Posts Tagged ‘persecution’

NEW BOOKLET: THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know)

2017 marks the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation period in history. This year, orthodox, ecumenical, emergent, liberal, and even secular groups will be “honoring” the Reformation. In this new booklet by Roger Oakland, certain aspects of the Reformation will be discussed, aspects you won’t find in these other circles.

 THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know) by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know), click here.

THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know)

By Roger Oakland
A study of church history reveals that the plan by the serpent to infiltrate Christianity has been relentless through the ages. This plan continues today and is accelerating as the apostasy foretold in the Bible unfolds. In my book, The Good Shepherd Calls, I document how the counterfeit bride (what the Bible calls the harlot) is assembling an amalgamation of apostate “Christianity” with the world’s religions for establishing a peace plan. This peace plan will in turn set up a one-world religion in the name of Christ to further the cause of peace. What is happening right now in the political, economic, and religious sectors is a gradual unfolding of this plan that will build up speed and momentum as we approach the coming of the Antichrist.

While it is impossible to accomplish a complete study of church history in one small booklet, I have chosen one period of time that will help us to comprehend a number of principles we are trying to clarify. While Christianity can become distorted and separated from the foundation of the Bible so it is no longer recognizable as biblical Christianity, God always calls out those who hear His voice. As Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10: 27).

Throughout church history, those who are called out form a remnant. Hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd in the midst of a Christianity that has gone astray and then speaking out against this deception is always met with opposition, hostility, and even death. Of course, this would be expected according to the battle described in the Bible between good and evil, God and Satan.

The area of church history we will be discussing in this booklet is a time known as the Reformation when the reformers split from the Roman Catholic Church in an attempt to re-establish what they believed was a Bible-based Christianity. The reformers, and those who followed their lead, then faced what was called the Counter Reformation (by Rome) and were persecuted. In many cases, they were tortured or killed because of their refusal to submit to papal teachings such as those that said Jesus could be found in a wafer (the Eucharist), and they would not pledge their allegiance to Rome or the pope. Many Christians today have either forgotten about the Reformation and the Counter Reformation, do not understand the implications of what took place, or have never even heard about this period of time.

It is also important to point out that those who led the Reformation were not infallible individuals. They were grieved by the way Christianity had departed from Scripture and had a desire to make corrections. But some of their corrections were not biblically based. How tragic it is today that many sheep follow these men (even naming themselves after them) and their ideas more than they follow the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Even though a correction to the course of Christianity was made, the corrections often did not go far enough, or in some cases veered away from biblical truth altogether. In other cases, some reformers did not want to leave the Catholic Church but rather desired to change some things but leave other beliefs that were just as detrimental intact. Nevertheless, many of these men and women suffered greatly for their efforts to stand for truth.

It is essential that we examine and understand the past because many proclaiming Christians today are being led down the same path as the past, as if they are trying to rediscover the wheel, and they don’t understand that the Bible was written so we don’t have to thrash about aimlessly in the tides of life.

As the reformers discovered, contending for the faith is not an easy road to walk. My prayer is that those believers today who are indeed contending for the faith and trying to warn the deceived can do so in love. Contending is not being contentious. Instead, contending should be sharing the truth in love with the deceived.

The Reformation

One source describes the Reformation in the following way:

The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered Catholic Europe, setting in place the structures and beliefs that would define the continent in the modern era. In northern and central Europe, reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry VIII challenged papal authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. They argued for a religious and political redistribution of power into the hands of Bible- and pamphlet-reading pastors and princes. The disruption triggered wars, persecutions and the so-called Counter Reformation, the Catholic Church’s delayed but forceful response to the Protestants.1

More information from the same document suggests the goal of the reformers was to guide people away from a man-made system of power and control (purported to represent Christ) back to following Christ and His Word alone. We read:

Historians usually date the start of the Protestant Reformation to the 1517 publication of Martin Luther’s “95 Theses.” Its ending can be placed anywhere from the 1555 Peace of Augsburg, which allowed for the coexistence of Catholicism and Lutheranism in Germany, to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War. The key ideas of the Reformation—a call to purify the church and a belief that the Bible, not tradition, should be the sole source of spiritual authority—were not themselves novel. However, Luther and the other reformers became the first to skillfully use the power of the printing press to give their ideas a wide audience.2

The most significant contribution of the Reformation is its illumination and recognition of the true Gospel of justification (salvation) by grace alone through faith in Christ alone apart from earning salvation through works; this fundamental truth exploded as the Word of God (the Bible) became available to the common people. We can even thank the more obscure events, such as the invention of the printing press around 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg and the efforts of Bible translators for making this possible. Meanwhile, many other extra-biblical dogmas and traditions that had reinvented biblical Christianity with outright non-Christian beliefs had been implemented to control the sheep as well. Some of these were:

Selling of indulgences
Purgatory
Praying to dead “saints”
A focus on Mary as the mother of God
The rosary and repetitive prayers to “Mary”
The “Holy doors” opened on Roman Catholic Jubilee for forgiveness
Transubstantiation
The Eucharistic Jesus
Eucharistic adoration
Popery and the infallibility of the pope

While there were many different Reformation leaders in various countries, we will reference only a few.

