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Why We're Getting Close to Christ's Coming

Secular Ecumenism

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Secular Ecumenism

 
Introduction
 
Jesus, in that passionate pre-Gethsemane, pre-Cross prayer, pled “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are…. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11, 22).

  • It was a divine entreaty for a holy unity among His followers.
  • “That they may be one” became a “heart-throbbing” ecumenical appeal to all Christendom by Pope John Paul II in his May 25, 1995, encyclical Ut Unum Sint. It transcended religious boundaries, even idealizing a bond with the secular world.
  • The sea beast of Revelation 13 can be observed making a geo-political worship appeal in these sobering words:
    The beast was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them. He was given ruling authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation, and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed. (Revelation 13:7-8 – NET).
  • This unifying “beast” is located in Rome (Revelation 17:9) and carries an apostate church coalescing world leaders and earth’s inhabitants to its authority.

A glimpse of its broadening influences came when Protestants bonded with Rome over areas of shared interest in a 1994 accord, Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
 
Yet there is long history of rejection by the Roman Church of any other “religion,” which is rivited in its published documents.[1] Protestants, in turn, have, until recently, “despised” Catholics. What changed? Was it Catholicism or Protestantism?

  • This exclusiveness was amplified into Rome’s annals of history by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Mortalium Animos (a document on religious unity “to Catholicism”) in 1928.
    • He stated firmly: “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone … that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.” This is a form of projected guilt on those who don’t join Catholicism.
    • The term “heretics,” previously describing Protestants, was changed to “separated brethren” or “separated children” to draw them into their fold.[2]

The Meltdown of Anti-Catholic Sentiments
 
Vatican IThe Roman Catholic Church began to aggressively redefine its image after 1870 when all its land was finally confiscated by the new Italian military.

  • Vatican I had already begun when this attack occurred. It never would reconvene.[3] However, in its pre-attack sessions, the dogma of papal infallibility, redemptrix of Mary and the immaculate conception were formulated!
  • Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors of 1864 left no doubt that non-Catholic “believers” were traversing a path to hell. It was no work of unity.
  • His remaining years (the longest in papal history post-1870) became a caretaker papacy.[4]

After his 1878 death, the question of how to attract the religious world’s interest provoked the genius of Rome’s greatest thinkers. Then came a unique scheme: Appeal to the desires and wants of mankind (greed) by creating a social or community type of gospel. Guised in a religious mantel, it couldn’t be resisted by other religious groups, since Christ put a premium on those in need!
 
Pope Leo XIII copyPope Leo XIII (1878–1903) laid the foundation for all subsequent Catholic “social teaching.” The industrial revolution was just beginning. The timing was perfect! Leo presented an array of moral social initiatives, veiled in a cloak of “workers’ rights.” The appeal was actually to man’s innate covetousness. “You should have …,” “You have the right to …” The papacy stepped back into the secular world!

  • Leo denigrated capitalism!
  • His philosophy was not unlike the concepts of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital.[5] These were the key “social directives” in his encyclical, Rerum Novarum:
  1. The poor everywhere were being dealt with unjustly by employers.
  2. They should be able to live in a comfortable house, be clothed, financially secure and have no hardship.
  3. The poor should stand up for their rights and use labor unions to protect their interests (having a job, decent pay and a proper work environment).
  4. The government should be the poors’ ally by protecting their rights.
  5. Labor disputes should be settled by the government and/or the Catholic Church.
  6. The wealth of the employer, including property, should be shared with the poor.
  7. Wages should be enough to comfortably support the worker, his wife and children.
  8. A worker should not labor more than six days per week. One day should be for rest and religion.

Workers of all faiths were enticed. A secular form of ecumenism began!
 
The winner would always be the “working poor.” The loser would always be the rich and/or the employers. The implicit message was solidarity among the working classes, with the State guaranteeing the “moral rights” of the worker.
 
