THE FALSE PROPHETS OF SHOFAR MOUNTAIN
Commentary on ‘pastor’ Joe Fox of Shofar Mountain’s non-denominational church
By Charles Sulka
The Bible warns us that in the last days, there will arise many false Christs (Anti-Christs) false teachers, and false prophets. The rise of these false teachers is widespread today; it seems particularly so in America. Spouting religious nonsense and leading people astray has become an American tradition. Ironically, while the Bible is widely read in America, it seems that nowhere is it less well understood. It is puzzling how so many people can claim that the Bible is literally true, revelatory, and indisputable … while embracing so many differing opinions as to its actual meaning. (Go figure.)
America is experiencing the growth of doomsday cults and end-times preachers like never before. One such false prophet who is growing in popularity on the internet with a series of Youtube videos is Joe Fox. Fox is a self-styled ‘pastor’ (not ordained by any mainstream Christian denomination) who appears to be conflating religion with good old-fashioned American capitalism (nothing new about that, now, is there.) Fox, a charismatic individual with undeniable appeal and a patristic style, is promoting a survivalist community on Shofar Mountain, in the Ozark mountains of Missouri. Fox’s business selling survivalist training operates under the name Viking Preparedness (vikingpreparedness.com) Fox has a Youtube channel featuring a growing number of videos on survival, self-defense, and preparedness, as well as a mixed bag of religious topics.
Fox has assumed the mantle of disciple, preacher, pastor, teacher — he does not claim the spiritual gift of prophecy at this point in his spiritual journey — operating a ‘church’ of sorts out of doors on his country property in Missouri (gotta start somewhere.) Fox describes his religion as Yahwist, based on the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. Like so many promoters of new religions, Fox claims that he and his followers are the real Israelites in the new Israel.
Part of Fox’s appeal is the simplistic belief system he proffers; another part is the pragmatic down-to-earth common sense approach to planning for, and dealing with, social upheaval. No one who is paying attention could deny that human society is being rent asunder by dark forces, a collective psychosis, if you will. Mass insanity is sweeping the nation. This does not bode well for America. Best to prepare for the dangerous times ahead ….
Joe Fox looks to be one of the false prophets we are warned about in the New Testament. The false teachers mislead people, resulting in the loss of their eternal souls — an eternity separated from God and His people. If there is one thing in the Bible that is clear for all to understand, that is that the false teachers who lead the children astray will suffer the worst condemnation on judgment day. (We should all ask God to embrace ‘pastor’ Fox and give him guidance.)
Judgment day is, of course, a New Testament concept. Joe Fox’s religion does not incorporate the teachings of the new Testament. Fox’s religion is based on the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament.) Actually, it depends to a large extent on the order in which you watch Fox’s Youtube videos; the man’s religion is continually evolving. This is the danger of starting one’s missionary work before one has done one’s homework. In Christian terms, this is the sin of pride — of presumptuousness. It is one of the seven deadly sins; many put it at the top of the list.
Note that Fox makes no pretense of being a disciple of Christ. Fox’s Torah-based religion is in no way affiliated with any Christian denomination, nor do Fox’s teachings incorporate Christian doctrines. (See Note below.) If there is only one name under Heaven by which man can be saved … Fox never mentions that name. Instead, Fox focuses on Moses. (Think about that before putting your faith in any religious teacher.)
Many modern day false prophets deceive their followers — and no doubt themselves — by pretending to be Christian sects. Unlike the Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovahs Witnesses, and the Mormons, Fox’s new religion makes no pretense of being Christian. It is also worth noting that all of those religions have embraced the writings of their founders as holy scripture to be used in addition to, or in place of, the Gospels of the Bible. Fox has not written a book of scriptures … yet.
The rise of the doomsday cults does make sense, in a way. If the dire warnings of these end-times preachers were to prove prophetic, with a massive catastrophe to strike America — economic collapse, pandemic, widespread famines, breakdown of the infrastructure, a civil war between armed factions of the citizenry, or an asteroid strike — then Satan would want any survivors to embrace false religions rather than the Christian faith. This would severely hamper the recovery of the Christian church in the future. The remnant church(es) would be apostate. It goes without saying that the chances of surviving a doomsday scenario are better in the rural areas, away from the cities. Thus most of America’s doomsday cults are located in the rural areas.
Let us hope that these false teachers’ dire warnings of tribulations to come do not become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the meantime, be wary of charismatic individuals promoting newfangled religious doctrines, making things up as they go along. There really isn’t anything new under the sun. It’s in the Bible. Like America’s TV preachers — the false prophets of the airwaves — they may have winning smiles and a vigorous handshake, but they are really wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Upon reading over what I have written here, I feel that my words are perhaps a bit too harsh. They certainly seem harsh to my ear. My purpose is not to discourage a brother of the Cross, but rather to be an encouragement to a fellow disciple.
I say in the text above that Fox’s religious doctrines do not pretend to be Christian. In truth, it is difficult to categorize Fox’s religious program, because he does on occasion incorporate Christian teachings, even going so far as to cite chapter and verse from the New Testament. In looking over the titles to his many Youtube videos (I have watched only a few) it appears he combines Old and New Testament concepts indiscriminately. The man jumps all over the place; it is obvious he is making his religion up as he goes, having no formal training in religion, and no written outline.
I also must admit to a personal affinity for Fox’s preparedness theme and his no-BS straightforward approach to life, God, and other people. Finally, his interpretation of scripture is not bizarre or obviously nonsensical, and he does not come off as a religious charlatan, looking to fleece the sheep, as so many evangelicals do. This man’s sincerity strikes me as real, not feigned.
But that actually makes the man more dangerous, because we can be caught unawares. We might not spot the error(s) when he does go off track, as do so many religious luminaries striking out on their own. The fact is, the man is untrained if not unqualified, making stuff up as he goes. The stuff he is making up, however, has the most serious consequences to others. Our very souls are at stake here. We should no sooner put our trust in amateur theologians than we should allow amateurs to perform brain surgery on us.
If ‘Pastor’ Joe’s calling is from God, then He will give the man understanding and wisdom and knowledge and grace and …. This should be the goal. We should pray that the Lord will make use of this man and keep him from all error. We should also be asking around to see if anyone knows of a seminary that has an opening for a man with a natural gift and love of the Lord. (Fox sounds closer to Baptist than Catholic.) While my resources are limited, I will donate what I can to a scholarship fund for Mr. Fox’s religious education. But first, Fox must decide whether he is going to be Jew or Christian. You can’t be both.
Some examples of Yawyist religious teachings on Joe Fox Youtube channel:
Pastor Joe Fox, Shofar Mountain Sermon: Walk in Torah
Sabbath Service G.O.T.S. with Pastor Fox 09-02-17 | A Prudent Man |
This Sabbath Service from G.O.T.S. (Gathering Of The Saints) 2017, Pastor Joe Fox of Shofar Mountain brings a powerful word …
Joe Fox business activity:
Joe Fox, proprietor
Viking Preparedness http://vikingpreparedness.com/
(chs 09-06-2018 1902 -0500)