The Romanism Within

The Romanism Within

by Ty Gibson  |  March 15, 2014

The new Pope, Mr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has caused quite a stir recently. So much so, in fact, that an ardent Protestant friend said to me the other day, “Wow, this new pope seems like a really good guy and he’s saying some good things. Maybe he’s on God’s side.”

“Yes,” I responded, “he is saying some rather good things, isn’t he? There is, however, the small matter of believing he occupies the position of God on earth, and the little thing about believing that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, and the tiny issue of believing he speaks with infallibility, and the minor point about God burning people forever in hell including all babies who die without Catholic baptism, and the modest idea that you can pay money to the church to get people less time burning in purgatory. Besides those items, yes, he is saying some very nice things.”

Of course, Protestantism was formed as a protest against Catholicism and the “Papacy,” a word that refers to the position of absolute authority held by the pope. The recent posturing of Pope Francis calls for a renewed examination of the protest launched by Luther and the reformers before and after him, which you can expect as a series of forthcoming blogs from Light Bearers.

But first I want to turn our attention from the papacy without to take a look at the papacy within—within ourselves and within our own beloved church. While it provides us with a very convincing illusion of personal righteousness to point away from ourselves and localize the danger as existing exclusively out there, it is not at all safe to do so. Our biggest danger lies in assuming that Romanism is merely that big religious-political institution headquartered at Vatican City.


First and foremost, Romanism is the religion of human nature—human nature in general, yours and mine included. The great protester himself, Martin Luther, insightfully observed, “I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.” The papacy is simply a corporate manifestation of the universal human inclination to exalt self in the place of God, to justify self rather than rest in God’s justifying grace, and to control our fellow human beings by emotional coercion tactics rather than grant liberty of conscience.

There is, however, the small matter of believing he occupies the position of God on earth

Wherever the spirit of dominance is employed—whether by a husband or wife in a marriage or by a leader in a local church or conference—there the principle that fuels popery is exercised.

Wherever people are taught to expect God’s favor in exchange for anything they might do—legalism in either its liberal form or its conservative form—there lurks the false picture of God that defines papal doctrine.

Wherever church folks seek to resolve differences by authoritative pronouncements rather than by respectful and reasoned biblical discussion, there is manifested the spirit that actuates Romanism.

Following in The Track of Rome

Ellen White understood that “We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world” (Review and Herald, March 22, 1887). Whatever the papacy happens to be up to, the more crucial question is, What are we ourselves up to in our daily dealings with one another in our homes, churches, and conferences?

She wrote the above words in 1887. A year later, the fear she expressed materialized at the Minneapolis General Conference session of 1888, which was a super significant event in Adventist history.

A little background is in order.

Leading up to 1888, “Many (Adventists) had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family” (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91-92). The overall content and tenor of Adventist preaching was such that the church had earned the reputation “that Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, the law, but do not teach or believe Christ” (ibid).

To remedy the situation, God sent two young men to uplift Jesus before the church leadership. Many of my Adventist readers are familiar with the fact that in 1888 A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner, under divine unction, preached the good news of justification by faith to church leadership at the General Conference session of that now infamous year. We are also generally aware that the message was rejected by key leaders, including the General Conference President, G.I. Butler, and the Review editor, Uriah Smith. What many of us may not know is why many church leaders found the message of righteousness by faith so unpalatable. In the following letter to Adventist church leaders and pastors in 1895, Ellen White got at the core of the whole dark matter:

“The spirit of domination is extending to the presidents of our conferences. If a man is sanguine of his own powers and seeks to exercise dominion over his brethren, feeling that he is invested with authority to make his will the ruling power, the best and only safe course is to remove him, lest great harm be done and he lose his own soul and imperil the souls of others. ‘All ye are brethren.’ This disposition to lord it over God’s heritage will cause a reaction unless these men change their course. Those in authority should manifest the spirit of Christ. They should deal as He would deal with every case that requires attention. They should go weighted with the Holy Spirit. A man’s position does not make him one jot or tittle greater in the sight of God; it is character alone that God values.

“The goodness, mercy, and love of God were proclaimed by Christ to Moses. This was God’s character. When men who profess to serve God ignore His parental character and depart from honor and righteousness in dealing with their fellowmen, Satan exults, for he has inspired them with his attributes. They are following in the track of Romanism.

“Those who are enjoined to represent the attributes of the Lord’s character, step from the Bible platform, and in their own human judgment devise rules and resolutions to force the will of others. The devisings for forcing men to follow the prescriptions of other men are instituting an order of things that overrides sympathy and tender compassion, that blinds the eyes to mercy, justice, and the love of God. Moral influence and personal responsibility are trodden underfoot.

“The righteousness of Christ by faith has been ignored by some, for it is contrary to their spirit and their whole life experience. Rule, rule, has been their course of action. Satan has had an opportunity of representing himself. When one who professes to be a representative of Christ engages in sharp dealing and in pressing men into hard places, those who are thus oppressed will either break every fetter of restraint, or they will be led to regard God as a hard master. They cherish hard feelings against God, and the soul is alienated from Him, just as Satan planned it should be.”

(Testimonies to Ministers, p. 362-363, emphasis supplied).

