Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [Jesus’ return] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” (2 Thess. 2:3, NASB).
Apostasy means to fall away from the truth. Therefore, an apostate is someone who has once believed and then rejected the truth of God. Apostasy is a rebellion against God because it is a rebellion against truth. In the Old Testament, God warned the Jewish people about their idolatry and their lack of trust in Him. In the New Testament, the epistles warn us about not falling away from the truth. Apostasy is a very real and dangerous threat.
The verse at the top of the page tells us that there will be an apostasy that is associated with the appearance of the Antichrist. Most Christians are looking for the arrival of the Antichrist, but very few are looking for “the apostasy” that must come first. The arrival of the Antichrist cannot occur until sufficient apostasy has happened in the world. The Antichrist, who is the ultimate of liars, cannot abide in a world where the truth of God’s Word is taught. This is why the Bible says that the apostasy will come first and then the Antichrist will be revealed.
Therefore, we must, as Christians, ask this question, “Is there an apostasy occurring in the Christian church today?” Some would say no and others yes. But, as we look for the arrival of the Antichrist, should we not also be looking for the arrival of apostasy? And where else should we first look but in our own house for the Bible tells us that judgment will begin in the house of the Lord (1 Peter 4:17).
If there is indeed an apostasy occurring in the Christian Church, we would not know it unless we first examined the Bible closely and then compared the present-day Church to the Word of God. It is only after a standard of truth is established that we would then have a measuring rod by which apostasy can be detected. Therefore, I propose the following list of Biblical truths as a sample of essential Christian and non-essential doctrines by which we might compare other teachings and phenomena. Note this is not absolute, and the nuances of several topics can be debated since not all will agree with the categorization of all points. Still, we need to use the Bible as our standard, and it gives us plenty of information by which we can know what the truth really is.
1. Primary Essentials (Nature and work of Christ)–Cannot deny and be Christian since they are explicitly stated as required in Scripture.
1. Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1, 14, 8:24, Col. 2:9, 1 John 4:1-4).
2. Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21).
3. Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1, Eph. 2:8-9, Gal. 5:1-5).
4. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4, Gal. 1:8-9).
5. There is only one God (Exodus 20:1-3, Isaiah 43:10, 44:6, 8)
2. Secondary Essentials–(Nature of God) Cannot deny and be Christian.
1. God exists as a Trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (See Trinity)
2. Virgin Birth of Jesus–relates to incarnation of Christ as God and man.
3. Primary Non-Essentials (Bible, Church ordinances, and practice)–Denial does not void salvation yet principles are clearly taught in Scripture. Denial suggests apostasy.
1. Male eldership and pastorate (1 Tim. 2:12-13, 3:15, Titus 1:5-7).
2. Fidelity in marriage in heterosexual relationships (1 Cor. 6:9).
3. The condemnation of homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-27).
4. Inerrancy of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16).
4. Secondary Non-Essentials–does not affect one’s salvation relationship with God. Debated within Christianity. Denial or acceptance does not suggest apostasy.
1. Baptism for adults or infants.
2. Predestination, election, and free will.
3. Communion every week, monthly, or quarterly, etc.
4. Saturday or Sunday Worship.
5. Worship with or without instruments, traditional or contemporary.
6. Pre-tribulation rapture, mid-tribulation rapture, post-tribulation rapture.
7. Premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism.
8. Continuation or cessation of the charismatic gifts.
Of course, the non-essentials are debatable (which unfortunately leads to denominational fragmentation). But by way of explanation, the Primary Essentials are those doctrines that the Bible states if they are denied, damnation follows. I have written on this in Essential Doctrines. For brevity, the Bible states that if you deny Jesus is God, you are dead in your sins (John 8:24, 58, cf. Exodus 3:14), if you deny Jesus’ physical resurrection, your faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15:14, cf. John 2:19-21), if you add works to salvation, you are not in Christ (Gal. 3:1-3, 5:1-4) and that if you preach a gospel contrary to what the apostles preached, you are accursed (Gal. 1:8-9, cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Therefore, to deny any of these doctrines, according to Scripture, is to be outside the camp of Christ and invited eternal damnation. This would obviously be apostasy.
