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Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Date Posted:

ECT - Intro
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ECT - Heresy

Heresy of the ECT

Evangelicals and Catholics Together
Dr. Brian Green

It is not popular to speak or write against heresy, but the Scriptures are strong in their language against all who distort, pervert, take away from or add to the Gospel of Christ. Paul, writing to the Philippians, warns: "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers" (Phil. 3:2); and to the Galatians: "[...] if any man preach any other gospel [...] let him be accursed."

We indict those who seek to forward the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement as deceivers and brand the document as encouraging a false gospel.

The acclaim that it has received only goes to show the bankruptcy of the so-called Evangelical Church with its lack of knowledge and understanding of the past and its lack of appreciation of what the Word of God teaches concerning the one and only true gospel.

The Roman Catholic Church has not changed since the Reformation. Its language has, but its substance remains as before. The central act of worship for the Catholic Church is the mass, where the sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross is re-enacted.

The Roman Church states that "in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there is truly, really and substantially the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ" and that there is made "a conversion of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood". Our forefathers called this "a mockery and blasphemous fable".

The acclaim that the ECT has received only goes to show the bankruptcy of the so-called Evangelical Church with its lack of knowledge and understanding ... In one of the supporting chapters in the published book or the ECT document, Avery Dulles, the leading Jesuit theologian, says: "Of equal unitive significance with baptism is the one eucharistic bread, the means whereby the baptized partake of the body of Christ, by partaking of which the faithful enter into his saving death." Rome has not changed its doctrine.

The Roman Catholic Church still proclaims its dogma of an infallible Pope. Dulles comments on this: "It is hard to see how Catholics could consider themselves to be fully reconciled with the churches that did not acknowledge the papacy as the bearer of divinely instituted Petrine ministry." The Catholic supporters of the ECT affirm that the councils of the church were assembled under the invocation of the Holy Spirit and their decisions were attributed to the Holy Spirit acting through the bishops.

Therefore the traditions of the church together with the anathemas of the Councils of Trent are considered infallible as well. The worship of relics and statues remains, together with its deceiving pardon of a priest at the confessional.

Rome still believes there is an intermediate state between Heaven and Hell called Purgatory. C.H. Spurgeon said that Purgatory was invented as a means to gain finance for the corrupt Roman church. He called it "pick-pocket Purgatory" because it had picked the pocket of many poor souls. Martin Luther poetically put it this way: "They preach human folly, who pretend that as soon as money in the coffer rings, a soul from Purgatory springs."

With all these unbiblical dogmas and unscriptural practices, how can Evangelicals have a common mission with Catholics? Rome still teaches that the saints who have departed can help to bring us to God. Its proclaimed doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Bodily Assumption of Mary elevates her to a position beside the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and thus allows them to believe that there are four in the Godhead.

With all these unbiblical dogmas and unscriptural practices, how can Evangelicals have a common mission with Catholics? There are two questions which need to be asked and answered.

(A) What is a Christian?

We may feel we could answer this simple question. However, in the context of our examination of the ECT document it is essential that we ask this urgently. In the ECT statement they suggest that "there are different ways of becoming a Christian", no doubt referring to the different expressions of the churches.

Surely there is only one way of becoming a Christian. The Roman Catholic contributors in the document made no secret of the fact that they think differently from the Evangelical contributors on how an individual becomes a Christian. They continue in line with the official Roman Catholic teaching that all who belong to the Church of Rome and are partakers of her sacraments are in the process of becoming Christians.

Despite the new language used by Rome, ... the official teaching in the Catholic Catechism remains the same: "Baptism is the sacrament of spiritual rebirth..." Avery Dulles tells us: "Any valid baptism causes the baptized to be truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ, and reborn to a sharing of the divine life." Despite the new language used by Rome, such as "born again Catholics", "Evangelical Catholics" - Catholics who love the Lord and challenging adult Catholics to accept Jesus Christ as personal Saviour - the official teaching in the Catholic Catechism remains the same: "Baptism is the sacrament of spiritual rebirth. Through the symbolic washing with water and the use of appropriate ritual words, the baptized person is cleansed from all his sins and incorporated into Christ."

This is baptismal regeneration which leads to a corporate salvation. We believe the Bible speaks of a personal salvation which is the free, unmerited gift of the God of grace. It is not through the church, baptism or any works or ritual that the individual is born again: it is simply that the operation of the Holy Spirit causes the individual to be born again. Of course we believe there are true believers in the unbiblical dark Church of Rome and they need to be delivered from this bondage.

(B) What is the Gospel?

Ephesians 2:9
Romans 7:18
Philippians 3:3
The mission must have a gospel to proclaim - but which gospel? Is it to be the Catholic gospel of works, merit and gained righteousness? The Bible tells us that our salvation is not of works, "lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:9). Elsewhere Paul reminds us that in the flesh "dwelleth no good thing" (Rom. 7:18). Writing to the Philippians, he tells them to have "no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3); yet Rome teaches baptism and faith and works and obedience to the church as the way of being saved.

In the ECT statement they affirm together that salvation is by being justified by grace, through faith, because of Christ. This is the crux of the issue: there are missing words!

Sola fide [Faith Alone] was the reason why the Reformers left the Church of Rome. The Reformers stated that we are justified by grace through faith alone, by Christ alone. Martin Luther called "justification by faith alone" the article upon which the church stands or falls". Sola fide was the reason why the Reformers left the Church of Rome. Without this there is no Gospel. Of course Rome could adopt Sola fide, but it never will because this would mean the fall of its whole religious system. Evangelicals could abandon the historic position of Sola fide, but this they are reluctant to do.

The only other course of action is to regard this important doctrine as not essential to the Gospel. This is the option that been chosen by the evangelical compromisers of ETC. This is an alarming and sad betrayal of the Gospel. To omit the all-important and qualifying word "alone" is at least insufficient and inadequate and obscures the Gospel. At its most serious it is the presentation of another gospel and according to Galatians 1 should be accursed.

How is sinful man saved? Spiritually his mind is alienated, his eyes are blind, he is deaf to hear, dumb to sing praise and dead in trespass and sins. He needs to be made clean before a holy God. He requires righteousness to be able to stand before God and obtain eternal life.

We are justified by grace alone through faith and by Christ alone. Is there anything this dead, sinful man can do to save himself? Rome says yes: by its system of works or merit. The Bible says no: salvation is all of grace. God quickens us from our spiritual death, cleanses us through the blood of the Saviour and clothes us with the righteousness of His dear Son. He imputes righteousness to us for our salvation and imparts righteousness to us for our Christian lives. We are justified by grace alone through faith and by Christ alone.

We conclude by giving a strong warning that the "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" movement is another guise of the Devil, the angel of light, to distort, deceive and damage the work of the true Church of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:1 Galatians 5:1 exhorts us: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

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