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 join us. In today’s program, we conclude our two-part series with guest Greg Durel as we discuss “What is the New Catholicism?” Here’s TBC executive director Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Well, this is part two of our discussion about issues related to the Roman Catholic Church. But it’s not just about the Roman Catholic Church (but that’s the focus here), and we’ll get into how this goes beyond the Catholic Church. My guest to talk about this is Greg Durel. He’s the pastor of Heritage Bible Church of Gretna, Louisiana, and he has a weekday radio ministry that’s devoted to educating Catholics in biblical doctrine. Greg, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Greg: Thanks for having me, Tom.
Tom: Again, Greg, as we talked about last week, we’re looking at changes, certainly changes that have left the Catholic Church—which you grew up in, I did—left it in disarray, far more than the confusion and misinformation that we had during our time. But it’s been a movement from dogmas—from laws and rules and regulations—to something very subjective, experiential, even mystical, which we’re going to talk about today. And one of the reasons we’re focusing on that is because, bottom line, there is a religion in the works. It’s called the religion of the Antichrist. This will be the religion that takes over after the bride of Christ, the church, is raptured. But it doesn’t happen overnight, folks. There is a development here, a process, and we can see, even though we’re not going to be here, when it comes to fruition, we’re still being subjected to the seductions, the aberrations, the delusions that are in play to in order to develop this religion. And certainly the Catholic Church, at least to me, and I think to you, as well, Greg, is a good example of changes. They have moved from a legalism…not that there still aren’t conservative Catholics out there—even Mel Gibson, a Tridentine Catholic based on the Council of Trent. But aside from that, just conservative Roman Catholics who recognize that, “Hey, what’s going on? This is problematic. We are losing…” call it their birthright within the Catholic Church.
So do you see that, Greg?
Greg: Yeah, I see it all the time, and it’s becoming ever so more prevalent, especially being down here. We’re—this is Catholic ground down here. And you’re seeing it. People once upon a time—Roman Catholics, that is—once upon a time believed something, and they followed their precepts and principles, they didn’t eat meat on Fridays, they had holy days of obligation they went to, etc. You don’t find that anymore. It’s few and far between. Those numbers are dwindling, and now it’s like it becomes a subjective thing. As I think I mentioned last week, I refer to it as “cafeteria Catholics.” They just pick and choose aspects of what they want to believe, and I deal with them all the time, and I’ll ask them questions like, for example, “Do you believe that a priest has the power to forgive your sins?” And they’ll say, “Well, no. I don’t believe that.”
“Well, then why do you go to confession?”
Tom: Yeah, and fewer are going to confession, Greg.
Greg: Yeah, if they are!
Tom: That’s right.
Greg: Let me say this—I’m glad you brought that up: When you and I were coming on a Saturday, you went to church, and there was a line…
Greg: …a line wrapped around the block. And most of them, they had two confessionals going, and had lines down both sides. Now a lot of churches are closed on Saturday. They don’t even have—you can’t even go confess your sins.
Tom: Well, you can if you make an appointment.
Greg: Well, yeah. How bad is that? So it’s imploding from the doctrinal standpoint, but it’s exploding again from the experiential standpoint. It’s what you want to believe. And something you hit on last week—I don’t know if you realized it, but you talked about the fact that people contend that the Church at Rome (teaches, rather) that we can become gods. Well, you know, Kenneth Copeland has been teaching that for years, as well, and he now has embraced Francis. But that’s the start of everything. That’s what Lucifer said: “I can be like God.”
That’s the, “Yea, hath God said” society. “Has God really said that?” No, well, then it becomes a subjective thing. And the only way you’re going to have another—basically another Tower of Babel with all the people coming together, it’s going to have to be orchestrated by a religious person, because that’s going to be the only thing that they can have in common that’s not going to cause wars, so forth and so on. But you have to eradicate the doctrine. Hence you’re going to have things like Chrislam, things that make no sense. That’s the only way this is going to happen. And, Tom, it’s growing weekly now.
Tom: Well, Greg, what does the Scripture say about the Antichrist? What does he do? He sets himself up in the temple of God—what? Finish that.
Greg: Yeah, he declares himself to be God.
Tom: Right. Now…
Greg: He’s the guy.
Tom: Okay, now I know some people are saying, “These guys are talking way out of line here. No way.”
I’m going to give you a quote from the latest official Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is paragraph 460: “The Word became flesh to make us partakers of the divine nature.” Now, that’s Scripture. That’s 2 Peter:1:4, but it doesn’t mean, as you will see from the rest of what I’ll be quoting, it doesn’t mean what they’re saying. “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” That’s from Athanasius! He was an apologist for the Catholic Church!
