Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could tune 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. This is part two of my discussion with Greg Durel. We’re talking about…really, it’s a follow up to Pope Francis’s visit to the US. Greg is the pastor of Heritage Bible Church of Gretna Louisiana. He has a weekday radio ministry that’s devoted to educating Catholics in biblical doctrine, and, as I mentioned last week, Greg is no theoretical or academic reviewer of the faith taught by the Catholic Church. Like me, he grew up as a Roman Catholic, so he knows Catholicism experientially as well as his study of Catholic Church tradition and its dogmas.
Greg, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Greg: Thanks for having me, Tom.
Tom: As I mentioned last week, Greg, we talked a lot about the influence that Rome is having on evangelical Christianity. But we sort of emphasized his influence among charismatics, Pentecostals, even some that we’d say are blatantly false teachers - Kenneth Copeland and others who teach a prosperity gospel. And Francis has had personal communication with them, whether it’s an affinity for the “filthy lucre,” or whether it's Francis’s interest in the literally hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of those who follow people who are into the prosperity movement, healing, signs and wonders teachings, false teachings, I’m not sure. But nevertheless, there are others out there who seem to be – well, not seem to be, I think just as blatantly are - moving toward Rome, believing that Roman Catholicism has a gospel that saves. And I’m talking about people like Rick Warren, others…I’m thinking about individuals such as Luis Palau, for example, whom some refer to as a Latin American Billy Graham. Well, he calls Francis his good friend, whom he worked with for many years in Argentina.
So, where does…related specifically to Rick Warren, who, as I mentioned last week, is perhaps the most highly visible and influential evangelical leader in the world today. Where does he stand regarding Roman Catholicism?
Greg: Rick who? No, I’m just kidding. I know exactly who you’re talking about. Rick Warren, by definition, by what he teaches and his positions, would qualify as an apostate. That he has departed from God’s Word. He would be, basically, a heretic, because he has embraced Rome, he has embraced the pope, he’s acknowledged the pope as a Christian leader. The pope has no gospel; he has a false gospel. So if Rick Warren is born from above, if Rick Warren is saved, then he has no business having any fellowship with Pope Francis. His directive then would be to evangelize Pope Francis. If he wants to have a sit-down with Francis, it should be to give Francis the gospel and to challenge him on the heresies that he promotes. But we know he doesn’t do that any more than he does…if he looks at the other side, the other largest religious denomination on the planet, Islam, and then what do we get from Warren? We get Chrislam – a marriage of Christianity and Islam. Again, Islam is the antithesis of biblical Christianity as Roman Catholicism is the antithesis of biblical Christianity.
You say, well, then why in the world would he do that? I submit to you – I think he believes what he’s doing is true. I think he believes that the pope has the gospel, maybe. But that falls in step, firstly with 2 Thessalonians, where Paul says, “The day of the Lord is going to be preceded by a great falling away.” And if anybody takes the time to read Revelation 13, especially the second half of the chapter, what do you see there? You’re going to see the head of a One-World Religion.
So what are we focusing on? The ecumenical spirit is growing, and so you have to bring all religions together. So it’s going to take named people – somebody who can attract a crowd, so from the evangelical side, you have Rick Warren. So the enemy uses Warren to do what? To tell all the evangelicals that Roman Catholicism is just like us. That’s a lie. That’s not true. But then when you say, “Wait a minute. Warren is not telling the truth. He has a false gospel. The pope has a false gospel. What is the standard rejoinder is that, well, then you’re just mean-spirited, you’re bashing, or jealous, or some such thing. Nothing could be further from the truth if you read the Scriptures.
Tom: For some of our listeners, who perhaps missed part one of my interview with Greg, you need to go back and listen to it, because Greg lays out very clearly, very specifically, the false gospel of Rome – the bottom line as to why Rome cannot save anyone. It is works salvation pure and simple.
