“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
Compromising with biblical truth in order to join hands with the apostate Roman Catholic Church has been around for a long time in the evangelical churches. In a recent publication from a Brazilian Nazarene church, I noted the same trend that I have seen throughout the Nazarene denomination in North America. Several pages into the publication was a column on the right side that was titled “To Think About.” There were six people cited with quotes by each of them. Especially disturbing to see was the following three: evangelical false teacher, Rick Warren, an ecumenist who is fully on board with Romanism; a Roman Catholic pope from the early 1900s, Pius X; and Mother Teresa. (The other three quoted were Isaac Newton; psychologist James Dobson; and a Brazilian writer George R. Foster).
Here are the quotes with my best English translation:
“The mission, which we were divinely entrusted, to shepherd the Lord’s flock, among the main duties under Christ’s order to protect with care all that has been delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane new ideas and the oppositions of a deceptive science.” (Pope Pius X)
“Without a clear purpose, we are without a foundation on which you can decisions, allocate your time and use resources. The tendency will be to make decisions with based on the circumstances, in stressful moments, and the mood of the day. Those who do not know their purpose try to perform beyond what they should, and this causes stress and fatigue, creating conflicts.
I continue to find it incredible that more and more pastors, district leaders, and college presidents are disqualifying themselves from such positions of leadership, due to their infatuation with the Roman Catholic “heroes.” You rarely see quotes anymore of anyone Nazarene! Instead, they are more apt to quote Mother Teresa, Teresa of Avila, and mystics such as Thomas Merton. Do they know that in her own words, Mother Teresa lived in darkness the last years of her life, and was in utter despair? Or that she was more interested in everyone being comfortable in their own religion, rather than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only way? Do they not know these things? If so, what does this say about their spending so many years achieving a doctoral degree, and yet they still do not know the Bible?
The harm they are bringing to the true church of Christ by quoting false teachers and people who promote false doctrines cannot be measured completely, but harm is being done. To quote people who lived and taught salvation by works, and to quote those who see nothing wrong with Catholic doctrine, is at best irresponsible. In one example of many examples of Mother Teresa’s beliefs, can a true Christian really accept the following thinking from her?
“If in coming face to face with God we accept Him in our lives, then we … become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, a better Catholic, a better whatever we are … What God is in your mind you must accept.” (Mother Teresa: Her People and Her Work)
“I was so struck with the thought that ONLY WHEN THE PRIEST IS THERE CAN WE HAVE OUR ALTAR AND OUR TABERNACLE AND OUR JESUS. ONLY THE PRIEST CAN PUT JESUS THERE FOR US” (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, pp. 111).
Is it a lack of discernment and knowledge of scripture? If so, what does that say about what has been taught at our Christian universities and seminaries in the past several decades? Or is it simply explained by the fact that they know Romanism teaches a false gospel, but they do not care, and are seeking something else from this type of promotion? Is it to show a more ecumenical spirit, in order to draw more people into the denomination? Is it an attempt to please others and show that we truly “love” everyone. I find it interesting that the Mother Teresa quote has to do with judging, and sounds like the familiar chorus coming from those who do not want to have any of their doctrinal “fruit” inspected.
Whatever the case may be, this shameful embrace of Roman Catholicism and trying to make nice with the world is particularly sweeping the Church of the Nazarene, and especially its leaders. There is an attempt it seems to make everybody feel good about anything, including the shameless idolizing of a former world leader (Mandela) who promoted abortion, homosexuality, and prostitution. So to those Nazarene leaders and others who have forgotten what salvation is, and it means to be saved, I have included here a summary by Brother David Cloud to teach them what true biblical salvation is, and to remind them that we are to “have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
What The Roman Catholic Church Teaches About Salvation
Dec 18, 2013, David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, www.wayoflife.org
Because of the ecumenical movement, a growing number of Roman Catholics are familiar with biblical terminology about salvation, such as born again, and some have been trained to reply affirmatively to the question, “Are you saved? Have you been born again?”
The problem is that they do not mean by this what the Bible means. Rome’s doctrine of salvation is not the true gospel of complete and sure salvation through personal faith in Christ. It is a gospel of works that is sometimes presented under the guise of grace.
