Category Archives: RELIGION
What follows below is a slightly truncated & edited email I sent to Rev. Bert M. Farias in response to a 5-4-16 article of his concerning the ever-growing embrace of Donald Trump by many Republicans, evangelical Christians and others.
Good Thursday (May 5, 2016), Rev. Farias!
I perused your 5-4-2016 Flaming Herald entry titled How Cruz’s Dropout Exposes the Corruption of the American Soul and thought you might welcome some feedback on it.
First off, I have no doubt but that some of your readers and even supporters (especially any diehard Trump supporters) will take exception with your article and make an exit, stage far right (of course). As you yourself stated, “I know I may lose followers, readers and even friends over this article, but that’s OK”.
I am not a Trump supporter or fellow traveler — quite the opposite actually (I’ve been a democratic socialist since 1986). But even if I were, I would not head for the door after reading your article. One of the things I discovered early on in my work as a theorist is that truth, not only in science but in most other areas of life, is arrived at haltingly in the form of what famed astronomer Edwin Hubble characterized as “successive approximations”.
As such, I accept that none of us has truth all wrapped up in any realm, secular or sacred, but instead possess a mix of beliefs, facts and insights that vary in terms of the degree they approach what is “indisputably true” (in the absolute or final sense).
This way of approaching reality tends to put brakes on becoming so polarized (politically or otherwise) as to stop listening to worthy contrary opinions. And even when a particular belief, conviction, prophecy or what-have-you turns out to have little or no merit, I do not turn my back on the speaker, writer or such and head for the proverbial exit (Unless the speaker, writer or such consistently doles out material that is so intellectually and/or morally bankrupt as to lead only to error or harmful deception).
Sadly, I think many in the community of believers cling to an Americanized Gospel which equates what is biblically true and reliable with being part and parcel of various right wing political agendas. Actually, Christianity itself in the US and many other nations has been interpreted (and by virtue of this) rewritten to gel with sentiments and ideas that actually run contrary to what Messiah taught and advocated (Torah based Judaism), e.g., unbridled capitalism and the greed it is predicated on and the corruption it engenders and promotes.
I dare say if Yeshua HaMashiach physically visited most American churches he would not recognize what was being taught and advocated as being remotely like what he articulated and lived.
Now, off my soapbox and back to your article:
In your article you mentioned that “Benny Hinn prophesied on New Year’s Eve 1989 that a woman would one day be president of America and would destroy this nation. It seemed like a far-fetched prophecy then, but not so much anymore.”
Whether this is a genuine word of prophecy or not, I can’t help but think Hinn’s pronouncement was in some way influenced by the fact Geraldine Ferraro was the Democratic Party VP candidate in 1984. Many of us back in 1984 speculated that her nomination presaged a woman becoming President at some point in the near or far future.
Of even greater concern is Hinn’s very disturbing track record: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/bhinn.html
Be this as it may, the Almighty has (at various times) used very imperfect vessels to transmit prophetic words. Maybe he spoke to Hinn — or maybe Hinn is like the proverbial broken clock stuck on a single time reading — right twice each day no matter what.
Whether Hinn and others who have said similar things about a future woman President heard from God or their own mental processes (i.e., subconscious thought streams bubbling to the surface which may or may not be a divine mechanism for weaving prophecies), I actually am fearful of having Hillary Clinton become this country’s chief executive. I base this on her track record which simply does not encourage confidence she is honest or a person possessing the kind of integrity one associates the leader of the free world. On the other hand, Senator Bernie Sanders is her almost polar opposite in terms of being consistently honest and an individual of unwavering integrity [His actions are IMO closer to the “care and share” core of Torah and (later) Rabbinic Jewish teachings, which the Messiah wholeheartedly embraced and exemplified in word and deed].
