Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T. A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in!
In today’s program, Tom concludes a two-part series with guest Greg Durel. Here’s TBC executive director Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Our topic – this is part two – our topic has been Roman Catholicism, and in particular, the pope at this airing is visiting the United States, so we want to address that. In order to do that, I have Greg Durel, a good friend of mine, who’s the pastor of Heritage Bible Church in Gretna, Louisiana, and he has a weekday radio ministry that is devoted to educating Catholics in biblical doctrine. As I mentioned last week, like myself, Greg grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, so he knows Catholicism experientially as well as his study of the Catholic Church tradition and its dogmas. So Greg, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Greg: Well, thanks for having me, Tom!
Tom: Now, we somehow avoided last week – and I think it was important to cover the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church so people weren’t thinking we’re just trying to criticize the pope – no, the pope is, as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, it’s important for our listeners to understand what that church is about and what it teaches. But nevertheless, here the pope has come to the United States, and, Greg, I want to start out with…this Pope Francis, in your view, how is he different from his predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI?
Greg: Well, he’s different in a lot of ways, and in some ways, he…obviously he is not. First, he’s a Jesuit, which is a rare thing. I think he’s probably the first Jesuit pope ever. I could be wrong. I don’t know…I don’t think I am. I think he’s the first Jesuit pope. But he also is saying things and doing things that are unprecedented.
You know, according to the Catholic Church, a pope is chosen, they say, obviously by God. God decides ultimately who’s going to be the next vicar or […..] in the order of following down from Peter. Who’s next in line? They believe God chooses the pope. And the pope is there for life. That’s the idea.
And so you had Benedict XVI…or you had John Paul II, who served for life. Then you had Benedict XVI, who is forced out of the papacy by the homosexual community in the Vatican. So then they bring in Pope George, or Jorge, or Pope Francis – he took the name Francis – Pope Francis, and Pope Francis comes in and one of the first things out of his mouth was, he says, “Well, I don’t think I’m going to be around a long time. I may retire in a few years.” Okay? Now that’s unheard of, unprecedented.
So if you’re a pope for life, in present tense right now, we have two popes – we have Pope Benedict and we have Pope Francis. Again, that is unprecedented in the history of the Church. Now, why the change? Well, if we understand the overarching picture, we understand end time prophecy, etc., I think those kind of words and the suggestion that he may bow out, that he may retire, etc., to let someone else come, fits right in the scheme of things when you look at the global events that are taking place.
So is the next pope – is he going to be a prince or a factor in the end times? I think yes. And I think…Francis has already set the stage. Now, what else is he doing? Well…
Tom: Greg, let me jump on that, because for people that don’t understand, the pope, doctrinally, dogmatically, he is the vicar of Christ.
Tom: He’s the representative of Christ on this earth. And that’s huge within Catholic teaching. Now what’s strange about this, as Greg is pointing out, is that… wait a minute! We now have a pope who’s supposed to be the vicar of Christ forever, as temporal life on earth, he’s the vicar of Christ. He’s in retirement.
Tom: Now we have Pope Francis, another pope. So we have…you know, it’s not exactly like a schism, but in fact, we do have…the Catholic Church does have two living popes. There’s no way around it, right?
Greg: Yeah, no. You have two vicars, that’s what you have. You have two representatives of Christ on the earth. So that’s profound. But it doesn’t seem to affect anybody. I don’t think anybody really cares. You know, I call them cultural Catholics or cafeteria Catholics. I think that’s the majority of Catholics in the United States.
There are some hard-core, certainly, you know, Mel Gibson types, but the majority of Roman Catholics are: “I was born a Catholic, I’ll did a Catholic.” That’s all they know. They were christened – they were baptized, they had their confirmation; they know no Catholic doctrine, they can’t tell you Holy Days of Obligation, they can’t tell you anything. They just go with the flow.
And so you have guy in Francis, who now, basically, is embracing same-sex marriage; I'm going to suggest very shortly he’s going to maybe even introduce the fact that priests can get married – that may come up next. He’s breaking all the rules.