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH’S DOCTRINE OF SALVATION CAN BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:
1. Rome teaches that Christ, having purchased redemption by His blood and death, delivered it to the Catholic Church to be distributed to men through her sacraments.
Rome’s gospel centers in the Catholic Church, the pope, and the sacraments. While Catholicism teaches that Christ died on the cross to purchase man’s salvation, it is not satisfied simply to invite men to receive this salvation by faith directly from the resurrected Christ.
Consider the following quotes from the Vatican II Council:
“For ‘God’s only-begotten Son … has won a treasure for the militant Church … he has entrusted it to blessed Peter, the key-bearer of heaven, and to his successors who are Christ’s vicars on earth, so that they may distribute it to the faithful for their salvation. They may apply it with mercy for reasonable causes to all who have repented for and have confessed their sins. At times they may remit completely, and at other times only partially, the temporal punishment due to sin in a general as well as in special ways (insofar as they judge it to be fitting in the sight of the Lord). The merits of the Blessed Mother of God and of all the elect … are known to add further to this treasury'” (ellipsis are in the original) (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences, Chap. 4, 7, p. 80).
“For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fulness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God” (Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism, chap. 1, 3, p. 415).
2. Rome’s plan of salvation has several steps:
The First Step is Baptism. According to Rome, salvation begins with baptism. It can be infant baptism for those born into Catholic homes or adult baptism for those who approach the Roman Church later in life. Either way, the Catholic Church teaches that through baptism a person receives spiritual life.
“By the sacrament of Baptism, whenever it is properly conferred in the way the Lord determined and received with the proper dispositions of soul, man becomes truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ and is reborn to a sharing of the divine life” (Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism, chap. 3, II, 22, p. 427).
The next steps are the other church sacraments.
After baptism a person is considered to be born again and part of the Church. This new life is said to be nurtured and kept alive through Confirmation, Mass, Penance and the other Catholic sacraments.
“Just as Christ was sent by the Father so also he sent the apostles … that they might preach the Gospel to every creature and proclaim that the Son of God by his death and resurrection had freed us from the power of Satan and from death, and brought us into the Kingdom of his Father. But he also willed that the work of salvation which they preached SHOULD BE SET IN TRAIN THROUGH THE SACRIFICE AND SACRAMENTS, around which the entire liturgical [ritualistic] life revolves” (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Chap. 1, I, 5,6, pp. 23-24).
“THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS ARE THE NECESSARY MEANS ESTABLISHED BY CHRIST THROUGH WHICH HIS REDEEMING, LIFE-GIVING, SANCTIFYING GRACE IS IMPARTED TO INDIVIDUALS’ SOULS. You must centre your life upon the sacraments established by Christ if you want to save your soul.
Means of salvation. … The sacraments are the source of your real life, the divine life that will unite you with God in this world and in eternity. Let nothing make you think that you can get along without the sacraments. Without them your soul must die. … IF YOU DON’T RECEIVE THE SACRAMENTS AT ALL, YOU DON’T RECEIVE GRACE. If you don’t receive them properly, that is, if you receive them seldom and with little devotion, you receive less grace” (L.G. Lovasik, The Eucharist in Catholic Life, pp. 14,15).
Thus we see that the Roman Catholic plan of salvation is faith in Christ PLUS baptism PLUS continuing in the sacraments.
3. Rome teaches that salvation is by the grace of God through Christ and is received by faith, but it denies that salvation is by grace ALONE and faith ALONE.
The following statement is made by a modern Roman priest well known for his emphasis upon the necessity for personal faith in the exercise of the sacraments, yet he is careful to say that the sacraments are as necessary as faith.
“In recent years the church has reiterated again and again that we are saved by faith AND the sacraments of faith. BOTH ARE NECESSARY” (J.D. Crichton, Christian Celebration: The Sacraments, p. 65).
The Catholic Church redefines grace.
When a Roman Catholic priest speaks of salvation through the grace of Jesus Christ, he does not mean the unmerited, free grace of Christ whereby a believing sinner is eternally and completely and once-for-all saved from sin. By “grace,” the Roman Catholic Church means God’s help to live a righteous life.
