Thursday, December 31, 2015

an Appeal to the Messianic Community about Catholic Evangelism

So as many of you have heard at this point, the Vatican has come out against Jewish evangelism. At least organized Jewish evangelism, while giving vague language regarding individuals sharing the gospel. This shouldn't be a surprise. Today's Roman Catholic Church is not the Roman Catholic Church of 1950, let alone the Roman Catholic Church of 1050. Since Vatican II, Rome has held to an increasingly inclusivist position.

I wanted to write this short post as a former Roman Catholic who has spent years involved in Jewish evangelism with many close friends in the Messianic Jewish community. I'm fairly certain most of my brothers and sisters in the Messianic Jewish world will view it through the lense of their own concerns for Jewish evangelism. I understand that completely and understand that the largest Christian body repudiating giving the gospel to Jews does not send them a good message.

Let me plead with all my Jewish and Gentile friends involved in Jewish missions, Messianic congregations, and evangelism in general. Let this be a reminder to evangelize Roman Catholics.

The Roman Catholic Church in the Council of Trent condemned the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone. This is a fatal error. While there are Roman Catholics who ignore this teaching, those who hold this teaching do not hold to the gospel.

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Galatians 3:10
You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:4
Those who rely on works for a declaration of righteousness before God are under a curse because our works (anyone's works) cannot measure up to the standard of God's righteousness.

This is why Rome's teaching is wrong and endangers the souls of its followers.

So as we are concerned about getting the gospel to the Jews, let's remember that the gospel is for Gentiles as well. And in America, especially around me, the largest group we need to reach with the gospel are Roman Catholics.

The papacy is allegedly the successor to Peter, who was the apostle to the circumcision. (Galatians 2:8) This irony should not be lost on us.

The apostle Paul also warned the churches at Rome regarding unbelief and arrogance towards the Jews:
Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. Romans 11:19-23
So let us not be proud, but fear.

Jews need the gospel; Catholics need the gospel; I need the gospel.