The Catholic Influence on Baptist Churches and How It Got There
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
And there came one of the seven angels which has the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY
BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. Revelation 17:1-7
Catholics have had an unbelievable influence on our Baptist churches. I am going to take you step by step to reveal exactly how that influence took place.
In the Bible, a bad woman is a symbol of false religion, and a good woman symbolizes the true faith in Jesus Christ. Here we have an introduction to a false religion, the great whore. Notice that this whore sitteth upon many waters. The many waters represent many Gentile nations of the earth. That means she is a universal whore. Whatever her religion is, it is a universal religion, which has joined together the kings of the earth. It is referring to a union of church and state.
The word fornication goes with the word whore. It means an unholy relationship without love. This religion does not love the state, but for her own gain, attaches herself to the state. The state, for her own gain, interacts with this religion.
There are two beasts in Revelation 13. One is a political beast and the other an ecclesiastical beast. The political beast is the head of something like the United Nations. The ecclesiastical beast is head of something like the World Council of Churches. This false religion is sitting upon this beast, which means there is a union of church and state.
Daniel 2 gives us a picture of a big image or beast. That beast's head is gold, dressed in arms of silver, with belly and legs of brass and feet and toes of iron and clay. Those four metals represent four empires that have conquered the world. The first empire was the Babylonian Empire. The second was the Empire of the Medes and Persians, conquered by the Grecian Empire. Then there is the Roman Empire. There is one world empire that has not yet come, and that is the ten toes of iron and clay.
The Bible says there will be another world empire that will have ten kings. It will be a revival of the Roman Empire. The ten kings in that empire will be something like the United Nations. It will actually be a Western Confederacy, over which the anti-Christ will have control. That empire will be very wealthy.
This woman represents the Roman Catholic hierarchy. She is the mother of harlots. When all the little children have come back to her and reunited into one great false religion, the Roman Catholic church will sit on the ten-kingdom empire. The Catholic church, the National Council of Churches, and the United Nations, or revived Roman Empire, or European Common Market will all be together. All of the major religions in this world will be together, and all the major western nations of this world will be together. They will all line up against Russia.
I want you to notice several things about her.
1. She says she is a universal church. The word Catholic means universal. Today, most Baptist preachers believe in what they call the universal or invisible church. That was unheard of until this century. There is, of course, no such thing as the universal, invisible church. Baptists, all the way back to the Anabaptist days, believed in the local New Testament church.
2. She possesses formalism in her worship. Roman Catholicism has always been for robed clergy and a robed choir. Up until this century you could not find a Baptist church that had a robed choir. For 1900 years Baptist churches did not have them, because the Roman Catholic churches did. That is why I would never wear a robe when I preach. Until this century robes were unheard of in a Baptist church.
It is shocking how many Baptist churches have three candles on their communion table. Until this century, no Baptist church would consider having a worship center.
Until this century Baptist churches never called a church building a House of God. Spurgeon used the word meeting place to describe his building. He did not call his church building the House of God.
Baptists did not use the term sanctuary until this century.
Baptists did not use anthems in church until this century. Until this century you would never have heard classical music in a Baptist church. Baptist people, historically, have not been people of great wealth, nor were they people of what the world calls culture and refinement.
Ornate buildings are unique to this century for Baptist churches. I dare you to find the cathedrals that Baptists have built. You will find great cathedrals built by the Catholics and her babies, but not by the Baptists. It is unique to this century.
Baptist preachers, until this century, have never used clergy titles, such as Reverend.
Baptist churches allowing themselves or their schools to be licensed or accredited is totally unique to this age.
The Catholics and others have catechism classes a person must take before they can join the church. Now the same thing is going on in Baptist churches. When I went to First Baptist Church, you had to meet before a committee, and be examined and approved before you could be baptized. The book of Acts says that the New Testament church added daily such as were being saved. In Baptist churches all over this country you have waiting periods, which are nothing more than a form of catechism.
Think about it. Baptists had none of these things until this century:
* Universal church
* Formal services
* Worship centers
* Buildings called the House of God
* The term sanctuary
* Classical music
* Ornate buildings
* Clergy titles
* Union of church and state
* Waiting periods for baptism
What happened? The Reformation brought forth Protestants from the Catholic church. They left the Catholic church basically over the issue of justification by faith, so basically it was a doctrinal withdrawal. These people are the children of the mother of harlots. The Baptist churches already existed before the Reformation. Since Jesus started the church, there always have been New Testament Baptist churches. Originally, you had the Baptist churches and the Catholic church. The Reformation brought about the creation of the Protestant groups.