Consider the following quote from Vatican II:
“All children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be the more severely judged” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, chap. 2, 14, p. 337).
This is a strange kind of grace. It is a grace that does not result in eternal certainty, but only the POSSIBILITY of living up to God’s requirements. It is a subtle and unscriptural MIXTURE OF GRACE PLUS WORKS that is condemned in Galatians 1:6-8.
THE BIBLE’S ANSWER TO ROME’S DOCTRINE OF SALVATION
1. Sacramental salvation is contrary to the examples of salvation in the book of Acts (Acts 10:43: 11:16-18; 14:27; 15:9-11; 16:30-31). The souls that were saved in the early churches were saved once and for all by putting their faith in Jesus Christ. Their salvation was not a process of sacramentalism.
2. Sacramental salvation is contrary to the teaching of the book of Romans. This book is written expressly to reveal the way of salvation (Romans 1:15-17).
Consider Romans 3:21-24; 4:4-6; 11:6. Notice in the last reference that God says it is impossible to mix grace and works for salvation. We are saved by grace or we are saved by works; it cannot be a mixture of the two as the Catholic Church teaches!
3. Sacramental salvation is also contrary to the Gospel of John, which was written expressly to lead men to eternal life in Christ (John 20:31).
The first twelve chapters of John describe Jesus’ ministry to the world of lost men. In these chapters, we are shown by unmistakable emphasis that eternal life and salvation are received by faith in Jesus Christ and faith in Christ alone. “Believe” is the key word in these chapters. See John 1:12; 3:16-18, 36; 5:24; 6:28-29; 7:38-39; 8:24; 9:35-38; 11:25-26; 12:36-37. Notice that in all of these verses we are told that salvation is obtained through faith in Christ and there is no hint of sacramentalism.
4. Sacramental salvation is contrary to the summary of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Here Paul summarizes the gospel that he preached, and it is faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Period. There is no sacramentalism whatsoever. No priests; no church; no works; no sacraments.
5. Sacramental salvation is contrary to the summary of the gospel in Ephesians 2:8-10. This passage teaches that salvation is a free gift of God’s grace and that works follow as the evidence. This puts everything into proper order and perspective. It is God’s will that men live holy lives, but holy living is the product of salvation and not the way of salvation.
6. Sacramental salvation is contrary to the summary of the gospel in Titus 3:4-8. This passage also teaches that salvation is a free gift of God’s grace and that works follow as the evidence and product.
This is true Bible salvation. Eternal life, forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and the Holy Spirit are received when an individual acknowledges his sinfulness, repents of his sin and trusts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is only after this that a person can do any work to please God. Works and ceremonies, such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper, in themselves have nothing to do with forgiveness of sin, eternal life, the new birth, or becoming a child of God. Rather, obedience to God follows salvation as naturally as living follows ones natural birth. First we must receive new life through personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Then, having life, the regenerated believer serves his Master.
WAS MOTHER TERESA A TRUE CHRISTIAN?
Updated September 5, 2007 (first published via the FBIS April 12, 2000, from the article “Is Mother Teresa an Evangelical Christian” that first appeared in O Timothy magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1, 1985) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
Mother Teresa was born Agness Gonxha Bojaxhiu in what is now Yugoslavia on August 27, 1910. Raised in a middle-class Roman Catholic family, she felt the call to be a nun at age 12. Five years later, in 1928, Agness said good-bye to her mother (it was the last time she would ever see her) and made her way to Darjeeling, India, a picturesque town nestled 7,000 feet in the Himalayas, for training. In 1931, she took the new name of Sister Teresa, after the French nun St. Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower). In 1939 she took final vows and was named mother superior at St. Mary’s School at the Loreto Sisters convent in a suburb of Calcutta.
While traveling to Darjeeling for a retreat in 1946, she felt called to work in the slums; and in 1948 she first put on the namesake white sari with a blue border, and moved into the wretched slums of Calcutta. The Vatican approved her new order, the Missionaries of Charity, on October 7, 1950. In 1952 she opened Nirmal Hriday, her now-famous home for dying destitutes in Kalighat, in south Calcutta. During Mother Teresa’s lifetime, an estimated 54,000 people were brought into Nirmal Hriday.
