By Ken Rich, 2018-01-04
There is a very dangerous doctrine that has become wildly popular today. You have no doubt been exposed to it at one time or another. Perhaps you have even bought into it, I did myself at one time.
It was placed in the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible, and various Bible commentaries. It was popularized by best-selling books such as The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye. It is loudly trumpeted by numerous televangelists such as Jack Van Impe, and John Hagee.
I am talking about a false view of end time prophecy, or eschatology. A counter-reformation doctrine called futurism which was developed by the Jesuit Francisco Ribera (1590). What makes it so dangerous, is that it was designed to obscure the identity and timing of the anti-Christ, bringing grave consequences to the victims of this corrupt power.
Most grassroots dispensationalists haven't the slightest clue of futurism's counter-reformation pedigree, errors, or how it made its way into supposedly Protestant seminaries.These highly respected scholars below (and many more), have no problem identifying the source.
O. T. Allis D.D. - Theology Professor Princeton:
The Futurist interpretation is traced back to the Jesuit Ribera (AD 1580) whose aim was to disprove the claim of the Reformers that the Pope was Antichrist. Prophecy and the Church, page 297
Dr. George Eldon Ladd - Professor Fuller Theological Seminary:
Ribera applied all of Revelation but the earliest chapters to the end time rather than to the history of the Church. Antichrist would be a single evil person who would be received by the Jews and would rebuild Jerusalem, abolish Christianity, deny Christ, persecute the Church and rule the world for three and a half years. ...This futurist interpretation with its personal Antichrist and three and a half year period of tribulation did not take root in the Protestant church until the early nineteenth century. "The Blessed Hope".
Some of its adherents are embarrassed by Futurism's Jesuit pedigree and claim a patristic origin. They point to earlier writings since by selective quote mining of the Church Fathers, and extra-Biblical writings, Ribera laid a foundation for his theory.
However, a close investigation reveals that the "Fathers" borrowed Futurist elements not from the Bible, but from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, which greatly influenced their views of end-time events. Futurism is nothing more than a fanciful extrapolation of the Beliar myth, convoluted around real scripture, and neatly packaged by the Jesuit Ribera.
Cherry picking quotes from the "Fathers" is a well-worn path to heresy that the Jesuits have made into a highway to hell. The writings of the "Early Father's" are not to be trusted as either inspired or genuine. Besides the obvious pagan influences in the writings of the Fathers, Rome is notorious for promoting forgeries to bolster its claims, the most famous (admitted) forgery being The Donation of Constantine.
They have corrupted many of the ancient fathers, and reprinting them, make them speak as they would have them. . . .They have written many books in the names of these ancient writers, and forged many decrees, canons, and councils, to bear false witness to them." Ephraim Pagitt Christianography, part ii. p. 59, London, 1636.
Dr. Adam Clarke the great Bible commentator, had this to say about quoting the Fathers: "... nor a heresy that has disgraced the Romish church, that may not challenge them as its abettors. In points of doctrine, their authority is, with me, nothing. The word of God alone contains my creed. Commentary on Prov.8.
Protestants use the Bible alone as their rule of faith (with good reason), and verifiable facts of history to constitute fulfilled prophecy. However, if one was to abandon the word of God and go by what the Hellenized "Fathers" actual taught, it is not what modern Futurists claim.
In some aspects (as in their adopted Beliar myth), it cannot be denied that some of the Fathers seem to advance elements of futurism, but only when taken out of context. In actuality, the writings of the Fathers DISPROVE modern futurists - something the "quote miners" don't like to talk about.
The Fathers saw the restrainer not as the Holy Spirit, but Pagan Rome, just as Historicists teach. (Documented HERE)
Also, the Fathers were not proponents of a pre-tribulation rapture, no matter how much pre-tribbers would like to believe so today.
We can find no trace of pretribulationism in the early church; and no modern pretribulationist has successfully proved that this particular doctrine was held by any of the church fathers or students of the Word before the nineteenth century. Dr. George E. Ladd (Documented HERE)
In other words, many of the "Fathers" expected the anti-Christ (personal like the mythical Beliar) to appear immediately after the fall of Pagan Rome (not removal of Spirit), to rise among its 10 divisions, and for the Church to go through tribulation. Two of the Fathers predicted the end would come before 400 AD, three of them predicted it would come in 500 AD and several more before 800 AD.
Despite these facts, some futurists follow Ribera in attempting to legitimize their views with selective quotes from the Fathers, while ignoring quotes that flatly refute modern futurism. This is intellectually dishonest and completely misleading.
The Fathers did not have the perspective that history gives us (this was a future event to them), but looking backward, we can see a power did indeed rise from the 10 divisions of Rome that fulfills the prophecies. It conducted its reign of terror as prophesied, and it's still with us today heading into it's predicted final judgment and doom.
Some futurists object to the historicist interpretation on the grounds that the anti-Christ must be a single person (beliar myth), not a power or dynasty. Yet what does the Bible say? Daniel 7:23 tells us that the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom (not a man) upon the earth. In Dan.7:24 the horns are Kingdoms (not individuals). Of course, Kingdoms have a dynasty of individual Kings or rulers at their head, so they can be represented figuratively by their ruler(s).
The little horn power (universally acknowledged to be THE anti-Christ) is styled as a horn (Kingdom) with a man at its head (a ruler) Dan. 7:24.The Bible defines its own symbols and figurative language. To ignore God's own definitions and impose your own by forced literalism, is unwise, to say the least.
Another dimension to this prophecy is time. Futurists are totally inconsistent in that they quite rightly adhere to the Bible's "day for a year" principle for the 70 weeks of Daniel, but ignore it completely for the 1260 days (years) prophecy. They also follow the Jesuit Ribera in inserting a gap of 2,000 plus years in Daniel 9, with no scriptural authority. This unconscionable butchery of scripture is exposed later in this article by an extract from "Approaching End of the Age" by H. Grattan Guinness D.D.
...it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than fifty millions of the human family, have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by popish persecutors..."History of Romanism," pp. 541, 542. New York: 1871.
Traditional Protestant eschatology (historicism), has no trouble identifying who claimed the prerogatives of God and waged war against the saints of the most high. It fulfilled all points of the prophecies, only it's final judgment and destruction remains.
A Great Cloud of Witnesses: "Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Bunyan, the translators of the King James Bible and the men who published the Westminster and Baptist confessions of Faith; Sir Isaac Newton, Wesley, Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards; and more recently Spurgeon, Bishop J.C. Ryle and Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones; these men among countless others, all saw the office of the Papacy as the antichrist." Taken from All Roads Lead to Rome, by Michael de Semlyen. Dorchestor House Publications, p. 205. 1991.
Most futurists believe they will be secretly raptured away before the tribulation, so why even be concerned? Of course, not all are pre-trib, and not all ignore the prophecies that point to the Papacy, but since they still push the anti-Christ (and tribulation) into the future, and see him as one man (not a dynasty), they do not feel compelled to take action in the present.
Dave Hunt is a dispensational futurist and his timeline and tribulation scenario is far from the Historicist position. However, I applaud him for at least identifying the Papacy as the woman of Rev. 17-18 in his book "A Woman Rides the Beast". He explains his position in this video.
Unfortunately, Hunt like others of his ilk, summarily dismiss a well-known FACT of history. It's such a huge, glaring, obvious, and incredulous omission, that one wonders are they blind, or simply being intellectually dishonest?
Pagan Rome split into 10 Kingdoms centuries ago (FACT OF RECORDED HISTORY), and the predicted little horn power (Papal Rome) already rose and fulfilled most of the prophecies in the Dark and Middle Ages. We need not look for another split into 10 divisions of the NWO, or a personal anti-Christ to reign in the future. We are heading into the final judgment of the great whore of Rev. 17-18 (not it's reign). The Bible is clear about when the end will come... Daniel 2:44 - ...in the days of these Kings...
"The historian Machiavelli, without the slightest reference to this prophecy, gives the following list of the nations which occupied the territory of the Western Empire at the time of the fall of Romulus Augustulus (476 A.D.),... ten in all......And the division is as apparent now as ever... ...it confronts the skeptic with its silent but conclusive testimony to the fulfillment of this great prophecy. Who can alter or add to this tenfold list of the kingdoms now occupying the sphere of old Rome? Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, England, Holland, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal - ten, and no more; ten, and no less."-"The Divine Program of the World's History," by H. Grattan Guinness D.D., pages 318-321.
Futurists like Hunt have departed from orthodox Protestant Eschatology (Historicism), and it's timeline. Historicism quite easily and forcibly proves the Papacy to be the little horn of Daniel 7, the man of sin, the anti-Christ, and the whore of Babylon. Not some future individual but a dynasty, a centuries-old system with an ever-changing individual at its head. At least Hunt still manages to identify Rome as the power we are warned about in Rev. 17-18.
Unfortunately, many futurists do not share his concerns. In fact, a false ecumenism for political expediency has even led to alliances with this corrupt system as evidenced by the 1984 document Evangelicals and Catholics together. Similar agreements and conciliatory statements by Anglicans, and astoundingly even Lutherans have become commonplace.
The naivety and compromise involved are illustrated by this 2007 statement where the Papacy reaffirmed that it's doctrines (which it martyred millions of Christians for refusing to accept in the past) have not changed, and that it alone (through apostolic succession) constitutes the true Church - claiming all others as false.
