This is a page that focuses on religious and theological issues, as well as providing comprehensive teaching from a classic Catholic perspective. As you read the articles, it is my hope they will educate and bless you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Secularization of American Evangelicalism - The New Mission Field For Us

Recently, I read a very interesting editorial by Archbishop Mark Haverland, the Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church, entitled "Our Baptist Friends And Their Difficulties."  The article was published in the ACC newspaper, The Trinitarian, in the September/October 2011 edition, and it was very insightful.   Barb and I attend an Anglican Catholic parish ourselves, and I have had the privelege of meeting Archbishop Haverland - he is a very astute scholar and he has a good finger on the pulse of the American religious spectrum.  Therefore, what he has to say is actually quite insightful, and honestly he nails the issue well as far as this article is concerned too.  Reading the Archbishop's thoughts got my own wheels turning, and I wanted to expound on what he said by writing this article myself, and adding a couple of other things to what he talked about as I feel they add another dimension to his article also.

Archbishop Haverland''s article focuses primarily on some trends in the Southern Baptist Convention, which by and large with 16 million adherents is the largest Evangelical Protestant denomination in the US.  In reading the article, I see the Archbishop making two very important (and I must say correct) assessments that many of our Evangelical friends would do well to take notice of.  First, he mentions that the "Mainline" churches often turn "Sideline," based on terminology from Richard John Neuhaus, and inevitably some societal tendencies could "sideline" the "mainline."   Going further, Archbishop Haverland observes that the "Mainline" of yesteryear - groups like the United Methodists and the ECUSA, among others - has become the "Sideline" while larger, more conservative groups - the Southern Baptists, Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod, Presbyterian Church in America, Assemblies of God, and Nazarenes, among others - have by their increased numbers become more "Mainline."  Yet, as the Archbishop also alludes to, the conservative Evangelical "Mainline" of the present is in danger as well, and he notes it is due to what he calls "profound individualism" on the part of many Evangelicals in regard to soteriology and spirituality - the danger he notes, citing specifically the great increase in divorce rates, is a changing in attitudes regarding key moral issues based on societal peer pressure, to use my own translation of what he said.   Toward the conclusion of his article, the Archbishop says Baptists have a choice - they can either slowly secularize as many of yesterday's "Mainliners" have and decline, or they can begin to commit to a creed and tradition that would anchor their convictions better - he notes the rise in a movement called Reformed Baptists (one of my good college friends is active in this group) among former Southern Baptists due to the fact the Reformeds offer a more solid grounding in tradition and stability that some Southern Baptists feel are lacking.  Indeed, the Reformed Baptists are a growing phenomenon too, and although a little too Calvinistic for my taste, they nonetheless have retained some things that many Southern Baptists once had and lost that are beneficial to maintaining a strong Biblically-sound faith.   Therefore, I concur with the Archbishop that this may be something good. 

However, there is something even better that really caught my attention as the Archbishop concluded his article.  In his closing words, he wrote this statement - "The Anglican Catholic Church and its clergy need to look for growth not only to the former Episcopalians - a small and shrinking group - but also to the millions upon millions of conservative Protestants."  All I have to say to that is this - AMEN!!!   More so than ever, America is a ripe mission field for the harvest, but unlike the missionary endeavors of the past, this is a little different - we need to start casting out lifelines to dedicated people, who are Christians, that are finding themselves dispossessed by a lot of paradigm shifting in the American religious landscape.   Many of us -myself included! - have been there; we love the spiritual upbringing of our youth, but we also have been disturbed by the fact that many of the churches that once nurtured it are now eschewing and ridiculing those foundations.  I was raised in a Pentecostal environment, born again myself in a Southern Baptist church, graduated from a Pentecostal Bible school here in Florida, and for many years was an active minister in the Foursquare Church (a large Pentecostal denomination).   Yet, I grew very disenfranchised with what I was seeing as a departure from the old-time faith of these churches in many congregations, and it seemed as if their leadership was more hung up on running their denominations like Fortune 500 companies rather than spiritual centers that they should be - therefore, it seems as if the trend was in many of these Evangelical, supposedly conservative, churches was more toward entertainment and relevancy versus discipleship and spiritual growth.  With the rise of such things as the megachurch, Rick Warren's "Purpose-Driven" ideology, the whole "seeker" movement, and the Emerging Church cult, many distinctives of Evangelicalism became deconstructed, redefined, and even "de-christianized" to the point some of these formerlly Evangelical "churches" are hardly recognizeable as Christian anymore!  It seems like these "churches" were more interested in rock bands, shopping malls in the sanctuaries, and other nonessentials than they were in their mandated mission laid down two millenia before by Christ Himself, and therefore a number of people in these churches found themselves dispossessed and basically "spiritual orphans."   Archbishop Haverland said early in his article "I have argued that American Fundamentalists are merely the slow lane to secularization," and to be honest, he is tragically correct - churches, via Rick Warren and other innovators, are becoming more secularized every day because they are ashamed to be identified as "Christian."  In many of these groups that have adopted this mentality - and it is spreading like a cancer unfortunately - it has become a cardinal offense to mention words in a sermon or anywhere else such as "sin," "hell," and "repentance," as well as becoming taboo to preach on subjects related to it such as Bible prophecy and the Second Coming.  Altar calls and revivals - once the spiritual "bread-and-butter" of the Evangelical churches - are now deemed "antiquated" and "irrelevent."   Worse, societal ills have crept into churches that just a few decades ago wouldn't have even entertained the notion of accepting - divorce rates are at an all-time high among professed Christians, as is consumption of alcohol and pornography, and I see a lot of religious syncretism going on as more and more supposedly "spirit-filled" Christians are dabbling in occultic practices such as reading horoscopes, etc.   It has gotten so bad that once I remember in an office I worked that the manager - a self-professed Pentecostal Christian - would often ogle pornography while listening to "praise" music!  What blasphemy!!  However, it gets worse, especially when one sees what is happening to the youth in churches.   In 2006, noted Evangelical speaker/author Josh McDowell published a book entitled The Last Christian Generation (Holiday, FL: Green Key Books) and the premise of the book was the fact that many professed Evangelical Christian youth are in a crisis of faith due to the fact they are not being properly discipled and reached.   He notes, on page 18, that George Barna conducted a poll in which 98% of "Christian" young people simply "believe in Christ" but do not reflect Christian attitudes or actions.   But, it gets scarier - on page 15, Mcdowell notes some other disturbing statistics among church-going youth:

  1. 63% don't believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God;
  2. 58% believe all faiths teach equally valid truths;
  3. 51% don't believe Jesus was bodily resurrected;
  4. 65% don't believe Satan is a real entity;
  5. 68% don't believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity
McDowell correctly notes that much of what these kids are believing comes from a distorted view gleaned from the world around them - they get much of their inspiration from crap like these reality shows, or from nonsense like "Glee" or "90210," or they follow the Gospel According to Oprah.  Since this book was written in 2006, something more disturbing has happened - of the 35% that do accept Satan as real, many of those are following his deceptions and are getting involved in the occult and other stuff thanks in part to stuff like the "Harry Potter" phenomenon as well as this proliferation of romanticized vampire fantasies from the Twilight movies and other similar media.   In a very insightful book I read recently entitled God's Ghostbusters by Tom Horn (Crane, MO: Defender Publishers, 2011) an essay in the book entitled "The Blood is the Life" by Derek Gilbert sums up something about this whole thing - he says, and I quote:

The transformation of the vampire from monster to hero reflects the gradual decay of of the Christian faith into an anemic shell of its former self.  The critical role of the blood shed by Jesus Christ for the redemption of our sins has been replaced in many churches today, eithe by an emphasis on our own works, or by a kinder, gentler Jesus for whom the greatest sin is being untrue to our innermost desires.   (Horn, 70)

This goes back to Archbishop Haverland's assessment that profound individualism on the part of Evangelicals will over time lead to secularization.   The stats and quotes I have supplied here are evidence that this is not something for the distant future - it is happening now!  And, not only is secularization a threat, but worse, many of these kids will soon discover that secularization doesn't fulfill the spiritual void and they will start looking for something to do just that - it is a field day for Satan, because as this vampire trend (we have talked about that before) becomes more popular, it is going to introduce kids to the dark side of spirituality, and that could mean their very souls are at risk.   All of this while Rick Warren and his many disciples fiddle around and play "Purpose-Driven Church" - it's all good to them, because their salaries are getting paid and their bank accounts are fat!  They have "dumbed-down" the Gospel so much that it is hardly recognizable, and as a result, people have a spiritual hunger.  If those of us who know the truth do not take advantage of this, many souls could be lost for eternity and accountable from our hands, as their blood will stain us crimson.   And, that is all the more reason why I believe Archbishop Haverland's article is important - he sees the opportunity the Holy Spirit is giving to us as conservative Catholic Christians, and he I truly believe has been given this insight for the Holy Spirit. Now, let's talk about that.

