Oversensitive?


#1

The Pastor of my family’s Church (SDA) recently sent out a letter with the following article he wrote. They still send me the newsletter although I have not been SDA for quite some time. My wife and I thought his insinuations and carciture’s of the Popes were sickening, my family told me I was just being over sensitive. Even tried to tell me that the whole point of the letter was to tell people not to believe all the things he says in the first 4 paragraphs. I want to write a response to this, but want to make sure I am not over reacting first. Let me know what you think.

Scanned to text letter to follow in the next post:

Brandon


#2

"April 2, 2005 brought the I passing of Pope John Paul II. t The outpouring of sympathy ( and respect was nothing short *J *of phenomenal! It was if the I world stood still to pay tribute I to the most popular and most c traveled pope of any in the I Roman Catholic Church’s r history. Three American I presidents knelt at the body of i the pontiff offering prayers in , his behalf. 18,000 mourners I per hour moved pass the ( beloved Papa as Rome’s I population doubled during the funeral proceedings.

As the masses and media, riveted their attention upon, the death of John Paul one; couldn’t help but think of Revelation 13:3 that says, “all , the world wondered after the. beast.” John Paul II’s reign’ brought the Catholic Church to world prominence as no other time since the Dark Ages. He was the *PR Pope. *His charisma and integress life won the affections and admiration of an entire planet. The world took notice of this Pope and his pontificate and couldn’t ignore it. So popular was John Paul that former US President, Bill Clinton, once quipped “I am glad I am not having to run against him!”

Then came John Paul’s successor, the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who took the title Benedict XVI only three days after his 78th birthday. Ratzinger was the right hand man of John Paul, hand picked in 1981 , for the purpose of towing the doctrinal line. As Cardinal he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and he was unafraid of welding his power and had removed many liberal priests from office. Andrew Sullivan, writing an essay about Ratzinger in TIME magazine, correctly entitled the piece, “The Vicar of Orthodoxy.” The title couldn’t be better. Benedict XVI is the *Policy Pope. *He is and will continue to be an advocate for the conservative stance in Catholicism. This staunch-for-the-faith man reveals that indeed, “The Roman Church is unchanged.” and “The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility.” (GC 571,564) And more to the point, “Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution.” (Ibid)

But is Benedict XVI the final pope as some in the church believe and teach? Here we must have wisdom and tread this path gingerly. There is a belief that has floated around for years that the seven heads (mountains, kings) of the beast in Revelation 17 gives us a succession of popes since the papacy’s reinstatement in 1929. The conclusion by those that hold this view is that this present pope is the seventh since he is, in fact, the seventh pope since 1929. In other words, Benedict XVI is the last pope before Jesus comes.

I want to say up front, and kindly so, that this kind of reasoning is just another species of “time setting” that we are to avoid at all costs. God’s people must be exceedingly careful that we don’t become “tabloid” (the idea that every sensational media covered event somehow fulfills prophecy) interpreters of prophecy. Superficial readings and renderings of meaning in the book of Revelation is a dangerous practice that can lead, and has led to, all sorts of heretical errors. Be careful not to fall for this Revelation 17 belief that the seven heads are popes. It doesn’t hold up to close and careful scrutiny.

I have received an excellent short essay by Jon Paulien Professor of New Testament at AndrewsUniversity, perhaps the foremost authority on the book of Revelation in the AdventistChurch. I will gladly give anyone who desires a copy of this biblically based essay. Just call me or e-mail me and I will send a copy your way. When you read this study on Revelation you quickly see how superficial renderings of the chapter are insufficient for coming to correct conclusions about its meaning.

_

Certainly the recent change in the Papal leadership reveals a *prophetic trend. *The Catholic Church is enjoying an influence upon the masses like no other time in history. The Papacy holds tremendous power among nations. The world stage is being set every day for the final events that we are told will be rapid ones. Continue to read, pray and cautiously come to conclusions about prophetic fulfillment. Above all, when studying the book of Revelation, remember that it is the unveiling of Jesus Christ first and foremost. Let the image of His glory captivate your imagination and affections becoming more transformed into His likeness. As you do this, the meaning of Revelation and all of last day prophecies will become better understood and more soundly grounded providing a solid anchor hold in these tumultuous times."


