Thursday, January 17, 2019

Can We Reverse the Great Evangelical Disaster?

Lately I've been thinking of my various blogs as all tending to a single message:   the reason the culture is deteriorating so rapidly is first of all due to the Church's deterioration over the last few decades.  I've collected some topics here that I'd argue are part of the deterioration, and the reason we aren't having revival and won't have revival until we have a reformation and correct these and other problems.

In researching these things I've run across such a wide and deep area of similar problems, as seen by various Church leaders, any hope of reformation appears beyond the possible.  The proliferation of false teachers who have a following even in what seem otherwise to be good churches, is depressing.  I'm thinking of the Word of Faith teachers like Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore, who are popular with members of many different denominations and congregations.  This seems to be tolerated by the leadership of these churches in spite of doctrinal conflicts.   And there are many other heresies that have taken hold in churches these days, some even foundational to gigantic megachurches.

All these things should be spelled out in great detail at some point, but at the moment I'm asking myself the question if there is really no way out of this, as first seems to be the case.  Where do we start?   I would ask first why the leaders of the churches mentioned above aren't soundly denouncing the alien teachings followed by some of their members, and disciplining those members if they won't give them up?  Wouldn't that be one place to start?  In other words, individual church bodies need to start by purifying themselves.

But what about the whole church bodies given over to false teachings?  There are voices raised in protest here and there, and ministries devoted to warning Christians about them, but shouldn't there be some kind of official doctrinal statement that definitively separates the sheep from these goats?

There have been books written on the sad state of the Church over the last few decades, mostly identifying areas of compromise with the world, or "accommodation" as Francis Schaeffer put it in the book he wrote in the eighties, The Great Evangelical Disaster.   Why have such exposes failed to make the impact on the Church they should have?  Why are they being ignored?

This is just a sketch of some thoughts on this subject that I'm mulling in my mind these days.

Dissing the People's Will

Wow. I've again been trying to give up my addiction to EvC Forum, and can only wait and see if I'm succeeding this time. Meanwhile a post appeared on the thread about the Brexit problems in the UK, in which it is being suggested that the vote of the people should just be overridden in favor of the obviously superior opinion of the ruling elites.

Well, that's been happening here too, though it's done by a court that calls the people's will "unconstitutional" based of course on their Leftist revisionist definitions of what's constitutional.  So much for "Of the people, by the people, for the people...."    And down down down we go.
Isn't the margin in favor of Remain 8-10% lately? Aren't the devastating downsides of Brexit that have gradually become apparent over the past couple years a call to Parliament to carry out their leadership responsibilities and do what is best for the country, regardless of how the electorate voted in 2016?

It is this blind adherence to the 2016 referendum, including some dunderheaded idea that an issue can only be voted on once, that is a big part of the problem. The members of Parliament know a Brexit vote today would be far more informed than the one in 2016, and they should make sure it happens.

In all representative governments it is reasonable to ask, "If the electorate voted for the country to jump off a bridge, should the government do it?" In my opinion we elect our public officials not to blindly do our bidding but to represent our best interests, even when we have a misguided understanding of what those best interests are. Unfortunately most representatives today care most about getting reelected. Rather than leading they slavishly mold their behavior to public opinion in their district. Love of country must take precedence over love of holding office, even when it means you'll lose that office. Integrity demands this kind of behavior, but little of it exists today.
----- Percy at https://www.evcforum.net/dm.php?control=msg&m=847068#m847068

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Number 666 is Perfect Exact Unassailable Gematria For the Pope

Just heard a sermon by Sam Storms on the number 666 in which he concludes that it's a symbolic number.  Storms also discussed some attempts to determine its meaning through gematria, or systems of numbers based on various alphabets.  

In some cases if the Greek alphabet doesn't work they try the Hebrew and maybe that will work.  I think he said Hebrew works for Nero.  But why on earth should Nero be identified by the Hebrew alphabet?  Hitler comes up on the English alphabet after assigning some special numbering system to the letters.  This just gets ridiculous.