The Archbishop talks about the dilemma among the Southern Baptists - and among Evangelicals in general - generating a huge potential audience for our message.  What is our message?  It is the historic Catholic Faith, grounded in Scripture and Holy Tradition, and as the Archbishop correctly assesses, it is exactly what many of these people need.  Although many youth, for instance, are being secularized, or worse even being drawn into occultism through the proliferation of vampire cults and such, there are a Remnant of young people who are discovering the historic Liturgy and spirituality of our faith, and they want it!  Unfortunately, they are not going to find it in Rome - the Roman Catholics have their own issues that parallel the Evangelicals - and they unfortunately will not find it in the Christian East - the East tends to, despite a beautiful and rich spirituality, degenerate into legalism and triumphalist mentality when it comes to the idea of other Christians.   So, it is up to those of us who are independent Catholics and Continuing Anglicans to reach these people.   Youth are searching, and older sincere Christians also end up being dispossessed a lot of times as their former congregations, many of which they were pillars of at one point, have embraced entertainment, Rick Warren, or the Emerging Church, and when these dear people see something is amiss with all that garbage, they are often thrown out like yesterday's garbage from churches they had contributed so much to in the past.   All of these people need a home, and they need spiritual communion - we can offer that.   And, we should.  The harvest is indeed ready for the American mission field, and we who are independent Catholics and Continuing Anglicans need laborers to gather it.   Let us catch that vision, and let's give the orphans a secure home - they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, as they are already dedicated Christians, so they need us too.   May we take this to mind in all of our parishes as our Archbishop has presented us a challenge.  May we, as the Roman Catholic Mass rightly says, "go in peace to love and serve the Lord" by providing a spiritual home to our dispossessed brethren.  Amen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

In The Image - A Radical New Perspective

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  (Genesis 1:27 NKJV)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privelege of hearing a singing evangelist by the name of Jeff Steinberg at a local church where he was in concert.  Jeff is not your typical evangelist - he is a little person, was born without arms, and spent most of his younger life in hospitals going through corrective surgery.   He holds the microphone as he sings and speaks with a prosthetic hook, and he autographs his books and CD's with a pen in his mouth.  Yet, this amazing guy is someone God is continuing to use mightily, and his testimony is one of the most inspiring things you will ever hear.  I finished reading his book, Masterpiece in Progress,  just recently, and there is something he taught me from reading it that certainly I hadn't seen before, but it makes perfect sense in the light of the total context of the Bible - being created in God's image doesn't mean we look necessarily like clones of the Most High, but rather that God created us in the image He personally saw of us!  Think about that for a moment, as it will rattle some theological cages, but it will revolutionize your view of yourself and of human nature in general if you grasp it.  I was so inspired by it personally that I decided to do this study on the whole thing, and hope it will be a blessing to you as well.

Humanity is far from perfect - we sin, we have physical issues a lot of times, and as we age we get fatter, more wrinkly, and less hairy on our heads and more hairy in other places.   Reason for that is simply because our mortal flesh was not meant to be eternal, but our souls and spirits are.  And, with the sting of sin affecting humanity, one of its consequences is that all mortal flesh will die someday - one in one die, let's face facts!  Now, that doesn't detract from the fact that there will be a resurrection of the body, but like Scripture says, if we are dead in Christ we will be raised incorruptible in glorified bodies, being restored to that which God originally intended.  However, on this earth, we deal with physical pain, bodily inperfections, and death as part of the process.  I said all of that now to say something that will shed new light on the verse that I opened this study with, so let us begin.

Sickness and suffering, as mentioned, are a consequence of the fall and we all are subject to that at some point.  However, God always has plans for things, and in a lot of cases He can even use our limitations to His greater good, and thus this verse.  When God said he created us in His image, that by no means implies we are to look and act exactly like God Himself.   Much bad theology over the years has resulted from a misunderstanding of that, and in many cases it has had tragic consequences.  Take, for example, this whole "health and wealth" nonsense in these charismatic churches that is often piped from the peepers of TV preachers like bad elevator music.   If half of that heresy were true, then we should all be walking around looking like Romanesque statues or something - have you looked in the mirror lately though?  I know I don't come anywhere close to an Adonis personally, and sorry, but neither do you!  And, sorry to say to those crooks on TBN, but neither do they - one of the idiots teaching this weighs about 400 pounds for instance, and another one - and Lord forgive me for saying this - is this woman Bible "teacher" who is uglier than a mud fence!  Their issue is not what they look like, but rather what they are saying - they have not only disqualified (in their not-so-humble opinions) 99% of the human race from God's blessings, but they have disqualified themselves.   Thanks be to God that HE is in charge, and His truth has more sense than some people selling his name like cheap moonshine.   Another example recently that my good friend Johnny Lee Clary, a wonderful evangelist with a tremedous testimony, shared with me was this church who decided that, due to some "revelation," they were going to ban fat preachers from their pulpit!  Well, that rules out a lot of good ministers in the South down here then, don't it?  Do you think God really cares what we look like on the outside?  I mean, seriously, there is nothing wrong with healthy living and exercise, and we all need those to be sure, so that is not what I am talking about.  What I am talking about is this mentality that all women need to look like Playboy centerfolds and men like GQ models, and sadly that mentality has entered into the Church - especially with these "Purpose-Driven" and "seeker-friendly" fads that are a bi-product of the Emerging Church cult.   However, God never said that to be "in His image" meant you had to look perfect - He meant that we are created in an image He had for us, as an individual, from the beginning of the world.  God doesn't mass-produce babies in heaven, but each of us is, as Psalm 139:14 says, "fearfully and wonderfully made."  And, that aspect of our creation goes hand-in-hand with Romans 12:4-5, which talks about us being one Body with many members, as well as the diversity of gifts in the Body of Christ it talks about in Ephesians.   The talent and creativity you have personally and individually is not an accident - God gave it to you!  And, if we are to follow Christ, we learn to use those talents and creativities to His glory and to the best of our ability.  Jeff Steinberg is a man who does that well, I must say - not only him, but so many others.   Take Jacob Berry, for instance - he is a young Free Will Baptist evangelist in Oklahoma I believe who was born with muscular dystrophy, and although he cannot talk and has to be in a specially-made wheelchair, he is in God's eyes a great creation, and God has used him to touch many lives.  Then there is David Ring, the Southern Baptist evangelist from Arkansas with cerebral palsey - in the 30+ years he has been in public ministry, untold numbers of people have been touched by his testimony as well.   I also need to mention Joni Earickson Tada, who for decades has produced so many things such as paintings, music recordings, and books, and yet she is a quadraplegic who cannot move a muscle on her body.   And, there is my friend Bill Burtoft, whom I went to college with - Bill has been in a wheelchair, yet he not only has a strong and unshakable faith, but he also has a sharp mind and you couldn't find a more capable technology whiz than this guy.    If the establishment (and some heretical TV preachers) would have had their way, all of the above would have been cast by the wayside and even aborted at birth, but God uses what the world casts out as "foolish" oftentimes to confound the idiocy of worldly wisdom, and all the individuals I have mentioned - all handicapped people I might add - have been used greatly of God to touch and improve many lives.   The testimonies of these people have prevented suicides, healed marriages, and more importantly, brought people to the altar to be born again of the Holy Spirit in Christ.   Appearances can indeed be deceiving sometimes, and we need to be more discerning of that as a Church.  What is created in God's image may not always be what we think, and sometimes those perfect specimens of humanity we think are "blessed" of God may often be no more than prettily-packaged compost heaps as God sees them.   Which is why I believe God can use a person in a wheelchair more often than not than he can a supermodel, because looks indeed can be deceiving - my friend Bill, for instance, is secure with who he is, and while he lives his life as God intended, the next "America's Top Model" is puking her guts out in the bathroom sink due to the fact she ate a Lifesaver and is tormented about that.  Which one of them do you think is more in God's will?  Think about that.  

It is not just physical disabilities though that people often flippantly dismiss, but other factors as well.  Some people, for instance, are born into money and they get all the opportunities, all the prestige, and all the accolades due to the fact they have Donald Trump as a grandpaw or something.  Yet, often, these same people cannot operate a toaster, yet they are in places of authority.   On the other hand, there are people much like myself who were reared in poverty, with a single parent, and had to fight and scratch and scrape to get somewhere, and often those people are written off as statistics.  Let me tell you about me - according to the "official" statistics, I should have been an alcoholic, had a girl knocked up at 16, and should have been dead 10 years ago.  Yet, I was a great student in school, never had a taste for alcohol, and finished college and made something of myself, and still have no kids!  Reason is, I followed God's plan instead of man's, and thankfully I did that.   I was created in the image God made me, and He knew just what would bring out my best and thus made the way for that to happen.   God wants to do that for all of us, but oftentimes we are so blinded by what the world thinks that we miss it, and oftentimes the world too writes us off because we don't fit into their profile for success.   God, however, is greater than the world, and if He wills something for your life and you are yielded to what He wants to do, you will be that person God intended you to be as an individual.  It may not involved great financial riches, and you may not be a great superstar or model, but you will know within the depth of your being that you are where you are supposed to be.  People may give you opposition for that - expect it, as a matter of fact! - and you may even screw up on occasion along that pilgrim trail (I could tell you stories of my own on that one, believe me!) and you may get impatient and discouraged at times because things may not be where you think they should be.  However, remember this - we need to trust God to guide our steps.  It is hard, and honestly as I write this it is something I struggle with just as some of you do, but we need to find peace within ourselves to understand God doesn't steer us wrong.   Remember again, we are created in HIS image - not necessarily a carbon clone of Him, but in the image He made us - and that means something in the greater scheme of things.   So, be encouraged today as you read this, and hope to visit you again really soon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Playing God - Transhumanism and Twisting Genetics As A Sign of the End Times

"Resistance is futile: you will be assimilated!" is a familiar line for those of us who are Star Trek fans that revolves around an evil genetically-altered humanoid enemy on the series called the Borg.  The Borg think that by assimilating organic and mechanic composition together, they will achieve perfection as a sort of "super race."  Although fictional, the Borg scenario is something that some people are taking seriously today in a movement called Transhumanism.  Their goal is to "perfect" humanity into being basically "posthuman," and in doing so, a new step in human evolution will happen.  Thing is, this is not a new idea, nor is it even original - Plato proposed it in his monumental Republic, and it is the driving force behind such things as the Nazis and some New Age occultists.  As such, it is a dangerous idea in that it makes man play the part of God, and in doing so, it may be getting this world into something over its head.   Being this is a new subject for me, I have spent the last week pouring over articles and books in preparation for this study, and it is subject to frequent updating as a lot of new information becomes available.  Also, this is an area that hasn't been thoroughly researched by students of Bible prophecy as of yet (Tom Horn, Chuck Missler, and some others have begun to do so, and their work has proven to be very valuable at this point in my own research), but I have a feeling that as events begin to unfold it will.  Therefore, I am going to make my own modest attempt to share with you the knowledge I have culled so far.

