Dear praying friends,
It’s Tuesday 9th November 2010 and as I sit at the computer with an open document in front of me, the reality that this will be the last edition of “News From The Front’ that I write is only now beginning to fully impact upon me. Back on 31st October 1989 I resigned from secular employment fully convinced that the Lord wished me to serve Him in a full-time capacity. Having waited on the Lord for His leading I formed ‘Take Heed’ Ministries on 1st September 1990 and the following September (1991) I issued the first 3-page letter edition of “News From The Front”. Many who received that first issue have faithfully remained with ‘Take Heed’ over the ensuing years and of course others have in the will of the Lord gone on to their eternal reward. The faithful encouragement and support by recipients of the newsletter has been immeasurable and also a great confirmation of the Lord’s will where ‘Take Heed’ was concerned – to all I say a humble and sincere ‘thank you’. It has been ‘quite a journey’ ministering in many wonderful places, meeting welcoming brothers and sisters in Christ, hosting ministry visits by a wide range of gifted Christians and personally addressing and exposing the many deceptions and errors that have assailed true Christendom over those years. I had considered listing some of the issues tackled, outreaches undertaken and appeals made and met for various needs but I have decided against that – I simply want to say that without the faithful prayers and sacrificial giving of so many over the years, who were moved by a desire to honour our God and Saviour, these various ventures would never have got off the ground.
I want also to pay my tribute to my beloved wife Margaret. She has unquestioningly supported me all the way long during these Take Heed’ years, in particular when she took on extra nursing duties in the wake of my resignation from secular employment. I have been truly blessed by the Lord to be married to such a “virtuous woman” (Proverbs 31:10).
Although this will be the last “News From The Front” to be issued I will of course, despite embarking on ‘part-tirement’, be continuing with the work of ‘Take Heed’ in the war against error and deception so please do continue to pray on for our protection and provision. It has been most heartening for me to receive so many requests from those who are non-computerised to be put on the new mailing list for the planned annual review letter. That letter is scheduled to start in December 2011 [DV] but I wouldn’t be surprised if perhaps an earlier ‘ministry update’ were to be issued but that is something for the future. There is no doubt that these are spiritually challenging days for the cause of Christ as we witness the rise of aggressive atheism, crafty cults and militant Islam. However, we must never take our eyes off the most subtle of the enemies of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and that is Roman Catholicism. She has a huge capacity to survive major set-backs to her power and influence like The Reformation and in more recent times the moral scandals that have surfaced worldwide. The antichristian nature of Rome and its leadership was addressed in the September 2010 “News From The Front” and in this, my final newsletter, I will once more address even more recent evidence of how those, claiming to be ‘evangelical’, have been seduced by Rome to the point where they were willing to besmirch the name of John Calvin by allowing him, in a conference, to be scandalously linked (spiritually speaking) with Ignatius Loyola (the founder of the Jesuits). To be able to fit all that I wanted to write into this newsletter it has been necessary to use smaller print size throughout but I do trust that will not be a hindrance to any. Now, in closing, I want to quote some words from a lovely hymn that sum up the grounds of my sure hope in Christ, my Saviour, and I pray they will be a blessing to all.
Your servant for Christ
On merit not my own I stand;
On doings which I have not done,
merit beyond what I can claim,
doings more perfect than my own.
Upon a life I have not lived,
upon a death I did not die,
another’s life, another’s death,
I stake my whole eternity.
Jesus, 0 Son of God, I build
on what thy cross has done for me;
There both my death and life I read,
my guilt, my pardon there I see
Maynooth conference on Calvin and Loyola:
“What communion hath light with darkness?” [2nd Corinthians 6:14]
Earlier this year on the web site of Maynooth College where Roman Catholic priests in Ireland are trained for the priesthood this appeared
John Calvin Conference
“Living in union with Christ in today’s world”:
John Calvin and Ignatius Loyola
Friday 8th / Saturday 9th October, 2010
John Calvin, French Protestant Reformer, and Ignatius Loyola, Spanish founder of the Society of Jesus, were for a brief time contemporaries in the Collège de Montaigu of the University of Paris. St Patrick’s College, Maynooth will host a conference that will bring something of the inheritance of both these foundational figures into dialogue…John Calvin, one of the major figures of the Reformation, was born in Noyon, north of Paris, in 1509. The 500th anniversary of his birth is being marked world-wide in churches of the Reformed tradition through theological conferences, special services and other events. St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, is happy to host such a conference on 8-9th October, 2010 to mark the Reformer’s birth and to explore through open and honest dialogue, the message, influence and legacy of this great doctor of the Church whose legacy reached us in Ireland through his honoured place in the Irish Presbyterian tradition.
