Sunday, December 13, 2009

FAR FROM ROME . . NEAR TO GOD by Richard Bennett & Martin Buckingham

This book contains the moving testimonies of fifty priests who found their way by the grace of God out of the labyrinth of Roman Catholic theology and practice into the light of the gospel of Christ.

From the back cover:

This is not a narrowly polemical work, nor is its relevance limited to the ongoing controversy between Rome and the churches of the Reformation. The love and concern felt by the former priests for those they left behind, and their fervent desire that they too should experience the joy and peace of salvation in Christ are seen throughout. The wider relevance of the experiences described will also be felt in many contexts remote from Roman Catholicism where human pride and presumption have erected rival sources of authority between people and the Word of God, so obscuring the way of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone.

Richard Bennett is the Director of Berean Beacon, based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Martin Buckingham is the Director of The Converted Catholic Mission in Leicester, UK.


Reviews commending this book from

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book if you want to really get an unbiased view of the RCC, March 14, 2008

By MacLover (Missouri)

This book is probally the best I have yet to read regarding the RCC. I was looking for something that my brother would be able to read that was too loaded with all the technical RCC doctrines. This gives testimony's of priests who studied and studied and still did not find salvation. The more they seeked God, the more they turned away from the RCC and to the one and only Saviour Jesus Christ. The testimonies also provide scriptures which is wonderful. This is the perfect book to give a Catholic person in search for the truth. I have not given it to my brother yet because I can't put it down! What a great book. It really helps me because I was born and raised Catholic and it confirms that when you are far from Rome you are surely nearer to God.

5.0 out of 5 stars Protestant/Catholic Household, August 18, 2006

By Irish Girl "christ like" (jackson co. west virginia)

This is a great book and I recomend it to both Protestant and Catholic alike.It is a book for the open minded only!!!I am sorry to say that I havent run into to many open minded when it comes to religon.This book gives you a good look at the brainwashing involved in not just Catholics but any religion that requires its people to study church doctorine only and not the Bible itself.Out of each story in this book not one of these men came to know God until they picked up and read a Bible.That is amazing to me!!!!

4.0 out of 5 stars A good testimony of those that left the organization., May 23, 1998

By Lee Jensen "riolion" (Rio Rancho, New Mexico USA)


Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Far from Rome Near to God: (Paperback)

This book contains a small sample of testimonies of people that felt the need to know their Creator but did not find it within the church with its elaborate rituals, dogmatic belief system, and authoritative hierarchial power structure. I read that nearly all of the priests that left either were directed by a small voice within themselves as they carried out their assigned duties or were drawn away from it after reading the Bible which they found to conflict with the unique doctrines of the Roman Church. The book points out the failure of the Roman Church in teaching their leaders the Scripture who are to feed the flock. It is a book that also make one sad in that the spiritual needs of people are not met or the feed that they receive is not at adequate for ones daily spiritual life. As in all critiques, one can gain an understanding of the beliefs of the Roman Church by examining the views of those that left. This book is indeed adequate for that.

4.0 out of 5 stars Far From Rome Near to God, March 23, 2006

By Arnold Urbonas "Bible connoisseur" (Edmonton, AB Canada)


I am enjoying this book very much. This book provides a condensed version of life stories of former priests. Although I was never a priest, I did find that I could identify with many stories, having personally undergone a similiar spiritual transformation.

I am particularly moved by the courage and risk that these men took after studying for the priesthood for 10+ years, and found no other alternative than to leave all that they had come to know. They didn't know what they would do for a living, but God provided for them.

These men didn't just decide to leave the Roman church, but after honest soul searching were convicted even after growing up in the Roman church. But each and every testimony had this in common- these priests encountered True faith from witnesses who were not afraid to speak the Truth.

4.0 out of 5 stars Unless One Is Born Again, November 9, 2004

By CHRIS TAN (Langley, British Columbia Canada)

An excellent testimony and revelation of men (actually, ex-catholic priests) being regenerated by the Holy Spirit to see the Truth. And the Truth have set them free. Jesus said in John 3:3, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." And Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Only two things stands out from this book, believing in salvation by grace (only God converts) or believing in salvation by works (that man has the ability to convert themself). In the words of Jesus Christ, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound!, April 11, 2002

By A Customer

This review is from: Far from Rome Near to God: (Paperback)

Though this is a book with 50 testimonies from former priests, it should be viewed as one testimony to God's grace in calling forth his people, even when the odds are against it. I was struck by the extent to which God's Word cut like a sword into the hearts of these men, and awakened them to God's truth and away from the "magisterium" of man-made and erroneous Catholic doctrines. The book is also interesting for the varied perspectives offered by former priests from several orders (Jesuits, Franciscans, Carmelites, etc.), and from all around the world (North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia). One of the saddest testimonies, which would sum up much of Roman Catholic life, was the description of monastic life, and how earnestly deceived men sought to earn holiness and salvation through their futile acts of self-denial, self-flagellation and other acts of humiliation. Also, the testimonies touch briefly on several problematic areas of Catholic teaching that each priest had to accept were sinful, such as teachings on the worship ("veneration" in Catholic doublespeak) of Mary, idolatry, transubstantiation, the re-sacrifice of Christ in the Mass, and other serious errors. Lastly, I would counsel wisdom before this book is shared with Catholics because some of the testimonies are harsh in their criticism of the Roman church's teachings and bishops. Read this prayerfully before you give away, and consider how your Catholic friends and family would react....

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For All Roman Catholics!!!, January 4, 2002

By Pastor Roger "Roger R." (Chicago, USA)

This review is from: Far from Rome Near to God: (Paperback)

I'm a former Roman Catholic. I got this book as a recent Christmas gift from a friend. I must admit, the evidence in this book is very compelling. If you're a Catholic struggling with your faith, you need to read this book. Or if you're thinking about becoming a Catholic, you need to read this book. God is found in the Bible and in its teachings. I must warn you-you'll find a lot of differences between the Catholic Church and the Bible if you read this book. As you read it, I'd suggest keeping a Bible close by. You'll find that all of the information these former priests give is 100% accurate. Excellent book!!!

4.0 out of 5 stars Far from Rome Near to God, July 22, 2001

By Rev. Ray Dubuque (East Haven, Conn. - USA)

This review is from: Far from Rome Near to God: (Paperback)

As one of the 100,000 priests who saw the light, I could have been featured as one of its contributors. When I saw the Roman Catholic Church do a U-turn and start undoing the 2nd Vatican Council's reforms that had been 3 centuries or more in coming, I joined the reformation and was welcomed into the ministry of the United Methodist Church.

But more important than my story is the teaching of JESUS that is too often neglected by BOTH the Catholic (as well as the Orthodox) and Protestant traditions, which I highlight at my extensive web site "Liberals Like Christ"....

5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Will Set You Free, July 9, 2001

By A Customer

This book puts a human face on the number of those who eventually had to leave the Roman Church priesthood because they could no longer reconcile their changing beliefs with those that they were required to practice...and it does this via fifty testimonies of the over 100,000 men who have left the Roman Catholic priesthood since 1970

As these priest tell their stories, we are educated in a number of ways.

One, we learn a great deal about Roman Catholic Church theology, including the Mass, confession, justification, etc.

Two, we are provided fascinating insights into the various trainings, practices, duties and obligations of priestly and monastic orders. Some of these practices seem barbaric by our contemporary sense of spiritual awareness. It is appalling, for instance, to think we have Roman Catholic orders of monks who still practice medieval, physical forms of cruelty upon themselves (like flagellation) and their fellows (blows to the face) in an attempt to be right with and pleasing to God.

Since the spiritual journeys of these priests are internationally and ethnically diversified, we are also educated in terms of the Roman Catholic Church's role in various countries and cultures. In some countries, it is apparent that the RCC has a power that is every bit as dominant politically as it is religiously.

Many of these priests feared for their personal safety as well as their future careers when they entertained notions of leaving the priesthood, because of the Roman Church's vindictive representatives in government, in the police forces and in the business community. Some of these priests, after having left the priesthood, were forced to leave their countries to find hospitable refuge elsewhere. Evidently, in some parts of the world, leaving the priesthood is not like quitting a job.

For these reasons, and the fact that many faced the potential of a cultural stigma as well as intense disappointment of friends and family, we learn that leaving the priesthood required a good amount of courage. The fact that all the ex-priests in this book left because of a crisis of conscience or belief, as opposed to yearnings for worldly or physical desires, make their stories even more compelling and credible.

We also learn the extent to which the Roman Catholic Church, despite calling Protestants "brothers," in actual practice in various locales considers Protestantism its number one enemy. Many of these testimonial conversions are remarkable considering the fact that the priests relating them were raised and educated to hate Protestants. Many actually were led to believe that Protestant Bibles were radically different than Catholic Bibles. Protestant literature, in one man's story, was kept in a forbidden, locked closet in a church library.

When reading this book, anyone who considers himself a serious Christian will be shocked by how little the theological training of Roman Catholic priests involves the study of scripture. One man testifies in this book that in thirteen years of training to be a priest, he had twelve hours of studying the Bible. Another stated that he was not allowed to even read a Bible until after he had turned 21, despite the fact that he had been trained to be a priest since he was a ten. One is left with the impression that since so many Roman Catholic Church dogmas (like the sacrifice of the Mass, the Marian dogmas, confession, transubstantiation, purgatory, the priesthood itself) have questionable or no scriptural basis, the Roman Catholic Church prefers to train its future priests with literature on what they say about the Bible, rather than risk having seminarians question Church teaching by reading the Bible itself.

Despite this effort, the constant thread throughout many of the narratives is how God brought the truth to anguished, confused, and troubled souls in spite of Roman Catholic "brainwashing" as one ex-priest phrases it. Many times the seed of God's truth was sown as priests were required to perform actions that in their hearts they knew only God was capable of, such as absolution. Many more times conversion occurred as a result of studying the Word of God and learning that the Gospel message of God's love and forgiveness, and Christ's one time perfect sacrifice blatantly contradicts the Roman Catholic view.

We cannot simply dismiss the conversions of these brave and intelligent men as being a result of ignorance. In some cases, these men experienced decades of training and learning in Roman Catholic teaching. An objective reader, regardless of denominational affilliation, must conclude that there is something wrong with a Christian church that shields not only its laity, but its clergy from the Bible...but when one sees how a thorough grounding in the Word of God can lead to exodus from that church, we can at least understand why.

A quick read: informative and surprisingly entertaining as well.

5.0 out of 5 stars Putting God's Thinking Above Our Own, April 21, 2000

By Rande C. Snyder (San Antonio, TX)

This review is from: Far from Rome Near to God: (Paperback)

Unfortunately, most major denominations are based on what some person, or committee, thinks of some passage or passages of Scripture, and not what God intended at all. The Catholic Church is just one of many in a long list. While being raised in Catholicism, many times I was taught that a thing was okay as long as I thought it was, and didn't feel bad about it. That's NOT how it works! First you have to read the Bible and get real familiar with what He thinks and adjust your thinking to His -- not the other way around! This is the truth that these ex-priests have found. We cannot do it our own way, or any man's way, and expect to get to Heaven. Sorry, but He says so -- it's His Word, and His thinking, not my own. It is a miracle that these men found their way out of the labyrinth of religion, and into the light of His infallible truth.

