The main reason for the rise in Ecumenism and the toleration of the Roman Catholic 'gospel' is the prevailing ignorance regarding what Catholicism actually teaches. Most evangelical 'orthodox' Christians are feeble when defending what they believe, as witnessed in other parts of this site - and utterly clueless regarding Catholicism. The majority of practising Catholics, including many priests and nuns, do not - and simply cannot - know the actual salvation requirements of their Church because of the un-Biblical additions made by their corrupt leadership. Surveys show that Catholics commonly understand one factor in attaining heaven: salvation centres around doing works which are pleasing to God (i.e., living a basically 'good life'), performing more 'good deeds' than 'bad', and trying to live out what the Church teaches. Most Catholics believe this gives them the 'best chance' to get to heaven and, of course, this is the general belief of the Western world, for people reason: If there is a God He will let me into heaven if I am good enough!
It is sad fact that many people who call themselves Christians are utterly ignorant regarding the Bible and many who should know better shake their heads at the things going on in the world around them, but are not moved, or are not willing enough, to take action. According to the Barna Research Group's poll of Christians (2000 A.D.), 50% of Christians DON''T even believe that they have a personal responsibility to tell others about their religious beliefs. They have probably never read Jesus' words in Matthew 10:33:
"But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
If that is not bad enough, 44% of people calling themselves Christians believe that it doesn't matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons, and 51% of these 'Christians' believe that is a person is good enough they will get to heaven. 41% believed that ALL PEOPLE will experience the same outcome after death, regardless of their religious beliefs. If Paul and the other apostles had this same attitude in their day where would we be today? It is easy to see why our nation is suffering today and why there is a lack of Christian influence in our society. There is clearly something wrong with a Christian faith that is not moved to action by the idolatry that surrounds it.Some Catholics clearly don't believe ... transubstantiation
Since most people also believe they are only guilty of minor 'sins,' as far as they ever think of themselves in terms of being a 'sinner,' they have a vague hope of attaining to the afterlife with 'God'- however they view Him (or Her, if they are party to the liberal heretical groups who still call themselves Christians). However, the reality is that this hope falls far short of official Roman Catholic Church teachings and is hopelessly wide of Biblical teaching! This should concern the 'orthodox Christian church' greatly. If the Reformation had truly reformed the church maybe it would, but the truth is that the orthodox church ignores even the enemy within - the 'orthodox heretics' as we have called them in another section of this site. As a result it has little power to clearly proclaim the truth to those who are in such serious error that they will miss out on salvation altogether. It is so tiresome to hear Protestant pastors declare: 'God is very gracious' - as if this excused our inability to witness to the truth and He was somehow going to nullify His Word and allow those who preach 'another gospel' (Galatians 1:6-9) to bring people into the kingdom.
Most Catholics believe that it is 'the Church' which saves them. But few understand, or even believe, that the Roman Catholic legalistic system of salvation declares that refusal to obey the laws and decrees of the Church is a mortal sin which condemns them to Hell if each such transgression is not confessed to and absolved by a priest before death. Those who do believe this un-Scriptural dogma live in constant fear that they will miss the boat and spend an agonisingly unknown period of time in 'purgatory'. Vatican II declared in the 1960s:
[When the Bishops are] assembled in an ecumenical council, they are, for the universal Church, teachers of and judges in matters of faith and morals, whose decisions must be adhered to with the loyal and obedient assent of faith. When the Roman Pontiff, or the body of bishops together with him, define a doctrine, they make the definition in conformity with revelation itself, to which all are bound to adhere and to which they are obliged to submit... (Lumen Gentium 25-2). [emphasis added]
A … rare Catholic who attends Mass on all the holy days of obligation
Vatican II doesn't reveal that there are so many laws of the Roman Catholic Church, that it is doubtful that even the most zealous Catholics know and obey every one of them. As a result Catholics have to decide which laws to obey and which to reject. As a result many reject the Church's teachings and regulations regarding contraception and abortion, marriage to a non-Catholic, divorce and re-marriage, and annulments, etc. Many seem to think that the Church has done away with some of its 'infallible' doctrines such as indulgences, although Vatican II emphatically condemned with anathema (curses!) those who reject this doctrine. Some Catholics clearly don't believe that transubstantiation actually changes the communion wafer into the real body, blood, soul and spirit of Jesus Christ, and some refuse to believe that purgatory is a reality. They are quite correct in rejecting these false teachings, for there is not one word in the Bible to support these 'doctrines of demons' (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
Individual dissenting Catholics are clearly condemned by their Church for rejecting its teachings, but the Papacy has turned a blind eye to so many of the heresies of Popes that many of their 'priests' and 'bishops' must also reciprocate. Bearing this in mind, is their any good reason for these Catholics to stay in 'the church' when they clearly doubt the very foundation, for if they reject the doctrines they also reject Papal infallibility. A little more research will bring home to them that Peter was never 'a Pope' in the first place and the legendary corrupt successors have clearly built on sand!
