Archive for August, 2009

Darwin Wrong About Appendix

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009


Partially because of Charles Darwin, we have all pretty much been taught that the appendix is an unneeded “vestigial” organ.  But, of course, Darwin was wrong:

Appendix May Be Useful Organ After All

Aug. 24) — The body’s appendix has long been thought of as nothing more than a worthless evolutionary artifact, good for nothing save a potentially lethal case of inflammation.
Now researchers suggest the appendix is a lot more than a useless remnant. Not only was it recently proposed to actually possess a critical function, but scientists now find it appears in nature a lot more often than before thought. And it’s possible some of this organ’s ancient uses could be recruited by physicians to help the human body fight disease more effectively.
“Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” said researcher William Parker, an immunologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.'”
Slimy Sac
The vermiform appendix is a slimy dead-end sac that hangs between the small and large intestines. No less than Charles Darwin first suggested that the appendix was a vestigial organ from an ancestor that ate leaves, theorizing that it was the evolutionary remains of a larger structure, called a cecum, which once was used by now-extinct predecessors for digesting food.
“Everybody likely knows at least one person who had to get their appendix taken out — slightly more than 1 in 20 people do — and they see there are no ill effects, and this suggests that you don’t need it,” Parker said.
However, Parker and his colleagues recently suggested that the appendix still served as a vital safehouse where good bacteria could lie in wait until they were needed to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea. Past studies had also found the appendix can help make, direct and train white blood cells…
Moreover, the appendix appears in nature much more often than previously acknowledged. It has evolved at least twice, once among Australian marsupials such as the wombat and another time among rats, lemmings, meadow voles, Cape dune mole-rats and other rodents, as well as humans and certain primates.
“We’re not saying that Darwin’s idea of evolution is wrong — that would be absurd, as we’re using his ideas on evolution to do this work,” Parker told LiveScience. “It’s just that Darwin simply didn’t have the information we have now.”
He added, “If Darwin had been aware of the species that have an appendix attached to a large cecum, and if he had known about the widespread nature of the appendix, he probably would not have thought of the appendix as a vestige of evolution.”|htmlws-main|dl1|link3|

I never accepted Darwin’s claims against the appendix and have known for many years that the appendix played a role in maintaining a properly functioning digestive system for humans (but this information about its role in white blood cells is new to me).

The odd part of this article is that the researchers still seem to feel that they have to acknowledge publicly that Darwin’s evolutionary explanation is not wrong,  This is consistent with what the Ben Stein movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed revealed (see Ben Stein’s Expelled).

Which was?

Scientists who challenge too much associated with evolution are shunned by many academic institutions,  as there is a tremendous amount of pressure at most “leading” academic institutions to squelch research that is not in support of evolution.

And that is probably one reason that most have been unaware that the appendix does have biological functions for humans.

Evolution, as the explanation for the origin of life, is unscientific and false.  It also requires students to accept a belief that violates other known laws of biological science.   Evolution has led to the intentional ignorance of appropriate scientific methods.

To learn more about how life formed and why the evolutionary explanation is not scientifically valid, please review the following articles:

Is God’s Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge.

China’s Rare Earth Power

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Chinese Soldiers


China may show the world soon how much power it has regarding rare earth metals:

World faces hi-tech crunch as China eyes ban on rare metal exports
Beijing is drawing up plans to prohibit or restrict exports of rare earth metals that are produced only in China and play a vital role in cutting edge technology, from hybrid cars and catalytic converters, to superconductors, and precision-guided weapons.
Telegraph – Aug 24, 2009

A draft report by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has called for a total ban on foreign shipments of terbium, dysprosium, yttrium, thulium, and lutetium. Other metals such as neodymium, europium, cerium, and lanthanum will be restricted to a combined export quota of 35,000 tonnes a year, far below global needs.

China mines over 95pc of the world’s rare earth minerals, mostly in Inner Mongolia. The move to horde reserves is the clearest sign to date that the global struggle for diminishing resources is shifting into a new phase. Countries may find it hard to obtain key materials at any price.

Alistair Stephens, from Australia’s rare metals group Arafura, said his contacts in China had been shown a copy of the draft — `Rare Earths Industry Devlopment Plan 2009-2015’. Any decision will be made by China’s State Council.

“This isn’t about the China holding the world to ransom. They are saying we need these resources to develop our own economy and achieve energy efficiency, so go find your own supplies”, he said.

Mr Stephens said China had put global competitors out of business in the early 1990s by flooding the market, leading to the closure of the biggest US rare earth mine at Mountain Pass in California – now being revived by Molycorp Minerals.

