Five minutes with Richard about his zeal which is really love.
Five minutes with Richard about his zeal which is really love.
This article by Richard Bennett was originally posted here on March 16, 2015. It is a joyful document full of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ!
March 3, 2015
Ireland has a very distinctive history. It was an island untouched by the Roman legions, and Patrick, the Evangelist, brought to it the Gospel of grace. Patrick was himself descended from a family that had been, for two generations at least, in Christ Jesus. His father, he tells us was “the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a presbyter, of the settlement of Bannaven Taburniae.”1 These facts are recorded in Patrick’s own testimony of faith. This authentic document is preserved in five manuscripts: one in the Book of Armagh of the seventh century, the second in the Cotton Library of the tenth century, a third in the French monastery of St. Vedastus, and two more in the Cathedral Library of Salisbury. This authenticated document is the main source of both the person and the mission of Patrick, and also his clear statement of the Gospel of grace.
Patrick was born in the year 3732 in a town on the River Clyde in Roman Britain, now a part of Scotland. When he was sixteen years old, Patrick was captured by a band of pirates who sold him to a chieftain in what is now county Antrim in Northern Ireland. For six years he tended flocks. In his testimony he tells us, “I was taken captive before I knew what I should desire and what I should shun.”3 It was during the time of his captivity that he turned from his careless ways and came to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. He was convicted that he was a sinner. In his own words,
“before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and He that is mighty came and in His mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for His great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.”4
Patrick, like so many of the godly men of history, found God’s favor in the riches of the grace of Christ. This was the theme echoing throughout the testimony of Patrick, in his own words “I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace.”5 He then grew in the grace of God. Having believed on “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,”6 he directly received “of his fullness…grace for grace.”7 In his own words,
“More and more did the love of God, and my fear of Him and faith increase, and my spirit was moved so that in a day [I said] from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number; besides I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time.”8
Patrick relates how, after six years, he escaped and after a difficult journey on land and sea returned to his people in Scotland. In his own words, “I was again in Britain with my family [kinsfolk], and they welcomed me as a son, and asked me, in faith, that after the great tribulations I had endured I should not go any where else away from them.”9
His Direct Mission from the Lord
Like the Apostle Paul, he received a clear and personal call from the Lord to preach the Gospel in the land of his former captivity. He described his call in these words,
“I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter: ‘The Voice of the Irish’, and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: ‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.’ And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke. Thanks be to God, because after so many years the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry.”10
He speaks of being called again in dream another night, but makes it clear how he interpreted what was happening by the Scriptures. He wrote, “‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we know not how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for utterance.’” And again, “‘The Lord our advocate intercedes for us.’” Thus, Patrick relies on Scripture to understand his experience and to see that it was the Lord Himself who was calling him. In his own words, “‘He who gave his life for you, He it is who speaks within you.’”11 He understood that Christ Jesus, who had died for his sins, was the One who was calling him to work as an evangelist in the very island where he had been held captive.
A second historical document from Patrick’s own hand is his letter to Coroticus. In it he explains his assignment from God to a foreign nation for the glory of eternal life that is in Christ Jesus. His own words are the following, “Thus I am a servant in Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”12 This is a major factor in understanding Patrick. He knew himself as a sinner and found salvation where only sinners find it, “in Christ Jesus our Lord.”13 The first words of his testimony read, “I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many.” Likewise, in the beginning of his letter to Coroticus he states, “I, Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, resident in Ireland”. Quite clearly Patrick saw himself as a sinner. He did not look to some spark of life from within himself or to some ritual; rather, he looked unto Christ Jesus. Patrick’s words, “unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” shows his distinct and personal comfort and courage in Christ. Totally unlike religion that looks to rituals, Patrick had his eyes set on the Lord. Catholicism now, and to some extent even in Patrick’s time, looks to sacraments as necessary for salvation.14 Patrick saw himself only as a sinner saved by grace in Christ Jesus. Patrick’s message is that salvation is totally in Christ alone–a message utterly diverse from that of Roman Catholicism then and now.
His Mission Begins
Patrick, the Christian Evangelist, being about 30 years old and together with some brothers in the Lord, set out for Ireland. He arrived in or about the year 405. This fact of history is authentic and verified. For example, Marcus, an Irish Bishop, who lived at the beginning of the ninth century, states that Patrick came to Ireland in the year 405 AD and Nennius, who lived about the same time, repeats the statement.15 This date is of great importance because many centuries later there was an attempt made to confuse Patrick with Palladius, who had been sent out by Pope Celestine as a missionary to Ireland. When news of Patrick’s Christian success had reached Rome, Pope Celestine then sent Palladius as a bishop to bring the churches under the control of the Papacy. It was in 432, at least 27 years after Patrick’s commission from God, that Palladius from Rome came on the scene. When Palladius did come to Ireland, it was to an Ireland that had many Christian churches and that did not accept his message of subservience to the Bishop of Rome. In actual fact, Palladius was greatly discouraged by his lack of success. To quote from the historian Philip Schaff, “Palladius was so discouraged that he soon abandoned the field, with his assistants, for north Britain, where he died among the Picts….The Roman mission of Palladius failed; the independent mission of Patrick succeeded. He is the true Apostle of Ireland, and has impressed his memory in indelible characters upon the Irish race at home and abroad.”16
God’s Grace over the Course of 60 Years
The work of Patrick and his associates in Ireland was extremely difficult. He came up against the old pagan religion of the Druids. The people believed in the Druids as pagan priests who mediated for them in the things of the spirit. When Patrick preached Christ Jesus in his own words he said,
“I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, and the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth. As He once promised through His prophets: ‘To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.’ And again, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth.’ And I wish to wait then for His promise which is never unfulfilled, just as it is promised in the Gospel.”17
He wrote of baptizing many thousands of believers after they had professed faith.18
He also wrote about anxious journeys, difficulties, and disappointments. He combated the powers of darkness in the priesthood of the Druids. He relied on Christ Jesus and the glorious Holy Spirit given to convict people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He understood grace to be entirely from God when he declared,
“I, alone, can do nothing unless He Himself vouchsafes it to me. But let Him search my heart and [my] nature, for I crave enough for it, even too much, and I am ready for Him to grant me that I drink of His chalice, as He has granted to others who love him. Therefore may it never befall me to be separated by my God from His people whom He has won in this most remote land. I pray God that He gives me perseverance, and that He will deign that I should be a faithful witness for His sake right up to the time of my passing.”19
Over the course of 60 years, Patrick went the length and breadth of Ireland preaching the Gospel and, like Timothy and Titus before him, he ordained elders and established churches. It is reckoned that at the end of his days there were 365 churches across the island. These were established, as were the churches in Biblical times, with the people served by a pastor or elder. The authority of the pastor was one of service, rather than lording it over the people. It was like that which was established in the pages of Scripture. Likewise, the monasteries set up by Patrick, were totally unlike the monasteries that were established under the Church of Rome. These monasteries were quite like those of the Vaudois and other early Christian churches of northern Italy and southern France, whereby men came aside for some years to be trained in the Scriptures and to learn how to evangelize and to bring the Gospel to others. Later in their lives these men married and had families. These men were not forsaking the world for some retreat of inner holiness; rather, they were men who saw light and life in Christ Jesus and wished to evangelize others with the true Gospel. Because of these monasteries and the churches that Patrick founded in Ireland, Ireland became known as the “Isle of Saints and Scholars”.
600 years of Fruitfulness
The clarity of the Gospel message cherished by Patrick and those who worked with him was to live on for many years after him. There were many famous missionaries like Patrick such as Columba and his companions who set out for Scotland in 563. Then there was Columbanus with his companions that went to evangelize France and Germany in 612. Kilian and the brothers that accompanied him went as missionaries to Franconia and Wurzburg in 680. Forannan and twelve brothers with him set out to bring the Gospel to the Belgian frontier in 970.20
For more than six hundred years, Irish missionaries carried the Gospel with the same truthfulness as Patrick’s to Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and beyond. Darkness covered Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Dark Ages had begun and the Roman Church, having gained rulership through intrigue and persecution, now held most of Europe in her iron grip. Even so, in those dark centuries, the Irish missionaries continued to spread the true Gospel, seed which for centuries to come would bear much good fruit all across Europe.