What were those “moral rights?” Economic power for the majority at the expense of a few! That was socialism. It was a covert reach by the Roman Catholic Church to use and influence the State! Its ultimate objective? The Church holding a controlling interest in the State.
 
The emergence of these social concepts became idealized as the “common good” for communities, cities, nations and the world. The church supported labor unions. Those social concerns became “expectations” that all Christians should encourage, and later, became “rights.”
 
Its philosophy morphed into a sinister ecumenism. “All Christians should have a vested interest in these issues!” The Catholic Church even saw it as a tool for world dominance in its stance toward the poor and the worker.
 
This germinated into a spirit of ecumenism in 1893, at the time of the Chicago World’s Fair, when the World Parliament of Religions convened in that city. A vast array of the world’s religions attended, from spiritualists to Hindu leaders – along with Protestants and Catholics!

  • The great evangelist Dwight L. Moody refused to attend. He felt it was a mockery to Christianity.
  • The Parliament didn’t create any religious or social momentum – but it was a sympathetic gathering.

Protestant denominations soon became impassioned to forge alliances with high profile civic leaders/mentors. Thus the Federal Council of Churches (FCC) was created in 1908. It later became the National Council of Churches.

  • The FCC was initially chaired by John Foster Dulles.
  • He later became the chairman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which helped spearhead the concept of a New Moral World Order.
  • Then he became Secretary of State under the Eisenhower administration.
  • He was also chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation and a founding member of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1929.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a globalist, started the Interchurch World Movement in 1919–1920. It was his opinion that through churches a social movement for world peace would exceed even the work of the budding League of Nations.[6]
“As the Interchurch World Movement was gaining momentum, Samuel Zane Batten wrote a book titled ‘The New World Order,’ published in 1919 by the American Baptist Publication Society. In this book he said:[7]

“World patriotism must be a faith… There is no more justice for the claim of absolute sovereignty on the part of a nation than on the part of an individual… [there is a need for] World Federation… with a world parliament… an international court… an international police force… Men must have an international mind before there can be a world federation. They must see and affirm that above the nation is humanity. Internationalism must first be a state of mind, an ideal, a chivalry, a religion, before it can be a reality and a system.”[8]

Pope Pius XIIt was during this time of global “religious idealism” that Pope Pius XI (1922–1939) came into power. His leadership guided the Catholic Church back into a world-recognized church–state in 1929 (the harlot and the beast of Revelation 17). His “genius” didn’t stop there. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII, he published Quadragesimo Anno (1931), embellishing Catholic “social justice” ideals. Everyone must share active concern for the “common good” of individuals and nations!
 
John Foster Dulles called a meeting of the Federal Council of Churches in 1942 (reported in Time magazine[9]). U.S. Protestants agreed on areas of geopolitical concerns – and the need to forge a new thrust into the realm of geopolitics (World War II was still in progress).

  • 375 delegates representing 30+ denominations voted on the following points. (The secularization of Christianity took a major step forward.)[10]
    • Ultimately, “a world government of delegated powers” should be formed.
    • Complete abandonment of U.S. isolationism
    • Strong, immediate limitations on national sovereignty
    • International control of all armies and navies
    • “A universal system of money . . . so planned as to prevent inflation and deflation”
    • Worldwide freedom of immigration
    • Progressive elimination of all tariff and quota restrictions on world trade
    • “Autonomy for all subject and colonial peoples”
    • “No punitive reparations, no humiliating decrees of war guilt, no arbitrary dismemberment of nations”
    • A “democratically controlled” international bank “to make development capital available in all parts of the world without the predatory and imperialistic aftermath so characteristic of large-scale private and governmental loans”

This set the stage for Protestant involvement in geopolitics, along with the Roman Catholic Church. Secular ecumenism accelerated.
 
