Category: The Church

A Defiant Pope Francis Refers To Victims Of Catholic Priest Sexual Assault As ‘Accusers’ And Calls On Bishops To ‘Protect Our Mother’ Church

Addressing the closing session of a synod of bishops at the Vatican on Saturday, the pope repeated warnings he has made in recent weeks against the “Great Accuser,” or the devil, who “in this moment is accusing us strongly, and this accusation becomes persecution,” and who seeks to “soil the church.” “This is the moment to defend our mother” the church, said the pope, in remarks unlikely to mollify critics who say he has failed to recognize the hierarchy’s responsibility for the abuse crisis. “The accuser is attacking our mother through us, and no one touches our mother.”

by Geoffrey Grider October 28, 2018

Pope Francis told a gathering of bishops from around the world that the Catholic Church is being persecuted through accusations—an apparent allusion to clerical sex-abuse scandals that have undermined the credibility of the papacy and church hierarchy over the course of this year.

If you’re waiting for Pope Francis to to do anything at all to make things right for the tens of thousands of Catholics who have been raped and molested by pedophile Catholic priests, I have news for you. It will never, ever happen. In fact, over the weekend, Francis called the people who were raped by pedophile priests ‘accusers’ who are in the same class as the Devil. Let that thought sink in for just a moment or two.

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:4,5 (KJV)

He went on to call the bishops to ‘protect our mother’ referring of course to the ‘mother’ harlot Catholic Church that is so graphically detailed in Revelation 17 and 18 of your King James Bible. Interestingly, the Bible never refers to the Church that Jesus shed His blood for as a ‘mother’, and Jesus never referred to Mary as ‘mother’ either.

“Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12:47-50 (KJV)

FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Addressing the closing session of a synod of bishops at the Vatican on Saturday, the pope repeated warnings he has made in recent weeks against the “Great Accuser,” or the devil, who “in this moment is accusing us strongly, and this accusation becomes persecution,” and who seeks to “soil the church.”

“This is the moment to defend our mother” the church, said the pope, in remarks unlikely to mollify critics who say he has failed to recognize the hierarchy’s responsibility for the abuse crisis. “The accuser is attacking our mother through us, and no one touches our mother.”

Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal escalates amid accusations of cover-up

There are growing questions over what Pope Francis knew concerning abuse allegations. A former Vatican official, Archbishop Vigano, has demanded the pope resign. Now, a group of Catholic women are writing to the pope demanding answers.

In a twist on the usual protocol at such gatherings, more than 30 lay Catholics below the age of 30 years attended the sessions, where they enlivened the atmosphere by clapping and cheering during some of the speeches.

A published agenda for the meeting made only passing reference to sex abuse, but after months of scandals in the U.S., Latin America and Australia—and the claim by a former Vatican diplomat that Pope Francis himself had ignored sexual misconduct by a U.S. cardinal—the subject inevitably loomed over the proceedings.

Bishops frequently addressed clerical sex abuse during the first week of the month long synod, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Ireland told reporters on Friday.

The 60-page final document, released late Saturday, devoted two paragraphs to the subject of abuse, calling for “rigorous measures of prevention,” starting with the selection and education of clergy and other church employees. Quoting Pope Francis, the document lays much of the blame for sex abuse on “clericalism,” or an excessive deference to the church’s hierarchy.

The final document is “frankly inadequate and disappointing on the abuse matter,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, a member of the council that organized the synod, said in an email. “There’s very little sense of heartfelt apology in the text.”

The archbishop, who had previously called on the pope to cancel the gathering because of the sex-abuse crisis, said Saturday that “church leaders outside the United States and a few other countries dealing with the problem clearly don’t understand its scope and gravity.”

Netanyahu, Israeli officials make one-day visit to Oman

By JNS October 28, 2018 , 4:13 pm

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a secret one-day trip to Oman on Friday, where he met with the ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has led his country for nearly 50 years.

It is the first trip made by an Israeli prime minister since Shimon Peres in 1996.

Accompanying Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, were National Security Adviser and National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat; Mossad director Yossi Cohen; the head of the Prime Minister’s staff, Yoav Horowitz; the director of the Foreign Ministry, Yuval Rotem; and Brig.-Gen. Avi Bluth, the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary.

Among the issues discussed were how to advance the Middle East peace process, along with several matters of common interest, according to the prime minister’s office.

The visit is a crucial step in expanding relationships with the region’s players while “leveraging Israel’s advantages in security, technology and economic matters,” according to Netanyahu’s office.

“We always thought that if we solved the Palestinian problem, it would open up the doors to peace with the broader Arab world. And that’s certainly true, if you could do it,” said Netanyahu.

