Criticizing Pastors, Conspiracy Theorists and Serving the Body

by Cris D. Putnam

This post comes from several responses I have made recently on facebook and in emails concerning topics like prophecy, the NWO, transhumanism and various other conspiracy theories. I have always been interested in weird stuff and trade in ideas outside the box of most folks. I have found that there is a considerable body of Christ followers that share my off beat interests and I have made it my ministry to serve them. Because I know that I lean toward “conspiracy thinking” I found this podcast The Umbrella Man and Conspiracy Thinking  by Christian philosopher Kenneth Samples very interesting and a little convicting. If you are a conspiriologist, I suggest giving it a listen and examining yourself.

Even so, I think the Bible supports a conspiratorial worldview in the sense that we are engaged in spiritual warfare with powers and principalities (Eph 6:12) and that things are seldom as they seem on the surface e.g. “And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light” (2 Co 11:14). We are called on to be “shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.” (Mt 10:16) Yet we need to be very cautions about potentially making false accusations and doing the devil’s handy work as an “accuser of the brethren” (Rev 12:10). It is important to make a distinction between what is speculation and what is known with certainty. In conspiracy forums, too many times, I see theories become absolutes.

I also bring this up because several well meaning folks have lamented to me that pastors are avoiding a certain topic or asking why they are afraid to preach about “insert favorite conspiracy theory here.” I think we need to be more charitable with our pastors and remind ourselves of their role. Pastors have to deal with families, marriages, divorces, adultery, problems with kids, people with cancer and other diseases, deaths, horrible sins of all sorts, so remember the very painful and difficult realities of daily existence are always in front of them. Those items alone can be overwhelming for a pastor. When you spend your day consoling a parent whose baby just died, driving to a nursing home to comfort a stroke victim and then perhaps conducting  a funeral or maybe a wedding, an issue like “Prince Charles could be the antichrist” seems fanciful and unimportant. We must acknowledge that a lot of this sort of information is speculative. Topics like the NWO, the nephilim, or even the prophecy of the popes are on the fringe and frankly there is a lot of nonsense mixed in with the material which is valid. Because it is important for pastors to maintain a level of credibility in dealing with the hard issues of regular life, I cannot fault them for being hesitant to  jump on the bandwagon. However, that is where there is room for Christians with those interests to make a contribution. If this is your area of interest, then it is your ministry and you are called to do it with excellence (1 Cor 10:31). That means you should do your best to think critically and parse the information you present for accuracy. There is certainly a role for “out of the box thinking” but always remember, no matter what you do, you are serving the Lord and you are a minister, so take your ministry seriously.

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. So the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But now God has placed the parts, each one of them, in the body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body. So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” nor again the head to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, all the more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. But our presentable parts have no need ⌊of clothing⌋. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.(1 Co 12:12-26)

PID Interview on Petrus Romanus

Tom and I recorded this interview yesterday with Derek and Sharon Gilbert. I thought it went well and I was able to discuss the origin and history of the prophecy of the popes in some detail. (click the title below to access the podcast)

P.I.D. Radio 2/26/12: Peter the Roman – The Final Pope

Cris Putnam and Tom Horn join us to discuss their forthcoming book, Petrus Romanus: The FINAL Pope is Here.  They tell us why they began to take the prophecy of St. Malachy seriously, the evidence that lends it credence, and what it means in light of reports that Pope Benedict may not live out the year.

The Prophecy of the Popes & the 2012 Connection

The Belgian Jesuit Rene Thibaut’s book, The Mysterious Prophecy of the Popes, has unlocked an entirely different means of investigating the prophecy of the pope’s fulfillment that no one else seems to have imagined possible. His work is deeply mystical and prohibitively complex to explain exhaustively. It is also out of print, exceedingly rare, and written in French which makes it exorbitantly inaccessible to all but the most dedicated. We can only claim to be scratching the surface of what he presents. Frankly, we are astounded that the 2012 meme of the last few years did not bring this forgotten volume to light. Please note that we do realize that date-setting has a well-documented 100 percent failure rate but, even so, we must acknowledge, there it is, 2012, brazened all over the pages of this 1951 tome. The simplest calculation which derives 2012 for the last pope is based on extrapolating the average papal reign of eleven years. Forty popes times eleven years is four hundred forty years: 40 x 11 = 440 Add that to the year 1572 (the year the genuine portion of the prophecy begins) and you land in 2012: 440 + 1572 = 2012 Although Thibaut wrote in 1951, we continued his thesis forward by adding the additional popes. The average eleven-year reign he predicted held true through John Paul II. It certainly did not have to. This was a risky prediction and it was confirmed. If John Paul I had lived a normal lifespan and held a much longer reign instead of dying mysteriously after thirty-three days, this trend might have ended. We even used papal reigns in days to get 1/365th accuracy and our results not only confirmed Thibaut’s work but revealed a potential we did not expect. The following is a chart rendered from a software spread sheet we used to verify Thibaut’s theory:  

