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,
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.