[Cecil’s comment – If you want a clear example of Jesuitical ‘double-speak’ well here you have it – ‘Doctors of the Church’ according to Jesuit John Hardon’s “Pocket Catholic Dictionary” are ‘saints (Vatican-created of course) whose writing or preaching is outstanding for guiding the [Roman Catholic] faithful in all periods of the [Roman Catholic] Church’s history’. There then follows a list of these Vatican-appointed ‘Doctors’ but in vain will you search for ‘St John Calvin of Geneva’ and from the quotes that I will share later from the writings of John Calvin you will clearly understand why this description of Calvin as a ‘great doctor of the Church’ is quite simply deliberate Jesuitical deception]
As Calvin was nearing the end of his studies at the Collège de Montaigu of the University of Paris, a new student arrived there. He was what would be termed today a ‘mature student.’ Ignatius Loyola was some 18 years older than John. An ex-soldier, he had undergone a conversion experience while recovering from wounds received at the battle of Pamplona… Calvin and Loyola were students of the Faculty of Theology at the Sorbonne… Our conference will attempt to reflect some of the important themes that were common to the thinking of both John Calvin and Ignatius Loyola. However they may have differed from one another, they were united in a common vision of total dedication to Christ… Among the speakers are some professors in Union Theological College, Belfast (Presbyterian) and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth (Roman Catholic).
An article in the Belfast Newsletter of Saturday 11 September added more ‘flesh’ to this skeleton posting on the Maynooth web site. The Newsletter article stated – ‘Co-host of the October 8-9 conference is former Presbyterian moderator, Dr Trevor Morrow who says “John Calvin remains a towering figure of influence in the church. His pursuit of Godliness is the mark of his spirituality and his commitment to the reformation of the church catholic is the evidence of his high ecclesiology. It is ironic that Ignatius Loyola, a contemporary of Calvin, was motivated by the same concerns, spirituality and catholicity. Their stance on issues however was different and at times in conflict. [Cecil’s comment- that’s always the result when it is a battle of God’s truth versus diabolical error] Nevertheless they are respected and listened to beyond the communities of which they are a part and we can learn from both’. [Cecil’s comment – As true believers we can learn from studying what Loyola embraced as ‘truth’ because God’s word tells us of how Satan tries to similarly deceive us and, through looking at what Loyola believed, the result should be that “we are not ignorant of his (Satan’s) devices” 2nd Corinthians 2:11].
The Newsletter article went on to say – ‘Former Presbyterian Moderator Dr Ken Newell, one of the conference organisers says “This conference is unique in Irish history in that leading theologians from each tradition will discuss [Cecil’s comment – not ‘debate’] with openness and integrity the issues raised by these men. It aims not simply to honour John Calvin and Ignatius Loyola [Cecil’s comment “Woe unto them who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” Isaiah 5:20] as dead figures from a remote past but to present them as fountains of living faith [Cecil’s comment – by linking Loyola with Calvin I am reminded of these words “my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” Jeremiah 2:13] that stand ready to refresh us for the challenge of living in union with the risen Christ in today’s world’ [Cecil’s comment – In the light of this suggestion that Loyola stands ready to refresh true believers I think these words of a well known hymn seem appropriate “I tried the broken cisterns Lord. But, ah! The waters failed! E’en as I stooped to drink they fled; And mocked me as I wailed”]
Back in the 1990’s when I organised debates involving Roman Catholic priests [like Patrick McCafferty and Paul Symonds] and Evangelical Christians [like Rob Zins and Bart Brewer] those that knew both me and ‘Take Heed’ Ministries knew that I was organising these debates with several aims in mind namely
1. To publicly challenge and refute Roman Catholic error with God’s truth
2. To evangelise Roman Catholics and ‘others unsaved’ who attended the debates by exposing them to the truth of God’s Word
In the same way, by looking at the ‘track-record ministry’ of some of those involved in organising this Maynooth Conference, we can gauge with a good degree of certainty what aims they have in mind namely
1. To further the cause of false ecumenism [promoting spiritual co-operation between Reformed, Biblical Christianity and the false, unscriptural ‘Christianity’ that is Roman Catholicism]
2. To blur the clear distinction between salvation truth [that Calvin articulated] and satanic error [that Loyola embraced and trusted in].
