In my article, The Death of Pope John Paul II, the Pope of Rome, I wrote: “You will now begin to hear the praises heaped upon his head by so-called ‘Christian’, ‘Evangelical’ leaders the world over: men like Billy Graham, for example… and many, many others will all sing his praises, speaking of him as a great Christian man, many even saying he was the greatest Christian man in all the world! They will tell the world that he is now in heaven.”
I also wrote of “the tragedy of blind leaders of the blind – so-called ‘Protestant’ leaders, calling themselves Evangelicals – speaking well of this Antichrist, praising him, and actually holding him up to a world of lost sinners as an example of Christ-likeness and faithfulness to the Gospel!…. The death of this pope will reveal the hearts and motives and real natures of many, many highly-esteemed Protestant ministers! It will show who they really serve and follow: Christ, or the devil! It will bring to light, again, for those with eyes to see, that these men are wolves in sheep’s clothing, deceitful workers!”
Well, it did not take long for the “big-name” so-called “Evangelical Protestant” leaders to fall over one another in their scramble to mount a platform and blow a trumpet for the late John Paul II, thereby deceiving Roman Catholics and Protestants alike with their proclamation of a false ‘gospel’ as they praised the false ‘christ’ and his soul-damning heresies.
Soon after the death of John Paul II, I published an article called Protestant Leaders Praise the Pope of Rome. In that article I quoted the praises being heaped on his head by various “Protestants”. Well, as was to be expected, the praises continued to pour in, hence the need for this second article. Of course, I use the term “Protestant” very loosely here, for these men are “Protestants” in name only. So here are the comments of still more “Protestants”, singing the praises of the Antichrist:
Charismatics and Pentecostals were quick to jump on the bandwagon and sing John Paul’s praises. One of the world’s most famous (that should be infamous) and influential Charismatics is Benny Hinn. The man is an outright heretic and an extremely dangerous false teacher, but of course this can be said of other “Protestants” quoted here too. This is a man who has often praised the Roman pope and spoken of Romanists as his “brethren in Christ.” Well, neither he nor they worship the true Christ, so they are indeed “brethren”, although not in the way Hinn thinks. Hinn was there at the Vatican, attending John Paul II’s funeral, by invitation. He also participated in a private mass in St Peter’s Basilica for members of the Vatican staff who worked closely with the late pope. Makes one wonder about Benny Hinn’s own relationship with the Vatican!
In an interview, Hinn made the following comments: “the pope was a man who was guided by a love for the Lord Jesus Christ and whose legacy will be marked by an intense passion for evangelism” (http://www.bennyhinn.org/resources/pope.cfm). A blind leader of the blind indeed! John Paul II’s motto was “Totally Yours,” referring to Mary, not Christ – and yet Benny Hinn says that he was guided by a love for Christ! Which “christ”, Mr Hinn? Certainly not the Christ of God. The “christ” the pope loved was the Roman Catholic “christ” of the mass, the wafer-“christ”, and the “christ” of the Roman Catholic crucifix.
After returning from the Vatican, Benny Hinn invited two Roman Catholic priests onto his TV show. And then this wolf in sheep’s clothing proceeded to praise the Roman Catholic institution, and thus to lead multitudes astray (Media Spotlight, Volume 28, Number 2, Redmond, Washington).
Hinn said: “You know, I have told the world that I love the Catholic Church, and I do with all my heart.” He introduced his two priest-guests, saying of one of them that he is “a magnificent man of God”; and addressing the other one he said, “you are a man of God. You are filled with the Holy Spirit; you are anointed; you’ve touched millions all throughout the world.” Then he went on to speak about his time in the Vatican for the funeral of John Paul:
“…last week I was at the Vatican and I was amazed by what I saw. And I was so moved by what I felt. And sitting in the special memorial service for the pope – and I’m in tears sitting there – I’m just so overwhelmed by what I’m feeling. After the service was over, one of our people was with me, what amazed him is that he felt God’s presence…. Why is it that some people have such questions? You know, they almost think like God isn’t supposed to be there, you know. Why?”
