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Commentary by Roger Oakland

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Over the past number of years I have been writing articles and producing radio programs in an attempt to urge evangelical Christians to wake up and see the light. Many Bible-believing Christians who were once concerned about false teaching and apostasy seem to have lost their passion for the truth and have little discernment. Instead of standing firm against unbiblical ideas and experiences, they now are promoting them.

While we have been able to document that the Emerging Church Movement is clearly another road to the Roman Catholic Church, it seems fewer professing Christians are concerned. Darkness has crept over the church the same way an avalanche sweeps down a mountain. Every day more and more unsuspecting victims are being swept up and buried.

In an attempt to sound another alarm, I am going to present a number of statements taken from a book titled The Road to Rome: Modern Journeys to the Catholic Church. [1] The book is authored by sixteen different contributors who have converted to Roman Catholicism. The editor is Dwight Longenecker, a former evangelical Protestant. According to his biography:

Dwight Longenecker was brought up in an evangelical home in the USA and attended the fundamentalist Bob Jones University. He came to England in 1979 to study theology at Oxford and went on to be ordained into the Anglican ministry—serving as a curate, a chaplain at Cambridge and a country parson on the Isle of Wight. He and his wife were received into the Catholic Church in 1995 and he now works as a District Organizer for the St. Barnabas Society, and as a freelance writer and broadcaster. [2]

On the back cover the following statement is made explaining what the book is about:

This collection of conversion stories relates how former Baptists, Presbyterians, Salvation Army officers, Plymouth Brethren, New Age believers and Evangelical Anglicans all made their way along the Path to Rome. [3]

A second statement provides more information regarding the purpose for publishing the book. Quoting again from the back cover:

By introducing some of the new wave converts, The Path to Rome gives a glimpse of a possible future for the church. As we enter the third millennium, Catholicism, Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy will continue to converge. From this book a vision emerges in which old cultural, national and doctrinal controversies become increasingly irrelevant. Then as the age of Reform draws to a close and the millennium of division gives way to a “Second Spring,” the Church may once more speak with a united voice. [4]

This idea that a “Second Spring” (or as some call it, a “Second Pentecost”) is about to dawn is fascinating in light of Bible prophecy. Is it a grand delusion that will overtake the world in the name of Christ? Why aren’t more people paying attention?

A New Kind of Christianity

It is amazing to see the progress made in the past few years as the vast majority of churches that were once evangelical move towards an ecumenical unity with Rome. There was a time when evangelical Christians were sensitive to what makes Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholicism. Not so today. The Emerging Church Movement, along with the idea that Christian unity must happen at any cost, has opened the door for a global ecumenical movement that has no biblical boundaries.

A statement by Dwight Longenecker, a convert to Catholicism who was brought up in an evangelical home and is now the editor of The Path to Rome: Modern Journeys to the Roman Catholic Church, will help summarize what has happened over the past few decades:

While Evangelicalism and Catholicism have been traditional enemies, there are many signs on both sides of the Atlantic that a significant shift is happening in both communities. Old boundaries are dissolving, old prejudices dying out and old doctrinal disputes seem increasingly irrelevant. Together Evangelicals and Catholics are recognizing a shared social concern. [5]

What Longenecker has stated is true. Working together for a common social cause has become the banner that has brought many evangelical Protestants together with Rome. Doctrinal differences with regard to salvation have been forgotten in order to form political alliances and programs that promise to make planet earth a better place to live in the future. 

Longenecker also accurately points out that this present ecumenical phenomenon is largely the result of a plan that originated in Rome and is sanctioned by the pope. He states:

The Pope calls for all Christians to [a] profound conversion of heart in order for ecumenism to take place.…He calls Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants to move [forward] into a new reformation of the Church.…In an encyclical that should be read by all Christians, the Pope calls the whole church to join in [a] quest for a new kind of Christianity in which all Christians can once more unite. [6]

The term “new kind of Christianity” is very familiar in light of the propaganda being promoted by Emerging Church proponents. This is exactly what Brian Mc Laren and others have been calling for. It’s the Church on the Other Side. It’sThe Secret Message of Jesus that is changing the very definition of what it means to be an evangelical.

As well, the idea that a “new reformation” is in the process of taking place is another battle cry of Emergent promoters. The Reformation was a time in church history when Christianity was led out of darkness into light. This so-called new reformation is leading Christianity out of the light back into the darkness.

In fact, this “new kind of Christianity” brought about by the new reformation is no reformation at all. It is the apostasy that the Bible warns will take place in the last days that will deceive the whole world in the name of the Jesus Christ.

New Evangelization Evangelists

The Roman Catholic Church has a name for those who have departed from the “One True Church.” They’re called the “separated brethren.”  Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, had one main goal in mind when he established his organization. He and his band of faithful ruthless men would do everything possible to bring these separated brethren back to the Mother of All Churches. Several centuries have passed. Now that we are in the twenty-first century, his plan is becoming a reality.

