The Catholic Counter Reformation – Futurism
Up to this point, Rome’s main method of attack had been largely frontal: openly burning Bibles and heretics. Yet this warfare only confirmed in the minds of Protestants the conviction that papal Rome was indeed the Beast power that would “make war with the saints” (Revelation 13:7). Therefore a new tactic was needed, something less obvious. The sought after solution was found in the Jesuit Order.
Eleven years earlier, on August 15, 1534, Ignatius Loyola founded a secret Catholic order called the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits.
At the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church gave the Jesuits the specific assignment of bringing Protestantism back to the “Mother Church.” This was to be done not only through the Inquisition and through torture, but also through theology and deception.
Two Jesuits named Francisco de Ribera and Robert Bellarmine invented the system called FUTURISM.
Futurism places the coming of Antichrist just 7 years before the end of time.
The Christians were hindering his coming, and they will be raptured out before his appearance.
Like Martin Luther, Francisco Ribera also read by candlelight the prophecies about the Antichrist, the little horn, the man of sin, and the beast of Revelation.
He then developed the doctrine of futurism. His explanation was that the prophecies apply only to a single sinister man who will arise up at the end of time. Rome quickly adopted this viewpoint as the Church’s official position on the Antichrist.
In 1590 Ribera published a commentary on the Revelation as a counter interpretation to the prevailing view among Protestants which identified the Papacy with the Antichrist. Ribera applied all of Revelation to the end time rather than to the history of the church. Antichrist, he taught, would be a single evil person who would be received by the Jews and who would rebuild Jerusalem.
Ribera denied the Protestant Scriptural Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2) as seated in the church of God-asserted by Augustine, Jerome, Luther, and many reformers. He set on an infidel Antichrist, outside the church of God.
The result of [Ribera’s] work was a twisting and maligning of prophetic truth.
Following close behind Francisco Ribera was another brilliant Jesuit scholar, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine of Rome. Between 1581-1593, Cardinal Bellarmine agreed with Ribera in his work Polemic Lectures Concerning the Disputed points of the Christian Belief Against the Heretics of this Time.
The futurist teachings of Ribera were further popularized by an Italian cardinal and the most renowned Jesuit controversialists. His writings claimed that Paul, Daniel, and John had nothing whatsoever to say about the Papal power. The futurists’ school won general acceptance among Catholics. They were taught that antichrist was a single individual who would not rule until the very end of time.
Source: The Calvinist International
SITTING ON THE PROMISES?
Two of the more common gestural accompaniments of prayer and worship in Scripture are kneeling and the lifting of one’s hands.
In several places in the Institutes and his commentaries, John Calvin reflects on the usefulness of such practices for Christian prayer and sketches an outline of what it is that God intends them to do; or, rather, what God intends to do by them (and the notion of instrumentality will emerge as clearly having been of great significance for Calvin).
We tend, I think, in the Reformed world particularly, to assume that posture has very little to do with prayer, for a variety of reasons (e.g., an allergy to certain traditions with which we’d rather not be associated; an intellectualizing and cerebral impulse in worship that has as a frequent corollary, though not as a necessary consequence, a perhaps too easy alliance with forms that fall within our collective comfort zones; 1etc.). Others perhaps move in the opposition direction, believing that certain actions must be done at certain times, and that a failure to perform these actions makes prayer less, well, prayerful.
For Calvin, both positions are errors because both misjudge the nature of externals and their relation to the worship of the heart–the former too easily dispensing with them and therefore too quickly leaving them to one side, the latter giving them more weight than is due to them. Worship of God without the heart is useless; but, at the same time, what we do with our bodies is closely bound up with what we do with our hearts, and not in a symbolic way merely. The posture of the body ought to be emblematic of the posture of the heart, yes. But, ideally, the posture of the body serves to form the posture of the heart as well: posture, that is, has what we might call, in syntactical terms, both an indicative and a hortatory function. Kneeling is not just a sign of submission; kneeling aids in producing submission.
To approach more closely to what should be involved in thinking about this issue, let us look at some excerpts from Calvin, beginning with the Institutes. (END QUOTE)
For the rest of the article please visit The Calvinist International
Yours in the Lord,
“Today is Maundy Thursday…” no it’s not, stop it!
“I love it when you call me big Papa..” – Pope Francis
“…the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.”
( Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deuteronomy 12:32; Exodus 20:4-6 )
The Act allowed freedom of worship to nonconformists who had pledged to the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and rejected transubstantiation, i.e., Protestants who dissented from the Church of England such as Baptists and Congregationalists but not to Catholics. Nonconformists were allowed their own places of worship and their own teachers, if they accepted certain oaths of allegiance.
It purposely did not apply to Catholics, nontrinitarians and atheists. The Act continued the existing social and political disabilities for Dissenters, including their exclusion from political office and also from universities.
Dissenters were required to register their meeting locations and were forbidden from meeting in private homes. Any preachers who dissented had to be licensed.
Between 1772 and 1774, Reverend Doctor Edward Pickard gathered together dissenting ministers in order that the terms of the Toleration Act for dissenting clergy could be modified. Under his leadership, Parliament twice considered bills to modify the law. Both were unsuccessful and it was not until Pickard and many had lost interest that a new attempt was made in 1779.
