The “Mirror Image” Syndrome

Just as an image formed on a plane mirror is a duplication or reflection of the object placed directly opposite its surface, there is also a dangerous condition that can affect Christians contending for the faith which can make them start to reflect what they are contending against. A person opposed to a set of errors can also develop signs of errors: becoming dishonest, hateful and rigid. I call it the “Mirror Image Syndrome.”

When this syndrome affects a cult expert, he takes on the very cultic mindsets he is fighting – exclusivism, elitism and tyranny of thoughts. Sometimes, its baffling how a person would seem to stand on an impressive edifice of Christian scholarship only for you to realise that his intellectual integrity is actually in the pits. I was in a Facebook group years ago, named “The World of False Teachings and the Cults” where I had to call out one of their admins (a “cult expert”) for propagating a bold-faced lie just to smear fellow Christians as cultists. Rather than retract his falsehood, he kicked me out of the group.

The more famous and influential a Christian figure is, the more they need to be held accountable for what they say or write, especially, if their agenda is more important to them than truth. Previously, I used Rebecca Brown and Daniel Yoder as examples of how spiritual warfare can devolve into spiritual quackery when integrity is lacking. I will be using another popular warrior to highlight the blighting effects of the Mirror Image Syndrome.

For 5 decades, Chick Publications, the ministry founded by Jack Chick, has published hundreds of illustrated gospel tracts in different languages, along with many Christian articles, comics, books and videos on issues like abortion, homosexuality, false religions, evolution and Bible versions.

Fittingly, Dr. Rebecca Brown once worked for Mr. Chick. In her words, “Jack Chick is one of the kindest and most honest and Godly men I have ever met. He taught me many valuable things in the Lord’s work” (Standing on the Rock, 2002, 64). In the May/June 2016 Battle Cry article, we are told that: “Many parents write to Chick Publications, grateful for the unwavering stand for the Truth in the tracts and books.”

Since 2003, I have read many Chick materials. They influenced my early Christian walk and opened my eyes to many truths. But when I began to double check things for myself, I started to question some of the “facts” being disseminated by Chick’s ministry said to be “standing for the Truth”:

1. The testimony comic series of ex-Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera, (1935-1997) drew much ire to Chick’s ministry when it was published. There is still a controversy whether his testimony was genuine or fake. But having carefully read the entire series, I would say his story was most likely to be true. He gave dates and names of places; presented his ID card and papers, and had his past confirmed by Dr. Gerard Bouffard, an ex-Catholic bishop in Quebec. To an extent, he also defended himself before his critics.

Notwithstanding, there were some obvious embellishments in his account. In the Double Cross, after he had left the monastery with his sister, the Mother Superior said with a frown: “He is damned forever! The Virgin will take care of this Father Rivera. He is another Judas that has sold out our Holy Father, the Pope” (p 9). How did Rivera know she said this?

On pg. 11, a Vatican priest asks “Would Father Rivera go to the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons?” his fellow replies “Never! He’s a real Christian and he knows about their false teachings.” Rivera wasn’t present there, so how did he know they said this? Was he also suggesting that Catholic leaders don’t consider themselves to be real Christians but secretly admit that Protestants are? Either Rivera or Chick was putting words into these people’s mouths to further an agenda.

2. The series spent more ink attacking persons and instilling mistrust in its readers than presenting the Gospel to Catholics. It says Kathryn Khulman was a Catholic “undercover agent” sent to the Pentecostals; Jim Jones was “another uncercover Jesuit” who sacrificed his flock to fulfill his oath (Double Cross, p 27) and Fidel Castro was also a “well trained [sic] Jesuit under oath” (The Godfathers, 31).

No solid proof was presented to back up these accusations. The reader is simply asked to take Rivera’s word for it because he knew centuries-old, “hot secrets” of the Vatican.

3. The Alberto comics are laced with Vatican conspiracy theories, wild enough to make Dan Brown green with envy. Rivera claims the Nazi and Communist parties, the KKK, Illuminati, Masonry, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormonism, Christian Science, Unity cults and Islam were all founded and developed by the Catholic Church or Jesuits (The Godfathers, p. 4, 31; The Force, 25; The Prophet, 12-23).

Again, no evidence of these claims was given. While I agree that Catholicism is a false religion with a bloody history, to blame it for every cult or social and political plague on earth is tabloid sensationalism. Satan does not need the Vatican to create a newer false religion. Christians who wish to reach Catholics with the truth should not use these materials.

