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The Gospel Betrayed

Dave Hunt

The most significant event in almost 500 years of church history took place March
29, 1994. Leading evangelicals and Catholics signed a joint declaration, "Evangelicals
and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd Millennium." The document
overturns the Reformation and does incalculable damage to the cause of Christ. The
news release said:
They toiled together in the movements against abortion and pornography, and now
leading Catholics and evangelical are asking their flocks for a remarkable leap of
faith: to finally accept each other as Christians...[E]vangelicals including Pat
Robertson and Charles Colson joined with conservative Roman Catholic leaders
today in upholding the ties of faith that bind [them]....They urged Catholics and
evangelicals...to stop aggressively proselytisation of each other's flocks.
John White, president of Geneva College and former president of the National
Association of Evangelicals, said the statement represents a "triumphalistic moment"
in American religious life...
Other evangelical endorsers included the heads of the Home Mission Board and
Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest
Protestant denomination, and Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for
Christ...Mark Noll of Wheaton University...[Os Guinness, Jesse Miranda (Assemblies
of God), Richard Mouw (President, Fuller Seminary), J.I. Packer and Herbert
Schlossberg].
Robert Simonds, Southern California chairman of the National Association of Evangelicals,
"applauded the declaration" and said he hopes it will bring "increased co-operation between
evangelicals and Catholics...." But the fruit of such "co-operation" has not been good in the
past. Evangelicals working beside Catholics, Mormons, Moonies, et.al., for common social or
political aims (for example, in Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition) will not witness to their
"partners in action" for fear of offending them and breaking up the coalition. Such
compromise laid the foundation for this alliance -- a development monitored closely and
approved by the Vatican.
I neither impugn the motives nor question the salvation of the evangelical signers. Yet I
believe the document represents the most devastating blow against the gospel in at least 1,000
years. Already the declaration is being "translated into Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and
Russian for circulation throughout Latin America and Eastern Europe." Soon it will have a
revolutionary impact world-wide.
Having carefully read the 25-page fifth draft marked "Not for general circulation," I
appreciate the loving concern for both truth and unity expressed therein. Some key
differences between Catholics and evangelicals are noted without compromise. But the most
important difference -- what it means to be saved -- is not mentioned and, in fact, is directly
denied.
Amazingly, the document claims that all Catholics are Christians, hold the same faith as
evangelicals, and are our "brothers and sisters in Christ." If so, then the Reformation was a
tragic mistake which we all must denounce! On this said juncture in church history, the last
words of Hugh Latimer ring in our conscience. Bound back-to-back to the stake with
Nicholas Ridley, Latimer, England's most effective gospel preacher at the time, was heard to
exclaim as the flames engulfed them, "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man.
We shall this day, by God's grace, light such a candle in England as I pray shall never be put
out." How incredible that the last spark of the Reformation "candle" is now being
extinguished by evangelical leaders who owe so much to the very faithfulness of such
martyrs!
For 1,000 years before the Reformation, there were always groups of evangelical Christians
outside the Catholic Church, millions of whom were slaughtered for obeying Scripture instead
of Rome. Pope Pius III killed 60,000 in one day when his forces wiped out the entire town of
Beziers, France, an act which he considered the "crowning achievement of his papacy."
Martin Luther acknowledged his debt to these earlier martyrs:
We are not the first to declare the papacy to be the kingdom of antichrist, since
for may years before us so many and such great men (whose number is large
and whose memory is eternal) have undertaken to express the same thing so
clearly and plainly.
Through the example of these Vaudois, Albigenses, Waldenses and other early evangelicals,
and from the Bibles they preserved, a few Roman Catholic priests and monks realised that
their Church didn't preach the truth and that they and their fellow Catholics were not saved,
but lost. Men like John Wycliff (1329-84), Jan Hus (1373-1415) and Johannes Geiler von
Kayserberg (1445-1510) believed the gospel and began preaching it. They hoped their Church
could be reformed. In response, Rome consigned many of these faithful gospel preachers to
the flames. Later Luther and other Reformers, all Roman Catholics, also became convinced
that neither they nor their fellow Catholics were saved. They began preaching salvation by
grace through faith instead of Catholicism's false gospel of sacramental rituals and works. For
this they were excommunicated and untold thousands more were martyred.
