These Times

Vol. 25 No. 5 | Sep-Oct 2015

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“THE BIG ONE”

The world’s leading seismologists have presented compelling evidence that Washington, Oregon, and California are long overdue for “the Big One.”

The Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) is a fault line off the coast of the Pacific Northwest that runs for 700 miles—270 miles north of San Francisco near Cape Mendocino, to Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Here, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate is slipping steadily beneath the North American plate, pushing the latter upward and eastward at a rate of four to forty millimeters a year. Eventually, the North American plate will rebound like a spring, like it has at least seven times in the last three millennia. When this happens, a very big earthquake drops the continental shelf west of the Cascade Mountains by as much as six feet, forcing a colossal quantity of water to surge upward and sending giant waves west to Japan and east over the coastal regions of the Northwest.

By comparing geologic, marine, and tribal histories of the Northwest against very precise Japanese records of tsunamis, seismologists have pinpointed the last CSZ earthquake to January 26, 1700. Ten hours later, on January 27, a tidal wave 600 miles in length with no apparent origin struck Japan’s east coast. Japanese records have helped us to identify other such earthquake/tidal wave events along the Pacific Rim before there were written histories of North America. The average time between events was 243 years. We are now 315 years beyond the last major earthquake of significant proportions.

“The sloshing, sliding, and shaking of a major quake will trigger fires, flooding, pipe failures, dam breaches, and hazardous-material spills.” In “four to six minutes the shaking will subside. For another few minutes, the region, upended, will continue to fall apart on its own. Then the wave will arrive, and the real destruction will begin.” The inundation zone will be “scoured of structures from California to Canada,” making the zone uninhabitable for years.

Eighty miles off the coast of Washington State, ten thousand feet below the surface of the sea, the geological clock is ticking. “The Really Big One,” The New Yorker, July 20, 2015.

While we should do what we can to prepare for natural disasters, ultimately, God’s promises, such as the powerful passage of Psalm 46, are the only thing we can cling to for protection against unpredictable and epic forces of nature.

STUDY OF THEOLOGY NO LONGER NECESSARY?

Why do so many sermons seem superficial? Why have Bible doctrines (often called theology) been replaced with pop psychology and “feel good” messages?

During the Reformation, the study of the Bible was explored for every field of study and functioned as the “queen of the sciences.” But in the late 1800s, theology was no longer considered the unifier of all branches of study and was primarily reserved for full-time ministry. That created a cataclysmic and tragic change. Universities like Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia, etc., removed theology as their centerpiece. Correspondingly, the study of science and nature, once viewed as “the 67th book of the Bible,” was no longer a complement and extension of theology.

The result is that theology (or doctrinal Bible study) is seen as impractical for the average Christian in the real world. Scripture has become an appendage to self-help and positive thinking messages. “The days of a pastor preaching relevant doctrinal messages have now gone the way of the dinosaur!”

Though church pastors these days do not normally consider themselves theologians, they do carry doctoral degrees and other seminary diplomas. As a result, many sermons are “a mile long and an inch deep.” However, many pastors hesitate to preach the tougher and more pointed messages of Paul or the other apostles for fear of being perceived as sexist or homophobic, or something else politically incorrect. This gradually reduces the church’s commitment to abide by Scripture, leading to cultural accommodation of unbiblical lifestyles and practices. “How Preaching Moved From Solid Theology to Pop Psychology,” Charisma, July 7, 2015.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

“POPE IS STRONGEST MORAL VOICE IN THE WORLD”

The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, recently applauded Pope Francis’ efforts in “…bringing together mayors from around the world and the leaders who want to take action on climate change and human trafficking right now…. This is the way to change the paradigm,” he said during an interview at a two-day workshop at the Vatican called “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: A Commitment of the Cities,” and organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

The pope and the 60 invited mayors from around the world each signed a declaration stating that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.”

De Blasio added, “Having the support of His Holiness is the most encouraging thing I can think of…. It is the most empowering possibility to have the strongest moral voice in the globe today calling us to action…. So to me, it was an absolute privilege to be a part of this…. His voice is so inspirational.”

When asked his view of the pope bringing this message to Congress and Washington in September, De Blasio opined, “I hope it will have a ‘cleansing effect’ on the US Congress….The pope’s message needs to be heard in Washington. It has been ignored. The very ideas of addressing inequality and creating a more fair economic reality have been ignored. The timing really couldn’t be any better,” the mayor said. “I think he has the ability to cut through all that and really be a wake-up call for Congress.” Zenit.org, July 22, 2015.

While many of these initiatives are commendable, the Bible prophesies that in the last days religious and political powers will unite to enforce worship of the great enemy of God’s people. The euphoria surrounding the modern day papacy blinds many to Rome’s ancient ambitions to claim the worship of the whole world. Those who will not go along with the papacy’s agendas will be threatened with death. See Revelation 13.

ISIS CAUSING CHRISTIAN CONVERSIONS

Missionaries working in the Islamic world have noted that the number of Muslims converting to Christianity in the 14 years since September 11, is greater than during the entire 14 centuries of Islamic history.

This is especially true since the development of ISIS. “Many Muslims are saying, ‘If ISIS is Islam, I’m leaving.’ Some are becoming atheists,” said Brother Rachid, who hosts a Christian program reaching Muslims called “Daring Questions” in the Arabic language. “There is a huge wave of atheism in the Arab world right now and many are turning to Jesus Christ. Islam was never faced with this crisis before.”

“Islam is going to collapse,” added Brother Rachid, whose father is a Moroccan imam who lived as a secret Christian convert for 15 years.

Pastor Fouad Rasho of Angered Alliance Church in Sweden, who has baptized more than a hundred former Muslims, maintained that ISIS causes many Muslims to come to Jesus.

Imran, a recent convert from Islam and an immigrant from Syria said, “Every week I meet one or more persons who come to me and want to know more about Christianity and the Bible because they are very angry about being a Muslim. They don’t want to continue to be Muslim.” “ISIS seen undermining Islamic Faith, as more Muslims convert to Christianity,” Christianity Today, June 8, 2015.

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14.

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