The Secondary Essentials are essentials that further clarify orthodoxy, but there is no explicitly Scriptural statement regarding each (that I am aware of) which states that denying them results in damnation the way the Primary Essentials do. The Secondary Essentials deal primarily with the nature of God. The fact that there is one God who is a Trinity is clearly essential to Christian orthodoxy, but there is no Scriptural statement stating that to believe in the Trinity is necessary for salvation. However, that does not mean that denial of the Trinity is acceptable. A person can be saved without knowing about the Trinity. But, since the Trinity is a Biblical truth and the believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit who bears witness of truth, a true Christian will not openly denounce the Trinity once he has been taught it from Scripture. So, it could be said that the Secondary Essentials are essentials to the faith as well as the Primary Essentials are.
The Primary Non-Essentials are Biblical teachings that if denied do not affect one’s salvation. But, because the Bible teaches them, denying them is a sign of apostasy. The Secondary Non-Essentials do not affect one’s position with God, nor do they affirm or deny Biblical teaching since they are debatable. Having differing beliefs in these is not a sign of apostasy–just differences of opinion. Again, I am aware that the categorization of the non-essentials is debatable, but I must draw the line somewhere. Sadly, it is in Secondary non-essential doctrines that most denominational fragmentation occurs. This is a sad display that most division occurs over that which is least important. Furthermore, I believe that it is in the area of the Non-Essentials that apostasy can first be detected.
2 Thessalonians 2
As quoted above, there is a prophecy in 2 Thessalonians about a coming apostasy that is associated with the disclosure of the anti-Christ.
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [Jesus’ return] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” (2 Thess. 2:3, NASB).
Have you been looking for the coming of the anti-Christ? Are you waiting for him to pop up on the world scene? If you are, are you also looking for the related apostasy? Most Christians are looking for the anti-Christ but are not looking for signs of apostasy.
The Bible is God’s Word, and it tells us what is right and wrong. To the degree that anyone disagrees with the truths of God’s Word, to that same degree they are falling away from it. What, then, might be some of the signs of apostasy? I’ve compiled a representative list of issues. You may or may not agree with all of these, but I provide them as food for thought.
1. Denial of basic Christian doctrines such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the deity of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace, and moral absolutes as found in the Bible.
1. God’s Word is true. Deviation from the basics of its truth is surely apostasy.
2. Countless denominational divisions that contradict John 13:35 and 1 Cor. 1:10.
1. Of course, there are bound to be divisions in the body of Christ and differences of opinions are permitted (Rom. 14:1-12). But, the amount of divisions in the Church is ridiculous and contrary to Col. 3:14.
3. Ordination of homosexuals.
1. Homosexuality is clearly condemned in God’s Word (Lev. 18:22, 1 Cor. 6:9). To ordain homosexuals into ministry is clearly contrary to Biblical truth and clearly apostasy.
4. Women elders and pastors.
1. Whether people like it or not in this politically correct environment, the Bible does not support women as elders or as pastors (1 Tim. 2:12-14, 3:2, Titus 1:5-7). Men are called to be leaders in the church. The fact that women elders and pastors exist is a sign that men are not doing their God-given job.
2. Also, if you believe in women pastors and elders, do not dismiss this article. You must always examine yourself to see if what you believe is Biblical.
5. Not preaching the gospel per 1 Cor. 15:1-4.
1. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for our sins. It is not a message of convenience or embarrassment. Do not be ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16).
6. Using the Lord’s name in vain, something a surprising number of Christians do.
1. God’s name and title are to be used only by Christians in a reverent and respectful manner and never in casual exclamation. Just because the sinners do it, does not mean it is okay for the Christians.
7. Not sending out or failing to support missionaries (or cutting back unnecessarily) in violation of Matt. 28:18-20.
1. Carrying out the Great Commission is the command of Jesus. Any church that is able to support missionary work and does not is in direct violation of Christ’s command in the Great Commission.