A few points here bear emphasizing:

  1. Church leaders who manifest a “spirit of domination” should be removed from their positions.
  2. A man’s position (pastor, conference president, or even general conference president) does not make him any greater in God’s sight than other church members. Character alone is of value to God.
  3. Church leaders who “devise rules and resolutions to force the will of others” are “following in the track of Romanism.” The attitudes and tactics with which human beings deal with their fellow human beings when they are in positions of authority reveal whether they are under the liberating influence of the gospel of Christ or under the oppressive influence of papal principles.
  4. When human beings, especially those in positions of leadership in God’s church, attempt to rule over their fellow human beings, Satan is representing himself through them and the character of God is misrepresented.
  5. And lastly, following the 1888 General Conference session, the message of righteousness by faith was being ignored by some church leaders because it was contrary to their spirit of “rule, rule.” Righteousness by faith is incongruent with a spirit that would rule over others, and we will see why this is the case as we continue.

We May Have Less To Say About Rome

One year later in 1896 Ellen White made a daring statement for Adventists to process, given our tendency to focus on the papacy as our great danger:

“There is need of a much closer study of the Word of God. Especially should Daniel and the Revelation have attention as never before in the history of our work. We may have less to say in some lines in regard to the Roman power and the papacy, but we should call attention to what the prophets and the apostles have written under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit has so shaped matters, both in the giving of the prophecy, and in the events portrayed, as to teach that the human agent is to be kept out of sight, hid in Christ, and the Lord God of heaven and His law are to be exalted.”

(Testimonies to Ministers, p. 112).

Please don’t miss what she was saying here. It is crucial. She was discerning and suggesting that a closer study of God’s word, especially the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, might lead Adventists to focus our attention less on the papacy in particular and more on the danger existing in the human agent in general. This statement was in keeping with her earlier ones, which called our attention to the fact that what we see in the papacy is a spirit of domination and self-exaltation that all of us are susceptible to and which is just as likely to manifest itself in our church as anywhere else.

And this is precisely what we do find when we study the word of God more closely, especially the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. We discover that “the man of sin (the papacy)… who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), is simply an institutional or corporate manifestation of the inclination that resides in all human hearts to play God and to usurp His role in our dealings with our fellow human beings with attitudes of superiority and tactics of pressure, dominance, and control.

Seven years later, in 1903, she was grasping even more clearly what she was trying to get at in her 1895 and 1896 statements:

“The student should learn to view the word (the Bible) as a whole, and to see the relation of its parts. He should gain a knowledge of its grand central theme, of God’s original purpose for the world, of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption. He should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for supremacy, and should learn to trace their working through the records of history and prophecy, to the great consummation. He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives; and how, whether he will or not, he is even now deciding upon which side of the controversy he will be found” (Education, p. 190).

This is such an amazingly insightful distillation of what’s really going on in human history as revealed in Bible prophecy. The great controversy is not merely a surface battle between opposing corporate religions, but between “two principles that are contending for supremacy” in every individual life, in every home, and in every church. Those two opposing principles are love and selfishness, humility and pride, liberty and coercion, the rendering of respect and the granting of freedom versus the inclination to pressure, manipulate, dominate and control others. Yes, there are political and religious institutions that operate by the principle of domination and we most definitely need to be aware of the dangers posed by these monolithic powers. But more to the point, each of us is liable to do the same by creating little papal reigns of our own: in our homes, in our churches, in our conferences, in the way we treat people, especially when we occupy positions of leadership over them. Each of us “in every act of life” reveals “one or the other of the two antagonistic motives.”

So that is the context of Ellen White’s provocative statement that “we may have less to say about the papacy.” Of course, and rightfully so, she continued to call attention to the threat to religious liberty posed by the papacy, as should we. But she also drove us to soberly consider the deeper and more personal danger that exists in our own hearts and which might find ugly manifestation in our own professedly Protestant church.

Paul explains that “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Later in Romans 13:10 he informs us that God’s law is love, meaning other-centeredness. Here Paul has given us huge insight to what’s going on in human nature: we are fundamentally opposed to love, diametrically at odds with being second to anyone. By nature, self is our supreme motive. So when self comes under threat, the natural impulse is to sacrifice others for the preservation of self. This is the dark and diabolical secret that lurks in each of our hearts.

So, then, when human beings, guided by their carnal instincts, create a religion and band together to practice that religion, it will naturally take the form of a system that exalts the human self to the place of God (popery) and offers humanity salvation by means of self-justifying rituals and practices (salvation by works). And that’s what the papacy is. It is our fallen world’s dark masterpiece of self-exaltation and self-justification—masquerading as God’s church. We can see, then, that papal principles permeate human nature and are liable to creep into any church unless specifically identified and repulsed by a well-defined doctrine of justification by faith!

The Third Angel’s Message in Verity

Now we begin to understand what Ellen White was getting at when she said that “justification by faith… is the third angel’s message in verity” (Evangelism, p. 190). Many of us look at this statement and don’t get it. It’s a mystery to us because it does not align with our basic theological framework and evangelistic approach. The third angel’s message (see Revelation 14:9-12), we reason, is a warning against the papacy enforcing the mark of the beast. How do you get justification by faith out of that? We’ve even formed the tragic evangelistic habit of presenting “the mark of the beast” with literally no mention of justification by faith, and then we live under the proud illusion that we have preached the third angel’s message. But let’s be clear about this: to preach the mark of the beast without communicating justification by faith as the vital issue at its core, in no way equates to preaching the third angel’s message. To simply identify the papacy as “the beast” and Sunday enforcement as “the mark of the beast” is not the third angel’s message. In fact, by so doing we shortchange our hearers and do them the spiritual harm of confirming them in their natural inclination to identify the danger as merely out there in that big, bad beast system rather than in their own hearts. Rather than becoming immersed in God’s saving grace and suspicious of self, our so called preaching of the third angel’s message merely gives people a false confidence in self and makes them suspicious of others.

