Posts Tagged ‘Roman Catholicism’
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
ISTANBUL, Turkey – In a move that drew some concerns from onlookers worldwide, the Roman Catholic pontiff known as Francis visited Turkey’s Blue Mosque on Saturday, expressing reverence during a moment of prayer observed by the nation’s grand mufti, who led him on a tour of the Islamic facility.
According to reports, Francis took off his shoes, folded his hands and bowed his head, standing silently next to Rahmi Yaran, who serves as the nation’s highest Islamic leader as grand mufti. The two faced Mecca as Yaran prayed with his palms raised.
The Vatican described the gesture as a “moment of silent adoration” during the Roman Catholic leader’s visit to the 17th century Sultan Ahmet mosque. Other descriptions of the visit state that it is meant to show “mutual respect” for each other’s religion. Francis’ predecessor Benedict XVI also visited the facility during his tenure.
“May Allah accept it,” Yaran said following the time of prayer. Click here to continue reading.
By L. Putnam
“Pay attention” is the watchword of this book. And “pay attention” is what I would like to challenge the reader to do. Pay attention and awaken to who Ford once was. Pay attention and awaken to who Ford now is. In addition, pay attention to “the hours of our lives, ” and to the “ones who pay attention.” Finally, pay attention to the poets, authors, priests, and contemplatives Ford champions.
Pay Attention to Who Ford Once Was
Many of you, as did I, recall Billy Graham’s familiar radio program “The Hour of Decision.” As a child part of our Sunday afternoon ritual consisted of listening to Billy. I can still hear the ending of the program, “That’s all the address you need, ‘Billy Graham, Minneapolis, Minnesota.'” I can further remember that, now and then, rather than Billy preaching, a young evangelist named Leighton Ford ably proclaimed the gospel in Billy’s place.
Pay Attention to Who Ford Now Is
So imagine my complete shock, when reviewing the Ruth Haley Barton book Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership I read Leighton Ford’s foreword which he was writing, from a Roman Catholic oratory garden, while seated beside a pagan labyrinth.
How did Ford get to such a place as an oratory? Ford tells us, in this book, in his own words. Ford begins, “My work has largely focused on evangelism- ‘making friends for God.’ … But a shift has taken place.” “But now,” Ford relates, “is a time to pay more attention to my own heart, to deepen my own friendship with God, and to walk with others who want to do the same.” Ford also shares, “The deepest longing I have is to come home to my own heart …” (p.10-11)
Ford goes on, “If the first part of my own journey involved longing, the second has encompassed mainly looking –coming to important parts of my soul, bring my real self before the real God, and discovering prayer, as Simone Weil put it, as ‘absolute attention.'” (p.12) To achieve these goals Ford writes, “It has meant exploring other ways: silence, stillness, art and poetry, reading Scripture not by going through great chunks but by meditating on smaller portions, listening carefully to God and my own heart, having a trusted spiritual companion as a friend on the journey.” (p.14)
Pay Attention to the Benedictine Hours
Ford introduces us to “The Benedictine Hours” and to Benedict who became, according to Ford, “a shepherd of souls.” This soul shepherd became “St. Benedict” to whom Catholics now pray and worship. Consider this “Novena to St. Benedict” which begins “Glorious St. Benedict, sublime model of virtue, pure vessel of God’s grace! Behold me humbly kneeling at your feet. I implore you in your loving kindness to pray for me before the throne of God. … I therefore invoke your powerful intercession, confident in the hope that you will hear my prayer and obtain for me the special grace and favor I earnestly implore (name it). …” (p.20) https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/novena/benedict.htm
Pay Attention to David Steindl-Rast’s Connection to The Benedictine Hours
Ford tells us that his first experience of the hours came at a retreat at the lovely monastery–Mepkin Abbey in the low country of South Carolina. But, it wasn’t just from Mepkin that Ford learned about the hours. It was from a book– The Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day by David Steindl-Rast and Sharon Lebell. Click here to read this entire book review.