New technologies have since increased the value and strategic importance of these metals, but it will take years for fresh supply to come on stream from deposits in Australia, North America, and South Africa. The rare earth family are hard to find, and harder to extract.

Mr Stephens said Arafura’s project in Western Australia will produce terbium, which sells for $800,000 a tonne. It is a key ingredient in low-energy light-bulbs. China needs all the terbium it produces as the country switches wholesale from tungsten bulbs to the latest low-wattage bulbs that cut power costs by 40pc.

No replacement has been found for neodymium that enhances the power of magnets at high heat and is crucial for hard-disk drives, wind turbines, and the electric motors of hybrid cars. Each Toyota Prius uses 25 pounds of rare earth elements. Cerium and lanthanum are used in catalytic converters for diesel engines. Europium is used in lasers.

Blackberries, iPods, mobile phones, plams TVs, navigation systems, and air defence missiles all use a sprinkling of rare earth metals. They are used to filter viruses and bacteria from water, and cleaning up Sarin gas and VX nerve agents.

Arafura, Mountain Pass, and Lynas Corp in Australia, will be able to produce some 50,000 tonnes of rare earth metals by the mid-decade but that is not enough to meet surging world demand.

New uses are emerging all the time, and some promise quantum leaps in efficiency. The Tokyo Institute of Technology has made a breakthrough in superconductivity using rare earth metals that lower the friction on power lines and could slash electricity leakage.

The Japanese government has drawn up a “Strategy for Ensuring Stable Supplies of Rare Metals”. It calls for `stockpiling’ and plans for “securing overseas resources’. The West has yet to stir.

This could significantly affect the balance of power in the world.  But it also may direct groups such as the Europeans to attempt to develop weaponry that is less dependent upon these rare earth metals.

The Large Hadron Collider project (see Why Prophecy? Because the World Will NOT End Next Week from the Large Hadron Collider) comes to immediate mind.

Two articles of possibly related interest may include:

Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? What is ahead for Europe?

Rimini and Two Popes

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI

COGwriter reported the following:

Pontiff Sends Message to Rimini Meeting

30th Year for Communion and Liberation Event

RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 23, 2009 ( Benedict XVI has sent a message to the 30th Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, alluding to the theme of the gathering by affirming that an encounter with Christ is an “event” that creates communion.

The papal message, sent by the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was read at today’s opening Mass of the week-long conference, sponsored by the Catholic lay Communion and Liberation movement. Some 700,000 people are attending, reflecting on the spiritual heritage left by the movement’s founder, Monsignor Luigi Giussani.

This year’s theme is “Knowledge Is Always an Event.” The papal message echoed that idea, recalling that “‘event’ is a word with which Don Giussani tried to re-explain the very nature of Christianity, which for him is an ‘encounter,’ that is, an experiential fact of knowledge and communion.”

The Pontiff relates the words “event” and “encounter” to explain how knowledge is gained, and particularly, knowledge of God.

So the current pontiff is hailing a meeting currently in Rimini.

Most people do not realize it, but there was a Catholic Church Council in Rimini in the fourth century.  The position that the council adopted was also approved by a pope (Liberius).

Notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

The second Formula of Sirmium (357) stated the doctrine of the Anomoeans, or extreme Arians. Against this the Semi-Arian bishops, assembled at Ancyra, the episcopal city of their leader Basilius, issued a counter formula, asserting that the Son is in all things like the Father, afterwards approved by the Third Synod of Sirmium (358). This formula, though silent on the term “homousios“, consecrated by the Council of Nicaea, was signed by a few orthodox bishops, and probably by Pope Liberius, being, in fact, capable of an orthodox interpretation. The Emperor Constantius cherished at that time the hope of restoring peace between the orthodox and the Semi-Arians by convoking a general council (Benigni, Umberto. “Council of Rimini.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 11 Jul. 2008 <>).

Pneumatomachi…The majority of this sect were clearly orthodox on the Consubstantiality of the Son; they had sent a deputation from the Semi-Arian council of Lampsacus (364 A.D.) to Pope Liberius, who after some hesitation acknowledged the soundness of their faith; but with regard to the Third Person, both pope and bishops were satisfied with the phrase: “We believe in the Holy Ghost” (Arendzen, John. “Pneumatomachi.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 11 Jul. 2008 <>)

In the Council of Rimini, 359 A.D…nearly all bishops present, 400 in number” decided “to sign a semi-Arian creed” (Kramer H.B. L. The Book of Destiny.  Nihil Obstat: J.S. Considine, O.P., Censor Deputatus.  Imprimatur: +Joseph M. Mueller, Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, January 26, 1956.  Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 165).

