Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.

Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.

But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
(1 John 2:18-19)

Something The Same Has Not Changed

One of the ways the Roman Catholic Church is gaining ground within the mainstream of the visible, pretending to be Protestant church, is through the latest fad of corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM).

Unfortunately, evangelicalism would make the fateful decision to embrace the neo-liberal cult operating within the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church and used its pseudo-Christian mythology in its Young Adult and Youth ministries. This gave key mentors Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster and his spiritual twin Dallas Willard, the leading purveyors of this spurious CSM, a cover of respectability.

So, under the guise of so-called Spiritual Formation, this Foster-Willardism has been producing a sinful ecumenicism within the mainstream of the church visible where the apostate Roman Catholic Church is considered part of the Body of Christ by more and more evangelical Protholics. This really isn’t that surprising because the CSM of Foster-Willardism originally flowered in the anti-biblical monastic traditions of Rome.

A vivid example of how far CSM has penetrated the mainstream of the Christian community can be found e.g. in Rick Warren Now Openly Promoting Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism. There I showed that Rick Warren, arguably the most famous pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)—itself the largest Protestant denomination in the country—promoting Peter Scazzero, a leading proponent of CSM.

Warren would actually feature Scazzero at his original Radicalis conference in 2010 at his SBC Saddleback Church. In his promotional email Chat Live with Radicalis Speaker, Pete Scazzero, Wednesday, December 9 at 11 am pst Warren informs us:

Pete, along with his wife, Geri, are co-founders of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, a groundbreaking ministry that integrates emotional health and contemplative spirituality to pastors, leaders and local churches. (On file at AM, emphasis mine)

Since I discussed the following in more depth within Rick Warren And Teachings Of Demons here I’ll simply document for you Rick Warren’s personal position on the Roman Catholic Church:

“Now I don’t agree with everything in everybody’s denomination, including my own. I don’t agree with everything that Catholics do or Pentecostals do, but what binds us together is so much stronger than what divides us,” he said. “I really do feel that these people are brothers and sisters in God’s family. I am looking to build bridges with the Orthodox Church, looking to build bridges with the Catholic Church,….” (Online source, emphasis mine)

The Church, in all its expressions—Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Protestant and many others—has 2.3 billion followers.” (Online source, emphasis mine)

Let me quickly show you how ridiculous this issue of non-protesting “Protestants” in the SBC truly is. There’s Billy Graham, arguably its most famous evangelist, who involved Roman Catholic officials and their churches in his crusades as far back as 1957. The late SBC statesman Chuck Colson writes:

The greatest evangelist of this century—perhaps the greatest since Paul—is Billy Graham,… What accounts for his astonishing influence? Like Patrick and Finney and others, it is the anointing of the Holy Spirit…

Graham has been equally unswerving in his commitment to the church, both to the unity of the whole body (he’s taken plenty of criticism, but invariably includes all traditions on the platforms of his crucades) and to the local confessing congregations.[1]

It’s clear that Colson includes the Roman Catholic Church as one of those “traditions,” supposedly in the Body of Christ, when he says:

Personally, while I’ve developed strong doctrinal convictions, I’ve been enriched deeply by my fellowship with those who hold different, but equally strong doctrinal convictions—particularly my Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and Lutheran brothers and sisters.[2]

Respected blogger Tim Challies also correctly pointed out that:

Colson was a leader, a co-founder, of Evangelicals and Catholics Together, one of the efforts that must stand as part of his defining legacy. At heart, ECT made the Reformation a mistake or an over-reaction and sought to draw Protestant and Catholic back together.

It made little of the gospel, suggesting that there was no unbridgeable difference between the gospel of the Reformation and the gospel of Roman Catholicism. This had potential to do terrible damage to the church and its gospel witness…

Then there was the more recent Manhattan Declaration, another effort to form a wide ecumenism. This Declaration addressed critical issues of our day… But it did so as Evangelicals and Catholics and Orthodox together under the banner of a common gospel. (Online source)

Then there’s this lunacy in the Lord’s Name from wildly popular Southern Baptist Bible teacher Beth Moore. In the video clip below it’s an incontrovertible fact that Moore is describing a literal vision she claims God gave her:

It’s very important that you keep in mind what she said above as you watch the next video clip, which is taken from a section after God Himself allegedly gave Beth Moore a literal vision that afforded her the ability in a “particular dimension” to see the Body of Christ “as Jesus sees it.” Now watch as Moore illustrates the vision concerning this “something different” she sees “God doing” in the Church, i.e. “the body of Christ.”

