Transcript of a Heart of the Matter Documentary on Refo500:
"A Popish Octopus with a Very Long Reach"
speaker, Ralph Ovadal, pastor of Pilgrims Covenant Church
Closing commentary by Rev. Ivan Foster, Free Presbyterian Church, Ret.
facts stated in this documentary are from primary sources.
Hello, everyone; welcome to
this special edition of the Heart of the Matter. For quite some time now,
a few of us, a precious few of us, have been very concerned about a large,
well organized, very far-reaching organization called Refo500. I hope you
will take the time to listen well to this documentary, which is an
in-depth look at a very deep well of ecumenical corruption, which is in
truth nothing less than an instrument of popery, part and parcel of the
strategy conceived and announced by Vatican II, and which has been so
successfully carried out now for almost fifty years. I have spoken many
times about that strategy, and I have written on it as well. It is hard
not to speak on it now, but there are many facts I need to set before you
in the next hour or so. Thus, I am going to only give you two quotes from
two different Vatican II documents. These are things to keep in mind as we
progress with this documentary.
"ecumenical dialogue" with "non-Catholic communities,"
especially, of course, evangelical Christians--this ecumenical dialogue
which is at the heart of the Vatican II ecumenical cooperation
strategy--we have this, that it "serves
to transform modes of thought and behavior and the daily life of those
Communities [that is, non-Catholic communities]. In this way, it aims at
preparing the way for their unity of faith in the bosom of a Church one
and visible: thus 'little by little,' as the obstacles to perfect
ecclesial communion are overcome, all Christians will be gathered, in a
common celebration of the Eucharist, into that unity of the one and only
Church which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning. This unity,
we believe, dwells in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose
. . .'" And of course, that is the Roman Catholic Church.
then we have this: "ecumenical
cooperation is a true school of ecumenism, a dynamic road to unity. Unity
of action leads to the full unity of faith:
'Through such cooperation, all
believers in Christ are able to learn easily how they can understand each
other better and esteem each other more, and how the road to the unity of
be made smooth.'"
purpose of this special Heart of the Matter program is to give a much more
in-depth report on Refo500 than we have ever done before, either on this
program or in several articles in which Refo500 was not the sole subject.
Those articles and at least one of the programs caused quite a bit of
controversy and brought us a good deal of vitriolic criticisms. You can
find the articles on our church web site at www.pccmonroe.org.
is a very large topic; but I will strive to present enough information in
the next hour or so to give the listener an understanding of the true,
evil nature of Refo500, and in that, plenty of reason as to why faithful
ministers, and all faithful Christians, must separate entirely from
Refo500 or be in disobedience to the word of God and acting contrary to
the honor of Christ Jesus, the good of His blood-bought flock, and the
true faith once delivered unto the saints. We are going to close out this
program with a brief commentary by my good friend Rev. Ivan Foster, a
long-time, faithful contender for the faith once delivered unto the
do not expect to be widely commended for this program since names by
necessity in such a warning must be named. We are not out to "get"
anyone any more than we have any interest in being respecters of persons.
Our concern is for the honor of Christ Jesus who purchased us with His own
blood, Christ Jesus and the authority of His word and the well-being of
His own blood-bought church. This is what we're concerned with.
I am a minister, a preacher of the word of God; but this particular
program is a documentary, a fact-filled documentary. It is a rebuttal to
those who have insisted ministers of Christ can be a part of Refo500. We
are going to lay on the table exactly what Refo500 is. As a minister, I
have preached many times on biblical separation, but today my aim is to
expose and document as much as possible, in the time we have, the nature
of Refo500. It is a cage of unclean birds; it is a haunt of Roman
Catholics, apostate Protestants, and a few high-profile Reformed ministers
who are sound in basic doctrine, but they are deeply, dangerously,
treasonously, we might say, corrupted in practice.
those men in mind, allow me to give you a quote from Charles Spurgeon, a
minister who, unlike some Reformed ministers whose names you will be
hearing soon, would have had nothing to do with Refo500, but rather he
would have exposed it and rebuked it. This is from Spurgeon's morning
sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on October 7th, 1877. This is what
he said during that sermon: "I
know what would happen if we feared God more: we should sooner die than
remain in any fellowship with popery. Every man who saw any fear of his
being found in complicity with Antichrist would at once say, 'I will not
have it. Popery is abhorred of the Lord, and they who help it wear the
mark of the beast. I hate Antichrist, and therefore I denounce it and cry,
Down with it, raze it even to the ground.' Everything that is of the
Pope and popery would soon be put aside if men were but true to their
consciences and their God."
what can I say but, "Amen and amen," to what Charles Spurgeon
Some Foundational Facts
is nothing less than a religious conglomeration reeking of Jesuitical
intrigue. It is an ecumenical stewpot of Roman Catholic and, speaking in
the general and broadest sense, Protestant churches, organizations,
seminaries, and various institutions. The leadership of Refo500 includes
both Roman Catholics and Protestants.
title Refo500 refers to the 500th anniversary of what is known as the
beginning of the Protestant Reformation, that is, when Martin Luther
nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
However, the name is very deceptive. The reality, as is clear from the
Refo500 official web site, is that Refo500 is about many so-called
reformations of the 16th Century, including Rome's Counter-Reformation and
the Council of Trent, which are discussed and analyzed in a very favorable
light at various Refo500 events, including but certainly not limited to
those hosted by Roman Catholic Refo500 partners, some of which I will list
in a couple of minutes. But here is a quote off of the official Refo500
web site: "On the Roman Catholic side, the Counter-Reformation is considered as a
consequence of the Catholic reform. In the latter case, one should
consider that the church requires constant focus upon inner renewal to
realize the Catholic [of course, that's Roman Catholic] ideal of life. As far as the Counter-Reformation is concerned, the
Church had to maintain these in the struggle against Protestantism. The
Council of Trent (1546-1563) occupies an important place in the history of
the Counter-Reformation. It was, on one hand, preoccupied with the renewal
of the church, but on the other hand, the various decisions reached that
take the doctrine and ecclesiastical practice concern setting themselves
against the Reformation again."
off the official Refo500 web site we have this: "Partners
are free to bring their own projects into Refo500, giving their own
interpretation of the term Reformation."
we have this: "Out of the
Reformation of the 16th century many Protestant churches did indeed arise.
