Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Lack Of Faith In Rome Is Disturbing: The Pope On Protestant Resistance As Futile

Like never before in the past twenty years, the apologists and faithful within Roman Catholicism have striven for the high road in enjoining Protestants to fellowship and dialogue with them. Hoping to engage them on their "faith journeys," these zealous folk have appealed not only to Protestants of all stripes but to lapsed Roman Catholics who have left the church in an earnest effort to bring them "home" to the fold of Rome. Media campaigns and interfaith initiatives abound from many religious groups from the Bahai to the United Methodist Church to the so-called "Church" of Scientology and these efforts are just one more voice in the marketplace that spirituality in the last days has become.

What is not easily recognized is how long Roman Catholicism has used the efforts of people of every Christian persuasion as a way to do an end run around Protestantism's distinctives, trying to show how such division is an affront to Christ and that to continue to maintain them is so, well, "unchristian." Since 1935, joint efforts by ecumenicists in the Anglican Church and by Roman Catholic leadership have resulted in an interfaith initiative called the Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity which the Papacy has seized on with great zeal over the past fifty years since the end of World War II. The 2011 edition of this weeklong emphasis was summarized on the Catholic Culture website, to wit:

At a January 25 Vespers service closing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI said that ecumenical work is a “moral imperative” for all Christians.

The Holy Father reminded the congregation at the basilica of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls that Jesus prayed for unity among the faithful. That unity, he said, “cannot be reduced to recognizing our reciprocal differences and achieving peaceful coexistence.” The followers of Christ cannot be satisfied until they have achieved full communion, he said.

True Christian unity, the Pope continued, “cannot be realized only at the level of organizational structures,” but must be forged among the faithful, “confessing the one faith, celebrating divine worship in common, and keeping the fraternal harmony of the family of God.”

You can hear a Vatican media report on the "encouraging convergence" of "Christian unity" by clicking here (requires a Real Player)

Hence, the papal demand to unceasingly press for a common "confession" and a "divine worship" as a moral imperative that Jesus prayed for is actually a veiled call for Protestants to cease their resistance and refusal to acknowledge Rome's supremacy. Roman Catholicism has historically called curses in the name of God upon anyone who doesn't toe its line and submit to its authority and until the Papacy recognizes and apologizes to Christian conscience itself for engaging in such blood thirsty fulmination, any discussion of "unity" with Rome is little more than hot air. Renouncing the anathemas called down upon Protestants at the Roman Catholic Council of Trent would be a nice place to start but it hasn't happened. So for a variety of dunder headed Protestant ministers and theologians to go for a ride with Roman Catholic figures working to turn their movements into subjects of Rome again is just one of the many signs that the apostasy of the last days, the "mystery of iniquity doth already work."

In a day in which the faith which Christ preached, died and rose again for is continually revisioned as being the exclusive province of Church A or Church B, it is not difficult to see just how much the Catholic Church has become another multinational organization fighting for market share in a deathmatch with the encroaching influences of Evangelical and Protestant missions efforts confronting it globally. Catholicism has long found itself under siege on all religious fronts, finding its priesthood, polity, tradition and rigid obedience to the Papacy increasingly tuned out by more and more Roman Catholics itself, let alone those outside it's fold.

Interestingly, for all of its labors, it would seem that Mother Rome isn't finding much success for its fruit: in the National Councll of Churches' annual Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, we find that the cultic Mormon Church and the Pentecostal movement the Assemblies of God enjoyed almost the exact rate of growth in the United States in 2009 as the Roman Catholic church itself did. For such radically missionary and evangelistically oriented movements to set forth such sluggish growth rates, however, raises far more questions than answers about the advance of Christianity in the last days - namely what Christianity is being seen as in America, and why movements supposedly energized by the Spirit of God barely are keeping ahead of U.S. population growth of 0.9 %.

An excellent article on the heavyhandedness of Roman Catholicism's attempt to define Christianity by it's own monolithic denominational self-identity make itself the chief deserves some consideration. You see, the whole point of an apostasy is to fall away from the original pattern of belief or faith and Roman Catholicism, being the corrupt and apostate church that it has become by abandoning Biblical faith, is surely one of the greatest leaders of apostacy today.

