it is even here and now. I have been purged. It is a state and process, Scott, for all those who will enter the Kingdom. "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire," said John of Jesus. "All men will be salted with fire," said Jesus. It is not the carnally imagined place Catholic doctrine makes it out to be.
You continue: "...and following, on the saints as God's family, as my brothers and sisters in Christ. I was explaining to friends of mine how the Family of God is the master idea which makes sense out of all the Catholic faith. Mary's our mother, the Pope is a spiritual father, the saints are like brothers and sisters..."
God does have His family, and it is nothing like the usurpation and misrepresentation the Catholic Church is. Mary, your mother? The Pope, your spiritual Father? Let's take a closer look at this. Mary is the "Mother of God," yet created by God, God is your Creator, Who has no beginning, and therefore no mother or father, but Mary is His mother, and then she is also your mother? Then, if God is Spirit, and is your Father, the Pope is your spiritual Father (capital "f") too? You call a man "Father" when Jesus said only One, not two, is your Father (if you are born again), even God? As it is written:
"But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers. And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven. Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ" (Matthew 23:8-10 MKJV).
In other words, there are to be no such "representations," Scott. All such are idols.
As to the saints, they are not "like" brothers and sisters; they ARE brothers and sisters. All who do the will of God are mothers, brothers and sisters. All those born again are saints and brethren. Indeed, you were always Catholic; you had only to change labels. Those with you in former circles are also Catholics. Catholics are not the family of God. They are simply Christ-professing unbelievers. Don't get me wrong, Scott: I do not condemn Catholics or anyone else. You and they are destined for God's salvation too. None will be left out. In the meantime, we must speak as things are, and not only as they will be, as we are given to speak. You have great need of repentance.
You continue: "... the Eucharist is a family meal, the feast days are like anniversaries and birthdays."
The true "eucharist" is faith and obedience to Jesus Christ, Who is Lord, as I have already explained. The Lord will have obedience, which is better than sacrifice. As to anniversaries and birthdays, only three birthday anniversaries are mentioned in Scripture as celebrated, and death accompanied each and every one. One was with the Pharaoh, who beheaded his baker, one was with Job's children, who all died in their revelry, and one was with Herod, on which day John, a dear brother, was beheaded.
A former but repentant practicer of witchcraft has said that the most important event for witches is the birthday anniversary. That is because this realm of the flesh is so important to the carnal man. Did you not notice that all the feasts God instituted were solemn, and none commemorated Jesus' birth, or anyone else's? Yet the Catholic Church has adopted the celebration and worship of the birthday of the sun god near the date of the winter solstice, December 25, pretending to put Christ into it. No wonder! Constantine was a sun god worshiper to his grave. It is a matter of record.
Did you know that the celebration of one's annual birth-day is a pagan ritual from Babylon, focusing on serving the sun, moon, planets and constellations? Did God not say to NOT learn the ways of the gentiles (Jeremiah 10)? Did you know that the birthday cake was baked for the "Queen of Heaven?" Or do you care? Do you prefer to be a member of Mystery, Babylon the Great? Will you justify yourself to retain man's favor instead of having God's? Do you think God will wink at your contrary ways? Do you think you are justified because billions believe and practice the same?
Which will you choose: "Might is right," or Right is might?" If you choose the former, you will die, as did Goliath. If the latter, you will have to surrender and forsake any mights (real or perceived) you may have, but you will have life.
Scott, it is not about this world or this life, though they are crucibles and scaffolds, and God has made that well known. You dwell in this world, and speak as the world, because you and your wife have never tasted the world to come and Life. The unregenerate listen to you, and admire you, Scott, and the Scriptures explain:
"They are of the world, therefore they speak of the world, and the world hears them" (1 John 4:5 MKJV).