Now, when you understand this, if you’ve been shocked by what Greg said about Rick Warren, well, let’s look at the evidence out there. If indeed, which has to be absolutely clear to anybody with an open mind who looks at this, that what Rome is offering, what they are teaching, what they are promoting, is another gospel, again, that will save no one. Why, then, would Rick Warren promote his church growth ideas among Catholics? Why would his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan that he lays out very clearly, not only include Roman Catholicism, it includes Islam, working with Islam leaders, Muslim leaders, Jewish leaders, Hindu leaders, and so on and so forth. This is ecumenism, which is the heart of what Rome has been working on for decades. And, Greg, as you point out – more and more, at least since Vatican II, which we talked about last week, more and more, this is the program: to bring all religions together. The One-World Government that you pointed out in Revelation.
Now, again, how can he, as an evangelical who claims to know the gospel, how can he provide a church growth plan for Roman Catholic Churches, which he has done?
Greg: Well, it’s self-deception. Again, Paul tells the church at Thessalonica, “Let no man deceive you.” Obviously, there has to be some deception, and Warren has been deceived, whether it’s by demonic oppression or some such thing, or just routine self-delusion – blown up with his own ego; maybe he thinks he can change the course that Scripture has declared for us. Listen. We’re following the script today. You know, the world is essence is going to hell in the proverbial hand basket. And you look at it and you yell at the television, and you say, “None of this makes any sense.” It makes complete sense! If the Bible is true and when we look at the Scripture, what should we be expecting to see today? We should be expecting to see the United Methodist Church marching down the street declaring gay marriage is okay, like they did here in New Orleans. Fifty years ago – sixty years ago – Methodist preachers would be pounding the pulpit saying, “No way! Marriage is between a man and woman.” No more. Why? Because it has to follow the script. You’re getting state after state approving what? Legalizing drugs and all sorts of things. Following the script. Following the script. There has to be a global epidemic of these things.
And so Warren is just one piece in the puzzle, like Francis is. People have asked me for years, “Do you think the pope understands that he’s helping the devil?”
And I tell people, “No! He’s deluded. He actually believes he’s the Vicar of Christ. He believes that. He believes that he’s in charge. He has no regard for the gospel because he doesn’t believe the Bible’s inspired. He doesn’t believe the Bible’s the Word of God. We would think Rick Warren would, because he’s an evangelical. Then how could he get so far off the mark? Because he’s following the proverbial Pied Piper. He’s following the wrong tune. He’s bought into the spirit of ecumenism. He’s bought into this, and that’s where he’s going to lead his people, and anybody who follows him. It’s not a path you want to be on. You want to be a salmon. You want to be swimming upstream. You don’t want to go with the flow today. Wherever the majority’s going, you want to go the opposite direction, because the majority is going to be wrong.
Tom: Greg, I could put that – maybe not in perspective, but certainly, when I hear Rick Warren, and he’s doing a series of interviews on EWTN television network, which is, by the way, the Catholic channel, and he’s telling the interviewer that he loves to watch EWTN, and when he gets home from what he does at his church, he turns on the programs, which he thoroughly enjoys. And he has nothing but kudos for Mother Angelica, who is the founder of the network.
Is this cozying up to Rome out of any particular purpose that you can see?
Greg: You know, Tom, from our perspective, this is frustrating! Because we grew up Roman Catholic. And let me just illustrate it this way: My father never met a stranger, and he had no enemies. He was a great guy. Died relatively young, but he was a great guy. Now people ask me, “Well, Greg, do you think your father is with the Lord?” and my response is “I don’t know. If I had to go on the evidence, I would say no. ‘Good’ people die and go to a Christless eternity every day.” But I say, “ I know this: if my father is in hell because he followed religious traditions and ignored the simplicity of Christ, he doesn’t want me to be there. He wants me to tell people. He doesn’t want his grandchildren to be there. And so, in the same mindset, I’m concerned for people all around me who buy into this stuff – that they follow a Rick Warren, they follow a Kenneth Copeland, they follow a Pope Francis. Follow them where? If you listen to what they have to say, it’s reprehensible. It’s unbiblical. It insults the intelligence of Christ. It’s blasphemous in some respects to say that someone who teaches that Christ has to die again and again is a true Christian leader and your friend? How could you say that? How could you possibly say that? Could you imagine Paul saying a pagan who was sacrificing people was his friend? There would be no way in the world that you’d ever hear those words come out of his mouth.
