Category: The Church

Jim Caviezel: New ‘Passion of the Christ’ to be ‘biggest film in history’

‘There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience’

Published: 14 hours ago

Joe Kovacs

Jim Caviezel, who stunned the world with his portrayal of Jesus in the 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” is now confirming he’s on board with director Mel Gibson for a sequel, and predicts it will be “the biggest film in history.”

“There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” the 49-year-old actor told USA Today. “It’s great. Stay tuned.”

Both Gibson and Caviezel have not said much about the story focusing on the resurrection of Christ, but the star indicated he’s encouraged by the direction the project is taking.

“I won’t tell you how he’s going to go about it,” Caviezel said of Gibson. “But I’ll tell you this much, the film he’s going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”

The original “Passion of the Christ” followed the last 12 hours of Christ’s life. The movie brought in more than $611 million worldwide on a $30 million budget, and remains the highest-grossing R-rated film ever in North America with $370.8 million.

In 2016, Gibson spoke with USA Today about his plans for the sequel.

“The Resurrection. Big subject.” Gibson said. “We’re trying to craft this in a way that’s cinematically compelling and enlightening so that it shines new light, if possible, without creating some weird thing.”

Earlier this month in Chicago, Caviezel warned against false Christianity, and urged believers to publicly voice their faith in “this pagan world.”

“I want you to go out into this pagan world, I want you to have the courage to step into this pagan world and shamelessly express your faith in public. The world needs proud warriors animated by their faith,” he told the Fellowship of Catholic University Students SLS Leadership Conference.

“Warriors like Saint Paul and Saint Luke who risked their names, their reputations to take their faith, their love for Jesus into the world.

“God is calling each one of us, each one of you to do great things but how often we fail to respond, dismissing it as some mental blurp. It’s time for our generation, now, to accept that call, the call of God urging all of us to give ourselves entirely to Him.”

“Set yourselves apart from this corrupt generation,” the actor continued. “Be saints. You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out.”

“We must shake off this indifference, this destructive tolerance of evil. But only our faith and the wisdom of Christ can save us,” he said. “But it requires warriors, ready to risk their reputations, their names, even our very lives, to stand for the truth.”

“By God, we must live,” Caviezel concluded, “and with the Holy Spirit as your shield and Christ as your sword, may you join St. Michael and all the angels in sending Lucifer and his henchmen straight right back to hell where they belong!”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8998

Is the Shroud of Turin Evidence of Jesus’ Existence?

Maybe the Turin Shroud is not real after all?

By Christian Evidence | Sat 20 Jan 2018 8:52 EST

Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” (Matthew 27:58-60)

The Shroud of Turin is an ancient, sepia-colored, rectangular, 14.3 x 3.7 foot linen cloth woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill composed of flax fibrils with the front and the back image of a naked man with his hands folded across his groin on it. It is considered to be the linen cloth the dead Jesus was wrapped in after He was crucified. Some have concluded it is the true burial shroud of Jesus. Others have pronounced it a medieval forgery. In my opinion, the evidence completely disproves it being a medieval forgery…

  1. A set of tests conducted on the Shroud place the cloth to the time ranging from 300 B.C. to 400 A.D., well within the time of Jesus of Nazareth (Stanglin, USA Today, 2013).
  2. The bloodstains, as forensic scientists and chemists now know, were created by real blood, specificallyblood of a torture victim. In addition to that, an x-ray-taken showed excess iron in blood areas, as expected for blood. Microchemical tests for proteins were positive in blood areas but not in any other parts of the Shroud. Furthermore, claims are that the blood has been confirmed as authentic hemoglobin and identified as Type AB!
  3. Microscopic traces of the flowers, and pollen, has been found throughout the Turin Shroud. Out of hundreds of flowers on the Shroud,twenty-eight of them grow in Israel. Twenty grow in Jerusalem itself, and the other eight grow potentially within the close vicinity of Jerusalem (Whanger and Whanger, Duke.edu, 2015). Of these twenty-eight plants, twenty-seven of the identified plants are in bloom in March and April.

Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem during the Passover in the Spring of c. 30 AD. (Matthew 26:12; Mark 14:1; Luke 22:1,7: John 18:28) Half of the floral images and pollen grains from the plants are found only in the Middle East or other similar areas but never in Europe, the favored location of the forgery of the Shroud. Most of the flowers were clustered around the head and chest of the man on the Shroud – consistent with Jewish burial custom in Jesus’ time.The pollen also dates to the first-century, further indication that the Shroud was first found in first-century Israel. In addition, many grains of the pollen, Gundelia tournefortii, have been identified. This particular pollen has large thorns, blooms in Israel between March and May, and most of the grains of this pollen have been recovered near the man’s shoulder! Could it have been the crown of thorns (Matthew 27:29)?

“In addition to being unable to explain so many things about the Shroud of Turin, did it ever occur to modern skeptics that no medieval forger would have been able to forge pollen grains and floral images. Pollen grains are able to be seen only through a microscope. A medieval artist/forger did not even KNOW about individual GRAINS of pollen, could never ever have seen a microscopic grain of pollen—until the 1800’s AD.”—Sandra Sweeny Silver

  1. The image is not a stain, it is not painted on the Shroud, nor is it burned on. Instead, it is seared on to the cloth with a technology that has yet to be explained. Scientists can’t even reproduce it with modern technology, let alone medieval technology! Nothing existed in medieval or ancient times that could produce such an X-ray as this. The only explanation would be some sort of large burst of radiation, that was emitted as Jesus was resurrected from the dead, creating the image on the cloth. The process causing the yellowness of the top most fibers of the threads responsible for the image is also unknown.

Italian scientist Paolo DiLazzaro tried for five years to replicate the image and concluded that it was produced by ultraviolet light, but the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst “would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”

  1. The image of the man on the Shroud can be read by 3D imaging technology, something that paintings can’t do. The image on the Shroud is also only a few fibers deep. The image on the Shroud is not a painting, and that’s a fact!
  2. The type of cloth is consistent with fabrics from first-century Israel, but not with medieval Europe. A forger would have had to not only forge the image, but would have had to have detailed knowledge of linen weaves of the first century and then not only reproduce it, but age it convincingly.
  3. Usually, whenever there’s a picture depicting the crucifixion of Jesus, it shows the nail prints in the palms of the hand. However, modern science has shown that a nail through the middle of the palm of a man’s hand would not be sufficient to hold most of the weight of a man on a cross. The nail would tear through the hand. The placement of the nails in crucifixion was most likely in the wrist.

