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Tag: End Times

Are We Living in the End Times?

evangelical end times
Cartoon by Pat Bagley

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:3-14)

Two thousand years ago, Jesus was hanging out on the mount of Olives. While Jesus sat there, his disciples came to him with a question: what will be the signs of your return to earth and the end of world? While Jesus’s disciples believed that the end of the world was near, as we now know, it’s been twenty-one centuries since Jesus lived and died, with no end of the world in sight. Christians of every generation have looked to the eastern sky, believing that Jesus would return to earth, judge the living and the dead, destroy the heavens and the earth, and make all things new. While Christian eschatological beliefs have changed over time, one constant remains: the end of the world is nigh.

Unbelievers often laugh at and mock Christians who have end-times beliefs. Where is the promise of his coming? non-Christians rightly ask. Christians point unbelievers to 2 Peter 3:3-13:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Go ahead and mock, unbelievers, Christians say. Someday, you know, like real, real, real soon, Jesus is going to return to earth and make all things news. On that day, you will wish you were a Christian!

Evangelicals, in particular, see the end of the world as a vindication of sorts. Atheists, agnostics, pagans, and other nonbelievers sigh as Evangelicals prattle on and on about the rapture, the Tribulation, the second coming of Jesus, the millennium, etc. To unbelievers, such things are nonsense. And quite frankly, many Evangelicals believe these things to be absurd too. Oh, with their mouths they profess these things to be true, but how they live their lives tells another story. Evangelicals love their jobs, houses, lands, cars, and material goods as much as the rankest hedonist. Their lives testify to this truth: we really don’t believe that Jesus is coming back any time soon.

Within the broader Evangelical tent are sects, churches, and pastors who really believe that we are living in the end times; that the rapture/return of Christ is imminent. Such people can be found in the highest levels of government. Mike Pence is one such believer. Thinking people should fear True Christians®. It is not beyond them to politically and personally help usher in the end of the world. I used to think that religious beliefs for politicians didn’t matter. However, as I watch the Evangelicals in President Trump’s administration promote and initiate end time policies, I have changed my mind. When Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, millions of Evangelicals had orgasms. People who understand Evangelical eschatology, on the other hand, felt a sense of dread and impending doom. At the time I thought, oh my God, these religious nuts are going to drag us into WWIII, all because they believe a handful of Old Testament Bible verses command them to protect God’s chosen people — Israel — at all costs.

The current Coronavirus pandemic has Evangelicals wondering if it is a “sign” of the end of the world. I began this post with a quote from Matthew 24. Many Evangelicals believe that this passage of scripture is a list of the things that must come to pass before Jesus returns to earth. (and yes, I am quite versed in all the different ways Evangelicals interpret Matthew 24.)

One of the things mentioned is pestilences. Many Evangelicals believe that the current pandemic is a pestilence sent by God; a warning of impending judgment and the end of the world. Of course, Evangelicals have been saying the same thing about all sorts of world/regional events for as long as I can remember. I call this newspaper theology. Every time something bad happens on the world scene, Evangelicals wonder, is this it? Is this the end of the world? Is Jesus coming back today?

Such thinking, of course, leads to all sorts of irresponsible and dangerous behavior. In 1988, Evangelical NASA engineer Edgar Whisenant predicted that Jesus would return between September 1 and September 13. Whisenant wrote a small book titled, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. This book was distributed free of charge to millions of Christians. Whisenant’s book caused such a stir in the church I was pastoring at the time, I had to preach several sermons condemning 88 Reasons. My preached proved futile. The Sunday before the supposed rapture, the church house was filled with people. There was a buzz in the air. I know all of this sounds crazy to non-believers, but make no mistake, people really believed that the return of Jesus was imminent.