You say: "We are God's family. I'm not an orphan; I've got a home. I'm just not there yet. I began to ask the Lord, "What do you want me to do? Gerry's going to join. What do you want me to do?" And the Lord just turned the tables and said, "What do you want to do?" I said, "That's easy. I want to come home. I want to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist." And I just had this sense that the Lord was saying to me, "I'm not stopping you." So I thought, I'd better talk to the one person who wanted to.
So I went downstairs and I said, "Kimberly, you'll never guess what Gerry and Leslie are planning to do." "What?" She had already given up hope at this point. "They're going to become Catholics this Easter, 1986." She looked at me and with insight - - she knows me so well and she still loves me -- she said, "So what? What difference does that make? You gave me your personal promise that you wouldn't join until 1990 at the earliest." I said, "Yeah, you remind of that; that's right, I did. But I could be dispensed from that if you felt..." "No, no, don't...." "Would you pray about it?" "Don't spiritualize away your promises, Scott." I said, "But Kimberly, you don't want to hear this, you don't want to read this, you don't want to discuss it. But for me to delay obedience to something that God has made so clear, it becomes disobedience." I knew Kimberly loved me enough to never allow me or pressure me to disobey my Lord and Savior. She said, "I'll pray about it, but I have to tell you, I feel betrayed. I feel abandoned. I have never felt so alone in my life. All my dreams are dying because of this." But she prayed, and God bless her, she came back and she said, 'This is the most painful thing in my life, in our marriage, but I think it's what God wants me to do.'"
You continue: "That Easter vigil of 1986..."
"Easter?" Ask yourselves, Scott and Kimberly, how it is that "THE Vicar" of Christ, every one of them throughout many centuries, would approve of such a name when Christ had condemned it? As it is written:
"Be vigilant, listen obediently to these words that I command you so that you'll have a good life, you and your children, for a long, long time, doing what is good and right in the eyes of GOD, your God. When GOD, your God, cuts off the nations whose land you are invading, shoves them out of your way so that you displace them and settle in their land, be careful that you don't get curious about them after they've been destroyed before you. Don't get fascinated with their gods, thinking, "I wonder what it was like for them, worshiping their gods. I'd like to try that myself." Don't do this to GOD, your God. They commit every imaginable abomination with their gods. GOD hates it all with a passion. Why, they even set their children on fire as offerings to their gods! Diligently do everything I command you, the way I command you: don't add to it; don't subtract from it" (Deuteronomy 12:28-32 MSG).
"So I warned the children not to act like their parents or follow their evil ways or worship their idols" (Ezekiel 20:18 CEV).
Here is a perfect example of the blasphemy and impudence of Rome toward God. I quote:
"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles...From
the beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants
the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the
first" (Catholic Press [Sidney, Australia], Aug. 25, 1900).
"Principles"? What about "iniquity"? More quotes:
"You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find
a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce
the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we (Catholics) never sanctify" (James
Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 89).
"Sunday is our mark of authority. The church is above the Bible, and this
transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact. Any Protestant who
keeps Sunday acknowledges this" (Catholic Record of London, Ontario, Sept 1,
Men establish a religious organization, claim Jesus did it, and then do as they please against Him and His Word. Another quote:
"If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist
is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew...Is it not strange that those
who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this
matter the TRADITION of the Catholic Church?" (The Question Box, p. 179, Cardinal
Yes, it is strange, and contradictory. Have I not said that the "Protestants" are flesh and bone of the Roman Catholic Church? Rome claims that the Sabbath was changed at the time of Christ. True or not, it is evil and antiChrist. Here is a quote concerning the time of change:
"The earliest recognition of the observation of Sunday as a legal duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A. D. enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday (venerabili die Solis), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor." Encyclopedia
Britannica, ninth edition, article "Sunday."
Now how does the tradition of the Catholic Church sit with Jesus Christ, in the Bible, His Word, of which Rome blasphemously and presumptuously claims to be the "Mother"? Let us quote the One Who speaks truth, and Who IS Truth:
"Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 5:17-19 MKJV).