Dwight Longenecker provides a sobering update on the success of the Jesuit plan in the introduction of The Path to Rome: Modern Journeys to the Roman Catholic Church. He wrote:

Six of the fifteen contributors to this collection (book) are from an Evangelical background; they are also the younger contributors. In the United States, books like Surprised by the Truth have chronicled the conversions of a whole wave of converts from Evangelical Protestantism, and these converts have come into the Catholic Church with their immense Bible knowledge, their communication skills, and their zeal undiminished. [7]

I agree with Longenecker regarding the scenario he described. Roman Catholicism has been given a huge boost by numerous “Home to Rome” converts who are more zealous for their new found faith in the “sacraments and saints” than most “born-again” Bible believers are about the gospel. However, I do not agree that their passion for promoting unbiblical Roman Catholic dogma is tied to their knowledge of the truth of the Scriptures, as Longenecker states:

Former Presbyterian minister, Scott Hahn has an international ministry teaching the Biblical basis of his new-found Catholic faith. Patrick Madrid publishes a lively magazine promoting evangelism and apologetics, while others engage in broadcasting, preaching and teaching on an international scale. These lay apostolates are having an enormous impact in both opening Catholics’ eyes to the riches of the Scriptures as well as explaining the Catholic faith in terms accessible to Evangelicals. [8]

But there is more! Longenecker further explains how the Roman Catholic New Evangelization program has benefited from programs implemented by “evangelical” groups and their “evangelism” programs:

While Scott Hahn, Patrick Madrid, and others work as converts to Catholicism, the Catholic Church is learning from Evangelicals in other ways. In the United States, England and Latin America, Catholics are learning how to do primary evangelism using an adapted form of the highly successful, Evangelical Anglican “Alpha” course which originates from Holy Trinity, Brompton. Through this course and other resources, modern lay Catholics are learning to understand and communicate their faith with an open-ness and zeal unheard of before. [9]

I find this statement amazing. Before Pope John Paul II died, Nicky Gumbel, founder of the Alpha program, went to Rome and met with the pope. The pope and Gumbel agreed to a partnership to “evangelize together.” While some may believe that the Alpha program will evangelize Roman Catholics to the gospel according to the Scriptures, I can assure you that the Vatican’s idea of evangelism is to win converts to the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Jesus. The new evangelists who have made Rome their home provide all the evidence we need to prove this point.

The Emerging Church that is Emerging

The Jesuit program to win back the “separated brethren” to the Roman Catholic Church appears to be more successful every day. The results of the Reformation are being reversed by the “new reformation” promoted by the Emerging Church.

I’m not an alarmist; I’m a realist. I also believe Bible prophecy is inspired by God and is one hundred per cent accurate. When the Bible foretells there will be a strong delusion in the last days and that many will be deceived in the name of Christ, I take this seriously.

The Bible describes apostasy which will take place in the Last Days. This cannot and will not be altered. God knows the end from the beginning and certain things have been written down to warn us in advance. However, we can and should warn people so that they can come to their senses. That’s my intention!

In this commentary we have been gaining insights from a book titled The Path to Rome: Modern Journeys to the Catholic Church. The purpose in presenting statements from this book is to document there is a path to Rome and there are many who are traveling it.

Further, this book provides a glimpse of what lies ahead as the pope’s New Evangelization program continues. We can expect many more unsuspecting victims will be drawn into an ecumenical web by Emerging Church evangelists who are paving a mystical path to Rome, perhaps without knowing it.

One more quote from The Path to Rome will show how the facts support what I am saying. Longenecker writes:

Evangelicals are becoming more “catholic”. In Britain Christianity magazine, a trendy Evangelical publication, explores Ignatian spirituality, Benedictine retreats, pilgrimages, liturgy and Gregorian chant. At the same time, Evangelical leaders are less shy about asking “catholic” techniques of prayer and worship. In America, churches where candles and set liturgy would—even ten years ago—be unheard of, are celebrating Lent and Advent with crosses, candles, ashes and liturgies borrowed from Catholics and Anglicans. [10]

Now, in order to make one more attempt to sound a wake-up call for those who are interested, here is a final statement proving that the “path to Rome” is real and inevitable:

It is hoped that this collection (book) may play a part in helping Catholics understand why others want to join the Catholic Church, and help Evangelicals and other Protestants understand the call of the Catholic Church to unity.

Then continuing with these words that are prophetic in light of the apostasy prophesied in the Bible:

But at the grass roots level the Spirit may be doing a new, and even a greater creative work—bringing a new church out of the chaos of division. If a new Pentecost is germinating, it will produce a church unfettered by the old denominational, national, doctrinal and historical prejudices. The building of this new Church may be part of the “second spring” which Newman prophesied; a Second Spring in which old differences of the second millennium are buried once and for all, and a newly unified Church emerges ready for the challenge of the third millennium. [11]

When the Emerging Church finishes emerging, it will have merged with Rome, and the great delusion will have been accomplished.


[1] The Road to Rome: Modern Journeys To The Catholic Church, edited by Dwight Longenecker, Gracewing, Herefordshire, England, 1999 and reprinted 2000, 2001.

[2] Ibid., p. X.

[3] Ibid., back cover.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., p. 7.

[6] Ibid., p. 6.

[7] Ibid., p. 7.

[8] Ibid., pp. 7-8.

[9] Ibid., p. 8.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., p. 11.

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