The Church That Banned the Bible

from "Cults & Isms"
by Alan Franklin

In March 1994 leading evangelicals and Roman Catholics signed a declaration called: "Evangelicals and Catholics together for the third millennium." This document says that Catholics and Protestants who have worked together in opposing abortion and pornography should "finally accept each other as Christians"¦ and stop proselytizing each other's flocks." Many people in the Church of England, Lutherans, Baptists and other major denominations are now convinced that Catholics are their fellow believers in the one true God.

In Britain it has become almost impossible to point out Catholic doctrinal errors. Somewhere in Britain a mother and teenage daughter went on a Bible Society sponsored walk, organized, as far as they were aware, by the independent Baptist church which their family attended. They did not realize that the Bible Society was now an ecumenical organization, or they would not have been on the walk and certainly would not have given any money.

On the last leg of the walk a middle-aged man joined the walkers and ended up chatting to the teenage girl and a middle aged lady from the Baptist church. The pair soon realized the man was a Catholic and began witnessing to him. The lady remarked that she was glad that Catholics were now allowed to read the Bible, and the man replied that they had always been allowed to do that. This, of course, is not true. The Bible was banned by the Catholic Church for centuries; it was actually on The Index, the list of banned books.

The girl told the Catholic man that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus’ death was the one and only sacrifice for sin, while the Catholic Church offers the "sacrifice of the mass" over and over again. At this point an elder of the (Baptist) church interrupted the conversation and put an end to any further dialogue along those lines. He said those religious differences were all long ago and things were much better now, we didn’t burn each other at the stake any more and wasn’t it lovely weather for a walk? Later they all learned that the man on the walk was a Catholic priest.

The teenager was upset by this incident. After years of trying to witness to girls and teachers at school, and students and lecturers at her college, and often being accused of being an intolerant bigot, she had now been firmly stopped - by a church elder for whom she had great respect. The next day at their church the girl and her mother were accused by the wife of another elder of being "subversive" for lending tapes and videos to other people at church. The tapes were mostly by Dave Hunt and Christian creationists.

They were also told they were arrogant to think they could judge who was and was not Christian. In fact it is the word of God which says who is. Someone who thinks they are saved by membership of a church, by receiving sacraments regularly, who can pay for "time off" in purgatory, who wears magic scapulars for "the grace of a happy death," who sings hymns to Mary, "co-redemptrix" with Jesus - I’m sorry, that person does not believe the gospel and has not been saved. They are religious, but they are not born-again believers in Jesus. They are Catholics, believers in the Catholic Church, a superstitious, pagan organization which masquerades as Christian. The Catholic gospel is not the true gospel; it is a false gospel, and people who believe a false gospel are not saved, they are deceived. It is our job to undeceive them.

It is tragic that Christians trying to do this are gagged by their own elders. Later the Catholic priest phoned the church to complain about the pair who had so offended him on the country walk. I wonder if he is one of the priests who have consecrated his life to Mary, as thousands of priests have, at the urging of the Pope?

The teenager gave this account of her conversation with the priest: "One of the first things to be said was that the testimony of Scripture bore witness against the Roman Catholic Church. In illustration of this point we gave the second commandment, which makes it plain that we are not to create images for ourselves of anything that is in heaven or on the earth and bow down to them. This goes contrary to Roman Catholic practice, for Catholics do bow the knee to statues and images of saints.

"After discussion on this point we moved on to the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation. The Roman Catholic was stating Jesus’ words: "˜This is My body.’ We pointed out that Jesus was standing there in His physical body as he spoke those words and that he also made metaphorical statements elsewhere, such as "˜I am the door.’

"We went on to tell the man that Jesus’ death on the cross was the final payment for sin, and that this fact is denied by the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches that Jesus’ sacrifice is literally repeated again and again at each "˜sacrifice of the mass.’

"No Roman Catholic can have unity with us if we believe that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone, and that the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary made a full and complete atonement for our sin. Neither should we attempt to make Roman Catholics feel they have any unity with us, for the Roman Catholic Church teaches that punishment for sin falls on individuals, who can be exempted from this punishment through good works, attending mass, and even through the payment of money (indulgences). Surely this should produce within any believer a righteous indignation? It is no less than blasphemy to state that anything can secure exemption from punishment for our sin, when the shedding of our Lord’s blood was supposedly insufficient to do so.

"You might argue that many Roman Catholics do not fully understand the teachings of their church, and that many have hearts which sincerely seek after God. It is our duty to tell such people the truth, not to leave them floundering in the darkness of a heretical, anti-Christ religion. Anyway, the man we were talking to clearly knew the doctrines of the church and was ardently defending them.