Germany and Lutherism

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was an Augustinian monk and university lecturer in Wittenberg when he composed his “95 Theses,” which protested the pope’s sale of indulgences in lieu of doing penance. After Luther read and came to understand Romans 1:17 that says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith,” Luther’s spiritual life was radically changed as he came to realize he was not under this continuous weight of condemnation but through Christ had found justification through faith alone. This understanding helped spark the Reformation.

Although he had hoped to spur renewal from within the Catholic Church, in 1521 he was summoned before the Diet of Worms and excommunicated. Sheltered by Friedrich, elector of Saxony, Luther translated the Bible into German and continued his production of vernacular pamphlets. When German peasants, inspired in part by Luther’s empowering “priesthood of all believers,” revolted in 1524, Luther sided with Germany’s princes. By the Reformation’s end, Lutheranism had become the state religion throughout much of Germany, Scandinavia, and the Baltics.3

Sadly, Luther later turned vehemently against the Jews after becoming discouraged because they wouldn’t convert. Tragically, Adolph Hitler utilized Luther’s anti-Jewish sentiments to help convince the German people to turn against the Jews.4

As far as Luther’s contribution of his discovery of the essence of the Gospel, that justification is through faith and not works, it cannot be understated, and he did suffer persecution for his reform efforts.

Switzerland and Calvinism

The Swiss Reformation began in 1519 with the sermons of Ulrich Zwingli, whose teachings largely paralleled Luther’s. In 1541, John Calvin, a French Protestant who had spent the previous decade in exile writing his Institutes of the Christian Religion, was invited to settle in Geneva and put his Reformed doctrine into practice—which stressed an extreme view of God’s sovereignty and humanity’s predestined fate where man has no control over his fate nor the free will to choose or reject Christ, as these things are predetermined. These teachings have brought much confusion to Christians over the centuries in that Calvin’s doctrine contradicts the message of the Gospel that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) and this verse from the Book of Revelation:

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

The result of Calvin’s work was a theocratic regime of enforced, austere morality. Calvin’s Geneva became a hotbed for Protestant exiles, and his doctrines quickly spread to Scotland, France, Transylvania and the Low Countries, where Dutch Calvinism became a religious and economic force for the next 400 years.5

Like Luther, Calvin was fallible, and in addition, he was the cause of much human suffering. This can be documented in the writings of Bernard Cottret, a university professor who greatly admired Calvin, and whose book (published by Eerdman’s) was intended to be a favorable portrait of Calvin, yet it describes more than 38 executions attributed to Calvin.

[Cottret] documents the dates of each of John Calvin’s despicable acts and shows that Calvin’s methods included imprisonment, torture, and execution by beheading and by burning at the stake.6

Michael Servetus was a scientist and a theologian who was born in 1511. Calvin had given Servetus a copy of his writings hoping for admiration and a favorable review. When Servetus returned Calvin’s writings to him with review and critique comments in the margins, Calvin was infuriated. On October 27, 1553, at the age of 42, Servetus was burned alive at the stake. To add to his agony, Calvin had Servetus’ own theological book tied to his chest, the flames of which rose against his face. While Michael Servetus’ doctrines may not have all been biblically sound, Calvin’s torture and execution of this man is inexcusable.7

Another problem with Calvinism is that it offers no assurance of salvation. The reason for this is that while the Bible declares “whosoever” may come, Calvin’s grasp and understanding of “predestination” was so all consuming as to become “another gospel” where one gets saved if and only if God has already chosen to save someone; hence, receiving the Gospel according to Scripture is both impossible and of no avail to someone predestined to Hell. It is worth noting that in his will, Calvin wrote a plea to God to save him if He can find it in His will to do so.8 This is completely contrary to Scripture that promises us assurance of salvation:

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13)

England and the “Middle Way”

The history of Christianity in England is marked by some extreme highs and lows, often happening simultaneously, where good and evil were always present, clashing with but never eradicating the other. King Henry VIII had a highly questionable personal life, but through the course of related events, broke away from Rome, instituted an English church, and made the Bible available to the people. Below is a brief historical synopsis of this turbulent period of English history:

In England, the Reformation began with Henry VIII’s quest for a male heir. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could remarry, the English king declared in 1534 that he alone should be the final authority in matters relating to the English church. Henry dissolved England’s monasteries to confiscate their wealth and worked to place the Bible in the hands of the people. Beginning in 1536, every parish was required to have a copy.

After Henry’s death, England tilted toward Calvinist-infused Protestantism during Edward VI’s six-year reign and then endured five years of reactionary Catholicism under Mary I. In 1559, Elizabeth I took the throne and, during her 44-year reign, cast the Church of England as a “middle way” between Calvinism and Catholicism, with vernacular worship and a revised Book of Common Prayer.9

Without a doubt, a reformation was needed. And the reformers paid a high price, some with their lives, to help pave a road away from the heresies of the Roman Catholic Church and toward biblical purity. But even though their roles in this were substantial, nevertheless, they were still just fallible men and women who were used of God and in some cases of our adversary. They should not have been put on spiritual pedestals to be esteemed so highly that centuries later, when a Christian challenges their writings, he is sorely ostracized by much of today’s Christian academia.

