Church

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Yes, I’m off to bed…

 

See you tomorrow… Be it here, or in heaven…

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Church

Judgement day: Who is Harold Camping?

A US evangelical Christian has predicted the apocalypse will take place tomorrow – but who is Harold Camping?

The Telegraph reports:

For the last 50 years, the deep and sonorous voice of Harold Camping has reached millions of listeners of Christian gospel radio in the United States.

The 89-year-old is the president of Family Radio, a California-based religious network which broadcasts to more than 150 stations across America.

Born in Colorado, Mr Camping studied at Berkeley in the 1940s and became a member of the Christian Reformed Church, a Protestant denomination that has its roots in the Dutch Reformed churches and is theologically Calvinist.

In 1958, Mr Camping and some other members of the church jointly purchased an FM radio station in San Francisco and began broadcasting conservative Christian gospel. In the following decade, as the West coast of America embraced counter-culture and the hippy movement, Mr Camping’s radio network expanded, adding another 13 stations.

One of Mr Camping’s most popular shows was the Open Forum programme, a live weeknight call-in where listeners would ask Mr Camping about the meaning of certain Biblical passages.

In 1970, Mr Camping published the Biblical Calendar of History, in which he dated the creation of the world to 11,013BC and the flood which Noah survived to 4990BC. His timeframe was based on the idea that the word “begat” in the Old Testament does not necessarily imply an immediate father-son relationship, but could refer to a patriarch and a distant descendent.

He also argues that a calendar exists in the text of the Bible which details the imminent end of the church age, implying that churches are no longer used by God for salvation, and the Rapture, when Christians will gather to meet Christ, and finally the end of the world. The current date for the Rapture is May 21, 2011, and Mr Camping believes, according to Thessalonians 4:15-17, that this is when “the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”.

Five months later, on October 21, God will completely destory the earth, according to Mr Camping’s prediction. He had previously predicted the Rapture would occur in September 1994.

The man’s a fruitcake! Sorry… Someone has to say it.

This is the stuff cults are made of…

Wikipedia has more on the man here.

Church

Man Sets Priest Alight During Mass

Horrific!

An assailant sprayed a Roman Catholic priest with flammable liquid and set him alight during mass in a church in Lithuania, police in the Baltic state said Friday.

Father Remigijus Kuprys, 46, managed to extinguish the flames with the help of worshippers, but suffered facial burns.

The attack occurred during the service on Thursday in the central Lithuanian town of Jonava, when a 42-year-old local resident sprayed Kuprys with the flammable liquid and set it ablaze with a cigarette lighter.

The motives of the assailant, identified by police only by his initials J.D., were unknown.

“We have reports that he had repeatedly disrupted masses and shouted weird statements. Investigators are deciding on psychiatric tests,” officer Mindaugas Juknys told AFP.

The suspect did not resist arrest when police arrived at the church. If considered mentally fit to stand trial, he risks up to 10 years in jail for the assault.

Police said that the priest had been released from hospital after receiving treatment for his burns. Lithuanian daily Lietuvos Rytas on Friday published a photograph of Kuprys with his face fully bandaged, with only the eyes and mouth visible.

Around 80 percent of Lithuania’s three million residents are Roman Catholic.

Church

The Rapture – Indisputable Christian Heresy

As I was driving one day I encountered a bumper sticker admonishing me:

“WARNING! In the event of Rapture, this car will be driverless.”

The strange belief in the Rapture teaches that some day (sooner rather than later), without warning, born-again Christians will begin to float up from the freeway, abandoned vehicles careening wildly. There will be airliners in the sky suddenly with no one at the controls! Presumably, God is removing these favored ones from earth to spare them the tribulation of the Anti-Christ which the rest of us will have to endure.

Unfortunately the Rapture has been promoted widely by the Left Behind series of books that have sold over 70 million copies.

The Rapture represents a radical misinterpretation of Scripture. I remember watching “Sixty Minutes”a year ago and was appalled to hear the announcer say that “the Rapture is an unmistakenly Christian doctrine”. It is not!