The inclination to control others is the core principle of the papal system.

So, then, in what sense does justification by faith constitute “the third angel’s message in verity?”

Let’s break it down in five simple points drawn directly from Revelation 13 and 14:

  1. The Sea-beast of Revelation 13 is the papal system, to be sure, but it is the papal system as the—don’t miss the point—as the corporate, organized expression of the self-as-center principle that resides beneath the surface of fallen human nature in general. In other words, the self-as-center principle is the religion of human nature, and Catholicism is simply the world’s largest and most dominant historic manifestation of that fallen religious impulse. According to Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, the prominent characteristics of the papal system are these: (a) a merit system of justification/salvation by human deeds rendered to God in exchange for His favor and (b) the use of coercion tactics in the name of Christ. Wherever these two factors are present, there the spirit of the papacy rules.
  2. The Land-beast, coming on the scene toward the end of the papacy’s 1260 reign of terror, is none other than Protestant America with its unique governing document, its Constitution, which enacts as law two vital truths of the gospel: (a) that all human beings are created equal, thus defying the right of men, either popes or kings, to rule their fellow men, and (b) that all human beings are created innately free, thus granting liberty of conscience as the only state of being in which true worship of God may occur.
  3. Revelation 13 then informs us that the American experiment with liberty will eventually be overturned. Protestant America (the Land-beast) will enact laws to violate liberty of conscience (making an image to the Sea-beast) and thus become the facilitating political engine that will bring upon the world a crisis of individual conscience and character. Emphasis: a crisis of individual conscience and character. Pressures will be brought to bear upon humanity (buying-and-selling controls and then a death decree) that will drive every person on earth to act out their picture of God and manifest the spirit that actuates them. During that final crisis, every person on earth will move in one of two directions: (a) to sacrifice self for the preservation of liberty for all others or (b) align with the papacy’s newly reconstituted coercion-machine in an effort to preserve self at the expense of others. The true contents of every heart will come forth under the pressures entailed in the mark-of-the-beast crisis.
  4. The people who stand in faithfulness to God against the beast system are very specifically described as those who overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11), and as “those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Said another way, their picture of God is grounded in the self-sacrificing love revealed in Christ at Calvary, producing in them a voluntary, faith-motivated harmony with God’s law: aka, justification by faith. Therefore, the inner landscape of their theology about God and their experience with God leads them to lay down their lives if necessary to preserve liberty of conscience for all. For them, self is secondary to the other, for such is the love they have seen and received in Christ.
  5. So what Ellen White was getting at when she brilliantly stated that “justification by faith is the third angel’s message in verity” is that the mark of the beast will come upon the world as a works-based, self-as-center, liberty-violating religious enforcement based on a false picture of God’s character, whereas the theology and experience of those who stand in resistance against the mark of the beast will lead them to do so precisely because they know God’s favor is not earnable and that His law is not enforceable. In other words, they understand that coercion kills love and that justification by faith is inextricably intertwined with liberty of conscience.

This is why Ellen White urged that justification by faith be preached with power and clarity within Adventism, as well as to the whole world. It is the only message that can prepare human beings for the mark-of-the-beast crisis. Everyone whose picture of God is coercion-based and whose spiritual experience is oriented toward salvation by works will find it natural to move by self-preserving instincts when the mark of the beast is enforced.

This is also why she warned so strongly against any exercise of domination by church leaders. The inclination to control others is the core principle of the papal system. Those who operate by this principle are following in the track of Rome and thus preparing themselves and those they lead to abandon others to save self when the mark of the beast is enforced.

So as countless Protestant alarms are rightfully being sounded to warn us to watch out for what the pope and the papacy are up to, I thought it appropriate to issue a warning to watch out for what you and I are liable to be up to unless we intentionally seek, by the grace of God, to deal graciously and respectfully and non-coercively with one another, especially when we disagree, and most especially when we happen to be in positions of leadership and influence. As we beware the Romanism without, let us also beware the Romanism within!

The Romanism Within

Ty Gibson Co-Director
Light Bearers
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  • Preach it brother! This nails it! You’ve clearly cut to the heart of the issue. Love it!

  • Ndumiso

    Thank you so much for the great blog Ty, a real eye opener. I will be sure to share it on my Facebook page 😀

  • Geni

    Well said! I have never considered “the pope within” but its there. Thank you for calling this to my attention.

  • Karen

    Thank you, Ty. This was excellent!

  • Don B

    The proclamation of the truth. Thank you Brother Ty.

  • Danny Whatley

    Thanks Ty, you nailed an incredible key point!

  • Maryann Lee


  • Cindy

    Thought provoking and timely. Message taken to heart, Ty. God bless you and your ministry.