“But it may mean that equally true and perhaps even truer is that if you open up to the Arab world and you normalize relations with them,” he continued, “it will open the door for an eventual reconciliation and peace with the Palestinians.”

A 14th-generation descendant of the founder of the Al Bu Sa’id dynasty, the sultan came to power in a palace coup in 1970, making him the longest-serving Arab leader to date.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9437

Why Was The Papal Audience Hall Building At The Vatican Constructed In The Shape Of A Giant Reptile?

Commissioned by Pope Paul VI in 1963, the Papal Audience Hall in Vatican City was inaugurated in 1971. But it doesn’t take you long to realize the whole thing, inside and outside, is a giant reptile. When the pope stands and addresses his audience, he speaks from the snake’s mouth. How is that for symbolism?

by Geoffrey Grider October 10, 2018

The Pope’s Audience Hall building at the Vatican was designed to look exactly like a giant reptile inside and out. When the pope addresses an audience there the effect is that he is speaking from the mouth of a giant reptile. Why on earth would he want to do that?

Let me just start this by saying that, no, I am not signed off on just about any of the various reptilian incursion conspiracy theories floating around the Internet. Most of them are quite silly, though usually amusing. But if you want to talk Bible, where there is a real reptile that presents itself as a dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns, now I’m interested.

“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:3-5 (KJV)

And as fate would have it, that dragon, that ‘scarlet coloured beast’ of Bible prophecy is 100% connected with the Vatican, the pope and the Catholic Church. With that in mind, the fact that the Vatican created a building in the shaped of a giant reptile and the pope gives speeches from the beast’s mouth is off-the-charts interesting.

Let’s start with the history and construction of the Papal Audience Hall

FROM ARCVISION PRIZE: Commissioned by Pope Paul VI in 1963, the Papal Audience Hall in Vatican City was inaugurated in 1971. Shortly thereafter both the hall and the architect achieved such a worldwide fame that the auditorium came to be called familiarly Aula Nervi. It is one of the last great works of Pier Luigi Nervi, an engineer by training as well as a skilled entrepreneur and unsurpassed interpreter of cement as form and structure for architectural and infrastructural works where it is impossible to distinguish the design project from structural computation.

The complex is located near St. Peter’s Basilica in an area between Italy and Vatican City. The large auditorium, which can accommodate up to twelve thousands people is covered by a double curving parabolic vault that, thanks to its slender bearing structures, makes the big vault as suspended in air and powered by invisible anti-gravity forces.

In order to facilitate the view of the papal throne, even the floor has a double convex curvature. A refined and innovative system for air circulation was installed, consisting of nine channels and placed under the floor, to dissipate the intense heat output of the communication equipment like the lighting systems of TV cameras. The auditorium was built with extensive use of reinforced concrete and a special concrete mix with white marble dust and grit provided by Italcementi. It is characterized by special brightness, both for the ellipsoidal glass wall (built by John Hajnal) and for the vault consisting of variable length corrugated structures and large openings creating an extraordinary luminescent plot. READ MORE

Now let’s look at how dark and sinister the whole thing is

Have a look at the image below and compare its shape to the image of a snake beside it. Note the overall shape — wide back, narrow, rounded front, eyes in the middle, nostril at the front, and curved top. So even from the outside and viewed from the sky, the entire building is a dead-ringer for a snake’s head.

The Papal Audience Hall in Vatican City as viewed from the sky and compared with a reptile.

When the building is viewed from the inside, the unmistakable resemblance to a reptile hits you like a ton of bricks. A ton of dark, evil and very sinister bricks.

The Papal Audience Hall in Vatican City as viewed from the inside and compared to a reptile.

Just when you thought it couldn’t possible get much worse, it does. Way worse. Right behind the pope’s throne, they installed a statue created by Pericle Fazzini in 1977 that purports to show Jesus Christ rising up from an ‘atomic apocalypse’, and looking for all the world like a scene from ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ zombie movie. And if you look closely at the top of the “Jesus” head, you will see something quite interesting indeed.

The demonic and massive statue of Jesus turning into a reptile by Pericle Fazzini

You will notice that the “head of Jesus” has his hair blowing in the breeze or some such thing, but if you look closer it is more than that. The head of Jesus is turning into…(anyone care to hazard a guess here?)…a reptile. What is the importance of that? Well, you read this verse and then you tell me what it means.

“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14,15 (KJV)

In the Bible, Satan is pictured as a reptile who will have a coming war with King Jesus at the Battle of Armageddon at the Second Coming. Revelation shows us that the Genesis serpent had an ‘upgrade’ along the way and now is a giant, red-headed multi-headed dragon, though still a reptile.