Pope (Reign) Prophecy Days Reign in Years
Gregory XIII (May 13, 1572 to April 10, 1585) 72. Medium corpus pilarum “Half body of the balls” 4715 12.90924568
Sixtus V ( April 24, 1585 to August 27, 1596) 73. Axis in medietate signi“Axle in the midst of a sign” 4143 11.34316115
Urban VII (September 15, 1590 to September 27, 1590) 74. De rore caeli “From the dew of the sky” 12 0.03285492
Gregory XIV (December 5, 1590 to October 15, 1591) 75. Ex antiquitate Urbis “Of the antiquity of the city” 314 0.859703742
Innocent IX (October 29, 1591 to December 30, 1591) 76. Pia civitas in bello “Pious city in war” 62 0.16975042
Clement VIII (January 30, 1592 to March 3, 1605) 77. Crux Romulea “Cross of Romulus” 4781 13.08994774
Leo XI (April 1, 1605 to Saturday, April 27, 1605) 78. Undosus vir “Wavy man” 26 0.07118566
Paul V (May 16, 1605 to Sunday, January 28, 1621) 79. Gens perversa “Corrupted nation” 5736 15.70465179
Gregory XV (February 9, 1621 to July 8, 1623) 80. In tribulatione pads “In the trouble of peace” 879 2.406622895
Urban VIII (August 6, 1623 to July 29, 1644) 81. Lilium & rosa “Lily and rose” 7663 20.98060437
Innocent X (September 15, 1644 to January 7, 1655) 82. Iucunditas cruds “Delight of the cross” 3766 10.31096908
Alexander VII (April 7, 1655 to May 22, 1667) 83. Montium custos “Guard of the mountains” 4428 12.1234655
Clement IX (June 20, 1667 to December 9, 1669) 84. Sydus olorum “Star of the swans” 903 2.472332735
Clement X (April 29, 1670 to July 22, 1676) 85. De flumine magno “From a great river” 2276 6.231483172
Innocent XI (September 21, 1676 to August 12, 1689) 86. Bellua insatiabilis “Insatiable beast” 4708 12.89008031
Alexander VIII (October 6, 1689 to February 1, 1691) 87. Pœnitentia gloriosa “Glorious penitence” 483 1.322410533
Innocent XII (July 12, 1691 to September 27, 1700 ) 88. Rastrum in porta “Rake in the door” 3365 9.213067168
Clement XI (November 23, 1700 to March 19, 1721) 89. Flores drcundati “Surrounded flowers” 7421 20.31803015
Innocent XIII (May 8, 1721 to May 29, 1724) 90. De bona religione “From good religion” 1117 3.058245476
Benedict XIII (May 29, 1724 – February 21, 1730) 91. Miles in bello“Soldier in War” 2094 5.733183551
Clement XII (July 12, 1730 – February 6, 1740) 92. Columna excelsa “Lofty column” 3496 9.571733379
Benedict XIV (August 17, 1740 to May 3, 1758) 93. Animal rurale“Country animal” 6457 17.67868491
Clement XIII (July 6, 1758 to February 2, 1769) 94. Rosa Umbriae“Rose of Umbria” 3864 10.57928426
Clement XIV (May 18, 1769 to September 22, 1774) 95. Ursus velox“Swift bear” 1953 5.347138241
Pius VI (February 15, 1775 to August 29, 1799) 96. Peregrinus apostolicus “Apostolic pilgrim” 8961 24.53441156
Pius VII (March 14, 1800 to August 20, 1823) 97. Aquila rapax “Rapacious eagle” 8559 23.43377174
Leo XII (September 28, 1823 to February 10, 1829) 98. Cants & coluber“Dog and adder” 1962 5.371779431
Pius VIII (March 31, 1829 to December 1, 1830) 99. Vir religiosus “Religious man” 610 1.670125103
Gregory XVI (February 2, 1831 to June 1, 1846) 100. De balneis Ethruriae “From the baths of Tuscany” 5598 15.32682021
Pius IX (June 16, 1846 to February 7, 1878) 101. Crux de cruce“Cross from cross” 11,559 31.64750175
Leo XIII (February 20, 1878 to July 20, 1903) 102. Lumen in caelo“Light in the sky” 9280 25.40780485
St. Pius X (August 4, 1903 to August 20, 1914) 103. Ignis ardens“Burning fire” 4034 11.04472896
Benedict XV (September 3, 1914 to January 22, 1922) 104. Religio depopulata “Religion depopulated” 2698 7.386881195
Pius XI (February 6, 1922 to February 10, 1939) 105. Fides intrepida“Intrepid faith” 6213 17.01063486
Pius XII (March 2, 1939 to October 9, 1958) 106. Pastor angelicus“Angelic shepherd” 7154 19.58700818
John XXIII (October 28 , 1958 to June 3, 1963) 107. Pastor & nauta “Shepherd and sailor” 1679 4.596950899
Paul VI (June 21, 1963 to August 6, 1978) 108. Flos florum“Flower of flowers” 5525 15.12695278
John Paul I (August 26, 1978 to September 28, 1978) 109. De medietate lunae“From the midst of the moon” 33 0.09035103
John Paul II (October 16, 1978 to April 2, 2005) 110. De labore solis“From the labor of the sun” 9665 26.4619002
Benedict XVI (April 19, 2005 – April 29, 2012 ) 111. Gloria olivae“Glory of the olive” 2567 7.028214984
? 112. Petrus Romanus“Peter the Roman”