  • Toby

    Thanks for an excellent blog Ty. For a while I’ve been seeing connections between the message to the Laodicean church and the third angel’s message. The Laodicean church is self-focused, self-centered and self-seeking. Only those who have taken Jesus’ counsel, realized their spiritual poverty and have received His indwelling power will be sealed by God and empowered to present the message of true worship to the world.

  • SC

    Wow….I’m at a loss for words. This is a really good post, and it make sense. Thank you!

  • Nancy Adams


  • Craig Cleveland

    I agree, the signs of the times are certainly a call to personal heart-searching. Thank you so much!

  • Ruth Baker

    Using E. White’s words, every fiber of my heart says amen!

  • Lori

    Truly the greatest battle we have is with self.

  • Bob DuBose, Sr.

    The principles of this presentation are needed by all of us. Thanks for this message. I stood at Elder George I. Butler’s grave last year, with a spirit of thankfulness that he later repented of his previous position, and asked for and received Ellen White’s forgiveness for his opposition to her. He went on to do good work for the Lord in the Florida Conference and Southern Union. I wish to rededicate myself to God and to receive the promised infilling of His Holy Spirit.

  • This is so timely, and so powerful. Thank you for this clear and relevant message!

  • Edwin (Bud) Racine

    Ty, I found your thesis most interesting. The popery within is so much more difficult to see… perhaps seen but with little interest, it seems, on my part to take my eye off the other, the corporate. You have motivated me to share my recent thoughts with you.

    I read a comment in a Catholic historical publication, subsequently, I’ve not been able to relocate the thought. So paraphrasing, the author suggested that there really isn’t a major theological divide between Catholicism and Protestantism; suggesting the Founding Fathers of Protestantism took with them two abiding Catholic pillars of faith; its transfer of the sacredness of the Sabbath to Sunday, and secondly, Anselm’s salvic theory, i.e., “God is the offended Lord who must be appeased by an offering commensurate with the offense, and the only such offering the Son of God could make was his death.

    In conversation with a Lutheran neighbor, she stated, paraphrasing, about the only thing that keeps Lutherans from uniting with Catholics is its different approaches to celebrating the Eucharist. In each instance, no mention of concern made of the Catholic Church’s belief that the Pope “occupies the position of God on Earth.”

    We owe a debt of gratitude to the Founding Fathers and Mothers of the Adventist Church for their laser like focus presenting the truth regarding God’s gift of hallowed time to man and beast. More recently Sigve Tonstad’s thoughts are commendable in his attempts at reminding us “The Sabbath is a Theological Statement .” Further, stating that the character of the seventh day is misconstrued if it is seen as a national or religious marker of identity.

    Coming full circle. Most of Christendom, as the Catholic historian suggests, has preferred Anselm’s thesis, including the Adventist Church, sadly, to that which can best be understood by carefully studying the healing/salvic ministry of Christ. For it is Christ’s revelation about the Father, undergirded by the Cosmic Warfare that makes excellent theological sense.

    When I think of “Romanism Within” the Adventist Church, I am reminded of Ellen White’s belief “The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is the revelation of His character of love. That revelation, or so it seems to me, can best be revealed by the evidence made manifest by Christ’s condescension, life, resurrection, ascension and promise of return. That was his purpose; to reveal the truth about the Father… it should be our purpose, too. “Romanism Within” me requires a heart transplant. I pray for it. Blessings, Ty.

  • teresa

    Awesome. I have met the enemy and it is I.

  • alan

    A real eye opener for all Christianity and especially for Seventh-Day- Adventists.

  • Shelby Filley

    Thank you for explaining how justification by faith is the third angel’s message. I had never understood that statement before. Sure, I thought I knew them separately, but now I think I know what she was saying. Awesome enlightenment. Thanks!

  • Thank you for your excellent article, Ty Gibson! You and the rest of our esteemed ARISE staff and instructors are all dearly missed! Thank you for your dedication to advancing God’s cause! God bless!

  • We need to spend considerable time in prayer and studying the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. God has so much to tell us that we really need to know and understand. And, how well do we know God? It’s easy to waste our time on less important things, while life or death decisions are approaching. Bev D.

  • Kathy Matthews

    Excellent! Simply excellent!!

  • Thanks Ty – How refreshing to keep the focus where it needs to be. It’s a lot safer to sound the alarm about what’s going on “out there” rather than ask the hard questions about what’s going on in my own heart and home. This pointed me right back where I need to be focusing my attention.

  • Ann

    Well done!

  • peter stazio

    Absolutely excellent!

  • John 17:17
    17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Everything that bears the tag of truth yet it does not lead the people of God to a higher experience with their God does not meet the threshold of truth herein specified. Prophecy is one of those ‘truths’ which has often failed the test not because it is deficient of the sanctifying power of God 2 Peter 1:21
    21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost but because of the lifeless manner in which it has often been presented and the focus of the message which is without rather than within, the mote in the eye of another rather than the beam in our very own eyes. Thank you for the beautiful presentation of the “Third Angel’s message in verity”

  • Cecilia Velazquez Menchaca

    God bless you and thank you!

  • john waring

    Amen amen amen

  • Great post Ty! I thought it was genius and eye opening. You are so right when you talk about how we as Adventists have misrepresented the 3 angels messages. Absolutely fascinating!

