Monday, November 17, 2014

My Issue With NowTheEndBegins - Part 1

How NTEB Got Me Fired Up This Time

If you are friends with Dara and I on Facebook (through Jax, of course) then you know I recently went off on the writer of the article on the ecumenical gathering organized by Humanum, an organization dedicated to the promotion of marriage between a man and a woman within faith communities. They approached the Vatican to cosponsor an event in which they will gather religious leaders of many faiths from around the world to speak on this very subject. In addition to Pope Francis, multiple Christian leaders will be present, and these include the author of Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren. Anyone who is familiar with me knows that I have a major issue with Mr. Warren, especially with his now oft repeated statements that Islam and Christianity worship the same God- Let me be clear from the outset: I absolutely reject Warren's assertion that the God of the Bible is the god of Islam. 

However, NTEB mischaracterizes it as a "Global Chrislam Conference." Right there, one should be put completely on guard against what is coming, yet I am discovering that many Christians are falling for this garbage. Thus, I am writing tonight about it, and why any Christ follower should be wary of anything that comes from NTEB.

The article opens with the following statement:

On Monday, November 17, 2014, Pope Francis will host a global ecumenical conference featuring Muslim leaders, pagans, and Chrislam founder Rick Warren from Saddleback Church in California. --NTEB

Let's stop there for just a minute. Chrislam is a religious practice established in the 1970's that recognizes the Q'ran and the Bible as sacred texts. It was created by Tela Tella in Lagos, Nigeria. The idea of mixing these two utterly incompatible religions is by no means new, and Rick Warren had nothing to do with the founding of this sect. Nevertheless, here in the United States, he has unilaterally been recognized as the creator of this abomination of doctrine. Folks, Warren, for all of his abhorrent mistakes and transgressions, did not found this crud.

Moreover, NTEB declares that it will be attended by Muslim leaders, pagans and Rick Warren. We've already discussed Warren and Chrislam, so let us turn our attention to the word "pagan." Paganism is a very specific belief system, and does not- Cannot for the sake of accuracy and truth -Be inclusive of all the religions one disapproves of. Paganism at its core is the worship of nature; it does not include Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, etc. If one wished to bunch all of these religions under one single label, it would be "heathen," or better yet, "deceived." Moreover, the conference is being attended by those from the orthodox Jewish community and the Messianic Jewish community. These too are "pagans?" This inattention to detail (and we must hope it was a sincere lack of attention to detail rather than an intentional and outright misuse) is typical of NTEB.

Let us continue looking at the article.

Note the high number of professing pagan religions that will be represented there. The Pope doesn’t care what you believe as long as you follow Rome.     --NTEB

NTEB has already mischaracterized the conference's intent. They further skew the representation by implying that it is the Vatican that is leading this conference. In fact, Pope Francis is merely a speaker; the organization responsible for the initial planning is doing the hosting. That organization is so-called "interfaith," meaning that no one religion has a controlling hand, regardless of what NTEB wishes with obvious sincerity.

...beyond it’s stated purpose, the real reason for the global confab is to continue Pope Francis’ work of merging all religions into the One World Religion mentioned in the book of Revelation. Any excuse for a get together is fine, so long as all religions agree to lay down before the Vatican and get in line behind the Pope. --NTEB

This is an absolute and unbelievably blatant slam on Catholics; not to mention a truly awful understanding of Revelation. I want to make sure everyone understands something about the book of Revelation: Nowhere in Revelation does it state that there will be a "One World Religion" in those terms. Thus, everything we know about the One World Religion that accompanies the rise of the final Antichrist comes from pure interpretation. Mind, that interpretation, when done properly, gives us a very clear vision of a universal (here meaning global) religion.

Note what Revelation actually says about this global religion, and make exceptional note of the imagery.

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. 5 And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.
When I saw her, I marveled greatly. 7 But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. 9 This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
15 And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, 17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”
  --Revelation 17:1-18 [ESV]

The word "harlot" is used throughout the Old and New Testaments to reference false religion. It will dominate the whole world, thus it is global. The adultery (sexual immorality) mentioned illustrates the influence the religion has on the leaders of the world. The drunkenness mentioned refers to these people becoming drunk with power.