Roman Catholicism’s Geopolitical Arm Strengthens
 
Pope Pius XII (1939–1958) was very active politically, signing thirty concordats and treaties with various nations. He worked with Hitler’s Third Reich to further the holocaust! One example: A concordat between the Catholic Church and the Nazi state, Article 16, required that all Catholic bishops swear to honor the Nazi government, and make their subordinates do the same, and to shun acts that would endanger the good will of the Church.[11]
Priests hailing Hitler
Priests gave Hitler’s salute under Pius XII’s direction. In spite of this, Pius XII brought influential power and good will from the world’s nations towards the Holy See (the Catholic Church and the Vatican State), especially with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
 
Pope John XXIII (1958–1963) and Pope Paul VI (1963–1978) brought ecclesiastical power through stunning public relations during Vatican II.
 
Pope John Paul II (1978–2005) rocked the geopolitical and religious world with his stunning diplomacy and leadership. He knew eleven languages fluently; and in his travels, more people saw him than any other person in human history. His achievements:Pope John Paul II

  • In 1984 the Holy See and the United States exchanged ambassadors (creating the first major diplomatic bond between the two beasts of Revelation 13).
  • Beginning in 1982 a coalition between President Ronald Reagan and this Pope led to the downfall of the Soviet Union and communism in that part of the world.

Time magazine called that a Holy Alliance.[12]

  • Billy Graham extolled him by saying: He was “the conscience of the whole Christian world.”[13]
  • The desire of countries around the world to maintain stable relations with the Vatican became greater than ever.[14] The majority of the 150+ concordats with world leaders since 1950 came during the tenure of Pope John Paul II.
  • In 1994 Jesuit Richard Neuhouse and Protestant Charles Colson brought together leaders of the Catholic and evangelical worlds. A major accord of cooperation was signed by 34 Protestant leaders.[15]
  • May, 1998, this Pope released an encyclical called Dies Domini (Day of the Lord). In it he called for civil authorities to assure that Sunday rest and its sacredness might be established.
  • He revised the 1917 Code of Canon Law in 1983, adding to the laws of the Roman Catholic Church. “The Church has an innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful by means of penal sanctions.”[16] That referred to all Christians.
  • John Paul also added to this Code: “The following are to be punished with a just penalty: A person who teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff.”[17]

“The Church is the mother of all believers. ‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.’”[18]

  • The list of John Paul II’s accomplishments appears endless. His bonding with the geo-religious world was not on key doctrinal issues – but on moral and social merit. Secular ecumenism became the modus operandi of religious “unity.”

During this pope’s tenure, he called a world ecumenism meeting in Assisi, Italy. 130 religious leaders attended, from witch doctors to the Salvation Army officers. He permitted the Dalai Lama to replace the Cross with a statue of Buddha in one session.

  • This advanced “secular ecumenism”!
  • “And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD” (II Chronicles 19:2).

Pope Benedict XVI (2005–2013) called for the urgent appointment of a “true world political authority” to manage the world economy in his encyclical “Charity in Truth” (2009). He proposed a global federation, a “new world order” intimating that the papacy could/would be that authority!

  • Time magazine noted that “It is inevitable that Benedict’s movements on the international stage will be compared with his predecessors.”[19]
  • In the Second Vatican Council, one of the major documents that had been issued was Gaudium et Spes: “It is our clear duty” to establish “a universal public authority acknowledged … by all and endowed with the power to safeguard on the behalf of all [the world], security, regard for justice, and respect for rights.”[20]
  • In Pope Benedict XVI’s  encyclical, he said that this world’s political authority (aka a New World Order) must include a “Treaty on Global Warming,” a Central World Bank with a gradual, balanced transfer of part of each nation’s powers to a world authority [the Holy See] and to regional authorities.”[21]

Pope Benedict XVI also held a “secular” unity convocation in 2006 in Assisi, Italy.
Pope Francis 
Jesuit Pope Francis (2013–  ) moved this agenda deeper by tying the Catholic Social gospel to geopolitics.

