Sadly, This Catholic Church Dilemma Is One They Cannot Resolve
Here’s what moved me to write this:
[Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire” (Jude 23 AMP)
Here’s My Purpose In Outline Form:
- To show what even a devout Catholic is saying about scandals within the church.
- To describe the only provision through which sinners can achieve victory over sin.
- To state the REAL Catholic Church dilemma, and why they will never accept the only provision that works.
Regarding Purpose #3, I will share three reasons for my assertion:
- Because Catholics are taught: DO NOT TAKE THE BIBLE LITERALLY!
- Because Catholics are taught: DO NOT READ JUST THE BIBLE BY ITSELF!
- Because parish priests are not taught how to apply biblical wisdom!
PURPOSE #1: Here’s what even a Catholic is saying about homosexual scandals within the Catholic Church
Please watch the video below. It’s just under 14 minutes long. This is just one glimpse of the problem.
The speaker is Michael Voris, himself a Catholic. In this report he is reporting on the homosexual corruption within the Vatican itself. Note the title: “The Papacy and ‘Gay Mafia'”.
He begins his report by quoting from the Book of Numbers (emphasis mine):
…behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)
He has several more such reports. See additional links at the bottom of this article.
Now the point is: if even a devout Catholic is speaking out like this, clearly there is a big problem.
How might the Catholic Church attempt to resolve this problem?
The Church could try to “clean house”, so to speak. Get rid of the “bad apples”, and then everything will be fine. Once the perpetrators are exposed to the light of truth, won’t that fix the problem?
But isn’t that a bit like turning on the light in a room infested with cockroaches? The cockroaches run and hide from the light, only to wait for the cover of darkness. Not a very effective plan. They’ll lay low until the light goes away, but they’ll be back because nothing has really changed.
Or, perhaps those men could be persuaded somehow to just try harder to suppress those urges and bad behaviors.
But the “try harder” technique is the centerpiece of Satan’s “gospel”.
It goes something like this: “Try harder; be good enough; measure up; get it right; work at it more; make it perfect; FAIL!! Start over: try harder, be good enough…”
Eventually the person gives up, and the devil laughs with delight!
PURPOSE #2: Here’s the only way to achieve lasting victory over sin
Emphasis is mine in the following passage:
…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
Emphasis is mine in the following passages:
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:16-24)
There should be evidence of “fruit-bearing” in the life of a person who is “walking by the Spirit”.
Among these is self-control. But that doesn’t mean you have the strength within you to do it on your own. As God said to Paul,
…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God gives us grace — power of the Holy Spirit — when our ways align with His Word:
But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). (James 4:6 AMP)
Here’s how God longs for us to live:
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
What is the “fruit” of their ministry?
Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20)
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit” (Luke 6:43)
Consider the lifestyle God’s Word calls us to in the following passages: (Emphasis mine)
1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own (1 Corinthians 6:19)
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
Here Is THE ONLY WAY That Works: The Supernatural Power of God!
There are many Scriptures in support of my comment about corruption above. The passage below illustrates the principle by which God promises to help us when we use His Word as He intended for us to use it:
The principle of “taking thoughts captive” is practical, beneficial and life-transforming.
By getting your mind into agreement with God, He does the heavy lifting. The Holy Spirit becomes the gatekeeper of your mind. This really happens!
But… Who Believes It?
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
For Those Who Choose To Believe:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
This isn’t just theory. This is not “Bible-speak” or “religio-babble”!
There are many of us who live by biblical principles–often above our circumstances–but nevertheless are sustained by the power of God at work in our lives moment-by-moment throughout every day.
But of course this only works for we who believe in our hearts that God inspired every word in the Bible, and that He intended that we should know His Word and apply it literally.
PURPOSE #3: And Herein Lies The REAL Catholic Church Dilemma!
If the Catholic Church were to teach and apply principles from the Bible, that would require Catholics to do what Evangelical Christians do: read the Bible literally, and apply principles from it. But such a church would no longer be the Catholic Church.
The church that prides itself on never changing will never–can never–do that. The Catholic Church is unflinchingly opposed to teaching the Bible in this way. Anything contrary to how they teach is (according to them) not Catholic.