This movement also had a significant impact upon the Roman Catholic
church. Out of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic church also recognizes
namely their own Roman Catholic reform (which is also known as the
counter-Reformation). Refo500 also focuses on the Roman Catholic
we get started here, I do want to mention that all documentation presented
in this program is accurate as of the date this program airs, and it has
also been preserved.
I want to read just a few more telling excerpts from the Refo500 web pages
which tell about the organization, its nature, make-up, philosophy, aims,
vision, partners, mission, and so forth. These are in-context excerpts,
representative of much, much more of the same sort of statements.
Remember, Refo500 is a deeply ecumenical organization.
So a few more excerpts from the Refo500 page which contains basic
information about this ecumenical, in truth Romish octopus with many and
far-reaching tentacles. The octopus, you know, uses its tentacles to grip
its victims and pull them in toward its mouth in order to bite them with a
poisonous bite. But, enough of metaphor, here are some additional excerpts
from Refo500; I'm just going to read these excerpts; I won't tell what
heading each one comes under to save time--just excerpts:
. . the
foundation's [that is, Refo500 Foundation] goal is to function as a
platform for meetings and cooperative ventures for partners
. . ."
Now remember, Roman Catholic and Protestant
foundation aims at: .
. . (helping)
. . . to create a platform and/or network of
cooperation, consultation, and information exchange, with one another in
the broadest sense."
partners collaborate upon the programs of Refo500
. . ."
. . . helps people to understand the meaning of the Reformation, to discover
the relevance of the Reformation, and to see and experience the influence
of the Reformation in several spheres. [Remember, when they're talking
Reformation, they're talking about also the Counter-Reformation.] It
pursues this exciting venture in a contemporary and fresh manner, with an
open attitude towards the past and the present, towards church, culture,
is working on this goal by creating an environment in which project
partners can collaborate on the composition of the program and the
products appearing within Refo500."
"Partnership Benefits," we have a number of things, including "Access
to an international platform for cooperation and growing." It speaks
here about working toward goals; the partners work toward their goals.
desires to make connections between themes from the time of the
Reformation to our own. Here are the key words: renewal, change, and
focuses on a broad audience and desires to reach everyone."
Before we go any farther, I should perhaps briefly introduce you to Dr.
Herman Selderhuis. The very accomplished Dr. Selderhuis is the director of
Refo500 and president of the Refo500 Reformation Research Consortium. He
is also the professor of church history at the Theological University of
Apeldoorn; it's in the Netherlands. Dr. Selderhuis is a Protestant,
speaking in the general sense as we will often be doing in this report; he
is a deeply, unashamedly ecumenical Protestant. He is very open about this
by word and association. As to the former--that is, word--consider just
this Selderhuis excerpt from a 2012 interview he did with the Religion
and Liberty publication of the ecumenical Acton Institute, headed up
by Robert Sirico, a Roman Catholic priest. The particular question was on
the state of Christianity in Europe. Included in Selderhuis's reply is
this: ". . . Christianity as a way of life and a way of faith has a
future and there are developments among young people. A perfect example is
the young Catholic convention in Spain and the Pope attended the event
there and hundreds of thousands of young people attended that Mass, and
they were enthusiastic about it . . . now who will give us straight talk?
Who tells us what way to go? There is a need for that and the Pope is
preaching a clear message and young people are attracted to that."
to his associations, Dr. Selderhuis is apparently more than happy to speak
and preach with Roman Catholics, as he does in official Refo500 functions.
Dr. Selderhuis as we go along here. He is very, very active and engaged in
Refo500, and you are going to hear his name again as we mention just a few of
many Refo500 events and just a very few of the many Roman Catholics and
Protestants involved in those events all around the world.
it is important to understand that Refo500, from top to bottom, is
spiritually, religiously, ecumenically rotten to the core and that it has
been so, and very openly, from its very beginnings. There is no way any
minister could involve himself in this organization without knowing what
he was involved with, and there is no way any minister would involve
himself in this organization if he was determined to remain faithful to
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Refo500 Opening in 2010
official Refo500 web site contains a very short report titled "2000
People Visit Refo500 Opening." This event took place in the fall of
2010 in the Netherlands. That's the headquarters, so to speak, of the
Refo500 worldwide organization; it was just tempting to say, "one
for those with eyes to see, it is most revealing to consider those who
were chosen to speak at this official and public opening of Refo500. Dr.
Antoine Bodar was a speaker. According to his bio, this man was educated
by the Jesuits, and he is an ordained Roman Catholic priest who currently
spends about nine months of the year in Rome. In answer to the question of
whether the Reformation was a mistake or progress, Priest Bodar replied in
true Jesuitical fashion, "Because of reform [that is, certain superficial reforms in the
Roman church]: progress; because of
the schism [speaking here of those whom the Lord led out of the Roman
church, saved, and gathered together in faithful churches]: a
quoting also from the Refo500 article: "Other
speakers that evening, including Mr. Kees van der Staay
. . . and Dr. Anne van
der Meiden, called the church division after the Reformation a negative
result. There was a positive evaluation also, for example on the part of
Dr. Heleen Dupuis (VVD), who dubbed Protestantism and liberalism 'obvious partners.'" So that's a good thing; that's a good
thing she says. Well, yes, apostate Protestantism and liberalism are obvious partners; and
that's called "positive" at the Refo500 event here, the official
opening event. I don't have any information on the man I mentioned, van
der Staay, and almost none on van der Meiden, other than he is a liberal
as for Dr. Heleen Dupuis, this woman is involved in numerous, but not
good, movements and groups, religious and political. In fact, she
currently holds political office as well. She is emeritus professor of
medical ethics, Leiden University, and she looms very large in the Dutch
euthanasia movement, with all its horrors. In fact, she is the past
chairman of the NVVE (Dutch Association for Voluntary Euthanasia). We do
not have time to say more on Professor Dupuis other than to mention she holds
a medal awarded to her by the Masons. Again, this is one of the people
chosen to speak at the opening event of Refo500 in Europe.