The disgusting statue by Fazzini, mocking entitled ‘The Resurrection‘, actually shows Jesus Christ becoming a reptile, and thus re-writing the biblical prophecy made by God that Satan loses to Jesus at the Second Coming. And just to further drive the point home, the exact height of the abomination is exactly 66 feet.

Pope Francis In Poland Tells World Famous Photographer ‘I Am The Devil’ Then Laughs It Off

This is where Satan’s seat is

Take a good look at this video and all these photos, and really meditate on what you are seeing. You are seeing a building called the Papal Audience Hall, in the undeniable shape of a serpent, from which the pope addresses his followers from a ‘throne’ place in front of a demonic imaging of Jesus turning into a reptile.

“I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” Revelation 2:13 (KJV)

Congratulations! Now you’ve figured out where Satan’s Seat is, who it is that sits on that seat, and what organization he is the leader of. Readers and believers of the King James Bible have had this ‘newsflash’ well in hand since 1611.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9419

Cardinal raises question: Is Pope Francis part of Church’s ‘final trial’?

UTRECHT, Netherlands, May 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Dutch cardinal has said that Pope Francis’ failure to uphold the Church’s authentic faith makes him think of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s prophecy of a “final trial” for the Church before the second coming of Christ.

Cardinal Willem Eijk, 64, the Archbishop of Utrecht, made the startling comment in an article published today at the National Catholic Register.

Eijk, who was created a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, got his medical degree before ordination to the priesthood and went on to complete three PhDs in medicine, philosophy and theology.

In the article, the Cardinal laments Pope Francis’ failure to bring clarity on the question of intercommunion with Protestants during last week’s meeting at the Vatican with German bishops. The Pope told the German bishops to obtain unanimous approval on the issue, but, says Cardinal Eijk, he should have simply reminded them of the Church’s clear doctrine and practice.

“By failing to create clarity, great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the Church is endangered,” he said.

“Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” he wrote.

That article of the Catechism, which he quoted in full, warns of a trial that will “shake the faith of many believers.” It prophesies a persecution that will “unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”

Cardinal Eijk warned publicly last year that by failing to clarify Church teaching over divorce and remarriage, Pope Francis was “fracturing” the Church.

He is not the first Cardinal to recognize the confusion in the Church caused by Pope Francis as a sign of the end times. At the Rome Life Forum last year, the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra spoke of the confusion in the Church around marriage and the family as the fulfillment of a prophecy he received.

In a letter Cardinal Caffarra received from Sr. Lucia, the Fatima visionary wrote that the “final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid, (she added), because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”

That final battle, he said at the Rome Life Forum, “is being fulfilled today.”

Cardinal Burke too has identified the confusion and error in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis with the end times. “One may have the feeling that the Church gives the appearance of being unwilling to obey the mandates of Our Lord,” Cardinal Burke said in an interview with the Catholic Herald in November. “Then perhaps we have arrived at the End Times.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9411

In Bold Marketing Move, The Mormon Church Will No Longer Be Using The Name ‘Mormon’ In Effort To Rebrand Cult Image

Church President Russell M. Nelson announced guidelines in August requesting that people stop using “Mormon” or “LDS” as substitutes for the church’s full name. He said “Latter-day Saints” was acceptable shorthand. The term Mormon comes from the church’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, which followers believe is based on the record keeping of an ancient prophet named Mormon.

by Geoffrey Grider October 5, 2018

The term Mormon comes from the church’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, which followers believe is based on the record keeping of an ancient prophet named Mormon.

When someone says the word ‘Mormon’, what’s the first image that comes to mind? If you’re honest, you think of two young men on bicycles, wearing white shirts and ties, with backpacks, going from door to door to ‘spread the word’ about the religion of Joseph Smith. You may also think of Mitt Romney and the ‘magic underwear‘, the ‘magic stone‘ and cans of Coke with a red line through them. And that whole ‘Satan and Jesus are brothers‘ thing can really be off putting to some people.

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8 (KJV)

So the powers that be at Mormon Inc decided that a name change might just be the thing to make them appear less like a cult and more like a legitimate denomination of Christianity.

FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: The world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be singing the same tune but under a new name. The choir was renamed Friday to strip out the word Mormon in a move aimed at ending shorthand names for the religion that have been used for generations by church members and others.

The singers will now be called the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement . It’s a nod to the home of the choir for the last 150 years, the Tabernacle, located on church grounds known as Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City.

The group had been known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir since 1929, when it began broadcasting a weekly radio program to a wide audience.