In 1963 the Missionaries of Charity was expanded to include male workers. Today roughly 4,500 nuns and 500 “religious brothers” work with the Missionaries of Charity operating 600 homes in 120 countries.
Having lived more than 87 years, almost 50 of those spent assisting the destitute, Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997.
HER GOOD WORK
That this woman was a kind, self-giving woman, we have no doubt. Having lived in that part of the world for 16 years and having spent several weeks in Calcutta itself, I never doubt that Mother Teresa was an unusually self-sacrificing person. Many of Calcutta’s ten million residents live in the lowest squalor, some reports estimating as many as one million people are born, grow up, live, and die on the filthy streets of that massive city. The place is awfully oppressive to one’s spirit, especially for the newcomer.
Even after twenty or more visits, I never ceased to be depressed by wretched Calcutta. I’m not alone in this feeling, either. It is said that Winston Churchill, after his first visit to Calcutta, stated that he was happy he had made the trip–happy, that is, because having been there once and having experienced it, he would not have to return!
Yes, Calcutta is an awful place in many ways, and the living condition of multitudes of people there is wretched. For a woman to give her life to care for the castoffs of society is commendable.
Acknowledging that Mother Teresa is a good woman from the human perspective, though, has not answered the original question inscribed in the title of this report: “Was Mother Teresa a regenerate Christian in the biblical sense, a woman with which Bible-believing Christians should associate and with whom they should work?”
MAN’S ESTIMATION OF MOTHER TERESA
Mother Teresa certainly had a fair share of commendations! The secular world honored her with the Nobel Peace Prize (1979) and with other accolades on every hand–by heads of state, by scientists, by the press and peoples of practically every nation on earth. In 1980 she was given India’s highest decoration, the Bharat Ratna. In June 1985, she received from President Reagan the highest United States civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom award (Christian News, July 1, 1985, p. 15). In October 1985, she received the “warmest ovation of the United Nation’s 40th anniversary celebration” (Birmingham Post-Herald, October 28, 1985). In June 1997, she addressed the United States Congress and was given the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor Congress can confer.
It goes without saying that Mother Teresa was commended by her own Roman Catholic Church. She was awarded the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize in 1971. When she died, she was hailed as a saint by Pope John Paul II and other high officials in Catholicism. Cardinal John O’Connor of New York said Mother Teresa is already a saint. In March 1999, Pope John Paul II approved a waver to put Mother Teresa on a fast track to official sainthood. Normally a five-year waiting period is required after the death of an individual before the process toward sainthood is even started, but in Mother Teresa’s case the process began only months after her death and she has already been beatified. The only step remaining is for her to be canonized as a “saint.” With the Pope’s permission, Archbishop Henry Sebastian D’Souza of Calcutta has begun the investigation that will doubtless lead to “beatification” and eventually canonization as a “saint.”
Joining in the applause are most Protestant groups. At Mother Teresa’s death, Coretta Scott King, widow of the slain civil rights leader and Baptist minister Martin Luther King, said, “Our world has lost the most celebrated saint of our times.”
Almost without exception the major Protestant bodies, such as the more than 300 member bodies of the World Council of Churches, have risen up and called Mother Teresa blessed. An example is the statement made in the official periodical of the Church of North India, a member of the World Council and representative of 700,000 Christians in over 2,000 congregations in India. The cover of The North India Churchman for November 1979 featured a photo of a smiling Mother Teresa, and inside this issue editor V. Henry Devadas said:
“We are delighted that Mother Teresa has been awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. We offer our hearty congratulations to Mother Teresa and thank God for her ministry of charity to the poorest of the poor in our country. May her example of dedicated service to God and man inspire each one of us.”