What it does not say is what that religion will be or what it will spring from. All of those who say it is the Vatican are coming off of pure speculation- Even those who say they've had a revelation from God on the matter ought to be thoroughly examined for past accuracy before being believed. I myself believe that it will be a religion that is nonexistent today- That it will spring from the rise of the living statue, not from anything today; again, this is purely speculation, and is open to correction based upon contextual and critical Scriptural argument. It is worth noting that the rise of this religion, however, comes after the rise of the Antichrist and the creation of the living statue, or the image of the beast which has been given life by the false prophet.

Regardless, the Pope is not calling for all religions to fall in line with the Vatican- If he were to do this, you can bet there would be war. He is joining in a conference on the importance of marriage. Any further purpose is conjecture, and must be treated as such- With a heavy dose of skepticism and a demand for evidence. NTEB cannot provide such evidence, instead pointing to Scripture warped and taken out of context, viewed through a lens dirtied with agenda and bias. I absolutely and emphatically challenge NTEB and/or any of their supporters to present evidence to the contrary.

NTEB Calls This Reporting

Last year, Anglican priest and close friend of Pope Francis Tony Palmer gave an impassioned plea to Kenneth Copeland’s church to “return home to Mother Rome”, only to die mere months later in a mysterious motorcycle accident.      --NTEB
The Late Anglican Bishop Tony Palmer
I find it in particularly poor taste to call Palmer's motorcycle accident "mysterious," thus implying that it was somehow Divine judgment. I find it even more poor taste to state that Palmer called the ministers at Copeland's church (another minister I've taken issue with) to return to "mother Rome." NTEB claims that Copeland has never been in the Body of Christ- I take offense to this as well. He has preached prosperity, and yes, that teaching is heretical; but he has never led anyone to turn their lives over to anyone but Christ. As Nate so eloquently stated during one of our recent broadcasts, there are very few Bible translations out there that will not bring a person to salvation. The same can be said for Christian ministers, no matter how wayward aspects of their theology.

Let us examine the main charge: That Tony Palmer pled with these attending ministers to return to "mother Rome."

The first and most obvious to those who know their church history is that Anglicans do not answer to the Vatican. An Anglican priest can be excommunicated for this, though the right of excommunication is rarely exercised. Anglicans split from Rome before the King James Bible was brought to the masses, and though Roman Catholicism has opened their churches to those Anglican members upset with recent decisions to allow homosexual priests and marriages within their denomination, they are still not Catholic.

The second most obvious (and perhaps most obvious to most people) is that Catholic priests cannot marry. They are bound from marriage by their oaths. Tony Palmer was married. He and his widow have two children. Let me say it again: Anglicans are not Catholic. Moreover, Tony Palmer began his ministry as a supercharged, spirit filled, pentecostal new convert.

Finally, and most important: NTEB puts "mother Rome" in quotations. Palmer never, not once, uses this phrase in his entire 30+ minute address. He did say that people should take back the word catholic for what it really means, and we'll get to that in a moment. NTEB edited the video of Palmer's address so that it sounded like he was being blatently arrogant. In fact, he was giving Scriptural and historical support for everything he stated. He also said "Luther's protest is over; is yours?" NTEB states at this point that "for all good King James Version believing Christians, the protest will never be over!" Oh, fools that you are! The protest was indeed over salvation through faith alone, and Luther did indeed say that it was works which proved faith. The Roman Catholic church did indeed sign an accord fundamentally changing their doctrine regarding salvation through works, and as such- Yes, the protest IS over.

What should truly stand out here though is that NTEB flat out lied through invented attribution and mischaracterization, and all to bring dishonor to a man who was saved by faith, began working within the Anglican church, and then began to work with, not for, the Roman Catholic church to bring genuine salvation to their members.

Forgive me for this next comment; I make it with full understanding that I may offend some who read this, yet also with full conviction of the truth of the statement: I believe there is a special place within the Lake of Fire for those who claim Christ, yet who tear down His Body- And I pray that the members of NTEB do not find themselves there.