3. To create conditions where they hope to erode and erase the biblical command for God’s people to separate from [Roman Catholic] error (see 2nd Corinthians 6:17)
4. To foster the false notion that Calvin and Loyola were ‘living in union’ with the self-same ‘Christ’ and were in reality, despite some differences, ‘fellow Christians’ – not so!
In the portions of the Newsletter article that I have quoted 2 names in particular were mentioned, both former Moderators of the Presbyterian Church – Trevor Morrow and Ken Newell. Both of these men have sought over many years now to further the cause of unscriptural ecumenism particularly within the ranks of their own denomination, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. I have previously written extensively about Trevor Morrow and his ecumenical endeavours, even to the point of his twisting the scriptures.
In that article I mentioned also Ken Newell who has shared with Trevor Morrow in various ecumenical endeavours such as both of them endorsing the book “Adventures in reconciliation: 29 Catholic Testimonies” and both of them being ‘Group Participants’ in the 1988 ‘Evangelicals & Catholics Together in Ireland’ initiative. Ken Newell hosted one of the 4 ‘launch meetings’ for this initiative at his then church, Fitzroy Presbyterian where J I Packer and ‘Father’ Pat Collins unitedly sought to ‘market’ the ECT Ireland idea.
Whilst I can’t say that these men had any direct input for the promotional ‘blurb’ on the Maynooth web site advertising this conference I think it would be fair to assume that they would have no problems with the wording of it and I want to focus on one portion of that wording where it speaks of ‘Ignatius Loyola… had undergone a conversion experience’.
As a result of this ‘conversion experience’ Loyola was moved to enrol and ENTER the Roman Catholic Sorbonne University to study Theology (Roman Catholic). Clearly he fully ‘imbibed’ this RC Theology and believed it to be truth and this is reflected in the ‘Spiritual Exercises’ that he subsequently penned and which received the following glowing endorsement from the current Pope Benedict XVI as can be seen on this web site http://www.nwjesuits.org/JesuitSpirituality/SpiritualExercises.html
The Pope said –
“The Excercises are the fountain of your spirituality and the matrix of your Constitutions, but they are also a gift that the Spirit of the Lord has made to the entire Church: it is for you to continue to make it a precious and efficacious instrument for spiritual growth of souls…..”
–Benedict XVI to GC35, 21 February 2008
So, according to the present Pope, what Loyola wrote was ‘a gift that the Spirit of the Lord has made to the entire Church’. On this web site http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/seil/index.htm we read
St. Ignatius of Loyola (1419-1556) was the founder of the Jesuits, and was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. He published the Spiritual Exercises in 1548. The Exercises were intended for use during a retreat; and are a central part of the first year training of Jesuit novitiates. However, one does not have to be a Jesuit-in-training to take advantage of the Exercises: Increasingly, lay people and even non-Catholics follow this path.
Let’s look at a few excerpts from these ‘Spiritual Exercises’ which, according to the pope, are a supposed ‘gift to the entire Church’ from ‘the Spirit of the Lord’ – Loyola wrote –
Third Exercise: First Colloquy. ‘The first Colloquy to Our Lady, that she may get me grace from Her Son and Lord… And with that a HAIL MARY’ [Cecil’s comment – ‘There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus 1st Timothy 2:5]
Fifth Exercise: Additions. ‘Tenth Addition. The tenth Addition is penance… First Way. The first is as to eating… Second Way. The second, as to the manner of sleeping… Third Way. The third, to chastise the flesh, that is, giving it sensible pain, which is given by wearing haircloth or cords or iron chains next to the flesh, by scourging or wounding oneself, and by other kinds of austerity. [Cecil’s comment – whilst copying these quotes some lines from a well known hymn came to mind – “what can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus?’]
Rules to have the true sentiment in the (Roman Catholic) Church –
‘First Rule. The first: All judgment laid aside, we ought to have our mind ready and prompt to obey, in all, the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our holy Mother the Church Hierarchical…
Second Rule. The second: To praise confession to a Priest, and the reception of the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar once in the year, and much more each month, and much better from week to week…
Third Rule. The third: To praise the hearing of Mass often…
Fourth Rule. The fourth: To praise much Religious Orders, virginity and continence, and not so much marriage as any of these…
Sixth Rule. To praise relics of the Saints, giving veneration to them and praying to the Saints; and to praise Stations, pilgrimages, Indulgences, pardons, Cruzadas, and candles lighted in the churches… [Cecil’s comments – The many former Roman Catholics, now Christians, that I have been blessed over the years to meet and to work with now know, by the Spirit of God, the utter worthlessness of such pagan and vain observances]
Seventh Rule. To praise Constitutions about fasts and abstinence, as of Lent, Ember Days, Vigils, Friday and Saturday; likewise penances…
Eighth Rule. To praise the ornaments and the buildings of churches; likewise images, and to venerate them according to what they represent… [Cecil’s comment – Aaron found out in Exodus 32:3-7 & 19-28 that such misguided behaviour in ‘worship’ merits only God’s anger and judgment]
Ninth Rule. Finally, to praise all precepts of the Church, keeping the mind prompt to find reasons in their defence and in no manner against them… [Cecil’s comment – ‘The Church’ rules and not Christ!]