What the Mormon Church does not want  you to know…until after you join

Like all cults, the Mormon Church has a lot of wacky doctrine not found anywhere in the Bible, and they do their very best to keep it from prospective new members until they can “ease them” into it. This video will get you up to speed on what Mormons really teach and actually believe.

Church President Russell M. Nelson announced guidelines in August requesting that people stop using “Mormon” or “LDS” as substitutes for the church’s full name. He said “Latter-day Saints” was acceptable shorthand. The faith holds that the full church name was given by revelation from God to founder Joseph Smith in 1838.

The term Mormon comes from the church’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, which followers believe is based on the record keeping of an ancient prophet named Mormon. A church webpage that was up before Nelson’s announcement described the term Mormon as an “unofficial but inoffensive nickname for members.

But Nelson in his August statement urged people not to use Mormon or LDS. The “Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name he has revealed for his church,” he said.

Speaking later in Canada, Nelson acknowledged that it would be a “challenge to undo tradition of more than 100 years” but said the name of the faith is “not negotiable,” according to a video posted on a church website. He said church members need to use the proper name if they want outsiders to use it.

“We’re not changing names. We’re correcting a name,” Nelson said. “Some marketers change names hoping to be more successful — that’s not our point. We’re correcting an error that’s crept in over the ages.”

In a different video from the trip, Nelson said, “It’s not Mormon’s church, it’s not Moses’ church, it’s the church of Jesus Christ.”

Some Mormons do not realize that their temple Endowment ceremony was copied directly from occultic rites in Freemasonry.

The name change will be a big effort for the Utah-based faith that counts 16 million members worldwide. The renaming of the choir is the first step with many changes still to come. The church still uses Mormon in its Twitter handle.

The faith’s presidents are considered prophets who lead through revelations from God. Nelson, 94, ascended to the post in January after the previous president died.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9409

China’s Pastors Take Their Stand: Jesus Is Lord

Eric Metaxas, Stan Guthrie

I want you to meet some brave Christian leaders pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

When thinking of the golden age of the Church, many of us hearken back to the book of Acts, when Peter and John stood up to the religious authorities, who told them to be silent about Jesus the risen Messiah. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God,” they answered, “you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Then they prayed for boldness, and the Church exploded across much of the ancient world.

But there’s a golden age for the church going on right now—with the same kind of courage, persecution, and Spirit-empowered growth. Where is it? In communist China.

World missions historians tell us that when all the foreign missionaries were kicked out of Mao’s China a few years after the Second World War, there were probably no more than 3 million believers in Jesus Christ in the whole, vast nation. But today, seven decades later, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life counts 67 million Christians of all kinds—35 million independent Protestants, 23 million Protestants in government-sanctioned churches, and 9 million Catholics. Other estimates go even higher.

Whatever the true number is, it’s almost as many as there are members of the Communist Party! Maybe that’s why the government is cracking down on Christians. According to Christianity Today and other news outlets, Under President Xi Jinping, China’s government has been tightening its grip on religious affairs.

In February, regulations aimed at religious groups have brought increased pressure on churches to be “Chinese” culturally and to submit to the authority of the Communist Party. Churches are being told to burn their crosses and replace them with Chinese flags and to display slogans praising the Communist Party. Some are being forced to join the government-sanctioned churches and permit video surveillance of their services.

Meanwhile, in Jiangxi province, authorities have forced at least 40 churches to display banners forbidding foreigners from preaching and anyone under 18 from attending. In August, they even published new rules stating, “Party members who have religious belief should have strengthened through education.”

In the spirit of Peter and John, a group of at least 250 Chinese pastors has publicly signed a joint statement opposing the new regulations. In the statement they declare that Jesus is Lord of all, offering eternal life to anyone who will repent and believe in Him.

But they also say, in a challenge to the Chinese communists, “God hates all attempts to suppress human souls and all acts of persecution against the Christian church, and he will condemn and judge them with righteous judgment.”

Then, like Peter and John, they pledge obedience not to the earthly authorities but to King Jesus, no matter what. “We declare that in matters of external conduct, churches are willing to accept lawful oversight by civil administration or other government departments as other social organizations do. But under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation.”

They close their incredible joint statement with the bracing yet sobering words, “For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses—even the loss of our freedom and our lives.”

Friends, is it any wonder that the church in China has grown, and continues to grow? What we’re seeing before our eyes is the golden age of the church in China. How can we not pray for these wonderful brothers and sisters? And more than that, how can we not emulate their costly faithfulness in our own little corner of God’s world?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9391

Pope Francis In Poland Tells World Famous Photographer ‘I Am The Devil’ Then Laughs It Off

 

Greeting journalists Saturday en route to Lithuania, Pope Francis was given a book about the former pope by Polish photographer Grzegorz Galazka. Receiving the large book with a beaming John Paul on the cover, Francis quipped: “Pope John Paul II was a saint, I am the devil.”

by Geoffrey Grider September 22, 2018

Pope Francis has acknowledged that his reputation pales a bit compared to St. John Paul II — at least as far as Poles are concerned.