The Counter Reformation

Understanding some of the history behind Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and the Jesuit agenda to bring back the “separated brethren” to the “Mother of All Churches” reveals one of the darkest periods of church history. Untold numbers (some estimates are in the tens of thousands, others in the tens of millions) of Christians, Jews, and other non-Catholics were tortured and killed if they refused submission to the pope, refused to accept that Jesus Christ was present in the Eucharist, or simply refused to be Catholic.

In fact, at this point, I would suggest our readers either read or re-read a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. This will give an excellent overview of the suffering and torture imposed on Bible believers during the Reformation and Counter Reformation Period by the Roman Catholic hierarchy. For those who are unable to read the book, we will provide an example, quoting a source that explains who the Huguenots were and the persecution they endured because they desired to follow the Good Shepherd:

The Huguenots were French Protestants. The tide of the Reformation reached France early in the sixteenth century and was part of the religious and political fomentation of the times. It was quickly embraced by members of the nobility, by the intellectual elite, and by professionals in trades, medicine, and crafts. It was a respectable movement involving the most responsible and accomplished people of France. It signified their desire for greater freedom religiously and politically.

However, ninety percent of France was Roman Catholic, and the Catholic Church was determined to remain the controlling power. The Huguenots alternated between high favor and outrageous persecution. Inevitably, there were clashes between Roman Catholics and Huguenots, many erupting into the shedding of blood.

Thousands of Huguenots were in Paris . . . on August 24, 1572. On that day, soldiers and organized mobs fell upon the Huguenots, and thousands of them were slaughtered. . . .

On April 13, 1598 . . . the newly crowned Henry IV [who favored the Huguenots] . . . issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted to the Huguenots toleration and liberty to worship in their own way. For a time, at least, there was more freedom for the Huguenots. However, about one hundred years later, on October 18, 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes. Practice of the “heretical” religion was forbidden. Huguenots were ordered to renounce their faith and join the Catholic Church. They were denied exit from France under pain of death. And, Louis XIV hired 300,000 troops to hunt the heretics down and confiscate their property.10

Nothing New Under the Sun

This brief study of the Reformation and the Counter Reformation opens a window to the past that has either been forgotten or ignored. We know that most Catholics today would be totally against people being tortured and burned at the stake, and while it is not our objective to open old wounds or to be called “Catholic bashers,” it is important to understand what happened in the past from a biblical perspective with the hope it won’t happen again.

Unfortunately, something is happening in the Protestant church today that would shock and horrify those believers who have gone before us suffering torturous deaths because they would not bow the knee to the Catholic Church. Many of today’s Protestants, who at one time agreed that the Reformation needed to take place, have now proclaimed that the Reformation has no relevance anymore and that Protestantism and Catholicism need to see themselves as one church. While the same unbiblical dogmas, traditions, and ideas are being taught by the Catholic Church (and being labeled as harmless by many Protestant leaders), the martyrs of the Reformation are now considered by some to be anti-ecumenical crackpots who endured tremendous suffering and death for what is now seen as trivial and unnecessary.

The church that once relied on the Word of God now follows men who have compromised the truth or ignored the truth entirely. Church history is being repeated, perhaps for the last time, and many have fallen asleep or are willingly ignorant.

The last-days delusion is upon us. Many Christians who are attempting to maintain biblical integrity and not “go with the flow” of megachurch madness cannot even find a church to attend that has not compromised the faith. Denominations and associations of fellowships that were once on track have been derailed.

If we have heeded the warnings and instruction of Scripture, we must expect this attack on biblical faith. Like those who were willing to speak the truth in the past and suffer the consequences, the Good Shepherd is calling those who are willing to take a similar stand today.

To order copies of THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know), click here.