I want to say from the outset that when we speak of "transhumanism," its practices are not the same as those of gifted physicians who are making breakthroughs in lifesaving medical procedures - therefore, we are not talking here about glass eyes and pacemakers.  Rather, this is about some very radical pseudo-science that seeks to "enhance" human potential by experimenting with nanotechnology and animal DNA, among other things, to create "superhumans."  Some of this is being funded by our own government (one study paid close to 7 BILLION DOLLARS to inject sperm from a Black man into a female gorilla in order to see if humans and primates could cross-breed - with all the joblessness, economic trouble, and other things going on, I find it interesting that our government can waste our tax dollars on crap like this!) to create the "ultimate warrior" to go into combat.  Yet, again, this should come as no surprise to us, as this stuff has some deep roots, and it is those roots we want to examine first.  I want to begin by first giving you the background of this transhumanist philosophy, which has two main roots - Darwinian evolution and theosophical occultism.  Both have similar goals, and both came together before with disastrous consequences:  remember the Nazis??  Therefore, this movement has both a technical aspect (pseudo-science) and a religious one (occultism).  And, with that we begin.

The Roots of The Phenomena

1.  Darwinian Pseudo-Science

The root source for transhumanism can by all accounts be found in the person of naturalist Charles Darwin, who is also the originator of the theory of evolution.   More specifically, it can be found in the part of Darwin's theory known as natural selection, or by its more common vernacular, "survival of the fittest."   However, as Richard Weikart writes in his 2004 epic study From Darwin to Hitler (New York:  Palgrave MacMillan), it seems as if Darwin received some influence from an earlier theorist, Thomas Robert Malthus (1746-1834), whose 1798 treatise entitled Essay on the Principle of Population  argued that most organisms (including humans) produce far more than can be sustained, and therefore it was necessary that the vast majority of people must die without reproducing (Weikart, 74).  Darwin of course took that one step further by saying that the "fittest" must survive by prevailing over the "unfit," thus assuring thereby the propagation of the species and its evolution to a higher life form.   The later disciples of both Darwin and Malthus would eventually take this to catastrophic levels, and one Austrian rabble-rouser by the name of Adolf Hitler would commit some of the most violent, evil acts in the name of this theory some 100 years after Malthus himself died.   It is also worth mentioning the irony that Malthus was actually an Anglican vicar, which makes his position in this even more bizarre.  However, despite how omenous the writings of Darwin and Malthus sounded, they were still pretty humane compared to what some of their disciples would do in their names.   Henceforth, here we enter a kinsman of Darwin by the name of Francis Galton.

Francis Galton was a first cousin to Darwin, and is often cited as the "father of modern eugenics." (He coined the word in 1883)  To explain what eugenics is first, basically it is a discipline in which through clinical means, the Darwinian "survival of the fittest" concept could be carried out by selectively "culling the herd," so to speak, of traits and individuals its proponents considered "unfit" and "inferior."   Means of doing this included forced sterilization, abortion, selective breeding of people, and other things in order to breed a 'superhuman" that was, in their eyes, the "best of the best."  Margaret Sanger, a very devout and rabid Malthusian eugenics proponent and Darwinist, summed this up by saying that the organization she founded, Planned Parenthood, had the ultimate goal of producing a race of "thoroughbreds" while simultaneously eliminating what she termed "human weeds" and "inferior races." (George Grant, Grand Illusions. {Nashville: Highland Books, 1998} pp. 107).  This is similar to Francis Galton's goals, and the latter advocated using sexual selection as a means of guiding evolution along, based on his view that ability is passed down by genetics and therefore only the best should be encouraged to breed (Tom DeRosa, Evolution's Fatal Fruit. {Fort Lauderdale, FL:  Coral Ridge Ministries, 2006} p. 139).   The link between Galton and Margaret Sanger, DeRosa notes, was biologist Charles Davenport, the man who imported eugenics to America around the turn of the century and served as a mentor to Sanger while being a disciple of Galton (DeRosa, 141-142).  Thus, evil begets evil, but it gets much worse when it is imported to Germany and is taken up as a cause by a doctor named Ernst Haeckel.

Ernst Haeckel figures prominently in both Darwinian and eugenic pseudo-science in Germany in the latter part of the 1800's. amd although exposed as a fraud in 1868 (DeRosa, 148), his influence is felt even today.  Haeckel taught, for one thing, that morality was an evolutionary process subject to change and constantly in flux (Weikart, 25).  That being said, he also believed that "races" were in reality different species, some were more developed than others, thus allowing for the "higher" races to achieve more as well as having a natural right to dominate the "inferiors."  To prove this was so, Haeckel even conducted an experiment where he attempted to inseminate a female gorilla with sperm from a Black man (DeRosa, 153)!  He also favored infanticide for babies with congenital conditions, and although he did hold that life began at conception, Haeckel didn't believe a baby was human until it "earned the right" to be so at some point in its early development (ibid, 153-154).  However, his most significant contribution to the later Nazi regime was his view that Europeans were a super race, and thus he advocated a geopolitical solution, not unlike that of Karl Haushofer later, to take land from "inferior" people, and that allowed for extermination of "inferiors" to insure the proliferation of the "superiors" (p. 155).  Later on, he helped found a racist, anti-Semitic organization called the Pan-German League, and its chairman, Georg von Schonerer, became an object of admiration for Adolph Hitler.  In regard to this infanticide advocacy, Haeckel considered aborting an "unfit" baby no different then from the killing of a cockroach (Weikart, 147). 

This first unholy trinity of evolution/eugenics (Darwin/Galton/Haeckel) influenced a number of future radicals (Margaret Sanger and Adolf Hitler proved most prominent).  However, this stuff didn't come out of a vacuum either, as it seems that Indo-Iranian thinking encompassed these theories for millenia for some odd reason.  For instance, the Indo-Aryans of the Vedic period developed the caste system, and later Plato in his Republic in 360 BC.  Plato, for instance, advocated selective birth in Book VIII, when he advocates that as brass and silver are mingled with inequity, so then is breeding outside one's social ranking.   Also, he advocates state-raised children, bred selectively for the good of the state, that would be of the finest stock of the people.  There is no doubt that this Platonic nonsense had a lot to do with some of Darwin's and Malthus's own views, as both men were intelligent and well-read in the classics.   However, that erroneous philosophy led to some of the worst atrocities in human history, with the worst by far being those of the Nazis in the previous centuries.  Yet, today, the same thing goes on in a more low-key fashion and is guided by the same philosophy, and it could be happening only minutes from your home at the local Planned Parenthood clinic.   Although this study is not about abortion, nor is it about Nazis, nonetheless both of those institutions mirror what the catastrophic results of trying to breed "supermen" results in.  And, abortion is as much a mass murder of innocent humans as was the Holocaust, and both are two unfortunate evils that cannot be ignored by history or by any informed mind today.   Something to think about!

How, then, is Darwinism, Malthusian/Galtonian eugenics, and its derivatives relative to the modern transhumanist movement?   Simply put, transhumanism is the modern variant on the eugenics movement, and it has as its basis an evolutionary root.   The main difference is that transhumanists have access to technology that Malthus, Galton, and Haeckel didn't have, and that makes their movement even more frightening.   Take, for instance, San Diego State University professor and scientist Verner Vinge, who in his 1993 lecture "The Coming Technological Singularity" stated that when the scientific community achieves the technological means to create human intelligence, the human era will end (Tom Horn, "Splicing and Dicing The Next Step in Evolution," at  Kevin Warwick, an advocate of cyborg technology, states further that human/machine integration will be what achieves "Technological Singularity," or being "post-human."  And, a leading transhumanist, Dr James Hughes, calls this "a new chapter in our evolution."   These scientists have several things in common.  First, they are Darwinian evolutionists.  Secondly, their advocacy of transhuman experimentation also makes them Neo-Malthusian eugenicists - the part they fail to mention is that in order to achieve all this "technological singularity," some "inferior" traits have to be removed - Haeckel and Galton did that through selectively breeding people they felt were "superior," but these transhumanists do it through gene-splicing and technology, but the result they are seeking is the same - a "superhuman race" that will ultimately be the next step in our supposed "evolution."  So, is the "posthuman" of the Transhumanists any different from the "Master Aryan Race" of the Nazis?  No, it isn't.   And, what they are doing is not true science either - like Tom DeRosa says in his book, racism has nothing to do with science but everything to do with evolution (DeRosa, p. 180).  Despite the fact many of these guys such as Warwick and Dr. Hughes would probably flatly deny they are racists (as would the average administrator of your local Planned Parenthood clinic, I may add here!) nonetheless racism is the ultimate result of their endeavors.  It is man trying to play God, by determining who or what is human and choosing what is worthy to live.  And, that is the danger in trusting in such things.  True science, like any other legitimate discipline, will always affirm God's existence and His creativity - that is simply because God created the universe and put into operation the natural laws that govern the universe.  Anything that goes against those natural laws - many of these people do just that - is not of God, and is therefore not truly science, simple as that. 

There is however another dimension to this whole movement, and it is even darker.  Much of what these theories are based on is also occultic in nature, and following we will be discussing some of the roots of that.

2.  Theosophy, Alchemy, and the Occult

The pseudo-scientific underpinnings of Darwin and the Malthusian eugenics movement definitely provided the technical and philosophical background of the modern transhumanist movement, but what is more insidious is the occultic connections this whole discipline also has.  The occultic roots of this run deep too, going back to the rebellion in the Garden of Eden, when Satan in the form of a serpent told Eve that she would "be like the most high."  Man, in his finite mind, has sought ever since to be a god himself, and in doing so he has corrupted and perverted a natural creative ability God gave us.  And, Satan has had a field day ever since.  However, the modern roots of the transhumanist/occultic connection go back to the Middle Ages first, with something called the Qabala and a bi-product it spawned called alchemy.