The Turin Shroud shows the nail marks at the lower part of the hand into the wrist, just as expected! Also, experiments conducted on cadavers note that the Turin Shroud accurately depicts how crucifixions would have transpired. In addition, the whip markings on the man’s back match the ends of the flagrums used by the first-century Romans for scourgings, his body shows signs of rigor mortis in a crucified position, some of his blood flows are post mortem, and it even shows marks indicating a spear wound – consistent with John 19:34. It matches the details of Jesus’ crucifixion accurately!

The evidence seems highly probable that the Turin Shroud is genuinely the cloth that covered Jesus of Nazareth before His amazing resurrection from the dead. However, we do not need to rely solely on the Shroud of Turin to provide evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, since the evidence from both Christian and non-Christian sources alone are enough to verify the reliability of the crucifixion and resurrection account. See: Historical Evidence For Jesus’ Resurrection.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8994

Irish Exorcist Calls for Back-Up to Face Surge in ‘Malicious Activity’ by the Devil

by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.25 Jan 2018683

The demand for exorcists “has risen exponentially” in Ireland thanks to a surge in demonic activity, according to exorcist Father Patrick Collins, who has called on the nation’s bishops to train more priests to fight the devil.

In declarations to The Irish Catholic, Fr. Collins said he has been overwhelmed by requests for exorcisms from the faithful in Ireland, and in an open letter, he has begged the Irish bishops to train more priests to deal with the demand.

The renowned exorcist, a Vincentian priest based in Dublin, said that he is inundated almost on a daily basis with desperate people seeking assistance in dealing with assaults from evil spirits.

In the face of the rising tide of demonic activity, Father Collins said he is “baffled” that the Irish bishops are not reacting to the need by appointing more priests as exorcists. Complaints range from claims of ghostly encounters, to people being pulled from their beds, and even “full-blown possession.”

The priest said that the surge in demonic disturbances is a relatively new phenomenon, and “it’s only in recent years that the demand has risen exponentially.”

“What I’m finding out desperately, is people who in their own minds believe – rightly or wrongly – that they’re afflicted by an evil spirit,” he said.

The key is to have well-trained personnel to deal with the issue and help people get the assistance they need, the priest insisted.

“I think in many cases they wrongly think it, but when they turn to the Church, the Church doesn’t know what to do with them and they refer them on either to a psychologist or to somebody that they’ve heard of that is interested in this form of ministry, and they do fall between the cracks and often are not helped,” he said.

The priest has seen what he calls a growing apostasy within the Church, which he ties to demonic activity. “As this has happened, there has been increasing evidence of the malicious activity of the evil one,” he wrote.

Father Collins’ impression of the crisis is echoed by other exorcists throughout the world, who have witnessed a similar spike in spiritual warfare. The International Association of Exorcists (IAE), a group of 400 Catholic leaders and priests, has reported “a dramatic increase in demonic activity in recent years,” according to the Catholic News Agency.

The situation has become so acute that in 2014 the IAE described the intensity of demonic activity in the world as a “pastoral emergency.”

In Italy, the number of exorcisms has risen in recent years, with some 500,000 Italians requesting an exorcism each year and not nearly enough exorcists to meet the rising demand, according to recent reports.

The archdiocese of Milan in northern Italy has doubled the number of its exorcists, while an exorcism hotline has been launched in Rome, but those in the field claim it isn’t nearly enough.

Rome’s most famous exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, passed away in 2016 and his successor, Father Vincenzo Taraborelli, has said he cannot keep up with the constant requests for liberation from demonic influence. “Padre Vincenzo,” as he is known, handles some 30 “clients” a day, and is calling on the Church to appoint more priests as exorcists to share in the mission of satanic deliverance.

“There are only nine of us left and many more are needed,” he said. “We need other priests like me to meet the needs of so many families.”

In Rome, the Catholic Church has been offering an annual course in exorcism and demonic possession to prepare more priests and laypeople to recognize and combat the devil.

The yearly course titled “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation” has been running for the past 12 years and boasts over a thousand graduates. Students, who include pastoral workers, psychologists, doctors, teachers, lawyers, as well as many priests, are introduced into a biblical understanding of the devil as the “father of lies.” They are also trained to distinguish between true demonic disturbances and problems of a psychological nature.

Teachers of the course have included Vatican officials, bishops, physicians, psychologists and even Riccardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome’s Jewish Community.

Still, according to Father Collins, many Church leaders seem oblivious to the problem of demonic activity and are therefore too slow in addressing the problem.

It’s clear in the Bible that exorcism is central to the public ministry of Jesus, he said, while wondering aloud whether clergy in the modern-day Church still believe in the presence of evil spirits.

“I suspect they don’t,” he said

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8985

New Age Infiltration in Churches: Part 1

January 15, 2018

For the next several days, I desire to talk about the infiltration of New Age doctrines and practices in churches in America.

I have personally witnessed over 35+ years the gradual acceptance of New Age theology in a growing number of US churches.

There’s something happening in America that I am seeing more clearly in recent years.  The USA is morphing into a Babylonian empire.  It is quite troubling to behold.  A spirit of madness is taking over a sizeable portion of the population.  The group insanity is fueled by the population’s rejection of God and His commandments.  A sizeable portion of the population has consciously chosen to believe a lie.  Consequently, God sent them a delusion.  When a nation becomes so perverse that God sends them a delusion, it is impossible for them to ever see and understand the truth.  It is a sure sign of judgment.

As America becomes more Babylonian, so too is its religious system.  When the Jews turned to idolatry, God judged Israel when they repeatedly over many years rejected divine warnings issued by prophets to repent and return to the Lord’s commandments.
God used Nebuchadnezzar in to conquer Jerusalem.  The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in three stages, beginning in 605 BC and ending in 586 BC.  Judah’s King Jehoiakim was forced to pay tribute – taxes – to King Nebuchadnezzar.  Jehoiakim paid the taxes for the first three years, but stopped the tribute money in the fourth year.

Three years later, Nebuchadnezzar’s army invaded Judah again.  King Jehoiakim died.  Several years later, Jehoiakim’s successor was hauled off to Babylon.  And a few more years later, Nebuchadnezzar put the squeeze on Judah and started deporting Jews to Babylon as slaves.  The Jews remained in Babylon until Persia’s King Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon.  Although they were officially under Nebuchadnezzar’s captivity for 70 years, the Jews’ return to Judah was gradual over many years.

