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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Jan. 14, 2009

  • 2009 Jan 14

The Mass and Mary


I can’t think of anything more relevant or profitable for us than to study from the word of God, in the love of Christ that he sheds abroad from our hearts, truly what the Bible teaches us about what we believe.


Over a Billion Souls


There are almost one billion people in this world that claim allegiance to the Vicar of Christ, to the Pontifex Maximus, to the Prince of the Apostles, to the Bishop of Rome, to a man from a little town that’s beautiful in southern Poland named John Paul II. I think it’s relevant for you tonight to know what you believe if you’re a born-again Christian.


I want to show you where we’re going because these are not meant to be polemical, they’re not meant to be belligerent, they’re not insensitive or mongering, rocking the boat, or hurtful to people. But rather they’re a simple heartfelt explanation to you why the church that I’ve visited seven times (I’ve made seven pilgrimages to Rome; I’ve been all through the Vatican; I’ve been to the very top. My wife, six-and-a-half months expectant, climbed the nearly one thousand steps to the very pinnacle of St. Peters with me), there is no animosity toward that monument. There’s no envy that the majority of the people in this state, that go to church anywhere, go to a Roman Catholic Church. There’s merely sadness of heart that people could be so religious and so surrounded by the truth and not, on the most part, embrace the truth.


Seven Huge Reasons


There’re seven specific biblical reasons why I believe that Roman Catholicism is anti-biblical and also wrong. The first is the mass. The second is the role of Mary. The third is the persistent usurpation or usurping of scriptures by tradition. In other words, if you put tradition of the church in scripture in a box and shake it up and let it out, tradition will always come out on top, over the scripture; which, by the way, all of these are not merely Roman problems. In this church, we’re often afflicted with tradition over the Bible. And if you think it’s bad here, it’s only been 165 years here. The Roman church has been around for about 1600 years, so they’ve had a lot longer to build their traditions. Fourthly, the fourth reason is the veneration or worship of images. The fifth reason is the falseness of the sacraments. The sixth reason is the lie of purgatory, and I couldn’t think of any more polite way of saying that. And the last reason, which I think most of you will find the most fascinating (and it’s always been a fascination to me), the tie of Paganism to the Roman Catholic Church.


The Roman Catholic Church is an amalgam. It’s a syncretion. It’s a blending together of nearly all the major elements of the world religions. That’s why today the bishop of Rome, John Paul II, is having interfaith dialogues with every type of religion on this planet. Everything. There’s nothing left out. He’s having interfaith dialogues with them all because they’re finding that they all have something in common, and we’re going to see that as we go through Revelation.


But, before I start my list of reasons, I want to assure you that I know and love some dear, born-again Roman Catholics. Now even to say that is a difficult thing because it’s like saying a Communist American. It’s like those things don’t go together. Like America’s free and Communism isn’t and it’s like saying an imprisoned, free person. It just wouldn’t go together and to say born-again Roman Catholic is like mixing two terms because Romanism is almost paradoxical to the new birth. But I do know and count among good friends born-again Roman Catholics. In fact, some of my closest spiritual advisers, people that I look to understand the Bible were, let me emphasize the underlined were ordained Roman Catholic priests. They went through all of the interesting, different movements and I didn’t think, I didn’t want to tell you anything that might sound mocking, but if you just read what happens in a mass, it would just boggle your mind. All of the superstitious, turning here, turning there, doing this, doing that, crossing five times four with seven times backward, turning the back, lifting the host, doing this, all these things, it’s a ritual that they have to follow. And it’s a superstitious one.


Four Former roman catholic priests


So, I have at least four that I count among my spiritual advisers who at one time were ordained, mass offering, host-elevating, pope-following Roman Catholic priests. And I think you do, too.

But perhaps even more than that, these were baptized, as 98% of all Roman Catholics are, into the church. They were priests, and they were totally immersed in the church over their head, until they starting reading the Bible. Not following the mass, but reading the Bible. And when they started reading the Bible, the glorious light of the gospel dawned on them.

ü      First on a fellow named Wycliffe in England.

ü      And then on someone that read his writings named Johannes Huss in Czechoslovakia, Prague.

ü      And then on someone that was reading his writings, Martin Luther.

ü      And then on someone who was influenced by that whole reformation moving, Jean DeNoyen Calvin. And those four men have impacted my life deeply. And yet they were practicing Roman Catholics.


Good But Lost


So basically what I’m saying to you is that there’s nothing wrong with the person on the other side of your fence. You can trust them, you can love them, and they can be your neighbors, as my neighbors are. You can give them the keys to your house, to your car. You can entrust whatever you want to with them. They’re not bad. They’re not inherently evil anymore than all of us were born wicked sinners. The problem is that they’re lost - most of them. And the sad thing is most of them don’t even know that. They have almost been inoculated with a gospel vaccine. They almost have gotten just enough of the truth to give them a little case of the gospel much like if you have a little scar, a polio vaccine, or a DPT shot or whatever. You get just enough of that disease to build an antibody so that you will not get the full-blown contagion. Many Roman Catholics have gotten just close enough to the word of God. They’ve gotten just close enough to the power of God; they’ve gotten just close enough to the God of the scripture that it’s almost inoculated them from the truth.


The Mass


I’d like to begin with the first one, which is the mass. And just because Romanism is deadly, and just because there’re some good people that perhaps are related to you that perhaps live next to you, that perhaps you’re in a Bible study with, that know personally, intimately, the Lord, Jesus Christ, and have been born-again, and just because they choose to stay in the church does not lessen the deadly, blasphemous, totally anti-biblical and anti-Christ doctrines of the church. And I don’t say those words unadvisedly. I don’t say them lightly or flippantly or knowing more than they do proudly. I say it much like Paul when he said, “… by the space of three and one-half years I did not cease to warn you with tears”. And tonight if I didn’t have to preach I could weep for the people that I know and that you know that don’t believe the truth of the Gospel because they’ve been inoculated by the false doctrine of Romanism.


Number One: Roman Catholicism is False and Anti-Christian Doctrine Because of the Mass


I’m going to read to you several, and by the way, I want to be an honest church historian, I did work for many years on my Ph.D. in church history, and I don’t think that you win an argument by misrepresenting or falsely quoting someone. The word of God stands totally on its own. It does not need any defense. As Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “The Bible is like a caged lion; you don’t have to defend it, you just let it out. It works on its own.”


Underline a few verses in your Bible. Even go so far as to write in the back “Roman Catholicism” and write a few key verses, because you need to be prepared at any time to speak the truth in love to the people that you love, that you live next to, perhaps that live in your home, perhaps that are at all your family parties, at every baby shower and wedding you go to. And God perhaps will give you the opportunity of opening your heart to some of them. And you need to lovingly, firmly and unapologetically present the truth. Let the lion out of the cage and confront them with the gospel.


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