4. Chick’s Statement of Faith on their website says:

[W]e believe God in His Singular providential care has KEPT HIS WORD all through the ages, right down to the present day as found in the King James Version. We consider this version our final and absolute authority, above and beyond all other authorities on earth.”

This is “KJV Onlyism” in its strictest form. Its chief flaw is the silence on which Bible version was God’s Word “all through the ages” before the 17th century when the KJV emerged. The fully illustrated book, Did the Catholic Church Give us the Bible? (David Daniels and Jack Chick, 2005) tries to give a “chain” of preservation:

In a valley in the Alps was a people that God used to translate His preserved words into Latin. These people were called the ‘Vaudois.’ They lived in the Piedmont Valley of the Alps, at the northwest corner of Italy, east of France. In about 120 AD some got saved, and went to Antioch to receive God’s words” (p. 40)

Where did they get this piece of information from? No citation or reference was provided there. Why? Because the statement is a lie. The Vaudois (or Waldenses) were followers of Peter Waldo (1140-1205 AD). How could they have existed a millenium before Waldo was born? If the Vaudois didn’t exist at that time, to assert they went to Antioch to receive an Italian Bible is pure fiction.

5. In order to cover up the fact that the KJV came from a Greek text by Desiderius Erasmus, a Catholic priest, the book says:

God chose Erasmus as His vessel to shine the light of the Gospel during the hellish Dark Ages … Erasmus was God’s undercover agent! By day he was a faithful Roman Catholic serving the pope, working diligently in the libraries. But at night he wrote tracts that ridiculed the Catholic system… This was a dangerous game. But Erasmus played it because he utterly despised the devilish pope” (p. 67).

A footnote said: “Much of the information in this section comes from the excellent research of Gail Riplinger’s In Awe of Thy Word (2003), Chapter 27.” The term “excellent research” is meant to psyche the unwary reader. In fact, Gail Riplinger’s research is as “excellent” or reliable as National Enquirer, TMZ or any other gossip tabloid. While Erasmus attacked the corruption and immorality among the clergy, he was a real Catholic. He was “a devoted worshipper of St. Anne” and wrote “a collection of prayers to the Holy Virgin.” He believed in the Eucharist and upheld papal authority.

He pledged to always be “a faithful subject of the Holy See” and wrote: “Christ I know; Luther I know not. The Roman Church I know, and death will not part me from it till the Church departs from Christ.” He didn’t recant his beliefs (Anthony Froud, Life and Letters of Erasmus, 1900, 86, 279, 261).

If Chick and Daniels cared more about truth, their information should have come from Erasmus’ original works instead of a secondary work of a KJV Onlyist fraud. By the way, if being an “undercover agent” was evil for Jim Jones or Kathryn Khulman, why was it acceptable for Erasmus?

6. This Give Us The Bible? book – typical of Chick materials – devotes several pages to conspiracies and poisoning the well. On pg. 137 is a cartoon of a Christian reading the NIV Bible and Satan holding his head saying: “Haw haw! GOTCHA!” The heading says “CHRISTIANS NOW READ HIS BIBLE!” This is meant to instil fear into readers to think those who read a modern Bible version are under Satan’s grip.

Page 125 shows a chart linking the NIV Bible to its Zondervan publisher (formerly owned by Harper Collins Inc.) and this links to the Satanic Bible and the News Corporation owned by Rupert Murdoch, a Catholic knight. This is guilt by association. It was intended to link the NIV with “Catholic Church” or “The Satanic Bible” in reader’s minds. In the absence of solid facts, the authors resort to inflaming emotions.

7. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fiction as “something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically an invented story.” It’s also called a fable or fabrication. For instance, if a person today writes a story about Abraham in Ur, inputing words to the characters in the story, he has written a fiction.

In the illustrated book, Babylon Religion (David Daniels and Jack Chick, 2006), the first chapter gives us a detailed account of before and after the Flood, including the words and thoughts of the characters. On pg 16, Satan soliloquized:

One of Noah’s sons has got to be the weakest link. I’ll find him and make him serve me!” He tells Cush: “Look, Cush, you don’t need this pressure. You’re a man. GO BUILD YOUR OWN CITY!” (p. 20) So Cush “built the tower of Babel … to unify the people under one religion” (p 21). When you compare this with Genesis 10:8-10 you can easily see that Chick and Daniels wrote from their own imaginations.