Endnotes:
1. History.com; The Reformation: http://www.history.com/topics/reformation.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Toward the end of his days, Luther became profoundly anti-Semitic, and the publishers and author of The Good Shepherd Calls and this booklet wish to dissociate themselves utterly from the views he expressed on the Jewish people during these final few years. As Perry, Peden, and Von Laue point out, “Initially, Luther hoped to attract Jews to his vision of reformed Christianity. In That Jesus Was Born a Jew (1523), the young Luther expressed sympathy for Jewish sufferings and denounced persecution as a barrier to conversion. He declared, ‘I hope that if one deals in a kindly way with the Jews and instructs them carefully from the Holy Scripture, many of them will become genuine Christians . . . We [Christians] are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord.’”  Based on this point, Luther went on to say: “if it were proper to boast of flesh and blood, the Jews belong more to Christ than we. I beg, therefore, my dear Papist, if you become tired of abusing me as a heretic, that you begin to revile me as a Jew.”  Thanks in no small part to the appalling extent of Rome’s past persecution of the Jews ‘in the Name of Christ’, the vast majority of Jews did not convert to Christianity, and this, combined with Rome’s many false teachings about the Jews, prompted Luther toward his violent diatribes against them. It should also be borne in mind that he lived in a very anti-Semitic time, and in a very anti-Semitic part of the world. Tragically, centuries later, Adolph Hitler utilized the anti-Semitic sentiments of Luther to help justify to the Germany people his atrocities toward the Jewish People, which resulted in over six million Jewish deaths.  For further information on Luther’s views of the Jews, read William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
5. http://www.history.com/topics/reformation, op. cit.
6. B. Kirkland D.D., Calvinism: None Dare Call it Heresy (Sarnia, ON: Local Church Ministries, www.fairhavensbaptist.com), p. 4.
7. Ibid.
8. Norman F. Douty, The Death of Christ, Rev. And Enlarged (Irving, TX: Williams & Watrous Pub. Co, 1978), p. 176.
9. http://www.history.com/topics/reformation, op., cit.
10. The Huguenot Society of America, “Huguenot History,” http://huguenotsocietyofamerica.org/?page=Huguenot-History.

To order copies of THE REFORMATION: A Brief But Important Look (Some Things You Might Not Know), click here.

Hitler’s Plan to Replace Christianity with a “New” Christianity

By Tony Pearce
(excerpt from The Messiah Factor)

Those who blame God for the Nazi Holocaust should note that the roots of the Nazi ideology lay in a definite rejection, indeed a bitter hatred of not just Judaism, but the God of the Bible and authentic Christianity. In this connection it is interesting to note the following thoughts written by Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who first proclaimed that “God is dead.”

That the strong races of Northern Europe have not repudiated the Christian God certainly reflects no credit on their talent for religion. (1)

[Speaking of the Christian concept of God] The God of the great majority, the democrat among gods (NB Nietzsche loathed democracy), has nonetheless not become a proud pagan god; he has remained the god of the nook, the god of all dark corners and places, of all the unhealthy quarters throughout the world. (2)

What is good? – All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power increases, that resistance is overcome. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at all, but war; not virtue, but proficiency. The weak and ill constituted shall perish; the first principle of our philanthropy. And one shall help them to do so. What is more harmful than any vice? Active sympathy for the weak and ill constituted: Christianity. (3)

Christianity is called the religion of pity. Pity stands in the antithesis to the tonic emotions which enhance the energy of the feeling of life: it has a depressive effect. Pity on the whole thwarts the law of evolution, which is the law of selection. It preserves what is ripe for destruction: it defends life’s disinherited and condemned. (4)

This philosophy of 19th century German atheism clearly has a spiritual link to Nazi ideology. One wonders what Nietzsche would have thought of the strong, powerful, pitiless ones, the SS, “selecting” the fittest specimens as they ran past them naked – the strong to be worked to death in concentration camps, the weak and “ill-constituted” to be taken away to the gas chambers. What does the modern world need, hard, pitiless anti-Christian men and women, or those who will follow the one Nietzsche despises so much? He said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God (Jesus speaking in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5.3-9).

There was no doubt what kind of people Hitler wanted. He said “Antiquity was better than modern times because it did not know Christianity and syphilis.” His main reasons for rejecting Christianity were as follows:

1. It was the religion which sided with everything weak and low.
2. It was purely Jewish and Oriental in origin. “Christians bend their backs to the sound of church bells and crawl to the cross of a foreign God”.
3. The religion began 2000 years ago among sick and despairing men who had lost their faith in life.
4. Christian ideas of forgiveness of sin, resurrection and salvation were just nonsense.
5. The Christian idea of mercy was dangerous. One must never extend mercy to an enemy. “Mercy is an un-German concept.”
6. Christian love was harmful. Love paralyses.
7. The Christian idea of equality of all human beings before God meant that the inferior, the ill, the crippled, the criminal and the weak were protected. (5)

The Nazis may have marched into battle with “Gott mit uns” (God with us) as their motto, but their god was a pagan antichrist god, and they followed a false messiah, Adolf Hitler, and bowed down before idols of power, physical force and the dream of world domination by the Teutonic Master Race. Is it surprising that the fruit of this demonic ideology was the nightmare of destruction and slaughter which followed in their wake?

They may also have professed some sort of Christianity, but their aim was to replace authentic Christianity with a programme for a new German Christianity:

1) Throw out the Old Testament – it is a Jewish book. Also throw out parts of the New Testament.
2) Christ must be regarded not as Jewish, but as a kind of Nordic martyr put to death by the Jews, a kind of warrior who by his death saved the world from Jewish domination.
3) Adolph Hitler is the new Messiah sent to earth to rescue the world from the Jews.
4) The swastika replaces the cross as the symbol of German Christianity.
5) German land, German blood, German soul, German art – these four things must become the most sacred things of all to the German Christian. (6)

In effect the Nazis were replacing Christianity with a new paganism which drew its strength from Wagner’s music and the Nordic myths of pre-Christian times. One of the prime movers in this direction was Alfred Rosenburg to whom Hitler awarded the National Prize, Germany’s version of the Nobel Prize, in 1937. Rosenburg wanted a return to the old Teutonic religion of fire and sword. There was even a hymn for the new German Faith Movement:

The time of the Cross has gone now,
The Sun Wheel shall arise,
And so, with God, we shall be free at last
And give our people their honour back. (7)

(This has been an excerpt from Tony Pearce’s book, The Messiah Factor.)