And then here’s another one: “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers of His divinity, assumed our nature so that He, made man, might make men gods.” And that’s from Thomas Aquinas, one of the…
So for years—and it’s not like I zeroed in on that because we as evangelicals have had to deal with the whole word-faith thing, that “little gods under God…” not just Copeland, but all of them who are preaching and teaching that. Where is it pointing to? It’s pointing to a fulfillment in the Antichrist, without a doubt. And again, this is paragraph 460 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s right there for you, folks.
Greg: Well, it’s just frightening when you think about it. It’s evil. It’s—the source of that’s demonic.
Tom: Without a doubt.
Greg: Yeah! I’ve said it forever—and you know, you talk about people like Aquinas and people like that—I refer to those people as sacred cows: makes no difference irrespective whether they’re reformed; it makes no difference. People have the propensity to take these people and make them as if what they’re saying or what they have written as being inspired. And then, so… “Well, that’s my validation. Well, Aquinas said this, so therefore it’s true. Augustus said this; there’s my validation right there.”
No, the Word of God is the authority, and if we read the book from Genesis to Revelation, at gunpoint you wouldn’t become a Roman Catholic, at gunpoint you wouldn’t recognize a clergy-laity division. The suggestion that you would have to do something to be saved you would laugh at. You would say, “Where in the world did you get that?” That’s the whole reason that Christ came: God came to do the work that we had no way of doing for ourselves. Now the enemy moves in, and what does he do? He brings you just the opposite. “You can be a god. You can save yourself, and look at the system I’ve given you by which and through which you need to follow, and then you have a shot at making it.”
Once upon a time it was dogmatically Roman Catholicism. Why? Because they rule by the sword, so to speak. They were the dominant one. Now they’re not as dominant, but according to the Scripture, that the head of the Catholic Church I’m convinced is in Revelation 13 is going to be the orchestrator of this one-world religion, and it’s going to have to embrace all religions. People say that’s impossible. Well, it’s impossible now, but the dogma has to disappear.
Greg: Again, the dogmatic stance that people take—no, it will never come together. But every day you’re seeing things, you’re seeing things accepted every day that ten years ago would have never been accepted.
Greg: Twenty years ago, people would have laughed at you, but now it’s being embraced as okay.
Tom: Yeah. Let’s give our listeners some examples: last week you talked about ecumenism. Ecumenism is like massaging everything around so it all works no matter what your beliefs are, and so on. But you’re lining up—you’re in bed with other beliefs and other systems, but it’s all okay. Now, let’s start with the last three popes. John Paul II: Now, has he been beatified yet? Is he a saint? I don’t know if that went through…
Greg: I don’t think so. I could be wrong, but…
Tom: Yeah, not sure as well. But nevertheless, he became an icon of ecumenism throughout the world. Now, what happened in Assisi, Italy? Well, he brought all religions together, okay? He had his buddy, the Dalai Lama—he allowed him to set up a statue of Buddha in St. Peter’s Church in Assisi, Italy. Now, if the “becoming gods…” if that shocked some of our Catholic friends, how about this? He goes to India and he recognizes and praises the spirituality of Hinduism.
Now, last week you mentioned going to Haiti. You know the line that I think is something like, “Eighty-five percent of all the people in Haiti are Catholic, but 100 percent of the people in Haiti are Vodun.” So there is a syncretism, there is a mixture, and that’s what we’re seeing, and it has to work out that way.
Greg: Well, look, the superstitious aspect of Roman Catholicism, I’m telling you—I’m not talking about people from Haiti, I’m talking about Americans. I mean, I grew up here in New Orleans. I can remember people that would be like my grandparents, etc., even my parents’ age: when you got a new house or something (we’re talking in old New Orleans, we’re not talking suburbs), all the houses are raised, and you have three or four steps to walk up. Well, you would paint your front steps—you would paint your front steps red, and all the front steps were red. Now, you knew that if they had red front steps, you knew that a Catholic lived there, because the mindset was—the phrasing was the [...] the demons, the evil people wouldn’t cross the red steps. So you painted your steps red. You say, “Well, wait a minute, that’s superstition.” That’s right, but we’re superstitious! That’s part of it. That’s part of the mysticism. You believe that a priest says mystical words and turns a piece of bread into the living Savior. Well, how—if you can believe that, you can believe that painting your steps red does something. You can believe anything, and that’s the draw. Now it’s become subjective, because you don’t need the institution anymore. You’ve become God, you can do it yourself; and that’s going to be the commonality, I think, irrespective of denomination or persuasion. I think that’s going to be the agent that the enemy’s going to use to bring them all together.
Tom: Without a doubt. There’s a phrase in Latin: ex opere operato. Now, what that means is that the power is in the element; it’s in the ritual… For example, when somebody’s baptized, a baby is baptized, it’s the process, it’s the ritual, it’s the water. In other words, the grace is in the water. Greg, that is witchcraft. That is magic.
