Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Richard Abanes Speaks For Rick Warren And Clarifies His Position

People are slowly beginning to notice that there is a bit of controversy bubbling up concerning a recent meeting Rick Warren had with a couple of his more well known critics. As I mention in Ken Silva: The Bloodied Ground Upon Which I Stand Concerning Rick Warren I did receive an invitation from Warren, who is pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, to attend. In addition I also reminded people in that Apprising Ministries piece that I happen to be a former Roman Catholic and a fellow SBC pastor with Warren.

Unfortunately there is now a bit of a smokescreen serving to obfuscate and even obscure some the issues surrounding why it is there are those of us who are critical of Warren in the first place. From speaking with Bob DeWaay of the fine ministry Critical Issues Commentary and pastor of Twin City Fellowship I know that Rick Warren very “likely…believes Baptist doctrine,” which DeWaay covers in his Statement. Frankly, I never really doubted that for the simple reason that “Baptist doctrine” can mean a lot of things.

So I have felt led of the Lord right now to draw attention back onto the obvious ecumenicism of Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren, and most specifically as it relates to apostate Roman Catholicism. With this as background self-styled Rick Warren apologist Richard Abanes has recently written:

Warren’s views of Roman Catholicism are similar to those held by a number of conservative, Bible-believing, evangelicals including myself, Ron Rhodes, Gretchen Passantino-Cobern (Answers In Action), Hank Hanegraaff (president of the Christian Research Institute), and Dr. Norman Geisler, co-author with Ralph MacKenzie of Roman Catholics and Evangelicals (Baker Books, 1995).

Of particular relevance, is the book by Geisler and MacKenzie—both of whom are well-respected evangelical apologists. In their volume they discuss the many differences and similarities between Protestants and Roman Catholics.

In fact, PART ONE of his book is dedicated to “Areas of Doctrinal Agreement” that lists eight major areas of doctrine that he says evangelicals share with Roman Catholics (120 pages worth). And on top of that, his entire PART THREE is dedicated to “Areas of Practical Cooperation” that includes social action, educational goals, spiritual heritage, and evangelism (see pp. 359-429).

Unfortunately, many of Warren’s critics are vehemently anti-Roman Catholic, and this prejudice has often colored their views of other evangelical leaders—one case in point, Rick Warren. For a quick, yet thorough look at Roman Catholicism from a balanced perspective, I recommend the numerous articles available from the Christian Research Institute on the subject (see resource list).

The More Things Change The More They Stay Exactly The Same

By the way, the Christian Research Institute is a mere shadow of what it was when Dr. Walter Martin was still alive. Following is his perspective on the RCC, which you will see he called apostate:

The [Roman Catholic] Church has adapted to the necessity of survival, as she always has. But she has never changed [her] positions. Now as Christians, what ought our attitude to be [concerning Roman Catholicism]? It ought to be an attitude of gratitude; and attitude of joy, because God has delivered us from this system into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. We are not descendants of this papacy, nor do we wish to be… We [who are Christian] reject a corrupt church; a backslidden church; an apostate church

Peter is not the first pope, nor does [this office even exist, and the Pope of Rome does not] have the power to legislate for Christians. When [Pope John Paul II] tells you that he thanks the Virgin Mary for sparing his life when he was [almost] assassinated. And yet he is the Vicar of Christ by profession, then think it is time to realize that [Romanism]…is the kind of leadership we do not wish to follow, and we [need] to discourage others from following [the Roman Catholic Church].
(Roman Catholicism, available at Walter Martin Religious InfoNet)

Since Abanes is now speaking for Rick Warren we have further confirmation that Warren stands by what I have already showed you he has said concerning the Roman Catholic Church in Rick Warren: “Every Facet of Christianity — Including Catholicism”. Now whether or not the “Protestant” evangelicals mentioned by Abanes above hold the view he says they do is irrelevant to this discussion. My concern as an ordained Southern Baptist pastor is what Rick Warren, another SBC pastor of much greater stature in the Body of Christ, is teaching about Roman Catholicism.