Of course, the alternative (now) to Hillary appears to be Trump (I am still holding out hope Bernie Sanders will get the Democratic nomination as this would shake things up in the best possible way and change what follows so as to avert the road Hillary or Trump would likely take America down). To be honest, his “fruit” has to be the most nauseatingly rotten to pop out on the political tree in many moons (The closest American equivalent I can find is Huey Long, who was not exactly unsympathetic to fascism). As you noted:
The crowds clamored for Trump no matter how arrogant he got, or how much he lied, or cussed, or was exposed for his filth and fraud. He told you what you wanted to hear and you believed him. Now you will pay and be held accountable for your most unwise choice. Standing up against one of the most electable and upright candidates of our lifetime, you have continued to use your mouth as a weapon to defend your idol against the opportunity gave you.
Naturally many people have found parallels between Trump and the patron saint of mass manipulation, Adolf Hitler. Some of their analyses are deeply flawed, but there are elements and parallels that hold up and are very troubling. Trump’s pitches to evangelical (and other) Christians is very reminiscent of Hitler’s to the Church in Germany in his day, something very cogently laid out in the CBN segment “God & Hitler”: http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/churchhistory/godandhitler/
And when people talk of Mr. Trump’s charisma, I am reminded of Hitler whose own charisma emanated from his ability to discern what people wanted to hear and then feed them this in ways that mesmerized them. The BBC laid this out quite well in a documentary titled “The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler” which is available online:
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler – BBC – links to parts 1, 2, 3
Along this line, I ruminated on Hitler and his dark ways in “How do you kill 12 million people? Evil then and now: Recognizing & containing it” at https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/how-do-you-kill-12-million-people-evil-then-and-now-recognizing-containing-it/
I would be remiss if I did not add this personal note:
My maternal great aunt-by-marriage, Val, was born and grew up in Germany under Hitler. She like most virtually all young ladies in Nazi Germany was a member of the Bund Deutscher Mädel and, as I recall, attended some of those massive Nazi rallies back in the 1930s. After her father surreptitiously witnessed the SS wipe out a Jewish community including women and children, he returned home and told his family that, “Our country is finished. The SS is murdering Jews, which means our Fuhrer is mad.” [I would say evil, but not mad — not until near the end of his days maybe.] Anyway, Val’s father smuggled Jews out of the evil empire from 1942 to 1945 — often with the Gestapo chasing him all the way. He was a cobbler, BTW — owned his own shop and made and lost a fortune many times over. Val inherited his wealth.
Val married my maternal great uncle, Horace, in August 1952. Horace was a US soldier during WWII –a Military Policeman — later a high official in the Lubbock, Texas fire department (I was born in Lubbock).
What my great aunt Val and so many other Germans experienced and got caught up in the 1930s and 1940s carries all kinds of warnings about what is prophesied for the “end times”. The fact the core of Hitler’s evil and the Holocaust especially took place over a 7 year period with the last 3.5 years being devoted to the industrial scale murder of the Jews in Europe has convinced many Rabbis that this was the great tribulation period predicted in the book of Daniel. I consider the Nazi period an experiment in which HaSatan essentially tested and refined many of the methods & instruments for achieving total domination over people (I also contend that God is an experimentalist of sorts in this essay). Armed with insights gained during the Nazi period, he will recreate this wheel but without the obvious and largely rejected elements that characterized Nazi Germany. I personally tend to believe the anti-Messiah will have a neurotronic implant in his brain that will connect him to one or more supercomputers (Such an expanded intellect will make him appear all knowing). Hitler on biochips magnified many-fold. His “magic” will be largely technologically facilitated & enacted but will be more persuasive than anything Hitler pulled off or could have conjured up in his wildest imagination.
With this background and bit of commentary in mind, let me now return to Mr. Trump: I have heard many former members of the Hitler Youth — and understand my great aunt Val, who is now 89 or so years of, has said something to this effect too — that America is on a path that is very reminiscent of the one Germany was on just prior to the rise of Hitler. In December 2015, New York Times op-ed columnist Roger Cohen captured this eerie “reinvented (evil) wheel” (–> history repeating itself) in an article he wrote titled “Trump’s Weimar America” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/opinion/weimar-america.html?_r=0
And with this, I will draw this lengthy missive to a close. Perhaps there is something in my verbiage (or in the articles and videos I provided links to) that will prove helpful in terms of your own ruminations and future writings.