Of course, here we are thirty plus years later — no Jesus. There’s not much any of us can do to stop such mania, outside of keeping Evangelicals away from the reins of power and access to the nuclear codes. While President Trump is not, in any appreciable way, a Christian, he is aware that it is white Evangelicals who put him in office. Being the narcissistic political animal that he is, Trump is willing to give Evangelicals virtually everything they want if it means he gets to keep the keys to the kingdom. Some Evangelicals are clamoring for the suspension or cancellation of the November election. In their minds, keeping Trump — God’s chosen leader for the United States — in power is more important than anything, including the Constitution. Scary, I know, but when you think Trump is a modern-day King Cyrus, anything is possible.

Rational people know that Jesus is not coming back to earth. His bleached bones lie buried somewhere on a Judean hillside. What should alarm us is that millions and millions of people believe otherwise; that Jesus was crucified, resurrected from the dead, and returned to Heaven to await the day when his Father tells him to return to earth. These True Christians® are an existential threat, one that threatens to destroy the world. It is in everyone’s best interest that such people are marginalized. It’s time that rational people stop playing nice with believers who have apocalyptic ambitions. When your Evangelical friends on Facebook talk about the Coronavirus pandemic being a sign of the end times, please take them seriously. Many religious beliefs are harmless, cute relics of past human history. However, reading the news and interpreting it in light of the Bible is NOT harmless. People who read the news this way are dangerous, and when gathered together as a religious tribe, they can cause untold heartache and harm. We ignore them at our own peril.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Mark Biltz Says the Antichrist Might be a Human Cyborg

mark blitz

This is the one hundred and ninety-third installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of Christian Fundamentalist Mark Biltz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma Washington, stoking hysteria over artificial intelligence. Blitz says the Antichrist might be a human cyborg.  Of course, Biltz has a book to sell. He mentions his “must read” book several times, as does fellow con-man Jim Bakker.

Video Link

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Apache Helicopters Are Mentioned in the Bible

jim and lori bakker

This is the one hundred and ninety-second installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a  video clip of Jim Bakker saying that Apache helicopters are mentioned in the Bible.  Where, your ask? Revelation 9:3-9:

And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.  And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

Did you see it? Come on, it’s right there in plain sight! Either that, or Jim Bakker is a bat-shit crazy fearmonger.

Video Link

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Con Artist Jim Bakker Getting Rich Off of Food Buckets

jim and lori bakker

This is the one hundred and ninety-first installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video by Vic Berger exposing and making fun of Jim Bakker’s end-of-the-world food buckets.

Video Link

 

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Satanic Atheism is Taking Over the World

satan

The End Time of the last days is where we believe our present history finds us. The Bible prophetically characterizes this time as a global delusion sent by God whereby He gives the world over to the culminating powers of satanic deception, yet for a season. In the light of the intensifying depravity of mankind, such a season will give witness to the lowest ebb of human history, resulting from the long and persistent investment of Satan’s ploys in his quest to control mankind. The End Time is the prelude to Satan’s greatest and most mature hour. It will mark his collaboration with the leadership of humanity to bring about what he believes to be the overthrow of God on the planet Earth. It will culminate with his ultimate covenant with the Man of Sin, the Antichrist.

In this prelude season, what are the present powers that rest upon contemporary humanity? Two such powers for candid observation and consideration await us in this issue of Straightway. Although they may seem to be contradictory at a glance, from a closer vantage point they are working together toward the same goal. These two powers or forces are New Atheism and Postmodernism. In this article we will examine New Atheism.
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From one perspective, in this tabernacle of humanity’s present dwelling is the obsessive belief of secularism which at its core is the denial of God. Its present appearance in history is the mutation of a mighty force that has steadily risen in the earth, especially in the past 275 years; it is dedicated to the powers of man’s intellect, his “reasoning.” Emerging from the Enlightenment period in European history was its prodigy child Immanuel Kant. Kant stated in the latter part of the 1700s that man had now come “to age.” This acknowledgment by Kant was the belief that man no longer needed religion and the concept of God in order to exist. Man had come to that fourfold power of (1) the inward enabling, (2) the outward ability, (3) the power of authority, and (4) the living performance to do anything he wanted to do. Truly, he believed that man was the measure of all things and that his hour of boast and power had come to maturity.