Why is Roman Catholicism unbiblical? Click here to read why from one powerful voice, who, while long gone, still speaks today.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Being Unmutual .. Continued

The LDS Church's historically smothering conservatism has been preserved by the power of Mormon groupthink that binds its members together in a culture completely given over to the exaltation of the church's authority, obedience to its dictates and a supreme control of member's behaviors by ritual, sexism and unbiblical doctrine. Beginning with its missionary zeal to bring the world out of a darkness that the light of the "restored Gospel", the LDS culture aims at coopting every cultural guidepost outside itself, bringing it under a completely well qualified authority of the Church itself.

There have always been malcontents, nonconformists and noted apostates who have left the church's fold out of conscience sake, having found it's hypocrisy, smothering of objective truth and exclusivism at odds with a more sober and humble view of reality. Millions more have stayed within it, swallowing their objections, and one ex-Mormon's views on the future of a cultic church movement filled with such vast tension with itself are more insight on what it costs to be unmutual .. this is from my friend Eric Kettunen's "Recovery From Mormonism" site":

I expect to see a polarization within Mormonism quickly develop. The vast majority of the old guard do not have the perspective to recognize that their worldview is deficient, and will not be prepared to absorb the information required to see that they may be a problem, so their behavior will not change. The real battle for hearts and minds will occur in the generation that is now under 30 years of age, and even more importantly, for their children. Some will stay with their parents’ paradigm and others will either leave Mormonism or radically redefine the role of religion in their lives. ...

The Mormon institutional structure should be expected to remain largely unchanged due to its paralyzingly conservative decision making mechanism. All significant changes must be unanimously approved by the 15 top leaders, all of whom are old and male. .. However, an increasing degree of individual flexibility will be permitted to members as a matter of practical necessity as Stake Presidents and Bishops are faced with more and more people like me.

As I was told, it does not matter what I believed as long as I keep my mouth shut and so didn’t disturb the orthodoxy of others. As long as I kept that rule, I was free to participate on whatever terms I choose. This approach has become common, and will lead increasing numbers of Mormons to lead double lives. They will attend at least some Mormon services and often hold responsible leadership positions while participating anonymously on Internet bulletin boards and email lists where they can express their real beliefs and develop a sense of community with others and clarity of self perception that can only be achieved within this mode of expression.

This will cause increasing numbers of Mormons to justifying lying (or such creative use of language that the difference between it and lying is immaterial) during temple recommend interviews when asked to confirm their beliefs. It will cause increasing number of Mormon young people to enter a baffling world of grey as they begin to understand their parents’ ambivalent position regarding religious belief, practise, what it means to keep a promise and answers questions honestly, etc. This should be expected to cause a continued erosion Mormon community’s moral fabric.

On a lighter note, these same forces will continue to cause ironies like currently serving Mormon Bishops who consult with people like me regarding how they should counsel faithful Mormons about issues related to sexual morality, sexual practises within marriage, masturbation, whether young people or mature couples should serve missions, etc. These Bishops tell me that they don’t dare discuss these questions with their Stake Presidents or other Mormon file leaders because they are out of touch with the reality related to these issues, and in any event discussions of that kind would require the revelation of the Bishop’s heterodox beliefs. Bishops of this kind are usually closet heretics who believe that they can do more good “from the inside” walking what one such man eloquently labeled the “path of inner darkness”, then they can from the outside.

Read more of a truly prophetic tale here.

There are untold millions of stories in the Cultworld; this has been just one of them.

At least a few more will follow ..