Refo500 opening event program also included a roundtable discussion with a
couple of Muslims, Sadik Harchaoui and Ahmed Akgunduz. The first was from the Institute
for Multicultural Development; the second was the rector of the
Islamic University of Rotterdam.
speaker at the Refo500 opening event was Dr. Christiane Berkvens. She is
the emeritus professor of European culture at the Radboud University
She's an author; she's a "pastor" in the deeply apostate
Remonstrant Church, which is a Refo500 partner I'm going to tell you
about later. We talked about them on a previous show on Refo500 quite
awhile ago. According to a translation of this woman's web site, she's
titled Mother Superior. In that capacity, she performs various rituals, for
instance for those committing suicide and for sodomite weddings. We have
to move along, but this should suffice to define what sort of
"Christianity" Dr. Christiane Berkvens practices and preaches.
Again, she was another featured speaker at the official opening of Refo500
Three other speakers included representatives of the apostate,
very pro-homosexual Protestant Church in the Netherlands
(that's a denomination). There were Roman Catholic speakers also,
including Mariska Orbαn-Haas who was also at that time, and still is, the
editor of a publication called the Catholic Newspaper.
speakers at this event, this opening event of Refo500 in Europe--two
speakers, one Roman Catholic and one an apostate Protestant--spoke on the
use of social media to reach youth. Quoting now from the Refo500 report: "According
to these speakers, Twitter and other social media appear to function as a
means to reach youth. Young people are looking for role models, which also
can be found through social media. The church must therefore put forth
inspiring leaders." "The church"--a Roman Catholic and a Protestant are giving
this presentation--"the church." It is obvious that this dangerous
error is foundational to Refo500, that is that Protestants and Roman
Catholics are all part of "the church"; and what is obvious is that
Refo500 is an ecumenical tool of popery to corrupt the Lord's flock, to
further Romanize the thinking and understanding of evangelicals and bring
Protestants home to Rome. Those Protestants involved with Refo500 are
furthering the cause of Antichrist, the pope.
I close this segment of our report on Refo500 with this telling last
paragraph from that official report on the opening event of Refo500: "The
Refo500 partners indicated that there was a great amount of interest among
those who came by their booths. Many partners have also realized that
Refo500 is a good platform to collaborate with other organizations,
despite their differences in religious background." Yes, indeed,
collaborate with other organizations despite their differences in
religious background, and the pope and the devil said, "Amen."
Refo500 Partners and Sponsors
want to take now just a little time--and a little time is all we have for
any one topic--and tell you about the official partners and sponsors of
Refo500. These include a very broad range of organizations from North
America, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere--Africa, for instance--including
churches and seminaries and religious organizations, Protestant as well as
Catholic; and there is some Jewish involvement as well. There
are also state universities and other secular organizations involved. As I
talk about this, I'm talking about the specific partners and sponsors.
There are other organizations, ministries, etc. involved in Refo500;
they're just not partners or sponsors.
there are a couple different lists of Refo500 partners and sponsors on the official site. For whatever reason,
they vary a little bit. What I'm saying is, several of the sponsors and
partners do not appear on one list, yet they'll appear on another list. It
doesn't mean they're not partners and sponsors; they are. We know that by
seeing how active they are in this organization. You can find a list for
partners and sponsors by going to the Refo500 home page, and then click on
"Partners and Sponsors" at the top of that home page. Then you can go to
another list of the partners and sponsors by clicking also on the same
page on "Who What
Where," and then you follow through on that, and you'll find lists that way
am going to give you just a few examples of many official Refo500
partners, as of the date this program airs. And it is important to
remember that there are also many individuals involved in Refo500 events
who are from organizations and
seminaries and so forth which are not official Refo500 partners, for
instance, the Roman Catholic Notre Dame University. And
one more thing: again, the information on present and active Refo500 partners,
like all information I am sharing, is well documented; it's checked and
rechecked; it is the reality as of the date this program first airs.
a few then of the Roman Catholic Refo500 official partners and sponsors which
are listed; they include:
the John XXIII Foundation for Religious
Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, Kenya
University Leuven, the oldest extant Roman Catholic University in the
Catholic Association for Ecumenism, Netherlands
Historical Institute in Africa, Kenya
organization we have here that we'll put under Roman Catholic Refo500
partners is Boston Theological Institute, an association of
ten theological schools. We'll put this under Roman Catholic; these
schools are Roman Catholic, but they're also Jewish,
Orthodox, or Episcopalian! So we'll put it here, and we can put it a few
other places as well, I guess.
here is just a small sample of many of the Protestant Refo500 official
partners and sponsors:
Beeson Divinity School, Samford University,
USA, Timothy George, dean
Canadian Reformed Theological
Gerhard H. Visscher, principal
Theological Seminary, USA, Richard J. Mouw, president--the notorious
Richard J. Mouw
Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Dr. Joel
Beeke, president, and Reformation Heritage Books, Dr. Joel Beeke, editorial
director, both USA
Southern Baptist Theological
Seminary, USA, Dr. Albert
United Theological Seminary, USA: This is a United
Methodist seminary which boasts, "United is a seminary of The United
Methodist Church that welcomes students from many faith traditions."