Thirteenth Rule. To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchical Church so decides it, believing that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Bride, there is the same Spirit which governs and directs us for the salvation of our souls. Because by the same Spirit and our Lord Who gave the ten Commandments, our holy Mother the Church is directed and governed. [Cecil’s comment – Slavish and dishonest obedience to ‘The Church’ commanded]
At this point I am ‘exercised’ to say that on this evidence Loyola was a through and through Roman Catholic who was clearly fully committed to his [RC] ‘Church’ and its ‘Christ. The aim of these ‘Exercises’ seeks to ensure that he and others who follow the ‘Exercises’ are likewise completely ‘in union’ with these at the expense of ‘union’ with the true Christ and His true Church. Moving on I want now to address the claimed ‘conversion experience’ of Loyola that subsequently caused him to enter the Sorbonne to study Roman Catholic Theology. We can learn more about it on this web site http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07639c.htm. There we read –
In 1517 a change for the better seems to have taken place; Velásquez died and Ignatius took service in the army. The turning-point of his life came in 1521. While the French were besieging the citadel of Pampeluna a cannon ball, passing between Ignatius’ legs, tore open the left calf and broke the right shin (Whit-Tuesday, 20 May, 1521). With his fall the garrison lost heart and surrendered, but he was well treated by the French and carried on a litter to Loyola, where his leg had to be rebroken and reset, and afterwards a protruding end of the bone was sawn off, and the limb, having been shortened by clumsy setting, was stretched out by weights. All these pains were undergone voluntarily, without uttering a cry or submitting to be bound. But the pain and weakness which followed were so great that the patient began to fail and sink. On the eve of Sts. Peter and Paul, however, a turn for the better took place, and he threw off his fever.
So far Ignatius had shown none but the ordinary virtues of the Spanish officer. His dangers and sufferings had doubtless done much to purge his soul, but there was no idea yet of remodelling his life on any higher ideals. Then, in order to divert the weary hours of convalescence, he asked for the romances of chivalry, his favourite reading, but there were none in the castle, and instead they brought him the lives of Christ and of the saints, and he read them in the same quasi-competitive spirit with which he read the achievements of knights and warriors. “Suppose I were to rival this saint in fasting, that one in endurance, that other in pilgrimages.” He would then wander off into thoughts of chivalry, and service to fair ladies, especially to one of high rank, whose name is unknown. Then all of a sudden, he became conscious that the after-effect of these dreams was to make him dry and dissatisfied, while the ideas of falling into rank among the saints braced and strengthened him, and left him full of joy and peace. Next it dawned on him that the former ideas were of the world, the latter God-sent; finally, worldly thoughts began to lose their hold, while heavenly ones grew clearer and dearer. One night as he lay awake, pondering these new lights, “he saw clearly”, so says his autobiography, “the image of Our Lady with the Holy Child Jesus “, at whose sight for a notable time he felt a reassuring sweetness, which eventually left him with such a loathing of his past sins, and especially for those of the flesh, that every unclean imagination seemed blotted out from his soul, and never again was there the least consent to any carnal thought. His conversion was now complete.
Is this a testimony to true (biblical) conversion? Credit for this ‘conversion’ is given to “the image of Our Lady with the Holy Child Jesus”, the sight of which impacted greatly upon Loyola but we could ask which image had the greater impact on him – that of “Our Lady” or the “Holy Child Jesus”? I would surmise that the former had the greater impact in view of the “reassuring sweetness” that he experienced. However this ‘conversion’ seems to me to be false in the light of the teaching of scripture. Back in 2006 I wrote the following concerning supposed Muslim conversions through visions and dreams
Thank you for this story but I have some BIG problems with it in the light of the teaching of God’s Word, the Bible. I believe that Hebrews 1:1-2 teaches that God no longer appears or communicates in ‘divers manners’ as in times past such as ‘dreams and visions’. I believe that conversions since apostolic times come alone through ‘preaching’ [see 1 Corinthians 1:21] combined with the regenerating work of God the Holy Spirit and this absolute NECESSITY of preaching in order for people to be saved is reinforced by Paul in Romans 10:14-15.
