Joe Ortiz considers himself an “evangelical Christian,” but not necessarily beholding to the right wing political fanaticism that is rampant among many of today’s Christians.
Ortiz can make claims to being an evangelical Christian if that perception is in agreement with the Christian gospel. He also believes in the emphasizing of salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ, through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching the word of God as contrasted with religious ritual, ceremony and tradition. He doesn’t believe in the evangelical principles that require he has to belong to any political party or any denominational church to be a good Christian or an American patriot.
While Ortiz does not belong to any specific group, he does believe he has been called as a messenger of the Gospel, as is best reflected by the word “evangelist.” However, he is cautious of calling himself an evangelist primarily because that word nowadays connotes a fire and brimstone preacher or an Elmer Gantry-like figure hustling dollars from his audience in exchange for favor from God, an image that he abhors immensely.
“The etymology for the word ‘evangelist’ derives or comes from the word *angel, or messenger,” said Ortiz, who added; “but, believe me, I’m no angel in the sense of purity but instead one who has learned much of life’s painful journey from past mistakes.”
“I believe that being a Christian is not about proclaiming to have obtained a holy lifestyle, nor projecting a higher moralistic picture of ourselves to those around us,” adds Ortiz. “But, rather it’s recognizing that all of us humans have been dealt with the card of imperfection, and we need to acknowledge this to one another, carry each other’s burdens, and allow God to work His own righteousness through us.”
Ortiz is a rare breed among evangelicals. The most well known Hispanic evangelicals more than likely were born in and found in predominately Spanish-speaking countries. However, through the heavy migration to this country from Mexico and other Latin American countries, many Hispanic evangelists can be found amongst a growing amount of Spanish-speaking churches in the United States. Ortiz, however, is primarily a middle-class 3rd generation Mexican American who was born, raised and educated in this country, He became involved in public service after serving in the Air Force as a military policeman, and achieved much acclaim and notoriety in English-language media and within the Los Angeles political network. His experiences were all in English and he doesn’t make any excuses about not being able to articulate as well in Spanish.
“I was born at a time that if you even spoke in Spanish during school time, you were either slapped in the face by teachers or sent to the principal’s office,” said Ortiz. “Due to that mindset, I mastered the English-language at a very, very young age, which actually helped me succeed in mainstream broadcasting.”
Ortiz, who has the distinction of being the first Mexican American in the U.S. to host an English-language talk show on a commercial radio station, distinguished himself on radio and television and as a syndicated newspaper columnist for over 20 years in the highly competitive Los Angeles media market. He began his first job in 1971 at KABC Talk Radio, Los Angeles. Throughout his adult career, Ortiz worked at several social service agencies focusing on job training and occupation development, as both a Job Agent and Parole Officer, and as an educator for several school districts and two colleges in Los Angeles.
“Most of my social service jobs were motivated by my concerns for underprivileged individuals in the barrios and ghettos of Los Angeles,” said Ortiz. “I also used the platform that radio broadcasting provided me to articulate the problems in those respective communities.”
He became a born again Christian in 1975. Although he was born and raised a Catholic, he adopted the Assemblies of God doctrine and dropped out of media and social service work for awhile and worked as an evangelist from 1979 to 1985. During this period he also operated as a freelance public relations company when he began writing The End Times Passover, in 1984, which would take him about twenty years to complete. In the meantime, in 1986 he returned to broadcasting, this time in the Christian radio market. But he soon dropped that after one year and then hosted straight (secular) talk programs until 1992. Ortiz felt it would be hypocritical to stay in the Christian broadcast field solely to hustle dollars.
“I’m afraid I became disillusioned by Christian broadcasting,” Ortiz sighed, because he saw how the so-called electronic church spent so little time on teaching and Bible study. “About 85% of their broadcast time focused on entertainment and tactics designed to solicit money for their respective ministries.”
Ortiz’ secular radio show [Prime Time with Joe Ortiz] became a big hit and he even co-hosted a bigger hit a year later with Mornings with Joe & Cris on KPZE-AM Radio in Anaheim, California, with comedian Cris Franco as his co-host.
“Those shows were lots of fun and it was very much a pioneering venture to see two Latinos, for the first time in history, hosting a daily drive time, 6 to 9 a.m. slot, and killing the competition.”
But, yet, through all of the success of hosting two prime time shows, and operating a highly successful public relations consultancy, Joe experienced a burn out in the jet set lifestyle of media and politics and left Los Angeles for his hometown of Palm Springs, California. He went to work for Catholic Charities of San Bernardino/Riverside in June 2000 as its Director of Public Relations and Fund Raising and also managed its homeless shelter in Palm Spring until he injured himself in July 2003.