EMBEZZLEMENT OF THE LEGACY OF PATRICK
With the coming of the Danes in the ninth century, however, the Celtic Church in Ireland began to lose its Biblical clarity. Further, Papal Rome began to unleash military power to bring Ireland under her control. This began with the decree of Pope Adrian IV issued to King Henry II of England in 1155. The Pope authorized the invasion of Ireland and sent the king a ring of investiture as Lord of Ireland, calling upon the monarch to, “to extirpate the vices that have there taken root, [in Ireland]…saving to St. Peter and the holy Roman Church the annual pension of one penny from each house.”21
King Henry carried out the designs of the Papacy in 1171 and with a strong military force subdued the whole Irish nation. He received from every Archbishop and Bishop, at the Synod of Cashel in 1172 charters whereby they confirmed the Kingdom of Ireland to him and his heirs. The King sent a transcript of these charters to Pope Alexander III, who, according to the letters of the Archbishops and Bishops, was extremely gratified by the extension of his dominion, and in 1172 issued a bull confirming the Papal decree of Pope Adrian. Further rulings were sent from Rome to Henry II and to the princes and nobles of Ireland, and to the bishops of Ireland to establish the hierarchy over the people and pastors and enjoin obedience of both Ireland and England to the Papal throne.
The Heritage of Patrick Lives On!
The heartbeat and the soul of Patrick was the Gospel of Christ. He wrote in his testimony,
“I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless, I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul’s desire. I am not ignorant of what is said of my Lord in the Psalm: ‘You destroy those who speak a lie and a lying mouth deals death to the soul.’ Likewise the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘In the day of judgment, men shall render an account for every idle word they utter’’ So it is that I should fear mightily, with terror and trembling, this judgment on the day when no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.”22
These words of Patrick are as a prophetic trumpet of the Lord. It is most serious to steal the legacy from the people of the nation, particularly when that heritage was life and light in Christ Jesus! Many Irish have grown up engrossed in the rites and rituals of Roman Catholicism. Many of us, turning from those dead things and having drunk deeply of the Biblical grace of God that is in Christ Jesus, now want to stand on Patrick’s words, “no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.” To publish abroad the Gospel of God’s chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world”23 is our longing now, as it was Patrick’s then. The wonder of Patrick’s life was simply God’s grace in Christ Jesus. The divine call to the true Gospel went forth from Ireland for more than 600 years. Just as Patrick expected the power of God’s grace to overcome the priesthood of the Druids, we now stand for the same Biblical Gospel that he preached to evangelize even those in the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy. The battle is the Lord’s and the victory will be His. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”24 In the legacy of Patrick, we pray Christ words, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.”25 The frightening words of the Lord ring in the ears of those who spend their lives in man-made religion, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”26 No person by merely acknowledging Christ through a priesthood and sacraments shall have any part with God in Him, but only the one who does the will of His Father. The Lord made the will of the Father abundantly clear when He said, “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”27 “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts….”28 As Christ Jesus’ Gospel stands, so also is His call on your life. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”29 Believe on Him alone for, “this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”30 Then you will stand where before you Patrick stood immoveable, and this is how it will be for all eternity. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”31 “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”§
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1 The Confession of Patrick, http://irelandnow.com/legends/confession.html, 1/29/03, p. 1.
2 “According to the best authorities, Patrick was born about A.D. 373; and Lanigan has adduced good evidence to prove that he died in A.D. 465 (Apud Lanigan, vol. iv. p. 112). The Book of Armagh furnishes corroborative evidence of the same fact. It says, ‘From the passion of Christ to the death of Patrick there were 436 years.’ The crucifixion took place about A.D. 30; and adding these thirty years to the 436 that intervened between the crucifixion and the death of Patrick, we arrive at A.D. 466 as the year of his demise. Traditions of the highest authority attest that he spent sixty years in preaching the Gospel to the Scoto-Irish.” From, “St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” in History of the Scottish Nation by J.A. Wylie (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co. Andrew Elliot, Edinburgh 1886) Vol. II, Ch 9.
3 The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.
4 Ibid., p. 2.
5 Ibid., p. 5.
6 John 1:14.
7 John 1:16.
8 The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.
9 The Confession of Patrick, p. 3.
10 Ibid., p 3.
11 Ibid., p. 3.
12 Letter to Coroticus, http://prayerfoundation.org/st_patricks_letter_to_coroticus.htm 1/30/03, p. 2.
13 “…that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith..” Philippians 3:8-9
14 “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” (italic in the original). Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second ed., (United States Catholic Conference, 1997) Para. 1129.
15 The historian, J A Wylie goes to great lengths of demonstrate the fact that Patrick came to Ireland to evangelise in 405. Among others, he quotes Dr. Killen as saying “‘Its [i.e., this fact] claims to have been acknowledged by the best critics of all denominations,’ by Usher, Ware, Tillemont, Lanigan, and Neander….He [Dr. Killen] thinks that Patrick arrived in Ireland immediately after the death of Nial, or Nial of the Nine Hostages, in the year 405.’” From “St Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” by J.A. Wylie in History of the Scottish Nation, Vol. II, Ch. 13, endnote No. 4.
16 Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, Sect. 14, “The Conversion of Ireland”.
17 The Confession of Patrick, p. 5.
18 Ibid., p. 2.
19 Ibid p 8
20 For a more complete list, see Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, “Conversion of Northern and Western Barbarians”, Sect. 15, “The Irish Church after St. Patrick. The Missionary Period”.
21 The full text of the Papal Bull of Pope Adrian IV that empowered king Henry II to conquer and subdue Christian churches to Rome can be read at:http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/medieval/bullad.htm 3/4/2015
22 The Confession of Patrick, p. 8.
23 Ephesians 1:4
24 Luke 12:32
25 John 17:24
26 Matthew 7:21
27 John 6:29
28 Hebrews 3:7, 8
29 Romans 10:17
30 1 John 5:11-12
31 II Corinthians 5:17
II Corinthians 5:16
“Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.”
Used by permission; see note below.
November 16, 2015
Praise for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” resounded from pulpit to pew. It is evident that there are many Christians who, without reservation, are prepared to accept movies about “Christ,” even one in the Catholic tradition. The question, therefore, that must be asked is this: In the light of Scripture, is the position defendable of the people in accepting movies with Christ being portrayed, or do they fall under the condemnation of Almighty God?
No Revival Without the True Gospel and a Righteous Anger Against Images
Evangelicals have discovered themselves confronting crisis upon crisis. After decades of endeavor and aggregate growth, moral turpitude and the apparent demise of marriage, like corrupt weeds, blossom before their faces. The modus vivendi embodied in the 1994 “Evangelicals & Catholics Together” (ECT) still confuses and deceives. Its ecclesiastical endorsement has further led many Evangelical churches to believe that there is no essential difference between Catholicism and biblical Christianity. The dramatic “Passion” movie perpetuates the lie. In the Evangelical camp, the carnal pandering of “seeker sensitive” churches loiters unquestioned. The unregenerate fill the pews and silence the pulpits. There is no conviction of sin, because the Gospel is not openly admitted or acknowledged. Within the Reformed churches there is division, contention, and strife caused by the “Auburn Avenue controversy” and the “New Perspective on Justification.” Revival has been preached, pursued, and prayed for and still remains aloof. “We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were, brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.”
In the soil of “another” Gospel no revival can spring! In the temple of images and pictures can come no renewal! From Moses unto Hosea, those who sought to revive the spirit of the nation and would have hearts return to a true worship of God, condemned images. And that which is condemned in the Old Testament is not justified in the New Testament. The great revivals in Christian history have flourished under the true Gospel and the denunciation of idolatry. So it was with the Vaudois, the Waldenses, the Lollards, the Bohemians, and the Reformers. In the Dark Ages, luminaries such as John Wycliffe and John Huss attacked the corruption of idolatry and preached the Gospel.
In the USA during the Great Awakening, preachers inspired by George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and William Law, sought to glorify God in the Gospel by uniting veracious worship with the censuring of images. “If Jesse Lee had not come into Massachusetts, some one else pressed in spirit, like Paul at Athens ‘when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry’, would have found utterance and would have had followers.” Following Jonathan Edwards’ publication of the journal of David Brainerd,
“The revival had greatest impact when Brainerd emphasised the compassion of the Saviour, the provisions of the gospel, and the free offer of divine grace. Idolatry was abandoned, marriages repaired, drunkenness practically disappeared….Their communities were filled with love.”