The experience that Loyola and many other leading figures in Roman Catholicism have had would appear to have been an occultic, demonic and mystical delusion of a type that is common in non-Christian religions like Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Hinduism Spiritualism etc. In his book ‘The Great Reformation’, R Tudur Jones wrote on page 244 ‘Loyola was no stranger to mystical experiences but he was not alone in this. The combination of mysticism and practicality was an outstanding characteristic of Teresa of Avila (1515-82). She had vivid visions of God’s love culminating in the so-called “Transverberation”, the ecstasy in which she felt an angel plunging a fiery spear into her heart and experienced the pain and joy of being transfixed by divine love’. Such mysticism is held in high esteem in Roman Catholicism and much of Mel Gibson’s promotion of Roman Catholicism in his movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ is based on scripture contradicting ‘visions’ of 2 Roman Catholic mystics – Anne Catherine Emmerich and Mary of Agreda.
Loyola of course is best known and remembered as the founder of ‘The Society of Jesus’ or ‘The Jesuits’ as they are more commonly known. Shaun Willcock of Bible Based Ministries has written a number of articles on ‘The Jesuits’ on http://www.biblebasedministries.co.uk/pamphlets/4/ In his first article ‘The Secret Army of the Papacy’ Shaun gives the following intriguing insights –
‘The Jesuit Order, which has brought so much bloodshed and suffering upon the world, originated with a man named Ignatius de Loyola, born in 1491. Loyola was a Spanish basque who became a fanatical Romanist after living a debauched life as a soldier… Loyola founded the so-called “Society of Jesus” in 1534, with a small band of friends; and in 1540, the Jesuit “Constitution” was drafted. Pope Paul III issued a bull approving (and thus officially “founding”) the Jesuits as a religious order of the Roman Catholic “Church”. But here a most important fact must be carefully noted, for it throws such light on the real nature of the Society: Loyola established the Society before it received papal approval! The little band of men who made up the Society at its inception in 1534 vowed to obey Loyola, as the General of the organisation, before they ever went to the pope! It was not Loyola’s original intention to submit his Society to the pope, but only to himself as its General. He had ambitions of his own. Only if he found it absolutely necessary, did Loyola intend to seek papal approval for his Society… This fact, so often overlooked, is tremendously significant… This means that, ever since its founding, the Society has been totally dedicated, first and foremost, not to the pope, but to the Jesuit General. The Jesuits are a law unto themselves. While outwardly acknowledging the authority of the pope of Rome, their real allegiance is to the Jesuit General. All orders come from the General; even the pope’s instructions are only passed on if the General sees fit. It is not surprising that the Jesuit General came to be known as the “black pope”… (The) book penned by Loyola, entitled “The Spiritual Exercises”… and the “Constitutions”, are used in the preparation of Jesuit recruits for their task. The “Spiritual Exercises” work on the imagination of the candidate, helped by a “director”… Obedience is absolutely vital to the Jesuit Order. Every Jesuit must be in total obedience to his superior, obeying him without question. In the Constitutions of the Order, it is repeated some 500 times that the Jesuit must see in the General, not a fallible man, but Christ himself! … In the words of Ignatius: “We must see black as white, if the Church says so.”… In the “Society of Jesus”, there is a greater authority than the pope, and a greater authority (as far as the Jesuits are concerned) than God himself – and that is the General. For what God has declared to be sin, the General can declare to be no sin. The Jesuits readily dispense with the laws of God, if it suits them. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; … It is precisely this type of abominable doctrine that has enabled the Jesuits to commit murders, depose kings, destroy governments, without any fear of divine punishment. “The end justifies the means”, is a fundamental, albeit unwritten, rule of the Jesuit Order’.
The absence of any genuine (biblical) conversion would explain why Loyola in due course entered the Sorbonne where he embraced and subsequently zealously promoted all the unscriptural teachings and practices that constitute Roman Catholicism. It would also explain how and why he founded what came to be a fanatical organisation dedicated to overthrowing all the enemies of Roman Catholicism. Ignatius Loyola was clearly “living in union with the Roman Catholic ‘Christ’” but is that ‘Christ’ the same one that John Calvin was ‘living in union with’. The promoters of this conference would have us believe that He was, but history tells quite a different story.
