Sent to the FGBC PNW Ministerium Sat, Feb 8, 2008:
I just had a great Gospel conversation on the phone. Who was I talking to? Leo Celano (949-858-____, ext. 213), the 75 year old priest from St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California. Why would I call him? Foremost, for his eternal soul’s sake, but secondarily because Dr. Shoemaker wrote:
“Many (by no means all) of the Catholics I came to know did not fit the mold I had for them. (I realize that Catholics active in Right to Life may not be typical Catholics.) They were interested in what the Bible had to say and talked freely of a relationship with Christ. I came to know some priests (again, others were not like them) who spoke of "born again" experiences and their commitment to the Lord. I met a priest, Leo Celano, thirty years ago on a picket line and we are still in contact and have fellowship together. I have no doubt of his Christian commitment.”
Mr. Celano and I had a twenty minute conversation in which he firmly stated that he held to the traditions of Rome over and above Scripture. He had complete agreement and submission to the following statements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“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 accepted and 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
“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 the first 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 Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is 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 Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire.” CCC Para 1368
It saddens me greatly that I had only twenty minutes before Mr. Celano had to depart for “holy orders.” In those twenty minutes we had a pleasant conversation in which we discussed the nature of divine truth and the doctrine of Justification. First we established that he held firmly to the traditions of Rome (this was his first point) and that I lacked the historic and present authority to interpret Scripture. Then I asked him specifically about the Catechism statements above and how they compared to the error of Peter as recorded in Galations. He held his ground point for point. I then asked him how the complex system of “Sacramental Grace” can be understood in light of:
John 19:30 CHRIST’S FINISHED WORK 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Heb 9:11-14 CHRIST IS THE FINAL HIGH PRIEST AND THE FINAL PERFECT SACRIFICE But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Heb 9:23-28 COMPLETED SACRIFICE Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another -- 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Mr. Celano retreated to his (Rome’s) authority of interpretation defense and I countered with the sufficiency of Scripture and the illumining work of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:15-17; 1 Cor 1 & 2). He bowed out of the conversation graciously in light of the impending duty of “holy orders.”
Before hanging up he said that he would, “pray for the Spirit to open [my] eyes to the authority and doctrine of the Church” (Roman Catholic of course). I gently told him that I loved him and therefore must speak the truth. I explained to him that his prayer could only be answered if the spirit of the anti-christ, which the Bible warns of, was to blind me to Christ’s finished work on the cross and the Biblical doctrine of Justification by Grace through faith. I further warned him that his allegiance to the Gospel denying traditions of Rome places him squarely beneath the anathema that Paul pronounced on anyone who brings another Gospel. Join me in praying that the Spirit of God would awaken him from the dead doctrines of the anti-christ.
Dr. Shoemaker’s friend of 30 years is firmly entrenched in doctrines of demons, and yet Pastor Shoemaker affirms that through all of their “fellowship” he knows Mr. Celano possesses genuine “Christian commitment.” What does this say of Dr. Shoemaker’s understanding and commitment to the Gospel?
Was Mr. Celano a kind man? Yes. Does he engage himself in moral battles like that of the pro-life movement? Yes. Does he hold to Christ in a manner that does no harm to the Apostle’s Creed?
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Yes. Does that make him a brother in the doctrine of Christ? By no means!!! Do wolves come dressed as wolves? By no means!!! Do wolves come dressed as sheep? Yes, certainly! Beware of wolves and pastors who “fellowship” with them for over thirty years!
It boggles my mind to know that Don Shoemaker, as educated as he is, can so readily turn his back on the Gospel of Christ. His arm-in-arm coziness with the church of Rome is disturbing - especially since he doesn't feel the need to bring the Gospel to Catholics. I came out of the "catholic tradition"- it is an empty, dead religion of works! I spent 9 years of my life in Catholic school; had 4 of the 7 sacraments checked off the list by age 10! I was being groomed to be a "good Catholic", to follow the "traditions" of Rome. And you know what?..I was NOT saved. Praise God - the Lord rescued me from that mess with the preaching of His Word - NOT Rome's rules.
Dr.Shoemaker seems to forget that faith comes by HEARING, and HEARING the Word of God(Rom10:17) He also seems to have forgotten Mark 7: The Lord Himself rebukes the Pharisees(Dr.Shoemaker)of "making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."(Mark7:13)
Shame on you Don Shoemaker for deceiving people who NEED to hear the Word of God..precious souls depend upon it. Shame on you for trampling upon our forefathers who gave their lives that we may have a Bible to read!
Pastors..Preach the Word of God and NOT this sacramental heresy!!