There are a profusion of doctrines to which Catholics are 'bound to adhere' and 'obliged to submit,' and which carry the penalty of damnation if not obeyed. It is the rare Catholic who attends Mass on all the holy days of obligation, although not to do so is a mortal sin. Yet you find few Catholics who can even name these 'holy days.' This is clarified by the fact that ten holy days of obligation are recognized worldwide - but in the U.S. only six require attendance at Mass, and the conference of bishops decides which ones are abolished and which feast days are to be transferred to a Sunday. We must emphasise that it is utterly un-Biblical to have a 'current liturgical calendar,' in order to know what days of each year attendance is required, so that you can know if you qualify for heaven! Once again, the Bible is clear in informing us that no Christian should be criticized for keeping 'holy days' (Romans 14; Galatians 4:10).What … confidence can a Catholic place in his churches ability to ensure an eternal destiny in heaven?
The Roman church piles massive legalistic burdens on its people and few Catholics are going to be familiar with their Code of Canon Law which contains more than 1,750 laws dictating Church rules and practice. Many Catholics will know the laws they agree with and which ones they reject, but few will know they have no such liberty of choice in this comprehensive legalistic system. If you consciously disobey the commands of the Church you are excluded from 'the state of grace' and therefore condemned to hell. This Nomian (bondage to law) reminds us of the rebuke Jesus directed at the religious leaders of His day. The priests and Pharisees added extra-biblical tradition and went way beyond the Ten Commandments, adding 'the commandments of men' (Matthew 15:9) in a profusion of 'gnat straining' rules and regulations. We know from the teaching of Scripture that no man is capable of attaining heaven through keeping the Law (Romans 8:3) because of the weakness of the flesh, and these additional inventions put tremendous legalistic burdens on people and, as Jesus clearly stated, shut people out of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 23:13).
God's laws are unchangeable, but Catholicism's extra-Biblical legalities are arbitrary and variable, yet Rome unchangingly claims they carry eternally damning consequences. Whereas eating meat on Friday was once a mortal sin this 'law' has now been overturned. Until recent years divorced Catholics who remarried were excommunicated, but changes in the laws have now been made in order to accommodate changes in our culture. The same questions, which we have so often addressed to the Mormon church, should be addressed to Rome, too. If it is claimed that these are rules ordained by God, we have to ask: would our Lord make Hell the penalty for hundreds of generations of people - and then remove the penalty for a subsequent generation committing the same act? Clearly not the God of the Bible, for He does 'not change' (Malachi 3:6). Rome has 'another gospel' (Galatians 1:6-9) and has 'bartered for another god' (Psalm 16:4). The fact that Protestant churches have become equally lax in maintaining the sanctity of marriage does not excuse the Papal errors - or these Protestants! Nowhere does the Bible declare the breaking of these laws to be a matter of loss of salvation - and emphasis on meat or fish preference on Friday is nowhere made an issue in the Bible! Extra-Biblical revelation, whether from the Mormons, Rome, or any other cult, is always a source of embarrassment and disaster. Time is the enemy of false prophets and deceivers.
'Is it possible to believe in two diametrically opposed gospels at the same time'?
Some Catholics declare that they reject some of the obvious anomalies of the salvation requirements of their Church and rely on God to sort it out in the end. This is similar to the sloppy view that many Protestant pastors rely on in order to excuse their lax congregations and failures to expose those in error. Are there any churches in the Cardiff area which seriously attempt to disciple Christians with genuine Bible studies so they can evangelize the lost? Some even have the word 'Evangelical' over the door, yet fail to even evangelise their own neighbourhood. Is this 'loving your neighbour as yourself' (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14). The strongest witness many Christians can make is to whistle 'What a Friend we have in Jesus' while they are at work! There may soon come a time when the thought police make it illegal to witness to the name of Christ and then those who missed the opportunity will never know the excitement of pointing a lost sheep towards the Good Shepherd's fold (John 10).