8. Marketing and merchandising.
1. Those in ministry should make a living from their labor. Churches should seek to spread the gospel best they can and selling things to do it is acceptable. But, how many trinkets and bobbles are offered in the name of Christ that do not honor God but are merely for the purpose of financial gain? Is the duty of the church business or the gospel? Remember how Jesus cleansed the temple?
9. Pastors who are more concerned with growing a church than preaching the truth.
1. Whoever and wherever they are, they need to repent. Pastors must stand on the truth of God’s Word even if it costs them financially and materially.
10. Pastors who don’t pray and seek God’s face.
1. Of course, this should be rare. But, any pastor who does not seek God’s face in humility is seeking to do a job, not a ministry, under his own power.
11. Pastors who cave in to pressures from the church in contradiction to the Word of God.
1. Any pastor who does this should repent now or step down from the pulpit. Pastors are to stand upon and for God’s Word, no matter what the obstacles or the cost.
12. Pastors who fail to equip their congregations according to God’s Word.
1. Pastors are called to equip the Christian for the work of the ministry in all aspects of life (Eph. 4:11): apologetics, evangelism, missionary work, prayer, service, love, etc. Far too many congregations are not being equipped with even the basics of Christianity and are instead being taught political correctness.
13. Pastors who don’t teach damnation.
1. We are not saying that you must preach fire and brimstone all the time. But the fact is the gospel that offends no one is not the gospel of the Bible. The truth of the gospel is that people will face damnation. This is part of the Christian message, and it should be part of Christian preaching.
14. Christians gathering teachers to themselves to make them feel good.
1. Is comfort or truth the primary objective for the Christians? Are we divine in nature or sinners saved by grace? Do we deserve to be saved, or are we saved by God’s free choice? Christians who want merely to be entertained and comforted from the pulpit are still children. They should be challenged to grow and take risks.
1. Denominations that either adopt evolutionary principles or refuse to take a stand on evolution.
Apostasy is all around us in varying degrees. As Christians, we need to be very sure that we are clinging to the truth of God’s Word and resisting the inclusion of liberalism, moral relativism, and the oncoming secularism that is all around us. We need to stand on the Word of God and never be ashamed of the truth of the Gospel:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,” (Rom. 1:16).
Category: False Prophet
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [Jesus’ return] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” (2 Thess. 2:3, NASB).
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7858
Al Mohler | President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary | Wednesday, January 20, 2016
While America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home–biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own, and it’s up to us to fix it.
Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: “Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.
Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.” [see Barna Group’s web site]
Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.
Some of the statistics are enough to perplex even those aware of the problem. A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble.
Secularized Americans should not be expected to be knowledgeable about the Bible. As the nation’s civic conversation is stripped of all biblical references and content, Americans increasingly live in a Scripture-free public space. Confusion and ignorance of the Bible’s content should be assumed in post-Christian America.
The larger scandal is biblical ignorance among Christians. Choose whichever statistic or survey you like, the general pattern is the same. America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.
How can a generation be biblically shaped in its understanding of human sexuality when it believes Sodom and Gomorrah to be a married couple? No wonder Christians show a growing tendency to compromise on the issue of homosexuality. Many who identify themselves as Christians are similarly confused about the Gospel itself. An individual who believes that “God helps those who help themselves” will find salvation by grace and justification by faith to be alien concepts.
Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Bible teaching now often accounts for only a diminishing fraction of the local congregation’s time and attention. The move to small group ministry has certainly increased opportunities for fellowship, but many of these groups never get beyond superficial Bible study.
Youth ministries are asked to fix problems, provide entertainment, and keep kids busy. How many local-church youth programs actually produce substantial Bible knowledge in young people?
Even the pulpit has been sidelined in many congregations. Preaching has taken a back seat to other concerns in corporate worship. The centrality of biblical preaching to the formation of disciples is lost, and Christian ignorance leads to Christian indolence and worse.
This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course. Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical its may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.
Churches must recover the centrality and urgency of biblical teaching and preaching, and refuse to sideline the teaching ministry of the preacher. Pastors and churches too busy–or too distracted–to make biblical knowledge a central aim of ministry will produce believers who simply do not know enough to be faithful disciples.
We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.