Alchemy was a pseudo-science that originally was intended to create valuable material out of common material, in particular things like gold out of water and the like.  However, they also believed that they could tap into the secret of eternal life by creating an elixer called a "panacea," which could cure all ills and prolong life indefinitely.   Although practiced in Europe by Jewish mystical Qabalists, it was also practiced as well by Arabic/Islamic wizards (for lack of a better word) and one goal they had was the creation in due time of a thing called a taquin, which essentially would be laboratory-created life.  The major contributor to this was one Jabir Ibn Hayyan, an Islamic alchemist.  The Qabalists had a similar concept, the golem, in which a 12-century Hassidic qabalist, Eleazar of Worms, concocted several recipes to create (Isaacson and Wigoder, The International Jewish Encyclopedia {Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice-Hall, 1973} p. 126).  This was also the impetus for the Frankenstein legend as well, something I had previously discussed in another article.   The bottom line of both the Arabic occultists and the Qabalists was this - the ability to create life.  And, ultimately, that would lead to the imagination conceiving the creation of superior life.   The combination of the "panacea" and the dual concept of the taquin/golem creature are still foundational to today's more technologically-advanced efforts of the Transhumanists.  Thus, it is still man trying to play god by manipulating the creative processes of life.  Thus, it is a deception of Satan.  (Other than the noted reference, other material was used and cited from

The practices of the Qabalists and Islamic alchemists though paled in comparison to the 19th century, when a more blatant form of occultism, rooted in Eastern mysticism, arose in the form of the Theosophists.  Theosophy is the progenitor of the modern New Age movement, and many New Age and occultic teachers and writers have been heavily influenced by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical Society.  Among these are her direct disciples such as Alice Bailey, whose writings are essentially the foundation of the contemporary New Age movement.   In her main text, The Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky succeeds in combining Darwinian evolution with Eastern mysticism when she talks about seven "root races" in various stages of development, and although the races exist simultaneously, some are more developed than others, and these earlier races will eventually be transplanted by a race called Homo Noeticus, or a sort of "superman" who exceeds in many ways the human race as seen now.  Although there seems to be no indication that Blavatsky herself was a racist - a demon-worshipping occultist, yes, but not a racist - unfortunately her theories took root among a group of radical German nationalists called the Volkists, and out of that movement in the early 20th century grew two very radically anti-Semitic occultic brotherhoods, the Vrilists and the Thule Society.  Both groups used as a symbol of their identity a Buddhist good fortune sign called the swastika, and in their hands this symbol (it portrayed the sun traveling across the sky) would forever be associated with the most evil regime the world had seen up to this point.  The Vrilists and the Thulists had as their two main patriarchs notable German theosophists, Georg Lanz von Liebenfels and Guido von List.   One of the major architects of the Vrilists was one Karl Haushofer, the geopolitical theorist who influenced Hitler's later ambitions of Lebenstraum, which would be the driving force of the conquest of Europe by the Nazis during World War II.   And, the Vrilists also had a direct connection to notorious occultist Aleister Crowley as well (Joseph Carr, The Twisted Cross. {Lafayette, LA:  Huntington House, 1985} pp. 105 - 107).  The Thule Society, formed in 1914, was the brainchild of List and von Liebenfels, and was the parent of the Nazi Party, which was formed in 1920 as a mechanism for the Thulists to reach the proletariat for the ultranationalist, racist agenda.  The name of the Thule Society speaks for itself - it was the mythical northern home of the Aryan super-race, and Thulists believed that Jewish and other foreign "inferior" elements contaminated that "noble" bloodline, and thus it was up to them to purge the "inferior" elements in order to rebirth the perfect Aryan super-race, something Hitler would carry to the extreme (ibid., pp. 107-108).  In order to make this happen, many Thulists were also Darwinian and supported the eugenics movement, and since many of the elite membership of the Thule Society were doctors and scientists, they saw eugenics as a means of "reclaiming" their lost heritage.   And, of course, history bears witness to this in regards to Nazi atrocities, which were the ultimate experiment in this morbid ideology.  Also, being occultists, these Thulists (as well as top Nazis later) saw the doctrine of reincarnation working hand-in-hand with Darwin's natural selection and evolution to rebirth the future "Master Race."  And, today we see it mirrored in the fact that although Eastern bugabooery and rationalistic evolution seem to be odd bedfellows, the New Agers are also by and large evolutionists as well, hence their connection to transhumanism.  Later on, we will see this has a prophetic significance as well.  Add to that a healthy dose of Nietzsche to the mix, and the stage is set for creating a "superhuman" that many modern transhumanists enthusiastically look forward to "evolving" and making modern man extinct.  It is thus dangerous.

Now that we have examined the pseudo-intellectual and occultic background of this movement, we now want to examine some Scriptural reasons why it is wrong, and then wrap up with a bit of commentary on the prophetic implications in the future of such teaching.

Scriptural Refutation, Commentary, and Prophetic Implications

The modern transhumanist movement is not the first time man has tried to play God with Satan's help - that goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when Eve was coerced by the snake to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (which, come to find out after much study and research, may have been where the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is today, hence fulfilling that verse in 2 Corinthians 3:6 that says the letter (the Law) kills but the Spirit gives life, as well as Romans 3:20, which says the law is the knowledge of sin - the Tree of Knowledge is a picture of the Law in Genesis, and ultimately represents man trying to either be like God or reach God by his own means) in Genesis 3:5, when it coerced her to eat by honing in on a weak twisting of a command of God that Eve spoke when she says "He (God) told us not to eat or touch it" (Genesis 3:3).  However, that is not what God said - He told them to just not eat it (Genesis 2:17) and said not a word about touching it!  Satan, of course, in the form of a snake, seized upon this, and hence the first heresy was born - he knows Scripture too remember, probably better than many Christians do, and his strategy is to let man do the twisting and then he comes in and eggs on what develops, and in this case he used Eve's misquote to say in Genesis 3:5 that when Eve ate of this fruit she would become Godlike more or less, and supposedly have all the knowledge of the universe God had.  However - and this is how Satan works - he failed to mention that what is meant by the knowledge of good and evil was the heavy price to be paid if one committed evil with that knowledge, and hence came sin into the world.   Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, provided an escape from that curse.  But of course, the damage was done and man continued on his quest to unlock the "god within" by continuing to either be like God, or to be a "god."  The next manmade attempt at that comes in Genesis 11 with the tower of Babel, where man tried unsuccessfully to "play god" again by the tower.  So, God created nations from that to prevent it from happening (this was a foreshadowing, incidentally, of the plan of the Antichrist, which of course God saw).  These are but two Scriptural examples of what man's futility in trying to "play god" has as far as consequential results, but we humans tend to have short-term memory and not learn from our mistakes very well, do we?  

A second aspect of this comes in regard to the demonic and satanic influence in man's aspirations to obtain divine priveleges, and that of course goes back to Lucifer himself, who also had an ego and sought to be God as well.  We all, of course, know that story's ending, but it hasn't stopped him from trying.  Many writers, among them Chuck Missler, Tom Horn and others, draw a connection here between the Nephilim (the fallen angels' offspring with human women) and the modern transhumanist movement.   That aspect warrants a whole other article unto itself, as it is a major subject with a lot of complexity, so sufficive to say it was an early attempt as well by Satan to create a "master race" of super-beings for the sole purpose of preventing the Messiah from coming and redeeming humanity of its sins.  You see, the Nephilim were a bastard species - they were brought into existence by unholy means, and as a result their souls were cursed from the outset.  So, when they died, their disembodied spirits became what we know today as demons - in other words, demons are not fallen angels.  As I have been saying previously, many of these fallen angels, as well as their demonic offspring, also formed the basis of many pagan religions, meaning naturally that most pagan deities have some spiritual entity behind them inspiring their mythology.   That being said, the revival in the past 50 or so years of occultism, the New Age movement, and neopaganism is no accident, and neither is some of these bastardized forms of Christianity such as the "Emerging Church" movement that borrow heavily from the New Age and Eastern mysticism.  And, that is why the Theosophists and other occultists are often a source of inspiration behind the transhumanism movement, because those religions teach things like the "master race" theories as well as reincarnation, which more or less says that through some karmic process you can "evolve" into godhood.   Transhumanism just takes this a step further by saying that modern technology and the veneer of science (in reality pseudo-science, as it draws heavily upon neo-Malthusian eugenics) can be used as means to achieve that end.   And, voila! - man becomes what God is, in their thinking.  

The problem with their little theories and nonsense though is what is embodied in the Sh'ma - "Hear O Israel!  The Lord our God, the Lord is One!" (Deuteronomy 6:4).  There is, as Ephesians 4:5 clearly states, only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.  And, as far as our guarantee of eternal life is concerned, there is only one way to achieve that also - through the shed blood of Jesus Christ only!  Jesus said in John 14:6 that HE is the the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him!  Our own efforts are meaningless as a result - Romans 3:23 states that all of us are guilty of sin, and 3:10 says not one of us are righteous on our own merits either.  In other words, we are not even close to being "gods," and those who embrace that nonsense delude themselves with one of the biggest weapons Satan uses against us - our own pride.  In our pride over the centuries, we have done some dumb things, and we fail to see what God so plainly told us.  I mean, yes, he loves us, and yes we are created in his image, but we are not created as "little gods," but rather in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).  There is a major difference there obviously.  And, due to our own pride, we fell by thinking we could be "God" ourselves by possessing great knowledge, yet it proved to be the ultimate deception.  God says our righteousness is as "filthy rags" apart from His direction (Isaiah 64:6) and that our works mean nothing because they promote boasting in what we have done instead of what God accomplishes through us (Ephesians 2:9).  Therefore, no matter how our earthly wisdom impresses men, it is nothing before God but mere foolishness - God even says that we who profess to be wise become fools (Romans 1:22) and that such fools despise true wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), not to mention that the fool deludes himself into thinking that he is right in his own eyes and wisdom (Proverbs 12:15 - Proverbs is a book to read on this, as it has a lot to say!).  Today we see a lot of this going on, as evolution for instance says there is no need for a God because we all "evolved" out of pond scum in some primordial ocean somewhere and thus in their wisdom (read foolishness and pride) they say there can be no God and that we, in our "evolved" intelligence and wisdom, are more or less our own deities.  Therefore, the evolutionist is not technically an atheist, because he exalts himself to godhood by saying that - hence, he becomes in God's eyes a fool (Psalm 14:1)!  So, how does this fit prophetically into the scheme of things?  Let's now talk about that.