"People need to be freed from Roman Catholicism by the blood of Jesus, no less than they need to be freed from other false religions. Just because the errors of Roman Catholicism are more subtle than those of other religions, they are no less dangerous (indeed they are far more so). Yes, it is divisive to tell people the truth, and the cross is an offence to people. You may also think that we should not be confrontational, but which biblical figure followed a policy of "˜no confrontation’? Certainly none of those who were sent to declare God’s truth to people. Should we have befriended the man first? Where is it done so in the Bible?" (End of the girl’s letter.)

So it was that a clear-minded young girl saw the obvious, when church leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and any number of other top church leaders, seemingly cannot. What a sorry state our churches have come to in Great Britain, past home to great men of the gospel like Whitfield and Wesley, Spurgeon and Knox.

Unfortunately the Church of England, the Anglican church, is almost as bad as the church of Rome. We now have Protestant cathedrals, like Winchester in Hampshire, inviting Catholic preachers in to say the mass! This cathedral, where they now solicit admission fees as if to Disneyland, has a place in the hearts of the Franklin family because it was to this building that God led my wife, Pat, as she was on the point of conversion. While on a visit there, she was prompted by the Holy Spirit to open the Book of Common Prayer and read: "Except a man be born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Yet now, for the first time since the 16th century, a Roman Catholic cardinal has celebrated mass in Latin at the high altar. Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester, is twinning Winchester with the Roman Catholic cathedral of Florence and invited Cardinal Piovanelli, the Archbishop of Florence, to spend the weekend at Winchester, not only officiating at mass, but giving the Sunday evensong service.

Cathedral spokesman Simon Barwood told the press: "It’s a real symbol of the sisterhood between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Bishop Michael has just been to Florence visiting the cathedral for a week and the millennium celebration of our patron saint, St. Swithun, seemed the perfect occasion to return the hospitality and sign the twinning agreement. We have several different partners attached to the cathedral now. It’s symbolic, but also practical. There are exchange opportunities and a new atmosphere of tolerance and understanding." How nice for them. What next, links with the Hindus and Moslems, in a spirit of tolerance and understanding? The pope has already done this, of course, even including tree worshippers in a giant ecumenical service. Only true Christians weren’t invited. These "church leaders" wallow in their ignorance and flaunt it.

This criticism applies particularly to many so-called Christian bookshops, which are so stuffed full of crucifixes and rosaries that they don’t seem to have room on their shelves for Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which tells the true story of horrific persecution of Christians down through the ages. When I tried to get certain of these bookshops in my home area to stock my first video and later my book EU: Final World Empire I was told that it was too divisive and might upset the Catholics, who were good customers. When I delivered a lecture on the Catholic creed to one shop manager who had rosaries on his shelves, he became agitated and told me to keep my voice down or Catholics would hear. I said this was my intention! We must always remember to love Roman Catholics, for most of them are in ignorance of what their church teaches and has done through the ages. Is it love to keep them in ignorance?

I worked for years with some pleasant Roman Catholic people, but it is not loving to allow them to proceed merrily to hell, believing that the sacraments, the Virgin Mary etc will save them, plus the occasional fumble with the rosary beads. I have often noticed how fearful and superstitious they are: for example, most would not pass me on the stairs of our offices as "it brings bad luck." What we must bring to such folk - our divine commission - is the truth about Jesus, the only conduit between man and God. It seems the need for compromise and unity, together with a certain profit motive, is stopping the clear truth of the Bible reaching denominational and nominal Christians, particularly those under Catholic deception. We should be more interested in prophets than profits!

My wife and I have been accused "“ often in hostile terms "“ of being too critical and "unloving," for daring to confront some unbiblical comment or policy. Yet God calls us to be discerning and to speak out against heresy: Paul did it all the time and Jude instructs us to contend for the faith. This is not what most churchgoers in Great Britain want to hear today. The people have itching ears for false doctrine, have no love for the truth and do not want to hear any different. Their ignorance, even in once godly denominations, would seem to make them very happy.

We often meet truly discerning, well read and wise older Christians who tell us they "cannot find a church." The same thing is happening across the USA. I am privileged to speak at the East Coast Prophecy Conferences in Pennsylvania put on by Southwest Radio Church of Oklahoma City. One after another delegates to the conferences have told us they to leave their churches. One family had to leave the church their grandfather founded. They all felt they had no choice but to leave because of false doctrines which were now taught. Time and again we met people in this situation; people lamenting the friends they had left behind, but people who knew they could not stay in an organization where apostasy was taught from the pulpit. This is clearly the Laodicean church age. Interestingly enough, we have found that just about the only born again people there and also in Britain who are still content with their churches are those in the Brethren, or some evangelicals and Baptists who stick like glue to the scriptures.