LTRP Note: Posted for informational and research purposes. Interesting to note that the announcement was made during an “interreligious Vatican conference on traditional family values,” in which Rick Warren participated. Question to think about: Did Rick Warren play a role in getting the Pope to the US, and will Rick Warren play a role in the Pope’s visit to the US. in 2015? Perhaps the Pope will make a stop at Saddleback. After all, as we reported earlier this year, a delegation of Catholic bishops visited Rick Warren and Saddleback to gain some “wisdom” on how to accelerate the Catholic New Evangelization program using Purpose Driven methods.
By Kathy Matheson
“Pope confirms Philly trip for families conference”
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Organizers of the World Meeting of Families for months were coy when asked if Pope Francis would come to Philadelphia for the massive Roman Catholic-sponsored gathering.
It turns out that when the pontiff finally confirmed his attendance Monday, organizers already had gotten inside information from an unimpeachable source: Francis told Gov. Tom Corbett during a Vatican meeting in March that he would make the journey, his first papal visit to the United States.
“The Holy Father answered our invitation by whispering three words in Tom’s ear: ‘I will come,'” said Susan Corbett, Pennsylvania’s first lady.
Protocol kept them from saying anything publicly until now, she said at a news conference hours after the pope’s statement.
Still, the timing of Francis’ announcement — made during an interreligious Vatican conference on traditional family values — came as a bit of a surprise and set cellphones abuzz in Philadelphia around 3:30 a.m. EST. Organizers had not expected official word until later next year. Click here to continue reading.
By John Foxe
(Author of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)
John Huss [1372-1415]
John Huss was born at Hussenitz, a village in Bohemia, about the year 1372. His parents gave him the best education their circumstances would admit; and having acquired a tolerable knowledge of the classics at a private school, he transferred to the University of Prague where he soon gave strong proofs of his mental powers and was remarkable for his diligence and application to study.
In 1398 Huss was chosen to be pastor of the Church of Bethlehem in Prague, and dean and rector of the university. In these stations he discharged his duties with great fidelity; and became so conspicuous for his preaching, which was in conformity with the doctrines of Wickliffe, that it was not likely he could long escape the notice of the pope and his adherents, against whom he complained with no small degree of harshness.
The archbishop of Prague, finding the reformists daily increasing, issued a decree to suppress the further spreading of Wickliffe’s writings: but this had an effect quite different to what he expected, for it stimulated the friends of those doctrines to greater zeal and almost the whole university united to propagate them.
Being strongly attached to the doctrines of Wickliffe, Huss opposed the decree of the archbishop, who eventually obtained a bull from the pope which gave him commission to prevent the publishing of Wickliffe’s doctrines in his province. Dr. Huss, with some other members of the university, protested against these proceedings and entered an appeal from the sentence of the archbishop.
When this affair became known to the pope, John Huss was ordered to appear personally at the court of Rome to answer the accusations laid against him of preaching both errors and heresies.
Dr. Huss declined to appear at this trial, after which he was declared obstinate and excommunicated forthwith. From this unjust sentence Huss appealed to a future council, but without success; and, notwithstanding so severe a decree, and an expulsion in consequence from his church in Prague, he retired to Hussenitz, his native place, where he continued to promulgate his new doctrine both from the pulpit and with the pen.
The letters which he wrote at this time were very numerous; and he compiled a treatise in which he maintained that reading the books of Protestants could not be absolutely forbidden. He wrote in defense of Wickliffe’s book on the Trinity; and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the cardinals, and clergy of those corrupt times. He wrote also many other books, all of which were penned with a strength of argument that greatly facilitated the spreading of his doctrines.
In the month of November, 1414, a general council was assembled at Constance in Germany, in order, as was pretended, for the sole purpose of determining a dispute then pending between three persons who contended for the papacy; but the real motive was to crush the progress of the Reformation.
John Huss was summoned to appear at this council. To encourage him, the emperor sent him a safe-conduct. The civilities, and even reverence, that Huss met with on his journey were beyond imagination. The streets were lined with people, whom respect, rather than curiosity, had brought together. He was ushered into the town with great acclamations and it may be said that he passed through Germany in a kind of triumph.