Pope Francis made a very interesting ‘joke’ today while in Poland meeting and greeting his worshippers. He was talking with a famous photographer who had done a book on Pope John Paul II, and he made an incredible comparison between himself and John Paul.

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:13,14 (KJV)

His exacts words were ‘Pope John Paul II was a saint, I am the devil.” Let that sink in for a moment. The man who claims to be the ‘vicar of Christ‘, the physical embodiment of Jesus Christ on this earth, said that he was not ‘a devil’ but said that he was THE Devil. Is that funny to you?

FROM SALT LAKE TRIBUNE: Greeting journalists Saturday en route to Lithuania, Pope Francis was given a book about the former pope by Polish photographer Grzegorz Galazka. Receiving the large book with a beaming John Paul on the cover, Francis quipped: “Pope John Paul II was a saint, I am the devil.”

Laughing, Galazka immediately corrected him: “No, you are both saints! You are both saints!”

Francis’ quip appeared to acknowledge that he has his detractors, particularly among conservative Catholics who long for the more doctrinaire papacies of John Paul and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

The criticism of Pope Francis by conservatives has grown more vocal recently amid the church’s sex abuse scandals and the distress over his opening to letting divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion.

Isn’t the Devil the arch-enemy of God, isn’t the Devil the most disgusting creature in existence? The Bible tells us that the Devil is a liar, a murderer, someone in whom there is NO truth of any kind. Why on EARTH would anyone ever say that they were the Devil, much less someone who claims he is God’s hand picked representative?

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44 (KJV)

Just a joke, you say? Just a little Vatican humor, eh? Well, maybe so but consider the following.

So when Francis declared quite plainly today that he was “the Devil”, it may just be the truest thing he has ever said. But please don’t take my word for it, click on the links I gave you in the bullet point list and decide for yourselves.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9385

Chinese officials burn bibles, close churches, force Christian to denounce faith amid ‘escalating’ crackdown

By Lukas Mikelionis | Fox News

In this Tuesday, March 27, 2018, photo, Catholic religious paintings and figures are displayed behind bars at an underground Catholic church in Jiexi county in south China’s Guangdong province. A group that monitors Christianity in China says the government is ratcheting up a crackdown on congregations in Beijing and several Chinese provinces, destroying crosses, burning Bibles and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The Chinese government is destroying cross, burning bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers renouncing their faith as the crackdown on religious congregations in Beijing and several provinces intensifies.

The suppression of religious freedoms comes as an official government campaign to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party and removing any potential challenge to the party’s power in the country.

“The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief,” Bob Fu of China Aid, said.

“The situation for Chinese #Christians becomes more dire by the day. We are working tirelessly to put maximum pressure on China stop the persecution,” Jay Sekulow, President Trump attorney and Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), wrote in a tweet.

The persecution of Christians in China is nothing new. A report by the watchdog group Freedom House found that Christians and other religious groups in China have been persecuted since 2012, Fox News reported.

A third of all religious believers in China who belong to a faith group were also found to face “high” to “very high” levels of persecution, which ranges from bureaucratic harassment and economic exploitation to harsh prison terms and even violence, the report said.

But experts and activists say the Chinese government is now waging the most severe suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedoms were granted by the Chinese constitution in 1982.

The escalating anti-Christian campaign coincides with President Xi Jinping recent consolidation of power that made him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, the notorious communist leader responsible for millions of deaths.

Activists reportedly filmed footage of what appeared to be piles of burning bibles and forms declaring that the signatories had rejected their faith. The authorities allegedly forced the believers to sign the forms or risk being expelled from school or loosing welfare benefits.

A Christian Pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang, whose name was identified out of fear of retaliation by the authorities, reportedly confirmed that crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5. He added that local authorities were in discussions with the church about reforming it, but no agreement had been reached.

According to Chinese laws, religious believers are allowed to worship only in government-sanctioned congregations. But many millions of Christians belong to underground or house churches that ignore government regulations.

Officials reportedly disputed the allegations raised by Christians, saying authorities respect religious freedom.

The anti-religion campaign affected not only Christian denominations. Around 1 million Uighurs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the country’s northwest have been detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the Communist Party.

The Chinese government denied setting up the camps for indoctrination, but stressed the importance to tackle extremism.