Westminster Seminary CA,
USA, W. Robert
Westminster Theological Seminary,
Peter Lillback, president
University of Apeldoorn
I alluded to earlier, there are official Refo500 partners which
somewhat defy specific categories, such as the Ecumenical Institute for
Inter-Religious Dialogue at the University of Trier; that's in Germany. There is the Boston
Theological Institute, which I mentioned. There is the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and
Liberty. The president of that is Robert Sirico--I mentioned this
earlier--a Roman Catholic priest; but it is ecumenical with Protestants
involved as well. We know that Lord Acton, of course, was a Roman
Catholic, and so Acton Institute; but there are Protestants in this too;
it's headed up by a priest.
Travel & Tours, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, is the
official North American Refo500 travel agency. The Witte Travel &
Tours web site states: "For more than three decades, Witte Travel & Tours has been designing
and operating tours for pastors and their congregations, religious
organizations, colleges and universities, scholars, historians, and family
groups. Each tour is a made-to-order combination of religious activities,
popular attractions, hidden treasures, and free time. Whether it's a
pilgrimage to a holy site, an in-depth study tour, or an adventure amid
the beauty, history, and culture of a region or country, it's a blessing
on every level. . . . Witte Travel & Tours has arranged hundreds of
tours for Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal,
Presbyterian, and Baptist groups
. . ."
see here that the Witte Travel & Tours web site documents tours to such
places as the Fatima Shrine in Portugal and various other Roman Catholic
sites in other countries, including other shrines.
Europe, Terra Lu Travel, headquartered in Germany, is also a Refo500
travel partner. I told you that Witte is the official North American
Refo500 travel agency, and it takes people all over North America and
really all over the world. Well, you also have Terra Lu involved; Terra Lu
is a Refo500 travel partner. Terra Lu specializes in "Faith Based Travel,"
same as Witte Travel & Tours; and Terra Lu also includes trips to Roman Catholic sites. So, even the travel
Refo500 are deeply, deeply ecumenical in nature.
in that partial list of Protestant Refo500 partners and sponsors, you
heard a number of apostate Protestant organizations, including, but
certainly not limited to, Beeson Divinity School and Fuller Theological
Seminary. The Remonstrant Church, really a denomination, comes under the
heading of apostate Protestant. The Remonstrants, one of the earliest
Refo500 partners, deny any number of the essential doctrines of our faith;
and on their web site, they boast of such accomplishments as these: "The
Remonstrants were the first church in the world to open marriage for
same-sex couples. It did so as early as 1986. The Remonstrants were one of
the first churches in the Netherlands to ordain women as ministers. The
Remonstrants are open for dialogue with members of other Christian
denominations and of other religions. They were among the churches that
established the World Council of Churches in 1948."
These are the bragging points, so to speak, of the Remonstrant Church. The Remonstrants's
statement of faith includes this heretical declaration which denies the
deity and penal atonement of Christ: "We
believe in Jesus, a Spirit-filled human, the face of God, seeing us and
disturbing us. He loved humanity and was crucified but he lives, beyond
his own and our death. He is our holy example of wisdom and courage and he
brings God's eternal love close to us."
And let me just quote a
little more from the Remonstrants's web site; here's one: "The
Remonstrant Church is a community of faith which, rooted in the Gospel of
Jesus Christ and true to its principle of freedom and tolerance, seeks to
worship and serve God.
Ever since their foundation in 1619 the Remonstrant
Church has been a community of discerning, curious, freethinking people,
where a high emphasis is placed on tolerance, freedom of faith and
have this about the Bible:
see the Bible as a special and inspiring collection of testimonies. It
testifies of people's experience of a presence or absence of God in their
lives and in the world. It is a special book, because its stories
can still guide us today towards
an understanding of how God and humanity can be united."
Refo500 Launch in North America in June, 2010
have already spoken briefly of the 2010 opening of Refo500 in Europe. Now
let me tell you just a little bit about the launching of the North
American manifestation of Refo500. I will mention here that this is all
one organization, and the main players are active on both sides of the
Atlantic, all around the world, in fact.
have before me an official Refo500 press release; it's dated June 23, 2010 and
titled "North American Launching of Refo500." It is relevant to note who was
involved in that launch event, especially because they are called the
staff and also the key North American leaders. Well, let's read a little
bit from that press release:
"The North American arm of a
multi-year project to highlight and celebrate the relevance of the
Reformation as a movement of renewal and change was launched in Atlanta,
Georgia, on June 21-22, 2010. Meeting at the Emory University Center for
the Study of Law and Religion, Dr. Herman Selderhuis, the International
Director of the Refo500 project (www.refo500.com), introduced staff and
key North American leaders."
then we have the various staff and key North American leaders mentioned.
You have Dr.
David W. Hall; they say here he's the former director of Calvin500; he was
appointed as the North American director for Refo500. You
have here mention of Dan Hermen and Jan Peterson-Wayward of Witte Travel,
Grand Rapids, Michigan. And then also you have Dr. Joel Beeke; in this case,
they mention he's representing Refo500 partner
Reformation Heritage Books. You remember Dr. Beeke's seminary is also a
Refo500 partner. RHB and the seminary are currently found on the list one
finds through the "Who What Where" link. On the main page of the English Refo500
site, three out of four links going to partner lists go to that list with PRTS
and RHB included. Later on, you will see that Dr. Beeke himself is very
active in speaking with Refo500. Here he is called in this press release--he's not staff, so I guess, key North American leader of Refo500.
go on here. The
Refo500 press release says, "Project
Leader Karla Apperloo summarized Refo500 as a project that 'wants to make
connections between the past and the present, and also between partners
working together. This Atlanta meeting shows perfectly how it works.'"
picture included with the press release; it shows the following Refo500
personalities posed together at the 2010 North American launching of
Refo500. We have Frank James, Dan Hermen, Herman Selderhuis, David Hall, John
Witte, Joel Beeke, Karla Apperloo-Boersma, John Thompson, Jan
Peterson-Wayward, Michael Haykin, and Bob Godfrey.