Centuries ago, people saw no reason to challenge that teaching. The had no Bibles, and they had no access to information by which to dispute it.
But that was centuries ago. People today have ready access to information. More and more Catholics are becoming aware of what they’ve been missing.
Applying biblical principles is exactly what God calls everyone to do:
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
As we break open those verses, look at how practical the message is:
- Every Word in the Bible is inspired by God.
- Scripture is profitable! It’s from God, and if He says it’s of benefit to you, you want it!
- for teaching — that’s transfer of knowledge from God to you, and from you to others.
- for reproof — God’s Word will have to slap you upside the head at times.
- for correction — He says in effect, “No, not like that. Here, let Me show you how.”
- for training in righteousness — so your Christian walk will be more like Jesus. Not just “what to do” but “how to do it”.
- for what purpose? So you’ll be adequately equipped for your service to God.
Paul also wrote this, referring to the people and events of the Old Testament:
These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us” (1 Corinthians 10:11)
I’ve included this next verse because some people dismiss Paul’s letters as things he made up.
11 I want you to know, brothers, that the Gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it. Rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12)
When you’re reading the epistles Paul wrote, you’re actually reading Words given to him by Jesus.
Indeed, God authored every word of the Bible. He put every one of those principles in there. He knew that those who took hold of His Word and began to apply the principles they found in it would soon develop an insatiable appetite for learning and applying even more biblical principles.
Did you know that up until the early 1940’s, the Catholic Church taught that it was a mortal sin (yes, punishable by damnation to hell!) to even have a Bible in your possession? True! I learned that from my mother, who learned it from the priest.
But applying biblical principles is something that the Catholic Church cannot do. I say that for three reasons:
REASON #1: Catholics Are Taught: “DO NOT TAKE THE BIBLE LITERALLY!”
A fundamental precept of the Catholic Church in regard to the Bible is this: Catholics must not read the Bible literally. According to the Catholic Church, the Bible does not mean what is says. It’s all symbolic, and must be “interpreted”. And, of course, the “correct” interpretation is being revealed (even now, in our times; I’ve heard them say this!) ONLY to Catholic theologians.
But the writers of the New Testament quoted and applied Scripture from the Old Testament literally. There are over 60 such quotations in the book of Romans alone. Paul used each quote to help make a point.
Jesus very first teaching (first according to the order in which it appears in the Bible) was to model the process of applying Scripture literally in the Gospel of Matthew. I have underlined key words in this passage:
3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, It is written, ˜Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6Â and said to Him, â€œIf You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
â€˜He shall give His angels charge over you,â€™
â€˜In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.â€™â€
7 Jesus said to him, â€œIt is written again, â€˜You shall not tempt the Lord your God.â€™â€
3 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, â€œAll these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.â€
10 Then Jesus said to him, â€œAway with you, Satan! For it is written, â€˜You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.â€™â€ (Matthew 4:3-10)
Let’s state this as a Bible principle:
Or as I have often said:
Of course, in order to identify the lies and destroy them with Truth, you have to know the Truth. You have to do some Scripture memory. The more Scripture you know, the more you become armed and dangerous to the kingdom of hell.
But you have to know these things. To use the language of the Bible, you have to “hide them in your heart”.
When you “shoot” the “bullets” of Scripture, God uses His Words–spoken through your voice–to defeat the devil.
Here’s how literally Jesus Himself applied Scripture:
For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) — see also Luke 16:17
Down to the smallest grammatical mark, Jesus was meticulous about the words He inspired the human writers to write.
Here’s where God’s heart is in this matter, and how meticulous He is about the precision of His Word:
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)
(See also Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18-19)
REASON #2: Catholics Are Taught: “DO NOT READ JUST THE BIBLE BY ITSELF!”
Another fundamental precept is that Catholics must not read the Bible by itself. The Catholic Church insists that these three sources are necessary:
- The Bible
- Catholic Church traditions
- The teaching of the Magisterium
The Catholic Church says that these three sources are equal in importance.
The Three-legged Stool
The Catholic Church uses the imagery of a three-legged stool in an attempt to appeal to human logic in order to rationalize man-made doctrines.