I admire the Reformationists. I admire the men who are now fighting for the Bible in the Southern Baptist Convention. I am not a Southern Baptist, and could not be a Southern Baptist, but there is nothing wrong with admiring their courage. We can admire the Protestants, but the fact still remains that they look very much like their mother, the Catholic church. They reorganized into a denomination that was just as powerful over the people as the Catholic church used to be. They pulled out doctrinally, but not organizationally.
I admire Luther and Calvin, but they never belonged to a New Testament church. The New Testament churches never sprinkled babies. The New Testament churches never had denominational bosses.
Something else happened. Over the centuries, these denominations became more and more liberal. From these denominations we had the twentieth century Reformation, or the American Reformation. This brought about the inter-denominational movement. They came toward us, but they did not come to us. We should not fight them, or criticize them, but we should not unite with them either.
Here is what happened to the Baptists. They decided they wanted to be educated. The independent Baptists had no schools, so we sent our young people to be trained in the schools which were started by those who came out of the Protestant movement and who started the
inter-denominationalist movement. They trained our preachers in the doctrines and methods that they brought with them when they split. When our preacher boys came out of their schools, they had learned all about the universal church, formal services, robes, worship centers, sanctuaries, anthems and classical music, ornate buildings, clergy titles, union of church and state, and catechism.
All of these things came from the phenomenon of the interdenominationalists. The Independent Baptists had few colleges until J. Frank Norris started a school in Texas. Later, the Baptist Bible Fellowship started a school in Springfield, Missouri, but Independent Baptists still had no place to train their preachers.
I am not opposed to inter-denominational schools. I am not opposed to a barber college, but it is not a good place for a Baptist preacher to train. I am not opposed to medical school, but that is not a good place for a Baptist preacher to train. I am not opposed to these Bible colleges, but along with the truth they brought out of the Protestant movement, they also brought much error. They brought the universal church. They brought their formal worship services.
Two things happened when we sent them our preacher boys there to get trained.
1. They received good Christian training.
2. They did not receive good church training.
You cannot divide the two. If the church was not important, Jesus would not have started it. They received good training that the blood of Jesus washes away our sin; they received good training in walking with God; they received good training in prayer; they received basically good training in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, but they received no training concerning the New Testament church; they received no training concerning the ordinances of the New Testament church. They still preached the Gospel, but did not believe in our Baptist heritage.
Tragically, in many cases, they "looked down their noses" at the crude old-fashioned ways the Baptists did things. There are hundreds of pastors in Baptist churches today who are not Baptists. Our Baptist heritage has been diluted. Perhaps even more tragic is the fact that all over the world there are preachers who were won to Christ by an old fashioned Baptist missionary and then came to a inter-denominational college in the United States to get their training. They have gone back to their home countries and taken with them the inter-denominational teaching they received here. They have taken back the formal worship services, the doctrine of the universal church, the robes, the worship centers, the anthems, etc.
A phenomenon has happened in our generation. We have started our own Christian schools in Baptist churches. Thirty years ago you barely could find a Baptist church that had a Christian day school. Now it is difficult to find one that does not. There are thousands of Baptist churches operating Christian day schools across America.
We have started our own Christian colleges in Baptist churches.
Baptist colleges are being started all over America. We no longer have to send our boys to be taught that there is such thing as the invisible universal church, and to dress our choirs and preachers like Catholics do. I am not angry at anybody with a robed choir, but they did not get it from our Baptist history. They got it from the Catholics. Love them. Pray for them. Thank God for them, but do not allow them to train our young people. We are still Baptists. I thank God for the Gospel they preach, but I am still a Baptist. America needs a soul-winning fundamental Baptist church in every neighborhood.
There is still one danger. We must be careful that we do not staff our faculties with teachers who have been trained by the very institutions we are trying to avoid. In many of our churches we have already allowed the inter-denominationalist to invade us through our schools.
It is also important that we continue to train our preachers in colleges started and controlled by independent fundamental Baptist churches. Divine perpetuity has been promised to the church, not to the school. A school without the canopy of a church must die.
Now we have our own schools with our own teachers. In the next few years something incredible is going to happen in America. There is going to be a resurgence of real Baptists. We do not have to send our students to the inter-denominationalists for training anymore.
We did not realize it, but for many years we have been influenced by the Catholic church. From her came some harlots, and from those harlots came people of conviction. Thank God for them, but although they came toward us, they did not come to us. There is something better, and that is the doctrine of local New Testament, independent Baptist churches, who start their own schools, run their own business, are bossed by nobody, but God Himself!
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