4.0 out of 5 stars Common threads in troubled priests - fascinating, January 11, 2000

By J. Long (Raleigh, NC USA)


This review is from: Far from Rome Near to God: (Paperback)

I have always had a fascination for why people believe the way they do. I could not put this book down. It is interesting that all of the priests kept thinking that the next event (entering seminary, becoming a priest, saying the first Mass, becoming a missionary, etc.) would provide them with peace with God. Yet, at each turn, they found no answers to their questions, no peace. Each of them stumbled across the Bible under differing circumstances, but had trouble justifying Catholic dogmas with what they read in the Bible. Most of them had to sacrifice everything in order to leave the priesthood. Some testimonies were very insightful, others repetitious, but all provided me with an insight into the difficulties many priests must be faced with. Anyone opposed to Catholicism should first read this book to gain a greater sense of compassion for the person on the other side. The author should focus on organization of the testimonies (perhaps chronilogically), add dates where missing, and add transitions where it seems to jump.

With Christian love,

June & Ralph Nadolny, two witnesses for Christ

Sinners by birth (Ps. 51:5); Roman Catholics by tradition; converted to Christ by His grace (Eph. 2:1-9); made "new creatures in Christ" (II Cor. 5:17) by virtue of the "new birth" (John 3:3-8) to the praise & glory of God's grace (Eph. 1:3-14)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"For I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ . . ." Rom. 1:16

"With deep love for Catholic people, Peter Slomski in this DVD explains his own coming to personal faith in Jesus Christ. Peter is from a Polish Catholic family and photos from his Catholic youth give clarification to his touching testimony to the Lord’s love and grace."
- Richard Bennett

This video is "embedded" here with permission from Richard Bennett, Christian Apologist & former Catholic priest. Additional Christian commentary, testimony & videos by Richard Bennett and others can be accessed at his website

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Massive Scale of Child Abuse by Priests in Ireland

Excerpt: "Millions of Roman Catholics have left their “Church” in disgust. And for the true Christian, it must always be remembered that even if millions of Roman Catholics ultimately rejected their religion, this is not the same as conversion to Christ!

Their Romish priests may have abused them, but the Lord Jesus Christ is the one true great High Priest (Heb. 3:1), who is holy, harmless, and undefiled (Heb. 7:26). The priests of Rome claim to possess the power to forgive sin, but only Christ truly has such power. Neither priests of Rome, nor psychological “counselling”, can help them; but if they come to Christ the Lord, He will save them to the uttermost! Here is good news indeed, the very best of news, glad tidings of a true Saviour and Friend!"

Shaun Willcock, Gospel Minister & Christian Apologist

**********August 22nd, 2009

A massive, 2600-page report on child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Ireland was published in May 2009 by an independent commission, the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, after listening to evidence from victims given over a nine-year period. The commission was established by the Irish government in 2000 to hear evidence from people, now in their 50s to 80s, alleged to have suffered abuse at institutions since 1940. These institutions, which were funded by the state but usually run by Roman Catholic religious orders, included schools, orphanages, hospitals, children’s homes, and other facilities.

The report (known as the Ryan Report) stated that physical and sexual abuse, including rape, was endemic in government institutions for boys that were run by Roman Catholic religious orders, chiefly by the order known as the “Christian Brothers”, between 1940 and the late 1970s. Literally thousands of boys were abused during this period. It said: “A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys.” Children lived in daily terror. And although girls supervised by orders of nuns, chiefly the order known as the “Sisters of Mercy”, suffered much less sexual abuse (although it certainly did occur), they suffered frequent assaults and humiliation designed to make them feel worthless. “In some schools,” the report stated, “a high level of ritualized beating was routine…. Girls were struck with implements designed to maximize pain and were struck on all parts of the body. Personal and family denigration was widespread.” Witnesses not only described being hit and beaten, but being flogged, kicked and otherwise physically assaulted, scalded, burned, and held under water. They described being beaten in private, as well as in front of other staff, residents, patients and pupils. One man described everyday humiliations he had suffered as a boy in “Christian Brothers” institutions, such as being forced to wrap his urine-stained sheets around his neck and parade in front of other children when he had wet his bed.i

Proper spanking, of course, has been used since the beginning of the world and is a very biblical form of chastisement (Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13,14; 29:15); and unfortunately in today’s world, psychologists and others have convinced many that any form of corporal punishment is wrong, which is nonsense. But flogging, kicking, scalding, burning, and being held under water! Such things are methods of torture. The report said the overwhelming, consistent testimony from the victims had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children like prison inmates and slaves. It stated: “It was systemic and not the result of individual breaches by persons who operated outside lawful and acceptable boundaries.”

It also said that sexual abuse was reported by approximately half of all those who testified before a confidential committee of the commission. And sexual abusers were often repeat offenders. Furthermore, it was clear from the documented cases that monks and priests were aware of the propensity for abusers to continue to abuse – despite the religious orders’ claims that the recidivist nature of sexual offenders was not understood. The report uncovered previously secret Vatican records which showed that “Church” leaders knew of the child sex abusers in their ranks, going as far back as the 1930s. And not only did “Church” officials do nothing about it, but they deliberately and knowingly shielded such sex abusers from arrest! They simply shunted the offenders off to new parishes or locations where they continued the abuse.

The Ryan Report is full of horrifying detail. But it does not name the abusers. The leaders of the religious orders, despite claiming to have co-operated fully with the investigation, were adamant that the identities of the perpetrators be kept out of the report – and they indicated that they would continue to protect their identities even now. The “Christian Brothers” order claimed to have co-operated fully with the investigation, and yet in 2004 it successfully sued the commission to keep the identities of all its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report.ii Partly for this reason the report will not be used for criminal prosecutions. This was very disappointing to the victims of the abuse, who strongly believed that the guilty should have been named and shamed. As one of the victims, John Walsh of Irish Survivors of Child Abuse, said, “It has devastated me and will devastate most victims because there are no criminal proceedings and no accountability whatsoever.”iii

Officials of the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland claimed to welcome the report, and to express sorrow about the incidents it documented. And yet, as always, the sincerity of these high-ranking ecclesiastical officials is to be seriously doubted, especially when the president of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Sean Brady, the Romish cardinal of Armagh, Northern Ireland, said that “the report throws light on a dark period of the past”.iv The past? What a lie! This is not a dark period of the past, it is still going on right now! Thus, even while professing sorrow over these shocking crimes, he chooses his words carefully so as to give the impression that it’s all over now, it’s in the past, it isn’t happening anymore, and it won’t happen again. He hereby continues to do his best to cover up the truth, and push it all into some “dark period of the past”.

A.W. Richard Sipe is an ex-Benedictine monk and priest, who is involved in full-time research into the sexual and celibate practices of the priests and bishops of Rome. Not a Christian and moreover sadly a psychotherapist, so that he sees the problem and the solution in terms of the unbiblical muddy waters of psychotherapy, which can never help anyone, Sipe nevertheless has ripped the veil off much of the goings-on of priests, caused by the doctrine of priestly celibacy. Commenting on the claim that these sins had been committed only “in the past”, he wrote (italics added): “Apologies from the hierarchy continue to be offered as if the problem of sex abuse is ‘now behind them.’ News Flash! The problem of sex by Catholic clergy and religious is very much alive and well within the clerical system. Sexual distortion… is endemic to the clerical culture….Most are not actually interested in understanding or practicing celibacy…. The system of authoritarian ecclesiastical control fosters and protects secret sexual expression – homosexuality and a double life. The power structure colludes to cover up the facts about clergy sexual activity. Sexual failings by bishops and priests are relegated to the confessional wastebasket where all is forgiven and forgotten…” He went on: “The problem is over? Is there anyone who thinks that Irish and American bishops and priests have lost their sexual drive – or their orientation, or their habits and relationships? In what ways has the clerical system of education or culture changed?”v As a psychotherapist and not a Christian, Sipe speaks of “sexual orientation”, and this of course is nonsense; but nevertheless he is absolutely correct in stating categorically that the abuse of children continues. It is most certainly not “in the past”. These men have not suddenly all undergone a moral change. They are evil men, with evil desires.

Getting back to the Romish cardinal, Brady: commenting on the report, he said moreover: “The publication of this comprehensive report and analysis is a welcome and important step in establishing the truth, giving justice to victims and ensuring such abuse does not happen again.” Another lie, for the Romish hierarchy certainly does not welcome this report or any other into these crimes. For centuries these things have been going on, and yet they have always been hushed up by the Roman Catholic leadership. The priests, bishops and cardinals of Rome have done their utmost to prevent the truth from ever being known. The only reason they now say such a report is “welcome” is because they have no choice, it has come to light and been exposed and there is nothing they can do about it, so they have to go into damage-control mode and try to make the best of a terrible situation. If it was up to them, they would never, ever have either issued such a report, nor done any investigation in the first place. It is as Jesus said: these men “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (Jn. 3:19,20).

Brady said, “This report makes it clear that great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. It documents a shameful catalogue of cruelty – neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse – perpetrated against children.” And: “I am profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways in these institutions. Children deserved better, and especially from those caring for them in the name of Jesus Christ.” It all sounds good, and contrite – but it’s all a sham. For years now, it has been solidly documented all over the world that Roman Catholic bishops and cardinals knew about the abuse going on right under their noses – and did nothing. They simply shunted the guilty priest off to another parish where he could continue to abuse children; they turned a blind eye. And this is what Rome has always done, when its priests have been caught out in any crime, as ex-priest Charles Chiniquy shows in his classic work, 50 Years in the “Church” of

That the hierarchy deliberately shielded these predator priests was even admitted in an editorial of the Roman Catholic southern African weekly, The Southern Cross, which said (italics added): “The culpability, however, does not reside only with those who committed these abuses… but also with those who could have taken action to prevent these, but failed to do so. Witnesses before the commission testified that they were intimidated and silenced when they sought to bring these abuses to the attention of Church leaders. This suggests very strongly that the cover-up went to the top of the Irish Church, to superiors and bishops.” vii Of course it did, as indeed it did all over the world, not just in Ireland. This has ever been Rome’s way. Perhaps the fact that this particular editor, although a Papist, is not a priest, made him more forthright than many. He added that the betrayal was “in the interest of an institution that clearly was inebriated with the hubris of its unchallenged power.” Strong words from a Roman Catholic editor, and true ones as well. Yet this man remains a Roman Catholic all the same.

Brady also said that the Papal institution “remains determined to do all that is necessary to make the Church a safe, life-giving and joyful place for children.” The “Church” of Rome has never been safe for children, as history testifies. Its priests have abused children, and its abominable confessional has been the means of corrupting youth through the centuries.viii

Another high-ranking Irish ecclesiastic, the Romish archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said that the victims’ “stories of horrible abuse are, in many cases, stomach-turning; their courage in telling their stories [is] admirable.”ix Hollow words, once again. This is a religious system that has condoned this kind of abuse for much of its history. By the time a man reaches the position of archbishop, if he has not personally been involved in such abuse himself he is well aware of the fact that a great many priests, bishops, archbishops and others have been. But it only becomes “stomach-turning” once it is made public.