China has an around 38 million Protestants, and some have predicted that the country will have the world’s largest Christian population in a few decades.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9375

Those Who Left Church Turning to New Age, Pagan Rituals

9:30AM EDT 8/30/2018 YONAT SHIMRON/RNS

Amanda, a 28-year-old Los Angeles resident, used to go to church every Sunday.

She still prays nightly and believes in Jesus, but now she has her own rituals.

“I’ll chant, or I’ll go to Kundalini (yoga) and meditate with a group,” said Amanda, who did not want her last name used because she’s afraid religious groups will target her.

She’s also into crystals.

She keeps a bunch on her nightstand and stows a small bag of them in her purse or backpack during the day.

“The energy they hold is this ancient energy,” she said. “It helps your own energy when you work with them, when you’re near them.”

Amanda wasn’t one of the respondents in a new Pew Research poll. But she fits right in.

The poll shows that beyond a small band of reliably predictable “Sunday Stalwarts,” as the survey calls them, American religiosity is pretty casual, with less than a quarter of Americans attending worship services weekly but nearly all religious groups adhering to some New Age beliefs.

The poll, which grouped 4,729 Americans into seven types, found that though few Americans reject God altogether, most Americans mix traditional faith with beliefs in psychics, reincarnation and spiritual energy that they say can be found in physical objects such as mountains, trees and crystals.

Taken in December, the poll examined beliefs and behaviors that cut across many
 denominations using a method called cluster analysis, which produced seven broad religious typologies. The researchers gave these types pithy names such as “Spiritually Awake” and “Religion Resisters.” Those who believe in no God Pew dubbed the “Solidly Secular.”

Overall, only 23 percent of Americans attend worship services weekly, and only one group — the “Sunday Stalwarts,” who make up about 17 percent of the population — attend in overwhelming numbers. These include mostly Christians but also Jews, Muslims and Hindus who may attend on other holy days.

In addition, the number of Americans who say they read Scripture daily, at only 11 percent, is strikingly low, and those who say religion is the most important source of meaning in their lives make up only 20 percent of the population.

By contrast, New Age beliefs pervade all seven American types identified in the survey.

“New Age beliefs are something we see many group members hold,” said Becka A. Alpert, research associate at Pew, who worked on the poll. But she added, the study cannot explain why.

Fully 41 percent of Americans believe in psychics including 32 percent of “Sunday Stalwarts,” the most traditionally religious group of all.

Forty-two percent of Americans believe spiritual energy can be located in physical objects. Smaller shares believe in reincarnation and astrology.

The group with the most New Age beliefs was what researchers called the “Diversely Devout.” This group, which makes up 11 percent of Americans, consists of Protestants and unaffiliated Americans, the so-called “nones.” Among this group, solid majorities have New Age beliefs.

This is the group that snaps up “smudge sticks” or “sage bundles” — material for ritual or spiritually cleansing burning — and invests in crystals and gemstones touted as possessing energy capable of helping people heal from emotional, physical or spiritual pain.

Crystal enthusiasts say moonstone invokes creativity, citrine boosts energy, and amethyst treats addiction.

Other practices such as yoga, meditation, reiki, ayurvedic medicine — not all New Age — are fast gaining practitioners.

“New Age practices are unstructured,” said Jeffrey Kessler, a Jew who is the president of his Berkeley, Calif. congregation Chochmat Halev but also teaches tai chi, and engages in somatic healing, which combines psychotherapy and various physical therapies to heal trauma. “There’s no authority. People can pick and choose and explore. I think of it as a spiritual freeform way of beginning to connect to something other than oneself.”

Mark Chaves, a sociologist at Duke University who studies American religiosity, said he’d want to look at other surveys to see if the Pew numbers for New Age beliefs are particularly high.

But he added: “It does strike me as interesting that belief in supernatural-ly kinds of things is more prevalent among the conventionally religious.”

The Pew poll also found plenty of traditional religious measures:

* 56 percent believe in the God of the Bible.
* 61 percent believe God will judge people based on what they’ve done.
* 77 percent say God or a higher power has protected them.

But only 33 percent of Americans say it’s necessary to believe in God to be moral and only 31 percent rely on their religious teachings “a lot” to help them make decisions about right and wrong.

Some scholars have argued that society is not necessarily becoming more secular; instead traditional religions are giving way to new forms of spirituality that are supplanting, but not always replacing churchgoing.

That was the thesis of a 2005 book, “The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality.”

That makes sense to psychotherapist Stephanie Anderson-Ladd of Durham, N.C. Ladd works with women who feel alienated by patriarchal religions and helps them connect with the divine feminine through goddess archetypes that can serve as models.