Just as a stool must have three legs in order to stand, so church doctrine must have three components.
If we’re talking about furniture, I agree.
But there is nothing supernatural about furniture, be it a stool, a dining room table or a sofa. The same is true of any church that bases it’s doctrines on the words and ways of the world. That church does indeed need three man-made “legs” — perhaps more — to support it. But those doctrines are the words of men, not from the God who gave us His Word and told us to live according to what it says.
God did NOT say the following things in His Word:
He DID NOT say, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word [and Catholic Church traditions and the teaching of the Magisterium] will not pass away.” No, He said this:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Mark 13:31)
He DID NOT say, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God [and Catholic Church traditions and the teaching of the Magisterium] will stand forever.” No, He said this:
“The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
The Word of God alone is eternal. It stands majestically on it’s own. It always has; it always will.
God has also said this about His Word:
The law of the Lord is perfect…” (Psalm 19:7)
Emphasis mine in the following:
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)
Both Jesus and Paul preached against the practice of teaching doctrines derived from non-biblical human sources, instead of from Scripture. Emphasis mine:
5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, â€œWhy do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?â€ 6 And He said to them, â€œRightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
â€˜This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
7 â€˜But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.â€™
8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.â€
9 He was also saying to them, â€œYou are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” (Mark 7:5-9)
And Paul wrote this:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
The concept of reading the Bible for spiritual guidance is totally foreign to Catholics in the pews.
But remember what I said earlier: up until the early 1940’s, the Catholic Church said it was a mortal sin to even have a Bible in your possession.
The Big Boat
Another analogy the Catholic Church uses is that of the church as a “big boat”.
I remember a Sunday sermon following a Scripture readings about Noah and the ark. The priest concluded by saying, “Today, the ark represents the church.” Thus he strongly implied that all you have to do is stay in the “big boat” and it will take you safely to the shores of heaven. What a nice thought!
BUT… nowhere in the Bible is there even a hint of church membership playing any part in our salvation. We are saved as individuals by believing in Jesus and accepting His finished work on the cross as our only means of salvation. Our works cannot and do not save us; our church membership ought to help us to learn, but it’s not our salvation.
But aside from that, and considering the issues I’ve learned and am presenting here, I don’t see the “big boat” as being Noah’s ark. As I thought about this, what came to my mind was the Titanic!
So here is the Bible, filled with words that the Catholic Church would have you believe are not really the practical, beneficial, life-transforming principles that they merely “appear” to be.
But here’s what I’ve noticed: when you take a step of faith and choose to live by biblical principles and apply them into your life, guess what happens? THEY WORK!!
And yet the Catholic Church, by treating these principles as if they don’t exist, is in effect telling people not to use them.
But… There The Principles Are!
Once you begin to see them, they jump off the page at you!
And there the Catholic faithful are, starving spiritually. They are blinded to the benefits available to all in the Word of God. Here’s how that blindness comes about (emphasis and [bracketed words] mine):
3 If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, 4 in their case the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers [for what purpose?] to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
The Result Of A Lack Of Biblical Teaching
Catholics do not have a biblical worldview. Rather, they get the values they live by from the world around them.
George Barna summarized the condition of Catholics today toward the end of his report entitled, “Catholics Have Become Mainstream America”.
To read the entire report in a separate window, CLICK HERE
Here is the summary paragraph: (Emphasis mine)
The trail of Catholicism in America is a clear example of culture influencing faith more often than faith influencing culture,” Barna continued. “The faith of tens of millions of Catholics is affected by the prevailing culture more than by the central principles and teachings of the Bible. Spiritual leaders who are passionate about remaining true to the scriptures and to Catholicismâ€™s historic commitment to Jesus Christ and the Word of God must address this spiritual drift within the body. If they fail to do so, in the next quarter century American Catholicism could well lose its ability to shape peopleâ€™s minds and hearts in ways that conform to the historic teachings and purposes of Christianity.” ~ George Barna
Another Barna report entitled, “The Spiritual Journeys of Young Catholics, Plus their Views on Birth Control, Sexuality and the Church” shows what young Catholics — 18- to 29-year-olds — think and how they act with regard to the topics listed in the title.