Every Reformer, without exception, spoke of the papacy as Antichrist" - R. Allen Anderson, Unfolding the Revelation, p.137
The scandals making headlines today pale in comparison to its past activities, and it seems no matter how many times this pretensions power makes headlines for its evil activities, futurists are unable to admit that a system claiming the prerogatives of God and fulfilling all the prophecies of anti-Christ, is ALREADY in our midst.
To maintain their delusion, futurists sweep wars and inquisitions under the carpet, along with vice, tyranny, corruption, persecution, bank scandals, stolen babies, pedophilia, political manipulation, and gross doctrinal "differences". All are glossed over, truth is sacrificed on the altar of unity, and history becomes an exercise in revisionism.
Unfortunately, the children repeatedly raped and tortured by the Pope's emissaries, do not have the luxury of turning a blind eye to evil, in order to deny eschatological blunders. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is full of victims who can attest that the reformers claims are not just an academic dispute over doctrine or a misunderstanding of history, the evils perpetrated by the Vatican are a brutal, painful, frightening reality - even today.
In 2011, SNAP filed a complaint case with over 22,000 pages of evidence, calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute the Vatican for crimes against humanity. More specifically the evidence shows in great detail that the Vatican is responsible for rape and other sexual violence and for the physical and psychological torture of victims around the world.
Even the conservative Catholic Prime Minister of Catholic-dominated Ireland, after reviewing several horrific government inquiries, has denounced the Vatican in no uncertain terms.
"The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed' to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and 'reputation'... because of the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied, Kenny called for action by the government to make sure the law will always supersede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country." Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
A government inquiry into the residential schools for native children in Canada also exposed sexual depravity and murderous violence. Similar inquiries in Ireland, Australia, Denmark, and elsewhere, reveal child torture on a worldwide scale. Much more could be said on this subject, for a deeper view please read this article Vatican - Crimes against Humanity
Why is it, that even in our modern world such monstrous evil is allowed to masquerade as the representation of God himself? As strange as it seems, most Protestants today (and of course Catholics), are allowing the very power the Reformers pointed to as the fulfillment of anti-Christ, to interpret the prophecies of anti-Christ for them.
If the Vatican can't be trusted to tell the truth about the rape and torture of children, how is it that so many trust it to tell the truth about Bible prophecy? It's like the sheep asking the big bad wolf (in sheep's clothing), to tell them where the wolf is hiding!!!
The response given by the clever wolf is in the future (Futurism), or in the distant past (Preterism), but never in the present where it would be exposed. If people really understood Bible prophecy, the charade would end, the facade would crumble, the pretense of Holiness would no longer be a hiding place for evil - the wolf would lose it's sheep's clothing. Preterism has never been that popular, but futurism has become the strong delusion of the end times.
Christ's statement, you shall know them by their fruits, has become ignore their fruits.
WAKE UP and hear the voice of the true Shepard - JESUS. Flee from this impostor and never trust your children to it again. Don't buy into its false version of prophecy, or it's revisionist history. Heed the words of Christ - you will know them by their fruits.
The tragedy of futurism is that it has everyone scouting the horizon for some future anti-Christ while the real one commits atrocities right under their noses. Those duped by futurism are typically good, well-meaning Christian people, who help spread the deception unawares. WAKE UP.
The Papacy's Concordat With Germany Signed Just Before The War
Futurism has been vehemently opposed by Protestant scholars for centuries, but it was adopted by John Nelson Darby in the 19th century and spread to America. Today it is taught almost everywhere by Conservative Evangelicals as dispensational futurism. The historicist view of the great Protestant reformers and scholars of the past four centuries has in effect been replaced by fables.
Jesuit futurism is so highly promoted in popular books and movies today, that for most people it's the only interpretation of prophecy they have heard of. So pervasive is the indoctrination into this false paradigm, that Its veracity is assumed. Cognitive dissonance and denial have become the typical reactions when the real truth of Bible prophecy is presented.
Charles H. Spurgeon (often called the prince of preachers) admonished the Evangelicals of his day who were sliding into this erroneous teaching to beware. His words ring even truer today.
Evangelical Churchmen, lovers of the Lord Jesus, how long will you remain in alliance with the defilements of High Churchism? You are mainly responsible for all the Popery of your Church, for you are its salt and its stay... ...Beware, lest you be found in union with Antichrist, when the Lord cometh in his glory. Come out for Christs sake. Be ye separate, touch not the unclean thing! (Spurgeon, The Sword & the Trowel, August 1865)
This short extract from "Approaching End of the Age" by H. Grattan Guinness D.D., shows the main and most grievous theological error of futurism, now taught everywhere by conservative Evangelicals. I present it in love, with a sincere, heartfelt, and benevolent wish, that if you have been blinded by futurism your eyes will open.
One of the gravest evils of futurism is the terrible way in which it tampers with this great fundamental prophecy (Dan.9:27), applying it to the future doings of some ideal Antichrist, (instead of) its Divine description of the past deeds of the historic Christ.
To hear their disquisitions (inquire diligently) on the subject, one would suppose the Antichrists seven years covenant with the Jews was as unquestionable an event as Gods covenant with Israel on Sinai! Few would surmise how frail the foundation on which this cardinal doctrine of Futurism rests.
Few would suppose that the notion has really no solid ground at all in Scripture, but is derived from an erroneous interpretation of one single clause of one single text.
The only basis for the idea is the expression in the 27th verse of the 9th chapter of Daniel. The sentence occurs in the midst of Daniels celebration prophecy of the 70 weeks, a prophecy that does not even allude to Antichrist, but is exclusively occupied with the first advent of Christ, His rejection and death, and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, which was the result.
Interpreted in the light of history, as a fulfilled prophecy, this remarkable chronological prediction affords conclusive evidence of the Messiahship of Jesus, of the inspiration of Scripture, and the divine origin of the Christian faith.
What are the words of this sacred and marvelous prediction given between five and six hundred years before Christ?
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall even in troublous times.
And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And He (Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (Or during the one or last week): and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it (i.e. the city) desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate or desolator. Dan. 9:24-27
This prophecy was given just as the 70 years captivity in Babylon was drawing to a close. It announces the duration of the restored national existence of Israel up to the great epoch of all history, the advent of Messiah the Prince. It was foretold that within 490 years from the date of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem, the long foreshadowed, long predicted supreme atonement for sin was to be accomplished by the advent of Messiah the Prince, reconciliation for iniquity effected, and everlasting righteousness brought in; that vision and prophecy should be sealed up, and the most Holy anointed.
This period was then subdivided into three parts: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week; i.e., 49 years, 434 years, and 7 years. The rebuilding of the city, and the re-establishment of the Jewish polity would occur in the first forty-nine years or seven weeks. Four hundred and thirty-four years more would elapse, and then Messiah the Prince would appear.
After that, at some time not exactly specified, but within the limits of the seventieth week or last seven years of the period, Messiah would be cut off; but not for Himself. It is further foretold that Jerusalem and its temple would subsequently, and as a consequence, be destroyed, and that a flood of foreign invasion would overflow the land. But though thus cut off, Messiah would confirm the covenant with many (not the whole nation) during the course of the one week; in the midst of it He would cause sacrifice and oblation to cease. Jerusalem should then be made desolate, until a certain pre-determined doom should fall upon the power that should desolate it; a fact which our Lord afterwards foretold in the words, Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
All this was accomplished with wonderful exactness. The edict to restore and build the city was issued by Artaxerxes, and Ezra and Nehemiah were the two great restorers of Jewish people, polity and religion. Their joint administration occupied about seven weeks or forty-nine years; the wall and the street were rebuilt in troublous times. After a lapse of 434 years more, Messiah the Prince did appear, saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; i.e., the time indicated by this very prophecy. He came unto His own, but alas! His own received Him not! He was cut off; but not for Himself! Shortly after the Roman Soldiery the people of a prince that shall come (Titus) did destroy the city and the sanctuary; the end of Jewish independence came with a flood of foreign invasion, and predetermined desolation fell on land and people. But though the nation was thus judged, Messiah did confirm the covenant with many.
What covenant? and how did He confirm it? This is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you, said He to his disciples the night before His passion [Luke 22:20]; or as Matthew and Mark give the words: This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins. He shall confirm the covenant with many, said the angel to Daniel [Dan 9:27]. My blood of the new covenant shed for many, said Christ.
Is not His blood declared to be the blood of the everlasting covenant. And is not He Himself repeatedly styled the Mediator of the new covenant? [Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24] And can any Bible student doubt what is the event predicted, when in immediate connection with the coming and cutting off of Messiah, it is added, He shall confirm the covenant with many? (see also Heb 8).
What excuse is there for introducing into this most solemn and touching prophecy of the life and death and work of CHRIST, the political action of some future Antichrist? It is needless, groundless, unpardonable discord!
Antichrist making a league with the Jews! What? in a prophecy which speaks of the accomplishment of atonement, of the making an end of sin, of the effecting of reconciliation, of the bringing in of everlasting righteousness!
What has Antichrist to do here?
Oh! he is the prince that shall come of v. 26, it is answered.
Impossible! That prince was the prince of the people who did the deed here predicted, destroyed the temple and city of Jerusalem in consequence of the Jewish rejection of Messiah. That must be Titus, for it was his Soldiery that did this. Then where is Antichrist in this prophecy? It is replied that even granting the earlier reference to be to Titus, still it is Antichrist who in the midst of the week causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease. No! the Actor is one and the same in all the clauses of v.27 Messiah Himself.