“A lot of people have been turned off by organized religion,” she said. “They’re exploring alternative ways of being a spiritual being on a human path, as much as a human being on a spiritual path. We’re open to many different ways to understand the divine.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9371

From The Heart Of The Bible Belt To The California Coast, Satanism Is Experiencing Explosive Growth In America

September 2, 2018 by Michael Snyder

As attendance declines at Christian churches all over America, many Satanic groups are experiencing tremendous growth.  For some, embracing Satanism is the ultimate form of rebellion, for others it is about making an anti-Trump political statement, and yet others claim that they are attracted by the very real power that they discover in Satanism.  Every week, bizarre rituals are conducted in basements, meeting halls and public facilities all over the country, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what is going on.  Of course most mainstream news articles about Satanists attempt to portray them as ordinary people that have simply been “misunderstood”.  And ultimately that is what the Satanists are trying to do for Satan – they are trying to get all the rest of us to view Satan or Lucifer as a “misunderstood” being that only has humanity’s best interests at heart.  And since the values of Satanism line up more accurately with the values of modern society than Christian values do, Satanists are finding increasing success in bringing in new recruits.

Today, there are Satanic churches just about everywhere.  For example, a Satanic high priest named Adam Daniels started “the Church of Ahriman” in the heart of Oklahoma City

Adam Daniels, 35, is the “dastur” – or high priest – of the Church of Ahriman, which is based in Oklahoma City, USA.

The Church of Ahriman has 15 members and worships Ahriman, another name for the original Persian devil figure Angra Mainyu – the God of Hell.

The church’s followers meet in Daniels’ home, where he has converted a storage room into the ritual chamber in which he performs ceremonies including devil worshipping weddings and Satanic exorcisms.

Daniels says that he was attracted to Satanism after a deadly encounter with an armed thief sent him on a quest for answers

Seeking a way to come to terms with ending another person’s life, he began to see a therapist and turned to a variety of religions – all of whom suggested he should have turned the other cheek.

Daniels said: “I tried to find solace and I was told that I had committed the sin of wrath by the Christians and the Buddhists – even by my mom.”

Instead he found comfort in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, whose motto is ‘self preservation is the highest law’.

Daniels is married, and his wife is fully on board, but having a father that is a Satanic high priest has been very rough on their daughter Amber

“When I was six because I was given the Baphomet [an ancient deity, traditionally depicted as a horned goat] necklace in first grade and I wore it to school and was told by a teacher that I wasn’t allowed to wear it so I had to take it off and put it in my backpack.

“In sixth grade my grandma got me to go to my local bookstore and was able to get my full name printed on the Holy Bible – which my parents threw away.”

But before you start feeling tempted to feel sorry for this family, you should keep reading.

The truth is that Daniels is not a pleasant man.  In fact, he openly admits that he purposely commits blasphemy and that his entire goal is to offend God…

He said: “I have ritualistically burned the Holy Bible, the Qu’ran, the Talmed, the Torah, Buddhist Sutra’s, different Hindu Sutra’s you name it, I’ve burned it out of blasphemy.

“I am not responsible for God and no God is responsible for me.

“Through my words and my deeds, I am offending God and that is my whole goal, to make his people miserable, to bring about apostates, to bring about anguish.”

At one time, nuts like Daniels would have been a very rare anomaly, but times have changed.

Today there are Satanic communities that gather from coast to coast, and the following is how the Los Angeles Times described one of these gatherings in the L.A. area…

In November, in the candlelit basement of a house just above the Silver Lake Reservoir, Alexandra James walked over to an altar where her husband, Zachary, waited near a bleached human skull, teeth locked in eternal rictus. From the altar, she lifted a sword and drew points across his chest while a circle of onlookers watched solemnly (well, a few giggled too). An organist played eerie minor key chords and Alexandra turned to face the group.

“On this altar we consecrate swords to direct the fire of our unholy will,” she said. “A human skull, symbol of death. The great mother Lilith created us all, and will destroy us all.”

“Hail Satan! Hail Satan! Hail Satan!” The group chanted back.

So how many people are we actually talking about nationwide?

Well, there is not a single national organization, but all major Satanic groups have claimed large increases in membership since the election of Donald Trump.

In particular, the Satanic Temple reported gaining “thousands” of new members within the first 36 hours of Trump’s victory…

The Satanic Temple attracted “thousands” of new members in just the first 36 hours after the election of Donald Trump, according to co-founder Lucien Greaves. The 4-year-old temple, which had a pre-Trump membership of around 50,000, has never before seen a spike in registration nearly this big.

“It’s crazy,” Greaves said after a speech in front of some adoring fans at CU-Boulder. The emails, registrations, donations and social media posts are pouring in faster than the temple can respond. “People have a desperate need for something to rally to right now.”