We are told: “Nimrod had hated Shem and all followers of God Almighty so he started to persecute them with the help of his secret police.” (p. 32) “Nimrod and his wife demanded human sacrifices, which were devoured by him and his priests.” (p. 33)

On pg. 34 Shem charged: “Nimrod is pure evil! He must be stopped once and for all!” Then “he came to Babylon and with righteous anger sliced Nimrod into pieces. Everyone was caught off-guard. The priests went into hiding and his [Nimrod’s] false religion came to a standstill.”

There is no Biblical or extra-biblical evidence that: (a) Nimrod had a wife (b) started a religion or was worshipped as a god (c) Shem had followers let alone persecuted and (d) Shem killed Nimrod. In fact, there is no historical record of Nimrod; only a possibility that he is the same as Gilgamesh.

8. On pg 40, Satan tells Nimrod’s widow, “Stick with me, Semiramis, and I will make you the Queen of heaven!” Holding up her baby to the Babylonians, Semiramis says “Behold Nimrod, your slain and risen god!” (p 41).

In reality, there is no trace of Semiramis in Sumerian or Babylonian records. The only Semiramis (which is a Greek name) known in history is Queen Sammuramat, wife of Samshi-Adad V of Assyria who ruled approximately 824-811 BC. A Babylonian priest, Berossus, (c. 3rd century BC) in his Babyloniaca lists the kings of Babylon and makes a reference to Semiramis ruling in Assyria – not Babylon – after 812 BC. This date matches the period the historical Sammuramat lived.

This proves Nimrod and Semiramis didn’t live in the same era. There is a gap of more than 1000 years between them. No reference work -whether it’s the Encyclopedia Britannica, Jewish Encyclopedia or the World Book Encyclopedia – places Nimrod and Semiramis as contemporaries, let alone as a couple.

Pg. 52 says: “Ancient and modern writings are clear that Tammuz and Semiramis got married.”

False. Tammuz was a Sumerian deity. He is never described as a real person and never mentioned as the husband or son of Semiramis in any standard reference work. Semiramis was not worshipped as a goddess and she is not Ishtar, Astarte or Inanna because these deities pre-date her. Even Daniels and Chick quote a work on pg. 198 saying:

The goddess Ashera was probably the oldest [Canaanite goddess]. As early as 1750 BC a Sumerian inscription refers to her as the wife of Anu, who can be identified as El, the father god of the Canaanite pantheon…” (Baring and Jules, Myth of the Goddess, 1991, 454)

This disproves their theory that “All goddesses were made from one woman [Semiramis]” (p. 82). These deities have been worshipped for centuries before Semiramis. All pagan goddesses are demons, not geographical mutations of a dead Assyrian queen!

Pg. 53: “As ‘Asshur’ Tammuz rode north and built four cities, including Nineveh.” A footnote gives Genesis 10:11-12 as reference but vs. 22 says this Asshur was one of “the children of Shem”! The dramas between Semiramis and Tammuz illustrated between pgs 52-59, were based on just “ancient myths.” I remember I was disappointed when I first read this book, because I expected a scholarly work.

How sad that Mr Chick who has attacked the myths and fables of Catholicism, Mormonism and Paganism has resorted to the same. Personally, I will think twice before I allow my name be put on a Christian book filled with lies, shoddy research and “tales [Gr. mythos] artfully spurn” by pagans (2 Pet. 1:16). A soldier of the cross would rather starve than profit on falsehood.

Some will say “But his works have brought many people to Christ.” I’m not disputing that, but we must not become so naive that we lose our understanding of Scripture’s warning: “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying…” (1 Tim. 1:4) As Christians, we must not lose sight of the Biblical standard of honesty and integrity of character and we also need to watch out for this syndrome in our lives.

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Was The Reformation a Runaway Train?

Disinformation is an intentional spread of false or inaccurate information designed to discredit a conflicting information or support false conclusions. Catholicism has perfected this tactic to a tee. As a result, the Protestant Reformation has been caricatured and the Reformers demonized. Rome portrays the Reformation as a runaway train, inspired by wanton lust, arrogance or self-independence, in order to justify her apostasy and falsehood.

