The signs and lying wonders of Rome
IN an ordinary Roman Catholic home in Worcester, Massachusetts, lies a girl of 14, Audrey Santo, who has been unable to move or talk since she came close to drowning in a swimming pool. It is claimed that since then miraculous things have been happening in connection with her: there is an inexplicable scent of roses in her room, a peculiar oil seeps from religious statues and paintings around her, and blood has oozed from communion wafers in the hands of a priest saying mass for her. The priest in question claimed that these things helped his faith a lot, and that he uses the seeping oil in his own healing services. Worcester, he predicts, will become as famous as Fatima or Medjugorje as a site of pilgrimage. Sick people have claimed healing through contact with the girl and prayers to her. A mass held “in her honour” in a stadium was attended by 8,000 Roman Catholics, including more than 100 priests from all over America.
One thing is certain about these “unexplained religious occurrences”, as the press calls them: they are not the doing of the Lord. Here is yet another example of Rome’s “signs and lying wonders” (2 Thes. 2:9). They are called “lying wonders” says Matthew Poole, “because they are used to confirm a lie, or because they are not real, but feigned wonders; impostures, to cheat the people, and make them wonder.” The history of Rome is littered with supposed miracles which both dupe the people and confirm them in their error, and we believe that the same thing is happening in Massachusetts.
The poor girl and her family are to be pitied, not only because of their affliction, but also for another reason. They, and many others under Rome’s deceiving influence, are in urgent need of being delivered from their delusions. Nothing but the gospel will effect this. We ought to pray therefore that the gospel would be made “the power of God unto salvation” to those in bondage to Rome, and that it would be mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the papal antichrist, which is Satan’s most dangerous stronghold in the world today, and the greatest perversion of Christianity in existence.
The Baptist Union and Rome
IN the 1880s C. H. Spurgeon was fighting the battle against liberalism in the Baptist Union, the battle that was to become known as the Downgrade controversy. He was at last to leave the Union because of its refusal to take a firm line against significant departures from the truth among its members. Things subsequently went from bad to worse until, in 1967, a report objected to any requirement to subscribe to creeds which would be “tests for exclusion, or shackles on interpretation”. The report also objected to a statement defining evangelicals as “those who resolutely endeavour to be faithful to the gospel”; it declared that this definition was “offensive and wholly out of relationship with the realities of ecumenical discussions”. Clearly faithfulness to the Christ of the gospel was of no consequence to the writers of the report.
Now, in 1998, the Baptist Union has welcomed Cardinal Hume, the leading Roman Catholic clergyman in England, to its Assembly, where he led their “spiritual reflections”. Their General Secretary seemed mesmerised by Rome’s opposition to abortion and euthanasia; he declared, “The Assembly (was) delighted that the Cardinal was able to share with us on this occasion”. Which does not say much for their spiritual discernment, nor does the General Secretary’s claim that “they recognise the deep spirituality of (the Cardinal’s) ministry”.
Spirituality is, of course, a word whose meaning has been of late completely devalued, describing anything that is vaguely religious. But it does not surprise one that a body like the Baptist Union cannot distinguish between true spirituality and false. When total doctrinal laxity was being promoted more than 30 years ago, we need not be surprised if they are untroubled by the Roman Catholic doctrines on such subjects as the mass, purgatory, and the Virgin Mary, which are quite contrary to Scripture. K.D.M.
The moral advice of a Roman priest
A ROMAN Catholic businessman in Glasgow, who had the public image of a respectable family man, has been coerced by the conduct of someone described by the press as “a sworn enemy” to make a public confession of an affair he had which has led to the end of his marriage. He is now living apart from his family, and continues to see the woman involved.
He has said that he is “full of shame and guilt” and that his “conscience is in a turmoil”. He went to his priest to confess and seek help. The priest told him to be true to himself. In disclosing this, the man added, “The most important thing he said was that it is better to be hated for the man I am, than liked for the man I am not. That has haunted me from the time I left the confessional.”
Whatever the priest exactly meant by these words, they appear to us to convey the message that the man may follow one of two courses: continue on his present course, living apart from his family and continuing to see the other woman, even although he will be rejected by his family, or live a double life in order to maintain family relationships; and that it is better to follow the first course (which he is doing).
So much for the counselling of a priest of Rome. But we need not expect that such a false teacher would completely rule out both courses and show the man that there can be no peace of conscience apart from following a third course: that of repenting of his sins and believing in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners. But then the priests of Rome have always stood between sinners and Christ. They use their influence over their people, especially when they come to them with troubled consciences, to hold them in thrall; not to show them that if Christ will make them free they shall be free indeed. (John 8:36).