It seems an opportune moment to repost this post on False Prophets from last year.
An Anglican Bishop J. C. Ryle, once said;
The world, the devil, and the flesh are not the only dangers in the way of the Christian; there is still another one, and that is the ‘false prophet’—the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Happy is he who prays over his Bible and knows the difference between truth and error in religion! There is a difference, and we are meant to know it, and to use our knowledge. (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/ryle/matthew.viii.ii.html)
Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy,[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Lk 13: 24; Mt 7: 13). He also said, “Beware of false prophets, who come in sheep’s clothing but are inwardly ravenous wolves.” (Mt 7: 18). False prophets, how do we know who they are? I would suggest that a false prophet is one who steers away from the Cross, and who does not preach, or teach, on repentance. Instead, the false prophet talks about love, acceptance, inclusion, be open, being available, being non-judgemental, and being open to experience.
A false prophet will tell you that all you have to do is ‘decide for Christ’ Just come along, be one of the crowd, we will baptise you, we will make you a Christian, you do not have to change, He loves you as you are, be happy, be joyful. It is all very nice; the false prophets do not want to upset anyone; that would not be nice. There is no effort in the ‘gate is wide and the way easy’ type of Christianity, because there is no need of repentance.
To have knowledge of repentance, one needs an acknowledgement of sin. To have knowledge of sin, one must first have knowledge of the Holiness of God. To have knowledge of the Holiness of God one needs to be aware of what Christ has done for us, in taking on our sins, becoming the Sacrifice. Only His Sacrifice, being both God, and man, which is infinite and Holy, can be offered for our sins, to a God Who is infinite and Holy.
It is love “to the end “446 that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life.447 Now “the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.”448 No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p122a4p2.htm)
We are then left with two opposing views.
Firstly, that God is Love, and does not require change and repentance, and that He will accept people as they are. All happy, all nice.
Some people in the Church, talk about this way, ‘the wide way’. and easier way, one that conforms to the world. They talk of Christ, His Love, His acceptance, and they are willing to demonstrate this by how welcoming they re, by loving, by ‘not judging’, by inclusivity – but that is the wide way, the way of the false prophets; “Oh, we cannot use the word sin, that may be hurtful. We must be open to change, we are growing up, science is evolving, and we need to grow with the times. It is all about love, we need not talk of sin, repentance, conversion – God is a forgiving God He knows we mean well.
Or. Secondly, that God is Love, and that He asks us to be Holy because He is Holy, that requires change on our part, it requires an acknowledgement that there is such a thing as sin, and that we sin, and therefore, we exclude God. The second way asks us to repent, renounce those things that separate us from the love of God, and to renounce evil.
What need is there for the Cross, if Christ did not save us from our sins? What need for the Resurrection if Christ did not have to die for our Atonement? I know that sin is real, I have sinned, I know that forgiveness is real, because Jesus has forgiven me, I know that the ‘Narrow way” is the only way to heaven, because Jesus said so.
Beware of those who will lead you astray from the Gospel. Test everything you hear. Is what you hear consistent with the Word of God? Is it, and has it been, part of the teaching of the Church? By this I mean, is it part of the Magesterium, as codified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Is it coherent with Scripture, Tradition, and reason? If so, then be thankful, but if not, beware, and pray for the soul of that person who said it. That way leads to eternal damnation.
Two verses of “the Old Rugged Cross” come to mind:
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.