Today, a number of well-researched books and Christian websites have cleared up much of the disinformation Catholics are being fed with by Rome’s legatees. Let’s take a look at some examples:

“The Roman Catholic Church was the only Christian Church in existence prior to the Reformation, therefore, if it went into apostasy, then Christ’s promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church failed”

There are several false assumptions wrapped up in this one sentence. First, what is today called the “the Roman Catholic Church” was not a monolithic system that sprang up from Christ’s apostles (like Athena from Zeus’ skull) retaining a doctrinal continuity for 2,000 years. It was a gradual invasion and taking root of false doctrines all through the centuries that gave rise to it. It took much time and circumstances – often the influence of pagan ideas – for Catholicism to emerge into what it is:

“The magnificient conception of a Catholic church bound together in one organization, one faith, one ritual could hardly have been realized by imagination alone, without the aid of time and circumstances.” (James Thompson, An Introduction to Medieval Europe, 1937, 46)

This is why ancient Catholicity and modern Roman Catholicism are as different as chalk and cheese. The fact is, not all Christian churches were part of the Latin church even in the 4th century. The Edict of the Emperors Gratian, Valentinan II and Theodosius of February 27, 380 shows this:

“We order those who follow this doctrine to receive the title of Catholic Christians, but others we judge to be mad and raving and worthy of incurring the disgrace of heretical teaching, nor are their assemblies to receive the name of churches. They are to be punished not only by Divine retribution but also by our own measures, which we have decided in accord with Divine inspiration.” (Sidney Ehler and John Morrall, Church and State Through the Centuries, 1954, 7)

It was precisely because of these “heretics” that the Inquisition was brought up. Bishop Alvaro Palayo, an official of the Curia also made a reference to these Christians about 300 years before the Reformation:

“Considering the Papal court has filled the whole Church with simony, and the consequent corruption of religion, it is natural enough the heretics should call the Church the Whore.” (De Planct Eccl. ii. 28 cited by Ignaz von Dollinger, The Pope and the Council, 1858, 185)

This was why Martin Luther said:
We are not the first to declare the papacy to be the kingdom of Antichrist, since for many years before us so many and such great men (whose number is large and whose memory is eternal) have undertaken to express the same thing so clearly and plainly.” (Ewald Plass, What Luther Says, Vol. 1, 36)

When Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail over His church, He was referring to the revelation of Himself which Peter expressed (Matt. 16:18). The gates of hades are powerless against the church so long as she believes and confesses this truth. This is based on Christ’s faithfulness, not an alleged “charism of infallibility.” Jesus was referring to His Church (all true Believers) in that passage, not an institution.

Roman Catholicism, however, is a departure from Christ and the faith “once handed down” by its denial of the sufficiency of Scripture, the sufficiency of Christ and His sacrifice. So, that promise no longer applies to it (Jude 3). The apostasy of the Roman church became full-blown at the council of Trent where it codified its false doctrines. Trent was not a linear continuation of the Medieval church. In fact, the Western church before Trent was more pluralistic in doctrine than the Roman church between Trent and Vatican I. Therefore, we can say there were Christians both in this system and outside of it. These were the ones who made up the true Church.

The only “Christian” groups outside the Catholic Church before the Reformation were heretical. The Albigenses were Manicheans (Dualists) who practiced mass suicide and sexual immorality

In Catholic lingo, a “heresy” is any deviation from a doctrine defined by the Church. Apparently, these Christian movements were judged as heretics, not on the basis of their writings in contrast with Scripture, but for their disagreement with the Roman church (Rome positions itself as the standard of orthodoxy). For instance, Priscillian, the Bishop of Avila, was falsely accused of “heresy,” immorality and witchcraft and beheaded (along with 6 others) in 385 A. D. whereas 7 of the works he wrote to refute these charges have been discovered in the library of the University of Wurzburg, Germany.

In the same vein, most of the sources accusing the Albigenses of heinous crimes are Catholic works, which may not be reliable. Even when one examines some of them, certain truths still emerge. James Capelli, a 13th century Franciscan lector in Milan wrote:

[T]he rumors of the fornication which is said to prevail among them is most false. For it is true that once a month either by day or by night, in order to avoid gossip by the people, men and women meet together, not, as some lyingly say, for purposes of fornication, but that they may hear preaching … They are wrongfully wounded in popular rumor by malicious charges of blasphemy from those who say that they commit many shameful and horrid acts of which they are innocent.” (Walter Wakefield and Austin Evans, Heresies of the High Middle Ages, 1991, 305)