    I also wrote an article about this whole issue. The main point of the article was actually inspired by a presentation you did on how our picture of God (doctrine) impacts how we treat others. You can access the article here:

    The article has actually generated a discussion between myself and a former Adventist now Catholic who authored the book “Its OK NOT to be a Seventh Day Adventist” (a critique of Adventism). You can read the discussion in the comments below the article.

    Again, good stuff! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • Peggy D.

    Thank you for clarifying a confusion I have always had about the 3rd angel’s message and righteousness by faith being one and the same!

  • Ed

    Well communicated. The concepts presented in this article are key and so very important. I also like how you consistently reflected how this does not replace the other. It IS important that we know what is going on in our current world and be warned. We NEED people to help keep us informed of the danger without. Sadly in this world of constant stimulation we become numb and disengaged with the dangers without seeing them much like a movie…”something we really get excited about, but believe to be an external drama.” Often times with articles like this, people try to show how their interpretation is superior and more important and all those “alarmist” are just stirring people up. You did not do that, and for that I am impressed. We CANNOT separate the two – danger within and danger without. We need people to preach the danger without because our enemy is subtle and often times we don’t see. We need people to preach danger within, because the greatest battle we will ever fight is the battle with self. You once showed me how my inner battle with allowing God to get my higher powers in control of my lower power was so key to God’s character being rightly represented in my life. Someone else showed me how most everything that satan has established in this world tends to oppose that transformation (sometimes subtly) . Thus once again the danger is within and without. Brilliant! We need to be reminded of both, at the same time, in the proper context. Thank you! You did an excellent job with the first without diminishing the second. That is rare in todays church.

  • Alta

    Thank you for this timely message. The following quote came to mind after reading your blog:

    “The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, and being clothed with humility, possessing that love that is pure, peaceable, and easy to be entreated, full of gentleness and good fruits, is not an easy attainment…. The soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in knowledge and true holiness. The holy life and character of Christ is a faithful example. His confidence in his heavenly Father was unlimited. His obedience and submission were unreserved and perfect. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister to others. He came not to do his own will, but the will of Him that sent him. In all things he submitted himself to Him that judgeth righteously. From the lips of the Saviour of the world were heard these words, ‘I can of mine own self do nothing.'” {GW92 376.2}

  • Brother Ty, thank you for letting God use you to write this article. It really touched my heart. It is a step in my own experience to help clear up “the mixed, confused ideas of salvation” and has helped me to better “understand the plan of salvation and white true conversion is.” Much appreciated!

  • Karl

    How can a denomination which has existed for over 2000 years and has over a billion members be wrong? If you delve deeply into what Catholics really believe, all these perpetuated myths will be dispelled. And all the beliefs are based in Scripture. If not the letter of the law then the meaning or lesson of the story. If Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation were of the fullness of the Truth, Lutheranism would have been the dominant denomination, would it not? Now there are over 40,000 Christian denominations, do you think they all have the same amount of “Truth”? Of course not. Who fights for the unborn more than the Church? Who loves the sinner but hates the sin of homosexuality and welcomes the sinner, as Jesus did, more than the RCC? Plus, I don’t think a loving and caring God would allow the largest institution representing Himself and the rest of the Trinity exist if it weren’t true. Use the reason that God gave you. Do your homework, you’re the ones being led astray. Read “Rome Sweet Home” by Scott Hahn (a former Presbyterian Minister). Your “enemy” the Roman Catholic Church, has all the right answers he said. The people that make up the RCC aren’t perfect, but are you or your churches perfect? There are free resources on what Catholics believe and why. Check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read about what Catholics really believe about Justification and Faith, Papal authority, etc. Then watch as the untruths being told to you are brought out into the light. Read it with an open mind and heart, pray about it with an open mind and heart. But don’t be surprised if you get some “ahhhh” moments. If you truly have an open mind and heart, it will happen, I assure you. May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always. You are all in my prayers and please keep me in yours, that we all continually seek the Truth.

  • Zane

    Thank You Ty!

  • Iri


  • Hey Ty, thanks for sharing this, I believe it was divine and anointed! It has open my eyes to soooo much and touched my heart deeply!

    I find that the sensationalism around the recent Papal events, though these events are solid in biblical truth & prophecy in of itself, the sensationalism has the ability to distract us from the events that lay “within”.

    Praise God and thank you brother Ty!

  • Suzie Phillips

    Thanks for your thoughts and explanations! I will start by saying how much I appreciate and agree with your assessments and thoughts. However, I now wonder to what extent should church leaders, local as well as world wide, academic or evangelical, exercise governing authority? Clearly there is biblical presidence, and yet they run the risk of being viewed as, or even themselves becoming, “Roman” within.

  • Michael Smith

    Great message, Ty. Thank you so much for your insights.

  • Mark Pierson

    When I read something like this article my first inclination is to think, “man, so-and-so should read this, this would straighten him out.” Then thankfully the Holy Spirit says, “Hey. Wake up. This is for you. You need the Grace of Jesus just as much as so-and-so.” I’m so thankful for the never ending grace from Jesus or else I would be inclined to try to sell some indulgences myself.

  • Jimmy Estrada

    AMEN! Made me really think. God blessed!

  • Tami Bivens

    Excellent, Ty! Thank you so much.

  • Wilfred

    Roman ism is paganism dressed in Christian garments!