Dr. Anthony G. Payne
Below: links to articles of mine on various eschatological topics which may contain insights & ideas you can adopt & adapt to spin future articles & teachings on prophetic especially “end times” topics:
Biblical prophecy is primarily about Israel & the Jewish people, not the US!
Book recommendation for Rev. Farias’s “Purity of Heart”: “You shall be holy, for I am holy”
Buy Rev. Farias’s book “Purity of Heart” on Amazon.com by going to http://www.amazon.com/Purity-Heart-Rev-Bert-Farias/dp/0615722148?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00 or on his ministry website at http://holy-fire.org/books.html
© 2016 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
For those who feel unqualified, under qualified or disqualified to play a significant role in God’s doings in this world
If you are a believer who feels unqualified, under qualified or disqualified to play any sort of role in the Almighty’s work in this world, do yourself a BIG favor and watch the interview below.
Anthony G. Payne
Reports are beginning to surface indicating that retail sources for emergency preparedness or survival gear, dehydrated foods, seeds and such cannot keep up with demand. It isn’t hard to figure out why with articles and tweets and such appearing almost every few minutes on what is happening or lies ahead in term of climate spawned global upheaval, tectonic activity that is triggering volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other calamities, fracking induced quakes, super droughts and massive wildfires, epidemics, increasing social conflict & unrest and gun violence, economic instability in nations great and small, the unrestrained barbarity of ISIS, not to mention terrorist acts taking place worldwide by people of every extremist stripe, and a seemingly endless litany of calamities both human-made and natural that are sending millions of refugees streaming into Italy, Hungary, and elsewhere. And this hardly begins to scratch the surface of how many ways life is now making various doomsday movies, books and such that appeared in the 1950s, 1960s and beyond almost prophetic.
As you might expect, many well known televangelists and other prominent figures in the evangelical world are frantically linking headlines to their reading of ancient prophecies in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelations and other biblical books. Some are even offering emergency preparedness or survival supplies for donations.
At this moment messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s books such as “The Harbinger” (2012) and especially “The Mystery of the Shemitah Unlocked” (2015) are selling like hotcakes and keeping him booked on various religious programs aired on TBN, CBN and such. Just in case you haven’t read anything by Cahn or about his spin on prophecy, he basically claims that certain laws, principles and promises originally given solely to Israel and restricted to her, apply to the United States.
Of course, it is almost a given that any attempt to tie in “end times” prophecies to America (which isn’t remotely alluded to anywhere in the Bible according to both Jewish and Christian scholars, historians and others), requires building a house on speculation and linkages that are typically tenuous at best.
Mind you, I very much believe that the ancient prophecies will be fulfilled. And yes, I see many, many patterns and events unfolding that indicate that what was promised will be fulfilled. But this does not lend credence to futurist predictions that are based on reading prophecies that apply solely to Israel into unfolding events in the US (and the EU for that matter).
Now let me sit back and throw a few thoughts at you:
(1) As I write this (9-2-2015) world economic markets are in upheaval. Economists and others see this as an expected “course correction”. Many proponents of “The Shemitah” thesis argue that this signals a fast approaching economic tsunami and all the chaos and sociopolitical insanity this would likely unleash.
While it is possible Rabbi Cahn and those in his camp could be right, I would not see such a major economic crisis as prophecy fulfilled at all, as the “Shemitah” has no connection to the US. I would put it on the same level of prognostication as the old joke that “even a broken clock is right twice a day”.
If you need convincing that spinning predictions that plug America into biblical prophecy is problematic, go online and buy used copies of prophecy-based books such as Hal Lindsey’s “The Late, Great Planet Earth“. Then go through historic records and see how much of the speculation in these tomes came to pass.