He went on to say that all “Church” organisations involved in the report should seriously examine “how their ideals became debased by systematic abuse.” The answer is as plain as can be, but sadly these organisations will not admit to it. This is a religious system which forbids its priests, monks and nuns from marrying, which is called a doctrine of devils in 1 Tim. 4:1-3. It is a system that, by its very nature, encourages a huge percentage of sodomites to enter the priesthood, for priests, not allowed to marry, spend large amounts of time in very intimate all-male company, and then through the confessionals are given access to young children in a secretive, private setting. It is a system which is so concerned with appearing outwardly holy to the world, that it covers up any scandals emanating from its priesthood, pushing them under the carpet and glossing them over. It is a system of diabolical evil.

He then said: “We must find ways of ensuring that the cries and anxieties of children are heard and listened to. This is not a report to be put on a shelf – it’s a real cry for a new look at the way we care for our children. If we truly regret what happened in the past, we must commit ourselves to a very different future.” The cries and anxieties of Roman Catholic children stem from the fact that they are forced into intimate, private proximity with sodomite priests who can get away with almost anything because of the high regard in which the children’ parents hold priests of Rome. And as for not putting this report on a shelf, when the dust settles down (if it settles down) that is precisely where most predator priests will put it. This Romish archbishop can prattle on about regretting the past and committing to a different future, but in practical terms, what will actually change? Nothing. The system is an abomination, and that is not changing.

Both Brady and Martin met with the Roman pope, Benedict XVI, for 45 minutes to brief him on the findings of the commission; this after a series of meetings to discuss the report with Vatican officials, including cardinals. And they claimed that Benedict was “visibly upset” to hear of the abuse suffered by the thousands of Irish children in the care of religious orders. Martin said Benedict was saddened to hear “how the children had suffered from the very opposite of an expression of the love of God”, while Brady said, “The Holy Father listened very carefully, very attentively and very sympathetically to what we had to say”. He added, “He said in reply that this was a time for a deep examination of life here in Ireland in the Church.”x

A Roman Catholic man in Ireland, writing in a Roman Catholic newspaper, summed up Benedict’s crocodile tears perfectly when he wrote: “The media in Ireland have said much about Pope Benedict’s ‘sadness’ about the abuse when he was briefed about that, but the pope’s sadness means nothing without action. The pope granted exile in Rome to Cardinal Bernard Law, who was the archbishop of Boston when he was implicated in moving rapist priests from parish to parish where they continued their abuse of children. Why is Cardinal Bernard Law not being handed over to the authorities in the United States so that he can answer for his involvement in the abuse of children in Boston? Why does the pope not call for the criminal prosecution of bishops and heads of religious orders who knowingly put children at risk of predators?”xi He hit the nail right on the head. It is a conspiracy to cover up the truth which goes right up to the pope of Rome himself. Benedict’s “sorrow” is a sham. It is worthless.

What must always be borne in mind is that the pope of Rome has risen through the ranks to get to where he is now. He was once a priest, then a bishop, then a cardinal, and finally pope of Rome. Thus there is simply no way that Benedict was ignorant of these goings-on. Until recent times they may have been hidden from the general public, but they have always been well known within the fraternity of the Romish priesthood. There, behind closed doors, sexual abuse of children, as well as of women and men, was never a secret. The history of the Papal system is full of these wicked goings-on. Benedict, then, may now express “sorrow” over the suffering of these thousands of children; but the abominations committed by so many members of the priesthood, and which have always been so well known within the system, did not deter him from his ambitions within the system; and he was perfectly content to stay within it, to turn a blind eye to it, and to rise up through the ranks so as to eventually become pope of Rome. His expressions of sorrow, then, can hardly be accepted as genuine.

Others issued their own “apologies”. Eight chapters of the report were devoted to institutions run by the “Christian Brothers” order, whose schools cared for more boys than all the other Roman Catholic-run institutions put together. And a spokesman for the order, known to Papists as “Brother” Edmund Garvey, said on May 20: “We apologise openly and unreservedly to all those who have been hurt – either directly or indirectly – as a result of the deplorable actions of some brothers or by the inaction or inappropriate action of the congregation as a whole. We are deeply sorry for the hurt caused. We are ashamed and saddened that many who complained of abuse were not listened to. We acknowledge and regret that our responses to physical and sexual abuse failed to consider the long-term psychological effects on children.”xii

Please note, even while issuing the “apology”, the attempt to give the impression that only “some brothers” were guilty of this abuse. Some? The report shows that this abuse was committed by hundreds and hundreds of priests and monks! Yet over and over again, these wicked institutions try to make the public believe that there were just a few “rotten apples” in the basket. What a lie.

And this man admits that many who complained of abuse were not listened to. Well then, this alone shows that there was a deliberate conspiracy to keep the truth hidden, and that it must have been known by many more men in these orders than even the many who actually committed the abuse!

The “apology”, then, is meaningless, as all such “apologies” are.

The editor of The Southern Cross, despite voicing his disgust at the priestly child abusers, still wrote that “the dignity of the priesthood has been diminished by the crimes of a small number of priests, and by bishops who covered up for them.”xiii A small number? The number of those who have been exposed already runs into thousands – is this a small number? About a decade ago, Roman Catholic priest Andrew Greeley estimated that priests in the United States had abused at least 120 000 minors.xiv This was a conservative estimate – the true number was far, far higher. And another decade has now passed, so that the true number is even higher still.

The Roman pope, himself, has made the same claim – that although “some” priests have done great harm, the majority have been exemplary. After praising priests who work under the threat of persecution and endure much suffering, Benedict added, “there are also, sad to say, situations which can never be sufficiently deplored where the Church herself suffers as a consequence of infidelity on the part of some of her ministers.”xv There’s that word, “some”, again. It’s only some priests who do these things – this is the continual message we’re hearing. But it’s a lie.

This constant refrain we are hearing from the hierarchy of Rome – that only a small minority of priests have been guilty of such abuses and that the vast majority are decent, upright, godly men – is Rome’s subtle way of covering up the full truth of the matter. As they say, tell a lie, tell it often enough, and the people will believe it. For example, a Brazilian cardinal, Cláudio Hummes, said that people must recognise that the vast majority of the world’s priests have never been involved in any kind of abuse.xvi But how can he be so sure? How can he possibly know? As already many thousands of priests worldwide have been exposed as child abusers, who can say how many more will be exposed in the future? The system itself is wicked, and makes it easy for such abusers to find a home within the priesthood. Rome’s priesthood has always been stuffed full of such men, and there is absolutely nothing to indicate it’s suddenly going to change now.

Although some priests and bishops have issued “apologies” and expressed shock and dismay at the revelations of the Ryan Report, others have dismissed the report and rallied to the defence of Rome; and the real attitude of Rome to such reports and revelations is revealed by these priests, not by those who sanctimoniously issue “apologies” and wring their hands. When William Donohue of the Catholic League called the reaction to the Ryan Report “hysteria”, ex-priest Richard Sipe came out with guns blazing and wrote, “Donohue is a Bozo. I don’t know any other appellation that can adequately describe the uninformed, unintelligent, and frankly stupid reaction of a man who responds thus to the facts of abuse by supposedly responsible and trusted religious”. He went on: “As one reviews the list of clerics who support Donohue and the League – Egan, Mahony, Chaput, O’Brien, O’Malley and others – with encomiums for ‘the protection of the faith, the defense of victims, courage to speak up candidly, teaching the hard truths of the Gospel’ – one is struck by the oppositional, obstructionistic, and arrogant way all of the clerical Donohue supporters still operate…. Those like Donohue who minimize and distort the real picture of clergy abuse of sex and power continue to do a huge disservice to the Catholic Church. Every U.S. Grand Jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse of minors came to exactly the same conclusion: the church has colluded to cover up facts, protect offenders and preferred institutional image and the avoidance of scandal above the safety of children. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics know the truth even if many are too intimidated or tired to say so aloud. There is nothing hysterical – over emotional or attention seeking – in the Irish Report or in reactions to it. Only a Bozo would think so. Facts, even painful facts, are still facts – the truth remains solid even after attacks or dismissals from powerful coalitions. Truth silently prevails, Bozos don’t.”xvii

Just how “sorry” the priests and monks really are is shown by the reaction of many to the anger displayed by Diarmuid Martin, the Romish archbishop of Dublin, when the details of the Ryan Report became known. Martin claimed that he was so angry over the documents in his archives that he threw them to the ground. Perhaps he did, perhaps not. But the Irish religious orders accused him of “throwing us to the wolves” (their phrase) after the revelations came out – and they were furious with him. A Redemptorist priest named Tony Flannery revealed that many members of religious orders felt “terrified”, “ashamed”, “hurt” and “betrayed” by the actions and public statements of Martin and other members of the hierarchy who led the public criticism of members of the religious orders of Ireland. He said “there is enormous anger among religious [members of religious orders]. They feel that they have been scapegoated, particularly by one member of the hierarchy, the Archbishop of Dublin.”xviii

This just shows that many of the men in these orders were more concerned with their own reputations than with the abuse that had been committed against thousands of children. At the same time, of course, one can understand their anger over the fact that high-ranking ecclesiastical leaders put on pious faces and express shock and horror, when there is simply no way they did not know that these things were going on right under their noses, and no doubt many of them are guilty of abuse as well. They are indeed making scapegoats of those under them, when they are just as guilty and utterly hypocritical to express sorrow and dismay over the report. As journalist Damiean Thompson correctly observed: “underneath all his [Martin’s] public soul-searching and the sound of documents hitting the archiepiscopal floor, I think we can hear the sound of nifty footwork.”xix

What, then, should be done for the victims?

The report recommended that “counselling” and educational services should be made available to victims, as many of them never received a secondary school education.xx Tragically, in these times, psychology is always recommended, but this is not the answer at all. Psychologists have become the high priests of the new religion of psychotherapy, but psychotherapy is utterly unproven, unscientific, and cannot possibly help. The real solution for those who have been abused by priests and monks of the Roman Catholic institution is to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and find salvation and everlasting peace in Him.

A solution put forward by Christine Buckley, a leader in seeking to expose the abuse, is for the religious orders to provide 50% of all their assets, estimated to be 20 billion euros, towards compensating the victims. She suggested that 5 billion euros be used to increase compensation to those who presented evidence to the commission, with the remaining 5 billion euros being set aside to compensate survivors who have not yet come forward.xxi And indeed, leaders of eighteen religious orders implicated in the abuse agreed to increase their contribution to a compensation fund, although no amount was set. An Irish government-appointed panel paid 12000 victims of the “Church”-run schools, orphanages and other institutions an average of $90,000 each, on condition that they surrender their right to sue either the Roman Catholic “Church” or the state. Thousands of other claims are pending.xxii

This has become the preferred solution worldwide, but it is far from ideal. The main reason being that knowing there is a lot of money to be made from testifying could very easily induce people who were not abused to come forward and pretend to have been, and accuse perhaps innocent people. This is a great danger. Still, by way of restitution the courts do not have many options available to them other than some form of financial compensation to the victims. Most important is for those individuals who committed the abuse, or who were accessories to it, to be punished by the full weight of the law. And yes, the religious institutions themselves should be punished too, wherever it is proved that they knew about the abuse going on within their structures and did nothing about it.

