The Apostle Paul warned the congregations to which he ministered that there were those who would come in the name of the Lord and preach to them another, a different, a compromised, humanized Gospel. That message would be different from that of Paul and the apostles.
Ignore them, said Paul. Shun them for they care not for the Gospel truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Ignore them.
It seems as though those who would preach another Gospel are here today in droves. The fundamentals, the basics are watered down, compromised more than ever. Secularism creeps in or in many cases actually takes over. There are denominations, cults, divisions and splits, theological fights and differences everywhere it seems. It is surely that way with evangelicals for it is difficult in so many ways to have a common creed, the so-called fundamentals changing regularly. It is a departure from what Paul calls THE GOSPEL, not another one, what David Jeremiah calls BIBLE STRONG, the Word of God over the word of man, what Billy and Franklin Graham call the preaching of Christ crucified and resurrected without change or manmade modification. There are men and women masquerading as preachers of the Gospel, more concerned with power, and certainly more concerned with money, some even without education, theologically uneducated and without a full understanding of both Old and New Testaments. Bible weak instead of Bible strong. The AUTHENTIC GOSPEL preached by Paul and of course the Christ Himself is hard to hear in this secular day and age.
Even as compromise exists in Protestant circles and ANOTHER GOSPEL grows, so that happens even in the Catholic Church. The battle wages there between liberal and conservative as it does everywhere. It seems it becomes more difficult for the age-old values, principles and traditions of the Catholic Church to be upheld and authenticated. The leader, the powerful leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis brings to the world a more liberal papacy. The media has dubbed Francis the celebrity pope for his persona has endeared him to them for the softening of the positions of former popes such as John Paul and Benedict, Popes who expanded the power and authority of the papacy even as they championed orthodoxy. All in the Catholic Church respected that authority assuming future popes would follow in that mold. But then came Pope Francis, considerably more liberal, more famous and popular and his public utterances whether ex cathedra or not began to be subject to criticism. The extent of papal authority became a real issue for conservative Catholics, especially the Cardinals wanted no part of ANOTHER GOSPEL. The Church they said should stay strong in tradition and theology.
Many in the Church hierarchy reacted aggressively when Pope Francis agreed to let China’s communist government control his selection of the country’s Catholic bishops. That decision by Francis thoroughly annoyed retired bishop of Hong Kong Joseph Zen who promptly criticized the Pope saying:
“I would make a cartoon showing the Pope kneeling and offering the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and saying now please recognize me as Pope.”
Bishop Zen then went on to state:
“The advisors of the Pope are giving him advice to renounce his authority.”
Any Pope has no greater prerogative with more consequences than his moral discretion to choose the world’s bishops. When chosen, Catholic catechism calls the exercise of that power the “full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church.” That power and prerogative can not and should not be delegated to anyone other than the Pope himself. That indeed is an interesting dilemma for the Church, and even this Pope for the issue is to what extent papal power remains uncompromised. If it is compromised, there runs the risk of the beginning of ANOTHER GOSPEL to the detriment, a fundamental change in the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis has taken a position of leniency on divorce. That led U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, a critic of Pope Francis’ leniency of divorce to warn that the Pope could be subject to a “formal correction” from the Cardinals of the Church if the Pope does not in fact make clear that his statements on divorce are faithful to Orthodox teaching. As of now, it seems, they are not. In fact, says Cardinal Burke, there is authority that, in his words, if the Pope exercises his power in aSINFUL MANNER:
“The Pope must as a duty be disobeyed!”
Then came the controversy regarding the statement allegedly made by Pope Francis with respect to HELL. It is alleged that Pope Francis said that:
HELL DOES NOT EXIST
Any such position is totally antithetical to the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church. Allegedly, when a reporter asked Pope Francis where “bad souls” end up, Pope Francis reportedly said that those who repent can be forgiven, but those who don’t repent simply DISAPPEAR.
And then, said Francis to reporter Eugenio Scalfari, a well-known Italian journalist and the founder of Italy’sLE REPUBLICA newspaper:
HELL DOES NOT EXIST
And, the reporter indicates the Pope went further saying:
“The disappearance of sinful souls exists.”
The stories spread like wildfire on social media and the Vatican quickly intervened stating that the story was “the result of the reporter’s reconstruction, and not a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.” But reporter Scalfari strongly defended the accuracy of the statements and so far, Pope Francis has not explained or recanted. If the moral leader of the Catholic Church does not believe in Hell, clearly scriptural, clearly BIBLE STRONG, there then comes full force ANOTHER GOSPEL, heaven for sure but no hell.
Even the most well-known educational institution of the Catholic Church NOTRE DAME has recently compromised. In the words of Alexandra DeSanctis, “Notre becomes a bit less Catholic.” DeSanctis indicates that the University of Notre Dame “caved in.” It has publicly stated that it will partly obey the ObamaCare mandate requiring employer healthcare plans to cover the cost of contraceptives and abortifacient drugs. The university will now provide “simple contraceptives to students and employees through its insurance program.” Said Notre Dame’s President as justification for the decision, Catholic tradition requires respect for the conscientious decisions of members of our community. So that, if decisions of individuals, not the church, think it is perfectly acceptable for this Catholic institution with its Catholic tradition to distribute and pay for “simple contraceptives,” that decides the matter. The so-called conscience of the individual over the authority and moral traditions of the Catholic Church. Yet another example of ANOTHER GOSPEL, a fundamental change in the value system of the Catholic Church, at least at Notre Dame.
DeSanctis goes on to state that in so doing, Notre Dame has:
“Renounced its obligation to shape the moral landscape of the society it inhabits, and more importantly to form its own community properly.”
In short, Notre Dame becomes a bit less Catholic.
The Catholic Church, says DeSanctis, is never more effective than when it acts as a countercultural force. It offers the modern world a radically different vision of human sexuality from the one most young people are taught. With the decision to provide birth control, Notre Dame has forfeit its chance to stand in moral opposition to a utilitarian sexual culture. “It has chosen,” says DeSanctis to “stop speaking to the kind of life that makes people whole.”
That decision is a moral give-up, a fundamental concession and compromise to a secular culture enabling yet the principle of ANOTHER GOSPEL. That is for Notre Dame, known the world over the radical departure from Catholic theology. DeSanctis reminds us and presumably Notre Dame that:
“Like the Church, Notre Dame is most valuable when it defends truths that are difficult to hear.”
So it seems that we who are Christian live in a world which aggressively and passionately presents ANOTHER GOSPEL, in fact many of them. Compromise is everywhere. Traditional values and morals are attacked at every turn. The leniency and liberality of Pope Francis are praised as necessary changes for the Catholic Church with hopefully more to come. The truths of the real Gospel are harder than ever to hear. But the Catholic Church, and Notre Dame, and any other real Christian entity are most valuable, in fact only valuable when:
“Truths that are difficult to hear are fully defended and reinforced.”
There is really only one Gospel, only one. And that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the ONE as Paul says we preach and Him crucified and resurrected. All other theology stems from that basic and fundamental fact and should never be compromised, never. For any such change, such compromise is leaven which can foster the beginning of ANOTHER GOSPEL. But there is only one WAY, only one TRUTH, and only one LIFE. Only one.
There is no place for any other. THERE SHOULD NEVER BE ANOTHER GOSPEL!