Tony Palmer and the Collapse of Protestantism

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by Pastor Hal Mayer Speaker / Director

Tony Palmer, an evangelical friend of Pope Francis, died in a motorcycle accident. Francis sent a message to be read at his funeral by his wife, Emiliana. Ironically, he was buried in a Catholic cemetery in Bath, England after a Catholic Requiem Mass attended by mostly evangelicals. He really wanted to be a Catholic, so he got his wish in his death.

Palmer had a passion to bring Evangelicals and Pentecostals into visible unity with Rome. He and the pope made a video for Kenneth Copeland’s ministerial conference in Texas earlier in 2014. During that meeting, Palmer told the audience, many of whom did not know, that the Catholic and Lutheran Churches had signed a declaration in 1999 saying they now agreed on the doctrine of justification by faith.

“We preach the same Gospel now,” Palmer told the gathering. “The protest is over.” The Pentecostals reacted rapturously. Copeland burst into speaking in “gibberish,” often wrongly referred to as speaking in tongues.

After sharing the video with 3,000 Pentecostal pastors in February, it went viral on YouTube. Palmer was inundated by requests from evangelical leaders to be included in the “convergence” movement, as it is sometimes called. Palmer cancelled his teaching commitments and other personal studies in order to keep up with the correspondence. He updated Pope Francis in a meeting in April. The pope expressed his amazement.

Palmer took a group of evangelical leaders who together reach more than 700 million people to meet and lunch with Francis. The delegates included Copeland, James Robison, Geoff Tunnicliffe (head of the Worldwide Evangelical Alliance), and others. They told Francis they wanted to accept his invitation to seek visible unity with the Bishop of Rome and presented him with a proposed Declaration of Faith in Unity for Mission that the evangelicals had drawn up. They proposed that the Vatican and the leaders of major Protestant churches would sign it in Rome in 2017 on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Significantly, it would also be the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The draft Declaration has three elements: the Nicean-Constantinople Creed, which Catholics and evangelicals apparently share; the core of the Catholic-Lutheran declaration of 1999 stating there is no disagreement over justification by faith; as well as a final section asserting that Catholics and evangelicals are now “united in mission because we are declaring the same Gospel.”

In addition, there is a section about freedom of conscience and that Catholics and evangelicals will respect each other’s mission fields and not treat each other as rivals. That basically means that they will not try to proselytize each other and compete in each other’s territory. This would prevent the declaration that the Papacy is the spiritual Babylon described in the book of Revelation and the appeal to come out of her and be faithful to Christ (Revelation 18:4).

Protestants that adopt visible unity with Rome cannot preach the truth of scripture. They have given up the very Bible principles and teachings that made them Protestant in the first place. Rome’s teachings are still what they always were, the wine of Babylon that makes them and the kings of the earth and multitudes of people spiritually drunk. They are blind to the real teachings of Rome.

The aim of the ecumenical movement is full, visible, doctrinal and sacramental unity with the Catholic Church. When traditional Protestant and Pentecostal churches seek visible unity with Rome, the ecumenical movement is nearing its maturity. Protestants have yielded the field.

“In the movements now in progress in the United States to secure for the institutions and usages of the church the support of the state, Protestants are following in the steps of papists. Nay, more, they are opening the door for the papacy to regain in Protestant America the supremacy which she has lost in the Old World.” Great Controversy, page 573 Most people have no idea that Sunday worship is the bond that links Rome and the evangelicals together. Because evangelicals do not keep the seventh-day Sabbath, that bond of unity with Rome draws them back together. Evangelicals cannot claim that they follow the Bible and the Bible only. Therefore, inevitably and eventually they will return to Rome. They are now enthusiastically doing that.

“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” Great Controversy, page 445

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Illegal Arrests: Search Warrant Issued In Murder Case, Targets Arrested For Growing Marijuana

Police Search Home in Murder of Teen Whose Phone Was Used to Text 'OMG I'm Being Kidnapped'
Police Search Home in Murder of Teen Whose Phone Was Used to Text 'OMG I'm Being Kidnapped' (ABC News)

Police have searched a house in connection with the murder of a 14-year-old Michigan girl who was killed while walking her dog on a wooded hiking path, authorities said today.

Police and the FBI executed the search this afternoon outside the town of Armada and would not release any information about the subject of the search, but they did confirm it was related to the murder of April Millsap. Police have not revealed how the teen was killed.