Surprisingly, Catholic inquisitors wrote that Albigenses “were condemned for speculations.” Their trial showed they believed “a Christian church ought to consist of only good people …[that] the church ought not to persecute any, even the wicked; the law of Moses was no rule for Christians; there was no need for priests, especially of wicked ones; the sacraments and orders, and ceremonies of the church of Rome were futile, expensive, oppressive, and wicked…” (William Jones, The History of the Christian Church, 1824, 455)

Apart from the Albigenses, there were also the Waldenses, Bogomils and Poor men of Lyons whose few surviving writings showed they were “heretics” to Rome only. Two notable works: History of the Evangelical Churches of Piedmont (1648) by Samuel Morland and An Inquiry into the History and Theology of the Ancient Valdenses and Albigenses (1838) by George Fabler, drew on works dating back to the 13th century indicating that the beliefs of these pre-Reformation groups were similar to those of Evangelicals today.

“It is now clearly known that the Paulicans were not Manicheans” says a historian “the same thing may probably be said of the Albigenses.” He added, “The Roman Catholic Church sought diligently for excuses to persecute. Even Luther was declared by the Synod of Sens to be a Manichean. The Archbishop Usher says that the charges of Manicheanism on the Albigensian sect is evidently false.” (John Christian, The Glorious Recovery of the Vaudois, 1857, 1 xvii)

The Reformation was just a revolt from the mystic from Wittenberg (Martin Luther), the logical orthodox from Geneva (John Calvin) and the heterodox rationalist from Zurich (Ulrich Zwingli)

This is a disinformation. The Reformation was not a “revolt” by any means since the Reformers stood for the same truths that many within and without the Roman church all through the centuries stood for.

Archbishop Agobard of Lyons (779-840) spoke against image worship and the church’s unbiblical liturgies and practices. Bishop Claudius (8th century) rejected Catholic traditions, saints and relic veneration. Peter of Bruys (12th century) spoke against Catholic dogmas and left the priesthood; he was killed for it. Henry of Lausanne, a monk, who exposed the errors of Rome was arrested in 1148; he died in prison. Berengar of Tours opposed transubstantiation based on Scripture, the church fathers and reason; he was excommunicated.

Men like Jan Hus, John Wycliffe, William Tyndale and Wessel Gansfort stood for the supremacy of Scripture long before the Reformation. Contrary to what Catholics are made to believe, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were neither loons nor buffoons. They proved their cases by appealing to the church fathers, church councils and reason. When Luther posted his 95 theses, he still adhered to some Catholic doctrines (Purgatory, Mariolatry etc). His intention was to reform the church from within, not to leave it. But when the Roman church couldn’t prove its ideas from Scripture, but instead excommunicated Luther at the Diet of Worms, he had to leave.

Other lesser-known Reformers were Nicolaus von Amsdorf, Henry van Zutphen, Propst Jakob, Johann Esch, Heinrich Voes and Hess Kaspar. Most of them were killed for disagreeing with Rome. Catholics may have sank too deep to question the tyrannical system of Rome that crushes every voice of dissent, nevertheless, the Reformation was God’s plan to call His people out of this apostate religious system.

The Protestant church was started by King Henry VIII who wasn’t allowed to take an extra wife by the Pope

This remark is quite revealing, though not in the way Catholics intend. Henry VIII was a staunch Catholic who wrote a polemic Assertion of the Seven Sacraments Against Martin Luther (which earned him the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ from the Pope). In 16th century England, the Catholic church was not in the good books of the common people. The priests were immoral; the church owned about a fifth of all property in England and levied heavy taxes on the people.

Then the King wanted an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could marry the more beautiful and perhaps more fertile Anne Boleyn. But Pope Clement VII, pressured by Catherine’s nephew, Emperor Charles V, refused to grant Henry’s wish. This prompted Henry VIII to break with Rome and declare himself head of England’s Catholic Church. This decision was supported by the House of Commons (since popular sentiment against Rome was already high).

“Henry was now the sole judge of what, in religion and politics, the English people were to believe” wrote a historian. “Since his theology was still Catholic in every respect except the papal power, he made it a principle to persecute impartially Protestant critics of Catholic dogma, and Catholic critics of his ecclesiastical supremacy.” (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, 1950, VI, 529)

It was during Henry VIII’s time that Tyndale was burned at stake for translating the Bible into English. Henry died in 1547 leaving “a large sum to pay for Masses for the repose of his soul.” (Ibid, 577) Contrary to what Catholics are told, he was never a Protestant.