This generation must get deadly serious about the problem of biblical illiteracy, or a frighteningly large number of Americans–Christians included–will go on thinking that Sodom and Gomorrah lived happily ever after
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7731
Pope Francis’ Calls for Collaboration With World’s Religions, Those Who ‘Meet God in Different Ways’
By Heather Clark on January 9, 2016218 Comments
ROME — In his first-ever video declaring his “prayer intentions,” the Roman Catholic leader Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis, called for dialogue and collaboration among those of the various world religions on Tuesday, asserting that they are simply “seeking or meeting God in different ways.”
“Most of the planet’s inhabitants declare themselves believers,” he states in the production released on the Feast of Epiphany. “This should lead to dialogue among religions. We should not stop praying for it and collaborating with those who think differently.”
The video then features clips of those from different world religions declaring belief in their various deities.
“I have confidence in Buddha,” a female lama announces.
“I believe in God,” a rabbi affirms.
“I believe in Jesus Christ,” a priest states.
“I believe in Allah,” an Islamic leader declares.
Francis contends that all the religions of the world simply represent mankind’s diversity in seeking God. He says that despite the differing beliefs, everyone is a child of the same God.
“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways,” he states. “In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God.”
The video then provides footage of the pontiff meeting with and embracing those of various religions, including Buddhists, Islamists and Orthodox Jews. It again cuts to representatives of the world’s religions, who now declare the same statement: “I believe in love.”
“I hope you will spread my prayer request this month: that sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce fruits of peace and justice,” Francis states. “I have confidence in your prayers.”
But not everyone is supportive of the Vatican’s call for unity and common ground. Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries of Plano, Texas told Christian News Network that the pontiff’s assertions that all mankind is “seeking or meeting God in different ways,” and that all are children of the same God, are flawed.
“Tragically, those who do not know the Bible or who refuse to submit to it as the supreme authority for truth, will be deceived by the pope’s latest pronouncement,” he stated. “The pope’s assertion that all mankind meets with/seeks after the same God, just in different ways, is false according to the word of God. No one seeks for (the true) God (Rom. 3:11), but there are many who seek after false gods of their own imagination or false gods of their religious traditions. The only way to meet with the true God is His way, through the one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).”
“The word of God reveals that the human race is made up of people who are either children of God or children of the devil (1 John 3:10),” Gendron explained. “The Lord Jesus soundly rebuked the religious leaders of His day for refusing to believe the truth of His Word (John 8:440-43). Jesus told them that their father was the devil, who is the father of lies (John 8:44).”
“This remains true today,” he continued. “The god of this world has created a variety of religions to blind all of his children from the light of the Gospel and the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4).”
Gedron said that in one sense—although not deliberately—Francis is correct as all are children of the darkness by nature, but man only becomes a child of God when he is reborn in Christ.
“Everyone is a child of the ‘god of this world’ until they exchange their religion for a relationship with the one true God through Jesus Christ,” he outlined. “Those who receive Jesus by believing in His name become children of God (John 1:12-13).”
Gendron, a former Roman Catholic, also opined that the pontiff’s ecumenicism is fulfilling prophesy about the formulation of a one world religion.
“As the pope continues to accelerate his ecumenical agenda to rebuild the religious tower of Babel, he will be fulfilling Bible prophecy. All the religions of the world already share a ‘works-righteousness’ salvation and they all are already united by a common spiritual bond,” he said.
“As we see the prophetic one-world religion forming, we know the children of the true God will have no part of it because they have been sanctified by the truth and sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Thes. 2:13),” Gendron stated.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7714
False Prophet Alert: Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven
Michael Day | The Independent | Dec 26, 2015, 10.48 AM IST
In July, Francis signalled a more progressive attitude on sexuality as well.
In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.
Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7690
ROME — Sometimes it’s better to just stay silent rather than call attention to obvious flaws. That could certainly be considered the case when it comes to Rome’s readiness—or seeming lack thereof—ahead of the Vatican’s Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy that kicks off Dec. 8 with the opening of the holy year doors of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Not only is the city a veritable construction site with most Jubilee projects barely underway or slated for completion into the new year, but security forces admit there is no way they can possibly protect pilgrims from becoming prey for terrorists.
