Dominus Iesus: Rome Exalts Her Throne
Timothy George Accepts the Kiss of Death
On September 5th 2000, the RC document “Dominus Iesus”1 (DI) was issued by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.2 Carrying the full authority of an official Vatican decree, it declares the Roman Catholic Church to be the only “instrument for the salvation of all humanity.”3 DI has been “ratified and confirmed” by “The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II.”4
Timothy George, who launched the lie of ECT II on the December 8, 1997 in Christianity Today, now has written his approval of the Vatican’s document. Mr. George, by his validation of Rome, continues to betray the Lord and His Church. He begins by saying that he welcomes DI and then declares, “In an unusual way it is an encouragement to the kind of ecumenism we ought to be engaged in.” Curious and unusual, indeed, since DI itself proclaims, “...the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense.”5 These two standards disqualify Timothy George’s own Southern Baptist Church and all churches except the children of that Rome. In consequence of this, Mr. George is in a church that is not a church “in the proper sense”. It is bizarre that he should accept this document, let alone applaud it!
For a church to be considered proper in the eyes of Rome, the first litmus test that DI demands is the “valid Episcopate” (i.e. the priestly power office of the Bishop). That power is possessed neither by Mr. George nor his church. The power of the Bishop, Rome claims, comes through the physical laying on of hands and the right words of incantation. That is but a tradition and is clearly expressed in Rome’s official words of Vatican II:
In contrast the Scripture teaches that no elder takes Christ’s place as priest. All believers have immediate access to God in Christ Jesus; all share in the royal priesthood of praise. (I Peter 2:9). Rome’s sixth sacrament, “Holy Orders”, which claims to pass on Christ’s sacrificial priesthood by laying on of hands, is a tradition of men that contradicts Scriptural truth. In the Bible, Christ’s unending priesthood cannot be transferred to any other person, as stated in Hebrews 7:24 “But this man [Jesus Christ], because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable7 priesthood.” Rome does not have Christ’s New Testament sacrificial priesthood,8 let alone its higher grade of Episcopacy. The whole office of Rome’s Episcopate is that of sacrificial bishop and priest. Rome needs its Episcopacy to maintain her seven physical sacraments. The whole life of the Church of Rome revolves around her Bishops and Priests and the sacraments that they perform. Thus the Church of Rome officially states,
Looking to physical signs to give “Sacramental grace” and calling that “the grace of the Holy Spirit” is literally a blasphemy against the All Holy God. It not only takes from the character of God whose person alone gives grace, but it presupposes that His power can be controlled in the Rome’s seven sacraments. Rome’s sacramental system and the Episcopacy from which it flows is a soul-damning tradition of men. Far from being a test of a true Church it is the hallmark of those who sit in Satan’s seat exalting themselves as the dispensers of “light.”
The second litmus test for Mr. George and all studying this “unusual” document is what DI calls “the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery”. This is clearly defined in the Catholic Catechism,
This teaching is sacrilegious. That Christ needs (or ought) to offer Himself more than once is blasphemous. Such a concept attempts to reduce Christ’s sacrifice to imperfection, the reason being that it assumes that His one offering, made once, was not good enough to make complete atonement. What is absolutely perfect and consummated cannot be repeated since repetition is a proof of imperfection. To this end the Holy Spirit teaches precisely, “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”11 Before the all Holy God and His Written Word, Rome does not have a valid Communion table nor the priestly power of the Episcopate. The Pope’s two standards for defining the validity of Churches are both lying traditions. In the words of Christ Jesus the Lord, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”12 If Mr. George wishes to stand hand-in-hand with this system seeking unity, he had better begin praying to the Roman Catholic Saint Jude, the patron of hopeless cases!
Clearly then, Mr. George, J.I. Packer, Bill Bright, Os Guinness, Max Lucado, T.M. Moore, Bishop Williams Frey, Charles Colson, and other signers and endorsers of ECT I & II are now not in limbo but rather in no man’s land. Did George and his fellow-ecumenists really believe that the Pope will simply fade into the shadows and allow “evangelicals” to exercise themselves independently of his will? Do they think the rhetoric of the Vatican and the witness of history to be empty forerunners; are they as hoodwinked as that generation which had Mein Kampf in their hands and Hitler in their midst, but saw no connection?