I also couldn’t care less what independent theologians on either side of this issue of the Church of Rome have to say. We need to focus on the question: What does the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) herself teach? First of all, if you really want to know you are encouraged to follow the interior links in the AM article Roman Catholicism: Has the Roman Catholic Church Really Changed? There you will see from official sources of the Church of Rome the answer is a resounding: No.

Yes, the RCC has made compromises changes at Vatican II but any honest RCC theologian and/or apologist will tell you the dogma pronounced by the Council of Trent concerning the critical subjects of salvation and justification remains unchanged. What this means is the teachings which were at the heart of what the Protestant Reformation was all about are exactly the same as when Martin Luther himself stood upon this planet. That individual theologians and Roman Catholics might not agree with what the RCC teaches is another issue entirely because they do not speak for Rome.

The incontrovertible fact remains that absolutely nothing whatsoever has changed regarding the RCC’s false, i.e. another, gospel since the Reformers first opposed it. Therefore what Dr. R.C. Sproul pointed out some fourteen years ago on The John Ankerberg Show (JAS) is just as true now as it was when the official RCC Council of Trent pronounced it:

what he [John MacArthur] is saying here, the Catholic Church understood in the 16th century, and Trent and Rome placed its unambiguous anathema on the Protestant doctrine of “Justification by faith alone” and has never, in any magisterial sense removed that anathema.

The Roman Catholic Church condemns “sola fide!” [faith alone] Now if, please understand this, if sola fide is the gospel, then the Roman Catholic Church has condemned the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, nobody who went to the Council of Trent, as a delegate, went there with the intention of condemning the gospel. The theologians of Rome really believed that they were defending the gospel and that the Protestants had in fact committed apostasy.

And I admire the Church, the Roman communion of the 16th century for at least understanding what apparently people don’t understand today, and that is what is at stake here. That they understood that somebody is under the anathema of God!

And we can be as nice, and as pleasant, and as gentle, and as loving, and as charitable, and tolerant as we can possibly be, but it’s not going to change that folks. Somebody is preaching a different gospel! And when Rome condemned the Protestant declaration of “Justification by faith alone” I believe, Rome, when placing the anathema on “sola fide,” placed the anathema of God upon themselves. I agree with his [John MacArthur] assessment, that the institution [Roman Catholic Church] is apostate! (Online source)

Was The Protestant Reformation From God Or From Man?

Now I don’t believe in using arguments appealing to popularity such as Abanes did above. However, you may wish to note that on this JAS we also have “well-respected” evangelicals; only they take a position which is diametrically opposed to that of Rick Warren, so as you can see in reality this in and of itself proves nothing. Men and women, here’s the heart of the matter: The Roman Catholic Church teaches the exact same thing today re. salvation and justification as she did when her Council of Trent placed their anathema upon the Reformers.

And what these men taught from the Bible (sola Scriptura) is that salvation is by God’s grace alone (sola gratia); through faith alone (sola fide), in Christ alone (solo Christo), and to the glory of God alone (soli Deo Gloria). So the question right now before our terribly timid and gelatinous generation of non-protesting Protestant evangelicals is this: Were those Reformers, who were cursed by the Roman Catholic Church, really raised up by God; or were they instead guilty of sowing man-made division that would then tear apart the Church of our Lord?

Do you really still wonder how The Cult of Guru Richard Foster with its Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), which originally flowered in the antibiblical monastic traditions of the Church of Rome, has so easily slithered into your local church under the guise of Spiritual Formation? You see there is a man-loving postevangelicalism with its Emerging Ecumenical Church of Deceit who are embarrassed that men like me keep bringing issues like this before the Body of Christ.

Well hear me, and you hear me good: We are not about to sit idly by while misguided men who desire the approval of other men stealthily spread doctrines of demons inside the Church of Jesus Christ. Of this you may be sure…

For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. (Acts 20:27-31)