Tom: But we’re going to see that come to a point in which there will be no argument with it, because all objective discernment is by the boards.
Now, let’s switch here just for a minute. The Bible says that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. Now, we’re going to talk about this later at the end of our session here about how necessary that is, but that’s for believers, and the Word of God is saying, “Look…” Jesus says in—I think it’s Luke:18:8: “When the Son of man returns, will He find faith [the faith] on the earth?” So we’re seeing a shift away from sound doctrine, and the only thing left is—you talked about last week, and we’re mentioning here—is subjectivity, is experientialism, is feelings, and all of that. And then the door’s open to whatever, and you can’t say whatever is wrong.
Greg: When you abandon the authority of Scripture…just for example—this may be a rabbit trail—but the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel is pivotal. We read the Scripture, especially the Book of Revelation from chapters 4-19: the church isn’t mentioned because the church is raptured. But it’s all about the 70th week of Daniel; it’s about the Jew, etc. Now you never thought in your wildest imagination—leaving Rome aside, that has historically been anti-Semitic—but you never thought the foundational fundamental Protestant, evangelical denominations would ever embrace an anti-Semitic mindset. Well, you find that’s prevalent today. The Missouri Senate—the Lutheran Church says that the Holocaust was a myth. The Presbyterian Church of America has just divested any interest they have in any company that makes money for Israel or is involved in Israel with all their pensioned funds and all that; “Get rid of them.” They’ve become anti-Semitic. Now, why would that be? Well, because it has to be. The nations of the world are going to surround Israel to destroy when we come back with the Savior (Revelation 19, the Battle of Armageddon). So then you have to start seeing it now. You have to see the change in the mindset. So you’re having “Christians” now becoming anti-Semitic. You’re having Christians now thinking that the Word of God is not the absolute truth. I have people all the time tell me, “Well, it contains God’s Word, but it doesn’t mean everything in it is God’s Word.”
So the followup is how do you know which is which? Well, it’s how you feel about it.
Tom: Well, the other side to that is…you know I talk a lot about how psychology has ripped the church—so-called “Christian psychology.” Well, what it’s done is it says that the Word of God, yeah, it may be our authority, and it may be… You have some people say, professing Christians—maybe they’re Bible-believing Christians—they say, “Yeah, I believe in the authority of the Word of God. I believe that it’s essential for life and godliness and all of that, but it is not sufficient.”
Well, if it’s not sufficient, then you have to go elsewhere, don’t you? And where are you going to go? How many times have I heard over and over again: “Well, God is bigger than that Book.” Wait a minute—it’s God’s Word! He’s bigger than His Word? Second Peter 1:3: “He’s given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Now, either that’s true and you need to go by it, or you’ve just blown off, basically, the Scriptures.
Greg: Yeah, but you see, your problem is you’ve read the Book…
Greg: …and 97 percent of professing christendom—as well as 97 percent of professing Islam hasn’t read the Qu’ran, and 97 percent of professing Christianity hasn’t read the Bible. And so that’s the problem.
Look, I deal with Catholics on almost a daily basis, and what I’ve been doing is going back to the very basic, simplistic things to challenge them. Let’s go to the Ten Commandments: The first commandment says what? Exclusivity: there’s one God and one God only. All prayers directed to Him. He’s a jealous God. He’s the only Savior. Again, exclusivity: there’s no way but Him. John 14: “The way, the truth, the life,” etc. So what do they do? They pray to other people. They create their own deities in direct opposition of the first commandment.
What’s the second commandment? “Make not a graven image of anything,” etc. Don’t incorporate it in your worship. Don’t become subjected to it. So what do they do? They remove the second commandment and incorporate graven images replete in all that they do.
New Testament: pastor must be a married man. So what do they have? All their pastors are not married men. And we could go systematically Old Testament, New Testament: “Don’t add to, don’t take away from the Scriptures.” So what do they do? Add seven books to the canon of the Old Testament, even though the canon was complete at 400 AD.
Now, how do you explain this? They have no idea. The average Catholic person has no idea what the second commandment says. They have no idea about Paul’s admonition to Peter about the qualifications of a pastor or whatever. They have no idea that there’s one sole, exclusive mediator between them and God, the Man Christ Jesus. They’re oblivious to that, because they have never read. And when they hear these things, they’re enlightened, their eyes open up. The initial response usually is to put up a shield and get defensive, but when they’re all by themselves, they have to contemplate this, and that’s why the enemy’s moving in now.
You mentioned Chrislam—Tom, how could anybody even say the word? How could anybody even…the concept of that, how could that even be discussed in any Christian form at all?
