The Reforming Catholic Confession: “Evangelical” Protestants Accept Papist Doctrine and Ecumenism
We have seen in the previous articles how the leaders of various unbiblical and unsound “Protestant” institutions were tripping over themselves, as the 500th anniversary approached, to embrace the Mother Whore of Rome with open arms. But what about other Protestants? After all, there are millions who are not part of the World Council of Churches, or of the Lutheran, Anglican, or various liberal Presbyterian, Congregational and other institutions calling themselves “churches”. Would they all, at least, take a strong biblical stand against Romanism, and a strong biblical stand for biblical Protestantism, in this 500th anniversary year of the Reformation?
In September 2017, just over a month before the official October 31st date of the anniversary, over 250 pastors, scholars, and other church leaders from around the world released a theological statement, called the Reforming Catholic Confession, supposedly affirming the essential teachings of the Reformation and supposedly expressing the unity which exists among Protestants. As this statement was signed by many who would call themselves Evangelicals, people would assume that it would be a straightforward, strong defence of biblical Protestantism and repudiation of Roman Catholicism.
But it was not at all what it was cracked up to be.
As we have come to expect in these spiritually dark days, the statement was unbiblically ecumenical. True, it was not signed by Roman Catholics; but it was signed by many who are nothing but Protestants in name, and who in fact hold to serious doctrinal error. In fact, many of the initial signatories “either promote the [false] contemplative prayer movement (a movement that has its roots in Catholic mysticism and pantheism and is drawing Protestants in that direction) directly themselves or represent institutions or denominations that do. This promotion of contemplative spirituality includes the Confession’s co-chair, Dr. Timothy George… [who] expresses his admiration for Catholic practices such as the contemplative Lectio Divina.”
One of the men behind the statement, Jerry Walls, an author and professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University, said, for example: “It was just beautiful to see Pentecostals and Lutherans working together to find common language.” Pentecostals and Lutherans: two of the most unbiblical “Protestant” religious groups in the world. But they were there, signing the statement along with Reformed leaders, Wesleyan leaders, and various others. False ecumenism indeed!
Then came the following by Walls. Commenting on why the statement had been named the “Reforming Catholic Confession”, he said he felt it was important for Protestants to reclaim the word “catholic”. “The Church of Rome simply calls itself, ‘The Catholic Church,’” he said. “It is not the catholic church. It is one part of the holy catholic church.” By saying this, he was affirming that the Roman Catholic institution is a part of the true Christian Church! And at this point, any good he hoped to accomplish through this statement was utterly nullified. For Roman Catholicism is an entirely false religion – as false as Hinduism, Islam or Buddhism. It is not, and never has been, part of the true Christian Church. And, adding error to error, he went on: “We want to make it clear that ‘catholic’ is a much more expansive reality than the church of Rome.” But again, this is to make the false claim that the religion of Roman Catholicism is part of the true, universal Church of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit, in Rev. 17, calls the Papal institution “The Great Whore”. This man calls it part of the true Church. Is it the Bible which is in error, or is it Walls? The answer is obvious to any true Christian. A whore is not a virgin bride.
Further evidence about Walls’ utter lack of understanding of either Roman Catholicism or true Christianity is found in a just-published book which he co-authored with a fellow-Wesleyan, Ken Collins, entitled Roman but Not Catholic: What Remains at Stake 500 Years After the Reformation. Although the book sets out areas where Roman Catholicism and Protestantism differ, the following reveals all we need to know about the authors’ approach to Roman Catholicism: “Both in a recent phone interview… and throughout the book’s 410 pages, the co-authors repeatedly stress that they consider Roman Catholics their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and that their aim is not to widen the existing theological chasm.” The moment a so-called “Protestant” makes this shocking, unscriptural claim, he reveals his ignorance of the true nature of the false religion of Romanism – and even to some extent of true biblical Christianity! To claim that any Roman Catholic is a brother or sister in Christ, is to deny everything the Bible says about salvation by God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. He might as well add that Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists are brethren in Christ as well. For it is impossible to maintain that a Hindu is a member of a false religion, if one maintains that a Roman Catholic is not. And it is impossible to maintain that a Mormon is a cultist, if one maintains that a Roman Catholic is not.
Walls and Collins are adamant that they seek Roman Catholic-Protestant “unity”. “Certainly, our book is pointedly critical in one sense of the word but it’s ultimately one that aims for unity, and to attack and critique the barriers that divide Christians that should not divide Christians,” said Walls. And then he stated the kind of barriers which should not “divide Christians”: things like the Lord’s supper and who can be anointed with oil on their deathbed! Just two obvious points here (obvious to any biblical Christian, that is): there is a world of difference between the biblical ordinance of the Lord’s supper and the blasphemous lie of the Roman Catholic mass; and since when has any true Christian had any interest whatsoever in the completely unbiblical Romish sacrament of what used to be called extreme unction – the anointing of those on their deathbeds with “holy oil”?
Another quote from these two men regarding their brazenly unbiblical concept of “unity”: “And ultimately we want to promote a vision of the Holy Catholic Church that is more expansive and larger than the Roman Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, or the Protestant Church. It’s bigger than all of those.” Even if such “unity” could be achieved, it would be the devil’s own unity, for this is worlds apart from the already-real, spiritual unity between all true Christians. Any “unity” with such completely false and antichristian religions as Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy would be the unity of light with darkness, of Christ with Satan. It is an impossibility.