The witness of this testimony must not remain unheeded if we are to receive the blessing we long for from On High, for “what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?”
Christ’s Divine Person is Revealed Only in One Human Body
Christians reason within themselves that since God became a man in the person of Christ, a picture of Jesus is but an image of an image. Their rationalization is that the Incarnation is justification, if not authorization, for us to depict Christ in human form. They argue further that no portrait can display a man’s soul, thus Christ’s body can be legitimately pictured distinct from His Divinity. Poor deluded Christians, unwilling to sever the last vestiges of carnal thinking, averse to bringing “every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Amongst humanity, Christ remains unique. Any attempt to represent this uniqueness in human form (an achievement that God alone could do in the Incarnation) destroys it. The multiplicity of depictions with various facial features, hues and expressions, denies it. A man has but one nature, and thus he can be legitimately portrayed with no offense to what he is, but not so Christ who is also Divine; and to make Him into an “image like unto corruptible man” is to transgress the Law and insult the Godhead. Those who saw Christ upon this earth had before their eyes “God manifest in the flesh.” What animistic artist or photographer could claim such for his effort? What do we have then? Is it not an attempt to create a likeness of the One of Whom we have no likeness? This then is the very essence of idolatry – the false representation of God. In the silence of our chambers we should reverently pray, “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”, and lo, the answer thunders down through the ages, “I am God, and there is none like me.”
The Person of Christ consists of two indivisible natures – the perfectly “Human” and the perfectly “Divine.” He who was manifested in the flesh was really and truly God. And yet, He had real human flesh. “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. Pictures or movies of Christ are merely portraits of a human body. It is totally impossible to show forth the divinity of Christ; this only His body in heaven can now do, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, and not figuratively, for he is both God and Man. This “fullness” can never be found in types, figures, or likenesses of Him. Any such replication is utter deceit. Whenever a bodily form is ascribed to Christ Jesus, it remains a gross lie. This fact—that Christ Jesus is both God and Man—is a great and central doctrine of Christian faith. What Evangelicals fail to comprehend in making portrayals of Him is that by so representing Christ, they are perjuring themselves before the All Holy God because all depictions of Him succeed in showing humanity bereft of divinity. “What profiteth the graven image…a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?” The words of Scripture alone patently present the divinity of Christ.
Christ Jesus in His Person and perfect human nature is the express image of God. Whoever has seen Him has seen the Father. If Jesus were only a man, albeit the best of men, it would be quite acceptable to portray Him. But Christ is not! He is the express image of God, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” This image involves His eternal essence and as such is singular and cannot not replicated or reproduced. Those who accept pictures and movies of Christ fail to comprehend that they have reduced Christ’s incarnation to humanity alone. These representations ignore the unique character of Christ Jesus as the unexampled “express image” of God. While He is truly Man, yet Christ’s perfect humanity cannot be separated from His divinity. Such practice perpetuates the heresy of Nestorius who taught that Jesus was two distinct “persons,” one human and one divine. The uniqueness of Christ Jesus coupled with the command not to practice idolatry is given in the strongest terms in the New Testament. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
There can be no doubt that it is He of whom it is said, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” … “all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made”; Who Himself declared “I and my Father are one,” was worshiped as “my Lord and my God”! He is very God of very God.
Do we imagine that God in His omniscience did not foresee portraits, pictures, canvas, or cameras? Are we wiser than He? There beats within the heart of every man a craving for visible forms conjured up in the human mind to give expression to religious beliefs. Because of this evil desire, the Lord God has forbidden idolatry, warning of its corrupting influence. If believers have been deceived in this matter, it is our desire and prayer that they see the truth of God’s Word and understand that they have been feeding upon ashes and say, “For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain.”
Presentations That Confuse the Distinction Between God and His Created World
A picture or movie of Christ, because of inherent limitations, resides in the world of created things from imaginations. Whatever aspirations may be intended, it can rise no higher than that which it is. Hence, it blurs the distinctness between God and man, confusing the Creator with the creation. The Apostle Paul reveals the cause of this confusion, “Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” This digression, the Apostle tells us, continues because, “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man….” The problem is this: “to whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?” The Scriptural answer is clear: “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
Any attempted portrayal of Christ transforms the medium itself into a mediator between God and man. The viewer, restricted within the confines of this humanistic plane, imagines that he knows the Lord, at least in some measure. With this instilled image of Christ throbbing within his mind, the viewer is allowed to wander, silently thinking his own thoughts, constrained by an impression that is not Christ. Thus, the viewer’s mind continues to be conformed to the world by the created image and by his own subjectivity. Although such visual presentations appeal strongly to the sensual impulses, they do not explicitly present to any man the objective truth concerning the Lord.
Our knowledge of Jesus Christ must be formed from the truths in Scripture and not by subjective impressions of artistic interpretation. In the latter, the artist and the viewer combine God and His creation into a single entity within the picture, and this is the visible expression of idolatry. This spurious image lays the foundation for a pantheistic concept of God. Marvel not then that, “Soaring pagan numbers have churches worrying and calling for stricter controls on cult TV programs and films that celebrate sorcery like “Harry Potter,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” The command given in Scripture is to choose God’s way so as to know and follow Christ in His Word! When obeyed, upon the pages of Scripture, in the words of the Law, in the grace of the Gospel, we know Him in spirit and truth.
We do not see Jesus Christ with the physical eye. This is the whole meaning of faith. The excellence of the object of faith is the unseen Jesus. While sense deals with things that are seen, reason is a higher plane. Faith, however, ascends further still, and assures us of abundance of particulars that sense and reason could never have found. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith nourishes itself upon the power and promises of the Unseen, “I had fainted unless I had believed to see.” We can understand, then, the logic and consistent purpose of why the Lord God forbids images.
Pictures and Movies That Break God’s Law and Defile God’s Grace
Evangelical churches demonstrate an ignorance of the meaning of the Second Commandment, which forbids using images to represent God.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
This commandment prohibits the creation and use of graven images. It essentially brings to mind that God is Spirit, not to be conceived of or fashioned in man’s image or any other creature’s image. In Deuteronomy 4:12-16 is found a parallel passage,
“And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female.”
What is forbidden is the similitude of the Lord Himself. No similitude of the Divine was given to the people and none was to be made. In the New Testament we see that no “similitude” of Christ Jesus was given, and the commandment must remain unabridged. Any similitude or image of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit is sinful and insulting to the majesty of the Lord God. And what of those who seek balm for their conscience in preferring pictures over statues, as if the lack of one dimension, depth, transforms the image into a thing acceptable unto God? They well imagine that they have acted more nobly toward the Lord because theirs is not a “graven image.” It comforts them not to be upon the Roman road of idolatry, oblivious to the fact that they parallel it upon the Greek route. God forbids the making of a likeness of anything. Therefore, it is a transgression of God’s law to make a “representation” or “semblance” of anything in heaven or upon the earth, to delineate God. He calls those who break this commandment “those who hate me,” and those who keep the commandment, “those who love me.” Punishment for iniquity is promised to the transgressors, while blessing is pledged to its adherents. From God’s perspective, idolatry is spiritual adultery; so, with the indignant reaction of a betrayed husband, He continues, “for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”
The Lesson of the Golden Calf
The children of Israel languished in impatience and unbelief at the base of Mount Sinai, waiting for Moses, who seemingly would not return. Impatience grew into murmuring, murmuring into loud complaining. They had never seen God with their eyes; and now His anointed, “this Moses, . .we wot [know] not what is become of him.” He too, it appeared, had vanished, never to return. “Up,” they enjoined Aaron, “make us gods.” The natural yearning of their hearts demanded visible forms for religious expression and someone or something to lead them now that they believed Moses was gone. But there is a price to be paid; the pure must be forfeited to produce the crass. They must part with their gold and bring it to Aaron; he took it, “and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods (Elohim), O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.” The children of Israel looked upon this idol and called it “Elohim …which brought thee up out of Egypt.” Aaron ratified this designation, for with the image as centerpiece, tomorrow would be a feast to Jehovah. But what did God see? The answer is given in Scripture, “They made a calf in Horeb and worshipped the molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass; they forgat God their Savior, which had done great things in Egypt.”