Monday, February 7, 2011

Being Unmutual - What It's Like When You Think For Yourself In Cultic Organizations

One of my favorite TV shows is the iconic 1967 series "The Prisoner," created and starring the late Patrick McGoohan. I've been a fan since it was shown as a summer series fill in on CBS in 1969. For those of you who never tuned in, the drama revolves around the struggle of a top secret agent to resist the surreal interrogation he is subjected to after being spirited away to a Kafkaesque town called the Village. The Village is populated by other agents who have been captured and broken by its' sophisticated technological and psychological coercion as secret information is ruthlessly stripped from them by their unidentifiable captors and become unwitting instruments they use to compel McGoohan's character to give in to them. He is given a new name and identity, Number Six, and told to answer their questions or be prepared to live the rest of his life there under the threat of having it extracted from them in mind and personality shattering ways.

The whole series' fascinating premise pits Number Six's steadfast resistance against the Village's totalist social milieux as programmed by a variety of Number Twos, men and women who are effectively the warders of the Village who want to get him to talk. It's a great show and perhaps the most innovative and disturbing television series of all time .. and a reverie from it shows indeed how art often can only slickly approximate the all too horrific and real life drama that goes in our world today when the freedom of conscience is challenged.

In one episode, Number Six's resistance to the Village's social order results in him being labelled "unmutual," which is the ultimate anathema that can be pronounced on a Village resident. He is accused of defying the Village's groupthink perspective so disruptively that it destroys social cohesion and harbors a destructive subversion of it's overwhelmingly conformist status quo. He is then forced to choose between submission to their demand or a complete frontal lobotomy of his brain itself. When the whole community physically attacks him and drags him off to a hospital for this to be done, the drama is one of the most terrifyingly unnerving paroxysms of violence in the whole series, because it is done with such faultless civility so as to save the Village from the spread of antisocial "unmutuality."

To harbor such attitudes is also the unforgiveable sin in cultic movements of all persuasions. This is where cultism itself becomes most observable - when no other worldview or valid perspective other than that which is rigidly adhered to be a given organization at the pain of drastically punitive and manipulative social sanctions - anything from being labelled a tool of Satan publically to having one's wife completely abandon you for thinking differently from the authoritarian leadership she and you looked up to.

We'll be looking at examples of what this kind of "sin" looks like in the next few posts .. such as this profoundly disturbing snapshots which you can read at in full in the links for each one ..

In the beginning the church put very few restraints on me and everyone seemed so on fire for God and radical in their devotion. Slowly over time I started to see that what was presented to me in the beginning was dramatically different from what I found myself dedicated and committed to in the end. I found that being a member in good standing was dependent upon unquestioning submission with the church's headship, vision, teachings, and doctrines.

By the time I had a clear understanding of what The Fellowship believed and practiced I felt trapped. I saw no way out short of loosing my friends and living under the curses the church places on ex-members. Read more here.

How does "unmutuality" get addressed? Here's the nice, sanitized version that sounds so pious it seems scandalous to fault it: but the implications are chillingly clear ... this is a quote from the an unofficial Unification Church website that can't be accessed without creating an account with it to access it's writings ..

We need to recognize our wrong/negative thinking habits and reprogram ourselves with correct/positive thinking habits. Let's start with grateful thinking and a habit of report prayer when we can confess and repent and make new determination at the end of each day. That will help us avoid a vicious cycle of self-accusation "guilt-tripping" that saps our spiritual energy and pulls us into depression and despair. Read more here if you want to sign in to look for the complete article.

More to follow ..

Saturday, February 5, 2011

When An Educator's Faith Becomes An Messy Issue

Ah, the great enterprise of academic scientific inquiry just isn't what is used to be these days.

At one time, Western science's post-Enlightenment "tolerance" of religion among it's practitioners was more or less an uneasy truce that juggled materialistic skepticism and metaphysical wonder freely. With the rise of radically atheistic humanism in the last century or so, the stakes have now considerably changed with naturalism clearly the most dominant line of reasoning, a perspective firmly rejecting the supernatural or metaphysical from any serious consideration in its theorizing. Never mind that it's psuedo scientific theories on the universe's origins following evolutionary lines are easily as bizarre a tale as any they might harangue others about, namely, those who feel God created the universe and man.