Tom: Yeah. Now, Greg, let me interject this, because, again, I want to go back to this point that the Catholic Church – I grew up with this, you grew up with this – it claims to be an infallible church, based on its…last week toward the end of our program we talked about Vatican II. You can’t play around with these things. Once the church establishes it, you know, whether it goes back to the Council of Florence, or whatever it might be, these are infallible statements that you can’t change, or else the Catholic Church loses its authority as an infallible church.
So, “vicarius,” “vicar”: It means one who stands in the place of Jesus Christ and possesses His authority on earth. So what are they saying? It goes away when he retires?
Greg: Well, it can’t!
Greg: That’s the whole thing…
Tom: Or the infallibility teaching just goes by the boards.
Greg: Exactly. I’ve had people tell me, “Well, the Council of Trent doesn’t apply any more. There’s been changes since Vatican II.” Now, listen. Go to the current Catholic catechism, and look at the footnotes. The Council of Trent is cited 100 times in the New Catholic Catechism as authoritative. It’s the foundation for the teaching of the new catechism, which Benedict XVI was basically the person who wrote it; he was the authority behind it.
So, you can’t go back; you can’t change these things. But, you know, the mantra of the Church of Rome was Semper Eadem, which means “Always the Same.” And I’ve said for years it should be Semper Mutabilis, because Rome is always changing so they don’t have to change. In other words, they’ll embrace anything. In the new catechism, there’s some spots in the back that say Muslims are saved, just because they believe in Allah, which Rome says is the same as Jehovah, same as Yahweh, same as the God of Abraham. Well, that’s just nonsense. So, wait a minute. I’m a Catholic. I have to be baptized. I have to observe the Sacraments. I have to eat His flesh and drink His blood. I have to do all these things, otherwise I die and I go to hell because they’re mortal sins.
Tom: Yeah, they are obligations, Greg, you know?
Greg: Obligations! But a Muslim – a Muslim can go to heaven because he believes in Allah? Well, how is that harmonious with centuries of Catholic teachings?
Tom: Well, and a simple point is the Qur’an rejects Christ as the Son of God!
Tom: So they have…you know, we’ve talked about this: the Catholic Church, folks, I’m not trying to shock anybody, but you just look at the teachings, look at the dogmas—they have another Jesus. And so does Islam!
Greg: Yeah. There’s no question about that. It’s just…it’s almost frightening, because…well let me tell you – people do this: Frontline – Frontline about a year ago did a whole exposé on the Vatican. It went all the way back to John Paul II, who’s now a saint. If you watched this Frontline (this is put out, I think, by PBS – this is not a Protestant-bashing-Catholic thing. It’s not some other religion challenging…. These are just news people, and they…I mean, it’s a profound, profound one hour to watch.) I turned it off after the first nine minutes because I was sick. And I had to turn it back on to watch the whole thing. You watch this documentary from Frontline, and you will see the other side of Rome that you’ve never seen before. And you’ll see it’s all about economics, it’s about power, it’s about control. Rome really doesn’t care what you believe as long as you’re subservient to them. That’s the bottom line.
If you conform and you’re contributing, fine. They really don’t care. And you talk about irreverence! How can you approach the Scripture? How can you ever read Paul’s epistle to 1 Timothy? In 1 Timothy 3 – profoundly, it says that the bishop, the overseer, the pastor, must be a married man. That’s obligatory. Must be. Just like you must be born again; just like “there’s no other name under heaven whereby you must be saved.” Well, then the pastor must be a married man. The Church of Rome has no married pastors. The exact opposite of what Scripture says!
Well, why would you want to be a part of a church that does the exact opposite of what the Bible says? Because the Bible doesn’t count! Church tradition supersedes. They’ll tell you, “We wrote the Bible. We gave you the Bible. We are the authority.”
Well, then, if this is authoritative, if it’s the Bible, the Catholic Bible, why don’t you follow it?
They have no answer. They just continue to do what they continue to do, and people say nothing about it.