The Apostle Paul tells us that idolatry is changing, “the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and to fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. What was their glory, and is the Church’s glory, is in truth the glory of God Himself; and it cannot, and must not, be represented by an image of a man or a beast. God, knowing the evil inclinations of men, and their struggle to justify their ungodly deeds, especially those done in the name of religion has declared, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Whatever theologians may debate concerning this verse, one thing is clear, if you give a physical representation to Christ’s face, then you have defined and defiled the glory of God. Whether a “man” or an “ox that eateth grass,” any attempt to replicate that glory, save that which God does Himself, is idolatry.
An Overview of the Christian History of Idolatry
The Apostles, whose gospels and epistles are the very oracles of God, are men who could say, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life,” never give a physical description of Christ. Rather, they proclaimed what He said and what He did. They emphasize His death and resurrection, explaining the significance of these events, and the necessity of faith in them in order to be saved. The Apostle Paul pointedly states that we know Jesus no longer after the flesh, He is now known through faith. Peter says of Christ, Whom having not seen, ye love, in Whom though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. And men and women, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, exulted in the unseen Christ just as the Patriarchs had done in the unseen Jehovah; neither did they clamor for a description of the Lord. The New Testament’s muteness on this point is an essential compliance with the dictates of the Old Testament. Any other existing source claiming to provide a description of Christ is extracanonical.
In the first two centuries of the Church, Christians did not use images to represent Christ. During this infancy of the Church, the early Christians would not bow to the image of Caesar or to any work of man’s hands. They had no images, statues, or pictures; they well understood that the God they worshiped would never have accepted such an affront, for He alone is God. How then did idolatry come into the Church? It was through a process of time, indifference, ignorance, and deceit. In the year 313 A.D., when the Roman Emperor Constantine declared Christianity to be the official religion of the Empire, pagans by governmental edict, and not regeneration, found themselves to being called “Christians.” Not knowing God or the Gospel, they flooded the Church, idols in their arms, in their homes, in their minds, and in their hearts. True believers, however, opposed pictures and statues as representing Christ. The controversy raged back and forth for several centuries, and there was much turmoil over the matter. In the midst of this battle, Pope Gregory the Great I (604) presented a seemingly innocent and compellingly plausible argument in their favor. He wrote to Bishop Serenus of Marseilles, who had destroyed the images in his diocese, “What books are to those who can read, that is a picture to the ignorant who look at it; in a picture even the unlearned may see what example they should follow; in a picture they who know no letters may yet read. Hence, for barbarians especially a picture takes the place of a book.” Such carnal reasoning usurps authority from the Word of God. But in truth, if the illiterate cannot read, they can certainly “hear,” and “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” because “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Then, in the year 754 A.D., a large council of bishops declared that such pictures are not biblical and therefore are not acceptable in the Church. Twenty-three years later, however, another council of bishops reversed that teaching. The Second Council of Nicea, which met in 787 A.D, required the use of pictures and statues as signifying Christ. This inexcusable idolatry of the Roman Catholic Church led into what is called the Dark Ages. When the Reformation came, and with it the true Gospel, there was also a condemnation of the evils of idolatry. To escape idolatry, many people left the Catholic Church, and Bible-based churches sprang up in many countries. At the time of the Reformation, both pastors and people realized that everything respecting God that is learned from images is both false and futile.
“O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.”
How did it come to this? It may well be argued that the spirit of Jezebel is alive in the Catholic Church, and that the Church is teaching God’s servants “to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” As with any education, this one commences in the elementary grades: the decorative “religious” pictures, the carnal reasoning, the excuses and justification, and the assurance that the incipient deed will go no further. But the Catholic Church knows that every man is at heart an idolater, and it takes but a blink of the eye to go from hanging an image to bowing the knee. Thus, once the rudimentary lessons are learned and accepted, her students are almost certain to progress into a papal form of idolatry. Unless vigilance is exercised in guarding against that initial step, the conclusion is inevitable. Because Christ is the focus of true Christianity, any picture that attempts to portray Him becomes special in comparison to all others. Although the picture is not Christ, nor is it an honest replication of Him, eventually in the mind of observer it will be both. It must certainly be the latter initially, else why hang a picture of an unknown stranger upon the wall? Ask the owner of that picture, “Who is this?” and he shall answer without hesitation, and with no more proof than general consensus, “It is Jesus,” when in fact it is not, and thus it fulfills all the criteria necessary to qualify as an idol—a false representation of God. And because he is certain that this image is Jesus, he is bound by his respect for Christ to honor the picture, but “honor” will eventually give way to “reverence,” and “reverence” shall cede to “veneration.” Surely this is the curse that he binds about the necks of his children’s children’s children. It is to be feared that this warning will fall upon deaf ears. Many who call themselves Christian have a cavalier attitude toward the issue of idolatry. They rationalize using circular reasoning along these lines, “I am saved and I use pictures, movies, and videos of Christ; therefore, pictures, movies, and videos of Christ cannot be wrong for Christians.” Hence, God no longer is adjudicator of what is right and what is wrong; the creature is, while presuming upon the holy gift of salvation as a license to do his own pleasure. God’s Word ceases to be the basis for what is believed, but rather what is believed becomes the interpreter of God’s Word. In effect, the “Christian’s will” becomes the arbitrator that reins in and corrals, or confines, the truth of Scripture. How much easier is it then to relegate the Word of the Lord to the status of a “silent partner” when one adopts Catholicism’s official teaching, “By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new ‘economy’ of images”? Sadly, it becomes much easier.
It seems that none of us is ever far from the taint of Egyptian idolatry. It cleaves to our garments, and it beckons us back during the night watches. Unless prayerful and vigilant, we succumb, perhaps not at once, but by moments and by steps. That which was an object of our indifference becomes a focus of our need. Mark this well: the pictures that this generation hangs in the temple will be the idols that the next generation shall worship. There is little hesitation to insert the adjective “sacred” before the word “picture,” and this provides the rationale for veneration. How many Christians have defended the concocted image of Christ adorning their wall by saying that they worship not the image but that which the image represents. Do they honestly believe by this false argument they honor God? Indeed, they speculate as the papists do today, and assume as the pagans did many centuries ago. The ancient pagans lived in societies awash with statues and shrines dedicated to each of their gods. These idolaters also believed that when they knelt before their effigies, they were worshipping the gods, which the image represented. No doubt this association, allied with natural superstition, imparted a conscious quality to the idol for the worshipper, but let this fact be counted a warning rather than a distinction. Does not the Church of Rome, where truth once again bows to superstition, claiming “miracles of animation” regarding their idols? Her votaries [public vows] have testified of statues that move, weep, and bleed. This is the legacy of all idolatry.
What Then Should One Do?
As we read of the “high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,” and “the better promises” that He has for His people in the New Covenant than in the Old, we have a great well-founded hope for true conviction on this fundamental issue. The promise given is explicit and most encouraging: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” The efficacy of Christ Jesus’ blood is very great. It is sufficient to reach to the very soul and conscience. A soul defiled with idolatry can be purged, its conscience relieved and enabled to serve the living God. The blood of Christ not only convicts through the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, but it also absolves the true believer, enabling him to serve the living God in a worthy manner.
The Apostle Paul proceeded most strongly, calling on all to repent from the absurdity of idolatry. This is meant not simply those who knew it indeed was idolatry, but those who in ignorance did so: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” Men greatly dishonor God if they make Him after the likeness of a mere human body. It is like unto the sin of apostasy, in that it puts Christ Jesus to open shame. Most beloved, to think that it is acceptable to present the Lord in imagined human flesh that is not His own glorified flesh is to engage in idolatry.
There is no higher obligation than to obey the command of God. It can be done. God does not expect the impossible. It is a fearful thing to think that some have concluded that this matter of idolatry is inconsequential. There will be no revival in the absence of the true Gospel. There will be no revival without sincere repentance for making and using images, which is the predominant sin of movies and pictures that portray the Lord Jesus Christ. ♦
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
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 Isaiah 26:18
 God will cast all idolaters into “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8; Acts 17:29-30; and Romans 1:22-25
 II Corinthians 6:16
 Exodus 15:11
 Isaiah 46:9
 I Timothy 3:16
 Hebrews 2:14
 Colossians 2:9
 Habakkuk 2:18
 John 1:14; 14:9
 Hebrews 1:3
 Nestorianism is the heresy named after Nestorius who was born in Syria and died in 451 AD. He advocated the doctrine that Jesus had two distinct persons. The biblical solution to that controversy was stated at the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) when it was shown that Christ has two natures in His one person. On questions about whether the two natures can be merged into one, confused or separated, a later the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) showed biblically that the two natures can never be confused with each other, nor can they be separated from each other.