One important tenet of occultism is summed up in an Aleister Crowley quote that has become the "golden rule" so to speak of most witches and occultists, and it is called also the "Wiccan Rede " - it says essentially "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."  Putting that in modern, secular vernacular, what this more or less basically is constitutes the utilitarian "if it feels good, do it" philosophy that is so prominent today in many people's (even in the church - so many of Rick Warren's people may be horrified to learn that their "Purpose-Driven" philosophy has more in common with Aleister Crowley than it does the Gospel - that is a real shaker!) worldviews, but it is of no big surprise if you study Bible prophecy.  In the latter days, many Scriptures foretell the state of man as he is conditioned to receive the Antichrist, and among those Scriptures are several in 2 Timothy talking about people having "itchy ears" and following after all sorts of crazy stuff.  Also, Daniel 12:4 alludes to a time when people shall "run to and fro" (a lot of things could be read into this) and knowledge shall increase (computers, like the one I am typing this on, is a prime example).  This increase in knowledge is particularly of interest because of several things.  First, because we were created in God's image, we have been gifted by him with a creative mind and intelligence.  Of that, there is no dispute, because in and of themselves they are a blessing and have been used of God to bless mankind with much better quality of life.  We should always be thankful for the creative impulses and intelligence God gave us.  The problem lies where man thinks his intelligence supersedes belief in the God that gave him that intelligence, and that is where a lot starts to go sour.   Computers, smartphones and other devices over the past 100 years - and, admittedly, knowledge has increased probably in the past 100 years more dramatically than at any other time in history! - are valuable tools that have created much opportunity for many things, but what has happened is that man has gotten on an ego trip.   Now, some among us - the transhumanists - believe they have the power to generate life in lieu of all this advanced technology, and this fact has not escaped Satan at all.   In the future, the scenario to be seen is this - man will, in his pride, try to "better" the human race by genetically enhancing DNA and such stuff as to create a "superhuman."  It has been tried before - remember the Nephilim and the Nazis??  Tom Horn, as a matter of fact, has stated in many of his writings that there is a possibility that demonic wisdom coupled with modern technology could maybe result in the resurrection of a sort of proto-Nephilim DNA that attempts to engineer a "super-race" of beings.   And, this idea has even been talked about in Christian fiction writings - remember the Antichrist character, Nicolae Carpathia, in Tim LaHaye's and Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind series, for instance?  The backstory on that was that a fictional corporate banker, in league with an occultic secret society, bankrolled a project to create Nicolae by choosing the "ideal" DNA to program him with.  If what I have researched myself is true, then this is not such a crazy possibility - after all, we already talked about the golem of the qabalists as well as experimentations by ancient alchemists to create a "fountain of youth" elixir, so the idea is under consideration.  Also, demonic wisdom comes into play here as well - Mark Hitchcock, in his 2009 book 2012, The Bible, And The End of the World (Eugene, OR:  Harvest House) talks about the advanced ancient civilizations such as the Mayas (who have a fairly accurate - to a point! - calendar that recently has spawned some secular doomsayers regarding the year 2012) being imparted demonic wisdom as a "reward" for their bloody and perverted rituals to worship the demons behind their pagan gods (Hitchcock, 41-42).  Tom Horn, in his book The Gods Who Walk Among Us (Lafayette, LA: Huntington House, 1999) takes this theory a step further by saying more or less that Satan and his demonic "gods" allowed these pagan cultures to have this superior advanced knowledge to accomplish his own agenda of trying to exterminate the children of God through the engineering and creation of a race of super-beings (Horn, pp. 24-25).   Funny thing about that is that Satan seems to be trying the same thing again, although the Messiah, Jesus Christ, has already come and provided the redemption for those who choose to follow Him.   Question that arises is why would Satan be still up to this agenda?  Quite simple really - some occultists believe that if the Christians and Jews are removed, then Christ would have no reason to come back to earth and thus they could take over and establish Satan's kingdom on the earth.  The means of doing this have changed - alchemy and qabalistic rituals have been replaced with eugenics and nanotechnology - but the goal is still the same.   And, ironically, although man thinks he is ultimately the master of this, in reality he double-deceives himself because ultimately man is just a puppet being manipulated by Satan's puppet-masters (demonic principalities), as well as the fact that in God's eye's man's efforts are an exercise in futility anyway.   The occultic view also of the "removal" of those of us who stand in their way also inspires this UFO stuff, which in reality may also be demonic activity in the heavens, a possibility that Tom Horn, Chuck Missler, and others talk about at length.  Therefore, how does transhumanism fit into this?  Well, if you get a group of brilliant scientists to buy into some occultic principles such as the teachings of Helena Blavatsky, who actually propagated a "super-race" theory almost two centuries ago, and they are already more or less evolutionists with some leanings toward eugenics research, then that combination could be the elixir for producing this "super race" (or so they think!).  However, it also has to be bankrolled from somewhere, and there are greedy corporate execs and bankers, many multi-billionaires (George Soros comes to mind) who are in complete sympathy with this agenda and would gleefully fund research like this a pet project.  That really comes as no big surprise either, as that mentality on the part of bankers goes back at least to the late 1800's and the age of the "robber barons," most of whom were committed Darwinists and some of whom did bankroll things such as Margaret Sanger's Planned Parenthood organization (and still do today, I might add) - to read more about those characters and their modern descendants, I highly recommend G. Edward Griffin's 1994 book The Creature From Jekyll Island, which although written from a secular standpoint nonetheless falls in line with prophetic events.  That too could warrant a whole article itself, so we will leave that for later.  I know all of this sounds like some bizarre conspiracy theory, but in reality fact may be stranger than fiction - research on this stuff is going on now, and there are now transhumanist societies and organizations that can easily be researched with a simple Googling on the internet which are crystal-clear as to what their objectives are.   Also, in the spiritual realm, a lot of things would be dismissed by "enlightened" mankind as "folly," but remember that God is very real, the spirit realm is very real, and Ephesians 6 states that the ultimate struggle is for the souls of man.   These elaborate schemes of the enemy over the centuries are just more ways to wage that war, and they will not cease until the return of Christ, and ultimately that is where this will all culminate.

Essentially, that is all we can say today about the subject, and I want to now conclude by sharing the real issue here with you.


We as human beings are the main gamepieces in a struggle between two kingdoms - one of the one true God, the other of the forces of darkness.   Despite the technologies, theories, and other stuff on the surface, it must be remembered that, as Ephesians 6 states, this is not a war just about the physical - Satan is trying to usurp God ultimately by corrupting his creation, and his greatest booty is the souls of men.  As time progresses toward that"Blessed Hope" of the return of Christ, the battle gets more intense - Satan knows well that his time is short, yet he deludes himself into thinking he can still prevail.  However, God created the universe and its laws, and He has control of the outcome, which should comfort us who are redeemed by His Son, Jesus Christ.   For those of you reading this who may not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, let me say this now - you still have time to accept Him as your Lord and Savior, but time is short.  And, although the world tells you that humanity is "god" and all such other nonsense, the reality is that there is only one God, and all of us are in need of his mercy because we have all sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23).  In other words, our future is pretty bleak if you look at it.  However, God Himself provided the way out, and in John 3:16 He tells us that he gave His only begotten Son, and that whosoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.   In Matthew 11:28, He gives us further comforting assurance that all of us who are in travail due to the curse of sin only need come to Him, and He will refresh us.  I Timothy 1:15 though clenches it when it states that the ultimate truth of our redemption is this - that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!  And, we all fall into that category (Romans 3:23 again), but Jesus Christ is our Advocate (defense attorney, if you will) with the Father in heaven, and He is the propitiation for our sins (I John 2:1-2).  These are verses that we who are traditional Catholics and Anglicans call the "Comfortable Words," and they are proclaimed by the priest at Mass every Sunday and constitute the ultimate purpose of the Gospel.  In sacramental theology, Jesus is the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) who indeed takes away the sins of the world (and that includes yours, mine and everyone's) and by our acceptance of His grace extended to us in that sacrificial act of His Passion, we can truly be restored to what God intended us to be.  Now, the stakes are higher than ever though, as a war in the heavenlies is taking place that will soon be played out on the earth - Jesus IS coming soon, although it is not our place to say exactly when, and time is of the essence.  Dying without Jesus Christ redeeming you of your sins is a horrible risk - you will spend eternity in torment if you don't make the right decision, and that is no lie!  God gave us each the free will to choose, and the intelligence to reason regarding our eternal destiny, but it is up to us to make the right choice.  The gift God gave us through the precious Blood of Jesus Christ is for all, but only those who accept the gift will receive it - it is not universally handed out, but it is universally available to those who desire it.   Sin, hell, the Second Coming, and eternity are not subjects that churches like to discuss today, mainly because Satan has sent delusions such as greedy televangelists and fads like the "Purpose-Driven" and "emerging church" stuff to distract the Church from its mission of reaching the lost so he can implement his own agenda.  The world, in fact, is going to hell in handbasket as the Church plays with carnality, and we do so to our peril.  If you are a Christian, I challenge you today to reject and pay no mind to the stupidity you find in the local religious bookstore or on TBN, but rather read the Gospels and take what they say seriously - much blood will be on the Church's hands if we don't.   That is why issues such as the one addressed in this article are important to discuss, because ultimately it is about the message of salvation, and people need to hear that message due to what is developing out there now.   That being said, I will now go until next time, and my prayer for fellow believers is to wake up, and may we develop a greater burden for reaching the lost before it is too late.
God bless each of you until next time.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Today's New Face On An Old Heresy - Neo-Marcionism

Over the past couple of years I have had this blogsite going, I have addressed a number of heresies and other apostate developments I have seen happening in today's Christian arena, and the more I research them the more I am convinced that heresy is nothing new, despite the fact how "new" its perpetrators say it is.  Many of today's issues are based on ancient heresies the early Church contended with, and as a result there is truly nothing new under the sun when it comes to this stuff.   In particular, a number of today's abhorrent teachings can be traced back to one ancient heresy in particular, and that is Marcionism.  In the following, I will attempt to define the basic tenets of Marcionism, as well as showing how so many things being bandied about today can be concluded as being sort of Neo-Marcionist.  Let us therefore begin.