First-Ever Refo500 Conference in North America in September, 2010
the first Refo500 conference which took place in North America--this would
be the first conference now, not the launching--was held at
the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville,
Kentucky. Now you know that Albert Mohler is the president of the Southern
Baptist Theological Seminary. This was held September 2728, 2010. That
seminary is also a
report on this event is found on the Refo500 web site. Here is just the first
paragraph of this Refo500 article: "A
growing international network of leaders, scholars, and pastors, focusing
on the abiding significance of the Reformation, held an enthusiastic
conference at the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in
Louisville, Kentucky, September 2728. The first North American
Conference assembled numerous speakers to launch the movement, which will
sponsor a robust series of events through 2017
. . ."
is a little information from that Refo500 report and the conference
schedule on the various speakers at the conference. As
might be expected, Herman Selderhuis spoke. Dr. Joel Beeke and Dr. Albert
Mohler both spoke as did Frank James of Gordon-Conwell Theological
Seminary; Dr. John Fesko of Westminster Seminary, California; Erik
Herrmann, Concordia Lutheran Seminary; as well as a number of other
personalities. Those last three speakers, James, Fesko and Herrmann, I am
completely unfamiliar with; that's the first I've heard their names, as
far as I know.
am very familiar with the out-and-out apostate Protestant Dr. Timothy
George, who was another speaker at this first Refo500 conference in North
America. Dr. Timothy George is the dean and professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity
School at Samford University, and he's the senior theological
advisor for Christianity Today. He is also on the editorial boards of
First Things and also Books & Culture, and he's currently the chair of the
Doctrine and Christian Unity Commission of the Baptist World Alliance. It
is an understatement to say, none of that is good! Timothy George,
who likes to speak of Mary as the "Mother of God," has also been very
active in the International Baptist-Roman Catholic Dialogue and the
Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement and documents. Timothy George
also joined with the late Chuck Colson and the Romanist Robert George to
co-author the Manhattan Declaration, which was made public at a news
conference on November 20, 2009, ten months before this first Refo500
conference in North America at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
course, Mohler also signed the Manhattan Declaration. Among Refo500
Protestants and Catholics, there are a number of Manhattan Declaration
signers, and you would expect that, wouldn't you?
were other speakers at this first North American Refo500 event. I
certainly do not know anything about a number of them; I know very little
Kirkpatrick of the far from faithful World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
The title of Mr. Kirkpatrick's message was "An
Ecumenical Celebration? How to Work Together with Fruit and without
Frustration." I have not
heard or read that message, but I can tell
you that the World Alliance of Reformed Churches for decades has been in
ecumenical dialogue with a number of churches including the Pentecostals, the
Orthodox, and more than any other church, with the Roman Catholic Church.
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches has since that first Refo500
conference combined with another group to form the World Communion of
Reformed Churches, which is no improvement whatsoever! Nevertheless,
here is a quote from the web site of Mr. Kirkpatrick's organization at
the time he spoke at the Louisville Refo500 conference with the
individuals I mentioned: "Through
international bilateral and multilateral dialogues, the World Alliance of
Reformed Churches helps to foster deeper understanding and broader
cooperation among different church families
. . ."
So it is not too hard to
imagine what the subject matter of Mr. Kirkpatrick's message would be,
that message he gave
at the first North American Refo500 conference at the Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary with Mohler, with George, with Beeke et al.
the way, the Refo500 report on that conference also includes this: "Among
the widely published authors for a book signing at the Lifeway Bookstore
at Southern's campus as part of this conference were: Herman Selderhuis,
Timothy George, and Joel Beeke." So they teamed up to sign,
autograph their books together at the far from
faithful Lifeway Bookstore.
I cannot report on every Refo500 event and conference held thus in North
America, or for that matter, Europe and elsewhere; nor do I have information on every
such event planned. But, I'm going to mention just two official North American
Refo500 gatherings which have taken place.
Theological Menagerie with Refo500 in the Thick of It
first, I want to tell you about an event in which Refo500 played a big
part but was not an official sponsor. In October of 2011, Refo500
took part in an event put on by an organization titled the
Sixteenth Century Society and Conference. That is the actual name
of the organization, and it also puts on conferences. The
one in October, 2011 took place in Fort Worth, Texas. Refo500 is a very
large independent organization; it's worldwide, just as I have described.
Refo500, along with a number of other organizations--Protestant, secular,
and Catholic--is also affiliated with the Sixteenth Century Society and
this organization put on a multi-day conference, and Refo500 took
part in it. This was back, again, in 2011. And in fact, they had a
conference in 2012, I understand, as well, and Refo500 was there, but I
have information on the 2011 conference. And it was quite a theological
speakers were from colleges, such as the Mormon Brigham Young University
and the Roman Catholic University of Notre Dame. And then you had Fuller Theological Seminary
represented, and you had Puritan Reformed
Theological Seminary represented as well.