Average Reign

Average reign 1572 to 1951 (@ when Thibaut published) 11.05255156
Average reign 1572 to 2005 (through John Paul II) 11.1055246
Average reign if Benedict XVI is no longer pope by April 29, 2012 = 11.00359186
Days in a year = 365.2421
Thibaut’s Formula = 40 popes x average 11-year reign = 440 years
Arrival of Petrus Romanus = 1572 + 440 = 2012

  What makes this particularly interesting is that if Pope Benedict were to step down in April, it would yield a near-perfect eleven. Thibaut did not use decimal numbers, so anytime during 2012 would verify he got it right. He simply predicted it would be in the year 2012. Even so, you can imagine our shock as we were translating this from French when we saw this story (click hyperlink below):

Media say Pope may resign in April

  If so, then Thibaut was spot on back in 1951. The eleven year average could have been falsified. What if John Paul I had enjoyed a ten year pontificate? Many events could have rendered Thibaut’s work invalid but here we are in 2012 and things are falling neatly in place. We promise the average papal reign calculation is only the beginning. He derives the year 2012 from several other methods of cryptographic analysis form the Latin text of the prophecy of the popes. In Petrus Romanus we painstaking walk you through a few of the calculations. If we weren’t absolutely certain that this was published in 1951, we would accuse the author of going to extravagant lengths to derive 2012. However, we can think of no obvious reason the Jesuit mathematician would want to derive 2012 other than he believed it to be the case. The year 2012 was not even on the radar in 1951, and Thibaut died in 1952. It certainly did not make him famous and his book is now extremely obscure. 2012 is upon us and the buzz from the Vatican only seems to confirm the prophecy.  

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First Century Gospel of Mark Discovered!

Why is this so important? It has great potential to promote the Gospel! Why? Because skeptics claim that the accounts of Jesus of Nazareth are the product of legendary development. In other words they allow that He was a wise man and a good teacher but argue that the early evangelists exaggerated his life and ministry manufacturing miracles and prophetic predictions from whole cloth. The Gospel of Mark claims that Jesus was able to raise the dead (Mk 5:41) and that he predicted future events:

And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”(Mk 13:2)

While we must rely on the word of the witnesses for the raising of Jarius’ daughter, there is plenty of external evidence confirming that Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of the temple came to pass. What we lack is proof that it was written down prior to AD 70 when it came to pass. Thus, if a manuscript of Mark is convincingly dated prior to AD 70 then we have a major authentication of Jesus’ supernatural ability. Accordingly, I expect a lot of push back on the dating of the manuscript. I pray the Lord will mercifully bless the skeptical world with more evidence as the time of His return draws near.

Dr. Wallace: Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered?


Petrus Romanus: Why Study the Prophecy of the Popes?

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2).

We’ve gotten a lot of questions from our Christian friends asking why we would bother to study a questionable Catholic prophecy. When we began researching the prophecy, we started with a healthy dose of skepticism. In light of the Counter Reformation and the Vatican’s well-documented trail of forgeries, one might suspect the prophecy of the popes to be some sort of manipulation. As we initially delved into the scholarship on the subject, our worst suspicions seemed to be confirmed. Early on, the evidence that the pre-1590 prophecies were written after the fact was so convincing that we considered shelving the project. However, there were a few remarkable twentieth-century fulfillments like Benedict XV, assigned the motto Religio depopulate, that merited serious pause. There is well-documented history of the prophecy in the sixteenth century, so any fulfilled mottos after that time demand serious consideration.