Mother Teresa also appeared on the cover of the January-April 1990 issue of the Sowing Circle, a publication of the Bible Society of India. The accompanying article describes Bible Society General Secretary B.K. Premanik’s visit with Mother Teresa:
“Millions of Christians around the world went down on their knees as they learnt about Mother Teresa’s ill-health. … A simple, unassuming, white-clad woman but her life speaks volumes about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. … Her picture has been printed in some of the Bible Society of India scripture materials. We appreciate her selfless service to the people, the down-trodden in particular. We pray that the Lord would continue to strengthen her to demonstrate the love of Christ and that the Christian community will learn from her example.”
It is not that surprising to see the world, Catholicism, and liberal Protestantism offer unqualified applause to Mother Teresa. More significant and difficult to understand is the applause given to her by those that claim to be Bible-believing Christians.
Consider WORLD VISION, which claims to be an evangelical Christian mission. A report on the Jesus ‘81 rally at Anaheim Stadium appeared in the Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1981, as follows: “In the June-July 1984 issue of World Vision, an article by Joseph Ryan, director of World Vision’s Northwest Regional Office, tells of his visit to Mother Teresa in India who founded and leads the Roman Catholic Missionaries of Charity. Noted for her efforts to help the poor, this famous woman impressed the World Vision visitors with her humble spirit and simple words in which she said her work was ‘all for Jesus.’”
When Mother Teresa died, Evangelist BILLY GRAHAM gave this statement to the press: “It was my privilege to be with her on several occasions. The first time was at the Home of Dying Destitutes in Calcutta. I had a wonderful hour of fellowship in the Lord with her just at sunset, and I will never forget the sounds, the smells and the strange beauty of that place. When she walked into the room to greet me, I felt that I was, indeed, meeting a saint’’ (“Mother Teresa Hailed as a Saint,” Associated Press, Sept. 6, 1997).
Mother Teresa was extolled in an editorial in the January 1982 issue of LIGHT OF LIFE magazine, the most popular evangelical periodical in India.
In early May 1997, the popular radio-television preacher D. JAMES KENNEDY featured Mother Teresa on his broadcast. The announcer for Kennedy stated warmly, “who better to speak on love than Mother Teresa.”
The November 1989 issue of JAMES DOBSON’S Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine featured a smiling Mother Teresa on the cover. The lead article was “Teresa of Calcutta: Little Woman with a Big Heart.” The readers of this magazine were made to think that Mother Teresa was a genuine New Testament Christian and that she did a great work for God through her Missionaries of Charities mission.
Speaking at a Promise Keepers conference in Memphis in 1996, CHUCK COLSON said Christians need to reach across all denominational lines and that he was proud that Mother Teresa was his sisters in Christ (Calvary Contender, November 15, 1996). In his 2003 book “Being the Body” Colson said when he was asked by someone to travel to Calcutta to give the plan of salvation to Mother Teresa before she died, he replied that such a scene would give “a new dimension to the word ludicrous” (p. 64).
BILL HYBELS of Willowcreek Community Church invited Priest Med Laz of Holy Family Catholic Church to speak to his people. When Laz boasted that Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic, Hybels indicated that Protestants are jealous of that fact (Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and Church, 1998).
Charismatics have also honored Mother Teresa. PAT ROBERTSON hosted a television special in 1984 entitled “Don’t Ask Me, Ask God.” The program, broadcast on 150 television outlets as well as the Christian Broadcasting Network cable system, featured Mother Teresa, together with other well-known Christians (EP News Service, Aug. 25, 1984).
At a Sign and Wonders Conference in Melbourne, Australia, March 3, 1989, JOHN WIMBER praised Mother Teresa (Protestant Review, March 1989).
In 1992 JAN CROUCH, of Trinity Broadcasting Network, fulfilled a lifelong dream to meet with Mother Teresa. She said, “It was a dream come true. I had my questions all prepared, but when this precious tiny lady came by, all I could do was fall to my knees. What will it be like when we see Jesus Himself, face to face? I felt I had a little foretaste that day!” (Plains Baptist Challenger, June 1992).