Who else put and end to the sacrifices offered by the law continually, and caused them to cease by the offering of one sacrifice for sins forever? What was it that did actually as a matter of historic fact, cause the Jewish sacrifice and oblation to cease? The offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, that offering which took place in the midst of the week that is, in the course of the seventieth of Daniels predicted weeks, the one week which stands alone at the close, the week which comprised the earthly ministry and the atoning death of the Son of God, the giving of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and the formation of the Christian Church.
Christ and His work is one great theme of this prophecy. The judgment that should over take the Jews for rejecting Him, and Titus and the Romans, by whom these judgments were to be inflicted, are mentioned, but there is no allusion to Antichrist. How could there be? 490 years includes chronologically the events foretold here, and Antichrist is not yet come according to futurist views! How then could he figure in a prediction, which expired 1800 years ago? Oh, it is said, The angel said 490 years but he meant plus 1800 or 2000 years; there is a chronological gap of the length between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks. The last week has not begun yet. When it does begin, Antichrist will appear and make his covenant with the Jews. To state such a theory ought to suffice for its refutation. Language has lost all meaning if a definite period of 490 years, interposed between two great historical events, may be extended by two thousand years. Prophetic revelations of such a character would be worse than none; for they would be misleading and deceptive.
Not thus was the forty years wandering in the wilderness lengthened! Not thus was the Babylonian captivity measured! If God condescends to give chronological predictions at all, they will be truthful, accurate, and divinely exact. The events mentioned as occurring in the midst of the last week, occurred within 490 years from the Edict of Artaxerxes. They are long, long past. The prophecy is a fulfilled prophecy. The judgments on the Christ-rejecting nation continue, it is true, and will continue till the end of this age; even until the consummation, and that determined be poured upon the desolator. But the object of the prophecy was not to announce these judgments, but to measure the interval to Messiah the Prince. It was given to intimate beforehand the period of the greatest events of all history, the greatest events of time, not to say the greatest events of eternity, the atoning death of the Son of God, and the establishment of the new covenant.
The great anti-christian power, symbolized as the little horn and called the man of sin, and the eighth head of the beast, being the last form of Gentile power, and belonging to these times of the Gentiles, has little to do with the literal Israel, or the literal Jerusalem, or the literal Temple.
He (Antichrist) co-exists not with a recognized Jewish nation, but with the rejection and dispersion of the Jews, and with a recognized professing Christian Church. His sphere is not Palestine, but Christendom; his throne is not Jerusalem, but Rome; his victims are not Jews, but Christians; his end and doom are brought about by that event which marks the commencement of the restoration of Israel to Gods favor the second advent of Christ; when Israel shall look on Him whom they pierced, and mourn because of Him, and when the times of the Gentiles shall be ended. APPROACHING END OF THE AGE by H. Grattan Guinness D.D. pages 711-717
"...It is a matter for deep regret that those who advocate the futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist." Rev. Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16, 17.
More Resources HERE
By Ken Rich, 2013-10-24
There is a huge controversy shaking the institutional Churches and it has once again been brought to the forefront. One of the principle players in this "in house" debate is John MacArthur, the author of Charismatic Chaos and sponsor of the recent Strange Fire conference. He is not without his critics - here is a well written, downloadable PDF called A Response to Charismatic Chaos by Rich Nathan.
MacArthur is a rather strict cessationist and an "old school" proponent of Calvinism. Personally, I reject Calvin's cold determinism and identify more closely with the particular brand of Arminianism espoused by John Wesley. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the contributions of the Reformed tradition, and the sober minded sincerity of men like MacArthur. His style can be somewhat acrimonious and dogmatic, but I share his concerns.
While I disagree with his cessationist interpretation of several key scriptures, I can easily relate to many of MacArthur's criticisms of the foolishness, fakery, and false spirituality found in much of the charismatic movement. Some of it appears dangerous, having more in common with the Kundalini force of Eastern mysticism, than it does with gifts of the Spirit. I agree that it is wise (and Biblical) to "test the Spirits" - since pagans, and witches also manifest tongues and various ecstatic "experiences".
In other words, just because something supernatural is taking place, does not necessarily mean it is "of" God. That being said, we also don't want to "limit" God. Part of the problem is that Christendom has put great emphasis on Christology, and ecclesiology, but pneumatology has been largely neglected. God is sovereign and can pour out his Spirit upon men if he chooses. In fact, according to scripture he has already done so.
Acts 2:17 - 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
Cessationists claim that what is being manifested by the over 500 million charismatic Christians in the world today, is at best fakery and at worst demonic. Continuists acknowledge there are counterfeits and charlatans at work, but the Spirit of the living God is still being poured out upon those whose hearts are open. What is the truth on this issue?
Proves Too Much
There is much fodder for cessationist cannons. They can point to many strange and (to be kind) questionable manifestations, such as the embarrassing saga of Todd Bentley, or the wicked Kansas City Prophets who were embraced by some of the most prominent continuists before they were exposed. Cessationists, rightly (in my opinion) question whether the howling hyenas of the Toronto blessing are filled with the Holy Spirit of God Almighty, or by something else? They see no discernment, testing the Spirits, or sound doctrine apprehended by a sober mind in such bedlam and chaos. Is God the author of confusion?
1 Cor. 14:33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints...
No one disputes these type of shocking events are taking place, but are they being used by MacArthur in an attempt to prove too much? He doesn't confine the topic to cessationism. He makes sweeping generalizations from these aberrations, building an "ugly caricature" of the charismatic movement. Then he contrasts his traditional Reformed theology to this "strawman", as if that somehow lends credence to his dogma. This is a false dichotomy, an appeal to extremes which employs reductio ad absurdum to insult the truth.
MacArthur says "By contrast, Reformed theology, sound doctrine, is not a haven for false teachers...", which is a great insult to Reformed Charismatics within his own camp. They are charismatic not because they are ignorant of scripture, or of traditional Calvinism, but because they can't deny what the Bible teaches and their existential experience confirms.
Moreover, his rhetoric is even more insulting to Arminians. He seems to forget that Arminius, Grotius, Laud, Wesley and many other brilliant and renowned theologians overturned the dogmas of Calvinism from scripture. Perhaps this short video will be helpful Why I'm Not a Calvinist.
I love our Calvinist brothers, and since they hosted the conference we must forgive their dogmatism in presenting Calvin as the "touchstone" of Christianity. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that honor belongs to another - Christ.
In the rather lengthy article which follows, cessationism is refuted and the acknowledged problems with the charismatic movement are put into proper perspective. In the process, MacArthur's deceptive "strawman" argument is skewered on the pitchfork of truth, it's innards exposed to the withering light of scrutiny.
Despite his overreach, I do appreciate the good talking points brought out by MacArthur's rhetoric. However, I find his cessationist exegesis of some of the relevant scriptures to be flawed. I must agree (for the most part) with Andrew Williams in his assessment.
In fact, I think that the division of the gifts such that the miraculous or "sign" gifts have ceased, including tongues, prophecy and healing, but the "normal" gifts like teaching carry on, is an imposed and artificial distinction based on bias, not sound exegesis. Many of the nuances, subtleties, and vagaries of the opposing positions are touched on here
For me, the key is that 1 Cor 1:7, 13:10 have the gifts continuing to the perfection obtained at the second coming of Christ, not the closing of the canon. Joel 2 28-29 places the gifts eschatologically in the last days, not limited to Pentecost but starting there. There is no getting around these facts, however the case for ecstatic tongues is textually very weak.
How weak? Early Pentecostals themselves believed that tongues were real earthly languages (xenoglossia) and not private prayer language, or "ecstatic" tongues. A new interpretation began to receive attention in the 19th century, but the traditional view still dominated until the mid 20th century. Eventually "categories" of tongues became accepted, accommodating "subjective experiences" with the type of glossolalia common among pagans. Biblical and historical support is strained, and some continuists reject ecstatic tongues as counterfeit, a repeat of the ancient Montanist heresy.
S.C. Todd of the Bible Missionary Society investigated eighteen Pentecostals who went to Japan, China, and India ‘expecting to preach to the natives in those countries in their own tongue,’ and found that by their own admission ‘in no single instance have [they] been able to do so.’ As these and other missionaries returned in disappointment and failure, Pentecostals were compelled to rethink their original view of speaking in tongues” (Robert Mapes Anderson, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism). The conclusion was soon reached that their “tongues" were not earthly languages but a “heavenly” or special prayer language - A Private Prayer Language?
This video was produced by someone who grew up in the Assemblies of God and is well acquainted with tongues. He argues that the ecstatic tongues commonly practiced today are a counterfeit, but the true gift is legitimate, relevant, not for everyone, and produces real languages. This article by noted Christian author Ray C. Stedman presents a similar view.
In addition to accepting ecstatic tongues, Pentecostals also insist that ALL must speak in tongues as initial evidence of Spirit Baptism, though this is not currently accepted by most charismatics. It may come as a shock to some Pentecostals that Charles Fox Parham (the originator of this doctrine) believed in tongues as real languages (xenoglossia), and viewed the ecstatic type of tongues (glossolalia) widely practiced today as false, even demonic.