  • In Evangelii Gaudium [Joy of the Gospel (with very little “gospel”)] Francis argued that “trickle down” economic theories, associated with the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, merely create an illusion of helping the poor.
  • The document prompted a backlash from many U.S. leaders. “This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope,” Rush Limbaugh said. He saw it as a veiled attack on the United States.[22]
  • In 2015 Francis published an encyclical on the environment. He blasted “global warming deniers.”[23]
  • In the much celebrated visit of Pope Francis to the United States (to Congress, United Nations and Philadelphia) in the fall of 2015, he actually laid out a Marxist agenda.[24]
  1. Protect the sanctity of life
  2. Protect the rights of immigrants and refugees
  3. Protect the planet from the ravages of climate change
  4. Defend the poor and dispossessed
  5. Redistribute wealth
  6. Workers have rights
  7. Capitalism is harmful; it must be replaced by socialism
  • Intriguingly, these reflect the “Sustainable Development” agenda of the United Nations.
  • Vatican Radio ran a headline: “Pope: ‘Christians Should Kneel Before the Poor.’” This has become part of his “Theology of People,” romanticizing “liberation theology” (more on this later), which is nothing more than a form of Marxism![25]

The Protestant Reach – Bridging the Gulf
 
There is a widespread belief that ecumenical bonding will occur within the “Christian world” through either Protestants acquiescing to Catholic dogma or by a unique agreement on common doctrinal beliefs, such as Evangelicals and Catholics Together as noted previously. These arguments have merit. But the broader issues that are cementing this bond lie in the social gospel. Emerging Protestant thinking as expressed by Faith Facts: “Christians should care about politics because, ultimately, we care about people. Government has an increasingly large influence on the lives of people, thus we cannot ignore politics. Further, almost every law reflects someone’s idea of morality. Since God’s morality is ultimate and universal, society benefits from the Christian’s participation in the public square.”[26]
 
The concept that “society benefits when biblical truth is reflected in civil law” is being promulgated through psychosocial interest.

  • Increasingly, Christians believe that socialism is good, compassionate and moral.
  • Protestants especially are totally unaware that it is tyrannical, robs people who work hard, curtails freedom, decreases creative incentives, withers desires to produce, shrivels charity, rewards failure and breeds hatred and greed.[27]

Stunning, that Edgar Bundy’s, in his Collectivism in the Churches (1958), quotes a Walter Rauschenbusch from his 1893 book, New World Order: “The only power that can make socialism succeed, if it is established, is religion.” “Socialism thus was his first concern. Religion was only a means toward achieving [its end].” Why? Visiting the widows, clothing the naked, contacting those in prison, and having a spirit of love and joy, etc., should be recast into a “gospel” that is focused on social needs more than the spiritual.[28]
In fact, today in many Protestant, as well as Catholic churches, one is more likely to hear a message about the need for “social action” than the need to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order to be saved.

  • This is morphing into an ecumenical force that is binding the world’s faiths!

In the past, Christianity was culturally defined through church affiliation and identification with the Bible. Today, the identity is seen more by what is experienced “at church” and its orientation to “community” (political and/or social).[29]

  • We cannot forget the 2012 political forum that Pastor Rick Warren hosted with Barack Obama and former Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain at the Saddleback church.[30] This was an overt political–religious gesture.
  • Warren is an evangelical who professes a personal relationship with God, that Jesus is the only route to salvation, that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that he has a duty to spread the gospel. But he also has strong political beliefs, opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, and cares about a broad range of other causes from fighting poverty to global warming. He and his wife are also active in numerous social justice causes involving AIDS, poverty and even gun control.[31]

The value placed on the Bible is diminishing as greater interest in cultural or political issues in sermons is promoted. This naturally views man through the eyes of behavior and finds parallels and similarities with Catholic social doctrines![32]
 
Secular ecumenism has become a cultural force.
 
