“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

There is a move breaking out throughout much of the evangelical, Charismatic and Pentecostal circles today to bridge the gap between Catholicism and the church. The voices of reconciliation are growing and those voices are not only well known, they are surprisingly well known. Men such as Kenneth Copeland, James Robinson, Perry Stone and even Tommy Bates have all suggested that we begin to include Catholics into the fold called “Christianity” – but they would be wrong.

I want to make something very clear, at no time do I consider these men heretics (save one), I do however am becoming very troubled at the level of acceptance and even tolerance to the Catholic church as I’m seeing with those men I’ve listed, not to mention TBN, who has had a very pro-Catholic view in the past 30 years or more. The truth is, while there are some who are in the Roman Catholic church who truly have been born again into Christ, they cannot stay in that system and maintain their salvation – it would be impossible to drink the cup of idolatry and drink the cup of the Lord as the same time. Yet there is another gospel being preached within many walls of the church today and it’s messenger has become well received among those who would hear, and it’s that particular gospel which I would speak within the context of this article – The Ragumuffin Gospel.

Even though it’s been over a decade since the ‘Ragamuffin Gospel’ made the rounds in the modern church world, it still, to this day, has had a deep impact upon people, Christians and sinners alike – why? Because the Ragamuffin gospel is a seduction of another gospel upon millions of people who would be snared by it’s compromising, “stay as you are” version of Christianity.

The Ragamuffin Gospel was written by the late Brennan Manning, a Roman Catholic (and former Catholic priest), and whose version of the gospel is nothing more than a modern version of seeker sensitive deception, his book does more harm than good. A quick overview of what Manning’s “gospel” is, consists of the following themes: No repentance is required to be saved, Psychology focused theology, unregenerate spirituality (one can stay in sin, nor does one need to ‘change’ after salvation), Roman Catholic doctrinal themes and ecumenical beliefs.

Manning has, even today, influenced many within the Christianity, allowing people to think they are saved and born again yet never confessing Christ, nor desiring to change – this is Manning’s greatest attempt at deception and many have unfortunately followed it, including some rather well known names within Christendom, such as: Rich Mullins, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith among other well rooted evangelical believers and performers.

The problem with Manning’s version of this gospel is not so much about his overall themes, although they are indeed dangerous, it’s the complete rejection of the word itself where it bridges a more universal appeal that is very much making inroads into much of the church today. Manning says: “To evangelize a person is to say to him or her: you, too, are loved by God in the Lord Jesus” and he leaves it there, that God simply loves and cares for the sinner and fully embraces them “as is”. Yet this is completely unscriptural. While God most truly DOES love the sinner (obviously) he demands repentance for God is a just God, a holy God, for there was paid on the cross one of the greatest sacrifices to man’s sin, that is God himself through his son Jesus Christ. To deny the cross (as Manning does) not only strips what was done on the cross, but it denigrates the atonement as something to be shunned. However, had the cross not been established, man could not ever be redeemed. Without the cross, you have no salvation.

Manning uses the woman caught in adultery as his basis for his belief against the need for repentance, where he makes the claim that Jesus “didn’t demand a firm purpose of amendment” and “didn’t seem too concerned that she might dash back into the arms of her lover” (The Ragamuffin Gospel, 1990, p. 167). Yet this is equally wrong, for Jesus himself stated to the woman to “Go and sin NO MORE.” Christ made it extremely and abundantly clear that salvation is not only reliant upon belief, but a change of heart, mind and attitude. This is where Manning’s “other” gospel, much of it linked directly back to the Roman Catholic church is coming through his teachings.