Tom: Greg, as you know, and I’m sure our listeners know, this the The Berean Call. We encourage people who read our writings, who watch our documentaries, listen to our programs, to check us out. Search the Scriptures daily to see if what we’re saying is true. So there’s a basis for discernment.
Now…The Catholic Church…and now, of late - at least within the last twenty years - now we have Catholic apologists. I never knew about that growing up Catholic, and most of these guys are former evangelicals or “Protestants,” and so on.
But here’s my point: where’s discernment? These guys are chiding us – these so-called apologists for discernment. Now you have Pope Francis - a cardinal, Argentina. Recognizing what went on in his country – you mentioned it last week about the charismatic movement and all of that - now, question is, where is discernment there? You have Pope Francis having personal communication with the word-faith preachers such as Kenneth Copeland and those others who not only are they bogus, but they preach a gospel that’s – you used the term – it’s disgusting. They believe – Copeland and others of that ilk – they believe that Christ paid for our sins by descending into hell and being tortured by Satan. Now, where’s…my point here is where is there discernment on the part of the Vicar of Christ, the head of the Catholic Church?
Greg: Let me show you how that’s harmonious with Catholic doctrine. Because Christ says, “It is finished.” At that point, then, it’s DONE. The payment’s done. The Copelands and that group say, “Oh no. Christ had to descend into hell and suffer for three days and three nights as an unregenerate sinner, then be rescued by the Father out.”
Well, the Church of Rome says the same thing in essence. It says “It is finished doesn’t mean that it’s finished!” That Christ has to still suffer. Actually they make Him suffer longer than Copeland. Copeland has Him suffer for three days. The Church of Rome has Him suffering forever! He has to continue to die. So, again, Rome embraces things that are always false. You don’t see Rome…I’m telling you, that’s why. Why do you think I didn’t get invited to speak at the papal Mass? I’m as articulate as Rick Warren, I guarantee that. I can hold a crowd’s attention as well as Rick Warren. Why wasn’t I invited? Because I represent biblical truth, and they don't want that. They want people that will embrace them.
Not to pick on Billy Graham, but how did Billy Graham get so successful? Why was he always welcome? A few years back, he came to the Superdome here, and before he came, he had all the churches that were going to participate, and he said, “We need ‘altar workers’ to come […].” So we sent a couple of people just to hear what they were going to say. And what the teaching was from Graham’s people was this: When Graham gives his…at the end, when he gives his “altar call,” when people come down, you ask them, “What religious background do you have?” or “What religion do you belong to?” If they say “Catholic,” you send them over to the Catholic people. If they say “Methodist” you send them to the Methodist people. In other words, you send them back to the church they came from!
Greg: Well, where’s the gospel here? Years ago, when he was in Mexico, I knew a missionary down there – he came from a little barrio. He had his forty people that he had led to Christ. And he took them to Mexico City to hear Billy Graham. He wrote us back, and he said, “Billy Graham destroyed twenty years of ministry in one line. Because he told all the people to go back to the church of their youth.” And he said, “All my families went back to the Catholic Church. All of them.”
Now, you’re saying, “Is Graham heretical?” or whatever. I’m not saying anything negative per se about Graham, but what I’m saying is it’s a spirit of compromise. You can’t compromise the gospel. Galatians:1:8: What does Paul say? He draws a line in the sand. He says, “I don’t care even if an angel from heaven comes and brings you a different gospel, let that person be accursed.” So it’s not about personality. It’s about truth, and if we have the gospel – and we DO – and if it’s truthful, and it IS, then that’s the end of the story. And if you’re not in line with it, then it’s my duty to reprove you or share the truth with you, and if you reject it, then so be it. I mean, I’m not going to “fellowship” with you.
So, the idea now is the gospel’s been set aside, and it’s not about the gospel, because the “gospel is devisive” and “the Word of God is subjective,” you know, “Does it really mean that?” Does “once” really mean “once”? Does “finished” really mean “finished”? It could mean something else.
So that’s where we are today. And that’s how you have Warren and the pope in the same place. I think it’s reprehensible, but what can you do?