To read the entire report in a separate window, CLICK HERE
This is spiritual warfare! The devil is trying to keep as many as possible anesthetized. In Romans 11 God calls him a “spirit of stupor”.
But once your eyes are opened, so to speak, you’ll understand what God is saying. When you allow the Holy Spirit to work through you and be in control of your life in such a way that you see God’s principles working in your life, you will long for more.
It’s awesome! I’m talking about Holy Spirit-filled, power-of-God principles intended for every aspect of human life. Shouldn’t the Catholic Church be teaching these things to the people in the pews?
REASON #3: Parish Priests are not taught how to apply Bible wisdom
They simply are not taught these things during their seminary training. Why would they be, given that the Catholic Church teaches against applying biblical principles?
I remember a Catholic sermon in which the priest stated that people were coming to him every week seeking spiritual help in coping with fear and panic. “What do I say to them?”, he asked rhetorically. He had no idea.
On another occasion, that same priest disclosed that he himself suffered from panic attacks.
I could sympathize, because I had suffered from fear and from panic attacks in the past. But by the time I heard that sermon, I had learned how to apply the Word of God to live free from fear.
I remember another of his sermons — the topic was on financial stewardship — wherein he struggled in vain to persuade the congregation to donate more money to the church. Growing increasingly frustrated, he literally wrung his hands as he blurted out in exasperation, “Why don’t the Catholics give like the Protestants?!!”
My jaw dropped open in astonishment! I turned to my wife and whispered, “He doesn’t know!!” The priest didn’t have a clue about even the basics of God’s principles of stewardship! They are not taught such things in their seminary training.
A few years later, I gave a set of Bible sermons on the subject of biblical stewardship by Dr. David Jeremiah to the next priest at this same church. When I asked him about them later, he said he had lost them.
He had had in his hands principles from God’s Word that could have caused the hearts of the people to overflow with joy and generosity. But it meant nothing to him.
To use the language of the Bible, his “eyes were blinded”.
In contrast, here is what can happen when biblical principles are applied.
Here’s a quote from Dr. David Jeremiah’s book, “What In The World Is Going On?” ((C) 2008 – Publisher: Thomas Nelson). On page 122 he’s writing about world missions. He makes this statement, referring to the church he pastors in California:
More than fifteen years ago that church committed to give to world missions the first 2o percent of every dollar received in offerings. When we started that program back in the early ’90s, our missions budget was not quire $250.000 per year. Today it is well over ten times that figure.”
Let’s do a little math here. He’s saying that their 2008 missions budget was ten times greater than when they started. So in 2008, the people donated over $2,500,000. That’s two and a half million dollars. And that’s just their missions budget. That’s just twenty percent of the total. Thus their total offerings are 5 x 2,500,000 = $12,500,000. Their annual offerings total $12.5 million dollars!
Why are they so generous? Because every January, Dr. Jeremiah devotes the entire month to preaching on stewardship. And those who practice biblical stewardship know the financial peace of mind that comes to all who choose obedience to God’s principles.
Dr. David Jeremiah
Here is one of Dr. David Jeremiah’s stewardship sermons. It’s just over 32 minutes long.
The title is “What’s Up With Tithing?” It’s from a series of messages entitled, “The Sermon On The Amount”.
Just imagine what would happen if Catholics (or anyone else who didn’t know) heard, believed, and began to respond according to the principles Dr. Jeremiah teaches in this sermon.
When I shared a series of messages by Dr. David Jeremiah entitled “God’s Principles of Stewardship” with a group of men in the Men’s Fellowship at the Catholic Church I was in then, they flat out rejected it! “The Church doesn’t teach that!”, on of the men huffed.Their eyes were blinded.
In a way, though, what the man said was right. The Catholic Church doesn’t teach any biblical principles, stewardship or otherwise. But if they did, the people would be blessed, and the parishes would benefit financially.
The Catholic Church is aware that they have a dilemma
The following quote contains the title and the opening paragraph from an article in a Catholic publication for priests, “HOMILETIC & PASTORAL REVIEW”, DECEMBER 2006.
