March 18, 2007

End Times Catholic Misfits

There’s a new breed of religious enthusiast that is peculiar to our present generation. They are a mutation of the Christian media and Romanism: a hybrid of sacramentalism, premillennialism, occultism, and fanaticism. They are outcasts in the Catholic church and yet are not at home in any Evangelical church either. They are cradle Catholics who have a passion for looking into the future and utilize diverse means to unlock the mysteries of the unknown. They give Nostradamus and the messages of Marian apparitions equal weight with Bible prophecy in their quest to put this giant jigsaw puzzle together. I call them End Times Catholic Misfits.

The Misfits’ favorite TV show is Jack Van Impe Presents, a program that caters to their strange hodgepodge of beliefs. Van Impe receives much of his support from the Misfits and does not want to step on their sensitivities, so he makes sure and pays the Catholic Church a complement in virtually every episode. Van Impe gives praise to the pope or uses graphics of crucifixes and statues of Mary or quotes the late John Paul II or the current Pope Benedict as if we’re all one big happy spiritual family.

The problem is, Catholic leaders and Catholic apologists do not return the compliment. Most Catholic officials discourage their parishioners from watching his program and Catholic apologists have written countless books trying to refute the belief that the Lord is coming soon to set up His millennial rule on Earth. A couple of year ago I attended a conference given by Catholics for Catholics to equip them to defend the mother church against Bible-believers. The book and literature tables were filled with Catholic reaction to the Left Behind series and against Jack Van Impe; these Evangelicals were seen as bigger threats to Catholicism than any Christian apologists. The speakers were adamant that the Catholic church frowns upon their own people paying heed to Bible prophecy teachers. Their biggest fear is that Catholics will start studying the Bible and they run the risk of "the faithful" being drawn away from Rome when they read the glaring contradictions between the Word of God and their own dogmas.

In the book written by Catholic Answers apologist Carl E. Olson, The Time Is Near: Five Common Misinterpretations of the Book of Revelation, the author states:

"The belief in a millennial reign of Christ on earth is difficult to square with Catholic teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, referencing a 1944 statement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, states, ‘The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the 'intrinsically perverse' political form of a secular messianism’ (676)…."

End Times Catholics were not well thought of in that conference. The priests I’ve spoken with about Catholics who believe the Lord is coming to set up His 1,000 reign on earth, have laughed about such an idea. They think such Catholics are simply ignorant of the Roman Catholic religion and the official teaching that we are currently living in the reign of Christ on earth via the Holy See. One Catholic blogger said it well:

"Even though you and I can laugh them off, untold numbers of uncatechized Catholics have been sucked out of the Church and into fundamentalist groups by this "Left Behind" nonsense."

And perhaps these ETs are uninformed. On the other hand, End Times Catholics do not really fit in with Evangelicals either. Many of them attend Bible prophecy conferences but when one of the speakers points out the similarities between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Thyatira or the woman sitting on seven hills in Revelation 17, they get offended and sometimes cause a scene. These ET Catholics have their own favorite places to hang out online where they can listen to prognostications given by apparitions that are not approved by the Vatican. Any source of prophecies and prognostications given by any holy person, past or present, draws the interest of these ETs.

Recently, someone posted my testimony on a blog belonging to a very popular Evangelical Bible prophecy TV preacher and it wreaked havoc with the End Times Catholics who hang out there. The venom that was spewed out from those ET Catholics at me was shockingly vicious. They were furious that I dared testify that I left the Catholic Church after being born-again. One of them called me a festering boil because I dared to put down other faiths. And even Evangelicals who frequent the board stood up for the Catholics saying that my testimony should never have been placed there knowing it would offend the Catholics.

Recent trends in apostasy and ecumenism are setting up the church to find a place for these misfits to fit in. Acceptance of extra-biblical revelation from Gnostic ideas such as the Bible Codes, meditation, visualization and other forms of mysticism are now becoming popular in the Emerging church and are making ET Catholics more comfortable. Their future in apostate Christianity will be secure while the new misfits will be any true Bible-believers who stand up for the truth and voice their objection to deception. "The times they are a changin."

♥♥♥

"Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds." (Revelation 2: 20-22).

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