Tom: Well, it is sad. And we’re seeing more of it. Now, as the pope is perhaps right on the turf –US turf right now, I just want to go over some things regarding Pope Francis. Almost daily, he’s really - even to the point of putting off Catholics, he’s making statements that are contrary to traditional understanding and teaching of the Catholic Church, which we talked about earlier in the program and to some degree last week.
Now, let me just go over some points, Greg. We’re not going to belabor each one, but let’s identify some of these things. He’s raised ecology, for example, to a sacred level. He supports climate change, global warming warnings; he’s appointed an atheist climate change scientist to the Pontifical Academy of Science. And what we’re going to see with this pope is that everything’s okay! If you’ve got this…if you’re a Hindu, you’re all right.
Tom: If you’re an atheist, you’re okay. It’s all going to work out. So, what about that?
Greg: Well, you know…and you referenced earlier – you mentioned John Paul and Benedict XVI. I’m thinking, you know, you go back to John Paul, in I think maybe the mid-eighties, ’84, ’86, in the beginning of his papacy. He had a meeting in Assisi, Italy, when he had the religious leaders of the world gather together, and all on the stage, and then what did he profoundly say? I mean, he’s got an Indian medicine man there. He’s got a practitioner, he’s got the high priest of the Vodoun. He’s got every heretical religious group on the planet, a representative there, and he stands up in the front with all these people all around him, and he says, “We all worship the same God.”
Tom: And, Greg, he puts off Catholics by allowing his buddy, the Dalai Lama, to put a statue of Buddha – this is Saint Peter’s Church in Assisi!
Greg: Right. Right.
Tom: And that’s two popes removed here. That’s John Paul…
Greg: But how else, then, can you have all the religions in the world coming together under one authority…
Greg: …without compromise? You have to have compromise. Now, the only thing they don’t compromise is that they’re the top dog. They’re the boss.
Greg: So, hey, you’re into Mother Nature? We believe in Mother Nature! You’re into global warming? Yeah, fine, fine. Oh, you’re an atheist? Here – here’s a seat at the table. You know, you can be saved, too – you’re an atheist. I mean, listen, that’s just reprehensible!
Tom: It is!
Greg: And anybody who has any knowledge of Scripture hears that and sees that stuff, they’re furious. They say, “This is just ungodly! Why do we tolerate it?”
Well, it’s part of the plan. And, really, we should be excited about these things, because if what the Scripture says – if what the Apostle Paul says, it may be that the return of the Lord is closer than we really think! Maybe…listen, wouldn’t it be profound that at this papal meeting, when Rick Warren gets up to say something, the horn blows, and the Body of Christ is snatched away. Wouldn’t that be something?
Tom: Yeah, you know, but it’s also bittersweet. Because on the one hand, we recognize all of this false teaching, and what is it doing – if the Lord tarries – what is it doing to the evangelical believers? Well, I don’t believe you can take away your salvation, you know? Once saved, always saved. That’s important and scriptural. However, Satan, and erroneous teachings and false doctrines, can undermine your fruitfulness in Christ. That’s why Satan has a gameplan…
Greg: Oh, look. Look, there is no… Come on! There’s no fruitfulness anymore, Tom. You don’t see that anymore. Look, when you and I got saved, and we’ve talked about this, where’s our replacements? When we got saved, we were excited! And we witnessed to people, and even though it was confrontational sometimes, but motivated by love, we took the blows, we took the hits, and we continue to say, “Well, look, this is the truth of God’s Word.”
Today, people [say] “Just give me the Cliff Notes. Am I saved? Okay, fine. That’s it. Now I don’t want to disturb anybody. I don’t want to upset anybody.”
And, you know, political correctness has spilled over into the evangelical world. Nobody wants to say anything that… Listen, in England, you and I both know this, because we’ve experienced it. You can’t witness…you can’t witness on the street. You can’t pass out tracts on the street. When I was in England years ago – maybe Dave Hunt and I were there; I don’t think you were there the first time. We were in England, maybe about the year 2000, something like that – the week before, they had had a fellow on the street where we were who got into an argument and a guy pushed him through a plate glass window. And the guy’s telling us the story, because we were going to go witness on the street. And he says, “Oh, no, no, no!”