Hence, the majority at the fourth century Council of Rimini were semi-Arian. The fact that 400 bishops who met in Rimini, Italy in 359 A.D. signed a “semi-Arian creed” indicates that the majority of leaders in West accepted some type of non-trinitarian position on the Godhead.

The fourth century Council of Rimini was also called the Council of Ariminum.  Notice what Sozomen reported about it:

The partisans of Acacius remained some time at Constantinople, and invited thither several bishops of Bithynia, among whom were Maris, bishop of Chalcedon, and Ulfilas, bishop of the Goths. These prelates having assembled together, in number about fifty, they confirmed the formulary read at the council of Ariminum, adding this provision, that the terms “substance” and “hypostasis” should never again be used in reference to God. They also declared that all other formularies set forth in times past, as likewise those that might be compiled at any future period, should be condemned (Sozomen, Book IV, Chapter 24 ).

Socrates Scholasticus reported the following as part of the declaration of that Council:

We believe in one God the Father Almighty…And in…Christ our Lord and God…

But since the term ούσία, substance or essence which was used by the fathers in a very simple and intelligible sense, but not being understood by the people, has been a cause of offense, we have thought proper to reject it, as it is not contained even in the sacred writings; and that no mention of it should be made in future, inasmuch as the holy Scriptures have nowhere mentioned the substance of the Father and of the Son. Nor ought the “subsistence” of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit to be even named. But we affirm that the Son is like the Father, in such a manner as the sacred Scriptures declare and teach (Socrates Scholasticus, Book II, Chapter 41, pp. 221,222).

The same Council also taught this about the Holy Spirit:

We believe also in the Holy Spirit…as the Comforter; according to how it is written, the Spirit of truth (Ibid, p. 221).

So while Semi-Arians believe that there is a Holy Spirit, they tend to limit their beliefs to what the Bible says about it—they do not declare it to be the third co-equal person of a Greco-Roman trinity.

Notice that even the Eastern Orthodox bishop of Constantinople in the fourth century held to some form of Semi-Arian view:

Towards the middle of the fourth century, Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople, and, after him a number of Semi-Arians, while apparently admitting the Divinity of the Word, denied that of the Holy Ghost (Forget J. Transcribed by W.S. French, Jr. Holy Ghost. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In 359, there was also a semi-Arian council of Seleucia (359) attended by Greco-Roman church leaders (Bagatti, The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine, p.56). And “in 335, the semi-Arian bishops, returning from the council of Tyre” consecrated a basilica (Bagatti, The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine, p.59).

In other words, even among the Greco-Roman bishops, many were “Semi-Arians” (also called “binitarians”) in the fourth century.  And that was an acceptable position to the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople at that time.

Two articles of related interest may include:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

NW: We are All Hindus?

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Hindu Temple in Tamil Nadu, India


Newsweek’s latest edition reports that there has been a shift in religious thought in the USA that makes most professing Christians closer to Hinduism than the traditional Protestant beliefs about death:

We Are All Hindus Now
NEWSWEEK – From the magazine issue dated Aug 31, 2009
by Lisa Miller

America is not a Christian nation.

We are, it is true, a nation founded by Christians, and according to a 2008 survey, 76 percent of us continue to identify as Christian (still, that’s the lowest percentage in American history). Of course, we are not a Hindu—or Muslim, or Jewish, or Wiccan—nation, either.

A million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.

The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: “Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.” A Hindu believes there are many paths to God.

Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”—including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious,” according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005.

Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”

Then there’s the question of what happens when you die. Christians traditionally believe that bodies and souls are sacred, that together they comprise the “self,” and that at the end of time they will be reunited in the Resurrection. You need both, in other words, and you need them forever. Hindus believe no such thing.

At death, the body burns on a pyre, while the spirit—where identity resides—escapes. In reincarnation, central to Hinduism, selves come back to earth again and again in different bodies. So here is another way in which Americans are becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll. So agnostic are we about the ultimate fates of our bodies that we’re burning them—like Hindus—after death.

More than a third of Americans now choose cremation, according to the Cremation Association of North America, up from 6 percent in 1975. “I do think the more spiritual role of religion tends to deemphasize some of the more starkly literal interpretations of the Resurrection,” agrees Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard.