The previous Jubilee, under Pope John Paul II in 2000, coincided with the millennium celebrations, and the city took more than seven years to prepare. The church’s event this year follows one of the worst terrorist attacks in Europe, and the city has less than a month to somehow beef up its security enough to detect and deter any threat of attack. The gathering is expected to draw 25 million Catholic pilgrims over 12 months, during which they will have thrice-weekly opportunities to hear Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, which has been described as something like rounding up sheep for a cull.
Since the Paris attacks, many hotels and tour groups have reported cancellations.
“We are preparing for a Jubilee in the time of ISIS,” Italy’s security czar, Franco Gabrielli, who has been given the daunting task of managing security for the event in Rome in the absence of a mayor, said at a press conference laying out the 128-page dossier of plans Friday. “We even have 2,000 extra men dedicated to security.”
Those 2,000 won’t be on duty all at once—“unless there is an event”—and include counterterrorism officials, undercover cops, and snipers who will be atop Rome’s churches during Jubilee-related events. Gabrielli says most of the city of Rome will also be a “no-fly-zone” zone for the entire year, blocking major air traffic from the city’s main airports along with drones and ultra-lite aircraft—the latter two categories, he says, are subject to being shot down if they are spotted.
He also says there will be “special patrols in the periphery of the city based on demographic concerns,” which is a not-so-subtle way of saying they are paying attention to areas where ethnic groups tend to live. Those areas include the city’s refugee centers, mosques, and squat houses. And there will be extra checks at airports and ports, though not if it interferes with the Schengen rules under which Europeans can travel unhindered, he says, making it unclear what extra checks will be in place.
But for all the security that is being touted, there’s much concern that it just won’t be enough. At the press conference Friday, the Jubilee security panel had to defend its readiness to such an extent that it sounded like they were trying to convince themselves, not the press, they are ready. After warning against reporting rumors and false alarms without “an extra check for validity,” they addressed questions like whether or not the Rome cops’ bulletproof vests are too old to be effective. (Apparently they are good for a full 10 years.) They were also held to the fire on whether or not the type of surveillance it would take to thwart an attack ought to already be in place by now to be effective and whether they had anyone under surveillance at the moment, after Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told RAI3 news earlier that authorities are actively searching for five jihadis whose names were given to them by the FBI. The Jubilee security team seemed caught unaware of the news.
One of the reasons that the country lags behind is that Italy, along with many other European nations, has had to tighten its budget over the last several years. At Rome’s Fiumicino airport, there are 40 percent fewer security personnel than there were for the last Jubilee, said Alessandro Di Battista, a member of parliament for the FiveStar movement, adding that “many of them aren’t even able to hit a moving target.”
It’s little wonder that the FBI warned Italian authorities (and Americans) last week that St. Peter’s Square is a high-priority terrorism target “to be avoided,” along with the Duomo and La Scala opera house in Milan. In an email alert sent to all U.S. citizens in Italy, the U.S. embassy in Rome warned of potential attacks on those popular sites along with “general venues such as churches, synagogues, restaurants, theatres, and hotels in both cities are possible targets as well.
“Terrorist groups may possibly utilize similar methods used in the recent Paris attacks,” the warning read. “The Italian authorities are aware of these threats.”
Not exactly a thumbs-up review for travel to Italy.
“It’s absurd to say that all Muslims are terrorists. But it is undeniable that all terrorists come from that context.”
What makes matters worse is a palpable sense of paranoia around the country that starts at the top. A La Stampa correspondent told The Daily Beat that on the island of Sicily, a woman was hauled into the police station for playing Arabic music loud in her car. Muslim-run businesses have reported a drop in business and racist graffiti on the walls.
On Thursday, Gabrielli stopped short of a blatant accusation when he asked the Islamic community in Italy to “take a position” on this month’s terrorist attacks. “It’s absurd to say that all Muslims are terrorists,” he said on camera to an Italian journalist. “But it is undeniable that all terrorists come from that context.” When pressed by the reporter whether all Muslims should be under surveillance, he first said Italy just didn’t have the manpower for that, before tempering his comments. “That would be discriminatory,” he said smiling slyly. “It can’t be done.”