#3

I agree with you that this letter is offensive and requires a response. the bits which leap out at me on first reading are (1) likening John Paul II to the beast with that Revelation quote (and likening the papacy generally to the beast with the seven heads business), and (2) the reference to the tyranny of Rome with regards to Pope Benedict XVI.

cheers

cyberman


#4

Regarding responding to the letter: I believe it was Sophocles who wrote, “Talk sense to a fool, and he’ll call you foolish.”

– Mark L. Chance.


#5

If this pastor didn’t actually expect his people to take this letter seriously, I’d say he’d sent it out as a joke. It is filled with inconsistencies and innuendos meant to lead his readers one way and then he jerks them back in another direction.

Honestly, I don’t think the poor man knows what the heck he is talking about, nor does he seem to care if he passes on aspersions against the Church, even if he diplomatically backtracks later on in the piece.

I wouldn’t respond except to tell him, nicely, he’s full of beans, and cancel the newsletter. You will never convince him of anything the way he can rationalize pure nonsense.


#6

[quote=Della]If this pastor didn’t actually expect his people to take this letter seriously, I’d say he’d sent it out as a joke. It is filled with inconsistencies and innuendos meant to lead his readers one way and then he jerks them back in another direction.

Honestly, I don’t think the poor man knows what the heck he is talking about, nor does he seem to care if he passes on aspersions against the Church, even if he diplomatically backtracks later on in the piece.

I wouldn’t respond except to tell him, nicely, he’s full of beans, and cancel the newsletter. You will never convince him of anything the way he can rationalize pure nonsense.
[/quote]

He meant it seriously… :slight_smile:

Brandon


#7

I don’t think that the first part is the author’s own even though he cites no source. I seem to recall seeing that on some a-C website not long ago, but can’t the life of me recall where, and Google hasn’t helped.

They of course take a very SDA view of the whole thing, However, it is nice to see a call for some more careful study of the book of Revelation.

Response? Will it really do any good?

I see no “prophetic trend” in current papal events, though the SDA tends to see a lot of stuff in their shadows.

If it was a doctrinal issue…you might have better success. A response to this…will probably net you nothing more than the label you’ve got so far.

I do think that the pastor’s comments, while a far cry from backing away from the traditional SDA a-C rhetoric & beliefs is an attempt to distance himself and his flock from those who (he seems to feel) have gone too far.
Pax tecum,


#8

I find this interesting… I see it very differently. All through growing up I was taught, in church, by evangelists and pastors that the “Five are fallen, one is, and one is yet to come” refers to the papacy since 1929. The reason he can send this piece out to the congregation without very much explanation is because it is a relatively widespread belief. Now that it has actually happened, and the 7th Pope is here, NOW he is trying to distance himself/church from this doctrine to avoid losing credibility. It seems to me that they taught it for so long, and now that it doesnt seem to be happening according to their teaching, he is saying… well… it was never a good teaching anyway… LOL

Just the view from my pew. hehe

Brandon


#9

Except for the reference to a SDA letter, I do not see what is offensive about any of this.

Was not JPII loved by Catholics and non-Catholics alike?

Did the whole world not watch for smoke from the Sistine chapel?

Do not the orthodox posters on this very forum applaud BXVI for his orthodox adherence to policy?

Did the author not debunk the stupid claim of false prophecy?

What am I missing? Where’s the injury?

Alan


#10

Brandon, when they start with a fallacious premis like the 1929 thing then all else leads to fallacious conclusions as well. I know what you mean…having tried to read and comment in the margin of a copy of “The Great Controversy” until after about 5 chapters there was no more room and my head hurt, I am well familiar with the wild nature of SDA rhetoric. I don’t know that any response that you send will make beans for difference, though writing to say that you disagree and would like to be removed from their mailing list is certainly a good option.


#11

[quote=Church Militant]Brandon, when they start with a fallacious premis like the 1929 thing then all else leads to fallacious conclusions as well…
[/quote]

True… and I have no problem at all after he changes his direction and begins speakin of Revelation 17, was sickened me is that he makes a direct reference to JPII being the Satanic Beast of Revelation 13. I think he insinuates that then Cardinal Ratzinger abused or was heavy handed in his previous position.