The world today has accelerated on its information highway to such an overwhelming, staggering proportion that it is believed mankind must not simply be looking for a future, but he must literally create a “new humanity.” This new humanity will demand a new global social change for mankind.

In the sciences there has been an explosion of knowledge in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, info-technology, cognitive technology, genetic technology, and robotic technology. A whole new world of unknown discoveries has now made its debut. With these sciences has been increased interest in the artificial interfacing of technology with humanity, such as finding ways to transfer human personality into an artificial carrier. This is now the aspiration, the hope, and the goal of those controlling governments, the global economy, and many world corporations.

World leadership collectively believes that the “old” mankind must be replaced with a totally new concept of humanity emerging out of the accelerating wonder of multi-technology. Those in power in the world believe that all of this exploding epistemology in technology and science will demand a new global philosophy, new ideology, new ethic, new culture, new psychology, and new concept of metaphysics. The old must go in order to make way for the new. These secularists are looking for a new man, a new birth of man, a new concept of man, and a new reality for this future man to exist. They have convinced mankind to believe that he needs to begin mapping out his own evolutionary path and direction of goals rather than the randomness and “chance” of man’s evolutionary past they once espoused. This new worldview believes it can stop the power of death upon humanity and then soar beyond the solar systems and stars to conquer the universe—mankind becoming God.
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With such hopes by mankind, a new breed of atheism has emerged from the philosophical think tanks of the world. This New Atheism movement swept through Europe and now has arisen here in the United States as both a social and political movement. This movement strongly promotes secularism and atheism through a selected band of atheist writers who believe that “Religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.”

The Christian is not against the term secular, for anything not sacred falls in this category. But secularism is a clear declaration of an intentional rejection of God in acknowledgment, even to the point of being anti-theistic in its identification.
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The New Atheism movement is dedicated to the promotion of the powers of reason found within man, believing that he is no longer to be held captive to the concept of God. This movement believes that science and technology will bring man to his own powers of creation to be his own God. Their hope of the 2045 Initiative is to “create” a “new man” with an enduring body and to place within this artificial “life” a transplanted human thought-life, including its personality and human senses. It is the belief that this artificial life will take the place of the present human body and that the ruling government of the world will be able to select what brains and personalities will be perpetuated in these artificial life forms. With such a “creation” of a new humanity, the population of the earth could drastically diminish. The created avatars would become the servants and workers for mankind. It will be a world of a “new man” without a soul, without accountability to an invisible Supreme Being, and living for “his master,” man himself.

But according to the rising powers of atheism, this will not come about without a “theothanatology,” a death of God in the thinking of man. Though Christianity is the most hated of all the religions by atheists, they are strong in the belief that all religions must be destroyed because all religions believe in some concept of “God.” This neo-humanity must be delivered completely from all concepts of morality, of right and wrong, of ethics, and of predetermined absolutes. Again, to them, only the death of religion can bring this about.
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It is evident that atheism is becoming more and more prominent in the world. It has taken over the governments, the public educational systems, the voice of science, the approach to medicine and suffering, and has caused the denial of definitive morality. America, a nation that was founded upon the belief of God and His Word, has now become the leading nation in attacking God and in following the destructive powers of sin in sodomy and in atheism. Oh, what America could have been today in providential blessings in many ways if we had continued to honor God! But God has given us over to a mood, a spirit, and a mindset that are swiftly creating the tabernacle of evil resting upon us. The very philosophical air we breathe is fathered by the “prince power of the air,” the Devil.

How will America finally fall? Will it be through Islam? An implosion of debauchery and lust? A civil war? An assimilation by other nations? No matter how and when it comes, God’s hand will be upon it, and we will deserve whatever His appointment of judgment will be.

— H.T. Spence, Straightway, May-June 2015, The Powers of an Age Resting Upon Contemporary Humanity: The New Atheism

Bruce Gerencser