Church

The End is Nigh for Oxford’s Faculty of Theology

Writes Ruth Gledhill:

In my story in The Times today, we report: ‘For more than 800 years, the University of Oxford has led the world in the study of the divine. For centuries, it has sat alongside Cambridge as the leading centre for the study of the Bible. Now academics are considering a proposal to rebrand theology at Oxford as “religious studies” because of the growing demand from students who wish to study Islam, Hinduism and Judaism as well as Christianity. The requirement to have an A level in religious studies to study religion at Oxford is also to be dropped.’

Oliver Kamm in his commentary says: ‘Oxford’s Faculty of Theology insists that its core subject matter of biblical studies, doctrine and church history remains intact. But it is hard to avoid inferring that the faculty’s ferment is further evidence of the cultural decline of Christianity. That decline is an accomplished fact. Oxford’s faculty would be right to acknowledge it by changing its name and radically revising its subject matter.

‘Below I reproduce the original review and the faculty board response. The next important meeting will be in October..

Do read more on this sad state of affairs here.

Yet another sign of the perilous times I’m afraid…

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Church

Dutch Catholic Priest Pedophilia Endorsement Shocks Church

The Huffington Post has the repugnant details:

Amsterdam — The Dutch Catholic Church and the Salesian order are investigating revelations that a Salesian priest served on the board of a group that promotes pedophilia with the full knowledge of his boss.

The order’s top official in the Netherlands, Delegate Herman Spronck, confirmed in a statement that the priest – identified by RTL Nieuws as 73-year-old “Father Van B.” – served on the board of “Martijn,” a group that campaigns to end the Dutch ban on adult-child sex.

The group is widely reviled but not outlawed.

“Of course we reject this and distance ourselves from this personal initiative” on the part of the priest, Spronck said in a statement. “Membership in such organizations does not fit with the ethos of the Salesian order.”

However, Spronck’s own superior in Belgium said he will investigate both Spronck and Van B., after both men were quoted by RTL Nieuws as saying such relationships aren’t always harmful.

Superior Jos Claes told Belgian television on Saturday he “couldn’t imagine” that both men would not be disciplined, but said he must make sure of the facts first.

“Society thinks these relationships are harmful. I disagree,” RTL quoted Van B. as saying. He served on Martijn’s board from 2008 until 2010, when its founder was arrested for alleged possession of child pornography, a case that is ongoing.

Van B. told RTL he remains a member of Martijn and now lives in a retirement home in eastern Netherlands.

In a second interview, RTL quoted Spronck as saying he was aware of Van B.’s pedophilia and membership in Martijn, and even of two instances where the priest had been fined by police for exposing himself in public. But he said he didn’t think that was sufficient reason to ban him from the order.

Absolutely numbing.

How long will this evil go on?

Church

Tim LaHaye Against ‘Trivializing’ Bible Prophecy

Writes Richard Bartholomew:

Stern words from Tim LaHaye:

The Rev. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the “Left Behind” series of Christian prophecy novels, said [Harold] Camping “trivializes the very serious study of Bible prophecy by ignoring Jesus’ statement that everyone seems to know except him, and that is that no man knows the day nor the hour” that Jesus will return.”

That would be the same Tim LaHaye who launched his apocalyptic potboiler The Rapture on 6 June 2006, just so that he use the advertising tagline “The Rapture—Coming 06.06.06“. And let us not forget

versions of “Left Behind” for young readers, a comic book adaption, “Left Behind” t-shirts, a daily devotional guide, desk calendars and even a “Left Behind” board game. (In the game, players collect “Left Behind Tokens” that they can later use to defeat the Antichrist.)

Plus, of course, the controversial video game.

Not trivializing “the very serious study of Bible prophecy” at all.

Church

Harold Camping False Prophet: What Now?

Well for one, his ministry is probably doomed:

Harold Camping is a false prophet.  Six p.m. local time on May 21st 2011 already passed in New Zealand without incident, the first place the apocalyptical earthquakes are supposed to have occurred.  Six p.m. also peacefully passed in Sydney, Tokyo, and Beijing.

Then there is the rapture prediction.  Camping said about 200 million of God’s believers will be raptured into the sky.  So far, there have been no reports of such incidents.

So what now for Harold Camping?  In all likelihood, his ministry will be destroyed.

Since the beginning of Christianity, there were always false prophets who made failed ‘Doomsday’ predictions.  The survival of the sect or ministry of the false prophets depended on the weight they put on their ‘Doomsday’ predictions.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, predicted ‘Doomsday’ at least three times.  However, ‘Doomsday’ is hardly the core activity of their organization.  When their predictions failed, they simply admitted their errors and moved on.