The basic Hindu idea that there will be some type of opportunity for salvation for nearly all of those that were not granted it in this life is correct.  Notice what the Bible teaches:

6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luke 3:6).

The Protestant/Catholic concept that only through Christ is there any salvation is also correct.

A major problem with the Hindu view is that it is devoid of the “name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)–which is Jesus (Acts 4:10).

A major problem with the Protestant/Catholic view is that they really do not understand that when Jesus died for all (John 3:16-17) that this means that He did not die just for a relative few.  And while Protestants/Catholics do believe that God is love as John wrote (1 John 4:16), they do not normally understand that God is wise enough to have a plan of salvation that will result in almost everyone who ever lived to be saved.

The Bible is clear that few are chosen for salvation now (Matthew 22:14), while others will have their opportunity in the age to come (Matthew 12:32; Luke 18:30).

But because Protestant and Catholic leaders do not normally teach this, it is little wonder that many Americans are properly rejecting the non-biblical notion that most that ever lived will be condemned to eternal torment.  There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that show that God has a plan of salvation that will result in salvation being offered to all and that nearly all who ever lived will be saved.

Some documented articles that help show this include the following:

Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG/GCI which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.

Greece Burning

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens


Greece is having a major fire that may affect its government:

Hundreds flee wildfire torching homes near Athens

Sun Aug 23, 2009

By Angeliki Koutantou and Dina Kyriakidou

ATHENS, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Wildfires torched scores of homes and thousands of acres of forest in the outskirts of Athens on Sunday and sent hundreds of residents fleeing their homes, authorities said.

Thick plumes of smoke hung over the Acropolis as the flames, fanned by strong winds, raged unchecked for a second day, testing state resources and the conservative government, which is facing a snap election by March.

Hundreds abandoned their homes overnight as the blaze reached residential communities around Athens. Many were frantically trying to stop the flames from reaching houses with garden hoses and tree branches.

“We are facing a great ordeal,” Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said. “The fire department is making a superhuman effort.”

The handling of the fire, the biggest since Greece’s worst wildfires in living memory killed 65 people in a 10-day inferno in 2007, will be crucial for his political fate as snap polls loom. His government, which is clinging to a one-seat majority in parliament, trails the socialist opposition in opinion polls.

Greek authorities declared a state of emergency in eastern Attica on Saturday where the flames seared about 30,000 acres (12,140 hectares) of forest, farming fields and olive groves.

“More than 120,000 stremmas (30,000 acres) have been burnt. It is an ecological disaster,” Athens prefect Yiannis Sgouros told Greek television.

Greece has asked its allies for help and five fire fighting aircraft from Italy, France and Cyprus were expected to arrive on Sunday, fire officials said.

There are frequent wildfires also in California.  They destroy property and make breathing more difficult.

How this particular fire will ultimately affect Greece is unclear.  But it may affect the political leadership there.  Historically, Greece has played a role in many biblical prophecies.

Alexander the Great’s Greco-Macedonian empire was one of the beasts in some of Daniel’s writings (Daniel 7:6; 8:1-8).

Part of the Greek empire was the first King of the North in Daniel 11 (specifically vss. 4-5).

Antiochus Epiphanes, who somewhat fulfilled many verses related to the King of the North (Daniel 11:21-31–even though some of those verses will be fulfilled again by another per Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:15), was also Greek. 

In the end-time Greece is expected to be supportive of the final King of the North–a European leader that will promote an ecumenical world religion that will pretend to be Christian.

Two articles of possibly related interest may include:

Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? What is ahead for Europe?

COGaIC on Mary

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009


COGaIC posted the following on Thursday:

Was Mary simply a devout young Jewish woman of ordinary means but sterling character—one whom God greatly honored by choosing her, a virgin, to miraculously conceive and bear His Son, the Savior; the wife of Joseph the carpenter, who later bore at least six children by him? Or is she the immaculately conceived New Eve—a perpetual virgin who, since being assumed body and soul into heaven upon her death to be enthroned as the Queen of Heaven, intercedes as Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix with Christ on behalf of the faithful, answering their prayers and even visiting some of them in apparitions? Such are the widely divergent views of Mary, the mother of Jesus, held in varying degrees by hundreds of millions of people.

Who was the real Mary, and why the great disparity of beliefs about her? Which version is the correct one, or does it matter? What we will see is that what one believes about Mary depends in large part on the source of those beliefs.