  • I see prophesy being fulfilled, I read that the three messages would be preached more fully! I just read it!

  • Willard & Margie Ring

    If this doesn’t open our eyes even further to Justification By Faith & The Third Angels Message nothing will. You’ve described it very well & how we can have popery in our own lives & don’t know it. I never thought of it like that. I understand it better now than before.
    Thank You so much for this article & I will pass it on as it was passed on to us. We’re also getting blessings from your sermons on satellite. Margie & Will Ring

  • Lori

    Thank God there are men and woman like you made available to the Holy Spirit’s leading to keep our eyes on Christ, the only remedy for our sin sick

  • I had to stop reading after the second paragraph because I came across too many errors.

    The Pope doesn’t believe he’s God on earth Those that do are misinformed. The Church doesn’t teach that either.

    Just as the SDA church has a leader or set of leaders who determine what is doctrinally sound, so does the Catholic Church. This is a permission Jesus gave the Church, Peter in particular. Matt 16:18-19, Luke 5:3-4, 10, Luke 22:32, John 21:15-17, This tradition has followed. Acts 15:7, 2:14.

    The teachings that are made from the “Chair of Peter,” e.g. Ex Cathedra, are considered infallible, not everything the Pope says, just the same as it would be from one of the leaders of the SDA church… they too sit in a position of authority when deciding on important matters regarding faith and morals.

    For an explanation on what the Church means regarding salvation outside of the of the Church, please read this description:

    For an update on what the Church believes regarding infants or unborn children who aren’t baptized, read this article from USA Today, published in 2007:

    I would agree that prior apriori teachings were in error, though I don’t know that any of us can know for sure unless an angel or the Lord Himself were to inform us, and even then we may not. To my knowledge however, this hasn’t happened.

    If you’re frustrated about this, shouldn’t you direct your concerns to God. After all, He is the one who promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth. If the Church was in error for the time that it taught otherwise, is it the Church’s fault if she had no other guidance on the matter than what perhaps St. Augustine has stated?

    In regards to your concern on an indulgence… loving one’s neighbor often takes the form of giving gifts of charity… “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

    Providing a church is using money wisely, we can reasonably assume that giving a gift of money to our church is a gift of charity, helping to support the spread of the Gospel and the help those in need. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to believe that giving gifts of money to the church have some potential to ‘cover sins.’

    Nonetheless, if someone believes that they can go on sinning but give gifts of charity and to cover those, they’d probably be wrong; God will weigh the value of such behavior and the nature of their sins, including whether or not the Church taught them that and they actually believed it. Nonetheless, no one should be taught this, and on behalf of the Catholic Church, I apologize for those that may have been taught this, as well as for those who would have used the money given to the Church for their own benefit instead for those who needed it most. Please stop attacking the church through a mistake made by fallen men around 500 years ago. The Church does not sell indulgences and has never approved selling them.

    I believe the Catholic Church has a treasure of graces that she can bestow on her children as deemed appropriate, and that she is using the money she’s given through tithes wisely. On that note, I commend the SDA church for the work they’ve done in managing finances. However, please correct your post to reflect truth, and please help to reform the SDA church as well.

    “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

  • Brian B

    Thank you so much for an incredible distillation of truth, my mind is blown and I feel like I see the world clearer now. I want to know Jesus more and His Word in verite. God bless you Ty.

  • TJ


  • Yvonne G

    May God be praised.

  • Joel

    Bless your soul, Lightbearers…precisely the image of Revelation’s prophecies that I’ve had in mind but never been able to communicate. Will share this!


  • Thanks Ty.
    As I read my Bible I find that one of the most frequent sins men are guilty of is failing to care for the poor, the sick, the orphan, the widow, the imprisoned, etc. Of course this fits right in with your teaching, and though not mentioned in the discussion, caring for these will be a natural consequence of the righteousness by faith.

  • KS

    Very interesting and something to seriously consider. Have to re-study how to present Revelation 14:6-12 in that setting and what the underlying focus should be. Thank you. One thought came to mind though about the controlling others and yes we likely fail here at times. Example: There are some teachers at some institutions of learning promoting concepts rather not allied with the SDA teachings. There are groups within our ranks promoting un-biblical views (feast keeping, 2520, 9/11 theories to name few) deaf to reason, counsel or correction who will all cry of kingly control or persecution, right of the freedom of conscience or academic freedom. Will the church become a free range hunting grounds for whoever with whatever? It is very hard to deal with some persistent believers who run without being sent coming with false tests and confusing the inexperienced, impatient and frustrated with church’s condition. Fine line there and true it can be abused.

  • Chris Rucker

    Finally, a clear understanding between Justification by Faith and the Three Angel’s Messages instead of the legalistic interpretation that sadly so many have!!! I believe, if we helped our people to focus on reading the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul, we would have a deeper understanding and profound appreciation for the great truths of the Gospel instead of falling into legalism and then, treating them as another one of the 27 doctrines! Articles, like this, teach Adventists to seek a grace centered, spirit filled life – where we then actively live out the Great Law of God’s Love in our everyday lives!!!! Our focus, then, is on God Presence (that’s where the power is – “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, II Cor. 3:17) and not on ourselves! Thank you so much, Ty! We appreciate you!!! And now, may I be so bold as to suggest writing an article on the Epistle to the Colossians and why Paul specifically asked for this epistle to be read to the Church of the Laodiceans (Col. 4:16). Hmm, I wonder why!!!!