Such is the heritage of today's evangelicals, which this document now rejects. We are asked to
believe that the Reformers were deluded, that like all active Catholics today they were saved
but didn't know it; the tens of millions of Catholics who since then have received Christ by
faith along and left the Catholic Church have also been deceived; the whole evangelical
church of today is equally deluded about what it means to be a Christian. Colson, Robertson,
Bright, et al. have revised both history and doctrine.
Evangelicals would decry the complacent attitude that everyone raised in and/or attending a
Protestant church is a Christian. Lost sinners need to be saved. How, then, did leading
evangelicals decide that all active Catholics are Christian and must not hereafter be
evangelised? The agreement states that both Catholics and evangelicals accept the Apostles'
Creed; that Christ "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried." That
creed, however, does not express the gospel that saves (Rom. 1:16) that "Christ died for our
sin (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Mormons affirm the Apostles' Creed, but they aren't Christians. Nor does
affirming it make Catholics (or Protestants) Christians.
Catholicism's false gospel hasn't changed. It diametrically opposes the evangelical view of
what Christ's crucifixion and forgiveness of sins means. Let me quote from Vatican II,
Flannery's Edition, Vol. I (the same teaching is affirmed by the new universal Catechism of
the Catholic Church just released by the Vatican). This is what Catholicism teaches and
Catholics believe and practice today:
Christ's death earned "satisfaction and merits" which have been deposited into
a "Treasury" to which have been added "the prayers and good works of the
Blessed Virgin Mary [and] the prayers and good works of all the saints
[beyond what they needed for their own salvation].
From the most ancient times in the Church good works were also offered to God for
the salvation of sinners...Indeed, [by], the prayers and good works of holy people..
the penitent was washed, cleansed and redeemed... Following in Christ's steps, those
who believe in him have always... carried their crosses to make expiation for their
own sins and the sins of others. They were convinced that they could [by such good
works and sacrifices] help their brothers to obtain salvation from God...(pp. 64-66)
Out of this "treasury of the Church" salvation/redemption is dispensed in instalments by
Catholic clergy through the seven sacraments. One never passes "from death to life" (Jn 5:24)
but is always earning salvation with the Church's help. In fact, excommunication is the
penalty for saying one is saved and knows he has eternal life through faith in Christ's finished
work. The very heart of the gospel which evangelicals affirm is denied by Catholicism in all
its creeds, catechisms, canons and decrees and dogmas, and those who dare to affirm it are
anathematised. Vatican II's first page declares,
For it is the liturgy [sacramental rituals] through which, especially in the
divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, the work of our redemption is accomplished.
So redemption/salvation is in process of being effected by Church sacraments. But Paul
wrote, "In whom we have [present possession, an accomplished fact through Christ]
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Eph 1:7; Col 1:14). Hebrews 7 says,
"...by his own blood he entered in once [for all time] into the holy place [heaven], having
obtained eternal redemption for us." Redemption is finished! But that truth is consistently and
insistently denied.
Even Christ's death is an ongoing process, so the Mass is not a remembrance of a finished
work but a sacrifice which obtains forgiveness of sins and from which "grace and merits"
flow in partial instalments. This is from the Pocket Catholic Dictionary:
The Mass is a truly propitiatory sacrifice [by which] the Lord is appeased
[and]...pardon wrongdoings and sins... Finally the Mass is the divinely
ordained means of applying the merits of Calvary. Christ won for the world all
the graces it needs for salvation and sanctification. But these blessings are
conferred gradually and continually...mainly through the Mass...The priest is
indispensable, since he alone by his powers can change the elements of bread
and wine into the body and blood of Christ...the more often the sacrifice [of
the Mass] is offered the more benefit is conferred [i.e.; Calvary wasn't enough]
(pp.248-9).
The Mass continues to transmit instalments of grace even after one has died, as relatives buy
"Mass cards" which are laid upon the altar during Mass in the name of the deceased in order
to shorten purgatorial suffering. Christ's death couldn't get us to heaven, but Masses, Hail
Marys, good works, "bearing one's cross" for others, etc, will do so. Earned "indulgences"
also shorten time in purgatory. Charles Colson says indulgences are no longer part of
Catholicism (The Body, p. 271). In fact, Vatican II devotes 17 pages to indulgences (pp. 62-
79) and anathematises anyone who rejects that doctrine (p. 71)!