Not one jot or one tittle. Have heaven and earth yet passed, Scott and Kimberly? Jesus said:
"But He answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the
commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and mother'; and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him die by death.' But you say, Whoever says to his father or mother, Whatever you would gain from me, It is a gift to God; and in no way he honors his father or his mother. And you voided
the commandment of God by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 'This
people draws near to Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they worship Me, teaching for
doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:3-9 MKJV).
Did God not foretell these things by the prophets? As it is written:
"And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and plot to change times and laws. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and one-half time" (Daniel 7:25 MKJV).
The Sunday replacing the Sabbath is one of many transgressions of Rome, as I have already more than amply described, and I have barely begun. Who in good conscience can deny these things?
Yet the reward is sure for those who worship Him in spirit and in truth, though they suffer for a time, and they will prevail in the end:
"But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his rulership, to cut off and to destroy until the end. And the kingdom and rulership, and the greatness of the kingdom under all the heavens, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. And all kingdoms shall serve and obey Him" (Daniel 7:26-27 MKJV).
Read in our section The Sabbath.
There is no true sole "Vicar" of Christ as the Roman Church pretends. He is
no more a successor of Peter than is an ass. He is a successor of Constantine,
a pagan worshiper who established Sunday in honor of HIS god. He it is that
conveniently politicized religion for power. That is the birth and origin of
the "Holy, Roman Catholic Church...very Roman, very catholic, but not in the
least holy...and that alone was the way Constantine envisioned and purposed
You continue: "...she actually accompanied me to the vigil Mass where I received my -- what I like to call my -- sacramental grand slam: conditional baptism, first confession, Confirmation and then, God be raised, Holy Communion. When I came back I felt her crying, and I put my arm around her and we began to pray. The Lord said to me, "Look, I'm not asking you to become a Catholic in spite of your love for Kimberly, because I love her more than you do. I'm asking you to become a Catholic because of your love. Because you don't have the strength to love her as much as I want you to love her, I'll give you what you lack in Holy Communion." I thought, "Well, try to explain that to her." And I had this sense of peace slowly come when He said, "I will in due time; you just back off. You're not the Holy Spirit; you can't change her heart." The next few days and the next few weeks and months she still wasn't interested. It was hard."
Scott, I solemnly tell you, and Kimberly, that what you heard was not the Voice of the Lord Jesus Christ at all. I stake, and have staked my life on it. I now know Him, and you were hearing from another, and not the True. I tell you, the day is here to witness the exposure and judgment of the Roman Church.
Have you ever investigated the origin and meaning of "Vaticanus"? It is your foundation, and not the Rock that is Christ.
You say: "I ended up taking a job down in Joliet teaching for a few years at a college there. Right before we moved something happened which the Lord did. We had a third baby, Hannah. When Hannah was conceived, I was really scared. Scared for lots of reasons but never so scared as I was one Sunday morning when Kimberly was only four months pregnant. We were standing in her church singing the last stanza of the last hymn, and she turned to me. She was white as a ghost and she said, "I don't feel good, I'm hemorrhaging." She sat down and laid in the pew while everybody just began to leave the sanctuary. I panicked. I didn't know what to do; she was white as a ghost. I ran to a pay phone. I called up our O.B. I said, "Where is he?" "Well, we don't know where Dr. Marmion is. It's the weekend and he might be out of town." "Could you page him?" "We'll page him and he'll call back if he's around." I hung up. I was in a panic. I began to pray to St. Gerard, to everybody. I just asked the Lord Jesus Christ to help us. Ten seconds, maybe fifteen went by and the phone rang. I picked it up and said, "Hello." "Scott?" "Yes." "Dr. Marmion here." I said, "Pat, where are you?" He said, "Where are you?" I said, "I'm outside the city in this particular borough." "Where?" "At this church." "Where in the church are you?" "I'm right outside the sanctuary by the pay phone." He said, "This is unbelievable. I just happen to be visiting that church this morning. I'm calling from the basement. I'll be right up." He ran up the stairs in four or five, maybe eight seconds. He said, "Where is she?" I said, "There she is." He ran over and began administering help to her. She got in the car. We sped off to (thankfully) St. Joseph hospital and Kimberly's life was spared, the baby's life was spared, and eventually Hannah was born.