During the Babylonian captivity, the prophet Ezekiel rebuked the Jews for their disloyalty to God and their infatuation with Babylon.

You can read it in Ezekiel 23.  Let’s start with verse 11.

11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, and she became more corrupt than her sister in her lust and in her whoring, which was worse than that of her sister.

12 She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and commanders, warriors clothed in full armor, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men.

13 And I saw that she was defiled; they both took the same way.

14 But she carried her whoring further. She saw men portrayed on the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed in vermilion,

15 wearing belts on their waists, with flowing turbans on their heads, all of them having the appearance of officers, a likeness of Babylonians whose native land was Chaldea.

16 When she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.

17 And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoring lust. And after she was defiled by them, she turned from them in disgust.

18 When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister.

19 Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt.

When the Jews finally departed Babylon, they carried back to Judah more than their clothes and stuff.  They took home a new religion –  Judaism.  I know this is difficult for many Christians to grasp, but God did not inspire the formation of Judaism.  Judaism as we know it today did not exist when the Jews were taken into Babylonian captivity.

It was while in Babylon that the Jews developed a new religious system that was based on rabbinical interpretations of the Torah.  The Talmud was conceived and birthed in Babylon.  Indeed, Jews today refer to it as the Babylonian Talmud.  Modern day Jews don’t read the Word of God.  They read what the Babylonian rabbis said about the Torah.
There was something else the Jews discovered in Babylon and took home to Jerusalem:  It was Babylonian secret knowledge acquired from the Chaldeans.  It forms the core of modern-day Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah.  Kabbalah is the hidden wisdom of Jewish rabbis that was derived from ancient secret knowledge.  The rabbinical hidden wisdom was combined with Babylonian secret knowledge into a Jewish theology that forms the core of modern Judaism.

The ancient Babylonians were an advanced culture known for their knowledge of science and advanced mathematics including geometry and trigonometry.  The Babylonians also worshipped the planet Jupiter.

I’m sorry to shock all the hard-core Christian Zionists who are watching Morning Manna today, but modern-day Israel’s Star of David flag has nothing to do with King David and ancient Israel.  The Star of David flag was inspired by Kabbalah.  The star in Israel’s flag is the same star god condemned by God in Amos 5:26.

But you carried a tabernacle for your Moloch, and the image of your idols, the star of your god, which you made to yourselves.

In the New Testament, you can read about again about Israel’s star god.  It is found in Acts 7:43.

And you took unto you the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which you made to adore them. And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

I’ll be very direct with you:  If you have a flag, pendant, poster, or any other item with the Israeli Star of David image, you have an occult image in your home, church, office, or on your body.  Get rid of it.

How is this linked to my subject of New Ageism in American churches?

The Jews discovered ancient secret knowledge in Babylon.  They developed a new Jewish theology while in Babylon.  It is the rabbinical Talmud.  With the Talmud comes Kabbalah, which is Jewish witchcraft.

As the Kabbalists have gained more influence in America over the past 50 years, America has become more Babylonian.  This explains why America is morphing into Babylon.  Is America end time Babylon?  Are we fulfilling Bible prophecy?  Perhaps.  If America is, indeed, end time Babylon, there isn’t anything we can do to stop it.  If America is not end time Babylon, we can stop the Babylonian process and reverse it by returning to bedrock doctrine of the Christian church.  The preaching of truth will chase away darkness and apostasy.

New Ageism, witchcraft, the black arts, sorcery, the occult, paganism – whatever name you want to call it – has been in the world for thousands of years.

It was present in Old Testament times.  Egypt’s Pharaoh had magicians, wise men, astrologers, soothsayers, and sorcerers who used secret arts to perform astounding feats, predict the future, and to interpret dreams.

In Isaiah 47:13, God told the Israelites to ask their astrologers, stargazers, and monthly prognosticators to stand up and save them from the judgment that would come upon them because of their idolatry and rebellion.

Today, we see and hear New Age terms and practices in many churches.  People are adapting to it and accepting its presence.  We should be outraged and rise up against it.  I want to give you some buzzwords that you should be on alert for their presence in churches in your community – or present in ministries on TV and radio.  This is not an exhaustive list, but merely a beginning of the terms and phrases being used by many church leaders.

  •  Christ Spirit
  •  Destiny Cards
  •  Angel Guidance
  •  Labyrinth Prayer Walk
  •  Soaking prayer
  •  Contemplative Prayer
  •  Sozo Prayer
  •  Holy Yoga
  •  New sound
  •  Vibrations
  •  Getting in tune with universe
  • Meditative mantra
  • Global consciousness
  • Positive and Negative energies
  • Crystals
  • Centering
  • Automatic writing
  • Channeling
  • Universalism

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8963

World’s Collide – Book One

 

It has been three years since I published the first fiction book in a trilogy that God had put on my heart.

If you have not read please do!

 

Yours in Christ

 

Tommy

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8951

Revival or Apostasy? :: By Alice Childs

Published on: January 7, 2018 by RRadmin7 Category:Alice Johnson Childs, General Articles

Rapture Revival

There seems to be a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding regarding the status and condition of the Church, the world, and the coming Kingdom in these last minutes of the last hours of the last days. We need to get clear in our minds, according to the scriptures, just WHO and WHAT is in play during these last days, as well as what the order of events are that lie just over the horizon.

We need to clear up some fundamental misunderstandings of WHAT the Church is, WHO the Church is, and what her role is before the Rapture. We also need to distinguish again between the differing groups of “saints” who are addressed in the Bible; and finally, we need to have a much clearer grasp of WHAT the Millennial Kingdom is, who will be in it, and what the purpose of it is.

So, in order to clear up our understanding, always according to the scriptures, let’s begin to clear up the errors and misconceptions beginning with the Church – her identity and her purpose.

First of all, we must come to understand what the Church is and what she is not. The Church Age is unique in all of scripture. Up until the call of Abraham, God dealt with humanity as a whole. With the call of Abraham, God began to fashion a people special to Himself. When Jacob came along (Abraham’s grandson) God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and thus all of Jacob’s physical descendants became the nation of Israel.

Thus, God then split humanity into two distinct people groups: Israel (the Jewish people who are the PHYSICAL descendants of Abraham), and ALL other people (non-Jews) who are called Gentiles. This dual separation lasted until AFTER Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection when a third and completely new entity was birthed at Pentecost.

This new entity was a “mystery hidden in God” and was completely UNKNOWN to ALL of the Old Testament prophets, as well as the disciples, who were in the dark about it until AFTER Jesus’ resurrection.