As soon as Huss arrived at Constance, he immediately took lodgings in a remote part of the city. A short time after his arrival came one Stephen Paletz, who was employed by the clergy at Prague to manage the intended prosecution against him. Paletz was afterwards joined by Michael de Cassis on the part of the court of Rome. These two declared themselves his accusers and drew up a set of articles against him, which they presented to the pope and the prelates of the council.
When it was known that he was in the city, he was immediately arrested and committed prisoner to a chamber in the palace. This violation of common law and justice was particularly noticed by one of Huss’s friends, who invoked the imperial safe-conduct; but the pope replied he never granted any safe-conduct nor was he bound by that of the emperor.
While Huss was in confinement, the council acted the part of inquisitors. They condemned the doctrines of Wickliffe and even ordered his remains to be dug up and burned to ashes; which orders were strictly complied with. In the meantime, the nobility of Bohemia and Poland strongly interceded for Huss; and so far prevailed as to prevent his being condemned unheard, which had been resolved on by the commissioners appointed to try him.
When he was brought before the council, the articles exhibited against him were read: they were upwards of forty in number and chiefly extracted from his writings.
The excellent sentences Huss offered in defense of his doctrines were esteemed as so many expressions of treason and tended to inflame his adversaries. Accordingly, the bishops appointed by the council stripped him of his priestly garments, degraded him, put a paper miter on his head on which was painted devils and this inscription, “A ringleader of heretics.” Which when he saw, he said:
My Lord Jesus Christ, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, wear this light crown, be it ever so shameful? Truly I will do it and willingly.
When it was set upon his head, the bishop said: “Now we commit your soul unto the devil.”
“But I,” said John Huss, lifting his eyes towards the heaven, “do commend into Your hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, my spirit which You have redeemed.”
When the chain was put about him at the stake, he said with a smiling countenance, “My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this for my sake, and why then should I be ashamed of this rusty one?” When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was so meddlesome as to desire him to retract. “No, (said Huss;) I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood.”
When the flames were applied to the fagots, our martyr sung a hymn with so loud and cheerful a voice that he was heard through all the cracklings of the combustibles and the noise of the multitude. At length his voice was interrupted by the severity of the flames, which soon closed his existence.
Then, with great diligence, gathering the ashes together, they cast them into the river Rhine, that the least remnant of that man should not be left upon the earth, whose memory, notwithstanding, cannot be abolished out of the minds of the godly, neither by fire, neither by water, neither by any kind of torment. (From chapter 8 of the special Lighthouse Trails edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)
More and more Protestants are testifying they are being drawn to the Catholic Church, especially through the Eucharist. Some say they have encountered the presence of Christ in a new and exciting way. One such person is Presbyterian pastor Steven Muse. Muse is one of the contributing authors of Mary the Mother of All: Protestant Perspectives and Experiences of Medjugorje.