It’s very easy to answer your question, Benny: the Vatican is Satan’s seat, and the Bible calls this abominable religious institution “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev. 18:2). Now which should we rather believe, Benny? The Word of the living God, or you and your crew who think they “feel God’s presence” in that place of darkness and sin?
Benny Hinn, according to God’s Word, is a false teacher, a deceiver, and is in fact serving the Papal Antichrist by promoting this religion of darkness with all his might.
Hinn said, also, of the pope: “His life was characterized by enormous warmth, a deep sense of righteousness, and he was one of civilization’s great defenders of peace. It was my distinct honor to have met him on two separate occasions…. Archbishop O’Brien introduced me to the pontiff and said, ‘This is Benny Hinn, a Pentecostal minister and our friend'”.
But as I said in my previous article, Protestant Leaders Praise the Pope of Rome, it’s not surprising that Charismatics sing the pope’s praises. What more could be expected, for example, from a man so fond of spouting utterly false doctrine and outright heresy as Benny Hinn? Charismatics have set aside the Bible as the only rule of faith, and have embraced the unscriptural idea that the Lord is still speaking through “prophets” and “tongues-speakers” today; and this is essentially the position of Rome itself. With Rome it’s “the Bible plus.” With Charismatics it’s “the Bible plus.” They’re precisely the same here. Both reject the written Word of God as the sole rule of faith and practice. So they already have common ground, a shared starting-point. In the early days of the Pentecostal movement, many Pentecostal preachers spoke out against the Roman Catholic religion. But in the 1960s and afterwards, when the Vatican very cleverly began to claim that many of its priests and nuns were now “prophesying” and “speaking in tongues”, the Pentecostals and Charismatics started to receive them as “brothers and sisters in Christ.” After all, they reasoned, if Roman Catholics are “exercising the gifts” just like us, who are we to reject them? They did not “try the spirits” by the standard of the written Word of God, but by the fact that they were now doing the same things: babbling in supposed “tongues”, performing supposed “healings,” etc.
So it is not at all surprising that Charismatics like Benny Hinn speak well of the pope of Rome. What will be surprising to many, however, is the number of so-called “Evangelicals” who did so. And yet in truth this should be no more surprising: for those who are termed “Evangelicals”, for the most part, long ago departed from the truth of God’s Word, and embraced all kinds of errors and false doctrines.
Billy Graham was in the very front of the queue when it came to heaping praise on the head of John Paul II (what he said was quoted in my article, Protestant Leaders Praise the Pope of Rome). And not to be outdone, his example was followed by his preacher children, Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz (yes, a woman preacher contrary to the Scriptures, whom Billy once described as “the best preacher in the family” – although this isn’t saying much. But it certainly shows that even in this matter, as in so many others, Billy is as unbiblical as it’s possible to get).
Franklin said that John Paul II preached the same gospel as he does. Well, that says volumes about the so-called “gospel” preached by Franklin Graham! For we know that John Paul did not preach the Gospel of Christ, but rather the Roman Catholic “gospel”; so if Franklin preaches the same “gospel”, then he preaches essentially the “gospel” of Rome! It may be a very watered-down version, but by his own admission this is the “gospel” he preaches.
As for Anne, she told the press that she was certain John Paul II was in heaven. Her famous Dad made the statement on Larry King Live, aired on April 2 this year, that there was no question in his mind that the pope was in heaven, so Anne was simply echoing his sentiments. Both are deceived and spiritually blind.
