So Who’s Getting Cozy with Rome?


Not the impartial student of Roman Catholic history. He encounters too many rivers of blood, that is, the blood of the untold millions, who were supposedly unworthy to live because of some perceived heresy.

Not the millions, who were in with Rome, but then, when they found the living Christ in the living Word of God, had no choice but to follow him and turn their backs on mere forms and traditions. The “old wineskins” had been good enough for the “old wine”, but how to pour their “new wine” into anything but “new wineskins”?!

Not the Christian, who lives in a traditionally Roman Catholic culture, like that of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Latin America, etc. He has seen too much of the frightful idolatry still in full swing, and in total disregard of the plain Word of God. In some Catholic countries, like in parts of Mexico, he may still be fair game for the heretic bashers.

Not the serious student of the Bible, who finds that in his reading and meditation of the Word he is having direct and intimate communion with his Lord, without the slightest need of any mediator but Christ (1 Tim. 2:5-6), whether that purported mediator is a priest-confessor, a saint, a “Holy Father” (over in Rome), or even Mary.

Not the prayerful Christian worker who could do with help in the great need around him. He remembers how Nehemiah steadfastly refused to have an “ecumenical” meeting with Tobias, Sanballat and company, even when these seemed so concerned about Nehemiah’s work in chapter 6, repeatedly inviting him to come over. Nehemiah saw through it all and said NO! Above all, 2 Cor. 6:14-18 convinces him that you cannot work together if you have nothing “in common” with the prospective “yoke fellows”, if there is no “partnership”, no “harmony”, no “participation” and no “compact” (Weymouth). So he rather forgoes the “unequal yoke”, so tantalizing perhaps, but also so clearly warned against and forbidden.

Not the Christian who has some insight into Bible prophecy. He realizes that Revelation 17 and 18 describe the last stages of Rome as a system, that is, the great harlot, drunk with the blood of saints and martyrs, seated on “seven hills”, a precise topographical description of the city of Rome. He’s heard the last call from Heaven to “get out” (18:4) and could never translate that into “cozying up”.

Not the ‘burning heart’ Christian, who would seek to lead his RC loved ones to the living Christ. It is crystal clear to him that ‘cozying up’ to Rome might for ever sink his chances to help them find the Way. He remembers chapters like Matthew 23 in which the One who is all love didn’t mince his words in relation to the “system” of the day. That true “Physician” never put mere “ointment” on the “ulcers” of his “patients”, when what they needed was radical, invasive “surgery”.

So who IS cozying up to Rome??

If you have heard of ECT – “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”, then you’ll know that that’s where the action is. Whether that is “guided” or “misguided” action, some great names stand out. You will recognize names like Colson, Bright and Packer. One prominent trend setter, of course, and for many years now, has been Billy Graham. These are men whom God has used, and we have no reason to suspect that God will not use them in the future, but do we have to walk in their footsteps? Not if we are like those Berean Jews, who didn’t take Paul’s word for it. They did some thorough research first: “They searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” – Acts 17:11. In other words they gave him a fair hearing, but weren’t inclined to follow his lead as long as they didn’t see it in the Scriptures.

A name, even better known than the present ECT ones, who, among many others in his day, had something to say on the subject, was Hudson Taylor. He was mightily used by God to open up China to the Gospel in the 19th century.

If you know anything at all about Hudson Taylor, then you know that he loved “the heathen”, as they used to be termed at that time. Did that mean that he cozied up to the heathen systems? No, it meant he took the Gospel to the heathen and was ready to lay down his life for them. He hated the heathen systems, but he loved the heathen. As you will see, he compares the “heathen” to the “Roman Catholics”. Did he hate Roman Catholics? He hated the RC system, but he loved those entrapped in it. That is the only truly Christian attitude… Following well-meaning leaders down any other road will land us in the same Babylonian morass that they are heading for.

      June 13, 1905, in the Conference Hall in London, Dr. Harry Guinness recalled how, when he was in Switzerland with Mr. Hudson Taylor, the veteran missionary was constantly praying for South America.

      “Some years ago,” said Hudson Taylor, “it was brought home to my heart and conscience that there was danger of my getting into a narrow rut. China is 2000 miles broad and 2000 miles long, and yet I found I was getting into a narrow rut. My love was getting too much confined to it, as were my sympathies and prayers. I made it a rule, as far as possible, not to pray for China at all until I had prayed for a good many other places, for I knew that if I began at the wrong end I did not get far on. I now begin by praying for South America. It is a most needy part of the world, and wants your prayers as well as mine. The workers there have great difficulties to contend with, and of the same sort as we have in China from Roman Catholicism – the most God-dishonoring system in the world. The heathen need your prayers, but the Roman Catholic needs your prayers ten times more. He is ten times as much in the dark as the heathen themselves are.”

Emphasis in quote from original in: “OUR FLAG AND FIELD” (1905), first predecessor to “PRESSING ON!”

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