Here is a sampling of the titles of some of the
many, diverse messages given during this particular conference; here we
God Through Dreams." Here's another one: "Professional Alliances: Whores, Petty Criminals, and
Other Working Women." Here's another one: "'Amongst those Beds so bravely deckt': Isabella
Whitney and the Construction of Female Narrative Authority." You have
"The Roman Curia and 'Works' of Conversion under Gregory XIII." You have one called
"Heavenly Witchcraft" which has to do, apparently, with
"the Divine Feminine," we're told. "Poetry
and Mysticism: Women's Catholic Activism under Hapsburg Rule." You
Sainthood: The Beatification Process and the Autobiography of Agueda de la
segment of the conference was
titled "The Implementation and Interpretation of Tridentine Reform in Early
Modern Europe"; so that's the Decrees of Trent, and they call this
reform. This segment included
messages with titles such as "From
Discipline to Mercy: Model Tridentine Bishops in Italy." Here's one:
"A Jesuit textual
reading of Christ's Passion and Mary from the Ceiling Paintings at the
Church in Antwerp."
it bears mentioning that this conference boasted both a Roman Catholic
mass and a Protestant church service. But what of the Refo500 speakers;
what about that segment of the conference?
They were Randall Zachman, from the Roman Catholic University of Notre
Dame; Benjamin Mayes, Concordia Publishing House (that would be Lutheran);
and last, but not least, Dr. Joel Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological
Seminary. Karla Apperloo-Boersma, the project manager for Refo500, was the chair.
Refo500 also had another
section of the conference as well. The organizer of both of
these Refo500 sections at this conference was Herman Selderhuis. The speakers of
the other Refo500
section included a Norwegian and a Swede whose names I'm not going to attempt
and then also Charles Cortright, Wisconsin Lutheran College.
of the Many Refo500 Events Held Thus Far
apostate Beeson Divinity School (Refo500 partner) was the host of a Refo500
Reformation Spirituality Conference November 1-2, 2011
in Birmingham, Alabama. The official Refo500
Internet promo for that event sports--and it's not surprising--an idolatrous,
very Romish picture of "Christ" on the cross. Speakers at this
event were Carl Beckwith, Gisela Kreglinger, Timothy George (there he is
again), Gerald Bray,
Herman Selderhuis, Karla Apperloo-Boersma, Graham Cole, Piotr Malysz.
conference featured a "Vespers Service" and "Homily
offered by Ed Hurley, Senior Pastor, South Highland Presbyterian Church,
on this side of the Atlantic, Refo500 events are not restricted to the
USA. I've given you a couple, just a couple, examples of some of the
events that have taken place; but they're not restricted to just the USA
on this side of the Atlantic. For instance, this past January 18-19, 2013,
the Canadian Reformed
Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Ontario, a Refo500 partner, hosted a
special event called Your Only Comfort Conference. The
speakers included Lyle Bierma of Calvin Theological Seminary, Herman
Selderhuis, Jason van Vliet of Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary, and
then again, Dr. Joel Beeke.
our American listeners, I am going to mention here, based on the great
many official Refo500 Internet documents we've read, we've researched, if I had to name
the two Americans most involved in Refo500 here in North America and elsewhere, and right
from the birth of the beast, I would have to say Dr. Timothy George and Dr. Joel
Beeke. The latter, that is Dr. Beeke, appears to range far and wide,
speaking at Refo500 events; I've mentioned a couple he's spoken at. Of
course, he was at the official launch of Refo500 in North America. But I
say, he ranges far and wide. For instance, he was a speaker at the May
25-26, 2012 Refo500 Asia Annual International Conference at Chongshin
University in Seoul, Korea. In a minute, I'm going to briefly fill you in on an
upcoming Refo500 event, a big one and very much promoted, that will take
place in Europe which Dr. Beeke is going to be leading and, of course,
doing a lot of speaking during that multi-day event.
to time constraints, we need to then turn our attention, very briefly, to Refo500 events in other parts of the world. I have
already told you about the official launch event for Refo500 in Europe.
There have been quite a number of Refo500 events since that day in 2010.
instance, we could jump to 2012. February 9, there was an official Refo500
meeting in Leuven, Belgium organized by
Refo500 partners, the Catholic University of Leuven, John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies, and the Evangelical
Theological Faculty. I doubt the names of the speakers at this event would
ring a bell with many, if any, of you listeners. Suffice it to say, they were from those three
organizations, two Roman Catholic, one evangelical, so-called. Some titles
of the messages included "The Roman Lenten Synods of 1074-1075 and the
Impact of the Reform Ideas of Pope Gregory VII on the Local Churches."
We have "Protestant Confessions in Ecumenical Perspective." We
Critical Edition of the Vatican II Documents." We have also "The Council of
Trent Revisited." Those are some of the names of the messages
Roman Catholic University of Leuven has
been from the start a very big Refo500
player, already hosting a number of Refo500 events and with more in the
works. We certainly do not have time to consider all those events
and everything about them. But I want to just quote one telling
statement from an official Refo500 promotion of a Refo500 conference which
was held at the Leuven University from the 29th of
November through December 1st, 2012. Here is that statement: "In the religious developments in Northwest Europe, the Bible has often
been instrumental, whether as a point of reference, as a stumbling block,
or simply in and of itself."
organizers of that particular Refo500 event were from the Catholic
University of Leuven, the Netherlands Bible Society, the VU University of
Amsterdam, Johannes a Lasco Library, Emden; and
then also included was Refo500 director--here he is again--Herman Selderhuis, the man who
seems to be everywhere.
Few of Many Upcoming Refo500 Events
scanning upcoming Refo500 events already being promoted, one finds Roman
Catholic organizations and speakers; a great number of out-and-out
apostate Protestants, organizations and speakers; and then also a few high-profile Reformed ministers and teachers--a
few--who have the reputation of being
solid as a rock in doctrine, but they clearly are badly corrupted as to
really do not have time to run through all of the other events which
Refo500, on various web sites, is promoting, including a number of
grossly ecumenical and, in some cases, heavily Roman Catholic events,
including events favorably dealing with the Council of Trent.
of those upcoming events dealing favorably with Trent is titled "1563 -
Heidelberg and Trent. Evangelical and Catholic Boundaries and Approaches."