At Pentecost, the Lord then made a THIRD division to humanity by creating His “ekklesia” or His “called out ones” who were to become His body – of which He is the head, also called His “bride” of whom He is the Bridegroom.

This new “called out body” is made up of ALL believers in Christ Jesus, BOTH Jew and Gentile. Thus, there are now (present day since after Calvary):

(1) lost (unbelieving) Gentiles
(2) lost (unbelieving) Jews, and
(3) the Church of Jesus Christ made up of both believing Jews and Gentiles, who at salvation are made ONE “in Christ.”

The purpose of the Church is to do what Israel failed to do when she rejected Jesus as her Messiah, which was to be the instrument through whom God is revealed to the world. Israel failed, and thus the Lord (who already knew before He ever even created the world that she would fail) brought about the Church.

Now, the problem arises when people try to place the Church in the Old Testament (where it was completely unknown and not revealed) or when they try to REPLACE Israel with the Church, believing in error that God has finished dealing with national Israel and that He has no further use for her. NOTHING is farther from the truth! God is NOT FINISHED with Israel, and He has NOT REPLACED Israel with the Church! They are still TWO DISTINCT ENTITIES, BOTH with separate functions and destinies to fulfill in end-times events.

For now, national Israel is “on the back burner” so to speak, while the Church is center stage during this Age of Grace. But, when the Church is complete, she will be removed in the Resurrection/Rapture; and the focus of God ON EARTH will return once again to ISRAEL in order to finish up His plans and to fulfill all of His unbreakable covenants, which He made to ISRAEL through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Daniel chapter 9).

So, we see that Israel and the Church are NOT synonymous and that the Church has NOT replaced Israel in God’s plan for the ages, and never will.

There is great confusion regarding the event of the Rapture, with a great deal of confusion occurring over WHEN it will occur. As we shall see, the question is not just when will the Rapture occur, but it is also a matter of WHAT causes the Rapture to occur. Answering the latter helps us understand the former.

In trying to understand the WHEN of the Rapture, let’s first look at WHO goes in the Rapture, who doesn’t go in the Rapture, and WHAT triggers the Rapture.

First the WHO: In 1 Corinthians 15:50-56; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; & 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Paul gives us the answer to the WHO. The Resurrection/Rapture is SPECIFIC to those who are “in Christ” – that is those who have been made ONE through their belief which brings salvation after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

This group of believers, known as the Church, is made up of ALL believers since Calvary, and includes BOTH the living believers and those who have died “in Christ” from the time of Pentecost up to the instant of the Resurrection/Rapture. This is the “body/bride of Christ. It is these believers – these CHURCH-AGE SAINTS who will be taken when the Rapture occurs.

As we shall see later on, the DESTINY of the Church-Age saints is DIFFERENT from ISRAEL and from the Gentiles after the Rapture occurs. Once the Church is removed from the earth via the Resurrection/Rapture, then God’s focus ON EARTH returns to ISRAEL and to the Gentile nations – BOTH of whom are LOST.

God will use the coming Tribulation (more correctly called “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), the “70th week of Daniel” (Daniel 9), or the “Day of the Lord”) to reveal Himself again to lost Israel and to a lost Gentile population. The Church will have already been completed and removed via the Resurrection/Rapture PRIOR to this last 7-year Time period known as THE Tribulation (as opposed to general tribulations).

Before we go any further, we need to understand that there are 3 (three) groups of people addressed in the Bible as “saints.” We need to clear up which group is which so that we are no longer confused as to who is who.

First there are the Old Testament saints. These OT saints are ALL those who placed their faith and trust in God’s COMING REDEEMER BEFORE CALVARY.

Next are the Church-Age saints who are all those who have believed and placed their trust in Jesus Christ, who IS that Redeemer from the time of Pentecost up to the Resurrection/Rapture.

And lastly, there will be a group of saints called Tribulation saints or Tribulation believers. These are ALL who WILL COME to salvation AFTER the Rapture; they are all those who WILL BE SAVED DURING THE Tribulation. THESE Tribulation saints ARE believers but they are NOT part of the Church, which by then will have already been in Heaven.

Now, having sorted those groups of saints out, let’s look at what triggers the Rapture. As we will see, it’s not strictly a matter of timing; it’s a matter of timing AND a matter of COMPLETION.

The Bible speaks of “the fullness” of the Gentiles “coming in.” What is meant by that?

As we now know, when God revealed to the Apostle Paul (in Ephesians) the “mystery” of the Church (that both believing Jews and Gentiles would be made ONE in Christ and that this new body of believers would have the Holy Spirit of God ETERNALLY SEALED WITHIN THEM), we learned that there is a certain NUMBER of Gentiles – the number of which God alone knows – who are to be grafted into the “olive tree” of Israel. Just what that number is and when the “full number” will be complete is known only to God.

Once the “full” (or complete) number of Gentile believers who are allotted to make up the complete Church has “come in,” or in other words, has been added to the body/bride, then the body/bride will be COMPLETE. Once it (the Church) is complete, then the Church Age (the Dispensation of Grace) will end, and God will then remove His Church to Heaven BEFORE the seven-year Tribulation begins. God will then turn His full attention back to Israel to finish and fulfill ALL of His covenant promises to her, and to prepare ISRAEL to accept her true Messiah, Jesus Christ, whom Israel earlier rejected.

Therefore, once the Church has been COMPLETED with her “full number” having “come in,” then the ones left on earth AFTER the Rapture will be the LOST Jews and LOST Gentiles. Those who come to salvation DURING the Tribulation will become the Tribulation believers, or Tribulation saints.

The “souls under the altar” in Revelation chapter 7 are those Tribulation saints who will have become believers AFTER the Rapture has occurred; those who will have died for their faith in Christ during the seven years of The Tribulation.

We know from scripture that 1/3 of Israel will become believers (Zechariah 13:8-9). God will preserve and protect these new believing Jews and will bring them through the Tribulation so that, by the end of the seven-year “Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” ALL of Israel (that 1/3 who become believers and whose lives are spared) will be saved. All other unbelieving Jews will be killed; so the only portion of Israel left will ALL be believers in their true Messiah.

EVERY Jew who enters the Millennial Kingdom (at the end of the Tribulation) will be saved, as will every Gentile who comes to Christ DURING that time (those few from every nation that get saved – those that actually live to see the end of the Tribulation).

These believing Gentiles will be relatively few in number because the overall death toll during the Tribulation will be beyond enormous.