Hear this: three-fourths of the so-called Pentecosts in the world are counterfeits, the devil's imitation to deceive the poor earnest souls. . . . Many hundreds, in seeking Pentecost, were taught to yield to any force, as God would not permit them to be misled; under those conditions they were ripe for hypnotic influence. . . . Two-thirds of the people professing Pentecost are either hypnotized or spook-driven, being seized in the first place with a false spirit or coming under the control of one afterward. We cannot be too careful to try or test the spirits and any person unwilling to have their experience tested by going to God for themselves or with the brethren, reveal the fact that they are demon-controlled. . . . They plead the blood, and claim to be Jesus, giving messages, and imitate every gift of the Holy Spirit and Pentecostal tongues. Charles Parham, 1911 "The Everlasting Gospel" (55, 72, 120-121)
Could it be that continuationism is correct and desiring the gifts is commendable, but the radical changes made to the role and nature of tongues are ill-advised?
That is a vital question, but it is not the only one we should be asking. Are warnings of a false Kundalini spirit fear mongering, or some type of conspiracy theory? Is the charismatic movement a repeat of the ancient Montanist heresy? What about the numerous "anointed" charlatans that keep getting exposed? Can we allow subjective experience to drive our interpretation of scripture? At the very least, these questions should underscore our need to be cautious and discerning - were we not told to test the Spirits?
1 John 4:1 - Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God...
In any case, I must add my voice to the growing chorus of critics on both sides, bewailing the loathsome and repulsive prosperity Gospel. It is so vile and heretical as to be beneath the dignity of a critical response. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 condemns it, Matthew 6:19-34 as well, plus many other texts. Contrary to MacArthur's assertions, many leaders and groups within the continuist camp oppose it.
Why make millionaires out of greedy charlatans while innocent children starve to death? If you have the means, sow into pure religion rather than feed wolves. Here are some needy orphans who really do need your help - Change for Children
Disagreements on Interpretation
In the "Strange Fire" conference, Tom Pennington makes the clearest, most direct case for cessationism. Though logically laid out, his arguments are easily countered as not demonstrably Biblical. The short simple response of Andrew Williams destroys both his contentions and the foundation of the entire conference. Nevertheless, Pennington's point on ecstatic tongues vs real tongues is well taken, and Williams neatly sidestepped it.
Phil Johnson goes beyond Pennington's clearly stated but unconvincing position. He complains that he can't find the "baby in the bathwater", and draws the wrong conclusion out of the murk instead.
Like MacArthur, much of what he says in criticism of the Charismatic movement is true, but he attacks the weakest points, uses the most extreme examples, and paints with too broad a brush. I agree that charlatans abound and there is widespread counterfeiting of gifts occurring, but does that preclude the genuine?
His unworkable attempt to deny modern miracles, while simultaneously denying charges of deism, involves some interesting theological gymnastics. Like Pennington, he spends a great deal of time fishing with the "red herring" of primary usage. I agree that the eyewitness Apostles were indeed testified to with mighty signs and wonders, but that in no way limits the gifts to believers.
1 Corinthians 14:4,26 shows that the specific spiritual gifts being denied, were given to ordinary Christians (not just apostles) for the edification (or building up) of the Church. 1 Corinthians 1:7, 13:8-12 shows they will continue until the coming of the perfect which is the perfection obtained at the second coming of Christ (not the closing of the canon).
Johnson appeals to a need for precision of terms, but then uses providence as a sort of "weasel word". Within Reformed Tradition itself there is no agreement on how to define the word miracle. The simple truth is lost in a maze of categories and layers of providence, all convoluted around a framework of predestination.
He mixes in some valid points about fakery and frauds but after all his rationalizing and categorizing is over, the miraculous is buried beneath the skirts of providence, paradoxically acknowledged and denied by his sophistry. Modern miracles are conceded as a technical possibility under the category of rare extraordinary providences, but denied as an experiential reality, or as a continuation of God pouring out his Spirit to edify the Church.
Slippery semantics notwithstanding, nothing can extradite a cessationist from the dilemma that God is still immanent, still miraculously answers the prayers of the faithful, and still bestows spiritual gifts to edify and build up the body of Christ until he returns.
1 Corinthians 1:7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I would agree with Johnson that miracles are no where near as routine and commonplace as the shenanigans in Charismatic circles. There are certainly tares among the wheat, shamelessly counterfeiting signs and wonders to draw huge followings after themselves. Nevertheless, God's arm has not been shortened, and there is no excuse for rank unbelief in the truly miraculous happening in the here and now.
On the topic of worship music, MacArthur shoots himself in the foot and sticks the other one in his mouth. He promotes anachronistic hymns and pipe organ music as pious and reverent, while sanctimoniously condemning contemporary styles as unfit, irreverent, even dangerous. This is a biased unbiblical position, which is totally SHREDDED in a free e-book entitled In Defense of Contemporary Christian Music.
Think about it! His introduction to the conference involves God striking down those who offer improper worship, using Lev. 9,10 as an example. I agree, God is deadly serious about proper worship. In fact, he also struck Uzzah down in 1 Chron. 13:9 for simply touching the Ark. So, as MacArthur suggests we should ask the question - what musical worship style does God accept?
In answer, was God displeased or did he strike anyone down for their loud and joyous musical merrymaking which obviously employed strong rhythm and even dance - around that very same Ark?
2 Samuel 6:5 And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals... And David danced before the LORD with all his might.
Perhaps in claiming the Word as his final authority, MacArthur should have the integrity to incorporate scriptures like 2 Samuel 6:5 (not to mention Psalm 149, 150, and dozens more) into his theological perspective. Staid, somber, and rhythmless, does not equate to reverent in the Bible. Rhythmic and danceable does not equate to evil in the Bible. God is sovereign and can decide for himself what is acceptable, scripture is far from silent on the subject.
Wackos vs Brainos
MacArthur also points to "wackos" in the continuist camp, mired in gross sin and suffering from lack of scholarship. He makes the Todd Bentleys of the charismatic movement representative of the whole, such that they become a "strawman" to knock down 500 million confessed Christians. Personally, I find that to be an offensive and fallacious form of ad hominem attack.
To illustrate the pejorative nature of this unsavoury tactic, one only has to examine the intellectuals with solid degrees in theology and great ecclesiastical standing, who are often worse than the "wackos" (not that the Reformed tree doesn't have it's share of nuts). Someone may have D.D. behind their name, possess a great depth of Scriptural knowledge, be well spoken and well dressed in a dark suit or flowing robes, but does that mean they are born of love, have correct doctrine, or are even remotely moral? Not according to the sorted history of the Church, or to recent revelations in the modern media.
Bishop Raymond John Lahey had a Bachelor of Theology (B.Th), a Licentiate in Theology (L.Th.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). He graduated magna cum laude (with honors - above average). He served as a Professor of Religious studies, and head of the department. He had a distinguished ecclesiastical career with many postings, including chancellor of a top ranked University. Despite the letters behind his name, and his scholastic knowledge of Scripture, this man was caught lying to protect the pedophile Priests in his charge and was himself caught importing child pornography of the most graphic, horrendous, and torturous kind.
Obviously, something more is required than just rationally apprehending the Word, one must be in a saving relationship with the one the Word points to - Jesus. This involves being born again by the Spirit of God who does indeed give gifts, the greatest of which is love.
1 John 4:7-8 Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Although the abuses of the Catholic clergy are legion and infamous, Protestant Ministers are often guilty of the same crimes, though well studied and holding respected positions in their various ecclesiastical institutions. In my country (Canada) the Catholic, Anglican, and United Churches would ALL be bankrupt if the government did not pay off the abuse claims against them, generated by the long list of horrors perpetrated against helpless native children at residential schools.
To listen to MacArthur and Phil Johnson, one would think the perpetrators were all charismatic and ignorant. Perhaps they should look in the Reformed closet for skeletons, starting with Calvin who was no angel as the Jews and anabaptists can attest. Why limit their search engine to only find deviants in the "enemy" camp, this small study below provides a view that isn't colored by their bias and deception.
Of the accused clergy, 75 were Catholic priests (39.5%) and 111 were Protestant ministers (58%). (Also charged were 1 Mormon clergyman, 1 occult minister and 2 cult ministers.) Protestant cases involved equal numbers of mainstream and fundamentalist/evangelical denominations. Clergy Who Molest
A Boat Needs Both Oars
The sad and disgusting state of affairs in the Churches today serves as a cautionary tale, but don't let revulsion or reaction lead to extreme positions. Perhaps this analogy will illustrate the basic problem. A boat needs both oars working in unison to travel straight and true, throw one away and you are apt to row in circles.
Experience and intuition should complement, not replace, supplant, or contradict the objective truth of God's special revelation - the Bible. At the same time, doctrine should not violate conscience, or thwart a living relationship with God. If it does, it is false dogma not sound doctrine. Consider the words of Christ.
John 4:24 - God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
For instance, It would be a great mistake to follow the transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson in limiting oneself to individualism and the natural revelation described in Romans 2. Granted, history is replete with wars and inquisitions where false religious dogma was enforced to the violation of God given conscience. However, God's word is true and he gave it for a reason - we can't throw it away because of how it's been abused. The natural witness of the inner man is important, valid, and God given, but it should not be the only oar in your boat. The objective truth of scripture keeps one from becoming lost on a sea of subjective thought.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Many highly trained Churchmen err in the opposite direction, and throw away the other oar. They view inner revelation as inherently unreliable and a potential lure away from the "truths" of dogmatic religion. They give no ear to the voice of God in their hearts, having only a dead intellectual understanding of scripture. Well studied and credentialed religious academics, but bereft of relationship.