The Act was amended (1779) by substituting belief in Scripture for belief in the Anglican (doctrinal) articles, but penalties on property remained.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Going where angels fear to tread: Christianity and Freemasonry
One of my biggest culture shocks in moving to the South has been seeing all the enormous Masonic lodges and discovering that many, if not most, older Baptist (and other) men are members. Where I come from originally (upper midwest), evangelical Christianity (including the majority of Baptists) and Freemasonry don’t mix. They’re like oil and water. In fact, some denominations divided over whether members could be Freemasons; the conservatives considered the drift toward allowing it a sign of liberal theology or worse (nominal Christianity).
A friend of mine was in line to succeed the retiring Fire Chief in his town of about 100,000. Some city council members came to him and told him he would be Fire Chief if he joined the Masonic Lodge. It was against his evangelical convictions, so he never became the city’s Fire Chief.
As I was growing up in the thick of evangelicalism (my uncle was on the national board of the National Association of Evangelicals) somehow I just knew one could not be both evangelical and a Mason. None of my relatives were Masons; nobody in our church or denomination was a Mason.
The reasons given when I asked (probably in my late teens when I became aware of Masons through my high school friends who were joining DeMolay–the boys’ branch of Freemasonry) were that 1) Christians should not belong to secret societies and should devote their free time to the church and its mission rather than to an organization that is not specifically Christian, and 2) Freemasonry’s deep background, if not present reality, is inconsistent with evangelical Christianity.
I didn’t really think that much about it for quite a few years. After all, there were no Masons in the evangelical circles I moved in (even after becoming a Baptist while attending an evangelical Baptist seminary). The issue really first came to concern me when we made our first move to the South for me to pursue my Ph.D. at a major Southern secular research university. I became youth pastor and Christian education director at a Presbyterian church and discovered that most of the older men of the congregation were Masons and were inviting the boys of the youth group to join DeMolay by suggesting they would get college scholarships. They started attending DeMolay meetings INSTEAD of youth group meetings. It was a struggle to hold on to them for the youth group and church. I gradually realized that some of the men of the congregation were more invested in their Masonic relationships and activities than in the church.
One elder of the church invited me to lunch to discuss this problem. I had made a little noise about it–mostly just by asking questions such as “Why are our men drawing our boys away from church to Masonry?” And I asked some questions about Masonic beliefs and practices–most of which never received answers. The elder, who was a 32nd degree Mason, took me to lunch and said (direct quote seared into my mind): “If there is a conflict between Masonry and the Bible I’ll go with Masonry any day.”
Curious, I decided to do some reading about the history, dogma and rituals of Masonry. Of course, that’s not easy. So I looked for a book by a current (not former) Mason that would explain its basic beliefs. What I found was The Meaning of Masonry by W. L. Wilmshurst, a Grand Master over a group of Masonic Lodges in Great Britain. Wilmshurst was clearly NOT talking about his own branch of Masonry (whether York Rite or Scottish Rite or whatever); he was talking about the deep roots of Masonry in general. According to Wilmshurst, an acknowledged authority on Masonic history and beliefs, Masonry necessarily has an esoteric side. As he described it I recognized it as modern Gnosticism.
What am I saying? That all Masons are Gnostics? No. Of course not. But, if Wilmshurst (and many knowledgeable critics of Masonry) is right, even in the 20th century Freemasonry is rooted in a basically esoteric quasi-religious belief system that is incompatible with orthodox Christianity. Do most Masons know that? I don’t know. But why would anyone join a group without knowing as much as possible about its history and beliefs–especially if that group requires an oath of secrecy and loyalty?
A few years ago an influential fundamentalist Southern Baptist “anti-cult” watcher led a crusade against Freemasonry especially among Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians in general. He produced a book and a video attempting to expose Freemasonry as incompatible with Christianity. He and some of his friends brought a resolution to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention that, if passed, would have asked Southern Baptists to avoid membership in Masonic Lodges. It would probably also have made it unlikely that Southern Baptist churches allow Masonic ceremonies in them and at Southern Baptist led funerals. (Masonic members who die are given a special ritual by their Masonic brothers. One explanation I was given by a Mason is that they do not believe in the resurrection of the body but only in the immortality of the soul.)
The resolution was soundly defeated.
I came to the South again 12 years ago and right away noticed the presence of enormous Masonic Lodges in this relatively small city with over 100 Baptist churches. I discovered that many, if not most, older Baptist men have at one time or another been inducted into Masonry. I have been told that all but the most recent presidents of the university where I teach were Masons. I haven’t asked, but I’m sure many of the older men in the congregation to which I belong are Masons. It’s part of the fabric of Southern culture including Southern Baptist culture.
Now, let me make clear I am not “against Masonry.” I know too little about it to be against it. Rather, I’m perplexed. First, I was raised to believe that the church is one’s extended family, the family of God, and that one’s energy should be devoted to its ministry and mission first and foremost. Second, I was raised to believe that membership in secret societies is not compatible with biblical Christianity. It would be like an early Christian belonging also to a mystery religion; it wasn’t encouraged (to say the least). Third, I was raised to believe that Masonic Lodges were competitors with the churches even if many Masons also belonged to churches.