“That period of time was the most spiritual and redeeming time I ever spent in my life,” said Ortiz, who resided at the shelter he managed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for two and a half years, without a vacation. “Yes, it was hard work, but, very, very gratifying, and it also afforded me the opportunity to finish writing The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, which I completed both in May 2004.”
Ortiz’ book has been examined by several writers in the eschatology genre, including the well-known author Dave MacPherson who wrote several books (that challenged the Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven dogma), including The Rapture Plot, The Incredible Cover Up, The Great Rapture Hoax, Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin and Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture.
“Do you know why “The End Times Passover” by Joe Ortiz is riveting and enjoyable? He travels behind the scenes from Greek word to Greek word and skillfully shows how far removed from Scripture some faulty prophetic views, such as pretribulation rapturism, truly are.
As one who has been eminently successful in various occupations (as a radio and television talk show host, news reporter and newspaper columnist, public relations expert, and teacher on the college level – only a fraction of his talents), Ortiz, named as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in The US,” is equally accomplished in his handling of the Bible. On more than 500 pages he sifts facts from fiction and comes up with a classic work on every important aspect of the end times that every child of God will be privileged to own. My stamp of approval is on it! (10-08-07, Dave MacPherson author of The Rapture Plot)."
Other writers of theological matters have also read and praised Joe’s book, including Bill Somers, who hosts the End Time Prophetic Vision web site.
“The reader will find The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation to be a scholarly sound and profound work that will straighten out a lot confusion surrounding biblical issues related to end times prophecy. It will cause many teachers and students of the Bible to rethink much of what they have accepted as 'fact' concerning the end times. Joe Ortiz has done a magnificent job of researching and writing this important book. This is the book I wish I would have written, and I'm sure there are a few others who will wish they had written it as well, (Bill Somers, May 28, 2004)."
Humbled by the glowing response, Ortiz still has certain apprehensions about his book. Not that his book isn’t based on profound Bible study and sound theological references, but because much of what he presents goes across the face of orthodoxy and the traditions of many current Protestant doctrines, especially Premillennialists and Dispensationalists. Ortiz stated the adherents of these two doctrines believe that the state of Israel is God’s time clock to Armageddon, and that all Christians should support the State of Israel in all cases, or they will be punished by God. They also believe they will be spared from the wrath of God due to a miraculous event they call The Rapture. This is an event they believe will see Jesus Christ secretly coming down from Heaven to snatch Christians back to Heaven while all hell breaks loose on earth.
In his two books, Ortiz not only challenges and shatters the Premillennial and Dispensational doctrines, he provides Biblical documentation that refute many of the notions held by traditional evangelicals and contemporary theologians, including proof that the Christian Church is not the Bride of the Lamb, that there will be no 1000 year (millennial) reign of Christ, that the human soul does not go to Heaven upon death, that the church of God was formed thousands of years before The Day of Pentecost, and that Christians will not be “Raptured” to Heaven. He also presents sound Bible answers that challenge the erroneous notion by certain right wing evangelicals that the Jewish people of Israel are the chosen people of God, and that the region now known as Israel in the Middle East is the Promised Land.
“The facts I present in my book will upset many right wing evangelicals and people who support the government of the State of Israel,” said Ortiz, who adamantly claims he is not anti-Semitic (his own daughter is half Jewish), but rather a person who loves all of mankind, including Jews, Arabs, Asians, Hispanics, Anglos and blacks and all nationalities, as well.
“My book is a treatise that makes a clear distinction between people who actually have faith in Jesus Christ, as opposed to certain factions that believe they have been chosen by God, based on their (unfortunate) interpretation of scripture.”
Ortiz said that when he started doing the research and writing his book, he emptied his head of varying doctrines and religious traditions, in an attempt to discover and present the facts as he found them without any influence. Ortiz, who believed in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven doctrine for over ten years after accepting Christ, said the more he delved into the Greek and Hebrew texts to find out the true meaning of key words in the Bible (through a rigid application of the Science of Etymology), the more he realized that premillennial dispensationalists have been misguided by former teachers and (more importantly) they have failed to discern God’s word correctly.
“I have found that most religious people are slow to change the belief system they have been indoctrinated with; some won’t even accept the true facts if they were presented to them on a golden platter.” said Ortiz. “However, if Premillennial Dispensationalists will read these two books all the way through, I’m certain they will conclude that the Left Behind notions they have been fed are blatant lies and anathema to God’s will.”
Yes! Joe Ortiz indeed is a rare breed among Hispanic evangelicals. While he still has a passion for supporting members of the Hispanic community with problems related to the poverty, education and health issues, he is driven more so by his theology.
“Let’s face it; regardless of how much time I spend on these (minority community advocacy) issues, the bottom line for me,” says Ortiz, “if they aren’t in concert with what the Bible tells us, then any thing I do differently will never coincide with God’s will.”
Joe Ortiz web site is http://sites.google.com/site/theendtimespassover/
September 26, 2009