Marcionism - Background and Major Tenets of The Heresy

The origin of this heresy goes back to a 2nd-century figure by the name of Marcion of Synope, who developed his system of belief sometime around the year AD 144.  Although not technically a Gnostic himself, Marcion was heavily influenced by them in some of his radically-dualistic views, and the only difference between him and the Gnostics was that Marcion contended he got his "knowledge" out of Scripture itself, while the Gnostics believed in some "secret revelations."  There are three basic tenets of Marcion's doctrines that I want to note here based on some research I conducted, and they are as follows:

1.  Anti-Jewish - Marcion maintained that Christianity and Judaism were completely distinct from each other, and he rejected the Old Testament as Scripture

2.  Dueling Deities - In Marcion's scheme of things, the God of the Jewish Old Testament was an evil demiurge who basically bungled earth's creation, and the Jesus of the Bible had nothing to do with him but rather was sent by something called the "Monad" to redeem mankind.  In other words, God was a dualistic being similar to the theologies of such Indo-Iranian religions as Zoroastrianism and early Vedic Hinduism, where their deities were viewed often as both Creator and Destroyer. 

3.  Limited Scriptural Canons - Marcion basically not only rejected the entire Old Testament, but more or less redefined the Pauline Epistles to suit his doctrines and edited the Gospels to make them fit his views.  

As you can see, Marcion's basic system of theology radically departed from orthodox Christianity in several areas.  While Marcion did maintain faith in Christ as both deity and Savior of Mankind, in essence he also renounced the doctrine of the Trinity due to the fact he made God the Father almost like a devil (the proper term for this line of thinking is demiurge).  And, while not advocating Gnosticism, Marcion nonetheless borrowed heavily from their dualistic theology to shape his own.   The Church officially excommunicated and condemned his teachings in the 2nd century, but as you will see, some things did creep into the Church anyway which more or less had roots in Marcionist doctrine.

Modern Incursions Of Marcionism Into Today's Christianity - Neo-Marcionism

Although the Christian Church did officially renounce Marcion and his teachings as heretical, it is quite paradoxical to see that his influence came into the the Church, and some of his ideas have shaped the views of Christians today, which to me is disturbing.  I want to now address a few of those here:

1.  Revocationism/Replacement Theology

Anti-Semitism has raised its ugly head over the centuries among the ranks of the Church in various forms, and in large part it is due to this doctrine, namely that the Church is the "New Zion" and thus replaces natural Israel in God's covenant plan.   The glaring problem with this is that it ignores a lot of Church teaching that basically affirms that 1) the Jews will eventually embrace Jesus as their Messiah, and 2) the coming Apostasy of the Gentiles, in which many of these redeemed Jews will be grafted back into the Church and will lead it in the end times.   I have dealt with that subject in great detail already in previous articles, and if you are interested you can refer to those as it will explain in detail about the end-times Jewish Remnant Church that will exist.  Also, people who come up with this "Replacement Theology" stuff are essentially part of an eschatological view called preterism, which basically says that all the Biblical prophecies in Revelation were fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem.  If that were true, then an important question need be asked - why, then, were so many Saints and visionaries of the early Church teaching the salvation and restoration of natural Israel long after AD 70????  Also, the modern state of Israel is proof that the Bible is true and that the preterists are wrong.  The final thought on this, and it also totally negates Marcion as well, is that the early Church not only embraced the Old Testament as canonical Scripture, but for its first several decades the OT was all the Church had, being the canon we call the New Testament was not even in writing yet.  That being said, it is also important to note that 99% of the early Church was Jewish!  Jesus was born Jewish, the first Apostles were all Jewish, and many of the early converts to the Church were Jewish as well - the Church and the Hebrew people are intrinsically intertwined with each other, and there is no separation.  In the end times, this will become more pronounced as God does begin to restore more and more Jews to the covenant through the Church, and the Church will begin to look back to its Jewish roots, thus revealing preterists to be the fools they are. 

2. Gospel of Inclusionism/Universalism

For some weird reason, the heresy of universalism is getting a lot of converts among proportedly Evangelical and Pentecostal ranks, as evidenced by people like Carlton Pearson, Rob Bell, and Don Earl Paulk, among others.  This too goes back to Marcion's dualistic view of the Godhead, because Marcion did teach that Jesus was all good, while the God of the Old Testament was an evil demiurge who screwed up creation so Jesus could fix and restore it.   Universalism is the next logical step to that thinking and here is why.   In Marcion's view, the "God" of the Old Testament was defeated by Jesus, who more or less became the God of the New Testament and therefore replacing the "wrath" of the original creation with the love and mercy of a new God.  As a result, Marcion maintained basically that humanity could escape the wrath of the "Old Testament demiurge" because Christ restored the earth, and the easy conclusion one would jump to who embraces this would be then that all humanity is saved.  This is becoming an increasing fad now today even among "conservative" circles, and it is unfortunately contrary to Scripture.   Jesus says in John 14:6 that He, and only He, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and only through His atonement, which we have the free will to accept or reject, can we receive eternal salvation.  Marcion errs, as do modern proponents of this "Inclusionism" stuff, by ignoring the fact that God created us with free will, and although He offers the gift, it must be accepted on our part too.  And, that is why universalism in all its forms is a heresy.

3.  The "Emerging Church" Movement

Although many would hesitate today to call the proponents of the Emerging Church heretics, unfortunately they fall into that category by the very things many of their proponents advocate.  The Emerging Church can also be rightly called Neo-Marcionist as well because it shares a similar goal with Marcion - separating the Church from its roots.   Marcion sought to separate Christianity from its Jewish roots because he was a rabid anti-semite, while many in the Emerging Church movement have as their premise the "deconstruction" of Christianity as we know it because it is too "tradition-bound" and needs to be more culturally-relevent.  By rejecting Christianity's past, the Emerging Church crowd also denies its witness, and thus the result is now that fundamental doctrines such as the primacy of the Cross, the reality of sin and the need for redemption, the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, and the hope of the Second Coming are basically discarded because many proponents of the Emerging Church consider them too "negative" or "offensive."   Some of these Emerging Church proponents have even courted universalism (Brian McLaren is one such person) and have adopted outright New Age/occultic language (Eugene Peterson's The Message translation of the Lord's Prayer for instance, which replaces the words "On earth as it is in heaven" with the Wiccan/New Age verbiage "as above, so below," as one example).  This deconstruction of Christianity is nothing new, as James Rutz, one of the first advocates of this stuff, advocated it in his 1993 book The Open Church long before the Emerging Church phenomenon came into vogue. 

All of the above attest to the fact that although heresy may be rejected by the Church officially, tenets of it tend to sneak in from the most subtle of sources.   The Apostles in Holy Scripture did warn though that in the last days there would be much deception, and a great "falling away," and I believe we are seeing it now.  Satan, though, is not original - he just has taken something from his arsenal he used years ago, tweeked it a little, and it is recycled as a new face on an old heresy today.  And so it is with Marcionism - we today have Neo-Marcionism in many forms and in many sectors, and they overlap often.   I guess, as the old adage goes, there truly is "nothing new under the sun."

We must be vigilant to defend against this stuff, for it can be very subtle and deceptive to those not in tune with the Holy Spirit and read up in the Holy Word to see it.  Too many Christians are running around today ignorant of even basic doctrine, and as a result, they truly are being carried about by every wind of doctrine that blows through the average Christian church.  Sadly, there are too many false teachers making a lot of ill-begotten loot off that ignorance, and it speaks volumes of our own spiritual laziness in regard to being more disciplined and diligent in our Christianity.   Let these articles that I have written, as well as many other courageous heralds of truth out there, be a wake-up call to you - study to show yourselves approved (II Timothy 2:15), hide the Word of God in your heart (Psalm 119:11), and keep your armor on (Ephesians 6), as there are forces at work in these times that will destroy your faith if you are not properly educated as to what it is and properly equipped to discern false teachings.   God bless you until next time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

True Convergence - Establishing a Godly Heritage in Our Faith Communities

I have been pondering for several weeks about how to tie several thoughts together into one cohesive thing, and today's study is the resulting fruit of that labor.   My laptop computer has actually been out of commission for several days as of this writing, so you will be getting this later than it was originally written.  Therefore, here it is for this week.

The past couple of weeks have had me drawing a lot of things from a lot of material - I have finally given a good reading of Pastor Richard Crayne's history of the independent Holiness/Pentecostal movement entitled  The Pentecostal Handbook, and I have also been re-reading some of my old Convergence movement material, notably a book by Canon Philip Weeks (of the Charismatic Episcopal Church) published in 1998 entitled Non Nobis Domine - The Convergence Movement and the Charismatic Episcopal Church, which was originally published as an instructional manual for new congregations in the Phillipines, where Canon Weeks served as a missionary with Barnabas Ministries for many years.  Although I am personally no longer identified with the Convergence Movement per se - long story I will address briefly later - my exposure to this movement in its early stages still holds much value to me, and I came to appreciate the liturgical/sacramental dimension of my faith largely as a result of it.   However, for me the Convergence Movement did its duty, as it was my first stepping-stone towards my full embrace of my faith as a Catholic Christian.  And, it's that which I am basically writing to address now.