Not only does the Christian church not know the history of Protestantism, it doesn’t know biblical history, which is even more serious. Our daughter Annie and her friend spent three weeks at the wonderful summer Bible camp held in New York state by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, learning about the Bible from a Jewish perspective (Arnold is a Messianic Jew, saved as a teenager). On returning to her home church, an Anglican (Episcopalian) center, Annie’s friend was asked, in all seriousness: "What is the point of learning about the Bible from a Jewish point of view?"

An anti-semitic stance is behind some churches’ attitudes: when my wife grew up in the Roman Catholic faith in the mid-west there was an underlying anti-semitism. Among the Catholics she grew up amongst, the word "˜Jews’ was seldom used without the prefix "damn." This is just one sign that Catholicism is incompatible with biblical Christianity. We are not to seek unity with a false religious system with its roots in pagan Babylon.

In recent times Catholic commentators and apologists have glossed over the disgraceful complicity of the Vatican in Hitler’s holocaust of the Jews. However, God made sure the truth came out. In a Roman flea market, of all places, a journalist antiquarian book collector called Fabrizio Coisson found documents that prove that Pope Pius XII knew all about Nazi atrocities. This Pope, of whom it has often been said that he turned a blind eye to Hitler, who was a Catholic, was given a daily account of the atrocities of Hitler’s henchmen. Francis D’Arcy Godolphin Osborne was the British minister to the Holy See and typed out a daily report for the Pope. He culled this from British broadcasts, picked up in the Vatican where he took refuge in 1940. Mr. Coisson said he was astonished to find a signed note in which the British diplomat describes how, on a daily basis, he typed out the BBC broadcasts and gave them to the Pope. Osborne died in Rome in 1964 and it is thought that some of his possessions were sold and eventually found their way on to the market stall.

The Times, published in London, carried a story on May 24, 2000 headed: "British envoy sent Pope bulletins on the Holocaust." The story quoted Professor Owen Chadwick of Cambridge University, author of "Britain and The Vatican During The Second World War", as saying the find was "remarkable," while Jesuit historian Father Pierre Blet admitted it was astonishing. The reports in the market documents give a detailed account of Jewish deportations, mass killings and "inhuman experiments" and may at least slow plans to beatify Pius XII. Rabbi Martin Hier, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles, was quoted in The Times as saying that it would desecrate the memory of the Holocaust victims to beatify a man "who sat in silence on the throne of St. Peter and watched the trains take Jews across Europe to the death camps."

Francis Osborne had arrived in Rome in 1936, to represent Britain at The Vatican. He was an admirer of Pope Pius. However, he closely followed Allied broadcasts and began putting together compilations of what he called "British wireless news" for the Pope. He emphasized the suffering of civilians in occupied Europe and German - "crimes against humanity." In October of 1940 he told the Pope that the Germans were actively promoting anti-Semitism in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. In 1941 his tone had become more dramatic, as the Nazis "committed atrocities in the name of the myth of the superior race." He also put it in writing for the Pope that the Germans were: "conducting experiments on sick and mentally deficient children in Germany," and noted that Hitler had vowed to "liquidate the Jews for at least 1000 years." The Pope was also told that Polish Jews were being murdered and deported en masse and that: "In Poland they have announced that Jews may in future only travel by railway after obtaining a special permit, and then only by slow train."

In 1943 Osborne’s campaign was intensified and he told the Pope that in Slovakia : "77 per cent of the Jewish population has been deported to an unknown destination, which probably signifies death"¦..and the number of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto has been reduced by 400,000 since last July "“ there are barely 35,000 left."

The writer John Cornwell had earlier claimed in his book "Hitler’s Pope" that Pius not only failed to speak out against Nazi persecution as Pope, but that earlier, as Papal ambassador (Nuncio) in Berlin in the 1920s and Secretary of State in the 1930s, he helped put Hitler into power by suppressing German Catholic resistance to the Nazis. It is clear that there was no love for the Jews at the very top of the Roman Catholic Church, yet the whole concept of the Messiah is a Jewish one. It was the Jews who were looking for a Messiah, the Jews who had been told they were God’s chosen people, the Jews to whom God sent the prophets, the Jews who were saved time and again from their enemies, the Jews to whom God sent great leaders, the Jews to whom God spoke directly, the Jews who provided the disciples - and Jesus was a Jew. It was the Hebrew scriptures which contained the Messianic prophecies and if Jesus is not the Messiah of the Jews, he can’t be our Messiah either. Suddenly you have no basis for Christianity.