To read the entire article in a separate window, CLICK HERE
(Emphasis in this excerpt is mine.)
Anytime a Catholic converts to a fundamentalist
â€œEven the altar cries,â€ and so should we.
Why Do Catholics
By Gerald J. Mendoza
In an article entitled, The Glory and Power of the Gospel, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessaâ€”Preacher to the papal householdâ€”in a retreat for 1,500 priests and seventy bishops has shockingly described the state of the Catholic Church in Latin America by noting that Catholics there proclaim that, â€œWhen we need a labor union we go to our parish priest; when we need the word of God we go to the Protestant pastor,â€ and that, â€œIn Latin America the Catholic Church has made an option for the poor and the poor have opted for the Protestant Churches.â€ Ralph Martin too, has noted that, in 1991, Pope John Paul II called a consistory to examine what could only be described as a hemorrhage of the Catholic faithful to Evangelical Protestantism.
The article excerpt above states the need: “when we need the word of God we go to the Protestant pastor”. In the rest of the 10-page article, the writer enumerates problem after problem, and essentially says what the Catholic Church always says: “If we explain Catholicism better, everyone will like it and they wouldn’t leave.”
WHAT?? Didn’t those church “leaders” read that statement of what the people said they need?? They said they needed God’s Word, not man’s word.
I put in the following quote because it evoked a recognition response in me the moment I saw it. I said to myself, “I know where this is happening RIGHT NOW!”
THE COMMOTION OF TRUTH
A truth’s initial commotion is directly
proportional to how deeply the lie was believed.
It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people;
but that the world wasn’t flat.
When a well-packaged web of lies has been
sold gradually to the masses over generations,
the truth will seem utterly preposterous
and it’s speaker a raving lunatic. — Dresden James
See how it’s done?
- Well-packaged man-made religion
- Sold authoritatively to a captive audience of many people
- Sold repeatedly over many generations
- Result: the actual truth will seem utterly preposterous
- The speaker of Truth appears as a fanatic
This is why it’s so important that we know the truth. The only trustworthy source of Truth is the Word of God, not the deliberately-slanted words of men.
Dr. David Jeremiah
Here is another of Dr. Jeremiah’s sermons. It’s 40 minutes long.
The title is “The Church of Satan’s City: Pergamos”
It’s from a series of messages entitled, “Revelation: Escape the Coming Night”.
In this sermon, Dr. David Jeremiah shows how Constantine corrupted the church by compromising and joining the church with the Roman govrnment. He shows who the first pope really was, and how compromising by “marrying” the church with the world opened the door for Satan to come in.
How Will God Respond?
Has He not already spoken? (Emphasis mine in the following quotes)
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchmanâ€™s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)
Who are the “watchmen”? The leaders of the Catholic Church.
1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 â€œSon of man, prophesy against the shepherds…, prophesy and say to them, â€˜Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: â€œWoe to the shepherds… who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves… but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty [or shame and guilt] you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.â€
7 â€˜Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 â€œAs I live,â€ says the Lord God, â€œsurely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flockâ€â€” 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 Thus says the Lord God: â€œBehold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.â€
God, the True Shepherd
11 â€˜For thus says the Lord God: â€œIndeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,â€ says the Lord God. 16 â€œI will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.â€ (Ezekiel 34:1-16)
Who are the “shepherds”? The leaders of the Catholic Church.
Some Final Thoughts
A Catholic friend wrote this in a recent email. I’ve copied it exactly as he wrote it:
As Jesus said, the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. No matter what kind of bad people are in it or have a leadership role in it.
The church will survive.
He was no doubt thinking of these words from the Gospel of Matthew:
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
I couldn’t agree more! Jesus said it, therefore it’s the truth.
The man who sent that email wrote from a point of view that assumes that when Jesus spoke of His “church”, He was referring to the institution known today as the Catholic Church. Catholics consider Christianity to be synonymous with Catholicism. I used to think that way.
So the real question is: where is the banner of Christianity REALLY flying?
Are we not taught that in the Word of God that we the followers of Jesus are the body of Christ — the church?
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Who is he talking about? The people.
The church is not any institution, no matter how ancient and ornate it may be.