Since the Paris attacks last week, there have been dozens of false alarms, including eight emergency calls in Rome on Thursday alone, which included the discovery of left baggage at Fiumicino, a forgotten suitcase at a bar near the Vatican, and no less than five suspect packages in the city’s subways, which caused police to stop the entire system four different times. On Friday, more abandoned packages were found in the city’s underground, prompting some to joke about why no one has noticed all the garbage before. A mentally ill man apparently waved a rifle at Rome’s San Giovanni hospital, which caused the U.S. embassy to send out another alert with the subject, “Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Armed Individual in Central Rome,” which is not exactly the kind of thing one likes to see in their inbox.
So nervous are the citizens that many are calling on the Vatican to cancel the Jubilee entirely. After all, the Vatican has been in the terrorists’ sights for quite some time. As The Daily Beast reported in October 2014, the ISIS propaganda magazine Dabiq put a picture of the black jihadi flag flying over St. Peter’s Square on its cover under the headline “The Failed Crusade.” “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market,” according to the Dabiq article accompanying the cover photos. “Every Muslim should get out of his house, find a crusader and kill him… And the Islamic State will remain until its banner flies over Rome.”
Making matters even more delicate, last week Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said the Holy See supports military action against ISIS. “The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm,” Parolin said, quoting an old church teaching, and calling to mind the Crusades for some. “For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.”
For Francis, who long ago sold off the papal armored cars (and who refuses to wear a bulletproof vest because, as his spokesman said recently, what’s the point when he rides in an open-top vehicle), the show must go on. “Please, no security doors on the church,” he said at his general audience Wednesday, which had noticeably fewer faithful in the square and noticeably tighter security. “The church must be open.”
Other Vatican officials have said that a Jubilee is just what the world needs right now to give people hope. “Canceling the Jubilee would be totally mistaken,” said Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco. “There absolutely must not be panic among the people, who must regard Rome, the pilgrimage to the Holy Door, with the usual serenity.”
Good luck with that.
In the meantime, the pontiff is planning to visit Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic on an increasingly risky five-day trip that starts Nov. 25. After that, he returns to Rome to kick off the Jubilee, which, quite hopefully, goes off without a bang.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7623
False Prophet Alert
John L. Allen Jr.
Associate editor November 17, 2015
Next month Pope Francis will celebrate his 79th birthday, and by all accounts he remains remarkably vigorous. A brief mini-drama in October about an alleged brain tumor turned out to be fantasy, and both in Rome and on the road he keeps up a pace that would devastate most ordinary mortals.
There’s no reason to believe his papacy is nearing an end, and every reason to think it’s full steam ahead.
On the other hand, Francis has dropped hints that his might be a relatively brief run, and he’s also spoken approvingly about the example set by Pope Benedict XVI in resigning. Given his capacity for surprise, it’s entirely possible he’ll blindside the world with a decision to step aside just when it’s least expected.
No matter how things play out, it’s never too early to have an eye on what might come next – in part because it speaks to the future of the Church, and, in part because, let’s face it, such speculation is just fun.
Over the weekend, we got an intriguing X-ray of where things might stand should a transition in the papacy suddenly beckon. It came in a Vatican statement confirming the 12 prelates elected at the recent Synod of Bishops on the family to the “Ordinary Council,” meaning the body that will oversee synod operations until the next general assembly.
Versions of these names had already been reported, but the Vatican delayed making them official until Pope Francis decided on three additional figures to add by personal appointment.
The 12 prelates elected by the synod are:
• Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria
• Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban, South Africa
• Cardinal Oscar Rodriguzez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras
• Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
• Cardinal George Pell of Australia, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy
• Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
• Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India
• Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines
• Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, United Kingdom
• Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
• Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, United States
• Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy
The three prelates named by Francis are:
• Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq
• Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid, Spain
• Archbishop Sérgio da Rocha of Brasília, Brazil
To begin, it’s important to stipulate that elections to a synod council are an inexact measure of who might get a look in a papal conclave.