Anne represented her father at John Paul’s funeral, and Franklin was to represent him at the coronation of the new pope. Billy Graham said on Larry King Live, “I don’t have the physical strength to go, and I have been invited. I was invited about six or seven months ago by the Vatican ahead of time. And they’ve asked that I come. So I’m asking my daughter, Anne Lotz, to go…. And then my son, Franklin, will be going to the enthronement of the new pope” (Friday Church News Notes, April 22, 2005. Fundamental Baptist Information Service). It doesn’t worry Billy in the least that he spoke of the enthronement of a man he claims is a Christian leader! Where in all of Scripture do we read of the enthronement of a true Christian pastor? Such language is the language we reserve for monarchs, not ministers; potentates, not pastors! This is of course precisely what the Roman popes are: the successors of the ancient emperors of Rome. He is indeed a monarch, but he is not a Christian minister. But Billy has no problem accepting that the pope is both. He sees nothing strange about the enthronement of one who claims to be God’s servant!
The very influential and falsely-called “Evangelical” magazine, Christianity Today, was founded by Billy Graham, so it is not surprising to read the following words of praise for the late pope by an executive editor of the magazine, Thomas Oden: “John Paul II opened the door in ways that had not been opened before for Protestants, especially for evangelicals, to see that their doctrines, although they differ in many ways, have important levels of similarity between them. I regard this as a work of the Holy Spirit in our time to bring the Christian community and all of its different manifestations worldwide into a greater proximate unity as the body of Christ…. I really don’t think that the project we call Evangelicals and Catholics Together could have occurred without John Paul II.” He also said that “the 1.1 billion Catholics certainly are a very significant part of [the] worldwide body of Christ.” He met John Paul II in the Vatican in 2004, to present him with the results of InterVarsity Press’s Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, of which Oden was general editor (Friday Church News Notes, April 22, 2005. Fundamental Baptist Information Service).
Still with Christianity Today, executive editor Timothy George said: “I hear far fewer sermons these days than I did when I was a kid about how the church of Rome is the harlot of Babylon and the pope is the current version of the Antichrist. You can still go to churches where you hear that sermon on Sunday, but it’s far less prominent in the evangelical subculture than it was 30 or 40 years ago. I think that’s partly due to Pope John Paul II” (Media Spotlight, Volume 28, Number 2, Redmond, Washington).
He got that right. John Paul II was the greatest PR man for the Vatican in history. He did more to convince gullible, spiritually blind “Protestants” that the Roman Catholic institution is a part of the Body of Christ than any other single individual. The carpet has been pulled out from under the feet of “Evangelicals.” They have cast aside the firm conviction of centuries, and for the most part no longer hold to what their own confessions of faith stated so clearly: that the pope of Rome is the Antichrist.
George then went on: “John Paul II has become a world figure and certainly within the Christian world in a way that evangelicals know him, appreciate his stand on many, many issues, resonate with his piety and spirituality, and know he’s a man of prayer and deep faith – even though we can’t follow him all the way into his Marian devotion.” Oh, so we’re supposed to simply shrug our shoulders at the fact that he was utterly devoted to the worship of Mary – the goddess of Roman Catholicism. It doesn’t seem to strike Mr George that his adoration and worship of Mary means that John Paul was a lost, deceived soul! In fact, there’s something very disconcerting about his statement that Evangelicals can’t follow the pope all the way into Marian devotion – it seems to hold out the possibility that they could follow him at least some of the way into Marian devotion! We are willing to accept that this may have been a simple slip of the tongue. But we wonder…
The United Bible Societies (UBS) is an umbrella organisation for over 140 national Bible societies. It has been ecumenical for a very, very long time now, and has willingly been involved in joint Bible projects involving Romanists and “Protestants”; but even for the UBS, this was a new low: a UBS representative participated in the funeral for the late pope, as well as the inauguration of the new pope. According to the UBS website itself, “Dr. Valdo Bertalot, General Secretary of the Bible Society in Italy (BSI), represented both the national Bible Society and the global UBS fellowship at the funeral… and at the inaugural mass…. He also took part the following day in Pope Benedict’s first audience, for foreign and non-Catholic guests. ‘I had the opportunity to greet the pope personally on behalf of UBS and BSI,’ said Dr. Bertalot, ‘offering him BSI’s latest ecumenical literary translation of the Gospel of Mark as an example of the UBS service to the churches.’ Mr. Wigglesworth said Dr. Bertalot’s presence at the events was ‘evidence of the standing of the UBS in the eyes of the Vatican, and a consequence of all the work that he – and his father before him – have done to establish close ties with the Vatican on behalf of UBS'” (Friday Church News Notes, July 22, 2005, Vol.6, Issue 29).
