According to Rome

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis on the door of the Wittenburg Church and officially the Reformation had begun. On March 29, 1994, a number of leading evangelicals signed a joint declaration titled, "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd Millennium." This document had the approval of the Vatican and was the culmination of more than two years' work. It essentially says that Evangelicals and Catholics are on the same side; outside of some differences, they are in the same ballpark. If they were so wrong in 1517 and so right in 1994, the Catholic Church has come a long way and must have fundamentally changed, right?

This is the question David Hunt asks in his book, A Woman Rides the Beast. The justification by faith alone that Martin Luther found, and that Billy Graham preaches, and has led millions to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus, are alike. Therefore it must be the Roman Church that has changed.

Of course, this same pope told the Moslems that Christians and Moslems "meet one another in faith in the one God." After taking off his shoes in a Buddhist monastery, he praised the "ancient and venerable wisdom" of the Asian religions. This pope gathered 130 leaders of the 12 major religions to pray for peace in Assisi, Italy, allowing the Dalai Lama to replace the cross with Buddha on the altar of St. Peter's Church in Assisi.

Dave Hunt, in his incisive way, demonstrates that the Church of Rome has not changed her essential thought, just her methods. She has put on a velvet glove to woo all religions to herself in order to become the one world empire, dominating not only the religious, but the political affairs of the world.

The woman on the beast (Rev. 17-18) is still dripping with the blood of millions. This book is not pretty reading; in fact I found it to be rather gruesome. But it is necessary for our times where love and unity are preached with no apparent regard for the truth. Love apart from the truth is no love at all.

Another book written on Roman Catholicism is Jim McCarthy's The Gospel According to Rome. In this book, McCarthy doesn't touch the dark side of Rome as Hunt does. Instead he tackles the doctrinal aspect of the Church of Rome, asking the question, "Is what the Catholic Church teaches in agreement with the New Testament gospel?" His answer is a resounding "No." In a captivating way, he takes the reader inside the rituals of Catholicism and shows exactly what happens. Infant and adult baptism, the Mass, the Last Rites, etc., are all shown through the eyes of a devout Catholic family. Then, quoting from the Catechism, he shows the reader what these rituals mean doctrinally. Then he adeptly shows what the New Testament teaches in the areas of justification, sanctification, grace, eternal life, and the assurance of salvation. In each of these cardinal areas what the Catholic Church teaches is diametrically opposed to what the New Testament demonstrates.

He divides the book into four categories: Salvation, the Mass, Mary, and Authority, and shows that what the Catholic Church teaches and the gospel of the message of the Bible are two entirely different things. This book is written to be a help to any Catholic that is searching the doctrines of his church and is open to an honest examination of the Scriptures. There is no rancor or cynicism in this book. It comes from the heart to reach those enmeshed in this system. To one like me who had never been enlightened to Catholicism, it was fascinating and informative and would certainly help me witnessing.

I agree with Mr. Hunt that we need to "come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins," but more than that, we need to reach our Catholic neighbors with the true gospel--seeing them not as enemies, but as desperately lost people who need the Saviour. That is what Mr. McCarthy showed me.