The second, far more elaborate, of the above two characterizations of Mary is simply a thumbnail sketch of the Roman Catholic Church’s body of belief relating to the virgin Mary, which it refers to as Mariology. It stands in stark contrast to the first description, held to more or less by non-Catholics who claim to base their beliefs only on the Bible. The principal dogmas—established by the church as authoritative—of Mariology are:

431 C.E., Mother of God This title for Mary was made official and incorporated into prayers at the third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus.

649 C.E., Perpetual Virginity At the Lateran Synod convened by Pope Martin I, Mary was deemed to have remained a virgin throughout her life.

1854 C.E., Immaculate Conception Pope Pius IX declared, ex cathedra (i.e., “from the chair,” a dogma established by a Pontiff, which means he invoked infallibility and made it an article of faith), Mary to have “been preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

1950 C.E., The Assumption Pope Pius XII proclaimed the dogma that at the end of her life Mary was taken up, body and soul, to heaven—thus sparing her body decay.

There may yet be more dogma bestowed on Mary in the coming years. Millions of Catholics unsuccessfully petitioned the late Pope John Paul II to officially confer the following titles on Mary by declaration: Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate of the people of God. Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI or a successor will take this step.

In light of these post-biblical claims made about Mary, the Catholic Encyclopedia understandably comments: “The reader of the Gospels is at first surprised to find so little about Mary.” Indeed, the biblical narrative regarding Mary is decidedly scant.

And the above is basically correct.  Historically, there simply was no veneration of Mary like is seen today amongst the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics.

But the reality is that this will likely get worse.  Even one Eastern Orthodox writer has warned:

“Mother goddesses” known in the ancient world were not just confined to the Near East and Mediterranean but are universal. The Kogi Indians, among whom we lived in Columbia, worship a spirit called Nabuba, the “Ancient Mother.” When Roman Catholics missionaries attempted to evangelize the Kogi int he last century, they used a not-uncommon strategy for drawing pagan peoples into Rome’s fold: rather than explaining the differences between the pagan mysthology and Christian truth, they found “equivalences,” Christ, under this syncretistic view, corresponds to the Kogi Sejukukui (a trickster god who faked his own death by hiding in a cave), while Nabuba is said to be the Virgin Mary. This confusion has led the Kogis to call their pagan temples “cansamaria,” a corruption of “casa de Maria” (house of Mary).

Given these Roman Catholic “evangelistic methods” of more than a century ago, it is it any wonder that contemporary “apparitions” of Mary are invariably accompanied by ecumenistic messages promoting the idea that all religions are equally valid and Orthodox Christianity is but one “path” among many? A recent issse of Orthodox Traidition (1966) contains the account of Matushka (wife of a Russian Orthodox priest) Katherine Swanson’s trip to Medjugorje, Croatia, to investigate the most famous of the recent cases of appartions of Mary in the Roman Catholic world. In it she recounts a telling episode:

Our guide took our group for an audience with the “seers.” During this audience, a pilgrim asked one of the children the following questions: “Does the Virgin say that the Catholic Church is the true church?” The response given by the child provides clear evidence of the ecumenical content and religious relativism which, oddly enough, increasingly mark the “revelations” at Medjugorje: “Our Blessed Mother says that all religions are equally pleasing to God.

The Life magazine article, then, is yet another contribution to this line of thought. Given the idea that all paths are equally valid, then all “Marys” are equally valid, too. The author describes several of the Marys of our times: Miearculous Mary (such as at Medjugorje), Mediator Mary (Who, as the author quotes Fr. Andrew Greeley saying, lets people into Heaven through the “back door”), (Editors notes: the Orthodox Church of course never taught about the “back door”, and of course one only prays that this is a matter of a figure of speech, but let us not dwell on the “back door”, but the gates of Paradise, the Kingdom of our God). Mediator Mary of the feminists, and Mother Mary. This last one, Mother Mary, is the role which the author considers the most appealing to non-Catholics: “The emotional need for her is so irresitible to a troubled world that people without an obvious link to the Virgin are being drawn to her. It is known that Muslins revere Mary as a pure and holy saint…Interdenominational Marian prayer groups are springing up throughtout the world. Many Protestants, even some who still reject notions of a supernatural Virgin, miss Mary.”

To which Mary are Muslims and Protestants being drawn? The Protestant Reformation rejected the distorted view of Mary which had developed in the West since the Schism of 1054, and which would ultimately result in the Roman Church’s proclamation of their dogma of the Immaculate Conception. But Protestantism did not just reject the Western view of Mary; it ignored Her altogether, in effect denying Her role in the Incarnation and, consequently, the part She plays in our salvation. As Rome began to see her more and more as a “goddess,” a fourth Hypostasis of the Trinity, as it were, the Protestants reacted by down playing Her position and refusing to honor Her at all, this in spite of the Gospel words:“All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed.”