Rick Warren uses the Bible to validate his “purpose-driven” theology but emphasizes organizational behavior rather than Biblical beliefs, deeds instead of creeds. Behind its noble appearance hides a postmodern version of the century-old “Christian Socialism.”

  • In 2005, at the instigation of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Warren began what has become known as a world P.E.A.C.E. plan.
  • It is an initiative to involve every Christian and every church in every nation in the task of serving people in the areas of the greatest global needs. “P.E.A.C.E.” is an acronym for the stated methodology for achieving the plan: “Promote reconciliation – Equip servant leaders – Assist the poor – Care for the sick – Educate the next generation.”[33]

This mega-selling author of “purpose-driven” books believes that poverty, disease, hunger and ignorance are problems beyond the capability of secular government.

  • His P.E.A.C.E. plan addresses these things globally through religious pluralism.
  • It has become an ecumenical platform cemented together through social concerns.

“In addition to the Christian version , Warren has an expanded inclusive version of the P.E.A.C.E. plan that has drawn support and praise from political and religious leaders and celebrities worldwide. At the 2008 World Economic Forum, he declared, ‘The future of the world is not secularism, but religious pluralism....’ Referring to the ills besetting the world, he declared, ‘We cannot solve these problems without involving people of faith and their religious institutions. It isn't going to happen any other way. On this planet there are about 20 million Jews, there are about 600 million Buddhists, there are about 800 million Hindus, there are over 1 billion Muslims, and there are 2.3 billion Christians. If you take people of faith out of the equation, you have ruled out five-sixths of the world. And if we only leave it up to secular people to solve these major problems, it isn't going to happen.’”[34]
 
Examples of the secularization of religious movements from Protestant leaders:

  • “It is imperative that the up-and-coming generation recognizes that the biblical Jesus was committed to the realization of a new social order in this world.... Becoming a Christian, therefore, is a call to social action.”[35]
  • “The first Reformation clarified what we believe. This [current] reformation is all about how we act and operate in the world. It involves the key components of purpose, decentralization, lay mobilization, use of technology, and continuous learning. Churches that change are thriving and growing more effective. Churches that refuse to change will miss the reformation, and are dying.”[36]

“Since the turn of the millennium, the world has witnessed a virtual meltdown of biblical Christianity…. Christianity is being redefined. Scores of pastors have chosen to abandon the Bible…. there is the charismatic bridge located on the road to ecumenical unity. It provides a connection for the gap that once existed between Roman Catholics and the separated brethren…. Bible prophecy and the warnings about apostasy are totally relegated to a museum. A one-world religion for peace is in the making, and the Pope … is the man to do it.”[37]
 
The Common Bond
 
As the social doctrines (the “rights” dogma) of the Roman Catholic Church hit the presses in 1891 through Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, a liberal protestant clergyman, Charles Sheldon, published a novel, In His Steps (1897). This spawned the popular culture question, “What Would Jesus Do?”[38]

  • This appealed to the same issues as the Roman Church – workers’ rights.
  • This promoted the belief that Jesus would have cast his lot with Marxism.

The background of this departure from traditional Christian thinking was the industrial revolution with conflict between employers and employees.[39]
 
Many key clergymen wrote about this challenge, invariably taking the side of the workers and the poor. Of note was the Baptist Walter Rauschenbusch, previously mentioned. He saw Jesus as a true socialist. He also identified with Marxism.[40]
 
Liberation Theology, a Catholic ideology spawned in Latin America, is a form of the more recent Marxism that Pope Francis has adopted. It is a radical ideology of the social gospel where Catholics immerse themselves into cultural issues, especially the plight of the poor.
 
Another Protestant unifying movement comes through the Emerging Church forum:
 

“For Emerging Church leader Brian McLaren, this is the future way of life for the Christian. He said: ‘I think our future will also require us to join humbly and charitably with people of other faiths – Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, secularists, and others – in pursuit of peace, environmental stewardship, and justice for all people, things that matter greatly to the heart of God.’”[41][42],This includes spiritual exercises that originated with Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order. The bonding broadens – secular ecumenism has become “the way.”