We also know that there will be some Gentiles who come to salvation during the Tribulation because, at the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Himself separates the “sheep” (believers) from the “goats” (unbelievers).

We further know that there will be some Gentiles at that judgment, because the criteria Christ will use to determine what Gentiles go into the Millennial Kingdom will be twofold:

(1) Only those who did NOT receive the mark of the beast will be saved.
(2) those who took care of – who sheltered, fed, clothed, visited the “least of these MY (Jesus’) brethren” and who did so because they loved Jesus.

Because Israel is NEVER counted among the nations (Numbers 23:9), this is evidence that there will be some saved from among ALL the Gentile nations who risked their lives to protect the 144,000 and any other Jews whom Jesus in Matthew 25 called “these my brethren.”

It will be ALL of (then saved) Israel and what Gentile believers (sheep) who make it through alive to the end of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble who will enter to populate the Kingdom. We know this is true because Revelation tells us that, during the Millennium, the nations come to Jerusalem to be taught by the Lord. And since Israel is NEVER counted among the nations, there MUST be Gentiles from all the nations in the Kingdom who will come out of the Tribulation.

Each of these people will still be in their MORTAL bodies. They will be the ones who will procreate and populate the Millennial Kingdom.

Now, in addition to those mortal believers (both Jews and Gentiles), neither group of which belong to the CHURCH, the MK will also have IMMORTALS dwelling there as well. The Church will already be in our immortal and glorified bodies, having gotten them at the instant of our Rapture. The Old Testament saints, along with ALL of the Tribulation saints who will have died or who will have been martyred DURING the Tribulation, will receive their immortal bodies at the END of the Tribulation just BEFORE Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom. These will also be among the immortals living and functioning among the mortals during the Kingdom Age.

So, in Revelation 7, the “SOULS under the altar” are all those who came to salvation DURING the Tribulation, who are believers, but who are NOT part of the Church; these are they who died or were killed by the Antichrist or his globalist minions.

Remember, there are Old Testament Saints, Church Age Saints, and Tribulation Saints. Don’t neglect to distinguish one from the other!

The Church-Age saints – both the dead and the living (all who have come to salvation from after Calvary to the Rapture), will be in Heaven in our new and immortal glorified bodies at the time of the Resurrection/Rapture, where we will stay until we return WITH King Jesus at the END of the Tribulation.

The souls of all Old Testament saints and of the martyred Tribulation saints will be with us (the Church) in Heaven, but they will still be in spirit form until the END of the Tribulation period.

ALL of these groups of saints come back WITH Jesus at His Second Coming, both the Church in glorified bodies, and the OT and Tribulation saints (who will come back with Christ in SPIRIT form). These will then receive their glorified bodies BEFORE they enter the Kingdom; so the MK will consist of both mortal and immortal beings (see Daniel 9 and Revelation chapters 19 – 22).

The purpose of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble is fourfold:

1) to cleanse the world of sin and rebellion
2) to prepare ISRAEL to receive her Messiah
3) to fulfill ALL of the covenants that God made with Israel
4) to restore Earth to its Edenic condition

So, will there be people saved AFTER the Tribulation? Yes, however they will NOT be counted as being part of the Church, which is the body/Bride of Christ, and who will be gone from the earth BEFORE the Tribulation begins.

The question remains, will there be a great “revival” or awakening BEFORE the Rapture? The answer is both yes and no.

NO in the sense that there are vast numbers of people (especially in America and the West) where the gospel has been preached and ignored for decades. Sadly, the vast majority will choose not to respond and come to Christ.

YES in that there are already, at this moment, millions of people who are coming to Christ in countries where the gospel has been curtailed, restrained, or even banished – such as in China, North Korea, and all across the Middle East. In that sense, there is already a great ingathering going on.

The Bible tells us that “when the fullness (full number of) the Gentiles has come in” – that full complement who will make up the body/bride is completed – then the Church will be complete and she (the Church) will be taken out of here in the Rapture.

This means that getting the gospel out must be our primary focus, because once that “last Gentile” who makes up the full complement” that completes the body comes to salvation, then the completed Church will be taken Home.

Amillennialists don’t believe in a literal Millennial Kingdom; and the “Kingdom Now” crowd believes that Jesus is unable to return until the Church brings the entire world to salvation, thus bringing in the Kingdom of God because Jesus is unable to do it. The problem with these false beliefs is a failure to recognize and distinguish between God’s distinct differences between the Church and Israel.

ISRAEL is the focal point of ALL scripture, and she is the focal point of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble – aka The Tribulation.

God IS NOT BOUND by fallen, sinful man so that He cannot return until the Church grows strong enough for Him to return. That is HERESY! Neither has God REPLACED Israel with the Church! That too is utter HERESY!

The books of 2 Timothy, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 2 Corinthians, Revelation chapters 2-3, et al, ALL point to a world in which wickedness, lawlessness, debauchery, evil and Godlessness are running rampant on a global scale. In Matthew 24 & Luke 17, Jesus Himself tells us that the conditions just before His return to earth will be “as it was in the days of both Noah and Lot.” Hardly a time of a world growing more and more “Christian.” In fact, it will be just the opposite of perfection.

Don’t be misled and lied to by wolves such as Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, or any others who are preaching and teaching the heresy that the Church must REMAIN HERE during the Tribulation in order to “bring in the Kingdom.” All who teach such false gospels obviously do not have a clue what scripture actually teaches. Do not be deceived by them! They are false teachers whose messages are diametrically opposed to what God states in His inerrant, infallible Word. Those who teach and preach such heresies are all LIARS.

Our job as the Remnant Church, until Jesus comes, is to share the gospel far and wide; we are to warn a lost world that certain judgment lies just over the horizon, and that the vanishing of the Remnant Church must and will occur before the time of Tribulation begins. That mandate has never changed.

Let us tell as many as we can how and why they need a Savior. At some point, that “last Gentile” WILL be saved. And when that happens, then the body/bride will be complete, and the Bridegroom will come for His Bride. Keep looking up. MARANATHA!!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8949

Born Again Christians Continue Declining, Only Minority Believe They Must Share the Gospel: Survey

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter | Dec 1, 2017 7:45 AM

The percentage of born again Christians in America continues declining, a major religious survey has found. And only a minority of the faithful believe they have a strong personal responsibility to share the Gospel.

“Christianity in America is going through a time of substantial challenge. The Church at-large is not likely to grow in the future unless some fundamental changes in practice are made,” said researcher George Barna, speaking about the American Culture & Faith Institute survey results released Tuesday.