Much has already been made of Loyola’s ‘conversion experience’ that led him to enter the Sorbonne to study, embrace and promote Roman Catholic Theology and to eventually serve the Papacy. What of Calvin’s views of Roman Catholic Theology and the Papacy – do they comfortably compliment or completely contradict the warm embrace given to them by Loyola? What would Calvin think of no less a person than the present Pope for giving a glowing endorsement of Loyola’s ‘Spiritual Exercises’? I think the following quotes from the writings of Calvin will make very plain to all just what he thought of the Roman Catholic Theology and the Papacy so dearly loved by Loyola.
To begin with I want to cite some quotations sent to me last year by Dr Alan Clifford of Norwich Reformed Church that illustrate clearly what Calvin thought, not only of the Pope and his beliefs, but also of Mohammed and his beliefs. I am grateful to Dr Clifford for his research, so providential in the light of this Maynooth Conference –
JOHN CALVIN: QUINCENTENNIAL
QUOTES ON ROME, ISLAM, FANATICISM AND LIBERALISM
“Muhammad and the Pope have this religious principle in common, that Scripture does not contain the perfection of doctrine, but that something higher has been revealed by the Spirit.” (Calvin’s comment on John 14: 25).
“This error [of additional revelation beyond Christ] is followed by another, no less intolerable; that having said goodbye to Christ’s law, as if His reign were ended, and He now nothing at all, they substitute the Spirit in His place. From this source have flowed the sacrileges of the Papacy and Muhammadanism. For although those antichrists are dissimilar in many respects they have a common starting point: that in the Gospel we are initiated into the true faith, but that the perfection of doctrine must be sought elsewhere, to perfect us completely. If Scripture is brought against the Pope, he denies that we should keep to it, since the Spirit has also now come and has lifted us above it by many additions. Muhammad proclaims that without his Qur’an men always remain children. Thus, by a false claim to the Spirit, the world has been bewitched to leave the simple purity of Christ. For as soon as the Spirit is severed from Christ’s Word the door is open to all sorts of craziness and impostures. Many fanatics have tried a similar method of deception in our own age. The written teaching seems to them to be of the letter. Therefore they were pleased to make up a new theology consisting of revelations” (Calvin’s comment on John 16: 14).
“The Papists boast with professorial superciliousness that all their inventions are the oracles of the Spirit. Muhammad, too, asserts that he has drawn his dreams only from heaven. In olden times the Egyptians lied that the mad absurdities with which they bewitched themselves and others had been divinely revealed. But I reply that we have the Word of the Lord [the Holy Bible], which should be consulted first” (Calvin’s comment on 1 John 4: 6).
“And seeing that the Son of God is come, is it reasonable that men should put forth their own dreams and traditions, and that Jesus Christ should hold His peace? But the Popish religion tends to none other end, than to put Jesus Christ to silence. The Pope boasts himself to be His vicar. But however the case stands, he makes laws at his own pleasure: he makes new articles of faith: to be short, the [true] Gospel is but an aside, if we believe the Pope: and the traditions that he has devised are the full perfection of all …
… For behold, they have not been ashamed to say, that the things which the Popes and their councils have decreed, and all their rituals, filth and pelting trash, (which yet notwithstanding are but devilish abominations to pervert the service of God) are the things which the Apostles could not bear, when Jesus Christ said to them, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16: 12). And what things be they? O they be the high mysteries which the Pope devised about the Gospel [the mass, purgatory, etc] …
… Like as Muhammad says that his Qur’an is the sovereign wisdom: so says the Pope of his own decrees: For they be the two horns of Antichrist. Since it is so, do we not see that we cannot in anywise cleave to the Pope but by renouncing Jesus Christ. Then let us bear well in mind, that seeing it is God’s will to exalt His only Son after that fashion: surely He will have us to look unto Him, and that all doctrine be referred unto Him, and do concern Him. So we must conclude that all who will speak in the Church, must utter nothing but that which they have learned in the school of this great Schoolmaster” (From Calvin’s sermon on Deuteronomy 18: 9-15).