 I John 5:20-21
 Zechariah 10:2
 Romans 1:21
 Romans 1: 22-23
 Isaiah 40:18
 Romans 12:2
 2003 Reuters Limited 6/20/03
 Hebrews 11:1
 Psalm 27:13
 Exodus 20:4-6
 The Greek Orthodox honor and kiss icons. These are pictures and not statues. They state “use of icons was defended and upheld at the Seventh Ecumenical Council. The end of that council is still celebrated as the ‘Triumph of Orthodoxy’ in today, and icons remain a central part of Orthodox faith and practice.”
 Exodus 20:5
 Exodus 20:6
 Exodus 20: 5
 Psalm.106: 19-21
 Roman 1:23
 II Corinthians 4:6
 I John 1:1
 II Corinthians 5:16“Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.”
 Not included in the canon of Scripture. Ex.: The Apocrypha is not included in the Protestant Bibles.
 Ep. ix, 105, in P. L., LXXVII, 1027 http://landru.i-link-2.net/shnyves/Catholic_Tradition_art.html 3/15/04
 Isaiah 3:12
 Revelation 2:20 She has plied her trade with unparalleled success, from Babylon to India. But her greatest achievement, the Church of Rome today, has its adherents kneel before a crucifix (which is an idol) whilst the priest raises before it an Eucharist, the oblation of the “bloodless” sacrifice of the Mass—and then amidst the orchestration of this solemn act, her votaries, in their turn, eat this thing sacrificed unto idols precisely as Rev.2:20 charges. But how did this come about? Not over night. Jezebel taught in stages commencing their education with the primary lessons: pictures hanging in homes to inspire, used to teach the illiterate, and statues used to represent, the “saints,” Christ, et al., and all to be pious ornaments in the churches, etc. But the end was inevitable. Rest assured, should the Lord tarry, the same Evangelical churches, which today tolerate pictures, will one day be having their communion with one on the table in front of the elements (perhaps some already do) and eventually will place it in a predella and bow before it and eat their bread. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. It is that same Jezebel who was “suffered” [tolerated] by the elders at Thyatira that is being tolerated in Evangelicalism today, and the result is assured.
 Catechism, Para 2131
 US News & World Report 3/ 29/ 93. “The case of the Weeping Madonna,” pp. 46-50
 Hebrews 8:1
 Hebrews 8:6 “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
 Hebrews 9:14
 Acts 17:30
 I John 5:21
In posting this article my intention is not to tear down Mother Teresa’s reputation. It’s that knowing what I do about her despair, I’m responsible to warn others about the emptiness, suffering, and ungodliness of a life devoted to service in the name of Christ without faith in the Christ of the Bible, the One Whom the Apostle Thomas confessed to be his Lord and God.
There are Christians who are wandering off of the narrow way, and others who have never entered it, who desire a life of love, service, and mysticism (a direct experience of God). Recently I read a post at Antipas Chronicles about Mother Teresa, who exemplified a life like this, and who is regarded as a heroine by all kinds of people including Bible-believing Christians. After reading that post, I found an article about her that I’d read awhile ago. The entire article appears below just as it appears at Berean Beacon. Thank you for taking the time to read it and to try to understand the danger of going beyond what is written, and being seduced by a counterfeit of the Christian faith.
Because of our weakness and sin, and a desire to bypass the hardship of living by faith alone, people yearn for a direct experience of the Lord. But mysticism is a deception. One element of mysticism is called ‘the dark night of the soul,’ a Catholic term which Evangelicals are now using. It’s a term for the experience of losing all sense of blessing, joy, and fellowship with the Father and the Son.
I believe that while suffering is a major part of our lives as Christians, the Lord wouldn’t leave His children in a dark place like that – that He took the curse of separation from our Heavenly Father upon Himself when He was crucified so that we would never suffer this. This is revealed in His words upon the Cross,
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
So, although at times we suffer intensely – even agony – He is with us in this. While the following passage from Isaiah is speaking about the Lord’s compassion towards Israel, I believe it speaks to all of His suffering children,
9 In all their affliction he was afflicted,
and the angel of his presence saved them:
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is a loving Father to His children. He would never leave us alone in a dark dark place to test our love by compelling us to believe in His goodness while experiencing a sense of total abandonment by Him. If you don’t know much about mystical states, but are attracted to them, please read on and remember, that if you have repented and trusted in Jesus, then this is true of you:
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
June 19, 2015
If you research the influence of Mother Teresa, you will find that it is worldwide. In many different languages you will find books, magazines, articles, DVDs, CDs, and even concertos made to honor her and to praise her work she performed for the benefit of humanity. Some Christian pastors refer to her life as an example of Christian living. The unique aura that surrounds the person and work of Mother Teresa makes it difficult to truly analyze her life and beliefs. This analysis, however, needs to be made as the lives of countless millions of people are involved. Therefore, with compassion and deep concern, we have addressed the question: Was Mother Teresa a lost soul?
We ask that you respond in prayer and forward the article to others. We request also, if possible, that you post it on your Webpage.
In the Lord’s loving kindness and grace, Richard Bennett
In many countries, Gonhxa Agnes Bojaxhiu, better known as the highly esteemed Mother Teresa, is being presented as a role model. Since many people now accept the notion that all religions are legitimate ways to God, for them Mother Teresa is currently one of the best standards. She believed that all people can go to heaven by way of their own religious beliefs. People rationalize that if good deeds made Mother Teresa acceptable to God, some good deeds in their own lives will help secure their confidence that they, too, will one day reach heaven. Mother Teresa can easily become a reputable, across-the-board role model for those who hold these kinds of assumptions. Moreover, people are very reluctant to state anything against a person so recognized for an extraordinarily devoted life full of many good deeds. Consequently, examination of her life and her message can be a very sensitive issue. Mother Teresa’s life and message, however, must be measured against what our Lord Jesus Christ has said in His written Word, particularly because she finished her life spiritually bankrupt, as she from her early life on admitted to walking in spiritual darkness.1 This repeated admission must be acknowledged for what it is in the light of Bible truth.
Gonhxa Bojaxhiu, born in 1910, grew up in a very pious Catholic family in a fervently Catholic parish in Albania. Nevertheless, it took her six years to come to her decision to become a nun, which she did at age eighteen. By her dedication and devotion, she was convinced that she loved Jesus and had loved him since a child. She wrote, “From the age of 5 1⁄2 years,—when first I received Him [through her first Holy Communion]—the love for souls has been within—It grew with the years—until I came to India—with the hope of saving many souls.”2 On her way to India for the first time, she wrote home, “Pray for your missionary, that Jesus may help her to save
1 Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, the Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta”, edited and with commentary by Brian Kolodiejchuk, M. C. (USA: Doubleday, 2007) p. 20; also Ch. 8–13. Mother Teresa hereafter.
2 Ibid., p.15
as many immortal souls as possible from the darkness of unbelief.”3 After nine years in India, she wrote to a Jesuit priest, who had been her confessor,
“Do not think that my spiritual life is strewn with roses—that is the flower which I hardly ever find on my way. Quite the contrary, I have more often as my companion ‘darkness.’ And when the night becomes very thick—and it seems to me as if I will end up in hell—then I simply offer myself to Jesus…I need much grace, much of Christ’s strength to persevere in trust, in that blind love which leads only to Jesus Crucified….I would not wish at any price to give up my sufferings.”4
There is but one Lord Jesus Christ and one Gospel as the Apostle warned believers.5 Tragically, her private writings reveal that this utterly devoted woman never got beyond the darkness of the false gospel and “another Jesus” of the Catholic Church.
In April of 1942, Mother Teresa made a private vow, “I made a vow to God, binding under [pain of] mortal sin, to give to God anything that He may ask, ‘Not to refuse Him anything.’”6 Her later explanation was that she “wanted to give God something very beautiful…without reservation.”7 Her work in Calcutta became that “something beautiful” she wanted to give to God. Disastrously, she did not know that the one who was calling her to this endeavor was not the Lord Jesus Christ, but “another Jesus,” to which her private writings give abundant testimony. In the time that it took to convince her superiors that she was to do this work, she wrote much to them. It is from these and other of her private letters that her regress into deeper darkness is visible.