Whether all that is true, I’m not sure. But I continue to be perplexed about it. How many Masons know that the first modern Masonic Lodges grew out of Rosicrucianism (an esoteric sect on the fringes of Christianity)? How many know about the esoteric meanings of Masonic rituals? How many are aware that, historically, Freemasonry denies the resurrection of the body and emphasizes the immortality of the soul instead? Why would a Christian devote a hearty portion of his free time and energy to a secret society when that time and energy could be devoted to the work of Christ through the church?
These are questions I struggle with. I’d love to hear real answers that carry some authority and weight from a knowledgeable Mason. In the meantime I continue to suffer a bit of culture shock every time I drive by one of the several large Masonic Lodges in this region and realize that most of the members are probably Baptists.
25 Jun 2015
Justin Welby is not now, nor has he ever been a Freemason, a spokesman for Lambeth Palace told Anglican Ink this week. However, the archbishop’s staff declined to comment on the archbishop’s views on the compatibility of freemasonry and Christianity.
While his predecessor, Lord Williams, was an outspoken opponent of freemasonry, blocking masons from senior positions in the church, his successor has so far been silent. The Church of England’s official stance on masonry was set by the June 1987 meeting of General Synod in York, which held Christianity and freemasonry were not compatible.
By a vote of 384 to 52 with five abstentions, the General Synod approved the report, “Freemasonry and Christianity: Are They Compatible”. The 56-page report prepared by a seven member committee led by sociologist Margaret Hewett, which also included two masons, was released after 16 months of study. Whilst the Masonic members believed freemasonry and Christianity were compatible, the non-Masons found a “number of very fundamental reasons to question the compatibility of Freemasons with Christianity.”
The report stated that it was “clear that some Christians have found the impact of Masonic rituals disturbing and a few perceive them as positively evil.” They concluded Masonic rituals were “blasphemous” because God’s name “must not be taken in vain, nor can it be replaced by an amalgam of the names of pagan deities.”
It noted that Christians had withdrawn from Masonic lodges “precisely because they perceive their membership of it as being in conflict with their Christian witness and belief.” However, the report did not take the position of the Methodist Church in England that Christians should resign.
In its debate, the synod noted freemasonry advocated a doctrine of works righteousness that conflicted with the Christian doctrine of Grace. A second point of theological concern was blasphemy surrounding the Mason’s use of the word “Jahbulon” for God — an amalgamation of Hebrew, Egyptian and Semitic titles for God.
However some senior churchmen rose in defence of masonry. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Habgood described English Freemasonry as being a “fairly harmless eccentricity”. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt. Rev. Stanley Booth-Clibborn (the grandson of Salvation Army founder William Booth) stated: “The important point ought to be that there should be no undue pressure on Christians who are Freemasons, and no witch hunt.”
Upon his appointment by Lord Williams as Bishop of Ebbsfleet in 2011, the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker resigned from the Oxford lodge. In a statement posted on the Ebbsfleet website, Bishop Baker said he had joined freemasonry as an “undergraduate in Oxford, before ordination. Over the years I have found it to be an organisation admirably committed to community life and involvement, with a record of charitable giving second to none, especially among, for example, unfashionable areas of medical research.”
He added “Had I ever encountered anything in freemasonry incompatible with my Christian faith I would, of course, have resigned at once. On the contrary, freemasonry is a secular organisation, wholly supportive of faith, and not an alternative to, or substitute for it. In terms of the Church of England, its support, for example, for cathedral fabric is well documented.”
However, “I have concluded that, because of the particular charism of episcopal ministry and the burden that ministry bears, I am resigning my membership of freemasonry.”
A number of public cathedral services during Archbishop Welby’s tenure has reopened the issue. On 21 Sept 2013 Canterbury Cathedral marked the 200th anniversary of Royal Arch Masonry with a special service led by the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven. Sheila Watson.
Freemasonry Today reported Archdeacon Watson noted the “long connection between the cathedral and Freemasons” and paid “tribute to the masonic principles of unity, fellowship and service to the community, and spoke of ‘service beyond ourselves’, a virtue embraced by the Church and Freemasonry alike.”
The cathedral’s press office declined to respond to request for a copy of the liturgy used at the Freemason service and AI was not able to confirm assertions that Jahbulon was worshipped in the Church of England ceremony.
In 2012 the dean of St Albans, the Very Rev. Jeffrey John, played host to 800 Hertfordshire freemasons and members of the Rose Croix and Societas Rosicruciana celebrating a service of thanksgiving and the rededication of a pulpit, a gift from English Freemasons in 1883.
At the St Albans service, Provincial Grand Master Colin Harris and Dr. John both referred to the relationship between the Abbey and Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge, No. 8984, Freemasonry Today reported, noting the lodge “regularly assists at major Abbey events.”
Given the growing public profile of Freemasons in England’s cathedrals, has the 1987 General Synod paper on Freemasonry been made obsolete?