Roman Catholic Supremacy
In Section 17, DI speaks of the RCC as the “Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.” This presumed Primacy is the arrogant underpinning of the whole document, flouting the Lord’s commandment, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them...But ye shall not be so.”13 Rome in 2000 spoke as did the infamous Boniface VIII in 1302,
The dominant presupposition of Rome is that the Lord set up a totalitarian hierarchy of Pope, cardinals, patriarchs, major archbishops, archbishops, metropolitans, coadjutor archbishops, diocesan bishops, coadjutor bishops, etc. This is the spirit of Diotrephes, “who loves to have the preeminence,” gone mad. The Biblical organizational structure of the bride of Christ is utterly different. In the true body of Christ, those ordained as elders and deacons are still only brothers within the same body and the one Master is Jesus Christ the Lord. “For one is your master even Christ and ye are all brethren.” (Mt. 23:8).
Part of the same hierarchical presupposition is expressed in DI, Section 16, “...the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him....” Presumed in this declaration is the idea that Peter went to Rome, was her first bishop, and subsequently, the bishops of Rome have by “apostolic succession” retained his prerogatives and more. The assumption is groundless. In Biblical history there is no mention of Peter ever visiting Rome. The RC position is completely inconsistent with the recorded commission that the Apostle Peter was to take the Gospel to the Jews,15 as was the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles,16 including those in Rome. Nowhere in Scripture is there any suggestion of the existence of an “apostolic succession”. In the New Testament, the Apostles appointed elders17 and deacons, not a line of apostles. There are no Biblical texts for these power-endowing statements of DI. Rather, the papacy declares by fiat that it is so. The papacy now is nothing less than the head of the Apostate Church depicted in Scripture, ravenous for power, the Woman who is seated upon the beast reigning “over” peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.18 Such arrogance, as the presumed “Primacy, which...the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church”, is mind-boggling.
Submission of Intellect and Will
In Section 4, in one sentence of 170 words, DI states that the root of the problem to unity and salvation is “the tendency to read and to interpret Sacred Scripture outside the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church.” This means that the bottom line of DI is the stipulated demand to submit one’s entire mind to an earthly fallible authority that claims to be infallible. The official word of Rome states,
Moreover, she pronounces that the consequence for not obeying is punishment with a “just penalty”.20
The Lord himself looked to the authority of the Scriptures alone, as did His Apostles after Him. The Biblical message breathed out by God is revelation in written form (II Tim. 3:15-16). The Biblical claim is that what God has inspired was His written word (II Pet. 1:20-21). When the Lord Jesus Christ said, “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), He was speaking of God’s authoritative written Word. The events, actions, commandments, and truths from God are given in propositional, i.e. logical, written sentences. God’s declaration in Scripture is that it—and it alone—is the final authority in all matters of faith and morals. Thus there is only one written source from God, there is only one basis of truth for the Lord’s people. Against this precept of not believing “outside the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church” is the command of the Scripture not to think above what is written: “...that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” (I Cor. 4:6). “God....in these last days hath spoken unto us through His Son”, and not through the Pope’s ex cathedra pronouncements nor through the Magisterium of the Church of Rome!
Engineering of Concepts
The key catchword of DI is the word “salvific”. It is repeated in obtuse yet clever sentences 39 times! Many of the statements concerning the role of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in salvation are Biblically correct. However these truthful concepts are used as a camouflage behind which Rome manufactures her claim that Christ’s “salvific” work is in the RC Church. Thus Section 16 of DI asserts, “Therefore, the fullness of Christ’s salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord.” And, “The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church...” This claim that Christ’s salvation belongs to and is in the RC Church is a lie. RC “salvation” is claimed inner righteousness bestowed through her Baptism. Thus Rome teaches:
Such a concept of a supposed righteousness within the soul by means of a physical sacrament is a lie of Satan. The words of the risen Christ in giving the Gospel are crystal clear. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) Faith is the key of saving grace, and unbelief the chief damning sin. Faith is absolutely necessary to life; baptism is an ordinance that follows it. The alleged “fullness of Christ’s salvific mystery” as belonging to the Church of Rome is a soul-damning lie.
The Lie As Lived Out
As Catholics live it out, the “salvific mystery...in the church” is a long journey through the Sacrifice of the Mass, sacraments, good works, merit, worship of Mary and the saints, etc. One is required to partake of the “salvific mystery” in order to be good enough to die in “sanctifying grace” and then to be saved, or at least, for the majority, to land for a time in purgatory. One is left to wonder how “full” is that measure of grace found within the Catholic Church; how ‘perfect’ is her sacrifice of the Mass; how hopeful are “the last rites” if their accomplishments are such as to send souls to a psuedo-hell called purgatory.