Tom: You know, Warren was not only invited to have an audience with the pope in Rome, he recently gave an address at the World Meeting of Families just previous to the pope himself addressing that conference. Warren’s message – and I want you to address some of these things – Warren’s message declared that Christian’s need to “revitalize their worship, minimize their differences, mobilize their members, evangelize the lost, and re-energize their families.” Sounds terrific, doesn’t it? But let’s break it down a bit. What worship? Minimize the differences between a false gospel and a true gospel? Mobilize their members…
Greg: Yes, it’s impossible…
Tom: And this is almost a regurgitation of Evangelicals and Catholics Together, that we’re going…the mission for the upcoming century was going to be to evangelize the world, Catholics and Evangelicals together? What do you think?
Greg: I think it’s reprehensible. I think these guys – they put all the words that sound “together” – you’ve got to revitalize and do all this kind of stuff. It’s a fool’s folly. It’s ridiculous! It makes no sense. First, listen – look – your worship is… “worship” is a compound word talking about how much you value something. The believer should value the Person of Christ, you value what Christ has done. To “revitalize your worship”? What does that mean? It makes no sense! It makes no sense. If you look at those things one at a time, where’s the gospel there? Where’s the “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for your eternal life”? He’s addressing a crowd, probably overwhelmingly Catholic or pro-Catholic. What an opportunity to give the simplicity of the gospel that Christ, the God-Man, came and had every audience in mind when He hung on the Cross and He paid for your sins, past, present, and future, and declared, “It’s done.” Case closed! Why wouldn’t he do that? He’s supposedly an evangelical, a pastor. You have an opportunity to give the gospel to a crowd – not only that local crowd but all around the world people would listen and youtube it and all the stuff they do today. What a missed opportunity for a professing believer.
Tom: Well, I go back to Warren with the different religions that met in Davos, Switzerland, and there he had an opportunity – all these different religions – he’s on a panel with everybody, and he said, “Look, we’ve got some differences, but we need to work together,” okay? We need to work together!
Part of his concern for the world is what he calls “spiritual emptiness.” Now, wait a minute! Spiritual emptiness? When you’re talking to Hindus and Muslims, and these people of different religions, they’ve got not just an erroneous spirituality, this is a demonic spirituality in many cases – overtly so!
Greg: Well, yes, and he has the cure for that, though, if he believes it. The cure for that is the indwelling of the Spirit of the Lord! Make people temples of God. How do you do that? You proclaim the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. God came, satisfied the sin debt, rose again to validate and substantiate itl; the resurrection of Christ – an irrefutable event of history. [There’s] no formal challenge to the resurrection. For 1,600 years, the resurrection of Christ turned the world upside down! And Warren doesn’t pound that? He doesn’t say, “Let me introduce you to the God of creation. Let me introduce you to the salvation plan that the Creator has given to creation. Let me introduce you to the Lord Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
Now, maybe he would have gotten booed. Maybe some people would have believed him! Maybe some people would have said, “Tell me more.” But that was the only thing he has to offer? To suggest that we can “work together”? That there’s some commonality between all these mindsets? It’s not only absurd. It’s obnoxious! For a man of his stature and his intelligence and his education, it’s obnoxious. If it’s not premeditated, then perhaps, I don’t know, maybe he’s had a small aneurism or something. It makes no sense to me. Why would you do that? Unless you, say, go to the Scripture, and it’s fulfilling what Paul said! It’s fulfilling prophecy. There has to be a departure from truth. And Warren’s on that road.