Years ago I recall the leader of a black church pointing out: "Jesus wasn’t white." He certainly wasn’t the blue-eyed, flaxen haired savior depicted in many stained glass windows. He almost certainly had olive-colored skin and dark hair, as you would expect from someone born in the Mediterranean area, which makes it all the more amazing that there are churches in America and elsewhere dedicated to racism, yet calling themselves "Christian". Yes, Jesus was a Jew, a fact people sometimes need reminding of, but he came for every inhabitant of the world. All the more surprising than that, in these last days, you can be called "racist" for telling people that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. This happened to our daughter, as she tried to witness to a fellow student. It happened to a teacher friend of mine who was told that he couldn’t teach "Christian exclusiveness" in religious studies. After all, all roads lead to God, don’t they?

There is a difference between real Christianity and Catholicism, a difference the evil rulers of the world recognize far more than the gullible Christians of western Protestantism. Some years ago some Americans I know ventured down to Mexico to help build an evangelical church. The local believers had tried to build it, but had been shot at by the Roman Catholics of the area. They said to the work team from the USA: "They won’t dare shoot at you." So the church was built, one of the builders being a brother-in-law of mine. If you want to see the difference between Christianity and Catholicism, go to South America. There’s not a lot of ecumenism about"¦

It is a matter of historical record that the Catholic Church has tried to keep the Bible out of the hands of ordinary people. The Catholic Bible was in Latin, which few people could read, and they wanted to keep it that way. Just a few dates:

  • 1229 A.D. Council of Toulouse, Canon 14: "We prohibit also that the laity (the ordinary people) should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament"¦"
  • 1559 Index Librorum Prohibitorum "“ Pope Pius IV starts an Index of Forbidden Books condemning the works of "arch-heretics" Luther and Calvin, including translations of the New Testament. You needed permission in writing to read a Catholic translation of the Bible, and if you had a Bible in the common language without written permission, your sins could not be forgiven unless you turned in the Bible.
  • Sept 8, 1713 Encyclical Unigenitus from Pope Clement XI "“ condemning the "error" of stating that every person should study Scripture.
  • May 5, 1824 Encyclical Ubi Primum from Pope Leo XII "“ condemning Bibles printed in the vernacular (the spoken language of the people) as a "wretched undertaking".
  • May 8, 1844 Encyclical Inter Praecipuas (On Biblical Societies) "“ Pope Gregory XVI condemns "secret gatherings" for the reading of scripture. "We again condemn "¦ biblical societies "¦"
  • 1897 Pope Leo XIII Apostolic Constitution Officiorum ac Munerum "“ "All versions of the Holy Bible, in any vernacular language, made by non-Catholics are prohibited; and especially those published by the Bible societies, which have been more that once condemned by the Roman Pontiffs (Popes)"¦"
  • 1930 Forward to the Index of Prohibited Books "Those who would put the Scriptures indiscriminately into the hands of the people ... (these) counterfeit champions of the inspired book hold the Bible to be the sole source of Divine Revelation and cover with abuse and trite sarcasm the Catholic and Roman Church."
  • 1983 Code of Canon Law (the current Catholic law on Bibles in the common language) "“ Translations of the Bible cannot be published unless approved by the Apostolic See (the Papacy in Rome) "annotated with necessary and sufficient explanations."

And those are some of the reasons we say again that the Roman Catholic Church is: the church that banned the Bible. We are sorry to say that the suppression of Scripture did not stop there. Incredibly, the Protestant Reformation did not go nearly far enough "“ and after the break with Rome, even the Church of England banned the English Bible! Courageous preachers called Lollards were burned at the stake with their English Bibles hung round their necks. John Bunyan, beloved author of Pilgrim’s Progress, fell foul of the Church of England and was made to serve 14 years in Bedford Jail near Cambridge for preaching the gospel.

In the year 2000 as part of the celebrations in England at the turn of the millennium, excerpts from Pilgrim’s Progress were read out in one of the great London cathedrals by some actress. We were sickened. At no time did anyone say, "We’re standing in one of the great Church of England cathedrals, the religious organization which burned people to death for possessing an English Bible and which imprisoned great authors and preachers like John Bunyan." No, they did not say that. They too, the Church of England, are tarred with the same wretched brush: the church that also banned the Bible.