The same Section 16 states, “This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.” It is the constant ploy of the RC Church to focus a person’s faith for salvation to the RCC herself. In her official words she states:
In Scripture, however, salvation is mediated through Jesus Christ alone, the only mediator between God and man (John 14:6; Acts 4:12, 1 Tim. 2:5). The instrument of salvation is not a Church but rather faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”23 “However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”24 The boundaries of salvation are all of God, and not that of any Church, to demonstrate in the words of the Apostle that He is “just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”25 The precincts of salvation are outlined in Romans 3:24, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” showing that God’s grace is the efficient cause, and the payment is “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” To attempt to bring the RC Church into the nature of the salvific work of the Godhead, indeed to make her the fount of that work is gross blasphemy. In Scripture, salvation is in Christ Jesus alone, “to the praise of the glory of his grace.”26
Rome’s Sacraments Displace the Gospel
In Section 21, the RCC now has the same effrontery as during the Inquisition and the Council of Trent to state that there is a “divine origin” and salvific power to her sacraments. Thus DI states, “One cannot attribute to ‘various religious traditions’ a divine origin or an ex opere operato salvific efficacy, which is proper to the Christian sacraments.” This is in accord with what she claims in her “infallible” Council of Trent:27
Nonetheless, the central point of the God of the Gospel is that God saves the ungodly by faith alone. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” To officially reject “faith alone in the divine promise” and uphold “the work which has been worked” of Rome’s physical sacraments is formal apostasy, damning the adherents to eternal Hell. The warning of Scripture still stands, “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1: 9).
Outside Rome, No Church!
In the ecumenical context in which this document has been published, the Roman Catholic Church’s arrogance is summarized in Section 17, “the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense....” Indeed this is ominous; as the Nazis declared non-Aryans to be non-humans, so now Rome declares other churches “not Churches in the proper sense”. In the words of the Apostle Peter, indeed this sounds as the voice of “a roaring lion”. The statement is directed against all post-Reformation churches, including the Lutherans and Anglicans, including the churches of Timothy George, J.I. Packer, Bill Bright, Charles Colson, and other false messengers of ECT I and II. Had those being drawn into ecumenism and dialogue done any serious study of her major documents and history, they would have found that the RC Church has had this iron-clad mindset all along. For her, the only true Church sits on the Seven Hills of Rome; the only successful dialogue is to come back into her arms. Thus Vatican Council II’s post conciliar Document No. 42 on ecumenism had already stated,
Transform them it must, for there is no “equality” in the “doctrinal content” that other Churches and their ecumenical cohorts have bring to the table. The Papal Primacy in a forceful inquisitorial manner is saying come back to “Holy Mother”, otherwise we will treat you as a non-church. Confident ecumenizers ought to rethink their position. Their base in groups defined by Rome as “Churches not in the proper sense” leaves them without power because they have already compromised the Gospel and the authority of Scripture alone. Will Charles Colson and J.I. Packer, both known for continued defense of their ecumenical lies, follow Mr. George? Will these men like George embrace the guillotine that is to behead them? Logically the next step after that would be to apply for membership in her whose official colors are scarlet and purple.
Ecumenists Come To The Table Empty Handed
The table is set for a most interesting response to DI. One leading ecumenist has bowed the knee and we await the response of the others. In face of the continued discussion of the DI document and the stand that has been made in Canada by a group of Reformed pastors, silence is not good enough. To continue to ecumenize with Rome, footless as they are on her authoritarian ground, is illogical and obtuse. The self exalted Rome in DI defines even the “equality” she offers to her suitors. Sect. 22 of DI states, “Equality, which is a presupposition of inter-religious dialogue, refers to the equal personal dignity of the parties in the dialogue, not to doctrinal content.” In other words she grants them “personal dignity” as human beings, but when it comes to “doctrinal content, ” the other churches and religions, the J.I. Packers and Chuck Colsons are non-entities until they enter her arms.