We need the Holy Spirit and his gifts. HE is our teacher - the one who wrote the book is not limited to the book. He speaks to us generally through creation and directly to our conscience. Even the heathen (who have no scripture) have no escape from God. What he requires is written on their hearts, their own thoughts defending and accusing them (Romans 2:14-15). How much more so those who diligently seek God and are receptive to his Spirit?
1 John 2:27 But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true (John 14:26, 1John 3:24, 1 Cor. 2 10-16, Col 1:9).
All scripture is God breathed and useful in making one wise to the way of salvation and obedience. It is the final authority on doctrine and sufficient to guide us, but book learning should lead to and inform (not replace), a personal experiential relationship with God through the Ministry of the Spirit.
Romans 8:9 ...the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Listen to this short clip from John MacArthur and you will realize that he has only one oar in his boat. He makes the Bible the SOLE authority and source of revelation, but Sola Scriptura doesn't deny other sources it only subordinates them to scripture. There is a huge difference.
The Spirit inspired the scriptures and MacArthur is absolutely right that we should study them. They are truth, they are authoritative, they do have a sanctifying effect, we should internalize them, they do speak to us, we should share them, but he leaves out the most important thing - we should do what they say.
Knowledge of scripture is not an end in and of itself - they point us to Jesus. We must choose to let Christ into our hearts for real, not just as a theoretical abstraction of intellect. Christ didn't just leave us a book, he left us his Spirit. We must partake of the divine nature, there is a synergism which must take place and it is more than just studying scripture. We must be led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14).
1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God...
Ironically, the book itself tells us that, but some are forever studying and never coming to a knowledge of truth. In that short clip, as in many of his diatribes, MacArthur calls upon his "strawman" to deceptively mischaracterize Charismatics as Biblically illiterate. Meanwhile, they apparently know scripture better than he does, because they seek the Spirit of God and his gifts as the book says we should.
Luke 11:9-13 Ask and it will be given...how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
1 Cor. 14:12 Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
The Rise of Bibliolatry
There are currently over 40,000 denominations who disagree over doctrine. Men have argued, fought, and killed over the meaning of scripture for centuries. Why are there so many interpretations when there is only one Spirit?
Long ago, the Catholic Church elevated it's teaching authority over scripture They claimed that their Magisterium had to interpret it for us, usurping the Spirit's role as teacher. When Protestants broke away, they rightly upheld scripture over tradition, but neglected to restore the Ministry of the Spirit to it's rightful place.
Cursory acknowledgment was given, but in their great rush to defend the sufficiency of scripture, the role of the Spirit in illuminating scripture was an afterthought at best. "Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word" (Westminster Confession of faith, 6:6).
The Reformation left us a wealth of sermons, creeds, and treatises defending the sufficiency of scripture but today they are often misapplied and misunderstood. Originally written to defend against the traditions of Rome, they are now used by some against the Holy Spirit. They think the Spirit's ministry was confined to inspiring the book and is now over. No longer does he speak through nature, or experience, or relationship, or strive with men's hearts. Contact with God has been reduced to a rationalist understanding of scripture.
Guidance from God through dreams, visions, prophetic words, words of knowledge and wisdom are rejected outright, as a knee-jerk reaction to the counterfeits of charlatans. Fear of receiving a false Spirit has led to exclusion of the true Spirit. Illumination of scripture becomes impossible, and multiplied disagreements among dead religionists abound.
This downloadable PDF by J.P. Moreland Ph.D., Th.M., explains how Bibliolatry has become entrenched in Evangelical Christianity. He is one of the few scholars seeing the issue clearly and raising the alarm. To be fair, here is a defense against the charge of Bibliolatry by John MacArthur.
MacArthur once again evokes his "strawman" and argues from extremes. He grudgingly concedes to the need for illumination and indwelling, albeit in the most diminished sense possible. He admits he has never really felt the presence of God, and sees the Spirit as a one time permanent deposit that is static, unchanging, and imperceptible, rather than a person we have a dynamic living relationship with.
We receive the Spirit when we enter into a saving relationship with God, but what of all the verses that explain the nature of this relationship? Whether one believes in a secondary baptism of the Spirit, or being filled and refilled, it is evident that the relationship is not static. God is seeking us, but are we pursuing him, yielding to him, limiting him, or excluding him. Here is a downloadable PDF that explains - We have as much of God as we actually want ~ A.W. Tozer
It is up to us to let him in (Rev. 3:20). We must ask for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). We can quench (1 Thess. 5:19), we can grieve (Eph. 4:30), we can resist (Acts 7:51), we can blaspheme (Mark 3:29), or we can be willingly led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14). The synergy created by our desiring, yielding, and cooperating is the key to life in the Spirit. We can be FILLED (Eph. 5:18) and unlike the barrenness of MacArthur's self imposed desolation, the Spirit's presence IS known by those who are joined to Him.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
If the Spirit lives in you, HE can lead you into a right understanding of the book, since HE inspired it. If you make the book the only oar in your boat, you are doomed to go in circles that lead nowhere, lost on an endless sea of dead religion.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
Sufficiency of scripture doesn't mean the book is sufficient to save you, it's only sufficient to guide you into a spiritual relationship with the one who can save you - Jesus Christ. His words to the Pharisees are just as relevant today as they were then:
John 5:39-40 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that BY THEM you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify ABOUT ME, yet you refuse to come TO ME to have life.
A Question of Balance
Let's get down to where the rubber meets the road. Most Christians would agree that there is a great danger to abandoning oneself to sensationalism, subjective experiences, and untested Spirits. On the other hand, the Spirit of God is real and the objective truth of scripture should not be only intellectualized, such that there is no experiential relationship with God. The Spirit of God must live in us, such that we are born of his indwelling presence. This rebirth is no less than supernatural, experiential, and miraculous.
The debate is not so much about continuationism vs cessationism, as it is about the influence of rationalism and supranaturalism on the interpretation of scripture. Which philosophical and linguistic hermeneutics are considered to be applicable, what interpretive formula is to be applied. How can bias born of preconceived notions be prevented from coloring the exegesis brought to the table by each camp.
Most Protestants (including me), believe in Sola Scriptura which does not deny other authorities but demands that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written word of God. However, as in the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, some (lesser) weight has to be given to reason, tradition, and experience.
It's this balance that is at issue. Reformed Protestants are quick to point out the danger of Prima Scriptura (and I agree), but they are seemingly oblivious to Bibliolatry. Scripture is the final authority, but we are not to make an idol out of our Bible such that it replaces a relationship with God. The Enlightenment gave rationalism a prominent place at the table, but we must not become fettered by chains of reason. Tradition shouldn't be undervalued, it bears the witness of history. Personal experience cannot be dismissed, as it validates the Biblical promises of God as realized and present in the life of a believer.
To know God is to be born of love which is a mystical, supernatural experience. Like the wind in the trees, it's something hard to pin down with words or logic. At some point, we must acknowledge the limits of rationalism and stop trying to catch time in a bottle. God transcends our understanding, his ways are past finding out (Romans 11:33).
Moreover, it is the immanence of God that is being denied by cessationists, almost to the point of becoming deists (though they deny this). The rationalism of the enlightenment (while beneficial in many respects), swung the pendulum too far, leaving no room for mystery and no possibility for the truly miraculous. Like the people of Christ's hometown, cessationists don't have faith to experience the miraculous. They have no expectancy of God pouring out his power, even though he stands in their midst.
What About the Gifts?
Does the Spirit of God still give gifts? Yes, different ones to different members of the body as he sees fit. In fact, we are to desire the better gifts such as prophecy, and use them to edify the body. Paul's question - do all speak in tongues, carries it's own answer - no. Are these tongues real languages? They were on the day of Pentecost when they were first poured out.
The case for ecstatic tongues, or a private prayer language, is (to be generous) textually very weak. To be fair, that interpretation can be found here, a refutation can be found here (decide for yourself). In any case, no one should be "babbling" in Church with no interpreter, that is expressly forbidden.
It must be acknowledged that sincere Christians, genuinely seeking God are speaking in ecstatic tongues, but so are known charlatans. Moreover, Voodoo practitioners, Buddhist and Shinto priests, Muslim dervishes, Indian fakirs, witches, spiritualists, and Hindu gurus can also speak with ecstatic tongues. Spastic movements, shaking, energy, ecstasy, laughter, love, miracles, and healings are also associated with their manifestations.
In light of these facts, it seems unwise to allow these subjective experiences to influence our interpretation of scripture. On the other hand, we can't rule out the genuine, just because there are counterfeits. So, where does that leave us? This video below from Pastor Tim Conway attempts to address that question.
The ecstatic tongues controversy is as old as Montanism, and has flared up again and again over the centuries. The arguments have grown increasingly sophisticated but the underlying tension remains unresolved. We are right to desire spiritual gifts, but at the same time we must test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1). The Bible warns that convincing signs and wonders will be used in an attempt to deceive in the last days.
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matt. 24:24 [Mark 13:22; Luke 21:8]
So, are the gifts really for today? Yes, but given as HE sees fit, in HIS timing, according to HIS will, to fit HIS plan. In longing for them, don't throw caution to the wind and accept counterfeits - test the spirits. The genuine gifts are given to build up the body, not for individuals to draw attention to self, authenticate false doctrines (or teachers), or to replace orderly edifying Church services, with the babbling spasmodic ecstasies of paganism.