For one thing, they’re drawn from prelates who actually took part in the synod, and on any given occasion several papabili, meaning papal contenders, aren’t in the mix. (This time, for instance, the most serious American contender last time around, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, wasn’t in the synod.) For another, all the bishops in a synod vote for the council, but the electors in a papal ballot are exclusively cardinals.
Also, election to the council sometimes can be more a measure of the unique dynamics of a synod rather than an overall index of someone’s standing.
One could read the support for Pell, for instance, partly as a reaction to the controversy that erupted over a letter to the pope he helped organize at the beginning of the synod expressing concern over its procedures. It would be a way for prelates to say that whatever echo the affair had in the media, it didn’t alter the regard in which they hold Pell.
Similarly, some of the votes drawn by Chaput may have been a “thank you” for his labors in hosting the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia just before the synod began.
That said, elections to a synod council are still significant, largely because they’re about the only time that possible future popes face an open ballot among their fellow prelates.
So, what did we learn?
For one thing, the next conclave may struggle to find consensus.
Of the 12 elected prelates, six (Schönborn, Rodriguez, Gracias, Tagle, Nichols, and Forte) were associated with reform positions during the synods on the family, while five (Napier, Pell, Ouellet, Sarah, and Chaput) were seen as strong conservative voices. Turkson profiled more or less as non-aligned, with a foot in each camp.
The results are probably honest in reflecting sentiment inside the synod, but they also present a picture of a divided body of bishops.
In that light, a key question is which of these prelates might be positioned to attract cross-over support.
From the progressive side, the 70-year-old Schönborn could be such a figure.
He’s a Dominican who for much of his career was seen as a strong John Paul II/Benedict XVI bishop, and still has plenty of friends and admirers in more conservative Catholic circles. Among the most cosmopolitan figures in the College of Cardinals, Schönborn also draws good reviews for his personal graciousness and intellectual firepower.
As the synod rolled on, Schönborn was sort of its E.F. Hutton – when he talked, people listened, because they knew his utterances would be interesting.
From the conservative camp, the 71-year-old Ouellet remains a compelling personality.
Despite aligning with the opposition to Communion for the divorced and remarried, Ouellet avoided being drawn into the public fireworks surrounding the synod. He’s seen as a figure of deep personal humility and integrity, and as the Vatican’s prime mover in the naming of bishops for the past five years, he’s got a wide network of friends in high places.
Conservatives might prefer to consolidate around an African candidate, although it’s an open question whether either Sarah or Napier would have enough traction.
Sarah, for instance, might come off as a touch extreme — during the synod, he referred to both gender ideology and ISIS as “apocalyptic beasts” — and cardinals who head dioceses might also wonder whether, at 15 years and counting, he’s been in Rome too long to be in touch with life in the trenches.
As a result, it may be that the most compelling candidates from the developing world, as measured by the synod elections, are Turkson of Ghana and Tagle of the Philippines.
Both are relatively young, with Turkson at 67 and Tagle at 58, yet both are well-seasoned in major leadership roles. Both are articulate, charismatic, and likely would have strong support among those committed to continuity with Pope Francis.
Of the two, Turkson may have a better shot at backing across party lines. He’s the public face of Francis’ press on climate change, for example, but he’s also something of a hawk on Islamic extremism. (In 2012, Turkson stirred controversy at a different synod of bishops by playing an alarmist Youtube video warning of a Muslim takeover in Europe.)
At the moment, all this is no more than an amusing parlor game, for the obvious reason that there’s no conclave in the offing. The dynamics can, and almost certainly will, change between now and whenever that happens.
Yet the synod elections nevertheless offer a reminder of one key insight about a papal succession.
In the abstract, one can sit down and design a profile of a perfect pope, and heading into the next conclave many cardinals and pundits alike will doubtless do exactly that. In the end, however, it boils down to who’s realistically on offer — and for now, these 12 prelates certainly fit that bill.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7605
8:00AM EDT 9/30/2015 Michael Snyder
Have you heard of “the global goals”? If you haven’t heard of them by now, rest assured that you will be hearing plenty about them in the days ahead.
