Monthly Archives: April 2015
On Sunday last All Souls Catholic Church, Allen, Texas – a Universal Catholic Church – had a guest preacher, Deacon Marti Martison who is a Unitarian-Universalist (UU) Deacon-Cannon. Certain phrases or sentences popped out at me, such as:
There may be hell to pay, just not hell to stay.
God’s ways are surely not our ways, but let not man make a tyrant
No soul is forever lost from the love of God
Here is the message he brought us:
Luke and the Great Commission
Deacon Marti Martinson
Before concentrating directly on the universalist message in today’s Gospel reading,
I’d like to give some background details on the Gospel of Luke. Luke is third in the New
Testament canon of scripture, and may have been written at about the same time as the
Gospel of Matthew, around the 80s of the common era. Mark, second in the canon, is
actually believed to have been written first, possibly in the 70s. John, the last in canonical
order, may also have been written last, in about the 90s. Luke is believed to have been a
companion of Paul, a Greek, and a physician, as well as the author of the Book of Acts.
These are attested to in the Pauline epistles Colossians, Philemon, and Titus. It would be
too difficult to go into here, but it should be noted that Colossians AND Titus are DISPUTED
Pauline texts: some scholars do not believe Paul wrote Colossians and MOST scholars are
sure Paul did NOT write Titus. Or Timothy.
Getting back to Luke: Luke and Matthew contain common stories; Luke contains its
own L stories, and Matthew contains its own M stories. The common stories are believed to
have been from a now-lost document called Q for quelle, or German for “source”; for it was
German theologians who devised this. The complete gospel of Luke is themed somewhat as
firstly, the universality of the “Good News” from Jesus – not just to the Jews, but to
Gentiles and all others on whom the favor of God rests;
secondly, concern for social “outcasts” – Jesus’ own first sermon as recorded in Luke
cites Isaiah’s mission to the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, and the oppressed;
thirdly, repentance – which leads us to a reorientation toward God and, hence,
reconciles us to one another;
and fourthly, the ethical aspects of wealth – sharing it, properly accounting for it, and
earning it justly.
After the Easter Resurrection, and after his appearance to the two on the road to
Emmaus, Jesus appeared to all of his disciples just prior to his ascension. So says the Gospel
of Luke. Chapter 24 of this Gospel is, in fact, the last chapter of Luke and does contain the
Resurrection, the road to Emmaus, the Appearance, and the Ascension. Embedded within
the Appearance is “the great commission”:
that repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name
to all nations
This scene is also mentioned in Acts 1:3-8, and in a sentence in Corinthians (1 Cor 15:7),
which is an undisputed Pauline text.
The universal message in Luke, again,
that repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name
to all nations
was a very important point in the history of my denomination. It was taken as instruction
AND promise, in that it was being PREACHED because it was going to HAPPEN to everyone.
As you have been undoubtedly warned, I am not a Universal Catholic; I am a Unitarian
Universalist. I actually WAS a Liberal Catholic for a time and “feared and trembled” under
the yoke of your Bishop, then Seminary Chancellor. But that was another life ago…..
Actually tracing its theological past to the Alexandrian theologian Origen who
promoted the idea of “ultimate, universal salvation”, the Universalist Church of America
was independent before its merger with the Unitarian Church. It did not lose its “Christocentric focus” after the merger, and historically it contained clergy and congregants who believed in the wide range of immediate salvation after death FOR EVERYONE to limited punishment FOR EVERYONE after death, both still having a fervent hope “that no soul is forever lost from the love of God”.
In support of this, Thomas Whittemore, a man whom Hosea Ballou, a prominent
Minister in the history of my denomination, convinced (cajoled, really) to become a Minister,
penned five “points” of universalist Christian theology. They are somewhat reminiscent of
the Four Solas developed by early Protestant theologians to differentiate themselves from
the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. The Solas were, and are, Scripture Alone,
Faith Alone, Grace Alone, and Christ Alone, while the Whittemore “points” can easily be
What God wills – is purposed.
What God purposes – is promised.
What God promises – is oathed.
What God oaths – is sent.
What God sends – is accomplished!
If God’s activities included all these, willing and purposing and promising and oathing
and sending, what accomplishment is there in the Calvinist pre-destination? Why even send
a messenger to preach repentance and forgiveness in his name unto all the nations? Why
would Jesus have to die for the sins of ONLY those who are going to be forgiven, justified,
and redeemed anyway? God’s ways are surely not our ways, but let not man make a tyrant
Biblical interpretation can take many forms, but at least seven have been identified
by Bishop Robert McGinnis of the independent and theologically-universalist Liberal
Catholic Church. The McGinnis text is not exhaustive of every book of the Bible. It is,
however, a serious attempt to present scripture as NEITHER infallible nor inerrant, but the inspired search for God. Among the seven forms he included systematic, dogmatic,linguistic, literal, spiritual, and prophetic. Proof-texting, which will be explained in a moment, is a “negative” form, in that it can often generate an incomplete picture. I offer these:
John 3:17 – For God SENT not the Son into the world to condemn it; but that the world
through Him might be saved.