That's September and then also in October of 2013. It's put on by several
"Protestant" institutions and the Ecumenical Institute
University of Trier. A Refo500 promo says,
"Above all, the central question is this:
what boost for the ecumenical dialogue of Heidelberg and Trent went
least two upcoming Refo500 conferences are being sponsored directly by
Jesuit organizations; I mean, they are, by definition, Jesuit
organizations, openly Jesuit. But then again, this whole Refo500 ecumenical stew
reeks of Jesuitical intrigue, doesn't it?
the time we have left, I'm going to mention one heavily promoted Refo500
European event since it's going to be taking place in just short of seven
weeks now and
then also mention a strange Refo500 Train tour coming up, strange for a
number of reasons, including the musical performers. And
then we are going to have to wrap this very large, troubling subject up.
July, the 11th through the 19th, Dr. Jason Van Vliet, Canadian Reformed
Theological Seminary, and Dr. Joel Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological
Seminary, will be leading an official Refo500 tour through historic sites
in Germany and the Netherlands. Of
those speakers, Dr. Beeke seems to be the one most heavily, very heavily, promoting
this tour--on his personal blog, on his seminary web site, and then also
on his church denomination web site.
The tour is
Legacy of the Reformation. In addition to the tour
guide leaders and speakers, the two I mentioned--that is, Dr. Jason Van
Vliet and Dr. Joel Beeke--Dr. Herman Selderhuis is going to come around on the Lord's
Day morning of the tour, July 14, and preach; and then Dr. Beeke is going
to lead the evening service, we're told.
particular Refo500 event, The
Legacy of the Reformation, appears to be Protestant in nature. Some Refo500
events are Romanist; some are grossly ecumenical, mixing Romanists and
Protestants and others; and some are Protestant. But all are part and parcel of the
one corrupt whole. Of course, this is the seductive, Vatican II nature of Refo500. It is an absolute desensitizing,
of truth and error, of Romanism and Protestantism. It is a your truth is truth, and my truth is
truth; it is a smorgasbord of doctrine and ideologies. It is an
eclectic religious, spiritual egalitarianism in action; it is a dialogue between
supposed theological equals, per the Vatican II strategy.
just a few words on this Refo500 Train tour which takes place in May of next
year: it's described as a "Rail Cruise to the Reformation Cities in
Europe." There are a number of speakers here; some are from other
countries, such as South Korea.
I'll mention some of the names that are going to sound familiar to many of
you: Timothy George--there he is again. You have Robert Godfrey, Westminster Seminary;
you have Michael Haykin, of course the Southern Baptist Theological
Seminary. There's Peter
Lillback, Westminster Theological Seminary; and you have a number of
others here. There's Herman Selderhuis again, of
course. So those are some of the men who will be on this tour; they'll be
doing the leading, and they'll be doing the preaching.
A Refo500 promotion of
the train tour declares its purpose to be "Travel,
Ecumenical Fellowship and Knowledge."
Music on this train tour is
going to be
provided by a group called Lost and Found. Now, I am going to play you a sample of this
group's very bizarre music. Listen
to this. Yes,
you heard what you just heard. That's from the group Lost and Found; and
they're going to be playing the music, providing the music on this Refo500
Train tour. It
seems to me that bizarre music is just about right for the unsightly
Refo500 conglomeration, no doubt cooked up by Rome.
But I want to mention
just one more thing about the Refo500 Train tour next May. On the official
agenda of the train tour is this: "Evening worship: Baptism
Remembrance at St Peter and Paul Center for Baptism." This is in Eisleben,
what is this baptismal remembrance which is on the Refo500 Train tour
schedule here? I had never heard of such a ritual; perhaps some
of you have. We did some research, and we found out that the United
Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America all use the baptismal remembrance rite. So what I am going to do is
just read you some excerpts from an ELCA web site description of a
baptismal remembrance ritual. There is going to be one on this Refo500
Train tour; it says, "Evening worship:
Baptism Remembrance at St Peter and Paul Center for Baptism." Let's
read this from the ELCA web site, a description of baptismal remembrance,
of that ritual.
is the foundational event that brings us into the community of faith and
gives us our identity as God's people. . . . There are times and occasions
when the sprinkling with water of an entire assembly can provide a
powerful sign and symbol for the affirmation and renewal of baptism. . .
. It is a good thing for communities of faith to affirm their baptism at
various times throughout the year. The most important time for the
affirmation of baptism is at the Easter Vigil. On this night God makes
new Christians, and those of us who are already baptized renew that
covenant. Sprinkling with water . . . helps to emphasize and make real
the affirmation and renewal taking place. The sprinkling usually happens
after the assembly has responded to specific questions affirming their
intention to continue to live as God's people. As music is sung . . . an
acolyte holding a bowl of water and the Presiding Minister move together
throughout the assembly. The Presiding Minister may use a pine branch or
a special sprinkler . . . The Presiding Minister dips the branch or
sprinkler in the bowl of water as necessary. It is helpful for the
Presiding Minister to sprinkle the water using a large arc-type action
with the arm rather than just flicking the wrist. In that way large
groups of people can feel the touch of the water at the same time. Some
people have found it helpful to trace the sign of the cross on
themselves as they are sprinkled, thus reminding themselves that they
have been baptized into Christ's death and resurrection. Some
congregations, especially in new or renewed buildings, gather in worship
spaces that are flexible and provide for easy movement of the assembly.
An alternative to sprinkling in these settings is to invite the entire
assembly to come to the font and renew their baptism by placing their
hand in the water and making the sign of the cross or simply touching
the face. . . . Other appropriate times for sprinkling are the Day of
Pentecost, the Baptism of our Lord, and All Saints Sunday. It is also a
powerful sign and a comforting gesture to sprinkle the coffin at the
beginning of the funeral service . . ."
keep in mind that list of the Refo500 Train tour leaders and speakers.