According to Muse, his visit to Medjugorje was life changing, especially after he encountered the Eucharistic Christ. He states:
The fact remains that never before or since in my life have I had such an encounter with Christ in the Eucharist. I believe this is because I never received the bread and the wine as the Body and Blood of Christ, so what I loved in my heart and believed with my mind were never experienced as real in the here and now of my bodily presence as I encountered him again and again for the entire week. Sometimes this happened twice a day as I received Communion both in the morning at English Mass, and again in the evening at the Croatian Mass, where I did not even understand what they were saying or singing but only prayed the rosary in my own language with the others as if I had been saying “Hail Marys” all my life. What was true was that Father, Son and Holy Spirit were real. And Mary was real.1
While Muse testifies of a real encounter with Christ and then Mary while visiting Medjugorje, Protestant evangelist Benny Hinn made a prediction that Christ will be showing up on stage at his crusades. On March 29, 2000, Hinn made the following statement on his television program:
The Holy Spirit has spoken, He told me He is about to show up. Oh, I gotta tell you this just before we go. I had a word of prophecy from Ruth Heflin, you know who Ruth Heflin is? Ruth prophesied over me back in the seventies. Everything she said has happened. She just sent me a word through my wife and said: The Lord spoke to her audibly and said, that He is going to appear physically in one of our crusades in the next few months. Yeah, She … I’m telling ya she said, the Lord spoke to her audibly and said, tell Benny I’m going to appear physically on the platform in his meetings. Lord, do it in Phoenix, Arizona in the name of Jesus! And in Kenya too, Lord, please, Lord, in fact, do it in every crusade in Jesus’ name.2
For those who have followed the ministry of Benny Hinn, the previous statement should come as no great surprise. Hinn had previously claimed that Jesus materialized to him during a Catholic Mass while he was participating in Communion at a Catholic Church in Amarillo, Texas. Speaking with Paul Crouch on a Trinity Broadcasting Network “Praise the Lord Program” on December 24, 1997, Hinn described this experience:
The next thing I was feeling was actually the form of a body, the shape of a body. And my body … went totally numb.… And God really gave me a revelation that night, that when we partake communion, it’s not just communion, Paul [Crouch]. We are partaking Christ Jesus himself. He did not say, “Take, eat, this represents my body.” He said, “This is my body, broken for you…” When you partake communion, you’re partaking Christ, and that heals your body. When you partake Jesus how can you stay weak? … sick? … And so tonight, as we partake communion, we’re not partaking bread. We’re partaking what He said we would be partaking of: “This is my body.”3
While Benny Hinn would not be considered a Catholic by his followers, the previous statement indicates he has been influenced by the Catholic teaching of the Eucharistic Christ. Hinn’s ministry has had a powerful influence on people all over the world. It will be interesting to see if his acceptance of transubstantiation and the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist will become more and more apparent.
It should be noted, however, that the Catholic Church does not teach that transubstantiation occurs when a Protestant minister does a communion service. On the contrary, the official teaching is that only a Catholic priest has the power to perform this transformation of the bread and wine. So, in Benny Hinn’s case, he cannot perform the sacrament of the Eucharist even if he believes he is doing so. This places Hinn in an incredibly stalemated position, because if our position is correct, then he is in error to believe in transubstantiation; but if he is right about transubstantiation, then he is wrong according to Catholic teaching to think he can perform it. And even if he were to become Catholic, he still could not perform the Eucharist because only the celibate can become priests.
Peter Kreeft’s Catholic Conversion
Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., a professor of philosophy at Boston College and a regular contributor to several Christian publications, is in wide demand as a speaker at conferences and is the author of over forty books dealing with spirituality, apologetics and philosophy.4 Kreeft, once a Dutch Reformed Protestant, converted to Catholicism and is considered by many to be a leader in the area of Christian apologetics, even by Protestants. One of Kreeft’s books is Ecumenical Jihad. The back cover of this book lists a number of endorsements by well-known evangelical leaders. For example:
Peter Kreeft is one of the premier apologists in America today, witty, incisive and powerful. On the front lines in today’s culture war, Kreeft is one of our most valiant intellectual warriors.5
This racy little book opens up a far-reaching theme. With entertaining insight Kreeft looks into the attitudes, alliances and strategies that today’s state of affairs requires of believers. Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox alike need to ponder Peter Kreeft’s vision of things—preferably in discussion together. What if he is right?6—J. I. Packer
To understand Kreeft’s spiritual journey, it is helpful to examine a number of testimonial statements he made in Ecumenical Jihad. Regarding the role that the Eucharist played in his conversion to Catholicism, he writes:
In my pilgrimage from Dutch Reformed Calvinism to Roman Catholicism, the one Catholic dogma that most drew me in was the Eucharist.7
Now, as a strong promoter of the Catholic Church, Kreeft believes the teaching of transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist has potential for winning other Protestants back to the Mother of All Churches. Although he recognizes the Catholic Church’s view on the Sacrament of the Eucharist was instrumental in bringing about division between Protestants and Catholics in the past, he believes the Eucharist has the potential to now be an evangelistic tool in bringing back the separated brethren to Catholicism. As he states in his book:
No Catholic dogma is so distinctive and so apparently anti-ecumenical as the dogma of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Yet this dogma may be the greatest cause of ecumenism and eventual reunion.7
Predicting that future ecumenism will be fostered by the very factors that once brought about division, Kreeft continues:
I found that this doctrine, which seemed to repel and divide, at the same time attracted and united. The same with Mary: she—who is a point of division between Catholics and Protestants—she may bring the churches together again and heal the tears in her Son’s visible body on earth, she, the very one who seems to divide Catholics from Protestants. The most distinctive Catholic doctrines, especially those concerning the Eucharist and Mary, may prove to be the most unifying and attracting ones.9
Kreeft expresses his heartfelt concern for those Protestants who still refuse to accept the Catholic teaching of the Real Presence of Christ in a wafer. He writes:
When I think how much my Protestant brothers and sisters are missing in not having Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist; when I kneel before the Eucharist and realize I am as truly in Christ’s presence as the apostles were but that my Protestant brothers and sisters don’t know that, don’t believe that—I at first feel a terrible gap between myself and them. What a tremendous thing they are missing!10
As there is even now a move by many Protestant/evangelicals toward Catholicism and the Eucharistic adoration, Kreeft’s longing to see them enter in may be fulfilled.