Each person must decide in their own heart whether or not to believe that the Bible is what it says it is: Truth given to us from the Mind of God.
What I have written here has not come about easily. I can still remember sitting beside my mother as a little boy, along with my sisters, my little legs and feet dangling over the edge of the pew in the Catholic church in Chisholm Minnesota.
The church people said certain things were so. My mother said they were so. And for most of my life, I just drifted along with that. It felt safe. I felt comfortable.
There is an urge to just keep going along with something “because this is how we’ve always done it”.
But here’s something else I’ve learned:
Remember when Jesus made the following conditional promise to a group of religious followers?
Most of them rejected His offer in favor of “this is how we’ve always done it”.
They went with their feelings.
Their eyes were blinded.
And I… I used to be just…like… that!
About my own personal Christian walk:
I have chosen not to be a “nominal Christian” (in name only) any more. Now, I echo the sentiments expressed by the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: (Emphasis mine)
They said to each other, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures? (Luke 24:32)
I choose every day to remain in His Word, and let the wisdom of God guide my life:
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your ordinances before me. (Psalm 119:30)
Having touched on the subjects of “feelings” and of “walking by faith”, I’d like to share this short excerpt from pages 47-48 of “The Prayer of Jabez”, by Dr. Bruce Wilkenson ((C) 2000 – Publisher: Multnoma Publishers, Inc.).
Dr. Wilkinson describes how he was struggling to explain to a mentor/friend a crisis he was having. The older man stopped him and said:
Son… that feeling you are running from here is called dependence. It means you are walking with the Lord Jesus.” He paused to let me take in his words. “Actually, the second you’re not feeling dependent is the second you’ve backed away from truly living by faith.”
I didn’t like what I heard. “You’re saying, Dr. Mitchell, that feeling that I just can’t do it is what I’m supposed to be feeling?”
“Why certainly, young man!” he said, beaming, “That’s the one all right.”
It’s a frightening and utterly exhilarating truth, isn’t it? As God’s chosen, blessed sons and daughters, we re expected to attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed… unless God steps in.
Take a minute to prayerfully try to contemplate how contrary that truth is to everything you would humanly choose:
- It goes against common sense.
- It contradicts your previous life experience.
- It seems to disregard your feelings, training, and need for security.
- It sets you up to look like a fool and a loser.
Yet it is God’s plan for His most-honored servants.
I have read “The Prayer of Jabez” 15 times, cover-to-cover. No exaggeration.
Why? Because it speaks to my spirit. Thinking of the excerpt above, I want to be a person of faith like that. I no longer have to see all the dots connected before choosing to act according to what the Bible teaches. If you knew my life right now even as I’m writing these words, you’d see: I’m living it right now!
Part of that decision to walk by faith is that I have chosen to spend time every day internalizing passages from God’s Word:
I have hidden your Word in my heart,
that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11)
Because of my choices to follow God’s commands and saturate my mind with His Word, here’s just one of the benefits He has given me:
He Keeps Me In Perfect Peace
Other than the Word of God itself, there is nothing in this world that is perfect. But here, the God who created the universe promises PERFECT PEACE to whoever puts Him at the center of their life.
Best of all: NO DILEMMA HERE!! ANYONE CAN HAVE THIS!!
Now, allow me to pray a blessing over you, first spoken by Aaron over the Hebrew people:
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
Additional video links:
These are just some of them. They will open on a YouTube page. When you’re there, the sidebar will list others. See for yourself!
“There’s no such thing as just one cockroach.” (Hint: he’s not talking about cockroaches!)
“The new Pope will have to battle the militant homosexuals within the clergy” In this video, Mr. Voris quotes from a report prepared by a priest assigned to study the homosexual scandal. To read the full report, CLICK HERE
Here’s an excerpt from page 2 of the priest’s report: “I began my work as a struggle against a deadly, external threat to Christianity, but then gradually discovered that the division is not that simple. The enemy is not only outside the Church, but within it as well, sometimes perfectly camouflaged, like the Trojan Horse.”
“…the full truth of the infiltration of homosexuals into the clergy, even the Vatican itself, is coming to light”