On September 25th, the United Nations launched a set of 17 ambitious goals that it plans to achieve over the next 15 years. A new website to promote this plan has been established, and you can find it right here. The formal name of this new plan is “the 2030 Agenda”, but those behind it decided that they needed something catchier when promoting these ideas to the general population. The U.N. has stated that these new “global goals” represent a “new universal Agenda” for humanity. Virtually every nation on the planet has willingly signed on to this new agenda, and you are expected to participate whether you like it or not.
Some of the biggest stars in the entire world have been recruited to promote “the global goals”.
If you live in New York City, you are probably aware of the “Global Citizen Festival” that was held in Central Park on Saturday where some of the biggest names in the music industry promoted these new “global goals”. The following is how the New York Daily News described the gathering:
“It was a party with a purpose.
“A star-studded jamboree and an impassioned plea to end poverty rocked the Great Lawn in Central Park as more than 60,000 fans gathered Saturday for the fourth-annual Global Citizen Festival.
“The feel-good event, timed to coincide with the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, featured performances by Beyoncé, Pearl Jam, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.”
And it wasn’t just the entertainment industry that was promoting this new U.N. plan for a united world. Pope Francis traveled to New York to give the address that kicked off the conference where this new agenda was unveiled:
“Pope Francis gave his backing to the new development agenda in an address to the U.N. General Assembly before the summit to adopt the 17-point plan opened, calling it “an important sign of hope” at a very troubled time in the Middle East and Africa.
“When Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen struck his gavel to approve the development road map, leaders and diplomats from the 193 U.N. member states stood and applauded loudly.
“Then, the summit immediately turned to the real business of the three-day meeting — implementation of the goals, which is expected to cost $3.5 trillion to $5 trillion every year until 2030.”
OK, so where will the trillions of dollars that are needed to implement these new “global goals” come from?
Let me give you a hint – they are not going to come from the poor nations.
When you read over these “global goals”, many of them sound quite good. After all, who wouldn’t want to “end hunger”? I know that I would like to “end hunger” if I could.
The key is to look behind the language and understand what is really being said. And what is really being said is that the elite want to take their dream of a one world system to the next level.
The following list comes from Truthstream Media, and I think that it does a very good job of translating these new “global goals” into language that we can all understand …
• Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
• Translation: Centralized banks, IMF, World Bank, Fed to control all finances, digital one world currency in a cashless society
• Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
• Translation: GMO
• Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
• Translation: Mass vaccination, Codex Alimentarius
• Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
• Translation: U.N. propaganda, brainwashing through compulsory education from cradle to grave
• Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
• Translation: Population control through forced “Family Planning”
• Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
• Translation: Privatize all water sources, don’t forget to add fluoride
• Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
• Translation: Smart grid with smart meters on everything, peak pricing
• Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
• Translation: TPP, free trade zones that favor megacorporate interests
• Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
• Translation: Toll roads, push public transit, remove free travel, environmental restrictions
• Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
• Translation: Even more regional government bureaucracy like a mutant octopus
• Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
• Translation: Big brother big data surveillance state
• Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
• Translation: Forced austerity
• Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
• Translation: Cap and Trade, carbon taxes/credits, footprint taxes
• Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
• Translation: Environmental restrictions, control all oceans including mineral rights from ocean floors
• Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
• Translation: More environmental restrictions, more controlling resources and mineral rights
• Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
• Translation: U.N. “peacekeeping” missions (ex 1, ex 2), the International Court of (blind) Justice, force people together via fake refugee crises and then mediate with more “U.N. peacekeeping” when tension breaks out to gain more control over a region, remove 2nd Amendment in USA
• Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
• Translation: Remove national sovereignty worldwide, promote globalism under the “authority” and bloated, Orwellian bureaucracy of the U.N.
If you doubt any of this, you can find the official document for this new U.N. agenda right here. The more you dig into the details, the more you realize just how insidious these “global goals” really are.
The elite want a one world government, a one world economic system and a one world religion. But they are not going to achieve these things by conquest. Rather, they want everyone to sign up for these new systems willingly.
The “global goals” are a template for a united world. To many, the “utopia” that the elite are promising sounds quite promising. But for those that know what time it is, this call for a “united world” is very, very chilling.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7512