Even more, as our research progressed, unresolved issues fell into place and yielded unexpected results. We have uncovered a wealth of source material seldom mentioned in the popular literature. At worst, we have a Jesuit hoax or some papal propaganda. If that is the case, then at the very least this work provides a platform to refute some errors in Catholic theology. We have no illusions of grandeur. We do not fancy ourselves as end-time prophets with special revelation. Even so, there is something remarkable about the fortune we have encountered in the research. We still question ourselves, “Is this prophecy really genuine? Are we being led astray?” We believe there is strong chance Rome is intentionally promoting the prophecy, even though it seems most Jesuits have called it a forgery. We have to wonder if it is disinformation. We would not put it past Rome to arrange events in accordance with a Catholic prophecy and in some cases they clearly have. Even so, some of the fulfillments are beyond human control. While we believe demons can make educated guesses and manipulate events to give the illusion of prophecy, only God can inspire real prophecy (Isaiah 46:9–10). In light of all of the forgery and occultism associated with Rome, why would the God of the Bible inspire such a prophecy? We offer three considerations.


First, let us offer a very simple rationale. God uses the most unlikely events to accomplish His sovereign purpose. He is uniquely capable of turning the tables in unexpected ways. Think of how God used Satan’s diabolic designs against Jesus. Satan played right into to the Father’s hands, ensured his own defeat and surrendered the atonement for sins of the world (1 John 2:2). The cosmic inquisition was ended when Satan, the cosmic grand inquisitor, defeated himself. It seems just that his earthly counterpart (“grand inquisitor”) meet a similar fate. Through the cross of Calvary, God effectively, “spoiled principalities and powers [Satan and demons], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). In the prophecy of the popes, Mystery Babylon and her Pontifex Maximi are similarly made a public horror as the City of Seven Hills is engulfed in flames. It is truly chilling to imagine.


Second, it seems from the Scriptures that God has a sense of irony that is second to none. Even a cursory reading of the Old Testament will yield God pouring out His emotions in the livid, sardonic tones of a jilted lover, “And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring” (Le 17:7a); and “Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation” (Judges 10:14). Consider how the Prophet Elijah taunts the priests of Baal, “Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked” (1 Ki 18:27). However this is one of the places where the translators shielded the reader from an unsightly detail that is visible in the English Standard Version’s rendering of the Hebrew, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself…” (1 Kings 18:27a, ESV). The point is that God appreciates irony and often employs sarcasm. He also appreciates a clever riddle (Proverbs 25:2).


Third, God often uses the most unlikely people. From a Catholic perspective, we offer the words of Pope Benedict XIV: “The recipients of prophecy may be angels, devils, men, women, children, heathens, or gentiles; nor is it necessary that a man should be gifted with any particular disposition in order to receive the light of prophecy provided his intellect and senses be adapted for making manifest the things which God reveals to him. Though moral goodness is most profitable to a prophet, yet it is not necessary in order to obtain the gift of prophecy.”[i] While we are duly cautious to agree with a pope, it is helpful to recall Nebuchadnezzar’s dream from Daniel 2. God chose to reveal a prophecy spanning from 605 BC through the second coming of Christ to an arrogant narcissistic pagan king. Of course, it required God’s holy servant, Daniel, to interpret the dream. Similarly, God used Balaam, a sorcerer hired by Balak, a Moabite king, who was exceedingly fearful of the encroaching multitude of Israelites. Accordingly, the king sent for Balaam, a darkened wizard who now lives in prophetic infamy (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14). Despite Balaam’s incorrigible status, God used him to prophesy, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult” (Numbers 24:17).


Ronald Allen, professor of Hebrew Scripture at Western Baptist Seminary writes, “In agreement with many in the early church and in early Judaism, we believe this text speaks unmistakably of the coming of the Messiah. That this prophecy should come from one who was unworthy makes it all the more dramatic and startling.”[ii] Thus, we see that God uses the most unlikely characters and situations to get His message across. This Pethorian prophecy was well over one thousand years before the birth of Christ and from a hostile source yet it is probably what led the Magi to Bethlehem. The nameless author of the allegedly lost La profezia used Balaam as an example as well, remarking that the gift of prophecy, “is essentially a free supernatural gift, in which God certifies the truth of His faith by communicating to different souls, sometimes even infidels like Balaam, in whom altered states have occurred inspiring them spontaneously to speak marvelously of the most sublime mystery of God.”[iii] If we conclude the prophecy of the popes is authentic prophecy, then it is so impossibly ironic and judiciously just that it must indeed be divine. So, we must decide where to draw the line between the authentic and the forged


To be continued next week.

Website for Petrus Romanus here:

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[i] Benedict XIV, Heroic Virtue III, 144:150.

[ii] Kenneth L. Barker, Expositorś Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition: Old Testament) (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 216.

[iii] La profezia dei sommi pontefici, 1794, p. 15. Translation CD Putnam.