The references from EGW where he warns that the church has not changed and will hence return to power and tyranny are a least a bit bothersome… One has to remember that they view EGW as a prophet of God.

Finally, his final paragraph about the influence of the masses and nations was highly in accurate to me… I know that he was trying to bolster his claim of JPII being part of the beast that the “whole world wonders after”, but in reality, the influence of the Catholic church in modern society is slipping.
I recently read that only 3% of Europe’s professing Catholics attend Mass. Furthermore, many European countries have passed or are working to pass homosexual marriage laws, Canada is now poised to pass a law protecting homosexual marriage, yet all of the Vatican’s pleadings have been ignored by the “masses” and the nations on this important issue.

[font=Times New Roman][font=Arial]Birth control, labor concerns, divorce, abortion (infanticide), embryonic stem cell research, drug use, and hundreds of other issues opposed by the Vatican are now a normal part of our society and the society of the Christianized world. Far from the “masses” being influenced by the Vatican, both the people and the national governments are openly ignoring calls by the Vatican to return to her moral teachings and things are only getting worse. China is holding our priests and bishops in jail… hardly a wide spread influence over the nations and masses in my opinion.

Let me know what you think?
[/font][/font]


#12

I certainly agree and I submit to your better knowlege as to whether any response from you will be of any real use, since you probably know the guy, and I patently do not.

Sure it’s disturbing whenever we read or hear anything that we know is bunkum about our most holy faith (if you’ve read some of my posts over the last nine months or so, then y’know I do respond… :smiley: ), but I just wonder if (in this case) a response is worth the effort, though it certainly is great to see you both able and willing to do so! That ROCKS!
Pax tecum,


#13

Oh I guess I missed that part.

I just saw “policy” and “pr” and thought those were understandable generalizations.

Oh, well. If somebody’s going to say I’m the beast, then it really doesn’t bother me unless they weild some kind of power over me. I’m not going to damage my body by allowing my adrenaline to raise and my muscles tense for such a pipsqueak as that.

To let satan offend me is to let him control my emotions. I’m taking control of them back since my emotions got me locked up twice. There will not be a third time. In the name of Christ I will not so much as flinch with fear or awe at your nefarious tricks and lies.

Sorry, satan and all your willing helpers. You can say what you like but I have power over whether I get mad at you or not. Your names cannot hurt me, nyaa.

If I am to walk by faith than I am obligated to love you and bless you, and I know that for my own sanity I should follow God’s advice, not because I fear but because I love to. God has never failed to bless me for holding firm.

In the name of Christ, I ask for God’s blessing, healing and guidance to be upon you. If it’s spiritual warfare you want, then take this. He who is in me, and brings love, cannot be hurt by any of your insults. If you try to physically harm me or my family, then you will see my human side, which may not be willing to turn the other cheek.

Oh, and, Have a Nice Day! :slight_smile:


#14

It took me a while to see what was going on in this newsletter. But I think your concerns are justified. My own thoughts are concerned with those who read this and, because they don’t know the truth, would buy into it the majority of the article.

I find it funny (and a little disconcerting) on how the pastor tried to “mask” the attack on Catholicism by instructing the reader to “Be careful not to fall for this Revelation 17 belief that the seven heads are popes. It doesn’t hold up to close and careful scrutiny.” It’s like, “Well, folks, here it is, but don’t say that I said that!”


#15

[quote=Tonks40]It took me a while to see what was going on in this newsletter. But I think your concerns are justified. My own thoughts are concerned with those who read this and, because they don’t know the truth, would buy into it the majority of the article.

I find it funny (and a little disconcerting) on how the pastor tried to “mask” the attack on Catholicism by instructing the reader to “Be careful not to fall for this Revelation 17 belief that the seven heads are popes. It doesn’t hold up to close and careful scrutiny.” It’s like, “Well, folks, here it is, but don’t say that I said that!”
[/quote]

You aren’t kidding. It threw me for a while, that I thought it was harmless at first. :o

Alan


#16

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