And I don't know why the system I've posted on so many times isn't better known, or if it is known why it isn't accepted.  It is perfection itself.  There is no need to manipulate the letters and numbers because Latin has a system of Roman numerals based on its letters that is solidly established.  And when it is applied to the LATIN title for Vicar of Christ, VICARIVUS FILII DEI,  for the ROMAN Pope, who is also called by the ROMAN title Pontifex Maximus, it adds up to 666 without any manipulations whatever.  It's a ROMAN/LATIN system of ROMAN/LATIN letters with ROMAN numbers applied to a ROMAN/LATIN title for the Bishop of ROME who is called Pope and the Head of the Church.  By that name he usurps the role of Christ since scripture says Christ and Christ alone is the Head of the Church,  and by the title Vicar of Christ he usurps the role of Christ when you understand it through the Latin phrase VICARIVUS FILII DEI, which literally means "in the place of the Son of God." Add em up, it's 666 without even trying. 

The Pope usurps the role of Christ and the role of the Holy Spirit who is the representative of Christ on earth, NOT the "Pope."   Since the temple of God is the people of God the Pope "sits in the temple of God showing that he is God."   
2Th 2:3-4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Antichrist of the Tribulation / Day of the LORD

Soon-coming Rapture and Tribulation or not, the Church needs to recover the understanding that the Anticrhist is the Pope, which used to be commonly recognized but has recently been lost. In the Tribulation he will loom large, but he is the Antichrist now as well as he will be then.

Although the Pope is an unlikely Antichrist as we've come to picture the man we associate with End Times events, he does have all the necessary characteristics as laid out by the Protestant Reformers and their predecessors.  While there is really no doubt as to the identity of the Pope as Antichrist, there may be some legitimate questions about exactly what role he'll play in the Day of the Lord or Great Tribulation, since he could play False Prophet to a political Antichrist as the Pope in Hitler's time did to Hitler.  The Day of the Lord is generally understood to occur during the Seventieth Week of Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, which was not fulfilled in the time of the coming of Christ.  It is therefore understood to have been put off to the future.  It is now understood to be bracketed by two stages of the Second Coming of Christ, the first to Rapture His Church, and the second or last to return as conquerer of the entire world.  In between there is to be the Day of the Lord or Great Tribulation of seven years.

Here is the main scripture that is taken to describe the Antichrist:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4: Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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.
The Pope is primarily identified as the Antichrist from the little horn of Daniel 7:8, and also from this passage quoted above.  The "falling away" is also known as the Great Apostasy, and these days the futurists point to current deviations in the many churches from the gospel truth.  And that certainly has to be a major part of the apostasy (and here's a link to Jan Markell's latest summary of this falling away: https://myemail.constantcontact.com/What-Happened-to-My-Church-.html?soid=1101818841456&aid=dVUinwAfOT0), but the Reformers, especially Martin Luther I believe, identified it as the doctrines of the Roman Church, though today there is a lot of ignorance and apathy about this fact among Protestants.  The "man of sin" also known as the "son of perdition" is identified with the Pope.  It is his role as "Vicar of Christ" by which he "opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God" and he "sits in the temple of God" because the people of Christ are now called the "temple of God.  I've posted on the Latin title VICARIVS FILII DEI, which means Vicar of Christ or literally, "Substitute" or "In the place of the Son of God" showing that the Latin letters which are also Roman numerals add up to 666.


I collected some references from a CD by Chris Pinto, who got his list from a book titled What Luther Says by E.M. Plass, a book I can’t afford at the moment though it sounds like a must-have. He lists many who came before the Reformers who called the papacy the Antichrist, which ought to dispel the accusation of Luther that he made it up in retaliation for being excommunicated. (As a matter of fact it took him about five years to become fully convinced from scripture and history that the Pope was indeed the Antichrist.)
The following is a much shortened list from a site called Revelation Timeline that includes all those who testified that the papacy is the Antichrist that Chris Pinto mentioned: http://revelationtimelinedecoded.com/historical-witnesses-against-antichrist-summary.
Historical Witnesses Against Antichrist Summary  
Arnulf (991), the Bishop of Orleans, proclaimed the Pope as the Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God.

Gherbert of Rheims (1000) said; the Pope was the antichrist sitting in the temple of God.

In the book of Waldensian Pastor Leger called “Treatise on Antichrist” written in 1120, said “That treatise brands the Romish Church as the harlot Babylon, and the Papacy as the “man of sin” and antichrist.”