Unregenerate salvation, or salvation without repentance, without confession of guilt is sadly illustrated in Manning’s own description of three individuals in whom Manning uses in page 32-33 of his book: a female prostitute, a woman who had an abortion, and a male homosexual are all revealed within Manning’s gospel as he declares that none of these people are sinners, actually, Manning’s version relays the concept which states that people (sinners) are not “sinners” but simply unchurched individuals – they are saved (they just don’t know it yet), even though they won’t repent, they live a lifestyle of sin, they never truly come to Christ, in the Ragumuffin gospel which Manning presents, is a sham which keeps the sinner bound in their sin, never told that Christ came to FREE them FROM sin, but they must confess and believe (Romans 10:9-10). This is the gospel which is being embraced by many within the church, long still after Manning’s death in 2013, this “Ragamuffin” gospel is nothing more than a doctrine of devils, devouring those who would believe its message.

In (The Ragamuffin Gospel, p.30) Manning blames fundamentalism as being the core problem or issue within the church of keeping certain people out of the house of God, Manning says: “Something is radically wrong when the local church rejects a person accepted by Jesus: when a harsh, judgmental and unforgiving sentence is passed on homosexuals; when a divorcee is denied communion; when the child of a prostitute is refused baptism; when an unlaicized priest is forbidden the sacraments” Notice several things Manning brings up? unrepentant homosexuals, the communion as being important to salvation (which is a Catholic teaching), the sacraments (another Roman Catholic doctrine). These are all traits of Manning failing to understanding scripture.

What Manning fails to understand in the above paragraph is not that God rejects the sinner, he cannot receive the sinner until they repent, until they come to Christ through conviction. This is the problem within Manning’s theology, it’s driven by a universal theology that many embrace, which again requires nothing on the part of the hearer, but even if they reject it, that’s “ok” they will be received one day in eternity. But it’s a lie! The Bible says there is no forgiveness without repentance (Lk. 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; 2 Pet. 3:9).

Manning quotes and uses many of those by their own works are attributed to new age spirituality, men such as, Paul Tillich (an adulterous neo-orthodox theologian), Carl Jung (who wrote under the guidance of a demon and who considered Christianity a myth), Beatrice Bruteau (a proponent of the new age “I am god” heresy), Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, and Francis MacNutt (Roman Catholics), Pierre Teilhard de chardin (mystic), Morton Kelsey (a disciple of Agnes Sanford), Thomas Aquinas and “St.” Augustine (fathers of the Catholic Church).

Manning was big on accepting of Homosexuality. Manning declares that homophobia within the church are “among the most serious and vexing moral issues of this generation” (Abba’s Child). It is Manning in his other “gospel” which declares that it is the CHURCH who is wrong, not the homosexual. Manning himself tries to undermine the pulpits who would embrace the notion that would tell the homosexual to repent. Yet that is exactly what many are now falling victim to in today’s current tolerance toward homosexuality, and many of them do so by accepting Manning’s ‘Ragamuffin’ gospel.

Yet here’s what Paul said on the matter of homosexuality; ““For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (Rom. 1:26-27).

Stay away from the Ragumuffin gospel.



  1. Chris, did Perry Stone really say that? (first paragraph) – and do you think that this is a position that the COG is taking or is it just him?

    • Yes, he not only said it, he along with Tommy Bates (whom I do like) continues to add Catholics into the mix. I don’t know about the COG. Stone is one of the major players in the COG, so I’m keeping my ears open on the changes taking place.

  2. waycross1948 says:

    Christopher, how can I send you a personal email. I have some questions on a topic that I don’t particularly want to post in a public forum. I don’t really trust anyone else to give me a Scriptural answer. Thanks and God Bless, Judy

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  5. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  6. memama says:

    This false gospel was pushed heavily(at a conservative baptist church) by a inter-rum pastor. I believe his father had died of AIDS.
    I felt sorry for our entire congregation as it was being inundated with false doctrines and false teachings. As this pastor professed “unity” over The Truth of Scripture.
    People are sinners. Jesus asked for people to “go and sin no more”.
    The Ragamuffin Gospel ignores that Scripture.
    (they go with that Bill Clinton adage “it depends on what the word sin IS?”) …

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