 
Summary
 
The social gospel has become the strongest global ecumenical tool. Sharing cultural/societal concerns brings diverse religious organizations together. It stresses a “common good” agenda, which even aligns itself with “progressive” political interests for “social change.” Forwarding these interests are plenary gatherings, where “common worship” occurs through prayers and meditation. It would be interesting (perhaps devastating) if “ecumenical activists” in the near future promoted religious laws to bring the world even closer together.
 

Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.
Prophecy Research Initiative – non-profit 501(c)3 © 2016
EndTime Issues…, Number 194, October 6, 2016
 

References:

 
[1] http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/ecumenism/noncath.htm
[2] http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19280106_mortalium-animos.html (Note the wording varies in various translations posted on the web.) (emphasis added)
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Vatican_Council
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_IX
[5] Ederer, Dr. Rupert J.; Inside the Vatican, “America and Catholic Social Teaching,” October 2012, p. 42.
[6] http://www.oldthinkernews.com/2007/12/02/rockefeller-and-the-new-world-religion/
[7] Ibid.
[8] Batten, Samuel Zane; The New World Order (American Baptist Publication Society, 1919), pp. 117-159, as quoted in http://www.oldthinkernews.com/2007/12/02/rockefeller-and-the-new-world-religion/
[9] Time magazine, March 16, 1942.
[10] http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/hoax/time42.htm#.V8xqglRlA2w
[11] http://www.emperors-clothes.com/vatican/cpix.htm
[12] Time Magazine, February 24, 1992.
[13] http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1999/pope/legacy/ – 12/9/04
[14] Zenit, 6-20-2000.
[15] Bennett, Richard & Michael de Semlyen; “Papal Rome and the European Union” (Dorchester house Publications, 2003).
[16] Pope John Paul II, Canon 1311.
[17] Canon 1312.
[18] Catechism (which John Paul added in 1994) #181.
[19] http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1730655,00.html
[20] Gaudium et Spes, 1965, p. 82.
[21] Reuters, Oct. 24, 2011.
[22] http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/06/16/limbaugh-the-pope-doesnt-even-disguise-his-marx/204015
[23] http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/pope-blasts-global-warming-deniers-20150616-ghp52z.html
[24] http://www.aim.org/aim-column/pope-lays-out-global-marxist-agenda/
[25] http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/16/pope-francis-betrays-christianity-by-romanticizing-poverty/
[26] http://www.faithfacts.org/christ-and-the-culture/socialism-not-compassionate
[27] Ibid.
[28] http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/006/conspiracy2.htm
[29] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/11/04/nominal-christians-becoming-more-secular-and-thats-creating-a-startling-change-for-the-u-s/
[30] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/rick-warren-obama-religious-liberty_n_2206064.html
[31] http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/17/five-things-to-know-about-rick-warren/
[32] https://carm.org/what-are-signs-church-becoming-secular
[33] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.E.A.C.E._Plan
[34] McMahon, T.A.; The Shameful Social Gospel, p. 3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGytW4yh0C8
[35] Compolo, Tony; National Council of Churches,Reflections on Youth Ministry in a Global Context,” “Poverty March 2002.” www.ncccusa.org/poverty/sermon-campolo.html
[36] Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, Issue #89, February 12, 2003, at www.pastors.com/RWMT/?ID=89 [since has been removed from the site]
[37] http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c202meltdown.shtml (published August 2016)
[38] http://religiondispatches.org/grassroots-faith-the-lessons-of-the-social-gospel/
[39] Scott, Graeme N.; The Social Gospel and Liberation Theology, p. 3.
[40] Ibid., pp. 6, 8.
[41] McClaren, Brian; ChristianPost.com, July 28, 2008.
[42] Ibid., p. 5.

 

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