Notes:
1. Nietzche, The antichrist (Penguin version), p. 2.
2. Ibid., p. 7.
3. Ibid., p. 17.
4. Ibid., p. 19.
5. Louis L. Snyder, Hitler and Nazism, p. 87.
6. Ibid., p. 90.
7. Ibid., p. 91.

 

“Ontario Approves Measure That Allows Government to Take Children From Parents Who Oppose Gender Ideology”

By Jardine Malado
The Christian Times

The Canadian province of Ontario has passed a legislation that has been described by critics as “totalitarian” as it allows the government to seize children from families who do not accept gender ideology.

Bill 89, or the Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2017, was passed by a vote of 63–23 on June 1, the last day before Queen’s Park adjourns for the summer . . .  The measure repeals and replaces the Child and Family Services Act, which governs child protection services, as well as adoption and foster care services.

Under the legislation, “gender identity” and “gender expression” are included as factors to be considered “in the best interests of the child.” However, the religious faith in which the parents are raising the child is removed from consideration in assessing the child’s bests interest. Click here to continue reading.

UN’s ‘Absurd’ Birthday Present to Israel: Resolution Brands Them ‘Occupiers’

Courtesy and Comments by Understand the Times, International

Click to enlarge at source page.

When it comes to rulings promoted by the United Nations against Israel, there is only one way to make sense of the nonsense. Israel is despised by the nations of the world just as the Bible predicted that it would be in the last days. The God of Israel is the God of the Bible and will not be mocked. It is only a matter of time until Bible prophecy will be fulfilled and the nations that come against Israel will be judged. – Understand the Times.

From CBN (Posted for informational and research purposes):
May 3 – UN’s ‘Absurd’ Birthday Present to Israel: Resolution Brands Them ‘Occupiers’

On the same day Israel celebrated its 69th birthday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO, passed a resolution declaring Israel an “occupying power” in Jerusalem.   “All legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith,” the resolution stated. Last October, UNESCO passed a similar resolution denying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, declaring them Muslim “holy sites.” The resolution also passed a day before President Trump is due to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  Read Full Article

Holocaust Memorial Day – A Question of “Tolerance”?

Today, it is the 2017 Holocaust Memorial/Remembrance Day, and around the world people will be stopping to remember the atrocities committed against six million Jews and around five million others, murdered because of the madness of one man – Adolph Hitler. For those of you who follow the writings of Lighthouse Trails, you know we hold a special place in our hearts regarding the Holocaust, and indeed have two Holocaust survivors for authors (one a Jewish Christian and one a resistance worker). What we are about to say is prompted because of our commitment to bring the things of darkness to the light.

During the preparation of our two Holocaust books (Trapped in Hitler’s Hell and Things We Couldn’t Say), we turned to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) for photographs of the Holocaust that we could use in our books. The USHMM has thousands of photos, which are proof against any delusion that the Holocaust never happened. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; well think of what thousands of pictures are. So the world should be ever grateful to this Museum that has done well to preserve the past with the hope that such would never happen again.

Eight years ago, during the 2009 Holocaust Remembrance Day observations, when we learned that the USHMM had asked Barack Obama to be the keynote speaker for their ceremony, we realized that the true message of Holocaust remembrance was being lost. We could see that true message is being replaced with ideologies of tolerance, unification, globalism, and so forth. A 2009 press release put out by the USHMM stated:

We are honored that President Obama will participate in our Days of Remembrance ceremony,” said Fred S. Zeidman, Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “At this critical moment, with hatred and anti-Semitism on the rise in so many parts of the world, and genocide still a reality, we are reminded of the continued relevance of the Holocaust and the urgency of its lessons. What the Holocaust teaches us with such moral clarity is the power of the individual and the responsibility we all have to not stand silent in the face of injustice.”

The Bible says that unless a person is born again, he cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit. So we understand why the world views things the way they do, but unfortunately they have missed the real reason why the Holocaust happened, and why it may possibly happen again. While liberals and homosexuals are cashing in on the new Holocaust message of tolerance in order to propagate their agendas, the real meaning is being buried and ignored by most.

This true message is found within the pages of Scripture. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with the Jews, and in the New Testament, God offered man a promise of salvation and eternal life for all who accepted this new covenant, which was sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. Within the pages of Scripture are details about God’s enemy, Satan, who hates God’s covenant with man. From the beginning of the Jewish people, they have been hated by Satan, and after the resurrection, when Christianity began, he has hated Christians as well.