The October 4 issue of WORLD magazine contained an article entitled “An Ordinary Faith: Mother Teresa’s life should prod us to go and do likewise.” The second paragraph began, “Last month the gates of heaven finally welcomed Mother Teresa home” (David Kuo, “An Ordinary Faith,” World, Oct. 4, 1997, p. 26). To make such a statement one would have to be utterly careless about the definition of the gospel. Though we could wish that Mother Teresa is in heaven, by her own testimony she was trusting in Rome’s sacramental gospel, particularly in Mary and the Mass.
The November-December 1997, issue of THE PLAIN TRUTH magazine, published by the Worldwide Church of God, featured Mother Teresa on its cover and praised her in a feature article entitled “In His Service.”
The October 20-21, 2007, edition of “Turning Point with DAVID JEREMIAH” featured the work of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. There was not a hint of warning that they preach a false gospel. The report concluded with the following quote from Pope John Paul II: “Keep Jesus Christ in your hearts, and you will recognize His face in every human being.”
Many other examples could be given. It is obvious that Mother Teresa was accepted as a true Christian by multitudes from practically every spectrum of Christianity.
Let me repeat, I am not doubting the goodness of Mother Teresa’s work from a temporal, human, earthly perspective. Yet the most important question in regard to any religious work is whether or not it is acceptable to God, whether or not it is grounded and settled in the Truth. The Bible says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
The Lord Jesus Christ warned that performing wonderful works in His name is not evidence of salvation.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and IN THY NAME DONE MANY WONDERFUL WORKS? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Thus we see that the Lord Jesus Christ solemnly warned that MANY who will do wonderful things IN HIS NAME will turn out to be unsaved people who did not know Him in truth.
It is not enough that someone loves “Jesus” or serves “the Lord” or preaches “the gospel.” The apostle Paul warned of false christs, false spirits, and false gospels (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). The Devil can and does counterfeit everything God is doing in this age. He has his own gospel, his own doctrine of conversion, even his own brand of holiness.
The only way we can know for sure what is genuine and what is counterfeit is to test it by the infallible Word of God. The people at Berea were commended for doing this: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Those who carefully test everything by the Word of God today are commonly counted as hateful troublemakers by many within mainstream evangelicalism, but the Bible warns that those who are not careful are foolish. “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going” (Proverbs 14:15). The wise man knows there are many spiritual dangers. He is aware that he has a formidable spiritual enemy who transforms himself into an angel of light and whose ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteousness. The wise man takes heed to the Bible’s warnings: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). “… Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Because of these spiritual realities, the wise Christian is extremely cautious. He does not gullibly accept someone as a genuine Christian because of a mere profession or because of “good works.” He investigates what gospel the person holds, what Christ he is trusting, what spirit he is following.
Was Mother Teresa a regenerate Christian? To what eternal destiny did she lead those to whom she ministered? This is the important question, no matter how unpopular it might be even to consider making such a “harsh” and “unloving” judgment.
AN EVANGELICAL CATHOLIC?
There are not a few who would say Mother Teresa was a “liberated” evangelical Catholic of the post-Vatican II period and that she was not only ministering food, medicine, and human kindness, but the true gospel of eternal salvation as well. Is this so? We have not far to go to find the answer. Mother Teresa openly and gladly admitted that she was a thorough-going Roman Catholic, a faithful follower of her church, an obedient sister of Romanism (except that she believed that women should be ordained to the priesthood!).
While the declarations of the Vatican II Council of the 1960s did bring changes to the Catholic Church, it did not change the foundational dogmas of that organization. Vatican II not only upheld the false teachings of Catholicism, it actually strengthened them.
The hundreds of bishops attending Vatican II reaffirmed such Roman heresies as papal supremacy; the Roman priesthood; the mass as a re-sacrifice of Christ; a sacramental faith plus works gospel; Catholic tradition on equal par with Scripture; Mary the Queen of Heaven and co-redemptress with Christ; auricular confession; pilgrimages to “holy shrines”; purgatory; prayers to and for the dead; etc.
All of the these Roman Catholic doctrines are reaffirmed in the book Vatican Council II–The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents. This book is published by the Roman Catholic Church and contains the Imprimature: Walter P. Kellenberg, D,D., Bishop of Rockville Centre, August 12, 1975. “Imprimature” is the official stamp of approval for Catholic publications and means “let it be printed.”