In another article authored by NTEB on this subject, they make the following statement:

The video you are about to see is shocking. It is a blatant, full-frontal assault by the Vatican to, once again, attempt to swallow up the professing Christian church like they did back in 325 AD when the Catholic Church was invented. What you will hear Kenneth Copeland and Anglican priest Tony Palmer – a personal friend and confidant of Pope Francis – say is that “if you are born again, then you are a Catholic” among a host of other outright lies. --NTEB

Take note that the Vatican, in reaching out for the purpose of reconciliation, is actually assaulting Christianity... According to NTEB, that is.

Their reference to 325 A.D. is weakly accurate historically, though exceptionally flawed in application. The Catholic church was formed in a fairly recognizable fashion around 325 A.D. However, the word "catholic" had been in use far before then- We'll get to that in a moment. NTEB goes to their standard vitriol in explaining this, quoting the oft used but wholly misrepresented Emperor Constantine story. They state, as many have, that Constantine declared himself as the head of the Christian church- This is almost entirely without basis. "Almost entirely," because there were critics of his who declared that's virtually what he did- None of these critics to my knowledge were Christians, however. They also claim that Constantine made Christianity the official religion of Rome; this is not so. What he did do was end the state-sponsored persecution of Christians, allowing them to once again worship within their homes and within church buildings with little to no fear of retaliation.

As a point of historical fact for those who hold to the belief that Constantine ordered Christianity to become the state religion; instituted Roman idol worship within the faith (Sunday worship, etc); and created what we know to be the Catholic Church, there is a minor problem: Constantine died in 337 A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in 381 A.D., forty-four years after his death. It is ironic that NTEB lambasts PBS on a nearly regular basis, and yet espouses the same identical story regarding the institution of Christianity that PBS also forwards.

What everyone misses is the fact that it was the professing Christian church uniting under the first Roman ruler to convert to Christianity and prove his faith by his actions. The institution of Christianity as the state religion happened much later, and was the direct result of multiple conflicts within the area- The Catholic church (again, we'll get into the use of "catholic" soon) gathered its supporters and recognizing the need for a uniting secular ruler, appointed Charlemagne the first "Holy Roman Emperor." The age of the Holy Roman Catholic Church begins here- Not with Constantine. Now, remember I said their statement was weakly accurate historically? Let me explain how low the bar must be set for them to be remotely accurate: They pegged the Roman Catholic Church as starting around 325 A.D., but Charlemagne was appointed as Emperor in 800 A.D.

Now to the crux of the matter- The statement that "if you are born again, you are catholic." (Please note the lack of capitalization.) 

The word 'catholic' comes from the Greek and means 'throughout the whole.' The Christian church used this expression as early as 110 A.D. to reference the Body of Christ, and possibly earlier. It was later adopted by the organized movement we now know as the Roman Catholic Church, and then tainted by the corruption the church fell into. Watching Palmer's address in context reveals this very thing- That he was talking in reference to the earliest understanding, and not stating that all Christians are part of the Roman Catholic Church; he could have lost his priesthood for that!

Later in this article, NTEB claims that Palmer was lying about the Glory of God holding us together via insinuation. They quote Paul when he tells the Church in Rome not to allow other doctrines to sway them from what they'd already received, not unlike his admonition in Galatians. Yet, there it is in red and white: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one" -John 17:22 and from the KJV itself.

NTEB - The Charges Do Not End Here

My issues with NTEB do not stop with this abominable use of the word "journalism." (Yes, that's what they call this garbage, unless one can take "NTEB News Desk" to mean anything else.) It goes far beyond the intentional character assassination and slander they call reporting. However, this particular article can go only so long, and thus, I will have to continue in a second installment.

Allow me to say something positive about NTEB though, as I feel that all criticism should be rounded out with some form of praise for a job done well, however minor that right doing may be: They support Israel unflinchingly, and they support Joel Rosenberg's Joshua Fund as well. I must give them kudos for that at least.