(2) Now a word about ministers and others who are urging their congregants and TV/virtual viewers to donate money to get literally years of dehydrated foods, grains, etc., plus solar power generators and such: I think having a preparedness stash to make it through a 3-14 day power outage or such is a prudent move (Hurricane Katrina and other recent natural disasters alone argue for this). But for most people buying and storing years of supplies and solar generators and such is not only cost prohibitive, but would actually make them targets if our society was plunged into total chaos. I have often wondered how long these people think it would be before roaming hordes of hungry people would break into and pilfer their stockpiles. Some of these “Christian survivalists”, yes, are probably setting up underground bunkers to hide in and also have enough firepower and ammo to fend off scores of the desperate, but it is doubtful they can hold out interminably (The last 3.5 years of the “Great Tribulation” anyway, when evil has its way on a grand scale). And how, I ask, is this living out the Bible and Yeshua/Yehoshua’s admonition to share with those who are hungry, cold, etc.? It amazes me that neither the ministers and Bible teachers who are feverously hawking these survivalist supplies or their supporters see the inherent problems and (biblical) contradictions in what they are advocating and doing.
If you are interested in reading exposes on the biblical difficulties presented by Rabbi Cahn’s books (“The Harbinger” and “The Mystery of the Shemitah Unlocked”) read these articles:
That God expects or will impose a Shemitah upon any nation other than Israel has no scriptural basis. Neither do the Scriptures provide any indication that the Shemitah is some sort of universal principle that operates throughout or even at various times in history.
And these “yours truly” penned:
If you are a believer who is fearful the “end times” is fast approaching — and it may well be (But be aware of those things that must precede it as laid out in When these specific events happen, you will know “doomsday” is near) — my advice is to steep yourself in faith-edifying teachings and prayer, bring your conduct and actions into obedience to what the Almighty requires, learn to discern what is evil from what is not (And yes, they are getting increasingly confused these days, i.e., evil is called good and good, evil), and connect with other believers who worry less about “worshipper friendly” banter and political correctness and more about holiness and empowerment (Spirit baptism, Grace, the fear of God). I highly recommend these books as a sort of “Faith & Empowerment 101” crash course:
Breakthrough Faith: Living a Life Where Anything is Possible by Larry Sparks
Go and Sin No More: A Call to Holiness by Dr. Michael L. Brown
Good or God? by John Bevere
But let me add this caveat: A lot of Christian theology and beliefs (including portions of the books above) draw on the very flawed letters (epistles) of Paul (Saul of Tarsus). It is therefore important that you also acquire the knowledge and insight to identify what is edifying and true from what is not. These two free, online resources will help you mightily in this regard:
Jesus’ Words Only (Second Edition 2007) (Free online in its entirety) by Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq.
I am, by the way, a novice monk in the Knights of Prayer Monastic Order (Full monk in 2018) as well as in service as a monk to several other religious communities & monastic organizations which are part of the New Monasticism movement, and have my own website devoted to spiritual matters and resources at http://summerclouds.weebly.com/ which is geared to help people “sort the wheat from the chaff”. Unlike some believers especially clerics you might have read, watched or listened to (especially fundamentalists and many evangelicals), I do not have all the answers in every area of life and faith. I have come to adhere to certain core truths and am morally conservative, yes, but like many of you am still wrestling with and working out some aspects of what is most consonant with God’s word (Hebrew & Christian scriptures).
Anthony G. Payne (American Indian name “Summer Cloud”)
© 2015 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
As a Texan, a Country Western music fan, and a novice monk (Click to read about Celtic Christianity’s Hebraic or Jewish roots & practices) I found this music video tribute to Israel a joy and well worth sharing. Enjoy and then tell others!
100 year old Jim Downing, USN Lt. at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, remembers the trauma & triumph of WWII (CBN Video News Segment)
Centenarian Remembers the Trauma and Triumph of WWII
As the 70th anniversary of World War II’s conclusion is commemorated, one eye witness, veteran Jim Downing recounts what it was like to live through this unparalleled time in history.