"But surely you don't deny that some Catholics are saved!" is the objection when one presents
the truth about Catholicism. That some Catholics may be saved is possible, but that is a far
cry from this document's implications that all are saved. And to be saved, a Catholic would
have to believe the true gospel and reject Catholicism's false gospel. One can't believe two
contradictory propositions at the same time: one can't believe Christ obtained redemption
through His blood and also believe redemption is being accomplished through Catholic
liturgy; one can't believe salvation is by faith and "not of works" and at the same time believe
that good works earn salvation (see quote above).
Paul declared that "all have sinned" (Rom 3:23) and need to be "saved" from God's eternal
judgement upon sinners. He also insisted that one can be saved only by believing "the gospel
of Christ" (Rom 1:16). The early church "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6) with the
preaching of this gospel, a gospel which Roman Catholicism has denied for 1,500 years.
I have been in contact with thousands of Catholics who were saved and left that Church. Not
one ever heard the true gospel preached there. Not one was saved by being a Catholic, but by
believing a gospel which is anathema to Catholics. In a recent survey of 2,000 homes in Spain
only two Protestants knew the gospel, while 1,998 Catholics though good works, church
attendance, etc. would get them to heaven. In their 15 years of evangelising in Spain,
missionaries with whom I spoke had never net one Catholic who was saved or who knew how
to be saved. Knowing that these millions of Catholics are lost causes evangelicals there to
work day and night to bring them the gospel!
And now we are asked to refrain from sharing the gospel with those who desperately need it
and to assume them already saved, when their own doctrines forbid this assurance. It is
outrageous that leading evangelicals have placed nearly 25% of the world's population off
limits for evangelisation! Missionaries must now leave Catholic countries such as Spain, Italy
and those in Latin America -- such is the tragic implication of this document!
Paul told the Philippian jailer that if he would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (that is,
personally put his faith in Him as His Saviour who had died for His sins and risen again) he
would be saved. That being "saved" was a once-for-all transformation effected by placing
one's complete trust for eternity in the finished work of Christ alone has been proclaimed by
generations of preachers such as Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon and Moody and by missionary
giants such as C.T. Studd, Hudson Taylor and David Livingstone. We are now being told,
however, that such men and women who gave their lives to bring the gospel to the lost wasted
their time if they preached to Catholics who thank God with tears that someone loved them
enough to tell them the truth!
Instead of rejoicing in these souls being saved, Colson says he and others had become
"distressed by the clashes arising from the growth of evangelical Protestantism in traditionally
Catholic Latin America and, more recently, in traditionally Catholic or Eastern Orthodox
areas of Central Europe and Russia." God to Latin America, Mr. Colson, and see the
paganism and spiritism mixed with Catholicism! See the tragedy of souls by the millions
going into a Christless eternity because they have been deceived by Roman Catholicism!
Thank God that millions of Catholics are accepting the gospel and now know they have
eternal life (1 Jn. 5:13)! Yet the signers of this treacherous document denounce the
conversions of Catholics and ask us to stop rescuing them from hell!
We have warned of growing ecumenism, explained the difference between the false works
gospel of Catholicism and the Biblical gospel, and exposed the growing unity between
Catholics and the very evangelical who have signed this agreement. I have sent photocopies
of pertinent sections from Vatican II, Trent and catechisms to some of these men, with no
response to the issues. They cannot be excused on the grounds of ignorance.
The most tragic result of this historic development will be to prevent the gospel from being
presented to lost millions who have now been wrongly reclassified by evangelical leaders as
Christians. A disaster of almost equal proportions will result from this document's
endorsement of Catholicism's false gospel, thereby encouraging multitudes to believe it.
Unless we speak up boldly, the much needed warnings against some of Satan's cleverest lies
will be silenced.
If we truly love lost souls about us, no matter what their religious affiliation, we will increase
our efforts to bring them the truth of the gospel before it is forever too late. Pray with us that
TBC will be used mightily to bring lost souls everywhere into the light of the glorious gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us together stand firm against the spiritual darkness which
threatens to extinguish the candle that martyrs like Latimer and Ridley so faithfully lit.

[This PDF version created by Christian Ministries (2005).]