“Fewer churches emphasize and equip people for evangelism these days, and the results are obvious and undeniable. The implications of ignoring gospel outreach — especially among children, who are the most receptive audience to the gospel — are enormous. All the ‘church growth’ strategies in the world cannot compensate for the absence of an authentic transmission of the good news of what Jesus Christ has done for humanity.”

The results, drawn from a monthly nationwide survey this year that in total interviewed 9,273 American adults, found that just 31 percent of adults identify as born again, following a trend of decline since 2010.

ACFI warned that the demographic data does not give hope that the trend is likely to reverse in the near future, as older generations are more likely to be born again.

The poll noted that 33 percent of the 65+ age group category and 37 percent of the 50 to 64 group are born again, compared to 31 percent of those in their 30s and 40s, and only 23 percent of adults under 30.

“As older Americans pass away, the population proportion of younger adults will increase, continuing to drive down the born again proportion in the years to come,” the survey argued.

“Children and teenagers are exhibiting a lower likelihood of becoming born again, too, further limiting the possibility of the growth of this segment.”

Still, the research established that youngsters are most likely to accept Jesus Christ as their savior before they finish high school, as two out of every three individuals who become born again do so before the age of 18.

“Another 8 percent do so during the period traditionally thought of as college years (ages 18 to 21); 8 percent more do so from age 22 through 29; and another 8 percent do so during their thirties. Only 9 percent of adults accept Christ as their savior at age 40 or later,” the sruvey noted.

Republicans are more likely (45 percent) to be born again, compared to Democrats (27 percent) and independent voters (26 percent). The survey also found that 51 percent of political conservatives met the born again criteria, compared to only 27 percent of moderates and 19 percent of liberals.

The researchers believe that the decline in born again Christians is largely due to attitudes toward evangelism and salvation. Only 21 percent of adults affirm that they have a strong personal responsibility to share the Gospel with people who hold different views. Among born again Christ followers, 39 percent agree.

“Even more disturbing is the fact that adults are about equally likely to believe that eternal salvation can be earned through personal goodness or good deeds (25 percent) as believe salvation cannot be earned (20 percent). Once again, the profile of born again Christians on this matter was different — but not by as much as might be expected given their personal commitment to and experience of grace-based salvation,” they explained.

Fifty-five percent of Protestants and only 19 percent of Catholics said that eternal salvation is based solely upon their redemption by Christ.

A noteworthy shift in the last two decades, ACFI pointed out, is that 38 percent of Christians now do not identify as Protestant or Catholic, which was “virtually unheard of a quarter-century ago.”

“Today, that point of view is challenging the self-identification of ‘Protestant’ as the national norm. That change corresponds with the widespread decrease in peoples’ loyalty to social institutions and to adopting traditional labels for one’s views and relationships,” the survey stated.

As for the reasons behind decisions to follow Christ, 29 percent of born again Christians pointed to the influence of their parents. Church events influenced 20 percent of conversion decisions, and other family members or relatives influenced 16 percent of decisions to become a Christ follower.

Barna warned in his conclusions that American parents are failing to engage their children in the faith.

“If you eliminate both family and churches as evangelistic influences in a child’s life, what are the chances that the child will have a positive exposure to the gospel? They are very slim,” he said.

“In fact, the research suggests that the greatest hope in such circumstances is that they will face difficult life situations that produce a deeply felt need for a spiritual solution, and that Jesus will be among the options they consider. We are essentially abandoning both the future of the Church in the U.S. and the best interests of our young people through our wholesale dismissal of evangelism and the importance of having Jesus in our lives.”

Observers, such as Chuck Lawless, dean and vice president of Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, have in the past suggested that Christians who don’t evangelize haven’t been “genuinely turning from sin to trust Christ.”

“Deep down, they believe there are multiple ways to God — and no one has intentionally, clearly shown them otherwise from the Scriptures,” Lawless said in July.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8897

Pope Francis Demotes Jesus Christ to Third, and Claims Mary as the Source of Our Hope

By  Nate Brown 05/31/2016

Pope Francis, the Jesuit, now claims that mother mary is the source of our hope, and not Jesus Christ.

The absolute blasphemy sustained in this statement should make every catholic repent and turn to the truth; The Bible, rather than the doctrine of lies, the catholic church.

According to the catholic doctrine, Jesus Christ is third on the list of whom grants us hope. Mary, the mother church, and then Jesus Christ.

“Thus, this is “our hope: we are not orphans, we have mothers”: first of all Mary. And then the Church, who is Mother “when she follows the same path of Jesus and Mary: the path of obedience, the path of suffering, and when her approach is to constantly learn the way of the Lord”.

The blasphemy protruding out of the pope’s mouth should shake the catholic church and turn it towards that of life, which is obtained only through a relationship with Jesus Christ, and not through a church; but rather a personal relationship with The Messiah.

Scripture clearly references Jesus Christ as the hope of our lives, not the church. This statement means that the pope is either; lacking knowledge regarding scripture, or it’s a deliberate plan to build the synagog of satan.

This statement is not the only time the pope has attacked Jesus Christ and nor will it be the last, however not too long ago the pope was also caught singing to lucifer rather than Jesus Christ.

It’s all in the twist. The pope continually twists scriptures to meet his narrative rather than that of Christ. Which clearly should show that the pope has an agenda to bring about the antichrist.

The position and title that Pope Francis has bestowed on Mary is, by his own words, equal or greater than that of the 2nd part of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. And though he has yet to use the words, he has effectually already placed her status firmly at the Godhead level.
Interesting thing, in the book of Revelation and speaking of the Roman Catholic Church, the apostle John writes this about that ‘holy mother church’:

“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. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”Revelation 17:4-6
And that’s what God thinks of the “holy Roman Mother Church”.

The following is the transcript from the pope’s “Morning Meditation from hell

Two women and mothers — Mary and the Church — bring Christ to a third woman, who resembles the first two but is “little”: our soul. The Pope reaffirmed, with these wholly female images, that without the motherhood of Mary and the Church we would not have Christ. “We are not orphans”, he recalled during the Mass celebrated in the chapel at Santa Marta.

Francis highlighted right away that “the Church, in the liturgy, leads us twice, for two days, one after the other, to Calvary”: in fact, “yesterday she made us contemplate the Cross of Jesus, and today his Mother at the Cross” (Jn 19:25-27). In particular, “yesterday she had us speak a word: glorious”. A word which refers to the “Cross of the Lord, because it brings life, it brings us glory”. But “today the strongest word of the liturgy is: Mother”. The Cross is glorious; the Mother humble, gentle”, the Mother whom the liturgy celebrates today as Our Lady of Sorrows.