Then there was Pat Robertson: “I am deeply grieved as a great man passes from this world to his much deserved eternal reward…. It was my great honor to meet with him at the residence of my good friend, Cardinal O’Connor, in New York, and to sit in the Consistory during the mass he conducted in Central Park. I told him at the time how much the American people loved him, and he merely smiled” (Media Spotlight, Volume 28, Number 2, Redmond, Washington).
Yes, the pope would have smiled: smiled at the thought that America, with its rich Protestant heritage, had become to such an extent a Roman Catholic nation, in no small part thanks to the efforts of John Paul himself. Note how men like Robertson and others love to name-drop: they love to tell everyone about their excellent friendships with various high-ranking Papists. It’s good business sense, you see: it’s all about one’s career. These religious leaders are career religionists. They’re hirelings.
As for the pope having gone to his much deserved eternal reward: that’s true, but he did not go to the place Pat Robertson thinks he did.
But the comments of Jack Van Impe were among the most fawning of all. The language used by this man, once dubbed “the walking Bible” because of his quoting of the Scriptures, was more adoring of the pope than almost any other.
On April 16, 2005, on his TV show, Van Impe and his wife, Rexella, went on and on and on, ad infinitum and ad nauseum, about the pope of Rome. Here are just some of their fawning, sickening comments (taken from Media Spotlight, Volume 28, Number 2, Redmond, Washington):
Rexella said: “The pope graduated this life and he went home to heaven.” This is saying even more than Roman Catholics themselves admit! For according to official Roman Catholic teaching, for all anyone knows the pope did not go immediately to Heaven, he went to Purgatory. Yes, even popes supposedly go there! So she exceeded even official Papist doctrine in her statement. And besides that, it was just plain wrong anyhow: as the biblical “Son of Perdition” (2 Thess.2:3), the Antichrist (as all popes of Rome are), John Paul II went to hell – that is the desperate tragedy of all this, that whereas the Bible says he is in hell, “Protestants” are saying he’s in heaven!
Van Impe said during the show: “I have read over five hundred sermons that Pope John Paul delivered…. And, oh, what a blessing he’s been to me.” He went on a little later to distort God’s Word: “the reason we’re honoring him [John Paul II] is because Romans 13, verse 7 says, ‘Give honor to whom honor is due,’ and oh, I love Romans 2:10. It says, ‘Give honor, glory and peace to every man whose words are good.’ And as I said, I’ve read 500 of his sermons in the last ten years, and they were marvelous.”
Well, Rom.2:10 does not say what Van Impe said it says; and as for Rom.13:7, this verse is referring to the honour that is due to those in political authority over us. To apply this verse to the man who is described in God’s Word as the Antichrist, the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition, is to pervert the true meaning of God’s Word! To honour such a man is to sin against God!
In speaking of the assassination attempt on John Paul II, Van Impe made the following statement: “And that was Satan trying to take his life to stop the ministry he was going to have globally.” The only “ministry” that John Paul II had was for Satan! Antichrist is the greatest servant of Satan on earth.