Consider some quotes from the Vatican II documents:
Catholic traditions on equal par with Scripture–
“Sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. … Thus it comes about that the Church does not draw her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Hence, both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal feelings of devotion and reverence” (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Chap. 2, 9, p. 682).
Salvation through sacraments and the church–
“[Christ] also willed that the work of salvation which they preached should be set in train through the sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical [ritualistic] life revolves. Thus by Baptism men are grafted into the paschal mystery of Christ. … They receive the spirit of adoption as sons” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Chap. 1, I, 5,6, pp. 23-24).
Salvation through baptism–
“By the sacrament of Baptism, whenever it is properly conferred in the way the Lord determined and received with the proper dispositions of soul, man becomes truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ and is reborn to a sharing of the divine life” (Decree on Ecumenism, chap. 3, II, 22, p. 427).
Popes distribute salvation–
“God’s only-begotten Son … has won a treasure for the militant Church … he has entrusted it to blessed Peter, the key-bearer of heaven, and to his successors who are Christ’s vicars on earth, so that they may distribute it to the faithful for their salvation … The merits of the Blessed Mother of God and of all the elect … are known to add further to this treasury” (the ellipses are in the original) (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences, Chap. 4, 7, p. 80).
Mary, the sinless mother of God, perpetual virgin, bodily assumed into Heaven as queen over all–
“Joined to Christ the head and in communion with all his saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ … Because of the gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. … The Immaculate Virgin preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, chap. 8, I, 52,53; II, 59, pp. 378,381- 382).
Mary, co-redemptress with Christ–
“As St. Irenaeus says, she being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert with him in their preaching … ‘death through Eve, life through Mary’ … This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, chap. 8, II, 56, pp. 380-381).
Mary, Heavenly intercessor–
“Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix [Mediator]” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, chap. 8, II, 62, pp. 382-383).
Further quotes from Vatican II and from the New Catholic Catechism can be found in the author’s book Evangelicals and Rome, available from Way of Life Literature.
It is plain that the Catholic Church continues to uphold doctrines which are contrary to the Word of God and even blasphemous. One can stubbornly say, “I don’t care what the Catholic Church teaches or what Mother Teresa believed; I still believe she was a good Christian.” But having faced the facts, one cannot deny that the Catholic Church preaches a false gospel and is committed to a vast range of heresies.
It is possible for a Roman Catholic to be saved IN SPITE OF Rome’s false gospel, but it is not possible for someone to be saved BY Rome’s gospel.
Further, the Bible says that those who are saved will abide in sound doctrine. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19). A truly saved person who has the indwelling Holy Spirit of Truth will reject error.
WHAT MOTHER TERESA BELIEVED
Mother Teresa was a thorough-going Catholic, a faithful daughter of Vatican II. She was a great worshiper of Mary; she believed the wafer of the mass is literally and actually Jesus Christ.
In June 1986, Mother Teresa spoke at the second annual Rosary for Peace gathering. She said, “Generously give your child to be consecrated to God. The greatest gift God can give to a family is to have a son to be a priest at the altar, at whose absolution a sinner full of sin becomes a sinner without sin. Pray that one or two of your children be consecrated that you may grow in holiness. Make your family one heart full of love, the heart of Jesus through Mary” (The Tidings, Los Angeles, California, June 20, 1986).
Thus Mother Teresa believed that the Catholic priest has the power to absolve sinners of sin and that we come to Jesus through Mary.
At the same meeting Mother Teresa called on the audience to pray the rosary, “which we pray everyday, in the streets, around the world, wherever we are,” and to have adore the Eucharist in their parishes. She asked that the rosary be said for peace…” (The Tidings, Los Angeles, Calif., June 20, 1986).
The rosary is largely a prayer to Mary. To “adore the Eucharist” is to worship the wafer of the mass as Jesus Christ.
Mother Teresa Believed All Men Are Children of God
In her speech before the United Nations in October 1985, she said, “We gather to thank God for the 40 years of the beautiful work of the United Nations for the good of people. No color, no religion, no nationality should come between us–we are all children of God. … When we destroy an unborn child, we destroy God” (Christian News, Nov. 11, 1985, p. 17).