Tom: Yeah, but, going back to what you said, he has an agenda. It’s called the Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. And it’s not going to work unless he gets all the religions of the world to work with him. So the very gospel that you suggested that he present to these religious leaders, it’s going to clear the hall, clear the deck. They have no interest in that. So, that’s where it’s going.
Greg: Well, what about the Prince of Peace? He wants peace on earth. Well the Prince of Peace, last time I checked when I read the Book recently, He’s coming back to establish peace on earth. There will be no peace on earth until He comes back to establish it. Does Warren think he’s going to do something that’s going to change the seventieth week of Daniel from coming? Does he think that he’s going to do something that’s going to change the abomination of desolation that's coming? Does he think he’s going to stop a Battle of Armageddon and the Second Advent of Christ? What does he think he’s doing? We’re going to have peace on earth, and Jesus doesn’t have to come back, then, because we have Rick and Pope Francis.
Tom: Well, see, Greg, part of the problem here is the things you’re referring to are prophecy – biblical prophecy. Well, Warren has said, explicitly, we’re not to go down that road. We’re to take care of business now. He claims that Jesus said, “No, don’t worry about those things. Let’s just go out and evangelize. Well, that’s the other part of the problem for Rick, because evangelizing works against his agenda.
Now, he calls Francis – going back to his relationship with the pope – he calls Francis “our pope” and says that he’s doing everything right, and he was particularly thrilled by the headline (this was in his interview on EWTN), he said that he was thrilled by the headline in an Orange County paper that read, “If You Love Francis, You’ll Love Jesus.” Really, Greg?
Greg: Yeah, it makes you not want to eat lunch today. It’s just…listen, that’s a reprehensible statement. I don’t know how you could say that with a clear conscience, unless you’ve just sold out! Your objective is to make people like you, and you think that if you become appealing to them, or you think that you’re on the same page with them, you can create some sort of false Utopia. That’s just gross deception.
Tom: Yeah. Well, we know about prayer. We know about praying for Rick, praying for others – Francis! - but also for a billion-and-a-quarter Roman Catholics, and evangelicals who’ve been deceived by this. Deluded. And don’t recognize they’re ignorant of what Rome believes, but more of a problem…what did you say? Three percent of…
Greg: Yeah, 3 percent of professing Christians have ever read the Book!
Tom: So, Jesus said, “You call me Lord, Lord, and you don’t do the things I say.” Well, that’s simple, because they don't know what He says because they’re not reading it. And those who go to church every Sunday, bring their Bibles, but they don’t open them; they just listen…you know, they’re being spoon fed by maybe even a really good pastor, but basically, they’re living on borrowed faith, borrowed information, and so on. It’s not theirs, so it doesn’t hold true to them.
But, Greg, 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: Well, Tom, I don’t think there’s any stopping it, because, again, I’ve read the Book, and Paul was insistent that there must be this great falling away. As a matter of fact, he says…he uses the term “except”: “Except there come a falling away.” “Except there come an apostasy,” you’re not going to see the return of Christ. So, in one sense, we should welcome it, and we should really be excited that it’s happening. On the other side, we’re grieved because we’re seeing that people who should be getting saved are not, because they’re not hearing the gospel.
So that puts more of a burden on our shoulders as believers to get busy and go tell someone! To evangelize. To try to replicate yourself. One man plants, another man waters, and God gives the increase. We’re fishers of men. That’s what we should be doing. That’s the sole purpose of the church - one of the two purposes: Evangelize the lost. That’s what we’re here for. We’re all missionaries. We’re all living epistles to proclaim the gospel. And if we get busy doing that, you’re not going see global revival. You’re not going to see that. But you’re going to see people getting saved.
