Today’s Islamic revival in all of its varieties–non-jihadist and jihadist (both Shi’ite Iranians and Sunni ISIS)–is motivated by a strong apocalyptic strain, the sense well-known to some Christians that the world is coming to an end, that prophecies are being fulfilled, and that the last judgment approaches. Islamic apocalyptic thinking even has a role for the anti-Christ and the Second Coming of Jesus. Muslim apologist David Liepert, who left Christianity for Islam, gives the colorful details of the signs of the End Times (which includes the discovery of a mountain of gold, the sun rising in the west, and a group of Muslims turning into pigs and apes). [Read more…]
According to Hochmuth, the pastor told Bachmann that WELS “primarily views the office of the papacy as the anti-Christ, not the individual popes themselves.’’
Asked for comment, Birkholz said Thursday, “I have been asked by my congregation not to give any more interviews.’’
An online report in The Atlantic magazine on Thursday (July 14) reported on WELS’ anti-papal doctrine, and questioned whether Bachmann also subscribes to the view.
Bill Donohue, president of the watchdog Catholic League, said he does not believe Bachmann is anti-Catholic, but that “it is not inappropriate to ask some pointed questions of Rep. Bachmann and her religion’s tenets.’’
Hochmuth said in an interview the anti-papal doctrine is “not one of our driving views, and certainly not something that we preach from the pulpit.’’ Hochmuth said he doubts whether many members of WELS are aware of the doctrine, which dates to Protestant Reformer Martin Luther.
“As a confessional Lutheran church, we hold to the teachings of Martin Luther who himself maintained the papacy, and in turn the pope, has set himself up in place of Christ, and so is the anti-Christ,’’ Hochmuth said.
He also described the anti-Christ as a theological principle, not a “cartoon character with horns.’’
Hochmuth added that “we love and respect Catholic Christians … Yet we pray that they would come to see the errors of their church’s official doctrine that the pope is infallible and that no one can be saved outside of the Roman Catholic Church.’’