DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT – WEDNESDAY WARRIOR! #24… THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!
Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. - Ps 5:8-9.
A couple of things happened last week that made me sit up and take notice…
1. Rajan Zed, the first Hindu chaplain to open the Senate with prayer, did so to a nearly empty Senate chamber last week. The only officials present were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who sponsored Zed's request to lead the invocation, and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma. Three Christian protestors were removed from the U.S. Senate chamber's observation gallery during the prayer.
Though it was the first time a Hindu was invited to conduct a Senate invocation, the tradition of having a Christian lead the prayer was actually broken during the previous administration, when a Muslim delivered the prayer in 1993. According to a recent report, Former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt who is known for praying "in Jesus Name," was recently denied permission to pray in the Senate by the Senate. - Source: CNS News.
This was the prayer he offered...
"We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the Earth, inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of the heaven. May He stimulate and illuminate our minds."
What a contrast to this prayer ...
Peter Marshall, Chaplain to the U. S. Senate, began the session of April 3, 1947, with this prayer: "Gracious, Father, we, Thy children, so often confused, live at cross-purposes in our central aim, and hence we are at cross-purposes with each other. Take us by the hand and help us see things from Thy viewpoint...."
2. As one who has tried to build bridges between Protestants and Roman Catholics, I cringed last week when Pope Benedict XVI released his shocking statement on “Catholic Identity.” In clear, non-negotiable and jaw-dropping terms, the pontiff stated that (1) only Catholics are true Christians; (2) other Christian denominations are “not true churches”; and (3) all non-Catholics lack the “means of salvation.”
Boom! Just like that, Benedict blew up every ecumenical bridge that has been built since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s.
With all respect to the most revered religious leader in the world, I think someone needs to wake up the pope and remind him—and the rest of the guys hibernating inside the Vatican—that we are living in the year 2007. His Excellency’s announcement sounded more like a press release from the 11th century.
The communiqué, released on July 10, was written in Italian. Given its medieval tone, you might have expected it to be handwritten on parchment in Latin. (Which, by the way, is the dead language Pope Benedict thinks all Catholics should still use during worship.)
It has been almost 500 years since Martin Luther first nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenburg door and ignited the Protestant Reformation. From that point the Holy Spirit’s river began to flow in so many new directions—gushing over the restrictive walls of the Catholic system and spilling into the nations of the world.
Today hundreds of millions of people have found salvation through the preaching of the gospel through non-Catholic churches: Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Pentecostal—you name it. All churches that proclaim faith in the resurrected Christ are part of the universal church that the Son of God purchased with His blood.
It is incredibly sad that Vatican leaders are so blind to what God has been doing outside their isolated little world for so many years. It is even sadder that Pope Benedict thinks that by issuing an edict from his office in Italy he can transport us into the past.
I know most Protestants probably just rolled their eyes when they heard about the pope’s announcement. Catholics who have been worshiping with Protestant Christians for years were probably also confused by it. Catholic charismatic’s, who have enjoyed fellowship with Protestants in recent years and experienced renewed faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, have now been told to break ties to those people since they are not true Christians.
I certainly don’t have an audience the size of the pope’s, but I can’t stay silent when he is promoting such a serious heresy. There are three simple truths from the Word of God that we must proclaim in order to set the record straight:
1. The church is composed of all born-again believers in Jesus Christ. The church is not a human institution. Though we may organize ourselves into denominations, we enjoy a mystical unity with all true Christians—regardless of our labels, ethnic backgrounds, pet doctrines or ecclesiastical traditions. The bond of the Holy Spirit makes true worshipers of Jesus into one big family.
2. No denomination can claim exclusive control of God’s truth. One definition of a cult is a sectarian group that claims it is the only way to heaven or salvation. But Catholics are not the only denominational group that has fallen into the heresy of spiritual elitism. The Church of Christ, an American denomination formed in the 1800s, has often taught its members that they are the only true believers. And there are many so-called Oneness Pentecostals who believe that only those who are baptized according to their “Jesus only” formula are true Christians. These people are actually spreading error that is rooted in the worst form of Pharisaical pride.
3. Jesus is still praying for the unity of the universal church. He asked in John 17 that the Father would make His followers one. He was not praying that we would all join the same denomination, submit to the same pope or agree on every minor point of doctrine. His goal is that one day we will drop our selfish pride, competition and religious agendas so that we can cooperate across denominational lines to build His kingdom.
Unfortunately Pope Benedict has made it clear that he does not share these biblical values. He has sinned against Christ by dishonoring a majority of Christians. And by claiming to be the only true church he has placed Catholicism in the cult category.
Catholics who love Jesus more than they love the pope and their religious tradition should swiftly denounce his error. - J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.
I couldn’t agree more with Grady, come out from among them, and as for the Senate, wake up, and let the voice of Born Again Christians speak up, stop this rot, and bring back Godly men like Peter Marshall, for His glory!
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. - Romans 10:9-10.
Loving Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I thank you that I am born again when I accepted you as my Lord and Saviour. Jesus you are the Lord of lord’s and the King of king’s. By the power of the Holy Spirit help me so that I can serve you and my brothers and sisters in Christ, which will bring glory to your name, and advance your kingdom here on earth. I ask this in the wonderful name of Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, Amen!