  • Mike Lowe

    A double whammy, right! An attack from without and from within. Whew! Even if we resolve the problem within, there is still the problem without. God help us.

  • Jim Wood

    Thought provoking blog, Ty. One small point of interest: the fate of unbaptized infants has undergone modification in latest Catachism.

  • lboutros7777

    You hit the nail right on the head Ty. Well said brother.

  • Daniel Lesch

    Very well said, Last weeks sermon on Rev 16:13-14 will be followed by this. Thanks for the reminder!!!

  • Glenn DeSilva

    Sitting presently in a position of responsibility within church work, I have been humbled and convicted as I read this article to be a better leader who values grace, mercy, and true meekness. Thank you again Ty, for your thought provoking insights.

  • Esther Ames

    May we pray for our leaders even as we retire from leadership.

  • to Carl’s comment? It is called deception. When you study the background of the beliefs you will need to reference what the Catholic Encyclopedia says these doctrines themselves.

  • The reason the Roman Catholic Church exists on the ruins of empires is her incredible ability to adapt. But, she never changes. Like a Chameleon it changes colors, but it still eats bugs!

  • Michael Hayes

    Awesome article Ty. I am always blessed whenever I hear you or read anything you write on God and His word. You have truly been anointed to speak in this day and age of the things of God. Thank you so much for this article and may God be praised.

  • Darliene Gall

    Thanks for your insight and Gods gift to express it so well.
    God Bless you

  • Laurin Von Krueger

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! God has magnificently inspired you to His Truths, you put light on them in a way I’ve never seen. God has giving you an extra measure of His Holy Spirit and discernment, we are at the gateway to the latter rain, with people like you and David Asscherick who seem to never be lacking in fervor for Christ, God can finally be truthfully made known to humanity, to the ends of the world and then the end will come. AMEN!!

  • Daniel Hudgens

    Thank you Ty for this powerful article! It opened my eyes to the beast within.

  • John Sheffield

    Well stated Ty. Would like to add to your comment “the message of righteousness by faith was being ignored by SOME church leaders.”

    A letter to Uriah Smith–“You have strengthened the hands and minds of such men as [she quotes six leaders] and a VAST NUMBER through them. ALL quote you, and the enemy of righteousness looks on pleased” (Letter 59, 1890, p. 605).

    I believe there is significance in this statement considering many take the premise that only a “few” rejected the most precious message. Therefore the thought goes that it’s inconsequential since it was only a handful, most accepted. It softens the magnitude of it’s rejection, no concern.

    But you’re overall point is spot on, may God continue to bless Light Bearers Ministry.

  • Gary Carpenter

    Sorry to take the wind out of your sails, but if you really want to know what Roman Catholics believe, look to the Nicene Creed. While pointing fingers at other Christians………Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, or whatever kind makes for lively conversation, it is not very “Christian”.

  • Vaun

    Thanks Ty. The more we focus on Jesus the more we will become like Him. It is true we must choose which principle we will have governing us.

  • Great article. I’m using much of it. Thanks so much. You have such a gift for organizing a flow of logic. An architect of ideas. I have to be my usual pain in the neck, though, and ask a question. You said, “those who stand in resistance against the mark of the beast will lead them to do so precisely because they know God’s favor is not earnable and that His law is not enforceable.” I agree God’s law is not enforceable in the sense that it must be internalized to be truly obeyed. But God does enforce His law, no? Just as a civilized society will issue consequences for laws broken, and still escape the charge of being a police state, doesn’t God issue consequences (whether “natural” or “imposed” or whatever)? To me, there’s a huge difference between coercion and consequences. We might imprison someone for murder and still not be a “coercive” government. So my question is, what, as you see it, distinguishes a freedom-based but consequence-issuing government from a coercive one? As I see it, the first doesn’t directly control its citizens, but tells them, “This is what we will do if you do ____.” In other words, it warns them. A coercive government typically attempts a more direct form of control, and rather than leaving the citizens free to choose intelligently to avoid known and clearly-stated consequences, they attempt a direct form of control that rarely involves any warning or consistency on their part. Does this make sense? I’m trying to discriminate between coercion and governance (and anarchy and freedom). I see coercion as marked not so much by consequences, even severe ones (I mean, check out Rev. 14!) but by an attempt to directly manipulate the will. A just government does the opposite of direct will manipulation, giving complete disclosure of laws and the consequences for breaking them. This is freedom. And it trickles down into the microcosm. People in relationships, particularly marriage, have to learn, “I won’t tell you what to do, but I’ll tell you what I’ll do when you do that.” So, my question again: What, as you see it, distinguishes a freedom-based but consequence-issuing government from a coercive one?

  • By the way, I REALLY appreciate the clear insights on how the three angels message is justification by faith. Great boil-down.

  • As an ex-Catholic, I often feel immunized against their voodoo and man’s traditions, but when I see the so-called Protestants going to church on the Roman Sabbath instead of the day God commanded–just can’t figure this out!

  • joe

    thats a beautiful concept there but i have a question “what about in situations where you are caught inbetween God’s principles ie His law and sacrificing your neighbour???? ie would it also not be a violation of my conscience by sacrificing my neighbour at the expense of standing up for God’s principles”

  • Eve

    This is the second time I am reading this article and I am moved to tears. Thank you God for your untiring efforts to awaken our dull senses to what was accomplished at Calvary and why.