John Wycliffe (1330-1384) Who translated the Latin Vulgate Bible into English, said Antichrist, the head of all these evil men, is the pope of Rome.

John Purvey (1354–1414), one of the leading followers of the English theologian and reformer John Wycliffe; said the Papacy was the kingdom of the Antichrist.

John Huss (1372-1415), a well-educated man from Bohemia, who came under the influence of Wycliffe’s writings, which caused him to break with the church of Rome; proclaimed the Antichrist has been revealed in the Pope for which he was burned to death.

William Tyndale (1493-1536) was an English scholar who became a leading figure in Protestant Reformation; said the Pope is the antichrist and his doctrine sprung of the devil.

Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531) was a great Swiss Reformer; proclaimed the might and power of the Devil, that is, of the Antichrist… the Papacy has to be abolished.

John Calvin (1509-1564) was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation; said we call the Roman pontiff Antichrist.

Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk, who the Father called out of the Papal Church. declared “We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist.”

Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560), a German Reformer, said that the Roman Pontiff is the antichrist.

Confession of the Glastonbury Congregation (1551)…French refugees in England who first gathered under Calvin and Farel; “Moreover I renounce the Pope as the Roman Antichrist, and his whole doctrine and religion…“

In 1555 Hugh Latimer, Bishop of Worcester; said before being burned to death, “What fellowship have Christ with Antichrist? Therefore it is not lawful to bear the yoke with the Papists. Come forth from among them, and separate yourselves from them, saith the Lord.’“

Nicholas Ridley (1555), English Bishop of London; said before being burned to death that the See of Rome is the seat of Satan.

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) as the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England; said before being burned to death that the Pope is Christ’s enemy, and the antichrist.

Henry Adlington, Laurence Pernam, Henry Wye, William Halliwel, Thomas Bowyer, George Searles, Edmund Hurst, Lyon Cawch, Ralph Jackson, John Derifall, John Routh, Elizabeth Pepper, and Agnes George (1556); were all burnt in one fire, for proclaiming the Pope as Antichrist under the devil. Agnes Prest (1557) was burned to death for proclaiming that the Pope is the Antichrist and the devil.

John Knox (1505-1572) was a great leader of the Reformation in Scotland; said “the pope should be recognized as “the very antichrist, and son of perdition, of whom Paul speaks.”

Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575) was Zwingli’s intimate friend and succeeded him as chief pastor of the Zurich Cathedral; said the Little Horn is the kingdom of the Roman pope.

The Geneva Study Bible (1556) included study notes from the Protestant Reformers, that all proclaimed that the Popes of Rome were the antichrist beast.

The Church of England declared that the Papal Church of Rome is the Babylonian beast, saying that the Pope is antichrist, and the Man of Sin.

The Church of Scotland Confession of Faith (1603) declared the Pope as the Antichrist, the man of sin and son of perdition.

The Irish Articles of Religion of 1615 testified that the Bishop of Rome is the Man of Sin.

The London Baptist Confession of 1689, proclaims that the Popes of Rome is the antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ.

Westminster Confession of Faith (1649) which was ratified and established by Act of Parliament in 1649. states that the Popes of Rome is the antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church.

Cotton Mather (1663-1728) in his book, Fall of Babylon,; said that all the characteristics of Antichrist are answered in the Popes of Rome.

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and also a faithful expositor of Bible prophecy; taught that the Church of Rome was the Little Horn of Daniel.

John Wesley (1703-1791), an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian,; said that the whole succession of popes from Gregory VII. are undoubtedly Antichrist.
 Jonathan Edwards, an American preacher and theologian, who is perhaps best known for his role in the Great Awakenings of the mid 1700’s; said that the greatest and most cruel enemy of the Church of Christ is the church of Rome.
Dr. H. Grattan Guinness (1835-) pointed to the Roman Catholic Popes as the little horn power of Daniel 7, the Man of Sin in 2nd Thessalonians and the Beast of Revelation 13.