Avoid the extremes on this issue as in so many others. Rather than become polarized and create a false controversy where none should exist, we should attempt to integrate the objective truth of sound doctrine, with a personal born again experience, whereby God's Spirit indwells, gifts, guides, empowers, sanctifies, and most importantly imparts love. After all, if it does not become natural for us to love, then we have missed the boat entirely and our faith is in vain - no matter what theological position we hold on these issues.
1 Corinthians 13:1-2 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
By Ken Rich, 2012-10-27
There are different causes of suffering, much of it is caused by sin. It is often horrific, senseless, and certainly not the will of God. Rather, it stems from the abuse of free will by created beings (angels or men) and results in judgment by God.
To understand why God PERMITS such things to happen, I recommend this article - Why Does God Allow Suffering? Below I will deal with a different kind of suffering, the kind that is CAUSED directly by God
The Bible is full of references where God causes hardship, suffering, sickness, and even death. Atheists and skeptics often use these verses to attack and ridicule Christians. Some don't know how to respond, so they ignore or downplay these sections of the Bible. Such passages seem irreconcilable with a God of love, but denial doesn't make them go away.
Others think they need be an "apologist" for God and go through considerable theological gymnastics, trying to defend their "warm and fuzzy" view of God. I think it's much easier to simply accept what scripture says and take God at his word.
For instance, consider the flood. Suffering and death on a worldwide scale, but God didn't just allow it, he says he caused it (Gen. 6:17). The whole human race, even the children, and babies wiped out except for one family.
How about burning the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24-25). Before you say that was Old Testament style justice, note that Peter says it is an example of what is going to happen again, but this time on a massive scale (2 Peter 2:6).
How about when God commanded Israel to slaughter entire people groups - including the women, children, and animals (1 Sam. 15:3). There is a word for that - genocide.
What about the plagues on Egypt? Old Testament again, but plagues from God will come again as revelation states, causing suffering, sickness, and death. It's an inconvenient truth for some, but the "slain of the LORD will be from one end of the earth to the other" (Jeremiah 25:33). Isaiah calls it his "strange act" (Isaiah 28:21). Strange behavior indeed for a God of love - or is it?
Some reason that those people deserve it, they are evil, they are enemies (even the babies). Some proclaim that GOD would never do (or allow) anything bad to happen to a righteous person, only the wicked. The book of Job shows that to be an immature view, not in line with Scripture, and incompatible with our existential reality. In Job's case, it was actually because he was right with God, that God allowed Satan to bring calamity, loss, sickness, even the death of his children. Job suffered greatly in the test to prove his faith.
Our view is myopic, we don't see the "big picture" of what God is accomplishing in us, let alone in the realm of the angels. Having lost their position in heaven, the fallen angels have been confined here to the earth, but they are still active and at war. The book of Job lifts the curtain for a "peek" into what goes on behind the scenes. God has reasons for what he does (or allows), his actions only make sense in light of this revelation.
God makes the point (Job 38-40) that our minds are finite, our lifespans are limited, our perspective is narrow, his ways are above our ways and past finding out - we must trust and obey, even though we may not understand his actions or motives. There is an unseen world around us, and as Paul says we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Much of what occurs in our reality, must be framed in the context of a larger reality that is beyond the "ken" of man.
Theologians and philosophers frame this issue in terms of antecedent will versus consequent will. God would prefer to have us live in a garden of Eden, wallowing in eternal bliss. However, he created us with free will and we chose a path of sin and rebellion. He responds with a plan of salvation that involves faith, repentance, discipline, and a process of sanctification.
Some teachers deny that God would ever bring affliction, or that suffering can be good for the soul. They promise only health, wealth, sunshine, and lollipops, but what does the word of God say?
Psalm 119:67 "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word."
Hebrews 12:10-11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
Consider God's discipline. A small boy may not understand why their Father disciplines them, or forces them to eat right and exercise, or doesn't allow them to go somewhere with their friends. Although the boy can't understand and resents his Father's discipline, it doesn't mean that his Father doesn't love him - correctly understood, it is evidence that he does love him.
We tend to forget that in response to the fall, God's desire is not for us to be spoiled and lavished with creature comforts. That's what the natural man wants but is it what God wants for us? He wants us to develop tried and tested faith, and proven character.
He cursed the ground for man's sake because in our existential sufferings we learn lessons the ease of the garden of Eden couldn't teach us. Show me someone who has had ease, comfort, prosperity, and health all their life, and I'll show you someone whose self-indulgence has forged the spiritual mettle of a marshmallow.
It's trials and tribulations that develop perseverance and proven character, not ease and luxury. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Most of us want the worldly treasures added on, but in seeking the Kingdom of God, also expect persecution, trials, tribulations, tests - we are told to expect them.
1 Peter 4:12-13: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you...
All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching and correcting, for training in righteousness, but "head knowledge" is not enough. God wants us to "live" our faith, to prove it by what we do, in good times and bad. He wants us to develop tried and tested faith that can stand strong in the face of adversity.
All the trees are green in summer, but when the cold blasts of winter come, only the evergreens are not left naked and ashamed. Anyone can be a "fair weather Christian" but when the storms of life come, only those who have truly built on the ROCK will still be standing.
The important thing to remember is that the trials and tribulations do not negate God's love, they prove it. He disciplines all those he LOVES - it's what some people term "tough love". He cursed the ground for our sake, he prunes us, he purges us, he refines us, but all for our ultimate good. The trials come only for a season and exist for a reason. God is growing us up, sanctifying us, striving with us, purifying us.
Job's faith was tested and he was a better man because of it. The fact that God gave back double what was taken from him, was just an added bonus to the real benefit - faith tried in the furnace of affliction.
Isa. 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.
This is a HARD TEACHING and some refuse to accept it. Some prefer smooth and pleasant words that "tickle their ears". They heap up teachers who will paint a rosy picture, and give them a cosmic "Santa Claus" in place of God, who will give them everything they want, accept every behavior, and demand nothing difficult from them.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against comfort, abundance, and provision. I'm not saying we should live in squalor, suffer the indignities of poverty, accept ill health, or go live on a mountaintop. God wants to bless our finances, our health, our relationships, our circumstances. However, there is a greater blessing he is trying to produce in us, and we tend to stifle it with our worldly lusts.
For instance, God may want to bless you financially, but not if it's just going to corrupt you, or diminish your dependence on him. There is a blessing that brings all other blessings in its train, and God will go to great lengths to make sure you don't miss it. Like Job, he may deprive you of your worldly wealth, to test your faith, or to lead you to an even greater blessing.
James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
It is true that God is the giver of every good gift. It's our perception of what is good for us, and how God should provide these gifts, that may be lacking. Faith is good, but it needs to be refined in the furnace of affliction. Growth is good, but it comes with pruning. Correction is good, but it comes with discipline. Perseverance is good, but it comes through trials and tribulations. Promotion is good, but it is preceded by tests.
Physical health is good, but like the child who is upset when his Father forces him to eat vegetables (instead of junk food), and walk (not be driven) to the bus stop, we want spiritual health without the hardships that help produce it.
Consider the butterfly, it must go through a mighty and heartrending struggle to escape from its cocoon. If you open the cocoon to make it easier, it will never be strong enough to fly. In the same way, we need the struggles and hardships of our lives to strengthen us spiritually. Lack of faith traps us in a cocoon of helplessness, but our struggles strengthen us so that we can one day soar with spiritual power.
This is the place of ultimate blessing, that God would have us obtain. Like a refiner of silver, he holds us to the fire until he sees himself reflected in us. Then, when the dross is purged away, we are truly blessed and our passage through the flame seems but a light affliction, compared to the glory wrought in us. True riches, eternal blessings, pleasures at his right hand forevermore. The worldly treasures men seek, cannot compare.
For more study, here are a few articles from other Christian authors, which express some of the same concepts:
By Ken Rich, 2012-04-22
This article has been edited to fit my evolving understanding of the WOT scam.
Ostensibly WOT has a good purpose, and looks very respectable on the surface. However, in practice they are nothing more than a digital extortion racket. Wot's trolls attack a sites reputation with lies and slander, sending the owner on an stressful, time consuming, expensive quest to validate their site.
I am posting this here, because initially when I wrote WOT they directed me to their forum. The forum is a place where obnoxious, accusatory trolls attack your personal dignity, slander your character, and belittle your efforts to express the truth. Whatever I posted there kept getting deleted by their staff, so they simply wasted my time with aggravating nonsense.
After complaining repeatedly about lies and slander posted against this network, I was banned. This is typical of WOT, and this same experience is reported by thousands of others.
Google WOT SCAM and you will find plenty of evidence for their slanderous, libel, unconscionable defamation of legitimate sites. For example:
One of Indie Gospel's members, initially supported WOT financially, and trusted their rating system. They ended up having one of their own sites attacked. It was a Christian site with all text, and no links, but it was maligned as advertising and linking to bad sites. The slanderous attack had no basis in reality, and did not even attempt to look plausible. The same baseless accusation was made against an orphanage we host, which also did not have any ads on it.
This same site owner (a trusted member here), told me WOT was attacking our network. Sure enough, I checked and every single one of our sites was red lighted. They were scaring people away from us who might have otherwise been saved. This is totally unacceptable, infuriating, malicious, and evil.
I've worked too hard, for too long, with absolute integrity, to let such a thing stand, and I am quite frankly physically and emotionally ill over this.