  • Jener

    So many lies about catholic doctrine that it just makes me wonder how is it possible that some protestants are still using the same lies 500 years later when there’s so much info you can find online or just watch EWTN for a bit. Can someone say you are acting out of ignorance? I dont think so. If you are going to judge something you better make an honest judgment. And for that you must tell what the other side really teaches and if you don’t know what it is then go and find out first. And so many people here just saying “wow”. Oh please…

  • Ope

    I kept reading over and over again. Thanks for the post!!

  • Dalet Mendoza

    WOW! I was in shock as I read this to myself and my sister aloud!
    This is a must-read for every Christian no matter what their religion may be!
    God Bless you always, Ty!

  • GT

    Thank you , Ty! You put in words my beliefs that I haven’t been able to put into words myself. God bless you for your love and loyalty to Him. It feels so good to see how many are in the same mind set, in Christ Jesus. Amen!

  • Malisa Arnold Abrahams

    This is so powerful!! Thank you for sharing.

  • Racquelle

    Thank you for this message Ty, I can’t tell you how meaningful this is. It’s just so beautiful. What an amazing lens through which to view the 3rd Angel’s Message; I had wondered what exactly Mrs White meant by that and had been discussing this recently. This puts things in such a clear perspective; I so appreaciate your thoughts and study on this.

  • Nathan Huggins

    God has blessed with the Holy Spirit here in this article! This is not just something I would recommend others to read, I believe that for such a times as this, that this article is a critical read for anyone who wishes to come into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

    The elucidation of the third angel’s message from this article is powerful. Like many Seventh-day Adventists, I too have heard the same explanation of the papacy and the mark of the beast, which are important to be sure and correct. However the other angle I would speak to and should be more important but not crowd out the former is what I have heard in the recent past but to add to it. That addition is that we always have missed the antithesis to the third message of not receiving the mark of the best, which is, the seal of God. In other words we shouldn’t spend all of our study time in the third angel’s message to learn what is FALSE, when we should be studying the TRUE! Thus, the previous statement by default through the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit should lead us to study more in-depth the true (God’s seal) which in essence is “let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3), for this fulfills the royal law of love (James 2:8), selflessness.
    I have been placing heavy emphasis on Philippians 2:1-4 which has significant meaning and relation to verse 5 of chapter 2. The seal of God is placed internally/upon all those who have allowed the mind of selfless love (Jesus Christ) to assimilate and take control of their being, who having humbled themselves to a point where nothing is done through strife or vainglory (selfishness); but “in lowliness of mind esteem other better than themselves” and “every man looking also on the things of others” (selflessness)…liberty of conscience. This dichotomous language of selfishness and selflessness is explained in the condescension, life, earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and heavenly ministry of Jesus Christ on the sinner’s behalf as opposed to the exaltation of self seen in satan.

    Your 5th point on “the third angel’s message in verity” reminded me of a statement in the Great Controversy which I thought was analogous to said point, which reads:

    “A prayerful study of the Bible would show Protestants the real character of the papacy and would cause them to abhor and to shun it; but many are so wise in their own conceit that they feel no need of humbly seeking God that they may be led into the truth. Although priding themselves on their enlightenment, they are ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They must have some means of quieting their consciences, and they seek that which is least spiritual and humiliating. What they desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method of remembering Him. The papacy is well adapted to meet the wants of all these. It is prepared for two classes of mankind, embracing nearly the whole world–those who would be saved by their merits, and those who would be saved in their sins. Here is the secret of its power. {GC 572.2}

    God bless you and a double blessing upon your family this Sabbath!

  • Engleburg Toney

    I like the article-very well constructed; however, the danger here is diverting attention from the true identity of the man of sin. The Remnant has to overcome self and the inclination to control and dominate, no doubt, but the characteristics of the “little horn” remains unchanged…originated from the 4th kingdom, among the 10 horns, uprooted three, ruled for 1260 years, received a deadly wound, took away the daily, teaches Christ did not come in the flesh (Immaculate Conception), has a mouth speaking great words and blasphemy, persecuted the saints, changed God’s Divine Law, has no need of women, geographically located on 7 mountains, has a man at the head of it, received it’s power from the Dragon, and name equals to 666…the 1st and 10th Commandments speak to the Pope within. We should not diminish the factors that pinpoint our place in prophecy by projecting or should I say deflecting Romanism as a self-inflicted spiritual genocide of God’s remnant fold. The Synagogue of Satan is the Roman Catholic Church as identified in Scripture and the Spirit of prophecy. I have nothing against Pope Francis, I don’t even know the man, but he knows what he is doing and he has been doing it longer than I’ve been alive.

  • Eben Ezer

    Thank you Ty! It sounds like the Spirit’s message to the Philadelpian church is to be lived out in practice.

  • I loved this article Ty! I was a true confirmation of everything God has revealed to me throughout my walk with Him. The whole reason I avoided all church institutions was because of the very point made here in the way domination and control have stepped up to replace God! I have linked your post to my blog ‘Inner Angels and Enemies’, which you may notice by the name is centred around the other imperative point you made, which is to beware of what is within not only what is without!.