Titus 2:11 – For the Grace of God has APPEARED, bringing salvation to all.
Lam 3:31 – The LORD will not cast off forever.
Pulling out passages without any sense of the surrounding ones, can lead to things
being taken out of context. But when such a recurrent theme, via a systematic approach to
interpretation, is displayed among disparate instances, and even ages of time, there is a
prudent basis for the “fervent hope” that, literally, “no soul is forever lost from the love of
God” due to “the preaching of repentance and forgiveness of sins unto all the nations”.
There may be hell to pay, just not hell to stay.
The Book of Promises, a Universalist compendium of bible verses supporting
universal salvation, also contained the universalist sentiments of a Methodist, the first
Methodist – none other than the founder John Wesley himself:
O, why should any be violent against us because we hope for universal
deliverance? From that very hope a degree of salvation springs. We pray that
none may be angry with us, even if they consider us to be in mistake; for such a
temper is not justifiable in any case. Rather let them wait and see if the Lord . . .
will not have all to be saved and come unto the knowledge of truth.
Let us be attentive to the preaching of repentance and forgiveness, with our minds and in
our hearts and by our actions. Amen, and may it be.
The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Present were about one hundred and twenty followers of Christ (Acts 1:15), including the Twelve Apostles (i.e. the Eleven faithful disciples and Matthias who was Judas’ replacement) (Acts 1:13, 26), his mother Mary, various other women disciples and his brothers (Acts 1:14).
Their reception of Baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room is recounted in Acts 2:1–6:
|“||And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.||”|
While those on whom the Spirit had descended were speaking in many languages, the Apostle Peter stood up with the eleven and proclaimed to the crowd that this event was the fulfillment of the prophecy (“I will pour out my spirit”). In Acts 2:17, it reads: “‘And in the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.” He also mentions (2:15) that it was the third hour of the day (about 9:00 AM). Acts 2:41 then reports: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
Peter stated that this event was the beginning of a continual outpouring that would be available to all believers from that point on, Jews and Gentiles alike
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” – John 20: 19-23
The key here is the disciples receiving the Holy Spirit – “And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This is where the Holy Spirit makes its first appearance.
The other question that is sometimes asked is where in the Bible does it say lay people, or anybody for that matter, can forgive sins – Bishop Tony says well it does so right here in this scripture – ” I am sending you … If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
History often repeats itself, and if you have lived two lives, as I have done, you have a good chance of seeing the reenactment with your own eyes.
Liberation theology, of which not much has been heard for two decades, is back in the news. But what is not being mentioned is its origins. It was not invented by Latin American Catholics. It was developed by the KGB. The man who is now the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, secretly worked for the KGB under the code name “Mikhailov” and spent four decades promoting liberation theology, which we at the top of the Eastern European intelligence community nicknamed Christianized Marxism.
Liberation theology has been generally understood to be a marriage of Marxism and Christianity. What has not been understood is that it was not the product of Christians who pursued Communism, but of Communists who pursued Christians. I described the birth of liberation theology in my book Disinformation, co-authored with Professor Ronald Rychlak. Its genesis was part of a highly classified Party/State Disinformation Program, formally approved in 1960 by KGB chairman Aleksandr Shelepin and Politburo member Aleksei Kirichenko, then the second in the party hierarchy after Nikita Khrushchev.
In 1971, the KGB sent Kirill — who had just been elevated to the rank of archimandrite — to Geneva as emissary of the Russian Orthodox Church to the World Council of Churches. The WCC was, and still is, the largest international religious organization after the Vatican, representing some 550 million Christians of various denominations in 120 countries. Kirill/Mikhailov’s main task was to involve the WCC in spreading the new liberation theology throughout Latin America. In 1975, the KGB was able to infiltrate Kirill into the Central Committee of the WCC — a position he held until he was “elected” patriarch of Russia, in 2009. Not long after he joined the Central Committee, Kirill reported to the KGB: “Now the agenda of the WCC is also our agenda.”
During Kirill’s years at the helm of the WCC, liberation theology put down deep roots in Latin America — where the map now has significant patches of red. Russian military ships and bombers are back in Cuba for the first time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, and Russia has also newly sent ships and bombers to Venezuela.
Pope John Paul II, who knew the Communist playbook well, was not taken in by the Soviets’ liberation theology. In 1983, his friend and trusted colleague Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), who at that time was head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, discarded as Marxist the liberation-theology idea that class struggle is fundamental to history. The cardinal called liberation theology a “singular heresy” and blasted it as a “fundamental threat” to the Church.
Of course, it was and remains a threat — one deliberately designed to undermine the Church and destabilize the West by subordinating religion to an atheist political ideology for its geopolitical gain.