Meditating on the Mother leads us directly to Jesus as son. Referring to the day’s Reading (Heb 5:7-9), the Pontiff pointed out that “in the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews, Paul emphasizes three strong words, speaking of Jesus the Son: he learned, he obeyed and he suffered”. Jesus, in essence “learned obedience and suffered”. Thus, “it is the opposite of what had befallen our father Adam, who had not learned what the Lord commanded, who had neither suffered nor obeyed”. Moreover, the Pope stated, “this passage from the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us of another passage from the Letter to the Philippians: “although he was in the form of God, he did not consider it an inalienable right; he renounced it, he humbled himself and took the form of a servant. This”, Pope Francis continued, “is the glory of the Cross of Jesus” who “came to the world to learn to be a man and, being man, to walk with men. He came to the world in obedience and he obeyed”. But “this obedience was learned through suffering”.

“Adam left Paradise with a promise”, he proceeded, “which went on throughout many centuries. Today, with this obedience, with this self-denial, this humbling of Jesus, that promise has become hope”. And “the People of God journey with confident hope”.

Mary too, “the Mother, the New Eve, as Paul himself called her, follows this path of her son: she learned, she suffered and she obeyed”. She “became ‘Mother’. We could say that she is the ‘anointed Mother’, the Pontiff affirmed, and the same is true for the Church.

Thus, this is “our hope: we are not orphans, we have mothers”: first of all Mary. And then the Church, who is Mother “when she follows the same path of Jesus and Mary: the path of obedience, the path of suffering, and when her approach is to constantly learn the way of the Lord”.

“These two women — Mary and the Church — carry on the hope which is Christ, they give us Christ, they generate Christ in us”, the Bishop of Rome emphasized. Thus “without Mary, Jesus Christ would not have been; without the Church, we cannot go forward”. They are “two women and two mothers”.

“Mary”, Francis explained, “remained steadfast at the Cross, she was bonded with the son because she had accepted him and she knew, more or less, that a sword awaited her: Simon had told her so”. Mary is “the steadfast Mother”, he continued, “who gives us certainty on this path of learning, of suffering and of obedience”. And Mother Church is also “steadfast when she adores Jesus Christ and she guides us, teaches us, shelters us, helps us on this path of obedience, of suffering, of learning this wisdom of God”.

Moreover, the Pontiff again affirmed, “our soul also takes part in this, when it opens itself to Mary and to the Church: according to monk and abbot, Isaac of Stella, our soul is also female and likewise resembles Mary and the Church”. Thus “today, looking at the Cross, this woman — steadfastly following her son, suffering in order to learn obedience — we see the Church and we see our Mother”. But “we also see our little soul”, which will never be lost if it too continues to be a woman close to those two great women who accompany us in life: Mary and the Church”.

Francis concluded by recalling that “as our fathers left Paradise with a promise, today we are able to go forward with hope: the hope we are given by Mary, steadfast at the Cross, and our hierarchical Holy Mother Church”.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8868

Are ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ and ‘Y-Chromosomal Adam’ Science’s Confirmation of Creation?

Could have told them!

By Yehezkel Laing November 10, 2017 , 7:30 am

“The man named his wife Chava, because she was the mother of all the living.” Genesis 3:20 (The Israel Bible™)

Following the recent trend of congruence between science and Bible in different fields, fresh genetic research suggests that all females are descended from a single female and all males from a single male – corresponding with the Biblical account of Adam and Eve.

For many years the multiregional hypothesis, suggesting multiple origins for humanity, was predominant in genetic research. But new studies suggest that all of humanity has a common origin.

“The Torah has always claimed one common ancestor to all humanity as well as creation ex-nilo,” Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman told Breaking Israel News in response to the finding. “Recent discoveries in these fields seem to confirm these truths.”

The theory was first developed in 1987, when leading science journal Nature published a study investigating humanity’s origins. The study researched mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mother to both daughter and son. Because mitochondrial DNA is only passed on by the mother and never the father, it reveals maternal lineage.

Knowing this, the researchers were able to determine that every human being alive today can trace their ancestry back to a single woman now referred to as “Mitochondrial Eve.”  The original research placed Eve somewhere in East Africa between 140,000 and 200,000 years ago. More recent research suggests she may have lived less than 100,000 years ago.

The study was quickly attacked by other researchers, but subsequent studies confirmed the original findings and the theory is now generally accepted in the scientific community.

Professor Karl Skorecki, an expert on DNA and the discoverer of the “Cohen Gene”, which identifies members of the Jewish priestly caste through genetic testing, explained to Breaking Israel News  how the findings harmonize with the Biblical account.

“Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of all contemporary humans sampled today indicates that all of the different variations in the sequence of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) trace back, or converge to an original sequence in a given woman,” he explained.

“That woman, Mitochondrial Eve, transmitted her mtDNA sequence to her offspring, and over generations slight variations in sequence occurred and accumulated, leading to the diversity of existent sequences in men and women populating the earth today.”

Professor Skorecki said that while the findings confirm a single mother to all humanity, they do not suggest she was the only woman of her time. But this, he pointed out, is harmonious with the Bible, which identifies other human populations at the time of Eve.

Ancestral Adam was found in 1995, when a separate study on male ancestry examined the Y-chromosome, passed directly from father to son. Science published the results of a study in which a segment of the Y-chromosome from 38 men from different ethnic groups were analyzed for variation.

Their conclusion was that every man alive today actually descended from a single man whom scientists now refer to as “Y-Chromosomal Adam.”

“The last fifty years of science, especially in the fields of cosmology and quantum physics, have brought Torah and science together as never before,” Rabbi Trugman noted. “Perhaps now the same will occur within anthropology and Torah.”

“Although the Torah is not a science, history, anthropology, philosophy, or cosmology book in the common sense, it is actually all of these and much more,” he added.

The first studies concluded that “Eve” lived much later than “Adam” – some 140,000 years later. But recent studies indicate that Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam may indeed have lived around the same time.

End-times expert Rabbi Pinchas Winston took the comparison even further than confirming the Biblical account, explaining how he sees the confluence between the scientific view of Eve and the Biblical account as a signal of redemption.

“During the exile there was great Hester Panim – a hiding of God’s face. As a result the Bible became relegated to the back of man’s consciousness,” he said. “At the same time, science at first seemed to diverge from religion.