And where to, now, for the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland itself? Does it have a future in Ireland? The crisis for Rome in that once-so-Romanist country is truly immense in scale. This was admitted even by the Romish archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who publicly conceded that the scandals had seriously damaged the image and credibility of the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland.xxiii And writing in The Irish Times, historian and journalist Brendan Ó Cathaoir described the Irish Republic as a state of “unbridled clerical power”, where the Romish “Church” possessed “unrivalled authority”, but stated that the Ryan Report has now consigned the triumphalist Roman Catholic “Church” in Ireland to the dustbin of history.xxiv

The following quotation from the editorial in The Southern Cross is worth quoting, as it is (for once) extremely honest about what has happened there:

“After a series of abuse scandals and the rise of secularism in Ireland – which in part is a reaction to inordinate ecclesial power in secular affairs – the Irish Church is at a nadir. For all the good it has done among the bad, the Church in Ireland as we know it is broken. Where its vocations were once so rich that Ireland lavishly sent priests and religious to the missions, today few men and women enter the consecrated life. Where its priests once were honoured, they are often publicly disrespected, to the point that some don’t even wear their clerical garb in public so as to avoid being maligned. And where once trust in the Church was implicit, it is now lost.”xxv

The numbers of men and women joining Roman Catholic religious orders in Ireland are in serious decline today. Michael Kelly, editor of the Irish Catholic newspaper in Dublin, said: “Most of these orders will literally die out in Ireland within the next generation or so. Many of them are already in wind-up mode. They lack the confidence even to seek new vocations (recruits), due to the stigma associated with their members’ shocking, scandalous behaviour.”xxvi

Large numbers of Irish Roman Catholics are shocked, hurt, disillusioned, and very angry with their priests, and with their “Church” in general. One, writing from Dublin to the southern African Roman Catholic newspaper, said: “Archbishop Martin has not acknowledged in full the conspiracy of the hierarchy in covering up the abuses…. Until all victims are properly compensated and all the perpetrators are prosecuted, his fine words amount to very little. The Catholic hierarchy and orders have failed to show that they are really serious about this. It seems rather that they want to pay out as little compensation as possible, and to keep the abusers out of jail. It is insulting of the Catholic leadership to pretend that they never knew about the physical and sexual violence. When individuals complained, they were intimidated into silence, and seldom was any action taken…. What the Church doesn’t understand, it seems, is that people are not angry only with the abusers but also with the whole Catholic Church that tolerated and covered up the violence against children, and now refuses to pay proper compensation. In my opinion, the whole hierarchy of Ireland should resign in shame. That includes Archbishop Martin. What a statement of solidarity with the victims that would be!”xxvii

He went on: “You [the editor of the Romanist newspaper] say that the Catholic Church in Ireland must now rebuild itself. This ignores the anger among Ireland’s people. Most want nothing to do with the Catholic Church after years of collusion with the government and the abuse scandal…. Many Irish people, probably the majority, have had enough, and the Catholic Church will never recover from this. It has forfeited its moral authority…. Many Catholics in Ireland have lost their faith not in salvation, but in the Church which claims to represent our Saviour, but then allowed evil men and women to commit evil acts against defenceless children.”

An article in the Irish Post was entitled “Where to now for Catholicism in Ireland?” The author, Joe Horgan, voiced precisely the sentiments of so many shocked and disillusioned Irish Roman Catholics when he wrote: “It is hard to know what to do now with all of that residual Catholicism. What to do with that reflex that wants to make the sign of the cross on passing a grotto. What to do when a priest passes by in the street. Still catch the eye and say hello, Father? What to do when a nun passes by in the street. Still catch the eye and say hello, Sister? Still? Now? After the Ryan Report? After being given full knowledge of what the institutions of that Church did? What to do with it now?”xxviii

He went on: “If you were writing a short history of the Catholic Church in Ireland now how would you assess it? Would you say it supported and helped the people through an often grim, difficult history? Or would you say it oppressed and manipulated the people?…. Or would you say that, on the shocking, overwhelming evidence of the Ryan Report that the Catholic Church has been a malign, divisive force in Irish life? Has been the one consistently proven force for evil?”

But perhaps the most damning indictment of all came from an Irish American Jesuit priest, known online simply as “Father Tim”. He has seen the handwriting on the wall as far as the Roman Catholic institution in Ireland is concerned, and he sees no future for Rome in that once staunchly Papist country after the Ryan Report revelations. Astoundingly, this is what he wrote, entitled “Memo to: Catholic Church/ From: Irish people/Re: Your services are no longer needed”:

“For the Catholic Church in Ireland, the game is over.

“The Irish people, and I am convinced it is the majority, no longer wish to have the Catholic Church in their country, or in their lives, and possibly not in their faith.

“I cannot blame them. The Church is solely to blame for this, from front to back, start to finish. It is reaping what it sowed. Although running away from a fire rather than toward it is not the example many of us in the Church believe should be our service to God and His Children, it may be best for all that we settle up our debts, hand over our criminals, and catch the next plane out of Dublin. I am sure that, after a transition period, many of the services the Church provides in Ireland can be contracted to others, and I would hope whatever damage settlements we must and should pay will smooth that changeover.

“Ireland is strong, and it will live on, and heal. Yes, it can and will do this without us. And, assuming it has learned anything, the threads that were once the garment of the Irish Church will heal too, and not repeat the horrible mistakes and misdeeds that have doomed its work in ‘the land of scholars and saints.’ Perhaps, in some tomorrow, the Church and Ireland will again be together. That is a prayer worth saying and a dream worth having – but not a reality worth expecting, not now or anytime soon.

“There is simply no way that an institution so horribly tainted and so utterly mistrusted can or should speak in the name of Jesus Christ in Ireland, nor attempt to project spiritual and moral leadership. So many of my dear online friends have written me with the same question, which I cannot answer: ‘How can we ever trust the Church again?’ While the Church can and must surrender its criminals and the highly placed conspirators who made the crimes possible and policy, it will never be enough in Ireland. The rage is too strong, a dam has burst. No matter what it does or says, the Church cannot and will not be believed anymore. Without that, its ministry is finished, at least for now.”xxix

As this was written by a Jesuit priest, one must always be very cautious and seek to discern any ulterior motive behind it, for the Jesuits are always wily, subtle, and seeking to promote Romanism in whatever way they can, by fair means or foul. But in this case, it is difficult to believe there is any ulterior motive behind this man’s article. It is a brutally frank acknowledgement of the Roman “Church’s” sins, and one would struggle to find any good coming to Rome through it. It would appear that this man is genuinely convinced that Roman Catholicism in Ireland is finished as a result of the priestly sex scandals. Perhaps he is simply (despite being a Jesuit) a decent man, committed to his “Church” but aware that the damage done in Ireland seems to be irreparable for now, and is deeply sorrowful over it. There are a few such priests within the Roman religion. Not many, but a few. True Christians should pray much for such men, that they may have their eyes opened by the Lord to see the Papal system for the demonic institution it is, and “come out of her”, coming to the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting of their sins and believing on Him alone for everlasting salvation!

This man had even more to say, however. “There never was much reason to expect that Benedict XVI or his legion of Roman red hats would rise to this or any occasion requiring Divinely-inspired leadership. They are better examples of the problem than the solution. Of course, the sorrow from Rome IS genuine, the contrition IS real. But it doesn’t really matter. Many readers have rightly said that, if the Church was a corporation (and it is), all those responsible would have been locked up in prisons or hospitals by now, and the company would have been driven out of Ireland on a rail. The best the Irish Church can do now is to buy its one-way tickets. All the Faithful, or what’s left of them, can only pray that Our Loving Father will find a way to restore a pure Church to Ireland, and that Ireland will want it back.”

From this we see that he is still a faithful son of Rome; he honestly believes there is genuine sorrow and contrition in the Vatican over what has occurred. In this he is very sadly deceived. But even so, to write this way about his pope and his cardinals is extraordinary, and certainly we can be sure that if one priest feels this way, many others do too. And this is a good thing. Let the disillusionment continue!

He ended his article forcefully, by pointing out that “few churches ever exerted such domineering social power as the Irish Catholic Church”, and that it was a religion of hate and fear, in which Irish priests supported fanatical Irish Roman Catholic murderers (without naming them, he meant the IRA); and he said: “They helped teach Ireland to hate, to never forgive, to fear, to be suspicious. Now, they are the hated, and the ones who can never be forgiven, not even by their own people and not even in spite of many, many, many good and Godly works they have done for them. It is the life they made for Ireland, and ultimately, for themselves.”

Truly, a profound change is occurring in Ireland, the likes of which has never been seen before. The times are not slowly changing, they have already changed, and the world has witnessed a once-staunchly Papist country become a very different place from what it was before. Perhaps the Jesuit priest quoted above has over-stated the case; perhaps many Roman Catholic Irishmen still believe in their “Church” and their priests and want them to stay; perhaps Ireland will not cease to be Papist after all, despite what has occurred. Rome has an amazing ability to bounce back from the brink of disaster. And Ireland has always had fanatical Papists, including fanatical terrorist madmen in the form of the IRA, who were supported fully by their priests in their murderous deeds.

But perhaps after all, the game really is over for Roman Catholicism in Ireland. Perhaps we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the enormous power that Rome has always exerted in that country. It has happened to nations before. In Roman Catholic France, described as “the elder daughter of the Vatican”, the priests ruled with an iron fist for centuries; but finally it all became too much for the French people, and, spurred on by anti-clerical revolutionaries, the French erupted in an orgy of horrific violence against the “Church” of Rome during the French Revolution. Centuries of cruel oppression at the hands of their priests led to the destruction of Roman Catholic power and influence in France.

But even there it was only for a time. Rome again made strides there, and regained much of its old power. Still, France is not what it was prior to the French Revolution, and it never will be. Rome was never again as all-powerful there as it had once been.

Perhaps, in fanatically Papist Ireland, the once all-powerful “Church” has now suffered a blow from which it will never fully recover. Perhaps Joe Horgan, quoted above, is correct when he writes, “In many ways I suppose, we are living in a post-Catholic Ireland. Coming generations are hardly likely to show the mass devotion that existed in the past. The power of the Church, the ideological power, has diminished enormously. The Church still has huge power in education and health but it is hard to see how that can survive. How can the Church be allowed to wield such power in a society that no longer shares its prayers? Quite simply, it can’t.”xxx

If this is indeed so, then we are witnessing something extraordinary. Certain countries have always been known as staunchly, even fanatically, Roman Catholic; and Ireland was one of them. If this is now changing as a result of the disgust of the Irish Roman Catholic people themselves, it will be astounding. Time will tell.