I guess it would be a good idea for me at this point to explain to you exactly what the Convergence Movement is, as some of you may not be familiar with it who are reading this, and therefore the terminology may not be familiar either I will be using.   Sometime back in the mid-1970's, a number of Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic Christians - a large number of them being pastors and other spiritual leaders - began to embark on a journey and surprisingly it led them to some undiscovered territory, much to their shock.  And, what they found rocked their world - the New Testament Church, they discovered, was a sacramental/liturgical entity!  To get the full impact of this whole thing, you need to understand where many of these pastors came from - many of them were out of a very "free-church" tradition in which the highest authority was the local congregation for the most part, and they eschewed any and all expressions that even hinted at being liturgical as being "dead" or "formalistic."  Many of them also were afflicted with a serious spiritual disorder called "Romophobia," which means basically that their hackles would go up at any mention of anything they perceived as "Catholic" in appearance.   Therefore, when the Holy Spirit started working a new thing in this group of Evangelicals, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Charismatics, he started revealing things to them in Scripture that not only spoke positively of liturgical worship, but in some areas even mandated it!  The initial shock was somewhat overwhelming for many of these people, but they were also a people with a high regard for Scripture as well as taking seriously St. Paul's admonition in II Timothy 2:15 to "study to show themselves approved," and so they did just that.   Their yielding to the Spirit allowed the Lord to work something new in these sincere people of God, and they would not be the same!  One particular group, formed out of a group of leaders of varied denominational backgrounds within the Campus Crusade for Christ organization, included Peter Gillquist, Gordon Walker, Richard Ballew, Jack Sparks, Jon Braun, and Ken Berven, among others, called themselves intially the New Covenant Apostolic Order, which later evolved into the Evangelical Orthodox Church (in 1987, the majority of the AOC was chrismated and received into the Antiochian Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Philip, but a small independent EOC group still exists today, and is in communion with my Synod - their story is in Fr Peter Gillquist's 1989 book, Becoming Orthodox, published by Conciliar Press of Ben Lomond, CA).  Yet another individual was a former independent Baptist student who later became a professor at Wheaton College, Dr. Robert Webber - after being received into the Episcopal Church later, Dr. Webber wrote in 1985 a book entitled Evangelicals On The Canterbury Trail which became the foundational text of the Convergence Movement.   Many others followed suit, and that whole thing culminated in 1977 in Chicago, when a group of these like-minded people, many of whom were still on their search, met and drafted a statement called "The Chicago Call" that became the foundational document - officially or unofficially, depending on whom one talks to - of Convergence.   Now that we have given a historical background, it's time to discuss in a more detailed fashion what Convergence is all about.

The idea of "convergence" basically in this context involves the gathering together of positive aspects of varying Christian traditions in a balance, and in doing so the spirit of the New Testament Church would be on the road to restoration.  Most teachers and proponents have called these variant traditions "streams," and generally there are three fundamental streams they identify:

2.  Pentecostal/Charismatic
3.  Sacramental/Liturgical

Those involved in the Convergence movement maintain that all of these streams contain vital elements of the New Testament Church as Jesus intended it, but over the centuries divisions and denominationalism have caused them to be played against each other rather than working in concord.   Therefore, the task of restoring New Testament Christianity is to separate out all the man-made legalisms and divisions, retain the Biblical aspects, and "converge" them together like the pieces of a puzzle coming together.  This, they teach, would be the thing to restore the Church to its fullness.   There is much merit to this, which is what initially attracted me to this movement in the first place, and I personally have always supported those objectives.   However, even the most noble experiments, despite their sincerity and correctness, are vulnerable to man's agenda getting into the equation to muddy it up, and I feel some segments of the Convergence movement have failed because they tried to "converge" the wrong things based on the wrong directions.  I want to address that now.

To have a truly "Convergent" Christianity, there are important standards that must be upheld and maintained in order to prevent worldiness and compromise from destroying the potential witness God would have for such an endeavor.  First, ther is another very unscriptural movement out there now called the "Emerging Church" that has practically nothing to do with true Convergence and this is why - Convergence seeks to restore while Emerging Church seeks to deconstruct, and the two are mutually exclusive.  By strict standards, the two movements should have nothing to do with each other, yet I have noted lines being blurred as some Convergence churches unfortunately have embraced such heretical practices as using rock bands (or CCM, as it is called) in "worship," advocacy of the "contemplative prayer" movement (which is more esoteric and New Age than Christian), and using writings of major proponents of the Emerging Church movement - Erwin McManus, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Richard Foster, and of course the "Purpose-Driven" nonsense of Rick Warren are some examples - as teaching material.   These things are not of God, as they are diametrically opposed to Scriptural teaching and the Tradition of the Church, and a truly Convergent Church should NEVER be part of the Emerging Church.  This is why my prayer for my dear friends and brethren in the Convergence Movement is for a greater spirit of discernment.

Second, what Convergence leaders should be doing is looking back to old-time expressions of each of the "Streams," rather than trying to keep up with new fads.   A Remnant Church must be built on Remnant principles, and these include principles that are in harmony with Scripture, the Holy Tradition of the Church, and with the true discernment of the Holy Spirit.   All three of the noted "Streams" of Christianity all have rich reservoirs of these, and it is these legacies we must seek to preserve and incorporate.  For instance, let's take liturgies and prayer books - a spiritually-sensitive Convergence leader should stay away from certain things:  the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo Mass and the Episcopal 1979 Book of Common Prayer come to mind here, as neither represents the rich liturgical heritage of the Church.  The more appropriate material for liturgy, if for instance the Convergence congregation chooses to follow the Anglican legacy, would be the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which is more Scripturally sound and more faithful to Catholic practice.  That is just one example worthy of serious consideration.

Third, an openness to the Holy Spirit does not mean "Charismania"!!  I personally and fully believe in the spiritual gifts of I Corinthians 12, that they are relevant for today and are necessary in the life of the Church.  I also believe in the experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit as documented in Acts 2, and I myself have that experience - I received it on 21 June 1989 at a little Pentecostal Holiness church in Brunswick GA, and I did speak in tongues!  However, being a former Pentecostal minister myself, I have seen more than my share (not to mention more than I could stomach!) of certain things, and therefore vehemently eschew such things as the "name-it-and-claim-it" stuff,  the whole "Toronto Blessing" mess, and pretty much all televangelism (with a couple of sound exceptions) because none of that garbage is Scriptural.  The Holy Spirit does do things decently and in order, and although spiritual vitality is essential, it should never be confused with spiritual anarchy.   This is why Convergence pastors and leaders should look to the old-time Pentecostals as well as to the earlier Charismatic renewal in the 1960's and early 1970's, and they should avoid like the plague the majority of stuff featured on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Charisma magazine these days.  There are also two other important factors to consider relating to this.  First, the Pentecostal experience didn't just pop up when some old woman spoke in tongues in 1906 at Azuza Street - the moving of the Holy Spirit has a long history in the Church, and much of its earliest activities were in sacramental/liturgical settings (ie:  the Catholic Apostolic Church in the 1830's)!  John Wesley, the man credited with much of Pentecostal/charismatic renewal these days, was in reality a high-church Anglo-Catholic priest who prayed the Rosary, believed in Mary as Ever-Virgin and the Theotokos, and was inspired greatly by the writings of St. Ephrem of Syria, one of the greatest Eastern Church Fathers who wrote extensively on the infilling of the Holy Spirit.   Also, A.A. Boddy, an early leader in British Pentecostalism, was greatly impacted by the spiritual legacy of St. Seraphim of Sarov, another spiritually dynamic Russian saint.  More examples can be cited, and they all say the same thing - liturgy and the renewal of the Holy Spirit go together!   Second, the charismatic experience has an apocalyptic dimension to it as well - as it gets closer to the time of the Lord's return to this earth to establish His kingdom, the Holy Spirit will manefest himself in more profound ways in the lives of both individual believers and in the corporate life of the Remnant Church.  That is Joel 2:28.   That being said, it is also important to emphasize that the Book of Revelation is also both a book of liturgy and a book of prophecy, and both go hand-in-hand as you have seen from my earlier teachings on that subject.  True Convergence, then, is taught in the Bible, and it is something the Remnant needs to strive for.

That being said, I want to continue addressing subject matter periodically like this, as so much more needs to be said. However, God bless and be with you until we meet up again next time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some Thoughts on This Week's Church News

Over the years, I have seen a lot of celebrity preachers do some dumb things and say even dumber stuff, and at times it just amounts to that - dumb!  Recently, however, it has been getting serious, as some of the "dumb" things said are contradictions of the Bible itself, and for people claiming to be ministers of the Gospel making them, it is even worse.   This week one of the worst whoppers I have heard in a long time came from a high-profile minister, Pat Robertson, that I used to actually like to listen to, and what he said was unthinkable.  I want to talk about that today as well as some other related things.

Back as a very young kid, I remember watching "The 700 Club," and it was always inspirational to hear testimonies of people's lives being touched as well as hard-hitting commentary on important issues that affected Christians.  And, in his day, Pat Robertson was a great man who at one time stood for the Gospel.  However, in the past 15 years or so, I have noticed a huge change in both the programming on "The 700 Club" as well as in Robertson himself, and I haven't liked what I have seen.   Yet, this recent thing of his really was chilling as to what he said - Robertson said, on the live "700 Club" broadcast this week, that a man would be morally justified to divorce his wife if she had Alzheimer's disease or dementia.  An article I read from Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, that was published on September 15th said it best when he called what Robertson said "a repudiation of the Gospel," and indeed it is.   As Moore correctly pointed out also, marriage is an icon of mystical union of Christ with His Church (see Ephesians 5) meaning that a Christian husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25).   Although Moore is a Baptist, what he said is basically Sacramental Theology 101, and the reason why we Catholic Christians celebrate the matrimonial union as a sacrament, or Holy Mystery.   The matrimonial union also is a picture of the Second Coming, as all Holy Mysteries of the Church signify the heavenly kingdom to some extent.   That being said, Robertson is basically espousing heresy then by what he is saying, and in doing so, he places himself as an apostate - strong words, but the truth often can sting. 