Now names — like Oscar Romero and Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann – not heard since the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was still en vogue, are again making international news. And here we are. The promoters of a KGB-inspired religious ideology, which once embraced violent Marxist revolution, are now denying its link to Marxism and to the KGB.
Each society reflects its own past. Down through the ages, everyone who has sat on the Kremlin throne — autocratic tsar, Communist leader, or democratically elected president — has been preoccupied with controlling all expressions of religion that might impinge on his political ambitions. When Ivan IV — the Terrible — had himself crowned in 1547 as Russia’s first tsar, he also made himself head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Tsarism and Communism may have been swallowed up by the sands of time, but the Kremlin continues this tradition.
Throughout its history, Russia has been a samoderzhaviye, a traditional Russian form of totalitarian autocracy in which a feudal lord rules the country and the church with the help of his political police force. The latter, whenever it had a sticky image problem, simply changed its name — from Okhrana to Cheka, to GPU, to OGPU, to NKVD, to NKGB, to MGB, to MVD, to KGB — and pretended it was a brand new organization.
Many deceased KGB officers must have been chortling in their graves on New Year’s Eve, 1999, when their old boss, Vladimir Putin, at one time my KGB counterpart, enthroned himself in the Kremlin. During the Cold War, the KGB was a state within a state. Now the KGB — rechristened FSB — is the state itself. According to a study published in the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, by 2003, some 6,000 former KGB officers were running Russia’s federal and local governments. The respected British newspaper the Guardian reports that President Putin has secretly accumulated over $40 billion, becoming Europe’s richest man.
In Russia, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.
This brings us back to Kirill/Mikhailov. In 2006 Archbishop Kirill’s personal wealth was estimated at $4 billion by the Moscow News. No wonder. In the mid-1990s, the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Church Relations, managed by Kirill, was granted the privilege of duty-free importation of cigarettes as reward for his loyalty to the KGB. It did not take long for him to become the largest supplier of foreign cigarettes in Russia.
A few years ago, while Kirill was visiting Ukraine as the new Patriarch of Russia, a newspaper published a photo in which the prelate could be seen wearing a Breguet wristwatch, the price of which was estimated at 30,000 euros. The Russian newspaper Kommersant accused Kirill of abusing the privilege of duty-free importation of cigarettes, and dubbed him the “tobacco metropolitan.” Kirill denied having such a watch. He said the photograph must have been altered by his enemies, and he posted the “real” photograph on his official website. A careful study of this “real” photograph, however, shows that the Breguet watch had been airbrushed off his wrist, but its reflection is still clearly visible on a table surface beneath his arm.
Mikhailov and his KGB, rechristened FSB, are now doing their best to airbrush out the apron strings connecting them to liberation theology. Let’s not allow them to succeed.
— Lieutenant General (retired) Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking Soviet-bloc official ever to defect to the West. His last book, Disinformation,
IN A TOWN CALLED GROOM, TEXAS
(There is always someone stopped here to visit, pray, or meditate.
Trucks, buses, or single vehicles.
Groom is a tiny town on I-40, but gets lots of visitors because of this.)
What an incredible display.This could be one of the last surviving Christian symbols in the country !
This is about 70 miles from Amarillo outside of town
Called Groom, TX.
Read message at the end of pictures! These are the
Pictures of the crucifixion of Christ, Sculptured from
Metal by a man near Amarillo, TX. The crosses are made of metal also. The man did this out of the kindness of his heart. Someone donated the land on which to erect them.
IN BIOLOGY, HE WAS BORN WITHOUT THE NORMAL
IN PHYSICS, HE DISPROVED THE LAW OF GRAVITY
WHEN HE WALKED ON WATER AND THEN LATER,
ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN.
IN ECONOMICS, HE DISPROVED THE LAW OF DIMINISHING
RETURNS BY FEEDING 5000 MEN WITH 2 FISHES &
5 LOAVES OF BREAD.
IN MEDICINE, HE CURED THE SICK AND THE BLIND
WITHOUT ADMINISTERING A SINGLE DOSE OF DRUGS.
IN HISTORY, HE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END.
HE SAID THAT HE SHALL BE CALLED WONDERFUL COUNSELOR,
PRINCE OF PEACE.
IN RELIGION, HE SAID NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH HIM;
HE IS JESUS!
JOIN ME AND LET’S CELEBRATE HIM; HE IS WORTHY.
THE EYES BEHOLDING THIS MESSAGE SHALL NOT
THE HAND THAT WILL SEND THIS MESSAGE TO
EVERYBODY SHALL NOT LABOR IN VAIN.
AND THE MOUTH SAYING AMEN TO THIS PRAYER
SHALL SMILE FOREVER.
REMAIN IN GOD AND SEEK HIS FACE ALWAYS. AMEN.
IN GOD, I’VE FOUND EVERYTHING!
The Greatest Man in History Jesus had no servants,
Yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.