Reverend J. A.Wylie (1808 – 1890) in his Preface to “The Papacy is the Antichrist; says that the Roman system is the predicted Apostacy.  
--David Nikao [compiler] For more detailed quotes from the above people who testified against the Popes of Rome, as the Little Horn of Daniel 7, the Son of Perdition of 2 Thessalonians 2, and the antichrist beast of Revelation 13; read Historical Witnesses Against
The passage in 2 Thessalonians goes on to say that this man of sin had not yet been revealed in Paul's time, so he is only hinting at it in writing, having told the Thessalonians in person at an earlier time. Today it is thought that what restrains the revealing of an as-yet-unknown Antichrist is the Holy Spirit, or the Church, but the Reformers understood Paul to be referring to the Roman Empire or the Caesars who were still in power in his time, which explains why he wouldn't identify them in writing. And as I mentioned in the previous post about the Pope this makes sense if you recognize that the Pope has taken the place of the Caesars with their title Pontifex Maximus and their Roman garb, and his presiding over an institution that over time acquired most of the trappings of the Roman pagan religions, including putting various Christian "saints" in the place of some of the Roman gods and encouraging prayers to them as to gods.
2 Thess 2:6-9 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders...
Some historical information.
Those who identified the Pope as the Antichrist saw the Antichrist papal system as having developed in the year 606 (about the same time Islam conquered the Eastern Roman Empire). I think it was the Byzantine Emperor who referred to Pope Gregory the Great as "universal bishop" to which Gregory replied that anyone who accepted that title would be a forerunner of Antichrist. Then the next Pope, Boniface, DID accept it as it was given to him by the Byzantine Emperor Phocas. Gregory the Great was thought by the Reformers to be the last legitimate Bishop of Rome, all those following being the Antichrist papal system. Over the ensuing years the Church of Rome accumulated the superstitions of pagan Rome that came to characterize its functions. Relics, prayers to saints, the rosary, and so on. This is all addressed in a book titled The History of Romanism by John Dowling, but I think Luther also addressed it, which would be in the book What Luther Says, by Plass.  

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

I'm pretty much convinced of the Pre-tribulation Rapture now, and I've come to believe it's very very close, like perhaps as close as this coming Rosh Hashana a little more than a week from now.

I believe the Pope is the Antichrist who is to be the major player in the Tribulation which follows the Rapture, based on the work of the Reformers but Martin Luther in particular, and that he has already been revealed so we are not waiting for that event, people just need to wake up to it.   The Pope may instead be the False Prophet and the Antichrist a particular political leader, however, but there is no doubt in my mind that the papacy is the man of sin of scripture.  Since he's already been revealed, the lifting of what restrained his revelation is already long in the past, which the Reformers regarded as the Roman Empire.  This makes sense if we understand that since the fall of the Empire the Pope has essentially occupied the seat of the Caesars with his title Pontifex Maximus and his Roman garb.

I want to do a post on these things in more detail but I'm going to post this now because laying it all out is going to take time and I want at least to get this much said.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

What is SPEAKING IN TONGUES?

Just ran across this news report on a study of what happens in the brains of Christians while they are "speaking in tongues."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZbQBajYnEc

I've posted a link in the margin to the "Strange Fire Conference" which was held a few years ago to examine the claims of the charismatic movement in the Church that they are practicing the "gifts of the Spirit" described in the New Testament, speaking in tongues being one of them.  The conference convinced me that the phenomena being called the Gifts of the Spirit today are not the New Testament gifts.

I myself received the "gift of tongues" when I was a member of a charismatic church back in the 90s,  Whatt they are describing in the news report is what I also experienced:  we have no control over this, it just comes out.  I was praying out loud when these other sounds just started coming out instead of my English words.  I could repeat them at will but I could not control what sounds came out.  I could start and stop them but I couldn't control what was being "said."

People in the charismatic movement claim they are speaking by the Holy Spirit, that it is a prayer language, that the Holy Spirit is praying through them.  They claim to experience spiritual feelings as they exercise the gift.

My own experience did not feel spiritual or worshipful at all and that bothered me a great deal.  I would let the sounds continue as I went about my chores during the day.  They had a definite pattern to them, a pattern that would repeat itself, maybe about the length of a sentence.  The SAME sounds kept repeating in other words and I was not controlling them at all.  But nothing about it felt like prayer as so many charismatics claim it is.  None of it evoked God in my mind or heart in any way.  After some time I began singing the sounds, and when I recognized that the tunes were anything but spiritual I simply had to conclude that this has nothing to do with God.  The tunes that came out were "Three Blind Mice" and "Reuben Reuben."  There is nothing spiritual or prayerful or worshipful about those tunes, just as there was nothing spiritual or worshipful or prayerful as far as my own feelings went in connection with the "words" that I was speaking.