I tell people all the time - they call, and they tell me the location they’re in and they say, “Can you recommend a good fellowship here?” or something, a good church in this location. And I tell them, “Ask for a doctrinal statement. And ask the pastor what does he believe. What is he teaching? I tell them, “Listen, a Bible-believing fellowship today is like an oasis.” I said, “They’re few and far between.” And I said, “And some, even when you get to that oasis, you’ve got to test the water to make sure that it’s not poisoned. Because the ecumenical spirit – it’s become global. You’re considered…you’re not in vogue, you’re not in step, if you’re not doing all the things that these people are doing.”
Now the only problem is they basically have no gospel. They have a gospel of compromise. Look, it’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right. There’s no basis to compromise the gospel or your faith for an attempt that you think you eventually persuade somebody to believe like you. Then you’re functioning as a hypocrite, and there’s no room for hypocrites in the church. We should be sound doctrinally and be willing to hold our heads up and proclaim the Good News of Christ each and every day.
Tom: And, Greg, I agree with you. The Scripture lays it out very clearly – where all this is going, how it’s going to end up, and so on. But that’s…I don’t know if the term is correct that it’s collective. In other words, this is the movement, but individuals are saved out of that! As I said, whether you’re on the line at the grocery store, you have the opportunity to witness – maybe save a soul here or there. That’s what God has called us to do. I believe what you said: There’s no revival…I don’t see it in Scripture. I don’t see it in the world. I see these guys professing and claiming that God is doing something new, and all of that stuff, but I don’t see it conforming to the Word of God. But I do see my own personal responsibility to minister and to witness and to reach out, whether it be to a JW at my door, or whether it be, as I said, somebody that I sit by on an airplane. God has given me the free gift of salvation. That which you’ve been freely given, we give out. So, I couldn’t agree with you more, Greg.
Anyway, it’s a matter of prayer. It’s a matter of being on our face before God. “How can You use me?” in whatever situation He presents. And then, “Lord, You lead, I’ll follow. Not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit,” I think fruit will be born.
Greg: Well, you know, it’s a joyous thing, too, Tom. I believe you fish occasionally, and you throw that line out there and maybe you get a nibble or two, but then, boy! something grabs that hook, and boy, what a thrill! And then you roll it in, you get it in the net, and you’ve got the fish. It’s in the boat. It’s a great feeling!
The same thing goes with the human soul. I mean, look, Jesus says, “What would a man gain if he received the whole world - if he gained the entire world - and lost his soul?” That tells me the soul is priceless.
So maybe, if you’re a believer and you’re listening today, maybe your objective for Christ is to lead one soul to Him. Maybe you haven’t met that soul yet. Maybe you’re going to bump into somebody. You’re going to sit next to somebody. Somebody’s going to ask you a question. And then you start fishing. Maybe you ask them a question or two. Get them thinking. You fish. You fish. And all of a sudden, God says, “We got him!” It’s a marvelous feeling to know, especially like if someone calls you after, or you get a letter in the mail or something, somebody saying, “Thank you for what you said. I put my faith in Christ. I know I’m saved for time and eternity.” That’s a marvelous feeling. But you have to…sometimes you have to say things that people disagree with. Sometimes you have to say things that people even consider to be offensive. “How dare you say my religion is not valid!” “How dare you say my pope is not the Vicar of Christ?” “How dare you say my pastor is heretical!”
Well, sometimes, you have to say that. If there’s no contrast – if you never illustrate or teach by contrast – how’s anybody going to know that there’s a difference?
Tom: You know, Greg, forty years ago, some young evangelicals offended me. They challenged what my beliefs were. And I thank Jesus every day for that, because I received the gift of eternal life.
Okay, Greg, time’s up. So again, thank you for your input here. Hopefully, prayerfully, people will take it to heart. So, God bless you, bro, and thanks again for this interview.
Greg: Thank you, 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 PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638. Or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael, we’re glad you could join us and invite you to tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.