There are countless other testimonies like Kreeft’s who have had an encounter with the Eucharistic Christ. The New Evangelization program presently underway is definitely showing signs of success. Numerous other testimonies could be presented that confirm a mystical addictive spiritual power that seems to be drawing people to the Eucharistic Christ.
In almost every recorded conversion account, there exists a common denominator. Each person who has converted to the Catholic Church has done so based on profound, powerful, and often gratifying experiences. These people were first drawn by a feeling that they were missing some deeper spiritual encounter, while the Eucharistic experience brought a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
An experience-based Christianity focused on signs and wonders associated with the Eucharistic Christ is clearly influencing many Protestants and evangelicals.
1. Sharon E. Cheston, Mary the Mother of All: Protestant Perspectives and Experiences of Medjugorje (Chicago, IL: Loyola University Press, 1994), section written by Steven Muse, p. 57, emphasis in the original.
2. Benny Hinn with Steve Brock, This is Your Day (700 Club Studios, Virginia Beach, VA, March 29, 2000), television broadcast.
3. Praise The Lord Show (Trinity Broadcasting Network, December 27, 1994).
4. See http://www.peterkreeft.com/about.htm.
5. Peter Kreeft, Ecumenical Jihad ( San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1996), back cover, endorsement by Chuck Colson
6. Ibid., endorsement by J. I. Packer.
7. Ibid., p. 145.
9. Ibid., p. 158.
10. Ibid., p. 159.
To read about more Protestant conversions to Catholicism, read Another Jesus by Roger Oakland.
To Lighthouse Trails:
I just got the latest Biola Magazine in the mail today. Did you hear about Rick Warren and his wife being given honorary doctorates at the same time at Biola’s last graduation ceremony?
I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts about that topic. Maybe you could post an article on this. I graduated from Biola, and I remember when Rick Warren spoke at a friends graduation, a semester before I graduated. I am the guy who told you about the mystical stuff Biola does and how Biola’s media department claimed they were going to sue you back around 2008-09.
There was also recently some big discussion at Biola about the death of Protestantism between one guy who says Protestantism should be done away with and mixed with Catholicism. The other guy was an evangelical low church guy, and the third was a protestant guy. It was a discussion about whether or not we need to be separated from the Church of Rome or not basically. In my opinion this is not a discussion any Christian needs to have, as it is obvious Catholicism is false. Now if this was a debate I could understand having this, but it seemed more like a discussion to be positive about it. I feel such discussion allow liberalism/ecumenicism to seep through cracks when there is not a major stance taken on the biblical issue.
Related information on Biola:
Lighthouse Trails authors Warren B. Smith and Ray Yungen were speakers at this year’s Berean Call Conference along with UK Paul Wilkinson. Below are two videos of Paul’s talk, “Israel in the Line of Fire.”
Exposing Christian Palestinianism by Caryl Productions