Indie Gospel is a non-profit Christian social network. We spread the Gospel through music, promote worthy charities, and provide free Christian resources. We do good work all around the world.
We have a screening process which keeps out most would be spammers/scammers. We have admins who police the network, and we have a staff that can rectify any problems pointed out to us. I often punch 16 hour days with no pay (in fact with out of pocket costs) to run this Ministry, so you can imagine my distress at having it maligned.
If a valid problem was detected, pointed out, and we failed to act then and only then would there be grounds for WOT to trash us, or attempt to destroy the trust of our members and visitors. Instead they red lighted us based on lies and slander from biased WOT members.
WOT portrays itself as having a good purpose, but in practice is damaging legitimate sites, and even heroically good clean Christian websites. Why don't they target the hackers and pedophiles instead, and leave the good sites alone? That's easy to answer, there would be no money in that! Wot sells safety seals for over $700 a year.
I initially asked our members to go to WOT to rate us and leave comments. I appreciate the ones who have, but new member ratings are not worth anything in their system. So the members of Indie Gospel Artists who actually use and know this network, who have insider knowledge, and actual experience with the sites agenda and activities are not counted. HOW CONVENIENT.
Not only that, having our members join their system exposes them to the fraud, and feeds the beast. It's another facet of the scam which keeps perpetuating it.
I spent a full month jumping through WOT's hoops and trying to get their staff to delete lies and slander from their members SuperHero58 and Shazza. All of our sites except 2 went from red to green, but instead of banning those two WOT power members, they banned me instead for protesting their malicious, slanderous lies.
WOT has stepped on the wrong toes this time. Coming against this network and it's members, is coming against the Saints of God. It will not be tolerated Psalm 105:15 Do not touch my anointed ones...
I am in the process of gathering evidence and recruiting those who have been unfairly attacked and abused by WOT members. When the time is right, a lawsuit will proceed. WOT is breaking laws protecting against slander and defamation of character. They are ruining legitimate businesses and destroying peoples livelihoods, not to mention damaging Ministries and even orphanages.
Please contact me, if you wish to become involved in this lawsuit and put an end to WOT's tyranny. Our contact details are on our certified online business card at http://indiegospel.info, or simply e-mail below.
By Ken Rich, 2012-02-28
Here is a nice custom made invite to our network. Copy and paste it into an email and send it to your friends or grab the code HERE and embed it.
Join me on Indie Gospel Christian Social Network
By Ken Rich, 2012-01-20
This is an article which could be considered offensive if taken out of context. I am speaking about a system, a power, an institution, a city/state that is a sovereign country. I love the Catholic people enough to tell them the truth about the system that subjugates not only them, but much of the world. My quarrel is not with the Catholic people, but with the Vatican. In fact, some of my best friends are Catholics, and my own Father was an altar boy.
The Apostle Peter stated what is my sincere hope and prayer for all who read this:
2 Peter 3:14-18 "...make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight... Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Please click the links and pictures for videos, news stories, books, articles, websites, and Bible verses – all of which support the positions taken in this article. Take the time to investigate and examine the evidence for yourself. The truth is not fragile, and has nothing to fear from examination or debate. Only darkness fears the withering light of scrutiny.
The Pope has been accused of heinous crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC). It's in every major news service from Reuters, the BBC, AFP, and so on. Here is just one of many similar articles - Child abuse victims accuse pope of crimes against humanity
In case you think this is just a few disgruntled victims, or a Protestant ploy, please note that the Prime Minister of Ireland (from a conservative Catholic background) is among those accusing the Vatican of sabotaging efforts to protect children. This, after a government inquiry uncovered horrendous, widespread, systematic abuse by the Church, in the Catholic dominated country.
"The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed' to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and 'reputation'... because of “the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied,” Kenny called for action by the government to make sure the law “will always supersede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country.”" Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Amnesty International, the world’s largest human rights organization, has also exposed the Vatican for not removing alleged perpetrators from their posts pending proper investigations, not cooperating with judicial authorities to bring them to justice, and not ensuring proper reparation to victims.
Vatican officials have been running a massive PR campaign (with more spin than a washing machine), but denial is no longer an option. According to this BBC documentary, the Pope has protected and enabled pedophiles, causing the rape and torture of children - BBC News - Sex, Crimes, and the Vatican
Ratzinger (who became Pope Benedict) was the Vatican's enforcer of Crimen Sollicitationis (characterized by legal experts as a blueprint for cover-up), for over twenty years. As Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Inquisition), he was responsible when victims were silenced, and pedophile Priests escaped prosecution to offend again.
There is no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up cases of sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (1981-2005). During the reign of Pope John Paul II, that congregation had already taken charge of all such cases under oath of strictest silence. Ratzinger himself, on May 18th, 2001, sent a solemn document to all the bishops dealing with severe crimes ( "epistula de delictis gravioribus" ), in which cases of abuse were sealed under the "secretum pontificium" , the violation of which could entail grave ecclesiastical penalties. Open Letter to Catholic Bishops by the theologian Fr Hans Küng
When facing legal action in America and Belgium (with damming evidence against him), Pope Benedict escaped justice by claiming diplomatic immunity. Now charged by SNAP at the ICC (International Criminal Court) with over 20,000 pages of evidence, the Vatican must now attempt to buy, bully, or ignore the ICC.
This story of abuse and cover-up has been repeated over and over again, all over the world. Will justice finally be served? According to all of the great Protestant Reformers and scholars over the centuries, the answer is a resounding YES. Luther, Knox, Huss, Wycliffe, Calvin, Tyndale, Fox, Wesley, Newton, Bunyan and all the other great leaders of the Reformation, taught the Historicist interpretation of Prophecy.
In this view, the great whore of Revelation 17-18 is the Roman Church. She will be judged by God. The very Kings that are now her puppets, will turn on her. Judged not just for child abuse, but for the millions martyred during the inquisitions, the many wars she started to further her power, for piling up obscene wealth while others starved, and for rank heresy - the doctrines of demons. Her cup of iniquity is indeed full.
A Great Cloud of Witnesses: "Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Bunyan, the translators of the King James Bible and the men who published the Westminster and Baptist confessions of Faith; Sir Isaac Newton, Wesley, Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards; and more recently Spurgeon, Bishop J.C. Ryle and Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones; these men among countless others, all saw the office of the Papacy as the antichrist." Taken from All Roads Lead to Rome, by Michael de Semlyen. Dorchestor House Publications, p. 205. 1991.
Since the Vatican is not just a Church and a city, but also a country, they have in the past used diplomatic immunity to escape prosecution (when legal action against the Pope was initiated). Perhaps they will manage to dodge the bullet yet again, however, such tactics will not be successful forever - according to the sure word of prophecy.
Revelation 18: 4-8 ... “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes...She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.
This view is in stark contrast to Rome's counter-reformation interpretation called Futurism. It was rejected by Protestant Christians for centuries, but has become wildly popular and accepted today. It entered Protestant circles through men like Darby and Scofield, and has been promoted so furiously that it is now assimilated into the collective consciousness.
A type of mass hypnosis, group think, or herd mentality now prevails, whereby the very word anti-Christ is automatically associated with a future political dictator (even by many non-Christians). Futurism is the great end time delusion, but it is rapidly falling apart as events unfold.
2 Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God
We hold upon this earth the place of God almighty - Pope Leo XIII Encyclical Letter of June 20, 1894
As strange as it seems, most Christians today have allowed the anti-Christ to tell them who the anti-Christ is. As foretold, the people would rather believe a lie than the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:11). The truth is inconvenient, politically incorrect, frightening, and divisive (especially in today's Vatican led climate of compromise and false ecumenism). The truth creates cognitive dissonance in those who have been indoctrinated with the seductive alternative provided by Rome.
"Every Reformer, without exception, spoke of the papacy as Antichrist" - R. Allen Anderson, Unfolding the Revelation, p.137
The Reformers include some of the greatest and most respected scholars the world has ever seen. They do not make this accusation against the Papacy lightly, in ignorance, or simply based on the Vatican's notorious evil deeds. They were convinced because the Bible itself points to the Papacy as the anti-Christ system, in many prophetic passages.
“In all ages of the Church, from the days of Gregory the Great down to the present, men have pointed to the Papacy as the fulfilment of the prophecy. That interpretation is set forth in the Homilies of the Church of England and by all the Reformed Churches. Dr. Charles H. H. Wright - “Daniel and His Prophecies,” p. 168. London: 1906.
Most modern Christians do not understand that the Vatican has been steeped in vice, corruption, and evil for centuries. If you think Protestants simply vilify the Papacy due to bias, here are excerpts from a book by a highly educated Jesuit Vaticanist, who lays bare the sorted history of the Popes - Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy.
Protestants got the name Protestant, because they protested the evils of Popery - at the risk (and very often the cost), of their lives.
Many of today's Protestant Churches have been infiltrated, deceived, and corrupted. Some teach Catholic doctrines their forefathers gave their lives opposing in Rome's bloody inquisitions. Churches who once fought against apostasy, are now joining ecumenical councils led by the Popes, and have become harlot daughters in their mother's brothel (Rev. 17:5).
I include myself as one who had the "wool pulled over their eyes". Like almost all Christians today, I too was tricked into scouting the horizon for some future anti-Christ, while his agents of deception were already perverting the Gospel, corrupting governments, and raping little children the world over. The success of Rome's futurist deception, allows the anti-Christ system to operate virtually unopposed.
"...It is a matter for deep regret that those who advocate the futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist." Rev. Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16, 17.