That being said, it is not the first time that Robertson or any other evangelists have made dumb deposits of word vomit upon the public - bizarre statements are actually a snare of the enemy that off-sets the true renewal of the Holy Spirit, and thus destroys or diminishes a witness.   Sometimes it isn't that the statement is wrong necessarily - Robertson, for instance, correctly pointed out that both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina could be a result of God's hedge over America being lifted due to the widespread acceptance and propagation of homosexuality, and there is some historical merit to the fact that Haiti as a nation has had a bad go of things over its almost 3 centuries of existence due to the voodoo religion and the demons it worships as gods, but even there the problem is not so much in what was said rather than in the timing in which it was said.  Some people just don't know how to use the common sense God gave them to keep their mouths shut until the proper time to share such things comes.   On other things, Robertson and Paul Crouch, the controversial founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (that is a whole story of its own!) have done the unthinkable - supporting the communist government of China in order to get a few "perks," often at the expense of the true believers that have been persecuted there for decades - Crouch, for instance, had the gall to say in 2003 that the "underground church" in China needs to be registered with the government because it is "breaking the law" and being the ignorant boob he is, Crouch failed to realize that the "official" churches in China are actually propaganda mechanisms that compromise at will any part of the Bible that speaks out against the atrocities of the Communists.  Ironically, Crouch is the same guy who produced the film China Cry, which was the phenomenal testimony of Nora Lam, a Chinese Christian woman whose life was at risk during the early part of Mao Tse-Tung's evil regime due in part to her strong faith.   I wonder what Nora Lam, still a phenomenal woman of God, thinks of this?   Robertson too has decided to play the whore with the Red Chinese now (a regime he once decried as "godless" until he found out he could make a fast buck off of them, I might add!)  by giving his blessing to their barbaric one-child abortion policy - and, this from a man who claimed to be "pro-life" all these years!  The whole thing just literally disgusts and nauseates me.  

Again, as we have noted in other cases in earlier articles, this is what I believe is the beginning of the Apostasy of the Gentiles that both Scripture and the Holy Tradition of the Church have taught for centuries, and unfortunately we will see more of it - from Joel Osteen acting ashamed of Christ on Larry King, to Don Earl Paulk and Carlton Pearson's embrace of universalist heresy, to Jay Bakker's open acceptance of homosexuals as "created by God" - it goes on, and on, and on....what times we indeed live in!  And, for those of us who champion traditional orthodoxy, we have the task of defending the faith against these apostates, even unto death.   One thing that intrigues me about Robertson though is that he is an ordained Southern Baptist minister, and as such he has officiated over dozens of marriages over the course of his career - did the vows he led all those couples to repeat to each other have any meaning for him?   That is a hard question he needs to be faced with, and I pray someone does face him off with it.   Same with Crouch - as TBN becomes more Warrenized and politically corrected these days, what of his ministerial vows when he was ordained in the Assemblies of God as a minister all those years ago?   Maybe these guys need to have a Charles Dickenseque experience much like that of Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic Christmas Story, as it is time they were haunted by their pasts.  

There is so much to say on this subject yet, but I am sure that in coming weeks another high-profile minister is going to do something equally stupid and outlandish, and thus will provide more material to talk about.  God bless you until next time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Have We Left Rome, Or Has Rome Left Us?

For some time now, I have been monitoring the situation in the Roman Catholic Church as I see a growing concern and apostasy happening in its ranks.  I say that as a concerned person who loves the true Catholic faith, and I am a validly-chrismated Catholic myself.  However, I choose at this point in time not to attend a Roman parish because of what I am about to share, and as you will see, it isn't looking good.  However, it is also not a big surprise, as we have mentioned before, because many ancient visionaries and saints in the Church saw it coming, and Scripture too foretells of the apostasy we are seeing today.   Several things have prompted me to write this today, and I want to address those subjects first.

Over the past week, I have read about two faithful priests in the Church who have been more or less blackballed by some bishops with fragile egos for different reasons.   Both of these godly priests are wonderful men of God whose ministries I have supported for many years, and to be honest the Church needs more of them.  The first is Fr. Frank Pavone, who is the national director of Priests For Life, a wonderful organization that has done more to champion the pro-life cause with the possible exception of Operation Rescue.  Fr. Pavone is a conservative priest with very traditional values, and he is a godly man with a heart for saving unborn babies from the evils of the abortion mills.  Yet, on September 9th, Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo, TX, decided to suspend Fr. Pavone's ministry activities outside his diocese, and the reason the "good" bishop sought to do this was of course one of the easiest to try to hang people on - money!   However, upon closer examination, the real reason for Zurek's actions came to the light quickly - he says that Fr. Frank's "fame" has caused him to "see priestly obedience as an inconvenience to his own ministry" which if interpreted means the bishop has a fragile ego, is a control freak, and cannot seem to understand that the pro-life cause is something that is a national issue, and Fr. Frank is doing what God called him to do.  As I progress with this, I am going to show how Bishop Zurek, as well as other bureaucrats in mitres sitting in dioceses all across the country, are hypocritical in doing what they are doing when they have issues in their own backyard that they casually close their eyes to and are potentially more serious than the godly work that Fr. Frank and others are doing.  However, another priest has made headlines recently for similar reasons, but it has been far more uglier due to the fact the attacks were vicious and unfounded against a man of God who is a great priest and defender of the truth.

Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life

Fr. John Corapi is a powerful minister of the Gospel and probably the closest thing I have ever seen to a "hellfire-and-brimstone" preacher in the Catholic tradition, and regular viewers of EWTN often can hear his messages - many of which pull no punches when attacking some of the moral ills that plague our society today - and benefit from his sound teaching on the Gospel.   Yet, Fr. Corapi, like Fr. Frank, has come under fire from some ungodly bureaucrats in the ranks of the Church, and some of the allegations leveled against him (which I do not believe personally are true) are reminiscent of the attacks against some Protestant ministers over the years who took a stand, such as Mike Warnke and Bob Larson, against things that made some church stiffs feel uncomfortable.   Of course, this too comes as no real surprise - in his 2002 book Goodbye Good Men (Washington, DC:  Regnery Publishing),  journalist Michael Rose notes that orthodox candidates for the priesthood these days are often screened out by those he dubs the "Gatekeepers," who are by and large secular psychologists who may not have any Christian convictions whatsoever, much less Catholic, and in general they have a liberal agenda (Rose, 31).   Rose notes a couple of pages earlier that often if a postulant for ordination or seminary applicant even expresses the slightest view of orthodoxy, they can be blackballed from the priesthood.   Apparently, this does not just extend to seminarians and candidates for Holy Orders, and I cite a couple of examples.  The first, of course, is the way some fragile-egoed bishops are going after godly priests who are doing the Lord's work, while the second is much more personal.  Back in 2005, I was considering the possibility of becoming a permanent deacon in the Maronite rite (my chrismated rite of choice in the Church).  My priest was very supportive of this and tried to put a good word in for me, but unfortunately the eparchial vocations director, a man of Roman-rite background by the name of Fr. James Root, said I was "too conservative," which I thought was ridiculous.  You would think that a Church as staunch on dogma and Holy Tradition (or at least it's supposed to be) would welcome people of staunch convictions, yet they don't because of a deeper problem that came to light very recently, and now let's address that.

Fr. John Corapi, the "hellfire-and-brimstone" warrior of orthodoxy!

Vatican II, for better or worse, opened up a lot of things in the Church.  Some of them - particularly acknowledging other Christians outside the Roman Church - were good, but others were not so great.   Many liberals in the Church, seizing some ambiguities in the Vatican II documents, took great liberties to redefine what they viewed as the "Church," and the results were catastrophic, in particular regarding seminaries.  Many diocesan seminaries today are hotbeds of homosexuality and apostasy, and many who end up graduating from them are now in positions of authority in the Church as parish priests, religious, and even bishops in some cases.  One seminary in Ohio, I believe, as even been dubbed by its detractors "The Pink Palace" due to the rampant homosexuality that is going on behind its doors, and this is to me unthinkable as it defies Church teaching and Biblical injunctions against such behavior.   Unfortunately, even like some in the Pentecostal Bible college I went to, many of these people don't have a calling of God on their lives, and many of them do not know the Lord personally as their Savior either - they are, in essence, "mama-called and daddy-sent" brats that are too lazy to commit to anything, and only seek to use college to indulge and justify their own lusts.  What I find ironic though is that bishops, such as this Zurek fellow in Texas that is crowing on Fr. Frank, are strangely silent about that, yet they are so insecure that when one of their diocesan clergy does something truly for the Lord, Satan enters these bishops' hearts and uses their authority to destroy men of integrity, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the real issues.  And, due to that hypocrisy, the fruit reaped from that filthy harvest culminated in the priest scandals that happened back in 2001-2002, many of which were covered up, bought off, and hushed by those who were supposed to be in spiritual authority in the Church - Cardinal Bernard Law, for one, will have a lot to answer for on Judgement Day due to his complicity in such activity.  Yet, again, this is a sign of the times, and here are a few Scripture references to show that.

II Corinthians 11:14-15 talks about the deception of Satan, who often transforms himself into an "angel of light" to deceive, and in verse 15, it mentions that "his ministers" (here, meaning earthly counterfeits among the clergy as one type) do the same.   Matthew 25: 32-34 states the various contrasts between the Remnant and deceivers, such as sheep/goats, good fish/bad fish, wheat/tares, etc.  Other verses in II Timothy speak of deceptions, "itching ears," and not enduring sound doctrines, and these are just a few to note.   Bottom line is, there will be a falling away from the faith in the latter days - the Bible foretells it, and over the centuries many great men of God have seen it as well.   What we see happening in the Catholic Church is but one example of this, as the Church is rapidly apostasizing - we see that also among the laity, as I work with several professed Catholics who often shock me at the unbiblical things they say that contradict the official teachings of the Church.  However, God is preserving a Remnant Church, and thankfully I have chosen personally to be part of it - and, I believe men of God like Frs. Frank and Corapi are part of it too, because as the Bible says, "by their fruits ye shall know them."  That being said, I urge you to seek out orthodox men who uphold the truth, and give them your prayers and support, because they need that more than ever; the enemy is working overtime to destroy those who truly serve the Lord, and he even uses his "angels of light" and "gatekeepers" within the ranks of the Church to do that.  And, we as the Remnant must stick together.   God bless you until next time.