Turning now to Dr Ronald Cooke’s tremendous work ‘Antichrist Exposed: The Reformed and Puritan view of the Antichrist’ we read this in his section [pp 205-211] on John Calvin –
‘It is quite instructive to realise that the Reformers, although they differed quite strongly in certain areas, were one when it came to recognising Rome as the Antichrist… Because of their emphasis upon Scripture they did reject Roman Catholicism… Calvin was the greatest exegete [interpreter of a text] of the Reformation and one of the greatest of all time… His commentaries are still published today… John Calvin taught that the Papacy was the Antichrist. He never wavered from this position…
Calvin then remarks that Paul [in 2nd Thessalonians 2] is not speaking of one individual “but a kingdom that was to be seized by Satan for the purpose of setting up a seat of abomination in the midst of God’s temple”… To recognise Antichrist, Calvin says, “We must set him in diametrical opposition to Christ”. Calvin then asks what it means to be lifted up above all that is divine”, if that is not what the Pope is doing”. Paul “sets Antichrist in the very sanctuary of God. He is not an enemy from the outside but from the household of faith, and opposes Christ under the very name of Christ”… When we set another man up in the place of Christ they have a mere idol for their god…
Calvin spoke out very plainly against what he perceived to be the Antichrist at Rome… He observed that “to some we seem slanderers and railers when we call the Roman Pontiff ‘Antichrist’. Those who think so do not realise they are accusing Paul of intemperate language, after whom we speak”… Calvin then proceeds to show that the wicked behaviour and heretical teachings of the popes stand in stark contrast to their claims… The complete moral abandonment of the popes, Calvin says, makes them unfit to rule the Church. “To bind Christ, the Spirit and the Church to a place, so that whoever may rule there, even if he be a devil, is still considered the vicar of Christ and head of the Church… is extremely absurd and alien to common sense”… Today we hear modern ‘Calvinists’ who talk much about the ‘Reformed’ faith but many have either little heart for the battle that was waged against Rome so that such a ‘faith’ could be handed down to them… such people are a disgrace to the Reformed faith – a faith that many of the Reformers risked their lives for.
It never ceases to amaze me how men want to call themselves Presbyterians, while at the same time distancing themselves from Calvin’s polemics. Surely even a half-wit knows that such men could never have had the ministry they did have without the polemics of John Calvin. They would all still be meeting at the local Roman Catholic Mass-House had it not been for the battle Calvin waged against idolatry and Antichrist… [Cecil’s comment – perhaps those Presbyterians who took part in this conference would care to take particular note of this last paragraph]
One of Calvin’s main arguments against Rome was based on the idea of worship… He did not see as trivial the introduction of images and idols into the Church but viewed such man-made inventions as the very essence of Antichrist… To John Calvin one thing was absolutely clear, the kingdom of Antichrist was present in the rule and dominion of the Papacy. He saw that Antichrist not only adumbrated [outlined] a person but also prefigured a system of kingdom… He saw Antichrist in a battle with Christ… by replacing Christ’s [kingdom] and by repudiating the headship of Christ in the Church… Calvin believed that the “breath of his mouth”… the preaching of the Word would be the ruin of Antichrist’
The ‘conversion experience’ of Ignatius Loyola caused him as I wrote earlier ‘to enter the Sorbonne to study, embrace and promote Roman Catholic Theology and to eventually serve the Papacy’. The ‘conversion experience’ of John Calvin took him on an entirely different and opposing path as we learn in ‘The Great Reformation’ when R Tudur Jones wrote this about Calvin on pages 125-126 – ‘Even more significant for the future of Christendom was his evangelical conversion. It is typical of his reticence about his personal life that he left no details of date and circumstance. But in the preface to his Commentary on the Psalms (1557) he says that his father had decided that he should study law rather than theology, then he goes on, “And so it happened that I was called away from the study of philosophy and set to learning law. Although, in obedience to my father’s wishes, I tried my best to work hard, yet God at last turned my course in another direction by the secret restraint of his providence. What happened first was that by a sudden conversion he tamed to teachableness a mind too stubborn for its years – for I was strongly devoted to the superstitions of the papacy that nothing less could draw me from such depths of mire”.
In the light of all the foregoing we can only come to one clear conclusion. The spirit behind the ‘conversion experience’ of Ignatius Loyola led him deeply and devotedly into the soul- damning ‘mire’ of unscriptural Roman Catholic beliefs and devotion to the Papal Antichrist. The spirit behind the ‘conversion experience’ of John Calvin dragged him soul-savingly out of such ‘mire’ and “set his feet upon a rock and established his goings. And he put a new song in his mouth even praise unto our God” [Psalm 40:2-3].
This conference that sought supremely to further the cause of unscriptural ecumenism by fostering the diabolical notion that Calvin and Loyola were ‘living in union’ with the self-same ‘Christ’ and were in reality, despite some differences, ‘fellow Christians’ is an insult to the memory and legacy of John Calvin. It is a trophy of modern-day ‘Jesuitry’ that still seeks to counter all that God did in and through the Reformation and in the likes of Ken Newell and Trevor Morrow the Jesuits certainly have willing dupes in their crusade.