It took a while to convince myself to completely give it up though.  The pressure is strong in charismatic circles to embrace the "gifts of the Spirit."  I read studies that aimed to debunk the whole charismatic movement but couldn't be completely convinced of those arguments.  I remained in suspension about these things until the Strange Fire Conference which finally made the case I'd been needing to hear.

So what ARE these phenomena?  Certainly what the scientist in the news report says is true:  the people are not doing this on purpose, it just "happens" to them.  I experienced this personally.  It is in SOME sense "supernatural" therefore.

The most convincing explanation I've run across comes from Watchman Nee who wrote on the subject of "Soul Power."  These are capacities he understands to have been abilities God gave to Adam and Eve that were lost at the Fall, such as psychic abilities, the ability to read minds and other capacities.  These things are often discovered through various religious practices, particularly Hindu practices.  Sometimes they are intentionally cultivated, but what seem to be the higher forms of these religions discourage them as distractions.  In general they may be more or less akin to "siddhis" which include psychic powers.

Nee particularly identified spontaneous laughter of the sort that overtook a charismatic congregation in Toronto in the 90s and then spread to other charismatic congregations.  It occurred in some Chinese churches in Nee's time and he identified it as related to this "soul power" and something that should be discouraged rather than encouraged.  In Toronto it was strongly encouraged and became known as the Laughing Revival.

He said he himself had the power to read minds and thought it was a gift of the Holy Spirit until he realized it was not that and exerted himself to suppress it.

The Strange Fire Conference to my mind definitively proved that whatever these phenomena are they are not the Gifts of the Spirit that were given by God to the early Church:  the "healings" are nothing like those in the New Testament, the "prophecies" are more like fortune telling than the prophecies people gave in the New Testament, and the "tongues" that are spoken are not real languages as they were at Pentecost.  We may well wonder what they really are, if they have any qualities of language at all, and that I don't know.  The excuse that they are an angelic prayer language has to be doubted because none of the other "gifts" are those of the New Testament.

Watchman Nee's interpretation that they are a version of "soul power" seems the best to my mind, and in any case they should not be cultivated but abandoned.  God will restore to us whatever powers He gave Adam and Eve when His kingdom has fully come, but until then they are not to be practiced and it is even possible that they are subject to demonic manipulation in this still-fallen world.

Monday, July 24, 2017

"Christian" support for Trump?

Hearing from Infowars today that a pastor claims to have heard from a Congressman that there are plans to get rid of Trump, not by impeachment, he's just going to be suddenly taken out.  The pastor turns out to be Rodney Howard Browne, well known charismatic "revival" leader who in the 90s became famous for the "laughing revival."  Infowars showed a clip of him exhorting the "body of Christ" to continuous prayer for Trump.

A few weeks ago or so some pastors assembled in the White House to lay hands on Trump and pray for him.  Charismatic pastors like Rodney Howard Browne.   Why is this?  Why are the charismatics the ones doing this and not others? 

This is disturbing to me.  Trump needs all the prayer he can get so shouldn't I just be glad he's getting so many pastors interested in doing that?  But the charismatics are NOT representative of Christianity.  In my opinion the Strange Fire Conference I've linked in the right margin finally showed that the charismatic movement is following a false idea of the "gifts of the Spirit."  I'm not going to say they aren't Christians, although there are some of them I do doubt are Christians, such as Kenneth Copeland, and Benny Hinn who has prayed at the graves of Aimee Semple MacPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman, to receive the kind of charismatic power they had.  This is akin to witchcraft,   How can it serve Trump or his supporters or the nation to have the prayers of occultists?  Browne's call to the Body of Christ is pretty standard but I don't know enough about him to know how far to trust him.

I certainly think we should all be praying for Trump, and just judging from the way the headlines every day are calculated to present something negative about him I have no reason to doubt that there's a plan to bring him down.  The headlines are already part of such a plan. 

I wish we'd hear from more trustworthy Christian leaders calling for prayer for Trump.