Mother Teresa called AIDS sufferers “children of God” and said, “Each one of them is Jesus in a distressing disguise” (Time, Jan. 13, 1986).
The April 7-13, 1990, issue of Radio Times told the story of Mother Teresa sheltering an old Hindu priest. “She nursed him with her own hands and helped him to die reconciled with his own gods.” This is exactly what the Missionaries of Charity do in Kathmandu, Nepal, as we shall see later in this report from the interview with Sister Ann.
In the biography Mother Teresa: Her People and Her Work, she is quoted by Desmond Doig as follows: “If in coming face to face with God we accept Him in our lives, then we … become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, a better Catholic, a better whatever we are … What God is in your mind you must accept.”
Mother Teresa participated in the “Summit for Peace” in Assisi, Italy, in November 1986. This blasphemous prayer meeting was arranged by the pope and was attended by leaders of many different religions, including Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Shinto, Sikh, and North American Indians–all of whom united in prayers for world peace (Time, Nov. 10, 1986, pp. 78-79).
When Mother Teresa died, her longtime friend and biographer Naveen Chawla said that he once asked her bluntly, “Do you convert?” She replied, “Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him” (“Mother Teresa Touched other Faiths,” Associated Press, Sept. 7, 1997).
Mother Teresa Speaks to Priests
As further evidence of just how radically unbiblical Mother Teresa’s views were, consider some quotes from her speech at the Worldwide Retreat for Priests, October 1984, in Paul VI Audience Hall, Vatican City:
“At the word of a priest, that little piece of bread becomes the body of Christ, the Bread of Life. Then you give this living Bread to us, so that we too might live and become holy. … We and our people are hungry for God, hungry for holiness. I have seen this same hunger even among Hindus and Muslims” (Mother Teresa, cited in Be Holy: God’s First Call to Priests Today, edited by Tom Forrest, C.Ss.R., foreword by Msgr. John Magee, South Bend, Indiana: Greenlawn Press, 1987, p. 108).
“I remember the time a few years back, when the president of Yeman asked us to send some of our sisters to his country. I told him that this was difficult because for so many years no chapel was allowed in Yemen for saying a public mass, and no one was allowed to function there publicly as a priest. I explained that I wanted to give them sisters, but the trouble was that, without a priest, without Jesus going with them, our sisters couldn’t go anywhere. It seems that the president of Yemen had some kind of a consultation, and the answer that came back to us was, ‘Yes, you can send a priest with the sisters!’ I was so struck with the thought that ONLY WHEN THE PRIEST IS THERE CAN WE HAVE OUR ALTAR AND OUR TABERNACLE AND OUR JESUS. ONLY THE PRIEST CAN PUT JESUS THERE FOR US. … Jesus wants to go there, but we cannot bring him unless you first give him to us” (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, pp. 109, 111).
“So let us ask the help of our Lady! She is a Mother full of grace, full of God, full of Jesus. Let us ask her to be our Mother, guiding us and protecting us. … It is true that we are already being helped by our tremendous devotion to Mary. She is our patroness and our Mother, and she is always leading us to Jesus” (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, p. 75).
“One day she [a girl working in Calcutta] came, putting her arms around me, and saying, ‘I have found Jesus.’ … ‘And just what were you doing when you found him?’ I asked. She answered that after 15 years she had finally gone to confession, and received Holy Communion from the hands of a priest. Her face was changed, and she was smiling. She was a different person because THAT PRIEST HAD GIVEN HER JESUS” (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, p. 74).
“We must bring Jesus back into these homes by consecrating them to his Sacred Heart, by bringing prayer into the people’s lives, and teaching them to say the Rosary. Priests always used to do this before, and they have to start doing these things again, so that these families can have peace and joy and holiness through their consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. … THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS YOU ARE CALLED ‘ANOTHER CHRIST’” (Mother Teresa, Be Holy, p. 112).
It should be clear that Mother Teresa was anything but an evangelical Christian. She was a self-sacrificing woman who followed a false religion.