But if indeed Ireland does an about-face and ceases to be as Papist as it was until recently, it would be a huge mistake for anyone to assume that the worldwide sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Papal institution for years now signals the beginning of the end of this giant religio-political institution. If only it were so! But no – Rome will survive it. It has been, and continues to be, a major blow, one of the greatest blows Rome has suffered since the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century. Millions of Roman Catholics have left their “Church” in disgust; perhaps millions more will follow. But this is an institution of over one billion members. Almost one in six of the world’s population is Roman Catholic! Even if Rome shed a hundred million followers as a result of these revelations (and it won’t), it would still survive and prosper in the long run. Bible prophecy does not indicate that the Great Whore that sits on the seven hills will be destroyed by a scandal like this. Prophecy tells us that it will continue to exist, and work its evil, until the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the editor of the Papist weekly, The Southern Cross, put it, although Roman Catholics are angry and hurt, they “will have to find ways of reminding themselves that the salvific mission of the Church is not diminished by the abject failures of human individuals acting in its name.”xxxi And they will indeed find such ways, sadly. The vast majority of the millions of Papists are simply too enslaved to their “Church” to ever even consider leaving, much less to actually do so. As far as they are concerned, their eternal salvation depends upon their membership in it – and they are not going to risk losing that for anything. Even the terrible abuse of thousands of children by thousands of priests and monks the world over is not enough to make them forsake it. When it comes down to it, for them it’s a matter of “My eternal salvation, or the good of untold thousands of children”. The children come off second best, no matter what evils have been perpetrated against them. It has always been so, throughout Rome’s long history. The attitude is, “Turn a blind eye – my priest holds my salvation in his hand, and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.”

Already Rome is consolidating and strengthening again. As the editorial in The Southern Cross, from which we have already quoted, put it: “The release of a 2600-page report detailing physical and sexual abuse perpetrated against minors in Catholic institutions over decades has profoundly humbled the Church [we would say it has embarrassed the “Church”, but not humbled it! – author]. At the same time, from its immediate position of weakness it can now emerge more solidly to truly serve Christ and the People of God.”xxxii

And for the true Christian, it must always be remembered that even if millions of Roman Catholics ultimately rejected their religion, this is not the same as conversion to Christ! They are disillusioned, shocked, disgusted – and so they leave Rome. But unless they turn by faith to Christ, they remain as lost, as dead in their sins, as ever. And this is the greatest tragedy of all. Their experience of Roman Catholicism may make them leave Rome, but their eyes remain blinded, their hearts remain hard. To them, all religion is now suspect – including, tragically, the truth as it is in Jesus.

And this is the great challenge for true Christians! – to seek to show these poor disillusioned people that the “Church” of Rome is not the Church of Christ! It is a false religion, no different from Hinduism, Islam, or Buddhism. Its “christ” is not the Christ of God, its priests are not the ministers of the Lord, its way of salvation is not the biblical way of salvation. The differences between Romanism and Christianity are as between night and day. And Christians must show Roman Catholics that although their false “Church” is a work of darkness, the Lord Jesus Christ is the light of the world! Although their pope is a deceiver, Christ is the way, the truth, and the light! Their false “Church” has failed them, but if they come to Christ, He will never fail them!

Their Romish priests may have abused them, but the Lord Jesus Christ is the one true great High Priest (Heb. 3:1), who is holy, harmless, and undefiled (Heb. 7:26). The priests of Rome claim to possess the power to forgive sin, but only Christ truly has such power. Neither priests of Rome, nor psychological “counselling”, can help them; but if they come to Christ the Lord, He will save them to the uttermost! Here is good news indeed, the very best of news, glad tidings of a true Saviour and Friend!

********This article is reprinted here with express permission from the author, Shaun Willcock, a Christian Apologist & Gospel Minister to South Africa. Additional resources are available at his website, Bible Based Ministries


i.Associated Press, 20 May 2009.

ii.Associated Press, 20 May 2009.

iii.BBC News, May 20, 2009.

iv.The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.

v.Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009.

vi.50 Years in the “Church” of Rome, by Charles Chiniquy. The Protestant Literature Depository, London, 1886; reprinted 1981 by Chick Publications, Chino, California.

vii.The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.

viii.The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional, by Charles Chiniquy. Chick Publications, Chino, California, USA.

ix.The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.

x.The Southern Cross, June 17 to 23, 2009.

xi.The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.

xii.The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.

xiii.The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.

xiv.Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009.

xv.The Southern Cross, July 1 to 7, 2009.

xvi.The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.

xvii.Irish Report on Sex Abuse, May 21, 2009.

xviii.The Telegraph, July 1, 2009.

xix.The Telegraph, July 1, 2009.

xx.The Southern Cross, May 27 to June 2, 2009.

xxi.The Southern Cross, June 17 to 23, 2009.

xxii.Associated Press, 20 May 2009.

xxiii.The Independent, June 29, 2009.

xxiv.The Irish Times, June 30, 2009.

xxv.The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.

xxvi.Associated Press, 20 May 2009.

xxvii.The Southern Cross, June 24 to 30, 2009.

xxviii.Irish Post online, undated,

xxix.Irish Central, 4 July 2009.

xxx.Irish Post online.

xxxi.The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.

xxxii.The Southern Cross, June 3 to 9, 2009.

For further reading by Shaun Willcock,

1) Child Sexual Abuse by Priests: Revelations of Shocking Crimes and Sinful Cover-Ups

2) Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Priesthood

(available from Bible Based Ministries) Providing teaching from the Word of God, and a biblical exposure of the Papal system and all that is associated with it

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

CHRIST . . the Key to Unlocking the Scriptures

God has laid it upon my heart to share with others those things that I have been "taught of God" (John 6:45) throughout my Christian pilgrimage (Heb. 11:13-16), namely the fulness and sufficiency that is to be found in Christ alone, and that Christ indeed is the key to unlocking the Scriptures. With that in mind, I have carefully selected transcripts of sermons from Godly men (Jer. 3:15), which show Christ's fulfillment in prophecy, Christ as He is pre-figured, typified and foreshadowed (Hebrews 8 & 10) in the Old Testament, and Christ as the only Saviour for sinners (Matt. 1:21; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Hebrews 7:25) and the only way to God(John 14:6; 1 Pet. 3:18) to the end that you might "know Him"! (1 John 5:20)
My prayer is that you too might "see Jesus" (Hebrews 2:9-18) as He is revealed in the Scriptures . . . how "precious" He is (1 Peter 2:6-7) . . . and come to regard Him as the "one thing needful"! (Luke 10:42)
May it please the Lord Jesus Christ to open your eyes that you too might behold Him in all His glory!

(Matt. 11:25-27); (Luke 24:13-45)

A Type of Christ . . . NOAH
Select Excerpts from Gleanings In Genesis / by A. W. Pink
No study of the person and character of Noah would be complete without viewing him as a type of the Lord Jesus. With one or two notable exceptions it will be beside our purpose to do more than call attention to some of the most striking points of correspondency between the type and the antitype, leaving our readers to develop at greater length these seed thoughts.

1. To begin at the beginning, Noah's very name foreshadowed the Coming One. In Genesis 5:28, 29 we read, "And Lamech lived a hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son; and he called his name Noah." Noah means "rest." His father regarded him as the one who should be the rest-giver, and as one who should provide comfort from the toil incurred by the Curse. "He called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." Lamech looked upon his son as one who should bring deliverance from the Curse, as one who should provide comfort and rest from the weariness of toil. Our readers will readily see how this ancient prophecy (for prophecy it undoubtedly was) receives its fulfillment in the One of whom it was also written, "And His rest shall be glorious" (Isa. 11:10), and who when on earth said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). But further than this, Noah's name, and the prophecy of his father on the occasion of the bestowment of it upon his son, also looks forward to the time of our Lord's Second Advent when He shall deliver the earth from its Curse- See Isaiah 9; 35, etc.

2. The first thing which is told us in connection with Noah is that he "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen. 6:8). In a previous article we have commented upon the setting of these words and have pointed out the contrast which they are designed to emphasize. "All flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." The ruinous and ravaging effects of sin were universal. But as God looked down upon the creatures of His hand, now fallen and depraved, there was one who stood out by himself, one who was just and perfect in his generation, one upon whom God's eye delighted to rest. It is very significant that nothing at all is said about Noah's family- his "sons and their wives"- in this connection; Noah only is mentioned, as if to show he is the one on whom our attention should be fixed. When we note what a striking type of our Lord Jesus Noah is, the reason for this is obvious; He is the one in whom the heart of the Father delighted, and just as the first thing told us in connection with Noah is that he "found grace in the eyes of the Lord," so the first words of the Father after the Lord Jesus had commenced His public ministry were, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).

3. The next thing told us about Noah is that he "was a just man" (Gen. 6:9). As is well known, the word just means "righteous." Like all other sinners who find acceptance with God, Noah was "justified by faith." He possessed no inherent righteousness of his own. Righteousness is imputed, imputed to those that believe (Rom. 4:6, 22-25). There was only one man who has ever walked our earth who was inherently and intrinsically righteous and that was He whom Noah foreshadowed, He of whom the centurion testified, "Certainly this was a righteous man" (Luke 23:47).

4. Next we read that Noah was "perfect in his generations" (Gen. 6:9). In a previous article we have seen that this expression has reference to the body and not to perfection of character. Noah and his family had not been defiled by contact with the Nephilim. "Perfect in his generations'' signifies that Noah was uncontaminated physically. "Perfect in his generations" is predicated of Noah alone; of none other is this said. How plain and perfect the type! Does it not point to the immaculate humanity of our Lord? When the Eternal Word was "made flesh" He did not contract the corruptions of our fallen nature. Unlike all of human kind, He was not "shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin." On the contrary His mother was told, "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). In His humanity our Lord was "separate from sinners" (Heb. 7:26). He was uncontaminated by the virus of sin; He was "perfect in His generation."

5. Next we read of Noah that he "walked with God" (Gen. 6:9). In this also he was a type of Him who for thirty-three years lived here in unbroken communion with the Father. All through those years, however varied His circumstances, we find Him enjoying holy and blessed fellowship with the Father. During His early life, in the seclusion of Nazareth we learn that "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52). During the long season of fasting and temptation in the wilderness, we find Him living by "every word of God" (Luke 4:4). While His disciples slept, our blessed Lord retired to the solitudes of the mountain, there to pour out His soul to God and enjoy fellowship with His Father (Luke 6:12). At the close of His sufferings on the Cross we hear Him cry, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (Luke 23:46). Truly His walk was ever "with God."

6. God Gave Noah an Honorous Work to Do "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. With thee will I establish My covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring in the ark, to keep them alive with thee" (Gen. 6:14, 18, 19). Here we find a work is entrusted to Noah by God, a highly important work, a momentous and stupendous work. Never before or since has such a task been allotted to a single man. The task of preserving from God's judgment representatives of all creation was committed to Noah! The type is so clear and plain that comment is almost needless. To the Lord Jesus Christ, God's beloved Son, was entrusted the task of effecting the salvation of lost and ruined sinners. It is to this He refers when He says, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do" (John 17:4)- speaking here as though in Glory, where He now is as our great High Priest.

7. Noah alone did the work. We shall consider separately the typical significance of the ark; for the moment we would direct attention upon Noah and his work. Is it not striking that there is no reference here to any help that Noah received in the executing of his God-given task? There is no hint whatever that any assisted him in the work of building the ark. The record reads as though Noah alone provided the necessary means for securing the lives of those that God had entrusted to his care! Surely the reason is obvious. The truth which is foreshadowed here is parallel with the typology of Leviticus 16:17- "And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out". When atonement was being made the High Priest must be alone. So it was in the antitype. The work of redemption was accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24), and He needed no assistance in this work, for God had "laid help upon One that is mighty" (Ps. 89:19, R.V.). In full harmony then with the Leviticus 16 type, and in perfect accord with its fulfillment in our gracious Savior, we find that the record in Genesis reads as though Noah was alone in his task and received no assistance in the work of providing a refuge from the coming storm of Divine wrath.