Today, as heterodox Christians become more and more ecumenist and work toward creating a “One World Church,” the search has begun for a Mary of universal recognition, one who will appeal not only to those who bear the name Christian, but apprently to Muslims and others as well, just as attempts are likewise being made to identify the “new Christ” with the Muslim concept of their coming Mahdi and with the Messiah still awaited by the Jews. This, of course, will be no Christ at all but the antichrist.

(Jackson P. ORTHODOX LIFE., No. I, 1997., Brotherhood of Saint Job of Pochaev at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. pp. 18-22. viewed 05/11/09)

There are a variety of Catholic prophecies that suggest that apparitions claiming to be Mary will be around in the last days to encourage people to support “the Great Monarch” and “the Angelic Pastor”. (biblically known as the Beast and the False Prophet).

Apparitions claiming to be Mary may be amongst the signs and lying wonders that will accompany the “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-9).

For more information, please check out the following:

Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers?
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet”. Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy.
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?

Atheists Wish to Prosper from Rapture View

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

A shofar made from the horn of a Greater kudu

An animal horn trumpet.


Some entrepreneurial atheists apparently feel that they have figured out how to possibly generate income from the somewhat widely held pre-tribulation rapture hypothesis that various American Protestants have promoted:

How to save Fido when the Rapture hits
Victoria Advocate, Texas – Aug 18, 2009   excerpt…

It’s a question that has kept many of us up at night. When the Rapture finally comes, what, oh what, is a person to do about their beloved pets who are left behind on earth?

Well, never fear. There is a company that is already all over this, folks.

Now, I’m not sure if this is a massive joke, a massive hoax or a legit deal, but all I know is that it’s so awful and so awesome, the only way to describe it is awfsome.

A company called Eternal Earthbound Pets, USA is made of up of a group of animal-loving atheists who, for a small fee, will take care of your beloved Fido and Mr. Fluffy Poo once you are taken up to heaven during the Rapture.

I know. I told you.

On their Web site it says, and I quote, “Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.”

The company is active in 20 states so far, alas Texas is not one of them.

Their service plan is simple enough: “For $110.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved. Each additional pet at your residence will be saved for an additional $15.00 fee. A small price to pay for your peace of mind and the health and safety of your four legged friends.”

They even have a FAQ page, with answers to your most burning questions such as “Is this a joke?” (No) and “How do you ensure your representatives won’t be Raptured?” (They have given us their word they are atheist in writing).

Of course, since by definition atheists do not believe in God, they simply wish to collect money essentially by asking for it.

And if there really was a pre-tribulation rapture, presumably none of the people that they have made a contract with would be around to enforce it.

And of course, collecting pets from all over would involve travel that they simply would not be able to afford.

Just the travel costs to collect the pets would exceed the total revenues of their enterprise, to speak nothing of the fact that they simply would not have the funds (nor likely the physical space) to feed the pets.

Furthermore, many rapturists believe that those who are “left behind” will not believe that there actually was a “rapture”, thus atheists would seem to easily be in that category.  And if they do not believe that a “rapture” has occurred they will not even consider complying with their contracts.

But most importantly, while Jesus will return, the Bible does NOT endorse the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture.

And while physical protection during the “hour of trial” is promised to the Philadelphia Christians (Revelation 3:10), the Bible shows that it will not apply to all Christians (Revelation 12:14-17), as many will face the terrors of the Great Tribulation (cf. Daniel 7:24-25).

Most will NOT receive physical protection from the coming Beast power during the Great Tribulation. But the true Philadelphians will.

Those interested in learning more may wish to study the following articles:

Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Who really is left behind?
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the Living Church of God.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? When does the six thousand years of human rule end?
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2009, 2010, or 2011? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?

WCG/GIC: Trinitarian Theology

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales


Today,  GIC (formerly WCG) sent out an email to an article by its J. Tkach which began with:

Trinitarian theology

“Garbage in – garbage out” is a truism in many areas, and the most important area is in our personal theology.  Wrong concepts about God result in lives that miss the fullness of life God wants us to have.

Now, the whole idea of theology might sound a little intimidating, but really it’s just another way of saying “God knowledge.” Our personal theology consists of whatever we believe to be true about God.  So in one way or another, we all have a theology. And certainly every church and denomination has a theology. It’s the framework that undergirds and informs their doctrines and practices.