Right now, membership in the Satanic Temple is somewhere around 100,000, and it has become a hub for the anti-Trump resistance.

Of course most have joined various Satanic groups for spiritual reasons.  Today there is a tremendous spiritual hunger in America, but Americans are also leaving traditional churches at a staggering pace.  People are looking for authenticity, but they aren’t finding it in the traditional places, and so many are seeking out new options.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans are deciding that Satanism is the answer, and that is a very, very troubling sign.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9361

Alabama pastor asks church to pray for Trump, against witchcraft attacking him

Updated Aug 22, 6:25 PM; Posted Aug 22, 3:35 PM

By Greg Garrison

An Alabama pastor asked his congregation on Sunday to pray against the witchcraft that he said is attacking President Donald Trump, and the sermon is getting a lot of attention on social media.

“It’s time to pray for the president,” said Pastor John A. Kilpatrick, who founded the Church of His Presence in Daphne in 2006.

Kilpatrick quoted 2 Kings 9:22, which attributes witchcraft to Jezebel. “When Elijah faced Jezebel, he was facing witchcraft,” Kilpatrick said.

“What’s happening right now in America, is witchcraft’s trying to take this country over,” he said. “It’s witchcraft that’s trying to take America back over.”

video of the sermon that highlights the mention of witchcraft against Trump has more than 100,000 views on social media. The entire sermon can be viewed on the church’s web site.

Kilpatrick, an Assemblies of God minister, is best known for being pastor of the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola when it hosted the Brownsville Revival, also known as the “Pensacola Outpouring.” More than four million people attended the Christian revival from 1995-2000. Kilpatrick left Brownsville in 2003 and started his own ministry. The Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal denomination with about 3 million U.S. adherents and 64 million worldwide that believes in the modern-day spiritual gifts of healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues. Church of His Presence is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

“I am not being political, but I don’t see how President Trump bears up under it,” Kilpatrick said in his sermon. “He is as strong as I’ve ever seen a man be. But here’s what the Holy Spirit said to me last night and what He said for me to tell you. He said, ‘Tell the church that so far, Trump has been dealing with Ahab. But Jezebel’s fixing to step out from the shadows.’ That’s what the Lord said to me.

“He said, ‘Pray for him now, because he said there’s about to be a shift, and the Deep State is about to manifest, and it’s going to be a showdown like you can’t believe.’ So, I’m coming to you as a prophet, as a man of God, and I’m telling you, it’s time to pray for the president.”

The congregation applauded.

“Witchcraft was in full control and witchcraft was what knocked Elijah out of his position, took him out of power,” Kilpatrick said. “Oh my God. I heard the Lord say there’s going to be an attempt to take him out of power. Let’s stand and pray right now.”

He then began speaking in tongues, and added, “We’ve got to pray for this man.”

He spoke in tongues more, and shouted out, “God make him bold, make him strong! Preserve him, Holy Spirit! Keep him, Holy Spirit! Preserve him, Holy Spirit! Don’t let him lose his voice! Make him stronger than ever, Holy Spirit! Let no weapon be formed against him that will knock him out of power. Strengthen him, Lord! It’s time to pray, church. I believe our nation is in the balances.”

Kilpatrick, in an interview with AL.com today, said he voted for Trump in 2016 but said he’s not a Republican. “I’m an Independent,” he said. “There’s so much about the Republican party that’s offensive now. Both parties nauseate me. It’s not a Democrat thing, or a Republican thing. Trump has his faults. I don’t believe he’s a man of God. But he may be God’s man for this time. He’s a strong person. Maybe the Lord has risen him up to keep American from sliding further. He’s a flawed man, just like anybody else. He’s trying to reverse things in America.”

That’s the message he was trying to convey in the biblical analogy for Trump, he said.

“This president has been under pressure, in an Ahab-like situation,” Kilpatrick said. “When you graduate up to the main power broker, that’s Jezebel. I really do feel this way. His greatest attack is yet to come. It’s all a culmination.”

He wasn’t talking about a specific person who is a witch, he said.

“It’s not a witch after him, it’s a spirit of witchcraft trying to muzzle him,” Kilpatrick said.

Kilpatrick said he was not trying to tie in to Trump’s frequent complaint of a “witch hunt” in the special investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

“He calls it a witch hunt,” Kilpatrick said. “I didn’t put those together. It’s just a spirit of witchcraft. I’d say the source of it is evil. It’s manipulative, it’s controlling, it has its own agenda. I think it’s just a strong spirit of manipulation and control that doesn’t want to give it up.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9340