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These Times

These Times

A penetrating look at current events in light of Bible prophecy

What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Matthew 24:3

Largest US Catholic University Offers Nine Gender Options

DePaul University, which promotes itself as the largest Catholic university in the U.S., now has a website offering its students nine different gender identity options.

The school's Student Government Association (SGA) announced in January 2022 that DePaul's Campus Connect web portal gives students the option not only to select their legal gender but their gender identity.

The private portal stores information and allows for communication between students, faculty, and staff.  It allows students to choose either: male, female, intersex, non-binary, transgender male, transgender female, cisgender, unspecified, or “I do not wish to self-identify.” 

The University’s SGA noted that while the gender identity feature is new, what isn’t new is an individual’s ability to select their pronouns or sexual orientation. Among the various pronoun options, students can choose he/his, she/hers, they/theirs, and unspecified.

Historically, the Catholic Church, like others, has always understood that human beings are created as two distinct, yet complementary genders: male and female, in accordance with the biblical account of creation. (Genesis 1:27)

The Bible is very clear on the subject of gender, but the apostle Paul warns Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Tim. 4:3, 4.

This time has definitely arrived. It’s another sign that Jesus’ return is not far away.

Largest Catholic University in US offers nine gender identity options,”, Jan. 18, 2022. 

Retail Theft Escalates in the Golden State

Los Angeles County has become the latest setting for nationwide smash-and-grab theft, with a spike in freight train looting and store robberies. 

Union Pacific saw a 160 percent year-over-year theft increase in the county in 2021. Meanwhile, a nationwide survey of National Retail Federation members revealed that 69 percent had seen an increase in organized theft in 2021. For example, Greater LA saw 11 smash-and-grab store robberies in just over a week last November.

Blame for the uptick is being laid on two factors: recent criminal justice reforms spearheaded by progressive prosecutors, and a public perception of general lawlessness growing out of civil unrest after George Floyd’s death, the movement for police reform, and community turmoil. 

The reforms work in favor of criminals. Offenders charged with a misdemeanor are now released from custody within 24 hours because of a new zero-bail policy established during the pandemic. Other reforms have resulted in few of these individuals being prosecuted.

Behind the new policies is a ballot measure which was overwhelmingly endorsed by California voters in 2014. In it, theft of items valued under $950 was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Critics say that criminals know they can brazenly snatch items of lesser value without any consequences. 

Defenders of the new policies say they are intended to combat social ills that result from misdemeanor convictions, like difficulties with employment, housing, education, government benefits and immigration. 

Whatever their justification, the reforms have been perceived by some as license to break the 8th commandment. They remove accountability for sin from the individual, placing it on environmental conditions, and they sympathize with offenders over unpleasant social consequences of their crimes. 

In Matthew 24:12, Jesus warned that lawlessness would abound before His return. It seems the law itself is now facilitating it.

“Thieves in LA are looting freight trains filled with packages from UPS, FedEx and Amazon,”, Jan. 14, 2022. 

Miraculous Escape of Missionary Hostages

The daring and miraculous escape of 12 Anabaptist hostages on Dec. 15, 2021, from the violent Haitian 400 Mawozo gang after 2 months of captivity came as a surprise to both the FBI who had been negotiating unsuccessfully for their release and the praying Christian world. Carrying their babies by moon light and navigating by the stars for approximately 10 rough miles, they finally came upon a family singing Christian hymns who also had a telephone.

The 12 were a part of an original 17-member group who on October 16, 2021, were kidnapped after visiting an orphanage affiliated with their employer, Christian Aid Ministries, an international relief agency providing physical and spiritual relief around the world. The gang leader threatened to kill the hostages if a $1 million per person ransom was not met for the 12 adults and five minors, including an 8-month-old infant and a 3-yr-old toddler. 

Prior to the escape, five were released for medical reasons. 

The 400 Mawozo gang is the most powerful gang in Haiti and is notorious for violence towards women. But the modest deportment and dress of the Anabaptist women seemed to subdue them and none of the women were molested.

The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in July of 2021 and the devastation from both the August 17, 2021, and 2010 earthquakes have escalated the desperate kidnappings and violent crime of the poverty-stricken nation.

The group holds no ill-will towards their captors, and attributes their providential escape to sincere daily prayer, Bible reading, and a united belief that God would guide them as to when and how to escape. A spokesman for the group shared that Psalm 34:7 became their lifeline: “The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him, and delivers them.”

Captive mission workers made daring escape,”, Dec. 20, 2021.

COVID-19 Spurs Numerous New Christian Ministries

More than half of Christian congregations say they have started a new ministry or expanded an existing one during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey done in November 2021.

On average, in fact, these Christian houses of worship began or broadened more than three of their outreach activities in response to the pandemic.

“The level of new and intensified social outreach and community ministry undertaken by the nation’s churches is monumental,” reads the report by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

If their findings are representative of the roughly 320,000 Christian congregations in the country, the institute said, the researchers estimate that nearly 175,000 churches launched or expanded ministries, funds and supplies in response to the pandemic over the past two years.

The new findings, drawn from 820 responses from representatives of 38 Christian denominational groups, showed significant changes in congregations’ attitudes toward change, particularly increasing diversity.

The project’s first report was based on responses from summer 2021. At that time, less than three-quarters agreed that their congregations were willing to change to meet new challenges. That had increased to 86 percent by November 2021. As the pandemic progressed, the new projects became need-driven. They included school projects, mental health counseling, financial aid, food distribution, and social support.

One church’s comments sum up the attitudes expressed by many, “We simply said yes to new things and discontinued tired ministries, based on guidance from the Holy Spirit.”

In times of crisis, actions speak louder than words about God’s love and compassion. Christians worldwide have responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:14. We’re getting closer!

Study: Church Outreach Expands to Meet Pandemic Needs,”, Dec. 24, 2021. 

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