They were all Protestants, yet the itinerary of that Refo500 event
includes that very Romish baptismal remembrance rite. But again, this is part
and parcel of the rotten, deceptive, ecumenical heart of Refo500.
now and through 2017, there are already a great number of official Refo500
events planned, with more to be announced. Time just does not permit us to
list, let alone speak about, any more of them. I do want to mention
though, according to the official Refo500 web site, there is even a
Refo500 Summer School coming up this summer. This Refo500 school is going
held August 26-31--where?--at the John XXIII Foundation for
Religious Studies. Among the teachers and teaching units will be Professor
Violet Soen, Catholic University Leuven;
she's going to be speaking and teaching on the Tridentine decrees. You
have a professor
here from Bologna, the director, in fact, of the John XXIII Foundation for
Religious Studies; he'll be teaching on the Second Vatican Council. You
have another teacher from the same place; he'll be teaching on the Latin
works of Benedict XIV.
have focused on the organization, the nature, the personalities, and the events of
Refo500. The Scriptures which plainly, clearly,
forcefully forbid Christians from having any part in and with such an
organization are plentiful. For instance, one immediately thinks of that
passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 14 to the end of the chapter,
ending with "Wherefore
come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch
not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto
you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
And of course, it's very, very relevant to go on into that first verse in
chapter seven: "Having
therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from
all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of
God." We have been speaking about spiritual fornication here as we're
speaking about Refo500. Now,
I have preached on biblical separation many times, and right now, time
necessitates that I move to wrap this documentary on Refo500 up and bring
things to a close.
is a very real and present spiritual danger, a tool of Rome in her
relentless quest to subvert the authority of the word of God, to desensitize
the Lord's people to Romish blasphemy and idolatry, to corrupt the Lord's
blood-bought church, to lure evangelicals into spiritual fornication, to overturn the
those brethren who cannot seem to understand this, we say, in the words of
the inspired Apostle, "O foolish Galatians, who hath
bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus
Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?"
have asked Rev. Ivan Foster, who shares my concerns over Refo500 and has
stood with me together on this issue, to also
share some thoughts in closing.
The text of
Rev. Ivan Foster's commentary at the conclusion of the Heart of the
Matter broadcast, "A Popish Octopus with a Very Long Reach"
underlying spirit of Refo500
apostle, when speaking of the spirit of antichrist and rebellion at work
amongst the nations said this to the church at Thessalonica: "For the
mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let,
until he be taken out of the way," 2 Thessalonians 2:7.
here to what I might call 'the workings of the spirit of lawlessness'
which has been active amongst the nations since the fall of Adam.
activities of this spirit of lawlessness is termed a 'mystery' because
of its secretive, clandestine and covert enterprises. This is a spirit
which stands in complete contrast to the spirit in which the Gospel of the
Lord Jesus Christ functions.
marks the gospel.
written of the Saviour that He "went about all Galilee, teaching in
their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all
manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people,"
trial before the High Priest, He answered a question about His doctrine
with these words: "I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the
synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in
secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me,
what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said," John
no concealment, no cunning craftiness, no hidden agenda with the Saviour
and His disciples. Paul says of the ministry of the apostles and early
church: "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received
mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,
not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but
by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's
conscience in the sight of God," 2 Corinthians 4:1-2.
is the way of the devil.
definition of the servants of the devil against whom he warns his readers.
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there
shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable
heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon
themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways;
by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through
covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose
judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth
not," 2 Peter 2:1-3.
ever be this contrast between the workings of God's Kingdom and the
workings of the devil and his agents. One is marked by forthrightness and
plainness while the other is marked by secretiveness and underhandedness
this in mind we may rightly evaluate the activities of the organisation
called Refo500. It states its purpose in this fashion - and we quote.
"Refo500 is the international platform for knowledge, expertise,
ideas, products and events, specializing in the 500 year legacy of the
Reformation. On the platform all kinds of partners from all over the world
work together, to offer a program for a wide audience and to show the
relevance of the reformation. Refo500 participants include Protestant and
Catholic organizations, universities, seminaries, museums and so on. The
platform is open to every organisation that agrees with the goal of
Refo500." However, Dr Joel Beeke would place Refo500 at the heart of
the celebration of God's wonderful work
of grace in setting free the nations of Europe from the yoke of papal
bondage. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTnWXnmYgB8).
Dr Beeke's claims, its evangelical leaders are working with papal
institutions and organisations and these agents of Rome, in keeping with
their ancient purpose, are clearly seeking to re-establish themselves as
bona fide representatives of the Kingdom of Christ.
This is that
spirit of which Jude warned.
when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it
was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should
earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old
ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God
into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus
Christ," Jude 1:3-4.
facilitates the "creepers" of popery and liberalism as they seek
to turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only
Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
such there must be the voice of a Jude raised to warn the flock.
against such there must be the work of digging and an uncovering that the
prophet Ezekiel was directed by God to undertake in order that the hidden
things of darkness be brought into the light.
words from Ezekiel chapter 8:6-12. "He said furthermore unto me, Son
of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the
house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my
sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater
abominations. And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I
looked, behold a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig
now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he
said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and
abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed
upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the
ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah
the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick
cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen
what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the
chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD
hath forsaken the earth."
of digging in order to uncover the hidden things of darkness and
dishonesty is a necessary labour in such days as these. The task of naming
the guilty, as did Ezekiel, is commanded of God today.
are of God will rejoice in the exposure of sin while those whose
sympathies lie with the enemy will rage at the uncovering of the secret
machinations of lawlessness.
some confused souls who dither and totter about in the 'no man's land'
of bewilderment and indecision.
ever divides men as the dawn brings forth the creatures of the day while
banishing the creatures of the night to their shadows.
impact does the light of truth have upon you? Where do you stand regarding
Refo500 and those professing 'Fundamentalists' promoting the sham that