So once you consider these are the Biblically foretold last days when most of our repositors of empirical discovery are also those who "did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Roman 1:28), is it any wonder that a Christian professor finds himself told to get with the program? Nah. That's what University of Texas educator and researcher Dr. C.R. Haskell had the unmitigated temerity to do: he missed the memo circulating among his fellow astronomers and physicists that retaining this incovenient theistic belief could short circuit your career path. He just happened to get asked about his faith when seeking to become employed at the University of Kentucky by those interviewing him, which, after confirming his unfortunate bent towards Christianity, became too much to handle and very likely resulted to his being passed over for a job he seemed qualified for.

It's yet another all too familiar tale of how secular institutional bigotry, paid for by millions of tax dollars collected from Kentuckians who are largely Evangelical, gets a free ride at the expense of one man's conscience. Even an anti-creationist screed, in reporting on the affair, couldn't ruffle it's righteous feathers enough to cover up the UK's intolerance. It's all just another dispatch from the apostacy .. any surprise is clearly coincedental.

Proverbial Example Department Part 47: How Cults Use The Media - an open letter to KDVR, Denver, Colorado

To whomever this will concern:

In 2007, the Fox News Network did a piece, through the "Geraldo At Large" show on January 9, 2007, casting some perspective on the activity of a abusive and cultic movement in Tennessee which I have become too familiar with. I am a Christian minister here who has tried to aid those affected by its activity for several years. This movement is called Remnant Fellowship and uses it's self proclaimed "prophet" and founder Gwen Shamblin's "faith based" diet program called the Weigh Down Workshop as a recuiting tool. It has caused untold amounts of disruption in marriages and families and preaches a message that essentially asserts that excess weight is the equivalent of moral failure with a religion based upon this principle finding expression in the Remnant movement.You may watch this brief report as aired in 2007 here.

It is being reported on the Weigh Down Workshop website as I type that Gwen Shamblin and her local cadre of disciples in Colorado are going to be featured not once but twice on the Fox affiate KDVR's "Good Morning Colorado" show on the morning of February 4, 2011. If this is true, several questions and observations have to be both asked and made:

Is it really too much to expect that due diligence into uncovering the questionable background of a controversial figure like Gwen Shamblin might be done by a news agency before rushing ahead to publicize her imbalanced work?

Does the word "google" mean anything to your producers who are going to be giving Shamblin and her local group in Colorado free air time?

It is difficult to believe that they could have missed the innumerable warning on a variety of Internet news and perspective sites that show how abusive this cult's teaching and practice has been. Can a news organization really be so crass as to give publicity to a cultic movement it criticized 4 years previously for the sake of Arbitron ratings?

The bling truly is the thing, as has been said .. and this can be seen so clearly in reference to Shamblin's publicity tours in recent years.

Now, I just don't get it. You hope to see socially responsible broadcast journalism now and then. But the KDVR Fox organization completely fails to realize how its' dalliance with faith based weight loss is actually part of a cunningly executed gambit by a cultic movement. It's been used to get free press for the recruitment drive of a dangerous cult that its' parent network exposed a few years ago.

Thanks to KDVR, scores of vulnerable people ill equipped to discern the seductive deception of this group's claims to "permanent weight loss" will be fully exposed to it's siren song. I have tried to help at least three different families in your state impacted by this group there and thanks to you, the very real possibility is coming that more will be soon be calling.

Here's another word for you, KDVR: how does it feel to be completely "pwned" by a cult?

Your organization can still stop these appearances tommorrow morning. That would be swell. However, I don't know if your skeleton crew will be awake enough to check this inbox, much less get it to whoever is in charge that gives a hoot about stuff like journalistic integrity so early in a cold winter morning on a Friday. But who knows, maybe you will?

A lot of people in Colorado will be watching that I personally know. Make us proud.

Cordially, Rev. Rafael D Martinez, Director, Spiritwatch Ministries

This the text of an email that was sent to KDVR. So far, no response. I honestly didn't expect one, but as my grandpa always liked to say "uno nunca sabe .. "
It goes to show you that heresy and deception still always loves company .. and bully pulpits.