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Celtic Christianity is not Authentic Christianity

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Modern Christians are very prone to what is fashionable in Christian circles, and most of what they accept is not authentic Christianity. By following fashions in religion, Christians become ‘twee’ and absurd. This applies to the fashionable following of what is called Celtic Christianity.

The closest I can come to describing the overall religious content of this movement is early flawed Christianity as practised before the Romans conquered Britain and as practised until the Papal envoy, Augustine, was sent to Canterbury in the sixth century AD to formalise Roman Catholicism throughout Britain up to the border of Pict-land.

Versions of Christianity existed in Britain well before Rome sent anyone to the land, and they were at first hostile towards Romish interference. But, this began to settle until the final arguments over Roman beliefs (concerning the dating of Easter) were ironed-out and Britain was turned over to Rome. Until that time British Christianity was ‘home-grown’, ‘Celtic’ and in isolated groups. Though the original Christianity may have been genuine, the more ‘Celtic’ it became the more faulty it was. By the time all churches became Romanist, they had already been changed by the Celtic nature of their teachings, and were becoming early Romanist anyway.

Some Celtic Beliefs

Those who call themselves ‘Christian’ today, will follow any trend. If it has strange language or quirky symbols, all the better! That is why some like to use Hebrew terms or practise Hebrew rites or traditions and feasts… saying ‘shalowm’ is a good example of this ‘twee-ness’. The Celtic religion has been resurrected from the ashes by similar twee ‘Christians’, who think that because it was the original Christianity in Britain it must be the best. So, they adopt its ways and teachings. They do not understand that the ‘original’ Christianity was closer to that of the Apostles than that of what they call ‘Celtic’, which is a corruption of the original!

For example (

  1. The world can be an opportunity for encountering God’s grace.
  2. We are supposed to be co-workers with God, to heal and bless the world.
  3. By having the ‘same Faith and Sacraments’ we are all united in a “holy chain of charity”.
  4. No person is ever cut off from God’s Love and Grace. Anyone can answer God’s call, turn to Him before the Last Judgment and receive Salvation.
  5. Prayer for the dead can assist in saving souls from Hell.
  6. Only the combination of fidelity to the Christian Faith and the succession of Grace in the Apostolic succession of Bishops is sufficient for a church to be a member of the Body of Christ.

The above beliefs are found in Celtic ‘Christianity’. The capitals used for some words are similar to those found in Roman beliefs. All six points can be found in Roman teaching. Point 2 is now prevalent in the error of environmentalism and ‘Christian’ green philosophy. Point 3 shows no discrimination between various denominations, whether they are genuine or not. Point 4 is Arminian to the core. So is point 5, which is deepest Romanism; both 4 and 5 deny the truth of predestination. Point 6 is Roman and implies that the organisation, not the persons, are ‘Christian’. None of the points are Christian. (From this point I will refer to ‘Celtics’ or ‘Celticism’).

There is in Celtic Christianity the idea of our ‘potential’ and that God is always seeking to do us good. This does not tie-in with God’s wrath, which He brings upon all who reject or deny Him with their lack of holiness. Whilst speaking of ‘original sin’ we must be careful that Celtics are not referring to it as per Rome, because Rome’s definition is not that of scripture. ‘Potential’ is New-Age and humanistic.

Celtics say that

“God always seeks us out, working for our healing and restoration”.

This is not true. He has predestinated some to be elect. The rest are doomed to hell and will never, ever be saved or go to Heaven. The statement by Celtics is what we hear from modern churchgoers who have little or no discernment. The idea that God is forever seeking out people is wrong: God already knows who will be saved, so He does not need to find them!

The Celtic idea adds to what scripture says. For example,

“He sent His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to restore our potential by joining His divinity to our humanity at His birth, and shattering our death by His death on the Cross and Resurrection from the tomb. He added to our potential: He lifted our human nature up to the highest Heaven, even to the right hand of the Father. This is central to Christianity.”