David Porter, a spokesman for the FBI's Detroit field office, confirmed to ABC News that a search warrant had been issued, prompting the search but no arrests have been made in connection to the murder. Two individuals are in custody after police discovered a marijuana growing operation inside the house, police said, noting charges have yet to be filed.

The probable cause statement and search warrant connected to today's search are under seal so the name of the individual whose home was searched has not been publicly released, but Porter said it is not the end of the investigation.

Early reports about Millsap's murder included claims from a relative that she had texted her boyfriend on July 24 saying "OMG. ... I think I'm being kidnapped." But Michigan State Police spokesman Lt. Michael Shaw told ABC News that the message was phrased differently and may not have come from April herself.

"We don't know who sent it," Shaw said, without revealing what time the text was sent.

Porter also told ABC News that the investigative team is "aware of a number of text messages that were sent from April's phone."

Investigators have not released any information about the way in which April was killed, saying that it is "a crucial part of the investigation," but have officially declared it a homicide. The 14-year-old's body was found in a ditch by joggers in the Macomb Orchard Trail on the night of July 24 with her dog Penny sitting by her body, police said.

Shaw said that while no one is ever truly ruled out as a suspect, April's relatives and boyfriend "don't appear to be responsible."

Investigators have released a sketch of a suspect that they said was compiled from tips from others inside the park around the time that Millsap is believed to have been killed. They are also interested in any information pertaining to a blue-and-white motorbike that Porter described as looking more like a motocross bike than a Harley Davidson.

Porter added that today's search outside of Armada is not the first search to be executed in this case, and without specifying the targets, he confirmed that phone records have been part of that search.
"When we are conducting a search warrant, sometimes it is not right at the end of an investigation," Porter said.

The teen’s funeral is scheduled for Friday and a GoFundMe page started by a family friend has already raised more than $11,700 -- quickly surpassing the $5,000 goal -- and is set to cover the burial expenses, according to the page.

Examining the Terrorist Threat from America's Southern Border

By Scott Stewart
Stratfor Security Weekly
On July 21, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he was deploying 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to the Mexican border to help strengthen border security. The move is the latest in a chain of events involving the emigration of Central Americans that has become heavily publicized -- and politicized.

Clearly, illegal immigration flows are shifting from Arizona and California to Texas. In fiscal year 2013 (all Border Patrol data is recorded by fiscal year), the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol sector surpassed Tucson as the leading sector for the number of apprehensions (154,453 in Rio Grande Valley versus 120,939 for Tucson). Also, between fiscal years 2011 and 2013, the number of Border Patrol determined "other than Mexicans" -- mostly Central Americans -- apprehended by the Rio Grande Valley sector increased by more than 360 percent, from 20,890 to 96,829. (By comparison, the Tucson sector apprehended 19,847 "other than Mexicans" in 2013.) Significantly, minors constituted a large percentage of the "other than Mexicans" apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley in 2013: 21,553 (compared to 9,070 in Tucson sector). However, the majority (84 percent) of those labeled Unaccompanied Alien Children by the Border Patrol are teenage minors and not younger children.

Lost in all the media hype over this "border crisis" is the fact that in 2013 overall immigration was down significantly from historical levels. According to U.S. Border Patrol apprehension statistics, there were only 420,789 apprehensions in 2013 compared to 1,160,395 in 2004. In fact, from fiscal 1976 to 2010, apprehensions never dropped below 500,000. During that same period, the Border Patrol averaged 1,083,495 apprehensions per year compared to just 420,789 last year.

Of course, apprehension statistics are not an accurate count of total immigration and do not account for those who cross without being caught, and the statistics are also slightly skewed by the fact that Unaccompanied Alien Minors are far more likely to surrender to authorities rather than attempt to avoid them. In 2011, the Border Patrol apprehended 4,059 unaccompanied children; by 2013 that number had reached 38,759. Year to date, the Border Patrol has apprehended more than 46,000 unaccompanied children and estimates it will apprehend around 60,000 total in 2014. Still, overall, the Border Patrol will apprehend and process hundreds of thousands fewer people this year than it did each fiscal year from 1976 until 2010.

This type of hype and politicization of the U.S.-Mexico border is not new. It is something that has surfaced at irregular intervals for years now, along with scaremongering using the boogeyman of terrorism, and it appears to be happening again.