8. Moreover, is not the perfection of the type further to be seen in the fact that the inspired record passes over the interval of time necessary for Noah to have performed his task? This is very striking, for many months, and probably years, would be required to build an ark of the dimensions given us in Genesis. But not a word is said about this. After God gave instructions to Noah to build the ark, the next thing we read is, "Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he. And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark" (Gen. 6:22; Genesis 7:1)- as though to show that when he began, his work was speedily accomplished! How much we may learn from the silences of Scripture! Again we call attention to the parallel type in Leviticus 16- "For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord" (v. 30). In Leviticus 23 the Day of Atonement is classed among Israel's great feasts, and by noting this the point we are now making comes out more clearly by way of contrast. Others of these feasts, e.g., Unleavened Bread, Tabernacles, etc., extended over a period of several days, but Atonement was accomplished in one day. Nothing was left over to be completed on the next day; which reminds us of the blessed words of our triumphant Savior- "It is finished." (John 19:30) There is nothing now for us to do but rest on His Finished Work. In one day, yes, in three hours, on the Cross, our Lord put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. As we have said, this was anticipated in the typical significance of Noah's work by the silence of Scripture upon the length of time he was engaged in the performance of his task, the record reading as though it was speedily executed.

9. The successful issue of Noah's work, seen in "the saving of his house" (Heb. 11:7) reminds us of the language of Hebrews 3:6, "But Christ as a son over his own house" (Heb. 3:6). But the type goes further: Noah's work brings blessing to all creation as is seen from the fact that the animals and birds were also preserved in the ark. Observe how beautifully this is brought out in Genesis 8:1- "And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark." So, too, the work of Christ shall yet bring blessing to the beasts of the field. At His return to the earth "the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21).

10. In Genesis 6:19 we have a hint of the animal creation being subject to Noah "And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee." We have a passing glimpse of the yet future fulfillment of this part of the type in Mark 1:13- "And He was there in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts." Noah's headship over all creatures comes out even more clearly in Genesis 9:2- "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered." How this reminds us of Psalm 8, which speaks of the future dominion of the Son of Man. "For Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory and honor. For thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet" (compare Heb. 2:8), "But now we see not yet all things put under Him” . . . all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea! This same thought is repeated in the Genesis narrative again and again as if with deliberate emphasis. When we read of the animals entering the Ark we are told "They went in unto Noah (not unto Noah and his family) into the Ark," and then we are told "And the Lord shut him (not Ôthem') in" (Gen. 7:15, 16). And again, on leaving the ark we read that God said unto Noah, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things" (Gen. 9:3). So Christ is "the Heir of all things" (Heb. 1:2).

11. In Genesis 6:21 we find Noah presented as the great food-provider: "And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them." We need hardly say that this finds its complement in Christ the Bread of Life. He is God's Manna for our souls. He is the Shewbread which was eaten by Aaron and his sons (Lev. 24:9). He is the Old Corn of the land (Joshua 5:11). In short, it is only as we feed upon Christ as He is presented unto us in the written Word that our spiritual life is quickened and nourished.

12. In Genesis 6:22 we learn of Noah's implicit and complete obedience- "Thus did Noah according to all that God commanded him, so did he." And again, "And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him" (Gen. 7:5). So, too, we read of the perfect obedience of Him whom Noah foreshadowed: "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even so I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love" (John 15:10). Only, be it noted, the obedience of our blessed Lord went farther than that of Noah, for He "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8)- in all things He has the preeminence.

14. "And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar" (Gen. 8:20). Here we see Noah offering a burnt offering unto the Lord: the anti-typical parallel is found in Ephesians 5:2- "Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor."

15. "And God blessed Noah and his sons" (Gen. 9:1). It is beautiful to see Noah and his sons here linked together in the enjoyment of God's blessing, as though to foreshadow the blessed fact that every mercy we now enjoy is ours for Christ's sake. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3).

16. With Noah and his sons God established His Covenant, "And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you" (Gen. 9:8, 9). The word "covenant" occurs just seven times in this passage, namely, in verses 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17. Note, the covenant that God made with Noah was "an everlasting covenant" (Gen. 9:16), and so we read concerning the anti-type- "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13:20).


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CHRIST . . the Key to Unlocking the Scriptures

God has laid it upon my heart to share with others those things that I have been taught of God throughout my Christian pilgrimage (Heb. 11:13-16), namely the fulness and sufficiency that is to be found in Christ alone, and that Christ indeed is the key to unlocking the Scriptures. With that in mind, I have carefully selected transcripts of sermons from Godly men (Jer. 3:15), which show Christ's fulfillment in prophecy, Christ as He is pre-figured, typified and foreshadowed (Hebrews 8 & 10) in the Old Testament, and the beauty and the glory that reside in Him alone. Oh, that you too might "worship Him in the beauty of holiness." (Psalm 96:9)
May it please the Lord Jesus Christ to open your eyes that you too might see Him in all His glory! (Luke 24:13-45)

A prophecy of Christ . . . Christ the Conqueror of Satan
A Sermon by C. H. SPURGEON

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel"Genesis 3:15

THIS IS THE FIRST gospel sermon that was ever delivered upon the surface of this earth. It was a memorable discourse indeed, with Jehovah himself for the preacher, and the whole human race and the prince of darkness for the audience. It must be worthy of our heartiest attention.

Is it not remarkable that this great gospel promise should have been delivered so soon after the transgression? As yet no sentence had been pronounced upon either of the two human offenders, but the promise was given under the form of a sentence pronounced upon the serpent Not yet had the woman been condemned to painful travail, or the man to exhausting labour, or even the soil to the curse of thorn and thistle. Truly "mercy rejoiceth against judgment." Before the Lord had said "dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return," he was pleased to say that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Let us rejoice, then, in the swift mercy of God, which in the early watches of the night of sin came with comfortable words unto us.

These words were not directly spoken to Adam and Eve, but they were directed distinctly to the serpent himself, and that by way of punishment to him for what he had done. It was a day of cruel triumph to him such joy as his dark mind is capable of had filled him, for had he indulged his malice, and gratified his spite. He had in the worst sense destroyed a part of God's works, he had introduced sin into the new world, he had stamped the human race with his own image, and gained new forces to promote rebellion and to multiply transgression, and therefore he felt that sort of gladness which a fiend can know who bears a hell within him. But now God comes in, takes up the quarrel personally, and causes him to be disgraced on the very battle-field upon which he had gained a temporary success. He tells the dragon that he will undertake to deal with him; this quarrel shall not be between the serpent and man, but between God and the serpent. God saith, in solemn words, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed," and he promised that there shall rise in fulness of time a champion, who, though he suffer, shall smite in a vital part the power of evil, and bruise the serpent's head. This was the more, it seems to me, a comfortable message of mercy to Adam and Eve, because they would feel sure that the tempter would be punished, and as that punishment would involve blessing for them, the vengeance due to the serpent would be the guarantee of mercy to themselves. Perhaps, however, by thus obliquely giving the promise, the Lord meant to say, "Not for your sakes do I this, O fallen man and woman, nor for the sake of your descendants; but for my own name and honour's sake, that it be not profaned and blasphemed amongst the fallen spirits. I undertake to repair the mischief which has been caused by the tempter, that my name and my glory may not be diminished among the immortal spirits who look down upon the scene." All this would be very humbling but yet consolatory to our parents if they thought of it, seeing that mercy given for God's sake is always to our troubled apprehension more sure than any favour which could be promised to us for our own sake. The divine sovereignty and glory afford us a stronger foundation of hope than merit, even if merit can be supposed to exist.

Now we must note concerning this first gospel sermon that on it the earliest believers stayed themselves. This was all that Adam had by way of revelation, and all that Abel had received. This one lone star shone in Abel's sky; he looked up to it and he believed. By its light he spelt out "sacrifice," and therefore he brought of the firstlings of his flock and laid them on the altar, and proved in his own person how the seed of the serpent hated the seed of the woman, for his brother slew him for his testimony. Although Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied concerning the second advent, yet he does not appear to have uttered anything new concerning the first coming, so that still this one promise remained as man's sole word of hope. The torch which flamed within the gates of Eden just before man was driven forth lit up the world to all believers until the Lord was pleased to give more light, and to renew and enlarge the revelation of his covenant, when he spake to his servant Noah. Those hoary fathers who lived before the flood rejoiced in the mysterious language of our text, and resting on it, they died in faith. Nor, brethren, must you think it a slender revelation, for, if you attentively consider, it is wonderfully full of meaning. If it had been on my heart to handle it doctrinally this morning, I think I could have shown you that it contains all the gospel. There lie within it, as an oak lies within an acorn, all the great truths which make up the gospel of Christ. Observe that here is the grand mystery of incarnation. Christ is that seed of the woman who is here spoken of; and there is a hint not darkly given as to how that Incarnation would be effected. Jesus was not shadowed of the Holy Ghost, and "the holy thing" which was born of her was as to his humanity the seed of the woman only; as it is written, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel." (Is. 7:14) The promise plainly teaches that the deliverer would be born of a woman, and carefully viewed, it also foreshadows the divine method of the Redeemer's conception and birth. So also is the doctrine of the two seeds plainly taught here—"I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed." There was evidently to be in the world a seed of the woman on God's side against the serpent, and a seed of the serpent that should always be upon the evil side even as it is unto this day. The church of God and the synagogue of Satan both exist. We see an Abel and a Cain, an Isaac and an Ishmael, a Jacob and an Esau; those that are born after the flesh, being the children of their father the devil, for his works they do, but those that are born again—being born after the Spirit, after the power of the life of Christ, are thus in Christ Jesus the seed of the woman, and contend earnestly against the dragon and his seed. Here, too, the great fact of the sufferings of Christ is clearly foretold—"Thou shalt bruise his heel." Within the compass of those words we find the whole story of our Lord's sorrows from Bethlehem to Calvary. "It shall bruise thy head": there is the breaking of Satan's regal power, there is the clearing away of sin, there is the destruction of death by resurrection, there is the leading of captivity captive in the ascension, there is the victory of truth in the world through the descent of the Spirit, and there is the latter-day glory in which Satan shall be bound, and there is, lastly, the casting of the evil one and all his followers into the lake of fire. The conflict and the conquest are both in the compass of these few fruitful words. They may not have been fully understood by those who first heard them, but to us they are now full of light. The text at first looks like a flint, hard and cold; but sparks fly from it plentifully, for hidden fires of infinite love and grace lie concealed within. Over this promise of a gracious God we ought to rejoice exceedingly.

We do not know what our first parents understood by it, but we may be certain that they gathered a great amount of comfort from it They must have understood that they were not then and there to be destroyed, because the Lord had spoken of a "seed." They would argue that it must be needful that Eve should live if there should be a seed from her. They understood, too, that if that seed was to overcome the serpent and bruise his head, it must auger good to themselves: they could not fail to see that there was some great, some mysterious benefit to be conferred upon them by the victory which their seed would achieve over the instigator of their ruin. They went on in faith upon this, and were comforted in travail and in toil, and I doubt not both Adam and his wife in the faith thereof entered into everlasting rest.