“Trinitarian theology” is a particular approach to theology that sees the Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit – as the core and foundation for understanding the Bible and all aspects of Christian faith. Trinitarian theology, seeking to know God as God is, correctly begins with “Who?” It asks, “Who is the God made known in Jesus Christ, and who are we in relation to him?”

The Bible, of course, gives us the answers.

J. Tkach is correct that the Bible has the answers.  So does early church history.  And neither teaches the type of  “Trinitarian theology” that GIC now advocates.

For proof from the Bible, as well as early church writings, please carefully study the following articles:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?

Egypt on Obama Middle East Plan

Friday, August 21st, 2009


US President Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak discussed a plan to be proposed by Obama:

Mubarak: U.S. will unveil first draft of Mideast plan next month
Haaretz – Aug 19, 2009
WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama has promised Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that he will present a rough draft of his Middle East peace plan in September, a Mubarak spokesman said following their White House meeting Tuesday.

Suleiman Awad said the two presidents had agreed that time was of the essence in forging an Israeli-Palestinian deal, and a detailed plan with a clear vision of how a final agreement would look was necessary.

At a press conference following the meeting, Obama flattered his visitor, calling him a “leader,” “counselor” and friend,” and said the two are working together to try to bring peace to the region. Mubarak returned the praise, saying Obama had “removed all doubts” the Muslim world had previously entertained about the United States.

Obama also said he saw “movement in the right direction” from Israel on the issue of a settlement freeze – something Washington and Jerusalem have been arguing about for months. He made the comment in response to a question about reports that Israel had stopped granting permission for new settlement construction in the West Bank, though projects in progress are continuing.

“The Israeli government has taken discussions with us very seriously,” Obama said, adding that he was “encouraged by some of the things I’m seeing on the ground.”

Obama added, however, that he hopes to see “not just movement from the Israelis, but also from the Palestinians around issues of incitement and security, from Arab states that show their willingness to engage Israel.”

A day earlier, a State Department spokesman had similarly said that an Israeli gesture on settlements ought to be met with reciprocal Arab gestures toward normalization. However, Mubarak rejected this idea Tuesday, as he has many times in the past.

According to Awad, Mubarak told Obama that the Arab world tried confidence-building measures when the Oslo accords were first signed, in the 1990s, but “it all came to an end” when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was elected for the first time, in 1996. Now, he said, the Arabs are unwilling to make further gestures until Israel does something that they believe merits such reciprocity – and a temporary settlement freeze is not enough.

One Israeli gesture Awad said Egypt would like to see is the release of Marwan Barghouti, a leading member of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction who is currently serving five life terms in Israel for murder. Because Barghouti is a popular and prominent Palestinian politician, Awad said, this would be a good confidence-building measure.

Egypt has also pushed for Barghouti’s release as part as part of a deal between Israel and Hamas to secure the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Awad added. Cairo is the chief mediator in the ongoing talks on this issue.

Until 2005, Mubarak visited Washington every year. But due to his dislike of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush – and especially Bush’s efforts to promote democracy in Egypt – he has avoided the U.S. capital for the last four years.

The reality is that I continue to believe that US President Obama will enable the rise of the one that the Bible calls the final King of the South (this seems to be a leader like that final Imam that Shi’ite Muslims are looking for).

Shortly after this leader rises up, it will be the end of the USA and its Anglo-allies.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? What does the Bible say?
The Arab World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Eight reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and eight reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist?  Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests?  This is the longest and most complete article on this page on Barack Obama prophecies. Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States Some claim that Barack Obama is the prophesied “son of Kenya”, based up an early 20th century writing.
Barack Obama in Islamic Prophecy? There is actually a 17th century Shiite prophecy that some believe that Barack Obama will fulfill that will lead to a rising up of Islam.

UCG on Its Governance

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Ancient Laodicea


In its last posted council meeting notes, UCG reported:

Doug Horchak agreed that there needs to be consistency between the governing documents. He said that the Bylaws are subservient to the Constitution, and the Bylaws speak to specifics. He mentioned that there is a reason why there was a distinction when the governing documents were originally drafted. He stated that the discussion then was about whether the Council manages or gives direction to management—and when he was last on the Council, it was that the Council gives direction. So the way it currently is written, he continued, is how the Council saw its role in working with management.

Scott Ashley said that he sees that there is actually more detail in the Constitution than in the Bylaws with regard to the activities of the Council. Bill Eddington said that this amendment spells out the direction the Council has wanted to go for the last two years or so. Doug Horchak said that the current wording of the Bylaws addresses the way the Council directs and controls. Paul Kieffer said that the six putting forth this amendment believe just the opposite about this issue. He commented that some people quote from the Constitution and some then quote from the Bylaws to establish their position on the issue of the Council’s interaction with the administration.

