Christians visiting churches which preach a false gospel?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Haeralis, Apr 8, 2018.

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  1. Haeralis

    Haeralis Puritan Board Freshman

    I was recently engaged in a discussion with a nice Christian woman who is participating in an "ecumenical Sunday" event here at the Institute where I am a Fellow. The Roman Catholics will be going to Protestant services and the Protestants will be going to Popish Masses.

    I explained my objections to participating in such an event as follows:
    • The Apostle Paul tells us to "flee from idolatry" (1 Cor. 10:14). I cannot conceive of a more idolatrous "church service" than a Mass, in which people pray to saints, bow to statues, and worst of all, worship bread and wine as if it is the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As if that isn't bad enough, every Mass purports to offer up the body and blood of Jesus as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin, completely destroying the meaning of Jesus' cross.
    • Though it is true that the Apostle Paul calls for a spirit of Christian unity, he in no uncertain terms rejects that Christians can have unity with those who believe "another gospel, which is not another" (Gal. 1:7). Specifically, his letter to the Galatians repudiates any unity with the Judaizers, who, like contemporary Roman Catholics, said that works contribute to our salvation.
    • Protestants who lived under oppressive Roman Catholic governments chose to be martyred and die rather than just go to a Mass and keep their real beliefs to themselves. How could we, who have the freedom to not go to an idolatrous service, then use this freedom to go to a Mass in which the Gospel is not proclaimed and a dark and wicked blasphemy overshadows the perfect work of Jesus Christ?
    Her counter-point was that Paul went to Jewish synagogues and pagan temples to proclaim the Gospel. Though this is true, I think that it is probably reading too much into his evangelical efforts. I think that Paul went to these physical locations to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but I do not think that he participated in their worship service in the way that someone sitting in on a popish Mass and singing their liturgy would be doing. Besides, by this logic, we don't really have any reason that we shouldn't go to a Jehovah's Witness service or a Mormon temple to "see what they believe" and reach out to them.

    The Protestants who will be visiting a Mass also have no intention of praying to saints or eating the bread and wine during their idolatrous communion. I said that attending and sitting idly while this went on was giving tacit sanction to what was going on around them.

    Could someone comment on this issue? Am I being an unreasonable hardliner to my Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ, or is this, as I think it is, an issue which I should continue to bring to their attention?

    More and more, I am convinced that the ecumenical movement is one of Satan's greatest tools to confuse contemporary Christians. This movement has reduced Christianity to the basic principle of "liking Jesus" notwithstanding any heresies that you believe about his character and salvific work. In this reduction, it has left Christians susceptible to unbiblical works righteousness and made the faith basically man-centered.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    God hadn't yet divorced Israel, so going to the synagogues was fine.

    Where did Paul go to a pagan temple?
  3. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    Consider the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Here's Calvin on merely being present for the Mass:
    Come now and consider with me, in regard to a pretended
    observance of the Mass, with what kind of conscience you
    can be present at the performance of its mysteries. Immediately
    on your entrance, the altar offers itself to your view,
    differing little from a common table, but proclaiming, by its
    very name, that it is to be used for sacrificing ! This itself
    assuredly is not free from blasphemy. You see the Priest
    coming forward, who boasts that, by the anointing of four
    fingers, he has been appointed mediator between God and
    man, who, carrying off from the faithful of the Church, and
    from -the Supper itself, that promise in which Christ gives
    his Body and Blood to his servants, to be eaten under the
    symbols of Bread and Wine, arrogates it to himself and his
    fellow slayers, who dishonour his heavenly Supper by giving
    it the name of Mass, in which it is completely inverted and
    deformed. The people stand by, persuaded that every one
    of these things is Divine ; you stand among them pretending
    to be similarly affected. When the impostor has gone up to
    the altar, he begins the play with acts partly motionary,
    partly stationary, and with those magical mutterings by
    which he thinks himself, or, at least, would have others to
    think—he is to call Christ down from heaven, by which he
    devotes Him when called down to Sacrifice, and by whicli
    he procures the reconciliation of God with the human race,
    as if he had been substituted in the place of a dead Christ !
    These acts you see received by the whole multitude, with
    the same veneration as those above-mentioned ; you shape
    your features to imitate tliem, when they ought visibly to
    have expressed the utmost abhorrence !