This morning I intend to handle this text in three ways. First, we shall notice its facts; secondly, we shall consider the experience within the heart of each believer which tallies to those facts; and then, thirdly, the encouragement which the text and its connection as a whole afford to us.

I. THE FACTS. The facts are four, and I call your earnest attention to them. The first is Enmity was excited. The text begins, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman." They had been very friendly; the woman and the serpent had conversed together. She thought at the time that the serpent was her friend; and she was so much his friend that she took his advice in the teeth of God's precept, and was willing to believe bad things of the great Creator, because this wicked, crafty serpent insinuated the same. Now, at the moment when God spake, that friendship between the woman and the serpent had already in a measure come to an end, for she had accused the serpent to God, and said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." So far, so good. The friendship of sinners does not last long; they have already begun to quarrel, and now the Lord comes in and graciously takes advantage of the quarrel which had commenced, and says, "I will carry this disagreement a great deal further, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman." Satan counted on man's descendants being his confederates, but God would break up this covenant with hell, and raise up a seed which should war against the Satanic power. Thus we have here God's first declaration that he will set up a rival kingdom to oppose the tyranny of sin and Satan, that he will create in the hearts of a chosen seed an enmity against evil, so that they shall fight against it, and with many a struggle and pain shall overcome the prince of darkness. The divine Spirit has abundantly achieved this plan and purpose of the Lord, combating the fallen angel by a glorious man: making man to be Satan's foe and conqueror. Henceforth the woman was to hate the evil one, and I do not doubt that she did so. She had abundant cause for so doing, and as often as she thought of him it would be with infinite regret that she could have listened to his malicious and deceitful talk. The woman's seed has also evermore had enmity against the evil one. I mean not the carnal seed, for Paul tells us, "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." (Romans 9:8) The carnal seed of the man and the woman are not meant, but the spiritual seed, even Christ Jesus and those who are in him. Wherever you meet these, they hate the serpent with a perfect hatred. We would if we could destroy from our souls every work of Satan, and out of this poor afflicted world of ours we would root up every evil which he has planted. That seed of the woman, that glorious One,—for he speaks not of seeds as of many but of seed that is one,—you know how he abhorred the devil and all his devices. There was enmity between Christ and Satan, for he came to destroy the works of the devil and to deliver those who are under bondage to him. For that purpose was he born; for that purpose did he live; for that purpose did he die; for that purpose he has gone into the glory, and for that purpose he will come again, that everywhere he may find out his adversary and utterly destroy him and his works from amongst the sons of men. This putting of the enmity between the two seeds was the commencement of the plan of mercy, the first act in the programme of grace. Of the woman's seed it was henceforth said, "Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." (Psalm 45:7)

Then comes the second prophecy, which has also turned into a fact, namely the coming of the champion. The seed of the woman by promise is to Champion the cause, and oppose the dragon. That seed is the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet Micah saith, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah; though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth." (Micah 5:2-3a) To none other than the babe which was born in Bethlehem of the blessed Virgin can the words of the prophecy refer. She it was who did conceive and bear a son, and it is concerning her son that we sing, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) On the memorable night at Bethlehem, when angels sang in heaven, the seed of the woman appeared, and as soon as ever he saw the light the old serpent, the devil, entered into the heart of Herod if possible to slay him, but the Father preserved him, and suffered none to lay hands on him. As soon as he publicly came forward upon the stage of action, thirty years after, Satan met him foot to foot. You know the story of the temptation in the wilderness, and how there the woman's seed fought with him who was a liar from the beginning. The devil assailed him thrice with all the artillery of flattery, malice, craft and falsehood, but the peerless Champion stood unwounded, and chased his foeman from the field. Then our Lord set up his kingdom, and called one and another unto him, and carried the war into the enemy's country. In divers places he cast out devils. He spake to the wicked and unclean spirit and said, "I charge thee come out of him," (Mark 9:25) and the demon was expelled. Legions of devils flew before him: they sought to hide themselves in swine to escape from the terror of his presence. "Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matt. 8:29) was their cry when the wonder-working Christ dislodged them from the bodies which they tormented. Yea, and he made his own disciples mighty against the evil one, for in his name they cast out devils, till Jesus said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." (Luke 10:18) Then there came a second personal conflict, for I take it that Gethsemane's sorrows were to a great degree caused by a personal assault of Satan, for our Master said, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness." (Luke 22:53b) He said also, "The Prince of this world cometh." (John 14:30b) What a struggle it was. Though Satan had nothing in Christ, yet did he seek if possible to lead him away from completing his great sacrifice, and there did our Master sweat as it were great drops of blood, falling to the ground, in the agony which it cost him to contend with the fiend. Then it was that our Champion began the last fight of all and won it to the bruising of the serpent's head. Nor did he end till he had spoiled principalities and powers and made a show of them openly.

"Now is the hour of darkness past, Christ has assumed his reigning power; Behold
the great accuser cast Down from his seat to reign no more."

That conflict our glorious Lord continues in his seed. We preach Christ crucified, and every sermon shakes the gates of hell. We bring sinners to Jesus by the Spirit's power, and every convert is a stone torn down from the wall of Satan's mighty castle. Yea, and the day shall come when everywhere the evil one shall be overcome, and the words of John in the Revelation shall be fulfilled. "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." (Rev. 12:9-10) Thus did the Lord God in the words of our text promise a Champion who should be the seed of the woman, between whom Satan there should be war for ever and ever: that Champion has come, the man-child has been born, and though the dragon is wroth with the woman, and made war with the remnant of her seed which keep the testimony of Jesus Christ, yet the battle is the Lord's, and the victory falleth unto him whose name is Faithful and True, who in righteousness doth judge and make war.

The third fact which comes out in the text, though not quite in that order, is that our Champion's heel should be bruised. Do you need that I explain this? You know how all his life long his heel, that is, his lower part, his human nature, was perpetually being made to suffer. He carried our sicknesses and sorrows. But the bruising came mainly when both in body and in mind his whole human nature was made to agonize; when his soul was exceeding sorrowful even unto death, and his enemies pierced his hands and his feet, and he endured the shame and pain of death by crucifixion. Look at your Master and your King upon the cross, all disdained with blood and dust! There was his heel most cruelly bruised. When they take down that precious body and wrap it in fair white linen and in spices, and lay it in Joseph's tomb, they weep as they handle the casket in which the Deity had dwelt, for there again Satan had bruised his heel. It was not merely that God had bruised him, "though it pleased the Father to bruise him," (Isaiah 53:10) but the devil had let loose Herod, and Pilate, and Caiaphas, and the Jews, and the Romans, all of them his tools, upon him whom he knew to be the Christ, so that he was bruised of the old serpent. That is all, however! It is only his heel, not his head, which is bruised! For lo, the Champion rises again; the bruise was not mortal nor continual. Though he dies, yet still so brief is the interval in which he slumbers in the tomb that his holy body hath not seen corruption, and he comes forth perfect and lovely in his manhood, rising from his grave as from a refreshing sleep after so long a day of unresting toil! Oh the triumph of that hour! As Jacob only halted on his thigh when he overcame the angel, so did Jesus only retain a scar in his heel, and that he bears to the skies as his glory and beauty. Before the throne he looks like a lamb that has been slain, but in the power of an endless life he liveth unto God.

Then comes the fourth fact, namely, that while his heel was being bruised, he was to bruise the serpent's head. The figure represents the dragon as inflicting an injury upon the Champion's heel, but at the same moment the Champion himself with that heel crushes in the head of the serpent with fatal effect. By his sufferings Christ has overthrown Satan, by the heel that was bruised he has trodden upon the head which devised the bruising.

"Lo, by the sons of hell he dies; But as he hangs 'twixt earth and skies,He gives
their prince a fatal blow, And triumphs o'er the powers below."
Though Satan is not dead, my brethren, I was about to say, would God he were, and though he is not converted, and never will be, nor will the malice of his heart ever be driven from him, yet Christ has so far broken his head that he has missed his mark altogether. He intended to make the human race the captives of his power, but they are redeemed from his iron yoke. God has delivered many of them, and the day shall come when he will cleanse the whole earth from the serpent's slimy trail, so that the entire world shall be full of the praises of God. He thought that this world would be the arena of his victory over God and good, instead of which it is already the grandest theatre of divine wisdom, love, grace, and power. Even heaven itself is not so resplendent with mercy as the earth is, for here it is the Saviour poured out his blood, which cannot be said even of the courts of paradise above. Moreover he thought, no doubt, that when he had led our race astray and brought death upon them, he had effectually marred the Lord's work. He rejoiced that they would all pass under the cold seal of death, and that their bodies would rot in the sepulchre. Had he not spoiled the handiwork of his great Lord? God may make man as a curious creature with intertwisted veins and blood and nerves, and sinews and muscles, and he may put into his nostrils the breath of life; but, "Ah," saith Satan, "I have infused a poison into him which will make him return to the dust from which he was taken." but now, behold, our Champion whose heel was bruised has risen from the dead, and given us a pledge that all his followers shall rise form the dead also. Thus is Satan foiled, for death shall not retain a bone, nor a piece of a bone, of one of those who belonged to the woman's seed. At the trump of the archangel from the earth and from the sea they shall arise, and this shall be their shout, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15:55) Satan, knowing this, feels already that by the resurrection his head is broken. Glory be to the Christ of God for this!

In multitudes of other ways the devil has been vanquished by our Lord Jesus, and so shall he ever be till he shall be cast into the lake of fire.

II. Let us now view OUR EXPERIENCE AS IT TALLIES WITH THESE FACTS. Now, brothers and sisters, we were by nature, as many of us as have been saved, the heirs of wrath even as others. It does not matter how godly our parents were, the first birth brought us no spiritual life, for the promise is not to them which are born of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but only to those who are born of God, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh"; (John 3:6a) you cannot make anything else and there it abides, and the flesh, or carnal mind, abideth in death; it is not reconciled to God, neither indeed can be. He who is born into this world but once, and knows nothing of the new birth, must place himself among the seed of the serpent, for only by regeneration can we know ourselves to be the true seed. How does God deal with us who are his called and chosen ones? He means to save us, and how does he work to that end?

The first thing he does is, he comes to us in mercy, and puts enmity between us and the serpent. That is the very first work of grace. There was peace between us and Satan once; when he tempted we yielded; whatever he taught us we believed; we were his willing slaves. But perhaps you, my brethren, can recollect when first of all you began to feel uneasy and dissatisfied; the world's pleasures no longer pleased you; all the juice seemed to have been taken out of the apple, and you had nothing at all. Then you suddenly perceived that you were living in sin, and you were miserable about it, and though you could not get rid of sin yet you hated it, and sighed over it, and cried, and groaned. In your heart of hearts you remained no longer on the side of evil, for you began to cry, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24) You were already from of old in the covenant of grace ordained to be the woman's seed, and now the decree began to discover itself in life bestowed upon you and working in you. The Lord in infinite mercy dropped the divine life into your soul. You did not know it, but there it was, a spark of the celestial fire, the living and incorruptible seed which abideth for ever. You began to hate sin, and you groaned under it as under a galling yoke; more and more it burdened you, you could not bear it. So it was with you: is it so now? Is there still enmity between you and the serpent? Indeed you are more and more the sworn enemies of evil, and you willingly acknowledge it.