Her first call had been at age twelve when she knew she wanted to “go out and give the life of Christ to the people in the missionary countries.”8 At age thirty-six, she received “a call within my vocation” which occurred in 1946 during a train ride from Calcutta to Loreto. Of it she later wrote, “On the train journey to Darjeeling on 10th September 1946 is where the M.C. [Missionaries of Charity] begins—in the depths of God’s infinite longing to love and to be loved9….It was on this day in 1946 in the train to Darjeeling that God gave me the ‘call within a call’ to satiate the thirst of Jesus by serving Him in the poorest of the poor.”10
The “Voice” that gave this call spoke to her many, many times following the train ride, always insisting that she start a work among the poorest people. For example, she testifies in her January 13, 1947 letter to Archbishop Périer,
“One day at Holy Com [Communion], I heard the same voice very distinctly—‘I want Indian nuns, Victims of my love, who would be Mary & Martha. Who would be so very united to me as to radiate my love on souls….The thirst you had for souls brought you so far.—Are you afraid to take one more step for your Spouse—for me—for souls?…You did not die for souls—that is why you don’t care what happens to them.—Your heart was never drowned in
3 Letter to Blagovijest (Catholic magazine in Skopje, her home town), March 25, 1929, Mother Teresa, p. 15
4 Letter to Fr. Franjo Jambreković, S. J., February 8, 1937, Mother Teresa, p. 20
5 II Corinthians 11:4
6 Letter to Archbishop Périer, September 1, 1959, Mother Teresa, p. 28
7 Letter to Fr. Picachy, April 4, 1960, Mother Teresa, p.29.
8 Malcolm Muggeridge, Something Beautiful for God (NY: Harper & Row, 1971) p. 84, quoted in Mother Teresa, p. 14
9 Letter to Missionaries of Charity Sisters, April 24, 1996, Mother Teresa, p. 40
10 Letter to Co-Workers, Christmas, 1996, Ibid.
sorrow as it was My Mother’s. We both gave our all for souls—and you?…your vocation is to love and suffer and save souls and by taking this step you will fulfill my Heart’s desire for you—That is your vocation.’…this voice frightened me…I asked Our Mother Mary to ask Jesus to remove all this from me. The more I prayed—the clearer grew the voice in my heart…‘Little one give me souls—give me the souls of the poor little street children—How it hurts—if you only knew—to see these poor children soiled with sin. I long for the purity of their love.—If you would only answer my call—and bring me these souls—draw them away from the hands of the evil one….For them I long—them I love—Wilt thou refuse?’”11
“‘My little one—come—come—carry me into the holes of the poor.—Come be My light—I cannot go alone—they don’t know Me—so they don’t want Me. You come—go amongst them, carry Me with you into them.—How I long to enter their holes—their dark unhappy homes. Come be their victim.—In your immolation—in your love for Me—they will see Me, know Me, want Me. Offer more sacrifices—smile more tenderly, pray more fervently and all the difficulties will disappear.’”12
Not only did she hear over and over again what she referred to as the “Voice,” always with the same content to the message, but she disclosed in a letter to the Archbishop that she had had three visions, of which she reported,
“1) I saw a very big crowd—all kinds of people—very poor and children were there also. They all had their hands lifted towards me—standing in their midst. They called out ‘Come, come, save us—bring us to Jesus.’
2) Again that great crowd—I could see great sorrow and suffering in their faces—I was kneeling near Our Lady, who was facing them.—…I heard her say ‘Take care of them—they are mine—bring them to Jesus—Carry Jesus to them—Fear not. Teach them to say the Rosary—the family Rosary and all will be well.—Fear not—Jesus and I will be with you and your children.’
3) The same great crowd—they were covered in darkness. Yet I could see them. Our Lord on the Cross. Our Lady at a little distance from the Cross—and myself as a little child in front of her. Her left hand was on my left shoulder—and her right hand was holding my right arm. We were both facing the Cross. Our Lord said—‘I have asked you. They have asked you and she, My Mother has asked you. Will you refuse to do this for me—to take care of them, to bring them to me?’
I answered—You know, Jesus, I am ready to go at a moment’s notice….Since [then]—I have heard nothing nor seen anything, but I know that what ever I have written—it is true.—As I told you, I do not build on this—but I know it is true.”13
The highest authority that the true believer knows is God’s written word, the Scriptures. The Lord’s strong clear declaration is: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”14 Since God’s written word alone is
11 Mother Teresa, p. 48 Underlining in these quotations indicate the words of the “Voice” in the original.
12 Letter to Archbishop Périer, December 3, 1947, Mother Teresa, p. 98
13 Ibid., p. 99
14 Isaiah 8:20
breathed out by Him,15 it and it alone is the believer’s standard of behavior. It cannot be otherwise. Any voice contradicting Scripture is to be accounted as a liar and a deceiver, the voice of the evil one. It is heartbreaking to see how Mother Teresa, as a young girl, was led into a false gospel practiced by her pious Catholic family and taught to them by the Catholic Church. From there she became a nun desiring to bring souls out of darkness into believing faith in the Catholic Church. It is even more distressing to read of her being approached by a “Voice,” “another Jesus,” who brought an unbiblical message accompanied by three visions—visions to which she with great sacrifices blindly devoted herself. None of this could make her right with God, but she did not know it.
Tragically, she through her blind faith in Catholic doctrine and rituals was rendered unprotected against these stronger forms of spiritual deception that had beset her. Nor were her superiors of final protection, for all the while that her request to set up an order was being considered, she and they were believing, practicing Catholics—sincerely and unquestioningly living out a “gospel” that cannot save.16 While Mother Teresa believed Catholic doctrine, she remained in darkness. She wrote that the darkness increasingly impacted her when, having set up the Missionaries of Charity, she began to run her newly erected order, i.e., the “something beautiful” on which the “Voice” had insisted. Warned by the “Voice” that she would suffer much, she attested to having expected physical sufferings, but she seems not to have expected that she would find herself so alone—abandoned by her “Spouse,” as it were. As she stated in a letter in 1961,
“When I help my Sisters draw very close to Jesus—when I teach them to love Him with a deep—devoted—personal love—I long to be able to do the same.—The Sisters in front of my very eyes I see them love God—come so close to Him—grow daily so much like Him— and I, Father—am just ‘alone’—empty—excluded—and not wanted.”17
She wrote yet again to Neuner,
“How cold—how empty—how painful is my heart.—Holy communion—Holy Mass—all the holy things of spiritual life—of the life of Christ in me—are all so empty—so cold—so unwanted. The physical situation of my poor, left in the streets unwanted, unloved, unclaimed—are the true picture of my own spiritual life, of my love for Jesus….”18
It is clearly evident throughout her private writings that she did not have in her heart “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”19 As the vision of establishing an order was realized and lived out, the foundational issue with which she was increasingly faced was that of the object of her hope and faith. Would it deliver? Her personal writings chronicle the fact that it did deliver the promised suffering. But on the salvation promised after the suffering,20 it cannot deliver, for the Bible, the written Word of God, states otherwise.
15 II Timothy 3:16
16 Brian Kolodiejchuk, Postulator for the cause of Canonization of Blessed Theresa of Calcutta, comments, “His [Archbishop Périer] decision was not based on the extraordinary phenomena that Mother Teresa had experienced but rather on the depth of her life of prayer, her obedience and zeal, and his judgment that her blueprint and rules proposed a concrete solution to a critical need in the Church.” Mother Teresa, Pp. 102-103.
17 Letter to Fr. Joseph Neuner, October 16, 1961, Mother Teresa, p. 222
18 Letter to Fr. Neuner, May 12, 1962, Mother Teresa, p. 232
19 II Corinthians 4:6
20 Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), Para. 1477
Mother Teresa wrote numerous times of “Jesus”, consistently finishing many of her letters and documents with “Yours in Jesus, M Teresa MC.” Yet, she never mentions herself at all as a sinner trusting on Jesus Christ for salvation. Rather, she has His role and her role reversed, in that He needs her to sacrifice herself to save lives for Him; but she professes that she neither needs nor wants His love. The purpose of her work is stated in the founding “Decree of Erection” for her congregation:
“To quench the thirst of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls by the observance of the three Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, and of an additional fourth Vow to devote themselves with abnegation to the care of the poor and needy who, crushed by want and destitution, live in conditions unworthy of the human dignity.”21
Clearly, the founding purpose of her congregation is diametrically opposed to the Gospel message that by faith alone a convicted sinner trusts solely on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. For Teresa and the religious order she established, the salvation of souls was to be obtained by the observance of four specific vows purporting to aid in quenching the insatiable thirst of the Lord Jesus Christ.