It is a serious distortion of Scripture.

It is astonishing that a belief so contrary to Scripture and the tradition of the Church could be propagated by so-called “Christians”.

According to the Bible and according to the belief not only of Orthodox Christians but also of the Roman Catholic and most Protestant mainline churches, the true Rapture will not be secret; it will be the great and very visible Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the world. That is the one and only “Rapture”. It will not be a separate, secret event but one that every eye shall see (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

The word rapture is not found in Scripture but hearkens to 1 Thess. 4:17 where St. Paul says that when the Lord comes again

“we who are alive…shall be caught up…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”

This “being caught up…in the clouds”—arpagisometha in Greek, is translated by some as “raptured”. The word itself is not found in Orthodox theology.

The notion of a rapture in which Christ comes unseen to take believers away secretly, and only later comes back again for everyone else publicly—this whole teaching is quite novel. It was almost unheard of until John Nelson Darby formulated it in the 1800s as part of a new approach to the Bible, sometimes called “dispensationalism”.

The purpose of the “Rapture” is to protect the elect from the tribulations of the end times. Yet Jesus said nothing about sparing anyone from tribulation. In fact, He said,

“In the world you have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”

Nowhere did Jesus ever say that He would return secretly to rapture the elect. Rather, He promised to be with His elect in all tribulations.

“Lo, I am with you always. I will never leave you or forsake you.”

He even had something good to say about being persecuted:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10)…

Darby taught as dogma that when the Scriptures reveal that the Lord will reign on earth for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4), this figure is to be taken literally, rather than as a symbol for eternity as we believe. The Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431 condemned as heresy this teaching which is called chialiasmos (millenianism or 1000 years).

In fact, the Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787 A.D.) in which the essential truths of the Christian faith were defined never mention a rapture. Yet evangelical Christians and Pentecostals keep using obscure passages of the book of Revelation which purport to give a detailed timetable of what will happen at the end of the world, despite the fact that Jesus Himself warned that no man knows either the day or the hour when the Son of Man shall return.

A major problem with the Rapture is that it ends up teaching not two but three comings of Jesus—first His birth in Bethlehem; second, His secret coming to snatch away (rapture) the “born-again”; and third, His coming at the end of the world to judge the living and the dead and to reign in glory. Yet only two not three comings of Christ are mentioned in the Bible. We have the clearest definition of this in the Nicene Creed when we confess that

“the Lord Jesus Christ…will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. His Kingdom will have no end…. I expect the resurrection of the dead. And the life of the ages to come.”

There is no mention of a “Rapture”…

I can think of no better words to conclude than those of Jesus when He speaks of the one and only “Rapture”, the Second Coming:

“Be on guard. Be alert! You do not know when that time will come…keep watch…if he comes suddenly, do not let Him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!” (Mark 13:32-37).

Read the whole piece by Fr Anthony M. Coniaris at Ad Orientem here.

Church

Pope Recommends Spiritual Direction to Every Christian

Catholic Culture:

Addressing members of the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum 75 years after its foundation by the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Pope Benedict emphasized that Catholic spirituality must center on Jesus Christ and recommended the practice of spiritual direction to every Catholic.

The work of the Teresianum “calls for Jesus to be placed at the center of everything–your affections and thoughts, your time of prayer, study and action, the whole of your life,” Pope Benedict said. “He is the Word, the ‘living book,’ as he was for St. Teresa of Avila, who affirmed: ‘To learn the truth, there is no other book than God.’”

The Pope continued:

“As she has never failed to do, again today the Church continues to recommend the practice of spiritual direction, not only to all those who wish to follow the Lord up close, but to every Christian who wishes to live responsibly his baptism, that is, the new life in Christ,” Pope Benedict added. “Everyone, in fact, and in a particular way all those who have received the divine call to a closer following, needs to be supported personally by a sure guide in doctrine and expert in the things of God.”

“A guide can help defend oneself from facile subjectivist interpretations, making available his own supply of knowledge and experiences in following Jesus.”