“But since the Torah is the basic fabric of reality it cannot be hidden forever. As the redemption moves forward and the Jews return home, the Bible is coming back to the forefront of man’s consciousness. Along with this we see a growing harmony between science and the Bible. We have even gotten the point where science is now borrowing concepts from the Bible – such as with Mitochondrial Eve.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8826

Ex-bishops’ doctrine chief says darkness coming to light under Francis

Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, has written Pope Francis to say the pontiff is causing “chronic confusion,” appointing bishops who “scandalize” the faithful, and prompting ordinary Catholics to “lose confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

A former chief of staff for the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, has written Pope Francis to say that his pontificate “has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness,” which, one day, will have to be corrected.

While expressing loyalty to Francis as the “Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock,” Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy nevertheless charges that the pope is:

  • Fostering “chronic confusion.”
  • “Demeaning” the importance of doctrine.
  • Appointing bishops who “scandalize” believers with dubious “teaching and pastoral practice.”
  • Giving prelates who object the impression they’ll be “marginalized or worse” if they speak out.
  • Causing faithful Catholics to “lose confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

“In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew itself, and so continue to grow in holiness,” Weinandy wrote in the letter, which is dated July 31, the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the pope’s Jesuit order.

While covering some of the same ground, Weinandy distanced himself from a recent “filial correction” of Pope Francis issued by a group of scholars and theologians over what signatories described as “heretical positions” that they claimed the pope has “effectively upheld.”

Weinandy said he was not invited to sign the letter, had only “heard rumors” of it, and would not have signed if asked.

“I don’t think it was theologically helpful, or presented in an effective manner,” he said.

Although the concerns in Weinandy’s letter are broadly familiar, his background affords him a degree of prominence.

He served as Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2005 until 2013. Among other things, Weinandy played a key role in a controversial March 2011 bishops’ review of Fordham theologian Elizabeth Johnson, which led to a finding that her book Quest for the Living God “does not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points.”

In 2014, Weinandy was named to the International Theological Commission, the main advisory body to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by Francis, who also gave him the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal in recognition of service to the Church in 2013.

In comments to Crux, Weinandy insisted that he did not write his letter in any official capacity, and he alone is responsible for it.

“I don’t think anyone can, or should, associate my letter with the USCCB or the American bishops,” he said. “Neither was involved in my writing the letter, and its publication will be news to them.”

After receiving a brief reply in mid-October from Italian Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the “substitute” or number two official in the Secretariat of State, dated Sept. 7 and confirming that Weinandy’s letter had been placed before the pope, Weinandy provided the text to Crux and other media outlets.

In the three-page missive, Weinandy makes five basic points.

First, he tells Francis that in his document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, “your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.”

“To teach with such an intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,” Weinandy wrote.

Weinandy also complains that Francis seems “to censor and even mock” those with traditional positions on marriage, styling them as “Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism.”

“This kind of calumny is alien to the Petrine ministry,” he said.

Second, Weinandy objects that Francis too often portrays doctrine as “dead and bookish,” and accuses those concerned with upholding doctrine of turning it into an “ideology.”

“But it is precisely Christian doctrine … that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures them they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel,” he wrote.

Third, Weinandy charges, faithful Catholics are “disconcerted” by the appointment of bishops “who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief, but who support and even defend them.”

Faithful Catholics are also demoralized, Weinandy said, when Francis seems “silent” in the face of the “teaching and pastoral practice” of those bishops, whom he does not name, saying such Catholics “are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

Fourth, Weinandy asserts, the kind of decentralization being pushed by Francis undercuts the Church’s unity.

“Encouraging a form of ‘synodality’ that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion,” he said.

Finally, Weinandy tells Francis he’s stifling legitimate criticism.

“Bishops are quick learners,” he wrote, “and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it,” claiming that many bishops don’t speak out publicly for fear they will be “marginalized or worse.”

In an interview with Crux, Weinandy said his decision to write the letter was not easy, and resulted from what he regards as a moment of inspiration.

It came last May, he said, when he was in Rome for a meeting of the International Theological Commission. He said he spent two different sessions in prayer at St. Peter’s Eucharistic Chapel, struggling to decide if he should speak up. In the middle of a sleepless night, he said, he basically gave God an ultimatum.

“If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign,” Weinandy recalls saying. “Tomorrow morning, I’m going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray, and then I am going to Saint John Lateran.  After that, I’m coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine.”

“During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time, and would never expect to see in Rome at this time.  That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain.  Moreover, that person has to say to me, ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

Sure enough, Weinandy said, exactly that happened the next day, in a chance meeting with an archbishop he’d known a long time ago but not seen for over twenty years, who congratulated him for a book on the Incarnation and then said the right words, “Keep up the good writing.”

“There was no longer any doubt in my mind that Jesus wanted me to write something,” Weinandy said.  “I also think it significant that it was an Archbishop that Jesus used.  I considered it an apostolic mandate.”

Weinandy is aware that might sound a little pretentious, but says it’s important to illustrate his motives.

“I wanted to assure myself that if I wrote something, it was not simply because I had concerns, concerns that may be unfounded.  If I did write something, I wanted it to be of help to Pope Francis, to the Church, and to the faithful,” he said.

“So, in a sense, I wanted to gain God’s approval, and not simply rely on myself,” Weinandy said. “I feel the story shows that I’m attempting to be helpful.”

Despite what Weinandy told Francis about a fear of reprisals, he said he’s not alarmed about possible fallout for himself.

“I am more concerned about the good that my letter might do,” he said.

As to why he chose to go public, Weinandy said “the letter expresses the concerns of many more people than just me, ordinary people who’ve come to me with their questions and apprehensions,” and “I wanted them to know that I listened.”

Weinandy also said he has no plans to promote his criticism of Francis beyond the letter.

“I have done what I believe God wanted me to do,” he said.

It remains to be seen if Weinandy’s letter will trigger a similar reaction as the “filial correction.” In that case, critics suggested the theologians were overstepping their bounds.

Italian philosophy professor Rocco Buttiglione, who was a close friend and adviser of St. Pope John Paul II, charged the theologians were trying to stand as “judges over the pope,” while theologian Robert Fastiggi and author Dawn Eden Goldstein argued that the authors of the correction violated a 1990 Vatican document titled Donum Veritatis on the proper role of Catholic theologians, which says they should make reservations known only “in an evangelical spirit and a profound desire to resolve the difficulties.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8808