The wrath that was poured out by Hitler, particularly to Jews (and anyone who helped them, of which many were Christians) was instigated, not because Hitler wasn’t “tolerant” or because he wasn’t a “globalist.” It was because he was indwelled with an anti-Christ spirit that hates anything to do with the covenant God has made with man. As the Bible explains, Lucifer (Satan) has the aspiration of being “like the Most High” (Isaiah 14). The Bible says he is the father of lies, confusion, and every evil thing. Christians who have studied the Holocaust and read about the horrible rage that was released against the Jews know that no one man could have done this alone. We understand that Hitler was demonically inspired.

The “tolerance” message deceives people into thinking that it cares about people being treated equally and justly, but in reality it is an anti-God, anti-freedom message. Hidden within its core is the idea that no one belief system can be the only way to God or truth; hidden within its core is an anti-Christ zeal that determines to lash out against God’s covenant with man. For instance, to say Christianity is true and Islam isn’t would be seen as intolerance and therefore evil. But in essence, both faiths are diametrically opposite of each other (even though they may share certain moral values) to how one is brought into a right relationship with God. Islam portrays human effort as being the primary catalyst for such a relationship, whereas Christianity’s emphasis is on a Savior who puts a person in a right relationship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, not of man’s own doing. Since Islam rejects this, a devout Christian has to reject Islam. Thomas Merton knew that doctrinally the two beliefs could never come together; he came to believe that it was only through mysticism they could unite. In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing he discloses Merton’s views on this:

In a dialogue with a Sufi leader, Merton asked about the Muslim concept of salvation. The master wrote back stating:

Islam inculcates individual responsibility for one’s actions and does not subscribe to the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption.

To Merton, of course, this meant little because he believed that fana and contemplation were the same thing. He responded:

Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas … in words there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution. . . .  But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light [mysticism] . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam. (emphasis added)1

Merton was basically saying that the doctrine of redemption and atonement through Christ was “of little value.” This also reflects the view of the emerging church that tolerance is more virtuous than faith, and that faith can actually be unvirtuous. As illustrated in the movie, Doubt, doubt and uncertainty unites. The priest in Doubt does a homily on doubt, and the fundamentalist in the movie (Meryl Streep) sees that as dangerous but in the end, she herself doubts. The point of the film is that uncertainty is good. Father Flynn is a Thomas Merton type priest in the sense that firm conviction is not necessarily a good thing. This is consistent with the emerging church and where emergent leader Tony Jones says in his book, The New Christians that uncertainty (including uncertainty of Scripture) is better than certainty and where Brian McLaren says we still haven’t got the Gospel right (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 293).

The world thinks that if it teaches “tolerance,” that the Holocaust will never happen again. But the very message behind this kind of “tolerance” could actually cause it to happen again because tolerance, according to the world, is against the God of the Old and New Testament and against the people with whom He has made a covenant. But until Jesus Christ returns, which He has promised to do, Satan will be free to attack and destroy. The Bible says that as the days of Christ’s return draw closer, what takes place in the world will be like the birth pangs of a woman in labor. The pangs intensify the closer the birth becomes. And that is why spiritual deception continues to expand, quite quickly now.

While we have appreciated the efforts of the USHMM to preserve the evidence of the Holocaust, we are disappointed that they have latched onto the “tolerance” message that ultimately will reject the Jews and the Christians.

We must add something here too about homosexual activists, because they are the strongest and most out-spoken group for “tolerance.” But they have used the Holocaust and many of its stories, such as The Diary of Anne Frank, to compare their “plight” with that of the Jews in World War II. While it may be true that Hitler did eventually lash out against homosexuals, a number of the prominent Nazis, such as Ernst Rohm, were homosexuals.

For those who may be skeptical, read the following, which is from William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, perhaps one of the best works ever written on understanding Hitler:

He who was so monumentally intolerant by his very nature, was strangely tolerant of one human condition – a man’s morals. No other party in Germany came near to attracting so many shady characters. As we have seen, a conglomeration of pimps, murderers, homosexuals, alcoholics and blackmailers flocked to the party as if to a natural haven” (p. 121-122).

Later, pressure was put on Hitler to rid his organization of these types. But he was not intolerant of the homosexuals – that wasn’t why he turned on them. Hitler was intolerant of anything that stood in his way to bring about a super race of people that excluded, in particularly, the Jews and those who loved them.

We want to make one thing clear. Lighthouse Trails does not advocate persecution of people of any race, religion, or persuasion. We do not believe any person should be treated with hateful or cruel behavior, either physically or verbally. What we are trying to get across is that the tolerance message is too binding in a theological sense and restricts the preaching of the Gospel. It will never work for biblical Christianity because, as Christians, we have to insist that the blood of Jesus Christ is the only way to be reconciled with God, and the tolerance message rejects such an approach.