George’s Supposed Common Ground with Rome
The second paragraph of George’s acceptance of DI begins with the words,
Had the Church of Rome openly opposed these cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, she would not be named Mystery Babylon. For Bible-believing Christians there is no mystery when the enemies of Christ openly deny the true faith. The worst and greatest adversary of Christ is the one who in pretense of service to Christ presumes to undermine cardinal doctrines by man made traditions. Thus in Rome’s teaching Christ’s deity is severely tarnished when such deity is officially taught to be in her communion bread.31 Also the full supreme and universal dominion of the divine Christ is blemished as an imperfect man claims His position. This Rome does as she declares
Likewise the essential doctrine of the Trinity is brought to naught if one accepts Rome’s tradition of the “All Holy Mother” as proclaimed in her teaching,
Roman Catholic tradition smears the Holiness of the Godhead, the deity of Christ, and the very Gospel of His finished work. George’s alleged common ground with Rome is true only to the point where such fundamental doctrines are made of none effect by her traditions.
We inquire of George and other ecumenists who applaud him where common ground can be found with the worship of “Mary”, her declared “Immaculate Conception’ and “Assumption”, the veneration of statues, the bloodless sacrifice of the Mass, auricular confession to a priest, baptismal regeneration, Purgatory, indulgences, celibacy and other doctrines of devils, including an infallible Pope who demands submission of intellect and will. Even John Armstrong who published the ludicrous statements of Timothy George ought to be rebuked for total lack of discernment and for carding George as featured speaker at Reformation & Revival Ministries’ Reformation, scheduled for October 25-27, 2001.
The Bottom Line for Mr. George
In his final paragraph George states,
“Dare to say” is mere speculation. One’s eyes are distracted from the tangible evidence of heretical, blasphemous papal doctrine, and focused on conjecture. The difference between Roman Catholicism and biblical truth is that of chalk and cheese. It is one thing to unwittingly baptize unconverted souls; it is indeed quite another thing to baptize countless infants declaring to the world,
Mr. George’s Proposal
Mr. George’s main thesis is that “Evangelicals who care about the gospel should welcome the Vatican’s spurning of religious relativism.” This is like a modern Little Red Riding Hood remarking to the Big Bad Wolf, “What wonderful absolutism you have,” and Rome replies, “All the better to devour you, my dear.” How can one “care about the Gospel”, and “welcome the Vatican” in the same breath?
Decisive Moment of History
We have reached a real crossroads in the whole ecumenical compromise of our own times. It is time for those who really love the Lord of glory and His written Word to make a strong campaign for His truth. What George has done in upholding Rome’s self-glorification is a gauntlet laid down before those who call themselves Biblical Christians. Where are you? Do you join with those running into the arms of her who sits on the Seven Hills, calling herself “Holy Mother”, while in biblical terms, her doctrines are of the Whore of Babylon? Or are you with those who stand to expose her? One is commanded by the Lord to contend for the faith; to simply ignore the present battle is to deny the Lord of glory. His great commandment to give the Gospel is laid on those of us who call ourselves Biblical Christians. To uphold His gospel of truth based on His written Word is what is laid before us. We pray that we may do this, speaking the truth in love but without compromise. In the same way that our precious Lord castigated the Pharisees, we who are Christians must oppose modern Rome and her daughters. Those who claim to be in Christ Jesus the Lord must expose not simply Rome, but also expose those who flirt with her even as she sits as a queen disparaging them.
The Lord, Himself, warned us of “other Christs” as did Peter of “false teachers” and Paul “wolves” within the flock. It is not simply that these apostates existed in former days. A Biblical Christian must have the courage of the Lord Jesus Christ. The disciple is not to be less than his master. the Lord exposed Pharisees establishing their own righteousness and making the written word of no effect, the disciples of our day is ought to oppose an apostate system that officially gainsays the glorious truths of our God.
These things are written with great care because the salvation of many is involved. The Lord faced the sincere and devout Pharisees with a very strong word. They, like many present-day Catholics, were making tradition equal to the authority of the written Word and were not counting on God’s grace alone. The Lord said to those Pharisees of His own day, “if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” If anyone continues to hold to the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching authority, and her “salvific” righteousness, he, likewise, will die in his sins. The Lord Christ Jesus died in place of the believer, the One for the many (Mark 10:45). His life and finished sacrifice alone are the ransom for the believer. As He declared, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”?
Permission is given by
the author to copy and print this article
Permission is also given post this article in its entirety on other Internet WebPages.
Richard Bennett, Berean
Berean Beacon Website