I just had this sense that the Lord was so much closer to us and to our marriage which seemed more broken down than I realized. I began to pray, "What are we going to do with a new baby?" Kimberly approached me right before Hannah was born, and she said, "I'm not sure exactly why, but the Lord has impressed upon me that Hannah is to be a child of reconciliation. I'm not sure what it means." We hugged and we began to pray about it.
After Hannah was born, Kimberly approached me. She said, "I'm not sure why, but I I think the Lord wants me to have Hannah baptized in the Catholic Church." I said, "What!" She said, "I'm not sure but yes." We went through this baptism liturgy together. Monsignor Bruskewitz, the priest who brought me in, is just the noblest prince of a godly man. He's now Bishop of Lincoln and he did this private liturgy so well, so filled with tradition and Scripture, that half way through it when he said, "Alleluia, alleluia," in one of the liturgical prayers, Kimberly almost jumped out of her socks. She said, "Alleluia! Oh, I'm sorry." He said , "No, I wish Catholics would do that; this is good."
As a result of this liturgical celebration of baptism, she photocopied the baptismal liturgy and sent it to her family and friends. But she still wasn't ready to go into these debates. She began to read and to pray. I just tried to back off more and more."
Scott and Kimberly, it is subjective, and deception. The Lord was not speaking. It was "another Jesus," preaching "another gospel." I do not know this by comparison of doctrine; I do not "know" this from prejudice or bias; I know this as a son of God. I speak to you by Him.
Trip to the Vatican in Rome
"I want to insert one thing. My father passed away just last December (1990), the man who taught me to love calling God "Father". In January my father-in-law invited me to join him and a very small group of people who are battling hard core pornography which is spilling into Eastern Europe over to the Vatican for a colloquium and a private audience with Pope John Paul II. My father-in-law, the Presbyterian minister, inviting me to meet the Pope?"
Why not? Have I not said that all are one in darkness, mother and daughters?
You continue: "I said, "Yes." So last January I not only met with the Pope in this small group, but I also was invited to join him in his private chapel for Friday morning Mass at 7:00 a.m. I was just a few feet away from him and I felt him praying. You could hear him praying with his head in his hands, carrying the weight of the Church with all of its burdens in his heart."
There is no greater a proponent of the worship ("honor") of Mary than John Paul II. He is the modern prince of the glorification of the "queen of heaven," which Mary today is called, as was recorded by Jeremiah and other prophets.
You continue: "As he celebrated the Mysteries of the Holy Mass, I made a resolution, actually two of them: to enter more deeply each day into the Mass and into this ministry that he has to pray for him. But the second resolution was to share with my brothers and sisters in Christ about our Holy Father, and how Christ has graced us with an incredible family, with the Blessed Virgin Mary to be our own spiritual Mother, with Pope John Paul II to be a guide and a spiritual father-figure to lead all of us in worshipping our heavenly Father, with saints as brothers and sisters, to know ourselves as God's family, but most of all, with the Holy Eucharist to know ourselves around the table as a household of God, His own children. What privileges we have; what graces He's given!"
You will know the cost of those privileges, and the error of what you have believed. We have spoken to you the truth, Scott and Kimberly. We have written with no ill will whatsoever toward you or toward the Roman Catholic Church or anyone. Our desire is to see righteousness prevail in all the earth. The will of God be done.
Here is what will be, and for that, we can be very thankful.
"And a Shoot goes out from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. And He is made to breathe in the fear of Jehovah. And He shall not judge according to the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears. But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and shall decide with uprightness for the meek of the earth. And He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His heart. Also the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the cub lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:1-9 MKJV).
In The Lord Jesus Christ,