And I said, “Well, what happened?”
He said, “Well, I was witnessing to a Muslim guy, and the Muslim guy shoved me through a plate glass window.”
I said, “What happened?”
They said, “They arrested the guy.”
I said, “Oh, the Muslim guy?”
No, the guy who was witnessing to him, because, they said he was using hate speech! By suggesting that your religion is incorrect, that’s “hateful.” So the guy, for trying to win the Muslim to Christ, went through a plate glass window, had to pay for the window, plus he went to jail.
So it’s prohibited in England. You don’t witness, you know, on the street.
Tom: Well, Greg, let me…
Greg: It’s terrible!
Tom: Let me bring you up to speed with that. Because of late, there was a man who answered a question from a guy claiming that he was a Christian, and he answered a question about homosexuality, and he quoted from Leviticus. He ends up under the magistrate, and the magistrate says, “Look, if you would have used any other Scripture except that one, we wouldn’t have a problem here.” However, he was fined a huge amount of money! Now, that’s where we are.
We’ve got about three minutes left, Greg. Here’s my question: What will it take to stop the compromise on the part of evangelicals? To stop the undermining of the gospel because of the Catholic Church’s growing influence among those who claim to follow the Bible?
Greg: Nothing. Nothing’s going to stop it. And it’s going to escalate. The good news for us is to try to, one at a time, win somebody to Christ, and then disciple them and encourage them to do the same. If you’re looking for mass revival – if you think you’re going to turn this train around – then you’re living a fantasy.
Tom: Because you’re not recognizing what the Scriptures say.
Greg: Right. Right. And it’s going to be worse and worse and worse, but praise the Lord! Because the further down this path we get, that’s an indication that maybe the Lord’s coming is quicker than we think.
Tom: Yeah, and where evil abounds, grace doth more abound, but not in a huge collective way, according to the Scriptures.
Tom: Now, Greg, I just want to throw something else out here. When we’re talking about what’s happening in the church, we thank Jesus every day for exceptions. And there are exceptions out there. People who love the Lord, have a zeal for His truth, and are ministering not in their flesh but in the power of the Holy Spirit, and that's what we’ve got. And yet…and that’s what we need to [do]: stay on our faces before the Lord, keep our hearts and minds in the Word of God daily – you know, a habit. Because that’s what…isn’t that where our confidence comes through? I mean, if we’ve just got some ideas because this pastor said it, or that guy said it, or whatever, that’s not our faith! Our faith comes from the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit to then enable us and to apply these things. That’s our…you know, as the Lord tarries, that’s our only hope, I think.
Greg: I concur. And I get questions from around the world – people telling me, “We can’t find any fellowships. We can’t find any Bible-believing congregations.” And I tell them, “Look, they’re like oases now. You have to look for them, and now it’s too bad, but when you find it, you have to test the water to make sure it’s not poisoned.” I say, “But when you find a good one, then stay there, grow, and try to bring other people to that well of water so that they can grow as well. And then spread the good news.” And that’s what it’s about.
Everybody’s a living epistle. We’re all ambassadors for Christ. If we get busy doing what we’re called to do, and that is replicate ourselves, we’ll have some small impact before the Lord returns.
Tom: Right. And, you know, to use the vernacular of the world, we need to circle the wagons. We need each other. We need fellowship in Christ. Because…and maybe the circle of wagon’s going to get smaller, but nevertheless, we need one another. Fellowship is absolutely critical, I believe, in these last days.
Greg: I agree with you, Tom.
Tom: My guest has been Greg Durel. He’s the pastor of Heritage Bible Church, Gretna, Louisiana. Greg, as always, love to talk to you, and love your insights, and again, brother, thank you for being with us on Search the Scriptures 24/7
Greg: Well, thanks for having me, Tom.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T. A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at 800-937-6638. Or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could tune in and invite you to join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to search the Scriptures 24/7.