I've recently done a number of media interviews regarding immigration, and during several of these interviews, reporters have asked me the question: "Does the crisis on the border give terrorists an opportunity to sneak into the country?" While other border security analysts have told reporters that they believe terrorists would take advantage of the border crisis and that the cartels would be willing to work with terrorists for the right price, I disagree. I believe that an analysis of the history of plots directed against the U.S. homeland from overseas and an examination of the changes in the dynamics of transnational terrorism show such claims to be unfounded.

No Link to the U.S.-Mexico Border

As chaos has wracked Mexican towns just south of the U.S. border such as Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Juarez and Tijuana, there has been repeated speculation that al Qaeda could partner with some street gang or Mexican cartel to smuggle terrorist operatives or weapons into the United States to conduct a spectacular terrorist attack.

For example, in 2005, rumors were frequently published on a popular web media outlet claiming that al Qaeda had smuggled several tactical nuclear devices into the United States with the help of the Salvadoran Mara Salvatrucha street gang. According to the rumors, al Qaeda was planning to launch a horrific surprise nuclear attack against several U.S. cities in what was termed "American Hiroshima." Clearly this never happened.

But American fearmongers are not the only ones who can cause a panic. In a 2009 speech, radical Kuwaiti university professor Abdullah al-Nafisi talked about the possibility that jihadists could smuggle anthrax in a suitcase through a drug tunnel on the U.S.-Mexico border, a claim that sparked considerable concern because it came on the heels of other hyped-up anthrax threats.

However, an examination of all jihadist plots since the first such attack in the United States -- the November 1990 assassination of the radical founder of the Jewish Defense League, Meir Kahane -- shows that none had any U.S.-Mexico border link. Indeed, as we've noted elsewhere, there have been more plots against the U.S. homeland that have involved the U.S.-Canada border, including the 1997 plot to bomb the New York Subway and the Millennium Bomb Plot. But by and large, most terrorists, including those behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 attacks, have entered the United States by flying directly to the country. There is not one jihadist attack or thwarted plot in which Mexican criminal organizations smuggled the operative into the United States.

There was one bumbling plot by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in which Manssor Arbabsiar, a U.S. citizen born in Iran and residing in Texas, traveled to Mexico in an attempt to contract a team of Mexican cartel hit men to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Instead of Los Zetas, he encountered a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant and was set up for a sting. There is no evidence that an actual Mexican cartel leader would have accepted the money Arbabsiar offered for the assassination.

Mexican criminal leaders have witnessed U.S. government operations against al Qaeda and the pressure that the U.S. government can put on an organization that has been involved in an attack on the U.S. homeland. Mexican organized crime bosses are businessmen, and even if they were morally willing to work with terrorists -- a questionable assumption -- working with a terrorist group would be bad for business. It is quite doubtful that Mexican crime bosses would risk their multibillion-dollar smuggling empires for a one-time payment from a terrorist group. It is also doubtful that an ideologically driven militant group like a jihadist organization would trust a Mexican criminal organization with its weapons and personnel.

Changes in Terrorist Dynamics

Another factor to consider is the changes in the way militant groups have operated against the United States since 9/11. Because of increased counterterrorism operations and changes in immigration policies intended to help combat terrorist travel, it has become increasingly difficult for terrorist groups to get trained operatives into the United States.

Even jihadist groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have been forced to undertake remote operations involving bombs placed aboard aircraft overseas rather than placing operatives in the country. This indicates that the group does not have the ability or the network to support such operatives. In addition to remote operations launched from its base in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has also undertaken efforts to radicalize grassroots operatives residing in the United States, equipping them with easy-to-follow instructions for attack through its English-language magazine, Inspire.

This focus on radicalizing and equipping grassroots operatives is also reflected in the fact that the majority of the attacks and failed plots inside the United States since 2001 have involved such grassroots operatives rather than trained terrorists. These operatives are either U.S. citizens, such as Nidal Hasan, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Faisal Shahzad, or resident aliens such as Najibullah Zazi. Failed shoe bomber Richard Reid was traveling on a British passport (no U.S. visa required) and the would-be underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had obtained a valid U.S. visa. The operatives had the ability to legally reside in the United States or to enter the country legally without having to sneak across the border from Mexico.
Could a terrorist operative take advantage of the U.S.-Mexico border? Possibly. Is one likely to attempt such a crossing when so much publicity and extra enforcement has been directed to that border? Probably not.

Read more: Examining the Terrorist Threat from America's Southern Border | Stratfor
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