Victor Kubik stated that he has very little recollection of how these two statements came about. In the beginning the Transitional Board of Directors was acting as management. Since then we have varied in how much direct involvement the Council has had in management. The Council has the right to step in when and where needed. There has been an ebb and flow of involvement over the years. He further commented that some organizations have an institutional board, being distanced from day-to-day operations, but we have been somewhere in the middle where the Council has been more involved in matters, such as with the functioning of Elder’s Forum.

Roy Holladay commented that over the years many of the members of the General Conference of Elders have quoted the Bylaws—the Council only has oversight—while others have quoted the Constitution—the Council has direct involvement in the affairs of the Church. This amendment will make it consistent between both of those governing documents.

In his opinion, Paul Kieffer said, the Council should not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of the Church. Bill Eddington mentioned that the words “direct and oversight” are not very descriptive and the Roles and Rules Committee was given the job of defining what those terms mean.

Paul Kieffer asked if the other five (Jim Franks not being present) members of the Council would support this proposed amendment. Robert Berendt, Aaron Dean and Darris McNeely each lent their support…


Darris McNeely started the next session by presenting the findings of the Branding Task Force. Branding, for the Church, is about a compelling story of the gospel—a story of telling people what the meaning of life is. It is about creating a crystal-clear message about what God the Father and Jesus Christ are doing.

With Clyde Kilough as chairman, Darris McNeely mentioned that the other members of this task force were: Roy Holladay, Larry Salyer, Darris McNeely, Peter Eddington, Linda Register, Scott Moss and Brian Shaw. He said that four agencies made presentations to the task force at two different meetings. After meeting with these agencies, the task force made its recommendation that the Northlich Company of Cincinnati would serve the needs of the Church the best…

Where Do We Go From Here?

Aaron Dean presented the “Where Do We Go From Here?” document as edited by the Strategic Planning Committee. Jason Lovelady asked the Council to consider the potential real estate investment of the Denton, Texas, property with the idea to hold on to it for five years or so, with expectations of appreciation in its market value and a better chance of receiving a more advantageous sales price later. He further mentioned that this is not a good time to sell the property. Aaron Dean responded that there is talk of appreciating value, but the opposite could be just as likely with today’s economy.

Doug Horchak mentioned that he is not against selling the Denton property, but does not want to sell the property to send a message that Cincinnati is where we are. He stated that he is worried that “quick” could mean losing money on a sale of the property.

Jason Lovelady asked the Council to consider how the Church can maximize its value in this property. He said holding on to the property may bring substantially more than the original purchase price.

Aaron Dean then moved, Scott Ashley seconded and, of the 11 Council members present, 10 voted “yes” and one voted “no” (Doug Horchak), to adopt the following:

Whereas, the Council recognizes the need to preach the gospel, yet recognizes that the deteriorating economic and job situation in the U.S. will most likely result in decreased income, and

Whereas, the Denton property is an isolated asset that tied up considerable cash, and

Whereas, the Council wishes to reevaluate its space needs and options locally,

Now therefore, it is hereby resolved, that:

1. There be no new study on home office relocation at the present time.

2. The Denton property will be listed for sale and sold when an acceptable offer, as determined by the Council in conjunction with the treasurer, is made.

3. That a space-needs study be undertaken to determine what we can do with and without expansion of the present home office building.

4. That administration do a cost-benefit study of off-site space relating to residential housing for approved UCG education/training programs.

5. Although some pastoral trainees may need to take part in the ABC program, it shall remain a nine-month program. An additional period of education/training, if implemented, will be part of the pastoral training program, not ABC, and is for pastoral candidates and the occasional ABC student who would be asked to participate in the additional period.

Upcoming Teleconference

Chairman Holladay mentioned that there are three issues the Council still must address, not including the retirement policies presented earlier in these meetings. These issues can be addressed by teleconference. Chairman Holladay then called a teleconference of the Council for Monday, Aug. 24, 2009, at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time to discuss those issues.

For all of the 14 plus years since it formed, UCG has had problems and inconsistencies related to its governance.

I started to point some out shortly after it formed.

UCG leadership simply rejected the form of governance that all its ministers claimed to support when Herbert W. Armstrong was alive.  And it certainly appears that the fruits of its governmental practices remain other than hot.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had?
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from evangelists?