    Will it still be denied to me that he who listens to the
    Mass with a semblance of Religion, every time these acts
    are perpetrated, professes before men to be a partner in
    sacrilege, whatever his mind may inwardly declare to God ?
    At last, behold the Idol (puny, indeed, in bodily appearance,
    and white in colour, but by far the foulest and most pestiferous
    of all Idols !) lifted up to affect the minds of the
    beholders with Superstition. While all prostrate themselves
    in stupid amazement, .you, turning toward the Idol with an
    expression of veneration, prostrate yourself also. What
    effrontery must ours be, if we deny that any one of the
    things delivered in Scripture against Idolatry is applicable
    to the Idolatry here detected and proved ! What ! is
    this Idol in any respect different from that which the Second
    Commandment of the Law forbids us to worship ? But if it
    is not, why should the worship of it be regarded as less a sin
    than the worsliip of the Statue at Babylon ? And yet the
    three Israelites, to whom we above referred, shuddered more
    at the idea of offering- such worship than of suffering death in
    its most excruciating form. If the Lord declares the impurity
    of the vulgar superstitions of the Gentiles to be such
    that they are not to be touched, how can it be lawful to keep
    rolling about in such a sink of pollution and sacrilege as here
    manifestly exists ? Taking the single expression which
    gives the essence of all the invectives which the Apostle
    had uttered against Idolatry—that we could not at once
    be partakers at the table of Christ and the table of demons—
    who can deny its applicability to the Mass? Its altar
    is erected by overthrowing the Table of Christ, and its feast
    is prepared by plundering, lacerating, defiling the meats
    prepared for the Table of Christ. In th'e Mass Christ is
    traduced, his death is mocked, an execrable idol is substituted
    for God—shall we hesitate, then, to call it the table of
    demons? Or shall we not rather, in order justly to designate
    its monstrous impiety, try, if possible, to devise some new
    term still more expressive of detestation? Indeed, I exceedingly
    wonder how men, not utterly blind, can hesitate for a
    moment to apply the name " Table of Demons" to the Mass,
    seeing they plainly behold in the erection and the arrangement
    of it the tricks, engines, and troops of devils all combined.
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  4. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    There are times when an observational visit might be warranted, like for educational purposes, but it sounds like this goes beyond that and is an attempt at some measure of unity. I don't think I'd do it.
  5. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritanboard Commissioner

  6. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    The mass is gross blasphemy. A Christian ought to stay well clear.

    When ecumenicalism promotes fellowship with idolaters, it has gone too far.
  7. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Paul went to different places (synagogues, pagan places) to spread the Gospel. He didn't go to hear things taught to him at these places. So there's a difference.
  8. Haeralis

    Haeralis Puritan Board Freshman

    Last night, a professor from Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia) visited the fellowship and actually exacerbated the problem by speaking highly of ecumenicism between Protestants and Roman Catholics. I think that the Protestants came away feeling justified in their intention to attend a popish Mass. This scholar even suggested that since Presbyterians generally accept the validity of Roman Catholic baptisms then they should consider Rome a part of the visible church.

    This professor believes Reformed theology but I was very disappointed that someone from Westminster of all places is acquiescing to the movement for ecumenicalism between Romanism and Protestantism.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  9. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    This seems to be similar to when here in Detroit, there are at times faith prayer meetings called, and attended by Catholic priests, Muslim Imams, Rabbis, Protestant clergy. Not the same God being addressed in those meetings.
  10. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Well, I consider Rome a part of the visible church in some senses, as in accepting the validity of their baptisms. It doesn't mean I think an "ecumenical Sunday" where we attend their services is a good idea. And I would think it doesn't necessarily mean that for the professor you mentioned either. There are all sorts of ecumenical activities, some good and some unadvisable.
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    I think RC Sproul, John McArthur, and Pastor Kennedy would be highly dubious of any attempt to outreach or else be in any arrangement with Rome, as per their big problems when Lutherans and Rome signed that agreement both now teaching saved by faith, but living out word alone.
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