Intellectual pride is blinding! The mind rebels when we are presented with evidence that we have been duped. Still, even those who do not yet understand how the Papacy fulfills the prophecies of anti-Christ (Historicist Eschatology), are being forced to open their eyes. It's an undeniable fact that the Vatican is responsible for unspeakable evil and deception. Even atheists and secularists are aghast at the extent of Rome's horrific depravity.
If the Vatican can't be trusted to tell the truth about child rape and torture, how can they be trusted to tell the truth about anything - including Bible prophecy? Yet, self proclaimed prophecy experts of every stripe, are blindly parroting and promoting Rome's futurist interpretation of prophecy. Somehow, widespread ignorance and apathy prevails, concerning it's counter-reformation intent and pedigree.
For a sound refutation of the futurist position and a defense of Historicism, please read End of the Age and Strong Delusion. Whatever your current stance on Eschatology, one thing is certain - it's time for us to wake-up and smell the brimstone. We must be roused from our sleepy complacency, and confront the evil that has taken root within the very structures of organized Christianity. History is littered with the record of the Pope's crimes against humanity, so why do our children continue to be at the mercy of these wolves in sheep's clothing?
The corrupting influence, and Geo-political power of the Vatican, must come to an end. The Papacy received it's great power and authority not from Apostolic succession, but through the Edict of Emperor Justinian, which was implemented in 538 AD. It laid a legal framework, establishing the Bishop of Rome as the supreme Ecclesiastical power, backed by the weight of Rome's civil law. Justinian deposed Silverius, and installed Vigilius as Bishop of Rome, investing him with the authority of his Decretal Letter. (“Vigilius...ascended the papal chair (538 A.D.) under the military protection of Belisarius." History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3 p. 327).
The horrors of the dark ages followed, with the succeeding Popes consolidating power, and controlling the politics and religion of Europe with an iron fist. The power of the Papacy was broken in 1798 when Napoleon's General Berthier captured the Pope and he died in exile.
Daniel 7:26 ... they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it unto the end". We have been watching the slow consumption and deterioration of the power it once held in the Middle Ages. The Papacy keeps trying to regain it's temporal power and unite Europe beneath it, but all attempts are doomed to fail.
In 1929 the modern Papacy achieved statehood, via the Fascist Mussolini and the Lateran Pact. Four short years later in 1933, Pope Pius XI signed a Concordat with Hitler (via Cardinal Pacelli and Franz Von Papen), laying the groundwork for WWII.
The Vatican and the the Nazi's
Read "The Secret History of the Jesuits" by Edmond Paris, for more information about the Papacy's orchestration of both World Wars (and many others). A history the revisionists in Rome don't want you to discover, yet the evidence is not all locked away in the secret archives of the Vatican Library. After WWII the Vatican smuggled their Nazi stooges away to safety, through the now infamous and well documented "rat lines". Fascism didn't end, but it was forced to regroup elsewhere.
The Vatican raped and pillaged the wealth of Europe for centuries. They have an almost limitless supply of "old money" and an unparallelled "old boys" network to promote their interests around the world. They control industries, banks, institutions, and levers of power. From media empires, to centers of learning, to secret societies that isolate and compartmentalize their control mechanisms. From hush funds, to slush funds, to lobby groups, they are the power brokers behind the scenes, and the undisputed masters of political intrigue. Though under attack from many quarters, and in decline, the Papacy remains a formidable force on the world stage even today.
Render unto Caesar? Who's picture is on the coin?
Watch this 2002 full length movie The Bankers of God: The Calvi Affair if you want to catch a glimpse of how the world's oldest political machine operates. Apparently, the only thing they hide and shuffle around faster than their pedophile priests, is their money.
Despite their well financed propaganda machine, the Vatican has not been entirely successful in glossing over the disturbing truths of history, or their modern crimes. Even the finest PR companies money can buy, can't absolve them of crimes against children - no matter how much money they throw at the problem, or how much they feign sympathy.
The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. — "The Vatican Billions" Avro Manhattan
2 Corinthians 11: 13-15 ...such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.
Matt. 7:16 Jesus said - You will know them by their fruits.
In Europe, the woman rides the beast again. What the Vatican failed to achieve by brute force in WWII, they are now attempting through financial coercion and political intrigue. Corruption grows, money mysteriously disappears, and governments surrender their hard won democratic rights and freedoms. It's doomed to fail but still the attempt is being made to once again breath life into an image of the Roman Empire, as it did in times past. The political powers will eventually turn on her in full force (Rev. 17-18),
Ratzinger should not be allowed to escape proscecution, and the depths of the Vatican's evils should be thoroughly exposed. Pope Francis brings his own baggage from Argentina, but has now become the whitewashed face on an empire of evil. It's subversive and seductive stranglehold on governments, monetary systems, and competing religious institutions, must be fully broken. Otherwise, children will remain unprotected from merciless evil and unspeakable suffering - as recently exposed in Ireland and elsewhere all around the world.
The Boys of St. Vincent - is a movie based on real life events at the Catholic Church's infamous Mount Cashel Orphanage, where they raped little boys mercilessly for decades (in Newfoundland, Canada). Inflicting tortures like beatings with pool cues, belt buckles, and so on - to make the children comply with sodomy and other sickening perversions.
I watched a now broken old man, testify on local TV of how the blankets would stick to the wounds inflicted on him as a helpless child - by what he called the "Devil's Advocates". The blood dried into the sheets as he slept, only to be brutally ripped from his body, tearing the scabs from his wounds and jolting him awake for another day with his tormentors.
The residential schools for native children in Canada, were likewise exposed as hell holes of sexual depravity and murderous violence. As inquiries in Ireland, Australia, Denmark, and elsewhere have revealed, governments become entangled and complicit by committing political fornication with the whore of Revelation 17:2. Innocent children are left without protection, and their abuse is sometimes even unwittingly sponsored and paid for from public coffers.
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth...
Delusion is involved, because there is nothing new or novel in what this article presents. The Vatican didn't suddenly turn evil, and both it's evils and it's fulfillment of anti-Christ Bible prophecies, has been proclaimed for centuries by both historians and Church leaders. What blinds people to the truth? I implore you once more to read End of the Age and Strong Delusion
Arnulf Bishop of Orleans (Roman Catholic)
"deplored the roman popes as "monsters of guilt" and declared in a council called by the King of France in 991AD that the pontiff, clad in purple and gold, was, "Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God" - Phillip Schaff, History of the Christian church, 8 vols., reprint of the 3d (1910)ed. (Grand Rapids Mich.: Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d.)
John Wesley: (Methodist)
"He (the Pope) is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled the Son of Perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers... He it is...that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped...claiming the highest power, and highest honour...claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone." Taken from Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms by John Wesley, pg. 110.
Since many doctrines and dogmas of Catholicism are in opposition to a sound exegesis of scripture (or have no scriptural support at all), Catholic apologists often resort to the pretense of Papal primacy and magisterial authority.
Let no one deceive you - Rome's claims to authority are based on known forgeries and a deceptively selective and inventive use of records left by Church "Fathers". Their arguments can seem very convincing until you check for historical accuracy and context. See The Church Fathers' Interpretation of the Rock of Matthew 16:18.
History does not validate the Pope's claims, it actually exposes them as deceivers. If you have been misled about Christian history, this article would make a good start on your quest for truth. Were the Early Christians Roman Catholics?
Apostolic succession, the idea that the Bible was given to us by the Popes, and other common errors taught by Rome to bolster it's false claims to ecclesiastical power, are refuted on any number of Christian apologetic websites. I have listed a few below. Some are resources generally suited to lay people, with short simple explanations on a variety of issues. There are also more scholarly resources, some containing articles by ex-Catholics who are highly trained in Catholic history and theology, but reject it's errors.
To see a music video which presents the traditional, orthodox, Protestant view of end time prophecy - watch this strong end times message below...
Youtube - NEED YOU (Mobile download is enabled)
This picture link goes to Occupy Vatican on Facebook
An information page with latest news on the unfolding judgement
Visit SNAP HERE
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP has made history today!
In partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights SNAP is formally asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to investigate high-level Catholic Church officials for crimes against humanity.
The story has made headlines across the globe:
Go to www.SNAPNetwork.org to read more about this unprecedented event which has left the catholic church stunned. Survivors across the world are coming forward now to let their voices be heard. Press events are being held across Europe and the US.
We could not have come this far without you! Your help and support is especially needed at this critical moment in our mission to end the abuse! Please go to our website now, read more about this extraordinary case and donate to SNAP. Your dollars will go a long way towards the success of this bold initiative!
Please call Gretchen Blickensderfer at 773 368 3782
or email SNAPDevelopment@gmail.com with questions.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
By Ken Rich, 2009-07-24
Check out this testimony below - it's one of the most powerful I have ever seen.
Barry Mayson had drug addictions, a tough life, some very serious obstacles to overcome, but he was still saved! He even converted the "hit-men" sent to kill him and later founded a Christian Biker Ministry.
If you think you (or someone you know) is too far gone, too steeped in sin to ever turn back - think again. We serve an awesome God! Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear...
Click HERE for Barry Mayson's story in text, or HERE for him giving a testimony on video which is extremely powerful. You can also watch the Biker Ministry video below where Barry is the narrator and one of the actors. Visit Biker Heaven for more info about Biker Ministry, or Rey Perez for awesome Biker music and resources.