From Teresa’s private correspondence, it is abundantly clear that she thinks she loves Jesus. Lost in living out the imaginations of her own deceived heart,22 she appears to be unaware that her message is a flagrant, clear cut denial of the true Gospel. Her writing shows that she absolutely did not know that being right with God is God’s gift through Christ Jesus’ perfect life and sacrifice alone. No good works are part of salvation, as Scripture so clearly states, “for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.”23 In stating its primary goal, the founding decree of Mother Teresa’s congregation shows that neither she who started this work nor the Catholic authorities who gave it Catholic legitimacy knew anything whatsoever of the glorious Lord Christ—as if He needed us to quench His thirst.
Holding this completely unscriptural view of the Lord Jesus Christ and teaching it to others is an extremely serious sin, as the Scripture warns, “woe unto them…that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”24 That Teresa had been deceived by “another Jesus” is thoroughly attested to by her own writing—for her founding statement and the documents leading up to it contradict Who Christ is. This “Voice”, which she thought was Jesus, called her to be his light to the poor and beyond, and equipped her with a false gospel to live and perpetrate, which she did to her utmost. That false gospel is enshrined in the foundation statement of her Missionaries of Charity charter.
It is sobering to remember that the Lord said, “not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”25 The Lord made the will of the Father abundantly clear when He said, “This is the
21 Mother Teresa, pp. 138-139
22 Jeremiah 17:9
23 Ephesians 2:8-9
24 Isaiah 5:20
25 Matthew 7:21
work of God, that you believe on him whom he hath sent.”26 He explained also in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican that as sinners we come to God with the attitude of the publican who cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”27 True assurance and peace with God is absolutely God’s gift, as the Scripture so wonderfully explains, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”28
The concept that good deeds make us acceptable to God was foundational to Mother Teresa. The AmericanCatholic.org website explains how she visited Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 7, 1981, to help the Franciscan community there launch a celebration of the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis of Assisi. She was asked why St. Francis had such an impact on her life. She explained that an incident in the life of St. Francis that most appealed to her was his kissing of the leper. According to tradition, one day St. Francis had passed a leper on the road, too repulsive at first even to greet. “But then he came back and embraced him,” Mother Teresa related. “That was the beginning of St. Francis. That act of surrender made St. Francis…. After that he was ready to give anything!”29 This purpose to save souls “by surrender” was in fact what Mother Teresa wrote in the explanation of the Constitutions of her order of nuns.
“True love is surrender. The more we love the more we surrender. If we really love souls we must be ready to take their place, to take their sins upon us and face the anger of God. It is only thus that we make ourselves their means and them our end. We must be living holocausts, for the world needs us as such.”30
What Mother Teresa wrote and lived is in fact official teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it in this way,
“In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they have attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.”31
In total contrast, Scripture declares that all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags.32 Working for one’s own salvation, and the salvation of others, is explicitly ruled out by the Word of God. Grace, in Scripture, is shown to be absolutely God’s gift, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”33
26 John 6:29
27 Luke 18:13
28 Romans 4:4-5
29 http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Teresa/Teresa_Assisi.asp 10/15/2007
30 Mother Teresa. Quoted from Explanation of the Original Constitutions of the M. C. Sisters written by Mother M. Teresa, M.C., undated, Mother Teresa, pp. 331-332
31 Catechism, Para. 1477. Emphasis not in original.
32 Isaiah 64:6, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”
33 Romans 4:4-5
The book much quoted here, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, has been published. It consists primarily of the correspondence of Teresa over a period of sixty-six years.34 It reveals her total lack of knowledge of the Gospel. The letters from her own hand make known that for nearly fifty years she felt no presence of God whatsoever in her life. The crisis seems to have started at the time she began tending “the poor and dying” in Calcutta. It never grew less except for a five-week period in 1959. Eleven years after the founding of her congregation, she wrote to Father Picachy of her horrendous despair,
“They say people in hell suffer eternal pain because of the loss of God—they would go through all that suffering if they had just a little hope of possessing God.—In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss—of God not wanting me—of God not being God—of God not really existing (Jesus, please forgive my blasphemies—I have been told to write everything). That darkness that surrounds me on all sides—I can’t lift my soul to God—no light or inspiration enters my soul.—I speak of love for souls—of tender love for God—words pass through my words [sic, lips]—and I long with a deep longing to believe in them.—What do I labor for? If there be no God—there can be no soul.—If there is no soul then Jesus—You also are not true.—Heaven, what emptiness—not a single thought of Heaven enters my mind—for there is no hope.—I am afraid to write all those terrible things that pass in my soul.—They must hurt You.”35
Poignantly we realize Teresa did not know that the Lord alone is the source of everlasting life. Jesus Christ is the incarnate reality in Whom alone we find the Father and everlasting life. This is the reason why the Scriptures continually emphasize the truth that, “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”36 The Lord God has appointed Him as the one and only Mediator and has ordained that all blessings shall come to souls through Him alone. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”37 The Bible not only teaches Who the Lord Jesus Christ is, but it also excludes all others from His roles. To put forward other persons as ways to obtain God’s blessings or to purport to assist Christ in salvation is in fact a denial of His person. Pathetically, this is exactly what Mother Teresa consistently taught and did in her life. Thus to Archbishop Périer she wrote not only of going in the name Mary and for her glory, but also she mentions Mary’s desire for the conversion at Fatima,
“Your Grace [Archbishop Périer], please entrust the whole thing to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.—She is doing wonders in other lands.—She will do this for your Archdiocese.—She will take special care of your Missionaries of Charity, for in serving the poor, our aim is to bring them through Mary to Jesus, using the family Rosary as the main weapon. What desires she spoke of at Fatima about the conversion of sinners. We want to do Our Lady’s part in the slums.—Let me go in her name and for her glory. With her for Our Mother, and for her greater glory, Our Lord will not allow the work of love and self-sacrifice to be a failure— from His point of view.”38
34 The process of canonization requires that everything known about the person be collected and reviewed by the proper canonization authorities. The letters and documents in this book are part of that process.
35 Letter to Father Picachy, September 1959, Mother Teresa, pp. 192-193
36 Acts 4:12
37 I Corinthians 3:11
38 Letter to Archbishop Périer Nov 7 1947, Mother Teresa p 94
The basic soul damning message of Fatima still lived out in Roman Catholicism is expressed in the words of the apparition, “Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice.”39 The Lord Jesus Christ was the Perfect One, the only one who could make the one acceptable sacrifice for sinners. Such a work in His words “is finished.”40 He the Christ is the Sole Lamb of God, “there is no more offering for sin.”41 Mother Teresa’s upholding of Mary’s name and glory, and the blasphemous message of Fatima show just how deeply she held to Roman Catholic teaching. How appalling it is to read her words that she wanted to live and die for the ‘Immaculate Heart’. She wrote,
“Today—my God—what tortures of loneliness—I wonder how long will my heart suffer this….Let me not draw back from the sacrifice I have made of my free choice and conviction. Immaculate Heart of my Mother, have pity on thy poor child. For the love of thee I want to live and die an M.C. [Missionaries of Charity].”42
With her mind locked into such veneration and dedication to the “Immaculate Heart”, it is no wonder that she also wrote of the horrendous darkness and emotional pain that she suffered even while still asking Mary to be her Mother in the darkness,
“Please pray for me—the longing for God is terribly painful and yet the darkness is becoming greater. What contradiction there is in my soul.—The pain within is so great—that I really don’t feel anything for all the publicity and the talk of the people. Please ask Our Lady to be my Mother in this darkness.”43
In her letters, Teresa has given first hand testimony to the agony of living out the false gospel she had been taught. What is so grave is that in spite of all her prolonged agony in spiritual emptiness, she leaves no evidence so far that she ever questioned any of her authorities. Rather, all evidence now available is quite the opposite. Unlike Martin Luther who in his agony turned to the Bible, Teresa in her life turned to her superiors and confessors. Like Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits four hundred years prior, she also turned to Catholic mystics. Nor does she give any evidence, so far, of even having known anything about truth. Apparently, the pain of living a lie did not spur her to seek truth, for so far it has not appeared as an issue in her letters—rather, only the agony of desperate aloneness. Sadly all the evidence that has been documented points to the fact that Teresa had not received a love of the truth.44
True believers have the “Spirit of truth,”45 and through that Spirit, a vital bond of union with Jesus Christ. If anyone has Christ as Savior, he or she has the Holy Spirit as Indweller. Anyone who claims to belong to Jesus Christ but gives no evidence of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit lacks the indisputable proof to establish his or her claim. No test could be more easily applied and none is more decisive, as Scripture explains; “now if any man have not the Spirit of
39 http://www.circleofprayer.com/fatima-messages.html 11/3/2007
40 John 19:30.
41 Hebrews 10:18.
42 Journal, February 28, 1949, Mother Teresa, p. 134
43 Letter to Archbishop Périer, January 29, 1958, Mother Teresa, p. 174
44 John 14:6; 8:31-32; II Thessalonians 2:7-10.
45 John 14:17
Christ, he is none of his.”46 The consolation of the Holy Spirit is so basic to Christian life that the Apostle Paul calls it “everlasting consolation;” “now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace….”47 For those who are truly saved, “everlasting consolation” follows on the everlasting love, the eternal redemption, and the everlasting life that is found in the Gospel of grace.