You’ll see that she does include the apostate Roman Catholic Church among her Christian denominations:

Someone Who Seeks Salvation Other Than The Way God Has Decreed Remains Lost

In closing this, for now, permit me to show you what is a stake. Well respected evangelical Christian apologist Dr. Ron Rhodes brings out a key point concerning this reversal of the Reformation when he says:

According to the current ecumenical spirit of the times, it might not be “politically correct” to say that many [Roman] Catholics are lost and are in need of evangelization. I am aware of the controversial “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” [ECT] document, signed by both evangelicals and Catholics. This document declares evangelical-Catholic unity, and its signers promise to refrain from evangelizing one another’s flocks, labeling this activity “sheep stealing”…

In this [ECT] document we read; “Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ”… Certainly I concede that Catholics and evangelicals can work together for the betterment of society, actively cuntering secularism, moral relativism, societal decay, and the like. But I also believe there must be a line drawn when it comes to biblical doctrine.[3]

Dr. David Wells brings out the other very important point when he reminds us:

At the time of the Reformation, this case [of the distinction between the church visible and the church invisible] was made against the Roman Catholics, who insisted that the only way one could belong to Christ was by belonging to the [Roman] Catholic Church, submitting to its teaching, and receiving the grace available through its sacraments. To be in the church was to be in Christ…

The Reformers countered that we come to be in Christ by faith. We are joined to Christ by faith alone, faith in his finished work on the cross whereby he took our sin, bore God’s judgment in our place, and now clothes [regenerated believers] in his righteousness. From first to last, God’s acceptance of us is by his grace, and so, too, is our capacity to believe in what Christ has done for us.[4]

And here’s the bottom line: The Roman Catholic Church has not, and indeed she cannot, change her teachings concerning the Gospel and justification since the Reformation and its Council of Trent. In his article History of the Doctrine of Justification Dr. John Gerstner (1914-1996) begins by reminding us that justification is:

“The doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” So said Martin Luther about justification by faith alone. John Calvin agreed, calling justification by faith the “hinge” of the Reformation.

Dr. Gerstner then correctly informs us:

It was not until the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that justification was officially confirmed as a process based on human merit derived through divine grace. This was the article in Session VI, Canon 7 of the Council of Trent which led the Roman Catholic Church away from the orthodox teaching on justification. (Online source)

I happen to be a former Roman Catholic whom, through absolutely no effort of my own, God mercifully delivered from the religious bondage of the Church of Rome into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; by His grace alone, through faith alone, in the finished work of Christ alone on the Cross. And further, the majority of my pateral family—on both sides—still remain enslaved to the Roman Catholic Church.

So you see, when these cult of celebrity Southern Baptists like Rick Warren and Beth Moore decide to take it upon themselves to simply reverse the Reformation it then hits extremely close to home for me. As one Jesus mercifully converted from Romanism and then called as a pastor-teacher, I now come forward to tell you in the Lord that Dr. R.C. Sproul is dead-on-target in what follows from him below.

There can be no compromise; nor is there any middle ground when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

The Roman Catholic Church has a long history of using studied ambiguity in order to win over opponents. Let me be unambiguous: Without a clear understanding of sola fide and the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, you do not have the gospel or gospel unity (1 Cor. 1:17;  2 Cor. 5:21).

The ECT initiative repeatedly avowed that the signatories had a unity of faith in the gospel. This included Roman Catholic signers who affirm the canons and decrees of the sixteenth-century Council of Trent, which anathematizes sola fide

However, true reformation and revival within the church and the winning of our culture to Christ will come only through the power of the Holy Spirit and our clear, bold proclamation of the biblical gospel, not through joint ecumenical statements that equivocate on the most precious truths given to us. There is no other gospel than that which has already been given (Gal 1:6–8)…

It is only in our united proclamation of the one, true gospel of Jesus Christ that any heart, any mind, or any nation will truly change, by God’s sovereign grace and for His glory alone.
(Online source, bold mine)

End notes:

[1] Charles Colson, Ellen Vaughn, The Body [Dallas: Word, 1992], 332, 333.

[2] Ibid., 106.

[3] Ron Rhodes,Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics [Eugene: Harvest House, 2000], 17, 18.

[4] David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-Lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008], 219, emphasis his.

See also: