Ψευδοπροφήτης (False Prophet) Francis Encourages Atheists Again

By Cris Putnam
pope-francisPaul warned Timothy, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” (2 Ti 4:3). Of course such misleading teaching has been occurring ever since Paul’s day but the Universalist rhetoric from Rome is becoming astounding. Pope Frank is doing back flips for the approval of the world albeit this says more about Frank than then world (Jn 15:19).

That’s right, Pope Frank is at it again… telling atheists they get a free pass to heaven without accepting the Gospel that is.  Of course, this is not the first time as he said it back in May (here and here) but the Vatican was quick to post a reply that,  “no atheists surely do go to hell” here. Appaently the so-called infallible vicar begs to differ and has written a letter to the editor of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica indicating his opinion that atheists who obey their conscience merit God’s favor and apparently are so justified to salvation.

A good Bible dictionary defines sin as “the failure or refusal of human beings to live the life intended for them by God their creator.”[1] However, Pope Frank does not understand the basic concept of sin and allows that atheists who obey their conscience (no matter how seared) are justified by their good works. Pope Frank writes:

First of all, you ask me if the God of Christians forgives one who doesn’t believe and doesn’t seek the faith. Premise that – and it’s the fundamental thing – the mercy of God has no limits if one turns to him with a sincere and contrite heart; the question for one who doesn’t believe in God lies in obeying one’s conscience. Sin, also for those who don’t have faith, exists when one goes against one’s conscience. To listen to and to obey it means, in fact, to decide in face of what is perceived as good or evil. And on this decision pivots the goodness or malice of our action.[2]

Apparently the ψευδοπροφήτης wants us to believe the issue for those who do not believe in God is to merely obey their conscience. Not so… God demands they repent of their unbelief. While God certainly wants us to behave in morally virtuous ways, good actions are not what merits God’s ultimate approval. In justification, God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believer, which cancels God’s judgment on the believer. A truly biblical Christian theology leads to the conclusion expressed by Baptist theologian Dr. Millard Erickson:

Justification is a forensic act imputing the righteousness of Christ to the believer; it is not an actual infusing of holiness into the individual. It is a matter of declaring the person righteous, as a judge does in acquitting the accused. It is not a matter of making the person righteous or altering his or her actual spiritual condition.[3]

So it follows that no one earns their salvation. Justification is by faith alone (Rom3:28). An idea that is expounded on and clarified in Ephesians:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.(Eph 2:4–9)

While Frank is correct that disobeying one’s conscience constitutes sin (1 Cor 8:28-29), he misses the mark by a wide margin. Scripture is clear that “everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). Unbelief is sin. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6). Jesus taught that the mile-wide road advocated by Pope Frank amounts to a false Gospel:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mt 7:13–14).

The terms “few” and “narrow” seem to escape the pontiff. He is indeed a false prophet of the worst sort. He is pied piper to perdition encouraging the atheist in his rebellious suppression of the truth  (Rom 1:18). This is exactly the sort of false teaching we expect from the one with “horns like a lamb, who speaks like a dragon.” (Re 13:11)



[1] Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 951.

[2] “Pope Francis’ Letter to the Founder of “La Repubblica” Italian Newspaper” Vatican City, September 11, 2013 accessed September 12, 2013,  http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-letter-to-the-founder-of-la-repubblica-italian-newspaper?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+zenit%2Fenglish+%28ZENIT+English%29

[3]Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology., 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 969.

Free Videos Geisler and Rosenberg Address Replacement Theology

I wanted to post this because it is a really good deal to get access to a conference like this which occurred only a few days ago. The below is from Joel Rosenberg.

Today, unfortunately, there are millions of people who believe that God has rejected Israel and the Jewish people. Some don’t believe the Old Testament Scriptures ever indicated that God sovereignly chose Israel to bless her, and chose to make her a blessing to all the families of the earth, and that He also sovereignly promised to give the Jewish people the land of Israel as an “everlasting possession.” Others believe that yes, the Old Testament made those promises, but that the New Testament changed or modified or even abrogated those promises. Such views are known as “Replacement Theology,” or “supercessionism,” or sometimes as “fulfillment theology.”Tragically, such thinking among church leaders in Germany in the early 1900s created a poisonous, anti-Semitic environment which Adolf Hitler latched onto, rode to power, and then manipulated for the “Final Solution” and the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust. Replacement theology won’t necessarily lead to genocide. But it can, and it has. Not all who hold various forms of Replacement Theology are anti-Semitic. Some are just misinformed or misguided. And misguided bad theology can lead to misguided actions.

At The Joshua Fund’s 2012 Epicenter Conference, we invited some of the world’s foremost Bible scholars and theologians in these areas to walk us through these sensitive and controversial issues. I’m so grateful to report that not only did they do a brilliant job, they also communicated in a way that was easy — even enjoyable — to understand. Here are links to three important videos from the conference on these issues. I hope you find them helpful and will pass them along to others to watch and consider, as well.

See: http://www.epicenterconference.com/

The Papacy as Antichrist: the Dawn of the Reformation


By Cris D. Putnam

During the fourteenth century, the Waldenses, a truly evangelical group known for their remarkable holiness and simple lifestyle, published a treatise designed to prove that the papal system was Antichrist. This was a remarkable change in position from their earlier position in The Noble Lesson that taught that the Antichrist was an individual. Boldly defying the papists, they insisted on using translations of Scripture that the common man could understand. In obedience to the word of God, they rejected masses, purgatory, and prayers for the dead.[i] The Waldenses were severely persecuted for centuries. In 1545, some three to four thousand of them were massacred at what is now known as Massacre of Mérindol by Roman Catholic President of the parliament of Provence, France and the military commander Antoine Escalin des Aimars.[ii] As early as 1631, scholars began to regard the Waldenses as early forerunners of the Protestant Reformation.

Following the Waldenses it was not long before other Christians were viciously persecuted by Rome: The Hussites, the Wycliffites, and the Lollards also proclaimed that the pope was the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, and that the papacy was the Beast system. These were persecuted Bible-believing Christians who simply wanted to worship and read their Bibles free from Roman popery. These early expressions of the papal antichrist could seemingly be easily dismissed for the all-too-common tactic of demonizing one’s enemy. But as the reformation progressed, and the evidence mounted, it quickly became the dominant position. Contrary to the early rebels and polemicists, Martin Luther did not intend to break away from the Roman Catholic Church, but rather reform it. He did not start out with a bad opinion of the pope. He sincerely believed that the pope, being a man of God, would respond favorably when he nailed up his Ninety-five Theses on October 31, 1517. Yet, just a few years later, after burning the papal bull from the Diet of Worms, Luther had also come to the firm conclusion that the papacy was incorrigibly the Antichrist. He promoted the idea in many of his later writings, most forcefully in the Smalcald Articles:

This business shows overwhelmingly that he is the true end-times Antichrist, who has raised himself over and set himself against Christ, because the Pope will not let Christians be saved without his authority (which amounts to nothing, since it is not ordered or commanded by God). This is precisely what St. Paul calls “setting oneself over God and against God.” [iii]

Here Luther argues unambiguously that the pope shows himself to be the “true end-times Antichrist.” This polemic is concerning the papal bull, Unam Sanctam,which was issued to counter Philip the Fair’s effort to separate the civil and spiritual domains. In that bull, promulgated November 18, 1302, the Latin text reads, “Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus dicimus, definimus et pronunciamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis” (underline added).[iv] This substantiates Luther’s argument, in that this bull unmistakably asserts that “every human creature” must submit to the pope for salvation. Of course, this bears no resemblance to the Gospel found in the New Testament and one is hard pressed to find a weakness in Luther’s rationale. However, the idea that the “end times Antichrist” was present in 1302 is only coherent in light of it being the office of the papacy rather than an individual. Since the office of the papacy has endured to this day, Luther’s argument still has some force.

Philipp Melanchthon was a German reformer and collaborator of Luther’s. He is heralded as the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation and an intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation.[v] In “Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope,” the seventh Lutheran creedal document of the Book of Concord, Melanchthon also forcefully argues that the pope is the Antichrist. He skillfully reveals how the Gospel was subverted by tradition. Truly, the papacy as antichrist is as characteristic of traditional Lutheranism as the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”

 

Next we will examine Geneva and Calvin.



[i]Howard Frederic Vos and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Exploring Church History (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996).

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Martin Luther, Smalcald Articles: II, art. iv, par. 10 in Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord : The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 309.

[iv] Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam in Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), Vol. 6. Chap., 4 Sect. 1.

[v] Millard J. Erickson, The Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology, Rev. ed., 1st Crossway ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 124.

Isaac Newton, David Flynn & the Arrival of Petrus Romanus

By Cris D. Putnam
Back in February of 2003, the Daily Telegraph, a London newspaper, published a front-page story announcing Isaac Newton’s prediction that the world would end in 2060. This date has been promulgated throughout the internet yet few folks actually understand the rationale behind it. Newton’s calculation is not all that mysterious. In fact it is based on the exact same logic we have presented in Petrus Romanus which as explained in detail in my previous article (I recommended that you read article in order to fully grasp this one).

The main idea is that when the papacy became a political power yielding the temporal sword, the 1260 years of spiritual oppression ensued as inferred from the year/day reading of various biblical prophecies (Rev. 11:3; 12:6; Dan 7:25; 12:7). According to Newton scholar and professor of the history of science and technology at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia., Dr. Stephen D. Snobelen:

This did not involve the use of anything as complicated as calculus, which he invented, but rather simple arithmetic that could be performed by a child. Beginning in the 1670s and continuing to the end of his life in 1727, Newton considered several commencement dates for the formal institution of the apostate, imperial Church. Earlier commencement dates include 607 and 609 A.D. As Newton grew older, he pushed the time of the end further and further into the future. In Yahuda MS 7 Newton twice gives 800 A.D. for the beginning of “the Pope’s supremacy”. The year 800 is a significant one in history, as it is the year Charlemagne was crowned emperor of Rome in the west by Pope Leo III at St. Peter’s in Rome. Since Newton believed that the 1260 years corresponded to the duration of the corruption of the Church, he added 1260 to 800 A.D. and arrived at the date 2060 for the “fall of Babylon” or cessation of the apostate Church.

http://www.isaac-newton.org/update.html

Newton based his date of 800 on the reign of Charlemagne and the institution of the Holy Roman Empire. However, as I documented in the last post, The Donation of Pepin was when Pope Stephen first achieved true political power over the papal states and it is dated to 754 -756, the range presented in Petrus Romanus.  We make cogent case based on the historical record that an important moral and spiritual line was crossed at that time. The late David Flynn also wrote about Newton’s theories extensively in Temple at the Center of Time and offered another fascinating synchronicity with our findings:

Rome lay on the Tiber River, which bisected the city. Its original founding date also can be regarded in a similar bisected manner. The prophetic implication of a revived Roman Empire at the coming of the Antichist is not outside the possibility of a supernatural time signature, a year mirroring the original on the other side of the dividing point of the era founded at the birth of Christ. As has been demonstrated in previous chapters, the application of the number 2,520 and its half 1,260, suits a variety of prophetic and geometric realities. Using this principle, the year 753 BC designates the founding of physical Rome and AD 753 establishes the rebirth of the spiritual Rome. Newton’s count of 1,260 years from AD 753 brings us to the future year AD 2013.[i]

My original research was for a Church History term paper and was conducted without regard to Flynn’s work. I arrived at AD 756 based on the beliefs of Jonathan Edwards. While the dates are not identical, the synchronicity is still rather astounding. Furthermore, David Flynn arrived at a prophetic event horizon in roughly the year 2012 from several different angles and our research for the soon to be releasedPetrus Romanus, seems to further confirm many of Flynn’s ideas. The date of  temporal ascendency is placed in a range by scholars (752-756), as one can readily see from the various sources I have cited here and in my previous article. On top of all of this, it seems beyond the reach of mere chance that a Belgian Jesuit predicted the arrival of the prophesied final pope in 2012 (back in 1951!) using the Malachy prophecy. The concurrence is remarkable to say the least.

View Newton’s notes and prophetic writings for yourself online here.

Next we will look on Newton’s prescient discussion of the reestablishment of Israel.

 


[i] David Flynn, Temple At The Center Of Time: Newton’s Bible Codex Finally Deciphered and the Year 2012 (Crane MO: Official Disclosure, 2008), 254.

 

Petrus Romanus – Historicism Back to the Future Part 2

By Cris D. Putnam
While we lean strongly toward the futurist school, we acknowledge that there is merit to the historicist approach. It seems like a mistake to just dismiss centuries of scholarship with a hand wave. However, there are many criticisms. Biblical scholar, G.K. Beale, characterizes historicism in this way,

“Typically this view identifies parts of the Apocalypse as prophecies of the invasions of the Christianized Roman Empire by the Goths and the Muslims. Further, the corruptions of the medieval papacy, the reign of Charlemagne, the Protestant Reformation, and the destruction wrought by Napoleon and Hitler have been seen as predicted by John.”[i]

Another characteristic weakness is that it tends to be myopic by limiting symbols to the expositors own contemporary situation. Accordingly, when one compares historicist commentaries from different eras, they seldom agree with one another. While their speculations on the identity of the Antichrist have run the gamut from Nero through Muhammad to Napoleon, arguably, until very recently, the dominant opinion since the reformation has been the pope, albeit not a single pope rather the office of the papacy.

However, it seems to us that some of this criticism is not valid. We agree that it is a weakness that a historicist commentator will usually believe his own period is the final one. But that is a very real part of the tension, which is inherent for Christians living in the already/not yet paradigm. Though it is also a weakness that historicists seldom agree, the fact that these interpretations are divergent on many details makes the areas where they do converge even more compelling. It is inescapable that they all converge on Rome and the papacy.

An often-heard criticism from historicists is that modern evangelicals who hold a futurist or preterist view have been influenced by the Jesuit Counter Reformation effort to discredit the historicist view of the reformers. We believe there is some truth to this conspiracy because the Romanists have vested interest in protecting the papacy.  But a lot of the criticism we have read coming from historicists seems unfair. Truth be told, one could argue that historicism is also a Catholic invention. The dominant Catholic interpretation after Augustine’s City of God in the fifth century was allegorical. It was only after a mystic monk, Joachim of Fiore (1130–1202), introduced a chronological division based on three ages corresponding to the Trinity that the historical interpretation gained traction. So it really is not fair for historicists to charge everyone who disagrees with them as being influenced by Rome. Furthermore, it is a logical fallacy known as the genetic fallacy to deny the truth of a proposition based solely on its origin.[ii] The futurist interpretation is judged unfairly due to a few influential Jesuit advocates.

A Jesuit named Francisco Ribera published a Revelation commentary, In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij, advocating the futurist view in 1590. Another Jesuit, Laconza, wrote under the name Ben-Ezra teaching the premillennial advent and literal restoration of Israel. As a means of criticism, strict historicists trace this through to John Nelson Darby, the Moody Bible Institute, and the Scofield Reference Bible. In other words, they argue that nineteenth-century dispensationalists fell for a counter-reformation propaganda campaign. They claim that the teachings of the reformers have been suppressed, drowned in a sea of Jesuit propaganda, i.e., futurism. Yet, it seems that even for a Jesuit, the imagery of Revelation 17 is too persuasive to deny. In fact, the Jesuit, Lacunza, actually wrote:

Rome, not idolatrous but Christian, not the head of the Roman empire but the head of Christendom, and centre of unity of the true church of the living God, may very well, without ceasing from this dignity, at some time or other incur the guilt, and before God be held guilty of fornication with the kings of the earth, and amenable to all its consequences. And in this there is not any inconsistency, however much her defenders may shake the head. And this same Rome, in that same state, may receive upon herself the horrible chastisement spoken of in the prophecy.[iii]

We do find it very interesting that even these Jesuits identified papal Rome as the woman who rides the beast. Although acknowledging that Rome certainly has an interest in obfuscating the classic historicist view, we are not under Rome’s spell in holding futurist views. The futurist interpretation is based on sound exegesis and the historical grammatical hermeneutic.

For instance, the reason we do not agree that the papacy is the ultimate realization of 2 Thessalonians’ “man of Sin” is purely exegetical. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Th 2:3). Paul was instructing his first-century readers that the judgment of God had not arrived because “the man” had not yet appeared. The Greek language is much more precise that English and the second declension noun, anthropos (man), is in the singular form. Paul’s teaching would be meaningless if he was referring to an institution lasting hundreds of years that had not yet appeared. For it to be helpful in identifying the day of the Lord he necessarily meant one man. Paul’s readers would have never understood it to mean the institution of the papacy. For them, it was very clearly an individual of whom it says the Lord “shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Th 2:8). This clearly speaks of one man who is present when Jesus returns. Thus, if one accurately accounts for grammar and context, this is necessarily an individual on the scene when Jesus returns. One should allow Paul’s intent be the guiding factor.

Another reason the historicist approach is not as widely known today is that it requires a great deal of study and knowledge of history. Take the massive eschatological study written by Edward Elliott in the nineteenth century called Horae Apocalypticae (“Hour of the Apocalypse”).[iv] At over 2,500 pages split into four volumes with copious footnotes, charts, and illustrations, Spurgeon called it “the standard work on the subject.”[v] Elliot argued Revelation was both the unrolling of a sealed scroll and the continuing drama of salvation history. He saw the first six seals as broken with the empire, decline, and fall of pagan Rome around AD 395. The six trumpets were various attacks by the Goths, Saracens, and Muslims with the Protestant Reformation ensuing at trumpet six. Because Daniel describes the Roman Empire, in terms of legs of iron (Dan 2:33), the split of Rome into Eastern and Western legs is evident in prophecy. He explained the two beasts of Revelation 17 in this way:

At the same time that in the particular symbolizations contained in this subsidiary Part of the Prophecy, viz. those of the ten-horned Beast itself, its chief minister the two-horned Beast, and the Image of the Beast—explained respectively of the Papal Empire, Papal Priesthood, and Papal Councils[vi]

A major component in Horae Apocalypticae and most historicist readings is that the 1260 days in Revelation 12 are years in which the Church is subjected to persecution by papal Rome. This is an area where nearly all historicists find agreement, but where they disagree is when the 1260 year-long period began. In fact, the death knell of Elliot’s gargantuan work of scholarship was that it set a date which came and went.  Unfortunately, Elliot placed the beginning of the 1260 years in AD 606 when the emperor Phocas rubberstamped Pope Boniface III’s claim for the primacy of Rome. We discuss this papal milestone in chapter 9 of Petrus Romanus, “Donation of Constantine and the Road to Hell.” Concerning this, Elliot wrote:

“At the same time that the fall and complete commencement of the period appeared on strong and peculiar historic evidence (especially that of the then risen ten diademed Romano-Gothic Papal horns) to have about synchronized with the epoch of Phocas’ decree A.D. 606; and the corresponding epoch of end with the year I866.”[vii]

Of course, 1866 came and went and the papacy under Pius IX even got bolder by claiming infallibility in 1870. However it is interesting in the same year, Napoleon’s advance led the Italian government to raid the Vatican and take the Papal States from the pope. However, the loss of temporal power was brief as Pius XI signed a pact with the fascist dictator Mussolini on February 11, 1929, restoring papal governing power to Vatican City. Even so, Elliot’s grand historical scheme was undone when 1866 passed with no second advent. This is another characteristic weakness of the historicist approach. It has this track record of failed date-setting.

Another famous failure was when a Baptist preacher, William Miller, predicted the imminent return of Jesus Christ. On the basis of Daniel 8:14, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Miller became convinced that the twenty-three-hundred-day period started in 457 BC with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem by Artaxerxes I of Persia. Then using the day/year principle favored by historicists he calculated Christ’s return to occur in 1843. It is now famously called the Great Disappointment of 1844. Many folks had sold everything they owned because of this belief. Other groups resorted to rather pitiable lengths to preserve the date. Reaching for straws, they speculated that Miller’s assumption — that the sanctuary to be cleansed was the earth– was the problem and that it represented the sanctuary in heaven.

Accordingly, the October 22, 1844 date was modified to denote when Christ entered the Holy of Holies in the heavenly sanctuary, not the Second Coming. This group became the Seventh-day Adventist Church of today and this modification is called the doctrine of the pre-Advent Divine Investigative Judgment.[viii] Frankly, it seems like an excuse to us. Miller was simply wrong. The lesson to be learned here is that it is perfectly fine and even commendable to be fascinated by prophecy and to study various interpretations, but always follow Paul’s teaching in 2 Thessalonians. The purpose of that letter leads many interpreters to infer that some of the Thessalonians were so sure that the day of the Lord was upon them that they had quit their jobs. Paul admonished them in chapter 3 to remain steadfast maintaining their lives and testimonies. We encourage you to do the same. We want to be upfront that the ideas in this book concerning the Malachy prophecy with dates and times are speculative. We are only pointing out what others have written. It is always wise to be prepared, but we certainly do not recommend selling all of your possessions like the Millerites!

Here is an elaborate chart which was popular prior to 1844 showing many historical events in the Millerite historical framework:

Next week we will examine the historicist views of Jonathan Edwards and a prominent Presbyterian who predicted the year 2012 back in 1876!

 

 

[i] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 46.

[ii] “Genetic Fallacy,” Fallacy Files, http://www.fallacyfiles.org/genefall.html

[iii] Manuel Lacunza, Edward Irving, The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty, Volume 1 (Seeley, 1827) pg. 252.

[iv] The entire set is available for free on the Pertrus Romanus Giveaway Disc.

[v] Charles Spurgeon, Commentating on Commenataries (London: Passmore and Alabaster; 1876) p. 199

[vi] Edward Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae vol 4, (London: Seeley, Burnside, and Seely, 1847), 233

[vii] Edward Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae vol 4, 237..

[viii] Roy Adams, “The Pre-Advent Judgment” Adventist World, last accessed January 27, 2012, http://www.adventistworld.org/article.php?id=136.