The Restoration Movement (Four)

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It is written:

2 Timothy 4:3-4-For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

The Apostle Paul warned that there would come a time in the Christian Age when people would turn away from the truth of God’s Word and be turned aside to fables. The word “fable” carries the meaning of “myth,” and so was often used of the pagan myths of the nations surrounding Israel. The post-apostolic church struggled with the threat of Gnosticism (i.e., that religious movement which attempted to combine Christianity with paganism).

This was one of the things which led to the formation of the Roman Catholic church.

Even though the Bible repeatedly warns God’s people not to imitate the practices of the pagans in their religious ceremonies (cf. Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 6:14; Joshua 24:18-24; 1 Corinthians 10:19-20; Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10), the Catholic church unashamedly incorporates paganism into its’ religious services.

Consider a few examples of this from Catholic Encyclopedia.

In describing the fictitious and apocryphal accounts of the “saints” (i.e., alleged Catholic heroes throughout time), we learn that these stories are nothing more than superstitions borrowed from pagan religious figures!

“Manifold as the varieties of legends now seem to be, there are fundamentally not so very many different notions utilized. The legend considers the saint as a kind of lord of the elements, who commands the water, rain, fire, mountain, and rock; he changes, enlarges, or diminishes objects; flies through the air; delivers from dungeon and gallows; takes part in battles, and even in martyrdom is invulnerable; animals, the wildest and the most timid, serve him (e.g. the stories of the bear as a beast of burden; the ring in the fish; the frogs becoming silent, etc.); his birth is glorified by a miracle; a voice, or letters, from Heaven proclaim his identity; bells ring of themselves; the heavenly ones enter into personal intercourse with him (betrothal of Mary); he speaks with the dead and beholds heaven, hell, and purgatory; forces the Devil to release people from compacts; he is victorious over dragons; etc. Of all this the authentic Christian narratives know nothing. But whence then does this world of fantastic concepts arise? A glance at the pre-Christian religious narratives will dispel every doubt. All these stories are anticipated by the Greek chroniclers, writers of myths, collectors of strange tales, neo-Platonism, and neo-Pythagorism. One need only refer to the Hellados periegesis of Pausanias, or glance through the codices collected by Photius in his “Bibliotheca”, to recognize what great importance was attached to the reports of miracles in antiquity by both the educated and uneducated. The legend makes its appearance wherever the common people endeavoured to form theological concepts, and in its main features it is everywhere the same. Like the myth (the explanatory fable of nature) and the doctrinal fable, it has its independent religious and hortatory importance. The legend claims to show the auxiliary power of the supernatural, and thus indicate to the people a “saviour” in every need. The worshipper of divinity, the hero-worshipper, is assured of the supernatural protection to which he has established a claim. With the old mythologies and genealogies of gods, of which they serve after a certain fashion as corroborative evidence, these tales may be regarded as the theology of the people. The guiding thoughts are in every case taken from life; they deal with the fulfilment of the simple wishes and expectations likely to arise in the minds of men whose lives were spent in contest with the forces and laws of nature.           Hellenism had already recognized this characteristic of the religious fable, and would thus have been obliged to free itself from it in the course of time, had not the competition with Christianity forced the champions of the ancient polytheism to seek again in the ancient fables incidents to set against the miraculous power of Christ. ln this way popular illusions found their way from Hellenism to Christianity, whose struggles in the first three centuries certainly produced an abundance of heroes.…And if, in this legend of Mary, the Blessed Virgin put a ring on the hand of her betrothed under quite characteristic circumstances, that is nothing else than the Roman local legend of the betrothal of Venus, as it has been preserved by William of Malmesbury and the “Deutsche Kaiserchronik” of the twelfth century.           Therefore:           (1) the original reports of martyrdoms and lives do not present what is called “legend”; (2) legends repeat the conceptions found in the pre-Christian religious tales.           From this it follows that we have a right to identify the pre-and post-Christian popular religious tales; the legend is not Christian, only Christianized. But where then lie its ultimate sources? In many cases it has obviously the same origin as the myth, when it refers the incomprehensible to religious heroes. Antiquity traced back sources, whose natural elements it did not understand, to the heroes; such was also the case with many legends of the saints, although others should rather be regarded as outgrowths of the genuine history of the saints. Etymology also has often led to the promotion of legends; thus, Christopher becomes the actual Christ-carrier. Again, there must be taken into consideration the inexhaustible imagination of the common people; merely because the people expected help, or punishment, in certain situations, the fulfilment of such expectations was soon related. And, finally, general axioms of experience (as in Pantschatantra) or, in the case of the Talmud and Christianity, merely sentences and figures of speech from the holy Scripture are clothed in the garb of narrative.” (Charles George Herbermann, The Catholic Encyclopedia: Complete Vol. 1-15 (With Active Table of Contents), 399712-399793 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added).

Thus the Catholic church clearly acknowledges that it frequently borrows from paganism in its’ teachings!

In another article regarding the Catholic use of lights, we read again:

We need not shrink from admitting that candles, like incense and lustral water, were commonly employed in pagan worship and in the rites paid to the dead. But the Church from a very early period took them into her service, just as she adopted many other things indifferent in themselves, which seemed proper to enhance the splendour of religious ceremonial. We must not forget that most of these adjuncts to worship, like music, lights, perfumes, ablutions, floral decorations, canopies, fans, screens, bells, vestments, etc. were not identified with any idolatrous cult in particular; they were common to almost all cults.” (Charles George Herbermann, The Catholic Encyclopedia: Complete Vol. 1-15 (With Active Table of Contents), 11518 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added)

Again, speaking of the Agnus Deis:

“The origin of Agnus Deis is a matter of much obscurity. Recent authorities lay stress upon the lack of evidence for their existence before the ninth century. But it seems probable that they had their beginning in some pagan usage of charms or amulets, from which the ruder populace were weaned by the enjoyment of this Christian substitute blessed by prayer. The early history of Catholic ceremonial affords numerous parallels for this Christianizing of pagan rites. It is not disputed that the Agnus Deis originated in Rome. If so, we may probably trace the custom back to the final overthrow of Paganism in that city, say the fifth century. We know that when we first hear of them (c. 820) they were made of the remnants of the preceding year’s paschal candle. We also know from Ennoldius (c. 510) that fragments of the paschal candles were used as a protection against tempests and blight (Migne, P.L., LXIII, pp. 259, 262). It is also possible that a mention of the blessing of wax under Pope Zosimus (418) in the “Liber Pontificalis” (first edition) should be interpreted, with Mgr. Duchesne, of the Agnus Dei, though it more probably refers to the paschal candle. It was at this period and before the Trullan Council of 691 that the symbolism of the Lamb most flourished; see the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. The alleged examples of early Agnus Deis, e.g. one of Gregory the Great in the treasury of Monza (see Kraus, “Real-Encyclopadie,” s.v.) cannot be trusted. The earliest certain specimen now in existence seems to belong to the time of Gregory XI (1370).” (Charles George Herbermann, The Catholic Encyclopedia: Complete Vol. 1-15 (With Active Table of Contents), 17225-17233 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added)

The words of the Apostle Peter (2 Peter 2:1-2) and Paul (2 Timothy 4:3-4) regarding false prophets which would arise within Christianity and adopt paganism clearly find their fulfillment in the corruption of Roman Catholicism. Indeed, God’s Word is clear that the church should not embrace paganism! Instead, we should remove such (Ephesians 5:11)!

Yet as we will notice, the Catholic church did much more than adopt paganism into its’ teachings: it did everything in its power to suppress the Word of God!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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