Then came the Champion: that is to say, "Christ was formed in you the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27) You heard of him and you understood the truth about him, and it seemed a wonderful thing that he should be your substitute and stand in your room and place and stead, and bear your sin and all its curse and punishment, and that he should give his righteousness, yea, and his very self, to you that you might be saved. Ah, then you saw how sin could be overthrown, did you not? As soon as your heart understood Christ then you saw that what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, Christ was able to accomplish, and that the power of sin and Satan under which you had been in bondage, and which you now loathed, could and would be broken and destroyed because Christ had come into the world to overcome it.

Next, do you recollect how you were led to see the bruising of Christ's heel and to stand in wonder and observe what the enmity of the serpent had wrought in him? Did you not begin to feel the bruised heel yourself? Did not sin torment you? Did not the very thought of it vex you? Did not your own heart become a plague to you? Did not Satan begin to tempt you? Did he not inject blasphemous thoughts, and urge you on to desperate measures; did he not teach you to doubt the existence of God, and the mercy of God, and the possibility of your salvation, and so on? This was his nibbling at your heel. He is at his old tricks still. He worries whom he can't devour with a malicious joy. Did not your worldly friends begin to annoy you? Did they not give you the cold shoulder because they saw something about you so strange and foreign to their tastes? Did they not impute your conduct to fanaticism, pride, obstinacy, bigotry, and the like? Ah, this persecution is the serpent's seed beginning to discover the woman's seed, and to carry on the old war. What does Paul say? "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." (Galatians 4:29) True godliness is an unnatural and strange thing to them, and they cannot away with it. Though there are no stakes in Smithfield, nor racks in the Tower, yet the enmity of the human heart towards Christ and his seed is just the same, and very often shows itself in "trials of cruel mockings" (Hebrews 11:36) which to the tender hearts are very hard to bear. Well, this is your heel being bruised in sympathy with the bruising of the heel of the glorious seed of the woman.

But, brethren, do you know something of the other fact, namely, that we conquer, for the serpent's head is broken in us? How say you? Is not the power and dominion of sin broken in you? Do you not feel that you cannot sin because you are born of God? Some sins which were masters of you once, do not trouble you now. I have known a man guilty of profane swearing, and from the moment of his conversion he has never had any difficulty in the matter. We have known a man snatched from drunkenness, and the cure by divine grace has been very wonderful and complete. We have known persons delivered from unclean living, and they have at once become chaste and pure, because Christ has smitten the old dragon such blows that he could not have power over them in that respect. The chosen seed sin and mourn it, but they are not slaves to sin; their heart goeth not after it they have to say sometimes "the thing I do," (Romans 7:18-24) but they are wretched when it is so. They consent with their heart to the law of God that it is good, and they sigh and cry that they may be helped to obey it, for they are no longer under the slavery of sin; the serpent's reigning power and dominion is broken in them.

It is broken next in this way, that the guilt of sin is gone. The great power of the serpent lies in unpardoned sin. He cries "l have made you guilty: I brought you under the curse." 'No," say we, "we are delivered from the curse and are now blessed, for it is written, 'Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.' (Psalm 32:1-2) We are no longer guilty, for who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? Since Christ hath justified, who is he that condemneth? (Romans 8:33-34) Here is a swinging blow for the old dragon's head, such as he never will recover.

Oftentimes the Lord also grants us to know what it is to overcome temptation, and so to break the head of the fiend, Satan allures us with many baits; he has studied our points well he knows the weakness of the flesh: but many and many a time blessed be God, we have foiled him completely to his eternal shame! The devil must have felt himself mean that day when he tried to overthrow Job, dragged him down to a dunghill, robbed him of everything, covered him with sores, and yet could not make him yield. Job conquered when he cried, "Though he slay me yet will I trust in him." (Job 13:15) A feeble man had vanquished a devil who could raise the wind and blow down a house, and destroy the family who were feasting in it. Devil as he is, and crowned prince of the power of the air, yet the poor bereaved patriarch sitting on the dunghill covered with sores, being one of the woman's seed, through the strength of the inner life won the victory over him.

"Ye sons of God oppose his rage. Resist, and he'll be gone: Thus did our dearest
Lord engage And vanquish him alone."

Moreover, dear brethren, we have this hope that the very being of sin in us will be destroyed. The day will come when we shall be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; and we shall stand before the throne of God, having suffered no injury whatever from the fall and from all the machinations of Satan, for "they are without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:5) What triumph that will be! "The Lord will tread Satan under your feet shortly." When he has made you perfect and free from all sin, as he will do, you will have bruised the serpent's head indeed.

And your resurrection, too, when Satan shall see you come up from the grave like one that has been perfumed in a bath of spices, when he shall see you arise in the image of Christ, with the same body which was sown in corruption and weakness is raised in incorruption and power, (1 Cor. 15:42-43) then will he feel an infinite chagrin, and know that his head is bruised by the woman's seed.

I ought to add that every time any one of us is made useful in saving souls we do as it were repeat the bruising of the serpent's head. When you go, dear sister, among those poor children, and pick them up from the gutters, where they are Satan's prey, where he finds the raw material for thieves and criminals, and when through your means, by the grace of God, the little wonderers become children of the living God, then you in your measure bruise the old serpent's head, I pray you do not spare him. When we by preaching the gospel turn sinners from the error of their ways, so that they escape from the power of darkness, again we bruise the serpent's head. Whenever in any shape or way you are blessed to the aiding of the cause of truth and righteousness in the world, you, too, who were once beneath his power, and even now have sometimes to suffer from his nibbling at your heel, you tread upon his head. In all deliverances and victories you overcome, and prove the promise true,—"Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him I will set him on high, because he hath known my name." (Psalm 91:13-14)

III. Let us speak awhile upon THE ENCOURAGEMENT which our text and the context yields to us; for it seems to me to abound.

I want you, brethren, to exercise faith in the promise and be comforted. The text evidently encouraged Adam very much. I do not think we have attached enough importance to the conduct of Adam after the Lord had spoken to him. Notice the simple but conclusive proof which he gave of his faith. Sometimes an action may be very small and unimportant, and yet, as a straw shows which way the wind blows, it may display at once, if it be thought over, the whole state of the man's mind. Adam acted in faith upon what God had said, for we read, "And Adam called his wife's name Eve (or Life); because she was the mother of all living" (verse 20). She was not a mother at all, but as the life was to come through her by virtue of the promised seed, Adam marks his full conviction of the truth of the promise though at the time the woman had borne no children. There stood Adam, fresh from the awful presence of God, what more could he say? He might have said with the Prophet, "My flesh trembleth from the fear of thee;" (Psalm 119:120a), but even then he turns round to his fellow-culprit as she stands there trembling too, and he calls her Eve, mother of the life that is yet to be. It was grandly spoken by Father Adam: it makes him rise in our esteem. Had he been left to himself he would have murmured or at least despaired, but no, his faith in the new promise gave him hope. He uttered no word of repining against the condemnation to till with toil the unthankful ground, nor on Eve's part was there a word of repining over the appointed sorrows of motherhood; they each accept the well-deserved sentence with the silence which denotes the perfection of their resignation; their only word is full of simple faith. There was no child on whom to set their hopes, nor would the true seed be born for an age, still Eve is to be the mother of all the living, and he calls her so. Exercise like faith, my brother, on the far wider revelation which God has given to you, and always extract the utmost comfort from it. Make a point, whenever you receive a promise from God, to get all you can out of it. If you carry out that rule, it is wonderful what comfort you will gain. Some go on the principle of getting as little as possible out of God's word. I believe that such a plan is the proper way with a man's word; always understand it at the minimum, because that is what he means; but God's word is to be understood at the maximum, for he will do exceeding abundantly above what you ask or even think.

Notice by way of further encouragement that we may regard our reception of Christ's righteousness as an installment of the final overthrow of the devil. The twenty-first verse says, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." A very condescending, thoughtful, and instructive deed of divine love! God heard what Adam said to his wife, and saw that he was a believer, and so he comes and gives him the type of the perfect righteousness, which is the believer's portion—he covered him with lasting raiment. No more fig leaves, which were a mere mockery, but a close fitting garment which had been procured through the death of a victim; the Lord brings that and puts it on him, and Adam could no more say, "I am naked." How could he, for God had clothed him. Now, beloved, let us take out of the promise that is given us concerning our Lord's conquest over the devil this one item and rejoice in it, for Christ has delivered us from the power of the serpent who opened our eyes and told us we were naked, by covering us from head to foot with a righteousness which adorns and protects us, so that we are comfortable in heart, and beautiful in the sight of God, and are no more ashamed.

Next, by way of encouragement in pursuing the Christian life, I would say to young people, expect to be assailed. If you have fallen into trouble through being a Christian, be encouraged by it; do not at all regret or fear it, but rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy, for this is the constant token of the covenant. There is enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent still, and if you did not experience any of it you might begin to fear that you were on the wrong side. Now that you smart under the sneer of sarcasm and oppression rejoice and triumph, for now are ye partakers with the glorious seed of the woman in the bruising of his heel.

Still further encouragement comes from this. Your suffering as a Christian is not brought upon you for your own sake; ye are partners with the great seed of the woman, ye are confederates with Christ. You must not think the devil cares much about you: the battle is against Christ in you. When, if you were not in Christ, the devil would never trouble you. When you were without Christ in the world you might have sinned as you like, your relatives and workmates would not have been at all grieved with you, they would rather have joined you in it; but now the serpent's seed hates Christ in you. This exalts the sufferings of persecution to a position far above all common afflictions. I have heard of a woman who was condemned to death in the Marian days, and before her time came to be burned a child was born to her, and she cried out in her sorrow. A wicked adversary, who stood by said, "how will you bear to die for your religion if you make such ado?" "Ah," she said, "Now I suffer in my own person as a woman, but then I shall not suffer, but Christ in me." Nor were these idle words, for she bore her martyrdom with exemplary patience, and rose in her chariot of fire in holy triumph to heaven. If Christ be in you, nothing will dismay you, but you will overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil by faith.

Last of all, let us resist the devil always with this belief that he has received a broken head. I am inclined to think that Luther's way of laughing at the devil was a very good one, for he is worthy of shame and everlasting contempt. Luther once threw an inkstand at his head when he was tempting him very sorely, and though the act itself appears absurd enough, yet it was a true type of what that great reformer was all his life long, for the books he wrote were truly a flinging of the inkstand at the head of the fiend. That is what we have to do: we are to resist him by all means. Let us do this bravely, and tell him to his teeth that we are not afraid of him. Tell him to recollect his bruised head, which he tries to cover with a crown of pride, or with a popish cowl, or with an infidel doctor's hood. We know him, and see the deadly wound he bears. His power is gone; he is fighting a lost battle; he is contending against omnipotence. He has set himself against the oath of the Father; against the blood of the incarnate Son; against the eternal power and Godhead of the blessed Spirit, all of which are engaged in the defence of the seed of the woman in the day of battle. Therefore, brethren, be ye steadfast in resisting the evil one being strong in faith, giving glory to God.

"Tis by thy blood, immortal Lamb, Thine armies tread
the tempter down; tis
by thy word and powerful name They gain the battle and
renown. Rejoice ye
heavens; let every star Shine with new glories round the sky; Saints, while ye
sing the heavenly war, Raise your Deliverer's name on high."