Is it possible that Roman Catholics can be at peace if they even realize that they are incapable of obeying the demands of their church? A more troubling question for those who believe that they can rest content that the 'sacraments' of their priesthood can cover a multitude of un-confessed sins is this: if Catholics reject certain teachings of their Church, why should they then accept as valid the other (more agreeable!) doctrines Roman Catholicism promotes? How can a Catholic who rejects the teaching that contraception is a mortal sin ever be confident that receiving the Eucharist as Viaticum at the point of death assures them of eternal life? The question, concerning the confidence a Catholic can place in his churches ability to ensure an eternal destiny in heaven, exists for all Catholics, whether or not they believe they are 'evangelical Catholics.' Some years ago the pamphlet, 'What is an Evangelical Catholic [EC]?' was composed by thirty Roman Catholics (mostly priests and nuns) and published 'with Ecclesiastical Permission.' These ECs declared that they:
' ... have come into a personal faith in Jesus. They are evangelical in the strictest sense of the term in that they have received the basic gospel, accepted Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour and are manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. [They] have a growing love and respect for Scripture as the Word of God... They would identify themselves variously as committed Christians, Charismatic Catholics, renewed Catholics, born again Catholics, or simply Catholics who love the Lord. Surely they are brothers or sisters in Christ of all true Evangelical Christians in the various Protestant Churches.' (emphasis added - The Berean Call)
When we read Charles Chiniquy's accounts of the lengths - and threats - employed by his church to prevent him just reading the Bible, we have to ask why these 'ECs' are allowed 'a growing love and respect for Scripture as the Word of God' when previous generations, for hundreds of years, were threatened and tortured for daring to read, believe, and then really follow the teachings they found in the Bible? Clearly it is because these 'ECs' are not really changing their gospel, or accepting that they have followed 'another gospel' - and a cursed one at that - for years, but have merely infiltrated the Protestant church and are leading her back into the idolatry she largely threw off at the Reformation!
Which gospel do they really believe - Rome's or the Biblical gospel?
The crunch of the matter is this question: is it possible to truly believe in two diametrically opposed gospels at the same time? Can a faithful Catholic agree that the Bible teaches that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone - while also agreeing that 'the sacraments of the New Law [canons and decrees of the Church] are ... necessary for salvation' and 'without them ... men cannot 'obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification...' (Trent 7th Session, Canon 4)? Catholicism, carried to its logical conclusion, is a denial of justification by faith in the context of Romans 3, 4, 5 and 8, because it involves works as a means of merit, whereas Biblical theology informs us that salvation is 'by grace, the gift of God, not by works, lest anyone should boast' (Ephesians 2:8-10)
'Faith alone' is condemned by the Roman Catholic Church but, by contrast, adding anything to faith is condemned as a false gospel by the Apostle Paul (Galatians 1:6-9)! Can an 'evangelical' Catholic priest transubstantiate a piece of bread into the body and blood of Christ and then during the Mass 'immolate' Him ('to kill as in a sacrifice,' according to Webster's New World Dictionary)? Can this priest, while celebrating the Mass, also deny that the Eucharist is 'truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ...' as his church declared centuries ago (Trent, 13th Session, Canon 1)?
The Bible teaches that the communion elements are simply symbolic because this is the plain teaching of the text, but it is a view anathematised by the 'infallible' Council of Trent. Can 'evangelical' Catholic communicants believe that the Eucharist is only symbolic of Christ and at the same time believe that the bread and wine become 'the Body and Blood of Christ''? To do so is illogical and un-Scriptural, for people fail to recognise that Jesus was standing bodily before the apostles when He made His statements regarding this Memorial - the bread and wine are therefore but 'emblems' in a sacrament to be undertaken, for 'as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes' (1 Corinthians 11:26; cf. Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22). To allow Catholics who choose to remain in Rome to fellowship with believers through 'the Ecumenical Movement' is to risk 'fellowshipping with unbelievers' (2 Corinthians 6:14-18), for how can any orthodox evangelical who desires to see Catholics saved know whether they really have 'received the basic gospel.' Which gospel do they really believe - Rome's or the Biblical gospel? Which Jesus do they have a personal relationship with as Lord and Saviour? The One who cried out (John 19:30) from the cross, 'It is finished!' (i.e., the debt is fully paid), or the one who continues to be sacrificed around the world, millions of times per year, on Catholic altars? Is Jesus really Lord and sole Redeemer, or is He still joint-Redeemer with his mother, the totally un-Scriptural 'Mediatrix' Mary? Going out into the streets, or door-to-door in Wales, never mind Catholic countries where Rome's deception is rampant, one searches in vain for a Roman Catholic who even knows, much less believes, the true Biblical gospel!
Do 'charismatic' Catholics really manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Will the Spirit that leads us 'into all truth' (John 16:13) energize Roman sacraments which deny the gospel, and encourage Catholics to continue in idolatrous rituals, recite prayers using pagan rosaries, and revitalize their devotions to Mary - as nearly all 'evangelical Catholics' claim? No, the Spirit of truth certainly will not! This is another 'spirit' - the occultic spirit which pervades the 'Charismatic' movement where the Gnostics of the metaphysical pseudo-Science of W.E. Kenyon have met with the Quakers, Fakers and Shakers of the Vineyard-Kansas City fellowships, and Shaman friends of Arch-heretic Carey unite with the spirit of the Dalai Lama, 'friend' of the Pope! The Bible clearly teaches that 'friendship with the world is enmity with God' (James 4:4). This is the spirit that rejects examination of doctrine and teachings by the Word of God and relies on 'emotion' and 'feelings.' It is therefore not surprising that, behind the scenes, the Catholic Church has been pushing ecumenism for years. It is not only drawing the 'separated brethren' of Protestantism back into the fold, but uniting all religions under Rome, as Revelation 17 indicates.