But Van Impe doesn’t believe that the pope of Rome is the biblical Antichrist. He made that quite clear on the TV show: “Rexella, we have some of these right-wing religious fundamentalists – and that’s what I was – always bringing down the pope and the Catholic Church, and saying that the pope could possibly by the anti-Christ. Baloney!” He added that John Paul II could not possibly have been the Antichrist, because: “You cannot get to heaven without Christ, and that is the dogmatic teaching of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger. Plus, they preach the blood – oh, we have redemption through His blood, Ephesians 1:7…. the pope preached and uplifted Jesus, because he was one of God’s men.”
Such utter spiritual blindness in one who professes to know the truth of the Gospel! Salvation according to the popes of Rome is not by faith in Christ’s blood alone, but by faith plus works, and in Christ plus Mary, and in images, and in “saints”, etc., etc. Never once did John Paul II uplift Christ, for he was a total stranger to Him.
On April 23, 2005, on his TV show, Van Impe continued with his fawning adoration of the Antichrist, and spouting his heretical teaching, to the confusion of multitudes. He will answer to the Lord for this on the last day.
Speaking well of the new pope, Benedict XVI, Van Impe said, “he was the theological giant of the Catholic Church and Pope John Paul II brought him in as the enforcer of the faith…. And I prayed that it would be Ratzinger [who was chosen as the new pope] because I knew where he stood, because he wrote Dominus Jesu – that Christ was the only way, basing it upon this precious Word of God.”
In truth, the document he referred to was a blasphemous, heretical document! This just reveals Van Impe’s blindness, and that at heart he is a Papist himself.
Van Impe said much, much more in praise of the pope of Rome, and of the Roman Catholic institution, on his TV show, but it would be outside the purposes of this article to repeat all that he said. What has been quoted above, however, is sufficient to show that Jack Van Impe is a deceiver, a man with absolutely no understanding of the meaning of God’s precious Word, even though he was known as the “walking Bible.”
But now for the crunch – the logical next step from such a man:
“Van Impe who was widely known as ‘the walking Bible’ has become a Roman Catholic! He claims he has been honoured with doctoral degrees from twelve leading seminaries and Bible colleges across America. His telecasts have in the past reached 160 nations and blanket entire continents through 825 international radio and television stations.
“Until 1984, Van Impe stood with Bible believers and opposed popery. But then he published a book, Heart Disease in Christ’s Body, and in it he indicated that he had moved to the position of ecumenical neutrality and away from Biblical truth.
“Then came Van Impe’s video. He released it in the Autumn of 1993, ‘Startling Revelations: Pope John Paul II.’ Adverts for the video stated: ‘Dr. Van Impe who formerly warned that the Roman Catholic church is a false, apostate church has now made a complete about-face by accepting the pope and so-called traditional Roman Catholicism as being part of the body of Christ…. He not only claims that Pope John Paul II is a genuine Christian but also considers the Pope to be a true prophet and defender of the faith.’
“Now, in a recent broadcast, Jack Van Impe has explained his conversion to the Roman Catholic Church, comparing it to the conversion of the Apostle Paul.
“He states that he was once a right-wing fundamentalist who put down Catholics, but now he has been converted…
“It but proves that a head knowledge of the Bible is not evidence of true conversion. After all, none can quote the Scriptures like the devil!” (taken from The Burning Bush, Vol.36, May 2005, edited by Ivan Foster, Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church, Kilskeery, Northern Ireland).
It does indeed. Be warned: many of these men, who claim to be Evangelicals, have shown their true colours. There can be no doubt that others will, like Van Impe, finally “come out of the Papist closet” and reveal that they are, in fact, Roman Catholics. Doubtless there are many who have been sent into the Evangelical camp deliberately, by the Vatican, to pretend for years to be Christians, so as to gradually move their hearers away from biblical truth and into the arms of the Harlot (Acts 20:29,30; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 Jn.2:18,19). Others have simply fallen victim to the Evil One, never having been truly regenerated in the first place.
These are days of great darkness. May each one of the Lord’s true saints be wise, and discern, and take heed, and pray!
31 August 2005
Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel, and lives in South Africa. He runs Bible Based Ministries.
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