We received your January 2008 church newsletter with interest that rapidly transitioned into shock and righteous indignation (Rom 12:9b). In your 2005 article entitled “One Evangelical's Gratitude for John Paul II” (still posted on your website at: http://account.churchwebworks.com/acct/13178-2384/resources/GratitudeforJohnPaulII.pdf) you unashamedly promote the deceased pontiff as “a powerful spiritual leader” who “personified the call of Jesus to take up the cross and follow Him,” in whom “we saw the spiritual power of the cross and the GOSPEL at work emancipating human souls from misery.” Many dismissed your evident apostasy as a well intentioned, albeit misinformed, eulogy. Sadly, you insist on proving yourself apostate and have done so again in your newsletter.
What is driving your passion to promote the Pope of Rome, the Church of Rome, the priests of Rome, the “liturgy” of Rome, the “Creeds” of Rome, and the “homily” of Rome? You record for the edification of your readers, that while in need of “spiritual nourishment” you came to the conclusion that the Protestant and Evangelical churches were unlikely sources. Rather than risk attending an Evangelical church where the service “might provide the spiritual food equivalent of a dozen glazed donuts,” you chose a local Roman Catholic Church for “spiritual nourishment.” While there is much truth to your criticisms of mainline Protestant and many Evangelical churches as being shallow, there is no truth to your continual uplifting of the Pope and Church of Rome as a source for “spiritual nourishment.” The “spiritual nourishment” of Roman Catholicism is that of Satan and the “rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12), and the “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth”
(1 Tim 4:1-3). The “spiritual food equivalent of a dozen glazed donuts” would be much preferred over the spiritual cyanide that you prefer and heartily recommend to others.
You establish that your choice of a Roman Catholic Church over Protestant and Evangelical churches was not an anomaly, but rather based upon previous “experience” in which you “worshipped at the San Ynez Mission in Solvang and had a blessed experience.” You claim from your “experience” you “know that if [you] visit a Catholic church [you] will hear the Scriptures read as the Word of the Lord more than [you] would hear it in most Protestant churches.” Furthermore, your “experience” has taught you (and now you are teaching us) that “the liturgy will include a Creedthat goes to the heart of the Gospel and will include words spoken and sung that take us to the Cross.”
As a pastor of a Grace Brethren Church you have professed agreement with a basic FGBC covenant and Statement of Faith. Section One of that covenant reads, “The sovereign congregations which are members of this corporation are united in accepting the Holy Scriptures as the sole guide and authority in all matters of faith, doctrine and practice” (http://www.fgbc.org/whoarewe/covenant-and-statement-of-faith.cfm). How does finding “spiritual nourishment” (and encouraging others to do so) in Roman Catholic “liturgy,” “Creed,” and “homily” based on an amalgamation of Holy Scripture, unholy papal decree, and the unholy authoritative traditions of Rome, reflect a commitment to “the Holy Scriptures as the sole guide and authority in all matters of faith, doctrine and practice”?
After reading your newsletter, I telephoned the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Coldwater, Michigan. I spoke with Mr. Brian Stanley who goes by the title “Father Stanley.” He assured me that he, the head “priest” of the Coldwater parish, holds unequivocally to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He emphatically asked, “What kind of priest would I be if I didn’t?”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other.” CCC Para 80
“And [Holy] Traditiontransmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.” CCC Para 81
“As a result the [Roman Catholic] Church...does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be acceptedand honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” CCC Para 82
“The Supreme Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possesses infallible teaching authority when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful...he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held as such.” CCC Para 891
Your professed unity with the FGBC is based upon a claim to hold to the “Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible,” and yet you trample upon the Bible and that claim, through your continual promotion of the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. Stanley’s passionate stand for the doctrines of Rome is a good example of doctrinal clarity and healthy dogmatism. He holds to doctrines of demons, but he holds to them consistently, without equivocation. You would do well to reject his “Creed” and model his dogmatism.
You wrote in your missive that, “the liturgy will include a Creed that goes to the heart of Gospel and will include words spoken and sung that take us to the Cross.” It is here that you carelessly trample not on Scripture alone, but upon the TRUE Gospel, the FINISHED work of the Cross, and the LORD Jesus Christ. The Creed of the Catholicism is the Catechism that Mr. Stanley, John Paul II, and every other faithful Catholic holds to. It reads:
“The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.'Sacramental grace'is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament.” CCC Para 1129
“Baptism is thefirst and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ...” CCC Para 977
“Baptism,…erases original sin…” CCC Para 405
“Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.” CCC Para 1992
“In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christwho offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the crossis contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.” CCC Para 1367
“The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the [Roman Catholic] Church. The Church which is the Body of Christparticipates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire.” CCC Para 1368
“One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience.” CCC Para 1493
“Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.... Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the [Roman Catholic] Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” CCC Para 969
“By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All Holy One.” CCC Para 2677