William Chellis has written an article declaring his friendship for Rome. Chellis begins:
Some readers may be disturbed about the DRC [De Regno Christi - the name of the website] trend toward inclusion of Roman Catholics. I wish to say a word in response. I am not unfamiliar with the Reformed Confessions’ descriptions the Bishop of Rome as the anti-Christ. I am also perfectly aware that our theologians have often argued that the Mass as a form of idolatry. I understand that there are many conservative Protestant for which these statements are meaningful. While I understand these things, I cannot affirm them. In fact, the more I learn about Roman Catholic theology and church history, the more respect I have for our brothers and sisters in Christ within the Roman Catholic communion.(source)
Chellis begins his article, as you can see, with a strange kind of false dichotomy. He contrasts having respect for our brothers and sisters in Christ within the Roman Catholic communion with viewing the Mass as idolatry and the pope as the Antichrist. To the extent that we have brethren in the Roman communion, our respect for them does not alter the theological or eschatological analysis of Scripture. Truth is objective: it's not a matter of being polite and respectful (as indeed we ought to be) or being rude and disrespectful.
Either Scriptural theology provides the conclusion that the mass is idolatrous or it does not. That question is not influenced by whether we are seeking to be respectful of others or not. Either the office of the papacy is "the Antichrist" or it is not: that question too is not influenced by whether we are trying to avoid disrespect.
Chellis attributes his "respect" (which he seems to equate with non-affirmation of the above two Reformation-era views) to "the more I learn about Roman Catholic theology and church history ... ." Again, this seems to be somewhat disconnected. To the extent that we have brethren in the Roman communion, our respect for them should be based on their union with Christ and not with information about the theology of their church or its history.
One still wonders, though, what Chellis is learning about Rome's theology and church history that is endearing her to him? My own experience has been just the opposite: the more I learn about Rome's theology and history, the more I realize what an un-Biblical and dangerous religion it is. In fact, my concern grows for those who are a part of that communion, just as my concern for the souls of Muslims grows as I learn more about Islam.
Of course, the primary focus of De Regno Christ[i] has always been the relationship between Christ and culture. Does Christendom have a better friend than Benedict XVI? Which communion did more to press the Kingship of Christ over the nations in the 20th Century? The Reformed Presbyterians, the Christian Reformed, the Presbyterian Church in America, or the Roman Catholics? To ask the question is to answer it. Therefore, does it no[t] behoove us to listen to the voices of Roman Catholic friends of liberty, tradition, and the West?(same source)
Chellis asks the question: "Does Christendom have a better friend than Benedict XVI?" He asks it rhetorically, apparently thinking that the answer is "no." Yet from the perspective of the Reformation, the question is whether the Gospel has a worse enemy than Benedict XVI (B16), and the answer is "no." B16 attempts to usurp Christ's unique role as head of the church. B16 anathematizes the gospel of Scripture through his adherence to Trent. Worse of all, B16 promotes his own religion as though it were Christian, so as to (if it were possible) deceive the very elect.
Chellis asks: "Which communion did more to press the Kingship of Christ over the nations in the 20th Century? The Reformed Presbyterians, the Christian Reformed, the Presbyterian Church in America, or the Roman Catholics?" Chellis assumes the answer is that Roman Catholics did this, but one is left scratching one's head as to why Chellis thinks this. Christ's Kingship is tied to the gospel, but Rome has not been promoting the gospel either in the 20th century or the present century. Thus, the RPCNA and PCA (and even the CRC), who have all been promoting the gospel, have done more for the kingship of Christ than the church that has multiplied statues purporting to be of Christ and encouraged the worship of bread and wine as though it were very Christ.
Chellis' comment, "Therefore, does it no[t] behoove us to listen to the voices of Roman Catholic friends of liberty, tradition, and the West?" is also puzzling. They may be our friends (in some sense) for a variety of reasons, but when it comes to the gospel, they are (sadly) the enemies of the kingdom of heaven (as were once we).
The cause of Christ’s Kingship has many enemies in the wor[l]d. Traditionalist defenders of Roman Catholicism are not among them.(Same source)
Here at last we see what Chellis has been speaking of when he identifies his spiritual brethren. He means the traditionalist Roman Catholics as distinct (we assume) from the liberal Roman Catholics and the nominal Roman Catholics. These would be Roman Catholics who actually believe what Rome teaches. But what Rome teaches is not the gospel. If there are members of the Roman communion who are true believers in Christ, they are not following what Rome teaches. If there are those who have trusted in Christ but have not yet left Rome, they are not going to be able to stay "traditionalist" for long as the Spirit works in their lives.
[This is where I had ended my draft.]
I am sad to see that Chellis is now referring to himself as an "Augustinian Anglo-Papist," but I understand that it is because he never truly saw the horror of Rome's idolatry, and of the attempted usurpation of God's authority that is the papacy. May God be pleased to return Mr. Chellis to the church! Let us all, as much as we care about him, pray to that end.