Over and above her belief that the salvation of souls was achieved through religious vows and quenching the thirst of Jesus, she had strong convictions of the usefulness of all religions. She believed that every person is a child of God and all can find God through any religion. In her presentation at the United Nations in 1985, she said, “No color, no religion, no nationality should come between us, we are all children of God….When we destroy an unborn child, we destroy God.”48 “The dying, the crippled, the mentally ill, the unwanted, the unloved—they are Jesus in disguise. … [Through] poor people I have an opportunity to be 24 hours a day with Jesus.”49 She also said, “Every AIDS victim is Jesus in a pitiful disguise; Jesus is in everyone….”50 Naveen Chawla, Mother Teresa’s longtime friend and biographer, once asked her, “Do you convert?” She replied, “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him.”51 It mattered not to Teresa that God set the manner in which we are to worship Him. As the Lord decreed, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”52 Teresa accepted all religions and did not put her faith in the Lord of glory alone.
In 1986, Bob Bush, a former Jesuit priest, confronted her on this very issue at the headquarters of her congregation in Calcutta. He said to her, “You and the people in your houses for the dying must realize that a person is made right before God only by trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sinners. You must be born again by the Holy Spirit and trust on the Lord alone.”53 She would not accept this message, but continued believing that all religions bring people to God.
On the way to becoming “St Teresa of Calcutta”
Teresa spoke of herself becoming a Saint in the Roman Catholic sense. She wrote “If I ever become a Saint—I will surely be one of ‘darkness.’ I will continually be absent from Heaven—to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”54 This inflated idea of her mission after death is an outright blasphemy against the sole assignment of Jesus Christ. His unique mission is to give “light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”55 The Lord directly announced that He is “the light of the world” to banish spiritual darkness. He came as the light-revealing
46 Romans 8:9
47 II Thessalonians 2:16
48 Christian News, Nov. 11, 1985, p. 17
49 Time Magazine 12/4/89, pp. 11,13
50 Time Magazine 1/13/86
51 “Mother Teresa Touched Other Faiths”, Associated Press, Sept. 7, 1997
52 John 4:24
53 Recorded telephone conversation with Bob Bush 9/27/2007
54 Letter to Father Joseph Neuner, March 6, 1962, Mother Teresa, p. 1
55 Luke 1:79
God, exposing mankind, so that all who believe on Him should be delivered from the darkness and the ruin of sin. Mother Teresa’s statement is not only offensively sacrilegious, but it shows her lack of any real understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ as the “Sole Fountain of Light” for the darkness of the world.
The process to sainthood for Teresa begun by Pope John Paul continues speedily. The very procedure towards canonization as a Roman Catholic saint makes her life and message all the more appealing to Catholics and to people across the world. While calling her up in prayer (which according to Catholic teaching, should take place after only she is recognized as a Saint), it is obvious that Catholics are already attempting to contact her through prayer as has been reported in Time magazine, October 5, 2007. Catholic priest V. M. Thomas was scheduled for surgery on September 6, 2007.56 At his celebration of Mass, he asked those present to pray to Mother Teresa on his behalf. When he returned to the hospital for surgery, x-rays indicated his kidney stone had disappeared. This purported miracle is now being submitted to the Vatican to help validate what has been called Teresa’s fast track to sainthood.57
The Vatican not only publicly declares who are Saints, but it encourages mankind to contact these dead persons. The Vatican officially teaches, “Communion with the dead…Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.” “We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.”58 Supposed communion with the dead and deification of the dead has held a prominent place in nearly every system of paganism. The dead are consulted to give help to the living, which is an alluring charm of the occult. The practice of communicating with the spirits of the departed is sinful, since the Scripture forbids it, “there shall not be found among you any one…that useth divination…or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer [one who calls up the dead].”59
Mankind loves darkness more than light as the Lord Himself declared, “this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light….”60 Darkness is the emblem of ignorance, iniquity, error, superstition—whatever is opposite to truth and godliness. The darkness, superstition, gloom, and emptiness of Mother Teresa’s teachings, and of the Vatican upholding her, are unspeakably serious—so serious that if she died still believing the Catholic dogma she had consistently taught, then the consequence of believing and teaching a false gospel is her lot after death.
How dreadful it is to have religious feelings and yet have no saving relationship with the Lord. True believers adhere to the all-holy God and His written Word alone as their ultimate authority. Before Him, according to His written Word, persons are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Those who follow Mother Teresa’s standards deny these basic biblical truths. They are similar to the devout Pharisees in the Lord’s own time, who followed their religious traditions
56 The 10th anniversary of Teresa’s death
57 “Mother Teresa and the Kidney Stone”, http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1668857,00.html?xid 10/8/2007
58 Catechism, Para 958 and Para 2683 respectively
59 Deuteronomy 18:10-11
60 John 3:19
yet would not accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ of God. The painful, yet essential, message for these people is the same as the Lord gave to those Pharisees, “I said therefore unto you that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”61 If one denies that Jesus is who He claims to be, then one must deny His message. His message is simple but binding. As the Lord Himself declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”62 Knowledge of Jesus Christ is the knowledge of God.
Since many are determined to hold to “a faith” like Mother Teresa’s, they are substituting a lie for genuine, saving faith in the Lord of Glory. How terrible is the conclusion of this unbelief, “ye shall die in your sins.” The one who persists in his or her rejection of the Christ of God will die in his or her sins, unpardoned and totally hopeless before the Lord God. Yet, how unimpressed are many by these fearful words, “shall die in your sins.”
Sadly misguided, there are those who say that it is harsh and unkind to speak of the future destiny of Catholics and those such as Mother Teresa. The example of Jesus Christ, however, teaches us better. The Lord did not hesitate to press this dreadful truth, nor should we. In the light of God’s Word, for us to remain silent would be dishonest and unloving. This truth needs to be proclaimed today. Men and women will not turn to Christ until they recognize their imminent danger of the wrath to come.
If a person passes out of this world “dead in sins,” then of necessity, he or she will yet be cast into the lake of fire, “This is the second death.”63 The Apostle Paul clearly outlined this pending peril, “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”64 How completely shattered is the impoverished hope that believes that every one is a child of God and all can find God through any religion. How devastating it is to expect that our good works can earn salvation. We entreat the Lord God that this ignorance be removed from many minds and hearts and that the Holy Spirit bring to them life, conviction, and true faith.
Both Old and New Testaments tell us that we are spiritually dead to God. Adam’s sin brought death.65 The Prophet Ezekiel states, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”66 The Apostle Paul says, “the wages of sin is death.”67 The great Gospel message is that which the Apostle Peter proclaimed: “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from our fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”68
Christ Jesus has purchased everlasting life for true believers. He alone has authority and power to give life. His words of assurance are, “I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you;
61 John 8:24
62 John 14:6
63 Revelation 20:14
64 II Thessalonians 1:7-8
65 Genesis 2:17
66 Ezekiel 18:20
67 Romans 6:23
68 I Peter 1:18-19
seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” ♦
Richard Bennett of “Berean Beacon” Webpage: http://www.bereanbeacon.org Permission is given by the author to copy this article if it is done in its entirety without any changes. Permission is also given post this article in its entirety on Internet WebPages.