Christ did not come to restore what is fallen. Nor did He ‘join’ His divinity to our humanity (another Romish notion). Every saved person is ‘born again’ meaning they are completely new creations! God is not interested in ‘restoring’ our fallen natures. He completely renews us. Christ, in His work, death, and resurrection, DID NOT ‘add to our potential’ – He made us afresh. Our ‘potential’ was killed off by Adam’s sin, never again to arise. God does not raise-up our human nature to Heaven… He removes it because it is sinful. When we are resurrected we will have completely new bodies and pure spirits. Nothing of our ‘potential’ or former lives will exist or enter Heaven. The whole quote above is Arminian and Romanist.

Claim to Orthodoxy

The Celtic Orthodox Christian Church is an odd breed, because it is the modern version of an older, dead sect. It is how today’s religious twee fashion leaders think the Celts worshipped. Perhaps they ought to read the real history of this Celtic band which was certainly very hardy, tough and resolute, but hardly ‘genuinely Christian’. The modern Celtic church says “The Celtic Orthodox Christian Church bears witness to the original, unchanged Christian faith.” No it does not. Try reading Bede’s history of the English church, where you will find a scattered Celtic church that looks more like Roman Catholicism than authentic Christianity; the closer it got to the sixth century, the more it complied with Rome.

Today’s Celtics “serve God and receive His Holy Sacraments”… that is Romish talk, not Christian. We do not ‘receive’ the ‘sacraments’ – we partake of them. Learn the language of Rome! According to Rome we ‘receive’ the ‘Grace’ of God in the Sacraments… and this is what Celtics refer to. This is why they say “our primary concern is the preservation and spreading of the Christian Faith and Sacraments.” This is not how the Apostles spoke. Their concern was the spreading of the Gospel. The ‘sacraments’ (baptism and communion) were merely what Christians took part in as a command and as a sign of their salvation. They were not ‘means of grace’ at all.

Another claim Celtics make is: “We are the continuation of the churches who originally brought God’s Word and Sacraments to people in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, before the year 1000.” This is untrue. We do not know who originally took the Gospel to Britain, etc., but they had the authentic teaching of the Apostles. This teaching slowly became corrupt and Romish (Read Bede for examples), and joined with Roman Catholicism fully in the 6th century AD. So, well before the year 1000 AD, Britain and the rest of Europe were Roman Catholic, not Christian. Genuine Christians must have existed, but in small pockets.

Celticism also reverts back to use of Latin, for reasons that cannot be held genuine. It is to go backwards to Roman oppression, for no reason other than to be twee and fashionable.

Forms of Worship

Modern Celtics love to mimic the ancient Celtic churches, that first met in the open, then in wind-swept rush huts, then in wooden huts. Only just before they joined with Rome did many Celtic churches get built of stone. To weather storms etc., these tended to be small and round, or short, low and rectangular, and that is why Rome and modern Celtics love to reproduce this older type, pretending that mimicry equals authenticity.

Interiors tend to be simple, like the cells of monks. Forms of service use the liturgy of the Lorrha or ‘Stowe’ Missal, which Celtics claim goes back “directly to the tradition of the Holy Apostles.” Notice, all the time, reference to Romanist terms. This Missal is the ‘only surviving Celtic liturgy’. Thus, modern twee Celtics would have used it even if it was a Walt Disney song written for Donald Duck, so long as it was tagged ‘Celtic’! Prayers and services are all structured and not extempore… another hint at Romanism and formalism.

The Lorrha-Stowe Missal

Called the ‘Stowe’ Missal because a Duke of Buckingham bought it for his library at Stowe, England. Properly, it is the Lorrha Missal. It was used before 650 AD, which, interestingly, is about the time Celtic churches came under the authority of the popes. At that time there were still a number of diverse kingdoms in what we now call Britain.

Some think the missal was used by Patrick the century before. The Missal had to be repeated word for word, clearly, during the Eucharist, because it represented the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. Thus, it was ‘vain repetition’, copied today.