Greg: There’s no basis for that…
Tom: Well, yes, Greg, yes there is, and you mentioned it last week: it’s called the end justifies the means, and that’s how it’s happening. You say, “Oh yeah, I know it doesn’t make any sense.” You’ve seen the sign “Coexist,” and so on. The problem is that unless we make these things up, it’s not going to all come together, and that’s the basis of mysticism, the basis of subjectivity, experientialism, feelings—that’s why it has to replace any kind of doctrinal or dogmatic position.
Now, Greg, the development which we’ve been talking about last week and this week has to involve changes in one’s religious beliefs, okay, in order for it to be reconciled or fit in with the Antichrist’s religion. And that seems to me—again, and you’ve said it as well—it’s going to affect all belief systems. But here’s what I want you to address: what about true Christians, believing Christians? We’re in a time, we’re in an environment in which we’ve got all of these delusions, deceptions, seductions that are taking place. How does a true believer, somebody who wants to do what the Lord wants him to do, or protect him from these seductions, how are they going to go about being steadfast in the faith? What do you recommend?
Greg: Well, I recommend reading the Book of Hebrews, because if one reads the Book of Hebrews, they will never become religious, they will never get involved in any rituals of any form or fashion. But you know, I’m thinking about it—Hebrews 5 says something I think profound, and we read it in verse 13: it says, “For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.” Literally an infantile adult. He says, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of a full age, even those who by reason of use,” literally having been trained, “have their senses exercised to [here’s the word] discern between both good and evil.” That implies contrast. No one teaches by contrast anymore. If you inject contrast, this is right, this is wrong. How do we know things are different? We know they’re different because we’ve seen the opposite. You know something’s heavy because you’ve picked up something light, and so forth and so on. No, the contrast has been removed today, and to suggest a contrast, then you’re labeled. They’ll say, “Well, you’re unloving. You’re a hatemonger. You’re bashing.” No, we have to contrast. If it’s true…for example, can you imagine in—let’s go back to 1950. Do you think in 1950 you could have a “decadence festival” in any city in America where homosexuality would be promoted and overt displays of it in the public form on the streets, etc.? There’s no way. People would be arrested. But now you have a decadence festival.
Go back and read the story of Lot and what was going on during that period of time. How could men get that far removed from God’s Word? Because they allow themselves to be deceived. And you get the word—the word is deception. You referenced Matthew 24, the first thing: Watch out for deception—self-deception. Can believers fall prey? Certainly they can. They fail to contrast. They fail to discern. The next thing you know, people are saying, “What?” I hear it all the time: “Well, Catholics are saved like anybody else.” I’ve said forever that 90 plus percent of professing Christianity isn’t anymore. It isn’t Christian. It’s religious. It has the name Christ, but it’s totally lost the essence of the gospel. There’s no fundamental gospel. There’s no security to be found in Christ, and the Word of God is not the final authority. It’s become a subjective thing, and we’re in a tailspin that obviously I don’t think can ever be reversed here.
Tom: No, no. But the good news is for individuals, that’s why we’re doing what we do, that those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, God is going to speak to them, and hopefully some of the things that we’ve been saying here will touch some hearts and minds.
But interesting…the Laodicean church, it’s interesting that Jesus is outside. Many people believe the Laodicean church is where we are. Well, I think it’s even worse than that. But nevertheless, Jesus is outside the church knocking on the door wanting to come in and have fellowship, so we see that.
The other thing is, Greg, you know, in my view—I quoted from Timothy: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” Well, you can’t endure sound doctrine if you’re not in the Word. So our encouragement is you’ve got to get in the Word every day. I don’t care if you start out with five minutes, but do it consistently, do it every day, and I know that five minutes will go to ten minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and so on. The whole point is a habit of reading God’s Word and then doing it, doing what it says. I don’t know a better prevention program, a better antidote for… Individually, as you pointed out, Greg, there’s not going to be a revival. The Scriptures are clear the way we’re going; there’s no sense of that. There could be revivals in hearts and minds and in small groups here and there. God’s not finished with us yet, but—well, He’s not finished with anybody. He keeps standing at the door and knocking. He’s pleading, I would even say, for those to come to truth, to do the things. And He—look at Revelation 1, 2, and 3: here’s Jesus getting tough for His bride, for the church. So that’s where we need to be, in my view. And we’ve got less than a minute, Greg. What do you think?
Greg: Well, our hope obviously is in Him, and the blessed hope is that we’re to be waiting for the glorious appearing of Christ. So our hope’s not to be found in this life, it’s to be found in what’s coming, what He’s prepared for us, and He’s coming to receive us unto Himself. So don’t look around to the empirical world for your joy and your satisfaction, look to Christ, because He’s the constant, He’s the reality of your life, and that’s where your focus should be.
Tom: Greg, it’s always a pleasure talking with you. You’re my buddy, and I thank you for being on the program these last two weeks. So God bless you.
Greg: Well, thanks for having me, Tom. Always good to see you.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with 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 thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.