Above all else, the person and work of the true Lord Jesus Christ, whom John Calvin knew and served, is brought into disrepute by this ‘unholy alliance’ and for that, all concerned, will one day give account. I’ll leave the last word in this section to John Calvin himself when he wrote as follows in ‘The Institutes of Christian Religion’ [pp 241-242]
‘Comparison of the false Church with the true… If the true Church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1st Timothy 3:15) there can be no Church where lying and deception have taken over. Since they have taken over under the papacy, we must understand its effect on the Church there. Instead of the ministry of the Word, a corrupt government exists, concocted from lies, which partly exclude God’s pure light. In place of the Lord’s Supper there is awful sacrilege and the worship of God is distorted by a mass of intolerable superstitions. Doctrine, without which Christianity cannot exist, is buried and exploded; public services are hotbeds of idolatry and profanity. Obviously when we refuse to take part in such wrong things we run no risk of being cut off from the Church of Christ. Membership of the Church was not meant to be a chain to keep us in idolatry, sacrilege, ignorance of God and other evils [Cecil – as in the case of Loyola] , but rather to keep us in the fear of God and obedience of the truth [Cecil – as in the case of Calvin]… I must point out how empty these (Papal) claims are so that good men and lovers of truth may not be caught up in them’
This tactic of what amounts to an ecumenical reinterpretation and misapplication of history is not new to Ireland. The ploy of linking together people who, in matters of theology were diametrically opposed to each other [Evangelical v Roman Catholic], and floating the notion that despite their differences they were really ‘brothers in Christ’, has been used before. For Methodists 1987 was a special year of celebration for it marked the 250th anniversary of the conversion of JOHN WESLEY. In Belfast plans were made to organise a special conference [Cecil – sound familiar?] to remember this gracious work of God in the life of the founder of Methodism. However the planned conference attracted much criticism and led to much controversy. Why all the fuss? ‘In their wisdom’ the conference organisers decided to hold a joint celebration with certain Roman Catholics [Cecil – sound familiar?] who were planning to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians who ever lived, ALPHONSUS De LIGUORI. Interviewed on radio a well-known Northern Ireland politician and cleric stated how Liguori was known as “Liguori the filthy” and informed listeners that some of Liguori’s teachings were so vile that the Roman Catholic Church would not translate them from the original language in which they were written. In Dr Ronald Cooke’s ‘Antichrist Exposed: The Reformed and Puritan view of the Antichrist’ we read the following in his section [pp 398-400] on John Wesley –
‘There is a deliberate attempt by ecumenical scholars to rewrite history… The Methodist Church in England and Ireland recently commemorated certain anniversaries linking John Wesley with “Saint” Alphonsus Liguori the filthy. This was a despicable attempt to link John Wesley with Romanism… To try to maintain that Wesley was pro-Romanist… borders on nonsense… one only has to read the works  of Wesley himself to see what he thought of Rome… John Wesley blasted Romanism in no uncertain terms from time to time [Cecil – as did John Calvin] … Wesley was not against individual Roman Catholics and sought to lead them to Christ, which he did on several occasions, but he was clear in his stand against Romanism as a religion… Perhaps the best statements came in an answer to an article written by a Romanist blasting Methodists in particular and Protestants in general for not belonging to the true church and being only modern sects – (Wesley wrote) “This (Methodist) church has a succession of pastors and teachers, divinely appointed and divinely assisted… A work none can do unless God Himself doth appoint them thereto and assist them therein… On the contrary the Church of Rome in its present form was not founded by Christ Himself. All the doctrines and practices wherein she differs from us were not instituted by Christ – they are unscriptural novel corruptions… neither is it holy… the generality of its members are no holier than Turks (Muslims) or heathens…. Nor is it secured against error either by Christ or His spirit; witness Pope against Pope, Council against Council, contradicting, anathematising each other. The instances are too numerous to be recited”…John Wesley in his commentary on the Apocalypse mentions the Papacy over and over again in connection with Antichrist… The fact remains that Wesley identified the Papacy with the antichrist… Modern scholars work hard to make Wesley into a modern ecumenist, but his writings which are clear and extant demonstrate otherwise’.
When it comes to the tactics and ploys of modern-day ecumenists seeking to besmirch the name and theology of past ‘giants’ of Rome-resisting Reformation Christianity, truly “there is no new thing under the sun” [Ecclesiastes 1:9]. May the Lord help us to uphold the ‘gospel standard’ that they raised, in their day, against Rome and her Antichrist.