The Missal was written in a small book, taken around by priests on their travels, and used for Mass. It was written in Irish and Latin, possibly in a place called Lorrha, County Tipperary. The original was in two manuscripts bound by oak boards. The Missal (second manuscript) contains the Ordinary and Canon of the Mass, Order of Baptism and Order of Visitation of the Sick, Extreme Unction and Communion. At the end of this manuscript is an Irish tract on the Mass, Irish spells against loss of eyesight, injury by thorns and urinary disease, plus a few rubrics.

The ‘Ordinary of the Mass’ gives the text for Roman Rite Mass. The ‘proper’ Mass has text that can change according to feast and liturgical calendar. It is very obvious, then, that the Missal is Roman Catholic in content and style. Therefore, if Celtic Christianity is centred on the Missal, it must be Roman Catholic in nature. 

As far as Celtics are concerned, it was the Missal that spread Christianity. Yet, the manuscript is Romanist, not Christian. By ‘Christianity’ then, is meant ‘Roman Catholicism’. In the first six centuries the churches in Britain were grouped by country, each ruled by its own king. And each king had his own chief priest, who had his own subordinate priests, though these were very few in number. Each country in Britain had its own ‘Christian’ system, developed ‘in-house’ simply because each other kingdom was deemed an enemy, and so regional differences arose. However, towards the sixth century, the systems began to merge, more or less, until Rome took over completely.

As we can expect from a false denomination, it also has its own sub-branches, such as the ‘Celtic Church of Yahweh’. This, too, claims to return to the authentic church of Christ! They claim ‘not to be Protestant’ but yet ‘not Catholic’. They are also not evangelical, not Messianic. However, they are ‘part of nature’, and speak of the salvation brought by Christ… but what do they mean by it? Never just accept words today, for many are deceptive or just plain wrong.

This branch has the ‘Loyal Order of Shilah’, which is the religious order of the Celtic Church of Yahweh. This consists of an improbable group of knights, ladies, sisters and monks… all shouting out ‘we are Catholic’, even if they deny it! The Loyal Order was formed so that men and women could live monastically (not a scriptural reality) so they can be “dedicated to a spiritual quest of self-realization’… New Age, humanistic, and quite Catholic. Adherents want to “gain a greater spiritual connection” to the Creator; again, Catholic, if not charismatic, or even spiritism, by defining connection to God in terms of location or proximity.

Another original Catholic invention was the Knights Templar – the modern Order models itself on these knights who ‘defended the faith’. How this branch can call itself ‘Celtic’ I am not sure, for the real Celtics lived roughly, with little food, shelter or company, usually on remote islands and in wild country. Little changed over time, and I am not aware of any Celtic church that had the type of structure found in this modern version!

The Celtic Churches

Isolated from Europe, the Celtics, as I have indicated, developed their own distinct systems, which deviated partly from Rome’s teachings, but which grew closer to Rome by the 6th century. The Celtics revolved around monastries – some very small, others larger.

Really, it is an error to call anything after the 6th century as ‘Celtic’, because after that all organised churches were Romanist. It should be remembered that whilst modern men pretend the Celtics were unified and as one, this is a very different and romanticised picture of what was a very diverse scenario consisting of isolated and different styles of ‘Christianity’, most of which was greatly different from actual, authentic Christianity. Also, the deference the Celtics paid to Rome was widely divergent! In some, their notion of Rome and the popes was hostile, even though they all had some kind of reverence for the Bishop of Rome, because of the supposed ‘succession’ deception concerning Peter.

This is only an introduction to Celtic Christianity, my purpose being to show that it is NOT ‘authentic Christianity’, but a version of Romanism. For this reason the current interest in, and blind following of, Celticism, is not acceptable. There is a particular fondness for Celticism amongst many charismatics, but the same error is spreading to other denominations. In this way, the blasphemies of Rome are found in all churches prone to be ‘twee’. This paper is sufficient to show their error.

© February 2010

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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