"Sola Scriptura!" was a major cry of the Reformation. It was all about getting back to the Bible alone as the only authority for life and conduct. Had the Roman Catholic Church agreed to only that one tenet, it would have been out of business because most of its doctrines and practices are condemned in Scripture. The argument was and still is that only the Magisterium (bishops acting together with the Pope) could interpret the Bible, and those interpretations became the "tradition" that Vatican II says is of equal authority with Scripture. The Bible cannot be allowed to oppose Church dogma or practice. The practical effect is that tradition is considered of greater authority than God's Word, making it impossible to correct..
It was inevitable, therefore, that the Church would categorically reject Sola Scriptura and every other concern the Reformers based upon the Bible and would damn them to hell for daring to question its dogmas. That stance has been consistently maintained to this day. We have recently documented in these pages, however, that evangelicals have done something worse: they have deliberately changed the meaning of the text itself in paraphrases and new "translations" such as Eugene Peterson's The Message. No less evil is the denial of divine inspiration by a host of "evangelical scholars" such as in Richard Foster's Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible.
Satan is a very clever strategist. Much Catholicism (infant baptism for salvation, real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, replacement theology, etc.) clung to the Reformers and remains to this day in most Reformed churches (Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc.). "Protestant" state churches replaced Roman Catholic state churches in various areas, and the existence of state churches plagues Europe today. There, large cathedrals of both persuasions see more action from tourists than from members, and "Christianity" is taken seriously by hardly anyone. The marriage between church and state, imposed by the popes and carried into the Reformation by their critics, has been deadly. This successful satanic strategy is not confined to "Christianity" but is found in other religions as well, including Islam.
We saw what happened in Afghanistan. It was the same satanic ploy of a state church all over again. We gave billions of dollars to the Mujahadeen (jihad "freedom" fighters) to repel the Soviets—but when the jihadists took over, they proved to be even more ruthless enemies of freedom. We rescued the Afghan people from Communist totalitarianism only to subject them to an even more vicious and restrictive Islamic dictatorship under the Taliban. Afghanistan became a breeding ground and training center for a terrorism that spread its violence worldwide and had to be stopped. Eventually, the Taliban used its weapons against the very "friends" who had supplied them.
The same double-cross had already happened in Iraq; yet we had not learned our lesson. We gave billions of dollars to Saddam Hussein to fight against Iran and its Shi'ite government. Then we had to fight Saddam, and, of course, he aimed at us the weapons we had supplied.
The gravest danger in Iraq today is that after all the blood that was shed to bring "freedom," we may find that we have merely traded Saddam's secular dictatorship for an equally ruthless Islamic Shi'ite government. The plague of the "state church" is endemic to Islam—nothing else is allowed. That fact makes the establishment and survival of genuine democracy in either Afghanistan or Iraq almost impossible. It will take a miracle of God if it occurs.
Something similar happened during the Reformation. In Geneva, under Calvin, a new form of "Protestant" totalitarianism replaced the Catholic hierarchy that had controlled even the secular world. Calvin is known in history as Geneva's "Protestant Pope." Calvinist Reconstructionists take Geneva as their model of the world they intend to create "for Christ." The open survival of true biblical Christianity (scarcely established by the Reformation) in the Western world seems at this hour as doubtful as democracy's survival in the East.
We have no shortage in America (even in high places in both the secular and religious areas) of those who claim to be Christians but who betray the Christ whom they call Lord by unholy alliances with His enemies who, by the way, cleverly pose as His friends. President Bush's persistence not only in the lie that "Islam is peace" but in calling this pagan and viciously anti-Israel and anti-Christian religion "the faith of Abraham," and calling the Qur'an and its author Muhammad "inspired of God," cast almost conclusive doubts upon his profession to be a Christian. We have had reason to question the similar claims of three previous "Christian" presidents: Nixon, Carter, and Reagan.
Christians have forgotten Christ's very clear and uncompromising declaration, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you...if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you..." (Jn:15:19-20). Jesus never suggested that the world would vote any of us into high political office. He drew a clear line of separation between church and state when He said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Mat:22:21). The two cannot be partners.
Evangelicals have become increasingly involved in the world. Earning a living is one thing; entering into unequal yokes in violation of Scripture (2 Cor:6:14-18), no matter how good the cause, is something else. As The New York Times insightfully said, it was the unequal yoke of working together with unbelievers of various religions in social and political action in order to improve the world that set up evangelicals for a religious partnership with Rome. Sadly, Rick Warren's P. E.A.C.E. plan does exactly that!
We credit Rick with compassion for Africa's victims of poverty, hunger, AIDS, and other diseases. But Jesus not only healed the sick and fed the hungry but preached the gospel to the poor (Lk 7:22). That is difficult to do when joined in partnership with Muslims, Catholics, et al., as Rick does. Could he be partial to Peterson's The Message because it so often focuses on improving this earth rather than being ready for heaven? For example, in The Message, "that the world through him might be saved" (Jn:3:17) becomes, "He came to help, to put the world right again." It sounds like the political and social action of the old social gospel, a major emphasis for Rick. "Hath called us unto his eternal glory" (1 Pt 5:10) becomes "will have you put together and on your feet." Rick shows little concern for correcting false doctrine. Instead, he says he is working for a "new Reformation" based not upon doctrine but deeds.
One recalls the fervent zeal of the 15,000 evangelicals who met together at the "National Affairs Briefing Conference" in Dallas in September 1980. Reagan had just accepted the Republican nomination for president with an inspiring speech at the national convention on July 17. There was confidence that the new president would fill Washington with Christian appointees, abortion would be overturned, and America would soon become a Christian country. Of course, it didn't happen—and it won't.
Present at the Conference was Reconstructionist Gary North, who boasted, "the word ‘rapture' was not used once." The focus had subtly turned from heaven and rescuing souls from the wrath to come, to making a better world for our grandchildren to inherit. In their zeal to "Christianize" the secular world, even those who believed in the Rapture began to live as though they had forgotten that they were citizens of Heaven.
The phrase "a new Reformation" exploded enthusiastically from the lips of many. After 450 years, will the Reformation, which in many places like Geneva and in Luther's area of Germany had replaced one state religion with another, finally create one new state religion worldwide? Will an ecumenical blend of Catholicism and Protestantism cooperating together (and even with Islam) to make a new world of peace eventually prepare the world for the final unity of all religions under Antichrist? We are gathering momentum in that direction.