by Jackie Alnor
June 15, 2007
There are forces at work within the Roman Catholic Church that are tired of being nice and ecumenical. The need for outward shows of brotherhood like the ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) document is a thing of the past. They are beginning to show their true colors. The bait is no longer sweet and the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction.
The change in strategy has been made possible by a new popularity for things Catholic that began with the opening of Mel Gibsonâs film “The Passion of the Christ.” Best-selling Catholic books in Evangelical bookstores by Catholic cross-over authors such as Brennan Manning and Peter Kreeft gave Rome another big boost.
Another reason for the no-more-mister-nice-guy platform is the revival of mysticism in the Evangelical church. The Emerging Church has popularized dead Catholics such as Thomas Merton and closet homosexual Henri Nouwen and seek the ancient wisdom from living ones such as Thomas Keating.
This new self-assurance no doubt contributed to this weekâs endorsement by Pope Benedict XVI of a document “that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.” It has always been the true Catholic position that they are the “one true church,” but it had been downplayed for years while ecumenical efforts were driving RCC public relations campaigns. Now the mask is off!
This weekâs front page news that the RCC Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled out of court to make the biggest pedophile payoff in history of over $600 million to victims of the churchâs sexual abuse wonât shake their self-confidence. A RCC website called “fisheaters” is on the offense â and boy, are they offensive! Just the name fish-eater is a clue of their intention to devour those people who have the sign of the fish on their bumpers.
Check out their clergy sexual abuse page. The intro reads:
“I truly don’t want to have to have to make this page, but I hear so much about those ‘perverted Roman Catholic priests’ from some Protestants, I decided to demonstrate that clergy sexual abuse is a problem for ALL of us. I want to state that I am of the opinion that most clergy, be they Protestant, Jewish or Roman Catholic, are good men with good intentions and are not like the fellows in the following accounts. Perhaps after reading the following, we can move on to the topic of SOUND DOCTRINE, leave aside the gossip, and see the horror of sexual abuse for what it is: a most grievous human sin of which people in all denominations can be guilty.”
That is followed by many condensed accounts of sexual abuse in other religious circles, mainly mainline denominations as well as Jewish. The list of horror stories ends with the words, “Have we had enough? Let’s pray for the victims of these sinners!” And below that is a link to their “Defense of Catholicism” page. The message basically says that churchgoers are stuck with pedophile ministers so they might as well be ones in the Mother church.
Another bolster to Romeâs new self-confidence are a few high profile Evangelical converts to Catholicism such as Francis Beckwith, the 57 th president of the Evangelical Theological Society until last May when he was run out for his unwise conversion. He will be featured on an upcoming episode of EWTNâs The Journey Home, set for taping on September 24, 2007. This program on the Catholic channel features the testimonies of Protestants who have turned in their Bible for a missal.
Fishy Calvary Chapel
Dr. Beckwithâs itinerary is full of upcoming speaking engagements at both Catholic and Christian events. Surprisingly, one of these is a Calvary Chapel — North Coast Calvary Chapel in Carlsbad, California at their monthly Mars Hill seminar on July 27 â 28, 2007. His topics will be “Christians as Citizens: A Biblical Reflection” and “âIn the Back of the Secular Bus?â How Secular Liberalism Marginalizes Christian Citizens.” This seminar doesnât resemble the Apostle Paulâs activities in ancient Greece; perhaps it was named after the face on the planet Mars. Last monthâs Mars Hill attraction was Talbotâs J. P. Moreland, whose recent book has promoted Catholic mystics and the contemplative movement.
It seems out of place to find a Roman Catholic theologian featured at a Calvary Chapel whose distinctives put the Bible front and center and do verse-by-verse Bible studies. However, there are some men who have used the name as a calling card to attract Christians and once their pews are full have dropped the affiliation. This one might be such a Calvary Chapel since they openly identify themselves with Bill Hybelsâ Willow Creek Church, a leader in the seeker-friendly Church Growth Movement. [If you go to Willow Creek Associationâs home page and go to the "Find a Church" link you will get the "Find a WCA Member Church" directory. Type in the words "Calvary Chapel" and put in California in the pull-down menu, and Shazzam! â out comes North Coast Calvary Chapel â the only Calvary Chapel that comes up.]
The pastor at NCCC is Mark Foreman. One look at his “Recommended Reading List” and it becomes obvious that this pastor identifies with the Emerging Church. He lists books by questionable authors such as Brennan Manning, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Donald Miller and other Emerging Church/Contemplative Prayer advocates. Perhaps Pastor Mark hasnât read the Calvary Chapel Fellowshipâs official statement against these ideas or if he has he doesnât care.
A quick Google search of Pastor Mark Foreman reveals that he had recently participated in a fund-raising dinner on behalf of apostate Fuller Seminary.” In the course of the evening, Fuller President Richard Mouw spoke about the seminaryâs âCall to Serve in a Changing World,â and Robert Schuller III, who currently attends Fuller, delivered a talk on âWhy Fuller Matters.â Schuller is grandson of Robert H. Schuller, founding pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.” What strange bedfellows for a Calvary Chapel pastor, especially considering Fuller President Mouwâs open endorsement of the Mormon Church.
Any Bible-believing Christian who thinks it is okay to enter into spiritual cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church had better wake up and smell the incense. Now that the Pope has revealed what he really thinks about Christians who are not Catholic, those who ignore that are likely to get caught up in a net with other unsuspecting fish and end up on Benedictâs plate some Friday evening.
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:16-18.