Some may wonder how this all ties in with Obama speaking for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum ceremony. Obama represents a new kind of “Christianity,” one that looks more like Brian McLaren’s spirituality than biblical Christianity and one that lines up with the “tolerance” message in that Obama believes that other religions are legitimate paths to God:

Obama does clearly believe that the form of Christianity that he committed to at Trinity Church in 1985 is not the only path to God. “I am rooted in the Christian tradition,” he has said. Nevertheless he asserts, “I believe there are many paths to the same place and that is a belief there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.” He first saw his broad embrace of faith modeled by his mother. “In our household,” he has explained, “The Bible, [t]he Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf . . . on Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to a church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”2

It is the following words that Satan hates and does all he can to destroy, but try as he might, he never will. It is the light that shines in a dark world. And a merciful, patient God calls out.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father [God], but by me. John 14:6

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. I John 4: 9-10

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Revelation 1:5

It is our prayer that many Jews around the world will come to see Jesus Christ as their Messiah and not be deceived by this “tolerance” message that in the end will hate them and persecute them. Historically, the Jewish people have been a trusting people . . .  this is one message we hope they won’t buy into.

Notes:
1. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd ed. 2006) p. 59, citing Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 110.

2. Stephen Mansfield, The Faith of Barack Obama (Thomas Nelson) p. 55, quoting from Audacity of Hope, Obama, p. 203. (See our article.)

The article above was originally posted on the Lighthouse Trails Research blog in 2009 but remains relevant today.

Related Articles and Resources on the Holocaust:

 Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” (Part 2) – Neale Donald Walsch, “God,” and Hitler

Lighthouse Trails Resources on the Holocaust

‘Junk Science’? Biblical Creation Group Included on List of Disreputable Websites

By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network

A prominent Creation science group is pushing back after their website was included on a widely-shared list of allegedly untrustworthy sources and described as “junk science.”

After “fake news” became a subject of national discussion during the 2016 presidential election, Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication at Merrimack College, compiled an online document that lists disreputable websites and news sources.

Originally created as a resource for her students, Zimdars’s document lists hundreds of “false, misleading, clickbait-y, and satirical” websites. Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

For Lighthouse Trails resources on the debate between creation and evolution, click here.

NEW BOOKLET: FAITH UNDER FIRE—Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It?

NEW BOOKLET: FAITH UNDER FIRE—Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It? by Cedric H. Fisher is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet.  The Booklet is 10 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet.  To order copies of FAITH UNDER FIRE—Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It?, click here. 

FAITH UNDER FIRE—Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It?

By Cedric H. Fisher

God’s Word gives us examples of faith in the fire, faith in the flood, faith when outnumbered by the enemy, faith when facing an indomitable foe, faith in prison, faith during torture, faith when destitute, hungry, and thirsty, faith on stormy seas, faith to lose everything and faith to receive it all back again, faith to procreate though infertile, and faith to die. Every instance of faith thus described is manifested in adversity or great need. To find examples in Scripture of faith operating in a peaceful and bountiful climate would be a difficult task. I’m not sure there are any at all.

The Bible likens God’s way of purifying the faith of a believer to the refining process of gold. Peter writes:

. . . that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)

The refining process of gold requires that it be heated to a molten condition whereby the impurities (dross) float to the top and are skimmed off. The prophet Malachi describes this process as an illustration of how God purifies the believer:

[A]nd he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)

Some might contend that the peaceful climate is the result of faith. That may be true, but it is not faith in operation. Good health is the result of exercise, but it is not exercise. If our comfortable status is faith, then the testings of faith would not require adversity. Further, there would be no biblical examples of godly men and women exercising faith to overcome adversity.

The obvious truth is that the appearance of faith tends to be relatively dormant in times of peace. We are sustained by the benefits of our relationship with God. However, when a true Christian believes he can go through life without any adversity, such a person is being set up to be “channeled.” Now, what I am referring to by “channeled” is this: when someone tries to avoid adversity, he is actually setting himself up to be manipulated and channeled by Satan who is always at work to make it difficult and painful for devoted believers to obey God’s will.

Let me elaborate on this line of thought. If a Christian believer intends to be a light that shines in darkness, he becomes a target of evil entities. If he stands up for and speaks the truth, he will suffer. If he accepts, assimilates, and defends the values of godliness, he will suffer. If he refuses to go with the flow of nominal Christianity or worse, apostasy, he will suffer. If he refuses to deviate from God’s Word in a time of great compromise, he will suffer. If he has a prophetic calling, he might even lose his life for Christ’s sake.

Consider this scenario: A professing Christian has witnessed the suffering of a fellow believer who is being a true witness for Jesus Christ. The professing Christian has tried to do the same and experiences similar sufferings and consequences. As a result, he decides to avoid manifesting any fruit of Christianity that causes contention, rejection, or persecution. He is considered one of the nicest, most gregarious, kindly, friendly, and positive people. Everyone loves him and speaks well of him. What’s more, he is flexible and capable of mingling with any belief system. Nearly everyone enjoys associating with him, and he has excellent rapport with all of them. Secular and religious people of all stripes laud him as an example of a true Christian. And he does not want to lose that status, so he makes every attempt to make sure he doesn’t end up suffering again.

