Archive for October, 2015

Pope Francis and the Apostasy of the Christian Church

by Geert ter Horst

anti-pope-francisThe Roman Catholic Church throughout her history has always vehemently opposed to give the Sacrament of Holy Communion to those living in irregular sexual relationships. The position of the Church was that those living in cohabitation, adultery, or any other sexual relation outside traditional marriage were unfit to receive Communion, because they were in a state of mortal sin and in danger of losing their eternal salvation, according to the warning of the Apostle Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians:

I Corinthians 6:9-10
Know ye not that unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of G’d? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of G’d.

Holy Communion was considered to be only for those in the ‘state of grace’ according to Catholic theological terminology — or, in evangelical terminology, in the ‘state of being saved’. To be in the state of grace requires that one has confessed and sincerely repented the mortal sins one has committed, and has acted upon this repentance by leaving all situations of continuously ‘living in sin’.

This sacramental discipline was based on the notion that, ultimately, the Church is only composed of those are saved, i.e. the truly faithful. Only the saved, ultimately, are part of the mystical Body of Christ. This community of the saved is liturgically expressed in Holy Communion, because in receiving the Eucharist the Body of Christ is actualized in this temporal life and in and through it the faithful are bodily and spiritually united with the Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Second Vatican Council there has been a growing minority in the Church of liberals and modernists abandoning this traditional moral position. For some decades, this minority has grown vocal and demanding, and important Church leaders, including Cardinals have joined it. And in our days of the pontificate of Francis even the Pope seeks to support it. Sacramental discipline, which was already considerably weakened after Vatican II, is now in danger of being completely thrown out of the window.

Under the guise of proclaiming “mercy” and “compassion” — reiterating the general Christian invitation that the Lord is welcoming everyone — Pope Francis’ pontificate has become a concerted effort of theological liberals to change the moral basics of Catholicism and to bring it in line with the demands of the modern world. For this is really what theological liberalism or modernism is all about: adapting the Church to the modern secular sensibilities of liberty and equality.

What is happening in Catholicism since Vatican II, and now seems to culminate in the effort to abandon traditional sexual ethics, is nothing less than the introduction of the principles of the French Revolution in the Church.

As Torah minded believers we should be attentive of this phenomenon as a new manifestation of the spirit of lawlessness (i.e. Torahlessness), as a radicalization of Replacement Theology.

The Replacement Theology that was introduced in the early days of the Church can be viewed as an effort to synthesize the biblical and Jewish heritage of the Church with the surrounding culture of Greco-Roman Antiquity. Such a synthesis was only possible by giving up the culture and rites of the Torah. The Catholic Church was the result of this synthesis. For this reason Catholicism can be viewed as a secularization of the Jewish religion. In order to have universal impact, and to be acceptable to all people, it was deemed necessary for the message of the Gospel to shake off its Jewish particularisms. Thus the Church supposedly would be enabled to gain cultural influence and to effectively evangelize the masses of the Roman Empire without the obstacles of Jewish cultural forms.

What is happening nowadays is a radicalization of this Replacement Theology by an effort to synthesize the historical Catholic heritage of the Church with the surrounding culture of Naturalism and Secular Humanism. Such a synthesis is only possible by giving up traditional Christian sexual morality.

What will be the result of this proposed new synthesis? In any case not Catholicism or Christianity as we know it. If the agenda of the modernists is accepted by the Church, the result will be a rupture in the continuity of Church’s teaching and practice as big as when the Church rejected Torah observance and introduced Replacement Theology.

By adopting the umbrella of Secular Humanism and an attitude of inclusiveness the Church will become more thoroughly de-judaized then ever before. Not only Jewish rites and ritual laws but also Jewish ethics will be declared obsolete. This amounts to a nearly complete rejection of the Hebrew Bible, the so-called ‘Old Testament’. But this also implies the rejection of many and fundamental parts of New Testament teaching.

This modernist revolution is so fundamental that it could never succeed under the existing premises of Catholic doctrine. That’s why it is introduced by the Pope and his circle of liberal theologians as just a matter of pastoral care and compassion. It is presented to the faithful as if the practice of the Church could change without changing the doctrine. Once the practice is changed, however, in the name of mercy, traditional moral doctrine, while being preserved in name, will become completely obsolete and fossilized.

It will be clear to Messianics and to traditional Christians that what is happening here is nothing less than open apostasy from the faith. The pastoral terminology is just a smokescreen. What is called ‘mercy’ by Pope Francis and other Catholic modernists is just what traditional theology rejects as ‘cheap grace’. It is a ‘mercy’ that doesn’t require repentance in the sense of turning away from the state of sin. It is a lawless mercy which permits the sinner to continue in sin and yet be in ‘full communion’ with the Church and presumably with Christ.

The principle of lawlessness, that was introduced in the early history of the Church, nowadays seems to be on its way to a complete victory. If this analysis is correct, then we are witnessing an important preparatory phase for the coming of him who is called by St. Paul the “man of sin” and the “lawless (Torahless) one” (II Thess. 2:3, 8), the Anti-Christ or Anti-Messiah.

The coming of this Torahless person is connected to the “falling away” — the massive apostasy from the Christian faith — and other events that will precede the Second Coming of Christ:

II Thessalonians 2:3
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [i.e. the day of the Second Coming of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition […].

Why are these developments within the Roman Catholic Church important for us as Torah observant Messianics who deny many Catholic doctrines and precriptions? Because the Catholic Church is the historical heart and centre of Western culture, its unifying factor and its traditional moral compass. The apostasy and possible collapse of this Church is an alarming sign of the moral collapse and desintegration of our entire culture.

While it is true that the Catholic Church has been an important factor in the persecution of the Jews and a fierce opponent of Torah observance by Christians, this doesn’t mean that we should simply rejoice in her downfall. For we can be sure that when the Church is removed from the scene, or should choose to side with the forces of secularism, we’ll have to face a future of persecution. The Church will not be replaced by a more friendly power but to all probabilty by the naked aggression of an openly Anti-Christian Secularism.

The Catholic Church has known many Popes and other high prelates who were examples of wicknedness and lawlessness instead of examples of Christ and shepherds of his flock. But whatever these persons said and did, they never questioned or attacked the dogmatic and moral fundamentals of the Church.

After Vatican II all this has changed. The present crisis is mainly a consequence of the tidal waves of modernist theology that entered the Church during and after this Council. Pope Paul VI complained that the smoke of Satan had entered the Church. John Paul II tried to consolidate the situation and to limit the damage. This line of consolidation was continued under Benedict XVI. Under Francis, however, we face again the full seducing force of modernism at work. His pontificate might well initiate the final apostasy of the Christian Church.