Similarly, Pat Robertson, a powerful figure among American evangelicals and a power broker in the Republican Party, made a failed prediction in 1982. However, his ministry and influence survived because he’s more known for his popular faith and family message.

In 1994, Harold Camping made a failed ‘Doomsday’ prediction.  His ministry, however, survived for two reasons.  One, his prediction wasn’t emphatic.  He said there was a strong possibility of ‘Doomsday’ happening, but that language left room for error.  Two, Camping’s ministry wasn’t just about Doomsday – his Family Radio broadcasted hymns and often touched on mainstream Christian issues.

However, there is no escaping his failed 2011 ‘Doomsday’ prediction.  He painted himself into a corner by using words like “guaranteed” and “without any shadow of doubt.”  His massive publicity campaign just made it worse… 

… the days of his ministry raking in $122 million a year are probably gone forever. 

Read the piece in full here.

And as to what Harold Camping is up to right now: Broadcaster silent as “Judgment Day” hours tick by…

With no sign of Judgment Day arriving as he had forecast, the 89-year-old California evangelical broadcaster and former civil engineer behind the pronouncement seemed to have gone silent on Saturday.

Family Radio, the Christian stations network headed by Harold Camping which had spread his message of an approaching doomsday, was playing recorded church music, devotionals and life advice unrelated to the apocalypse.

Camping previously made a failed prediction Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.

In his latest pronouncement, he had said doomsday would begin in Asia, but with midnight local time come and gone in Tokyo and Beijing and those cities already in the early hours of May 22, there was no indication of an apocalypse.

The Oakland, California, headquarters of the network of 66 U.S. stations was shuttered with a sign in the door that read “This Office is Closed. Sorry we missed you!”

Family Radio officials, with the help of supporters, had posted over 2,000 billboards around the country warning of a May 21 Judgment Day.

The headquarters, which appears to be normally closed on Saturday, was also shuttered on Friday.

Camping, whose deep sonorous voice is frequently heard on his radio network expounding the Bible, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

The shades were drawn and no one answered the door at his house in Alameda, California…

Reuters has the above, more and the latest here.

UPDATE I:   Doomsday prophet goes into hiding:

Doomsday prophet Harold Camping, who predicted that the End of the World would come on May 21, 2011, has gone missing ever since it became increasingly clear that his prediction is going to fail, even as local churches willingly stepped in to provide counseling and help to Camping’s devastated followers.

Camping, the head of the Family Radio, had predicted that the selected number of people on earth, approximately 200 million, would Rapture to heaven on May 21, 2011 while those left behind would witness the destruction of the earth which would come about on October 21, 2011.

He has based his predictions on Bible verses, namely Genesis 7:4 (“Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth”) and 2 Peter 3:8 (“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”), and concluded that May 21, 2011 is 7000 years after the Great Flood (4990 B.C.), concluding that it indeed is the Doomsday.

4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7000 (the subtraction of “1″ is necessary because year 1 B.C. is followed by 1 A.D., skipping year 0).

Because Camping was certain “without any shadow of a doubt it (Doomsday) is going to happen,” many of his followers sold their possessions and quit their jobs.

Adrienne Martinez, a follower of Camping, and her husband have reportedly quit their jobs and spent the last penny in their bank account towards a rented house in Orlando. “We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left,” said Adrienne.

Now that Camping’s prediction is proven to be a complete failure, attention has been shifted to his devastated followers. Previously when Doomsday prophecies have failed, some misled followers have turned violent, even leading up to murders and committing suicides.

In order to prevent this, church groups are actively providing counseling and advice for the damaged souls…

More here.

UPDATE II:   Protesters mock ‘end of world’ church… 

Sceptics gather outside Harold Camping’s Family Radio Network headquarters in Oakland, California to poke fun at the evangelical broadcaster’s claim that the world would come to an end on May 21st, 2011...

The video of the above protest is in the Telegraph and can be viewed here

UPDATE III:   Harold Camping speaks here.

Church

What We Should Believe

As Christians, accept as true:

1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and life everlasting.
Amen.

Church

Former Seminarian Arrested, Cited as Pimp for Accused Priest

The arrest of a former seminarian has opened a new window on the scandal surrounding an Italian priest who has been arrested on charges of sexual assault against young boys.

Father Riccardo Seppia was suspended by the Genoa archdiocese after his arrest last week. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa—whose role as president of the Italian bishops’ conference adds to the public interest in the case—took the unusual step of traveling to Father Seppia’s parish last weekend to denounce the priest’s crimes.

Now authorities have arrested another man, Emanuele Alfano, a former seminary student who has reportedly said that he procured young men for Seppia.

The above was here.

When will it end?