However, such a Christian does not match the examples of what the Bible describes as true Christianity, nor does he match the example of Christ Himself. In reality, such professing Christians, in their efforts to avoid the consequences and sufferings of true Christianity, are being “channeled” by Satan and his imps. Upon seeing this compromising attitude, these adversaries of our souls can re-circumvent lives (i.e., change the direction one is going) by causing situations that re-direct that person in his walk because he wants to avoid suffering, ridicule, and rejection for standing in and defending the faith.

These re-directed channeled Christians have, in effect, turned down their light to a non-offensive level. In fact, they are not actually lights at all, but shadows; they lie somewhere between light and darkness. The path they walk weaves around every uncomfortable and inconvenient situation; they walk in a state of delusion because deceit has become the norm for them. Christ warned about this type of fruitless follower.

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)

The apostle Paul described what would befall the ones who truly desire to live godly in Christ. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Peter also wrote about the suffering of true followers of Christ. He mentioned the suffering of believers eighteen times in his first letter.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Isn’t it interesting (and tragic) that so many modern-day Christians believe it is strange to suffer and that it is not God’s will. They believe they are supposed to be constantly happy, blessed, healthy, wealthy, and peaceful, while enjoying life in this temporal realm. The terms “happy,” “blessed,” “peaceful,” etc, are relative. Those emotions are based on a life ordered by them, not by God. They avoid all negativity. They have no productivity because it is inconvenient.

Heretics find a willing audience in these individuals because they never resist darkness. To do so would be too uncomfortable and painful. Their lives are empty, swept, and ordered (Matthew 12:44).  They’ve maintained a shiny neon shell of godliness, but there is no substance inside. The will of God is not included in their order. Standing up for truth, being a true light that exposes evil, obeying God when the price is rejection, or worse, harsh persecution, are not in their order of things to do.

The focus of that type of professing Christian is on milking God’s Word and kingdom of all the benefits without incurring the costs of genuine relationship. They are “professors,” but not possessors. They never exercise faith because they avoid the situations where faith is needed. There is no sense of true victory in them. There must be constant stimulation from a source other than God and His Word.

I think of the so-called present-day “Christian” music and how so much of it lacks the substance to build one’s faith. This faith-less music does not exhort people to repent, fully surrender to God, pray, and refrain from lifestyles that caused their defeat. Instead, the great majority of the songs put the entire responsibility of ones deliverance from sin on God; and while it is true that only God can break the bondage to sin, it is also true that “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Hebrews 11:6). The backslider and hypocrite are treated as helpless victims instead of rebels who need to acknowledge their sin and repent. We certainly need His forgiveness, but He has made it clear that repentance, denouncing our sin, and surrendering to His will is our responsibility. (Remember the old hymn, “Kneel at the Cross”?) And you sure won’t hear too many songs in today’s churches that talk about the sufferings of Christ that we must also be prepared to endure. In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he so eloquently describes the role and the results of our willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake:

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings. (Philippians 3:7-10)

Christians who do not exercise their faith but rather run from it end up in a miserable and decrepit spiritual condition. And allowing such a thing to happen does not honor God at all. For one thing, it ignores and rejects all He has given us for victory, the “precious promises” He gives us for living godly lives consecrated to Him. To such people, the substance of faith is more a happy thought or luck charm than it is a supernatural infusion of iron will to fight the good fight and win:

[W]hereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:4-8)

The damage of the so-called “positive confession” aka “Word of Faith” heresy has been to strip out the heart of a warrior and replace it with the heart of entitlement-mindedness. Even committed followers of Jesus Christ can be affected by this fallacy if they are not watchful. When they suffer and feel alone and rejected, they wonder if God has abandoned them. That is actually an opportunity for faith to go from embers to blazing brilliance.
As long as we are humans and children of God, we need the trials. When distraction and disfocus dim our view of God’s glory or our humanity incrementally cools us to a temperature less than hot, we need the fiery trials. In essence, we must embrace them. Paul said he actually took pleasure in them (because he knew the benefits of them):

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

From my own experiences during fiery trials, I can testify that the pain, the angst, and other suffering are conquered the instant I surrender to the flames. It is like falling backwards off a steep cliff into the hands of God. There is no parachute and no stopping halfway. If He doesn’t catch you, then you will hit the bottom and die. That is literally the goal of faith—to trust God with your life and everything in it. All that is not put into His hands is unprotected and causes us angst and suffering. However, when all is surrendered, we receive a deep serenity that the fire will not burn anything except what needs to be consumed. That’s when the gold shines.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9; emphasis added)

Remember, the destiny of Christ was a cross. Our destiny is also a cross. Only when we accept that destiny, will we understand. Newness of life has its birth and growing pains. But the heart of a believer in Jesus Christ holds this proverb by its roots:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18; emphasis added)

In the meantime, let us not grow weary of the trials and tribulations of this life, knowing that God is doing His work within us for His glory:

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

Below is the content of the booklet.  To order copies of FAITH UNDER FIRE—Are You Growing in It or Fleeing From It?, click here. 

For more by Cedric Fisher, click here.


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