His critics run the gamut from conservative right-wing evangelicals (who believe his advocacy for immigrant rights is un-American), to left wing Liberals (with whom he disagrees with on many of their anti-theological principles, such as pro-abortion rights) and, now, even from some Latino intellectuals and Chicano activist friends, with whom he disagrees with their culture and nationality first ideology, which in essence he feels is the same as the American nativist culture that has spawned racism and discrimination for over 200 years. It seems many of these varying entities simply can't pigeon hole him into any particular mold.
The author of The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, Ortiz’ background is actually steeped in civil rights, politics and media, dating back to the early sixties when he worked for various Mexican American and social service groups and organizations, as well as over 35 years in media as a news reporter, newspaper columnist and radio and television talk show host. Those credentials have obviously placed Ortiz in what many conservatives believe is a Left Wing Liberal camp.
Ortiz has the distinction of being the first Mexican American to host a talk show on and English-language commercial radio station, beginning in 1971 at KABC-AM radio in the highly competitive media market in Los Angeles. That podium offered him the opportunity to articulate the hopes, dreams and aspirations of not only Latinos but other minorities as well.
However, Ortiz left his politicial activist and media involvement when he became a born again Christian in 1975. The fast-paced lane of community work, media and politics, made him re-examine his deep spiritual values and he chose instead to devote most of his time in Bible studies and then launching his own ministry, God’s Broadcaster Ministries, Inc. He spent most of his time preaching and lecturing from the Bible from 1979 through 1985. Although he considers himself an evangelical Christian, he is not necessarily beholding to “Right Wing” evangelical fanaticism nor does he align himself with the faction that supports conservative political causes nor its candidates. Ortiz claims he has no problem being called an evangelical Christian if that perception is in agreement with the Christian gospel. He most definitely 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 and traditional ceremony. He doesn’t believe in the evangelical principles that require he has to belong to any political party or any denominational church.
“I believe that being a Christian has nothing to do with being a conservative or a Republican, which is more an American cultural phenomenon than anything else. Those categories (and or belief codes) he feels stem more from a predominately white Anglo-Saxon culture than it is about proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Being a Christian is not about claiming 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, that requires salvation and grace, that we need to acknowledge and confess 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. Seldom will you hear or read about Latino preachers in the United States, much less any who have written books on eschatological matters. While there are thousands of young Latino preachers and pastors now emerging throughout the mostly monolingual Spanish communities and low-income barrios in southwestern states, 99% of notable evangelical preachers and authors are basically white or African American. Ortiz, who was born and raised as a Catholic, 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 and southern California political network. This is not the type of background one expects from an evangelical Christian. His career experiences prior to becomingan evangelical preacher/teacher/writer were all in the English language 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 or sent to the principal’s office,” said Ortiz. “Due to that mind set, I mastered the English-language at a very young age, which actually helped me succeed in mainstream broadcasting.”
Although he was absent from media and politics from 1979 to 1985, it was during this period that he also worked as a free-lance public relations consultant for many community based groups, individual celebrities and major corporations. He was also in demand as a Master of Ceremonies for numerous special events. It was during this time that he began writing the original manuscript for The End Times Passover, which would take him about twenty years to complete.
In the meantime, in 1986 he returned to broadcasting in the Christian radio market, co-hosting a show with his pastor, Michael O'Brien, which they called "Heart & Soul." After about one year with that show, he was coaxed by fellow broadcasters Tim Berends and Al Gross to return back to radio, which he did in 1988. He then hosted straight (secular) talk programs until 1992. Ortiz, still feeling a strong commitment to his faith, didn't abandon the Christian broadcasting arena; however, he felt it would be hypocritical to stay in the field solely to earn a living. He did, however, incorporate much of his religious views into his secular programs, which he always felt traditional talk shows shyed away from, and it worked!
“I’m afraid I became disillusioned by Christian broadcasting,” Ortiz sighed, because he saw "the so-called electronic church broadcasters spent so little time on Bible study and about 85% of their time with sales pitches and entertainment tactics designed to solicit money for their respective ministries.” In the meantime, his’ journey back to secular radio with his Prime Time with Joe Ortiz show was a great success. The show became a big hit at KPZE-AM radio in Anaheim, California, where he also co-hosted a bigger hit with “Mornings with Joe & Cris” with Emmy-award winning writer and 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 due to the fast-paced lifestyle media and politics required, an arena he had left fifteen years earlier to devote time to his new found faith. So he left Los Angeles back to his hometown seeking more meaningful work by directly helping the poor, aliens and the homeless. 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 families shelter in Palm Spring until he injured himself in July 2003.
“That period of times was the most spiritual and redeeming time I ever spent in my entire 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 single day off nor any vacations. “Yes, it was hard work, but very gratifying, and it also afforded me the opportunity to finish writing The End Times Passover, which I completed in May 2004, which was subsequently published into two volumes in 2007.”
Ortiz had certain apprehensions about publishing his books, because he knew they would be viewed as highly controversial and not consistent with mainstream American evangelicalism. However, encouraged greatly by his wife Martha, to get the book out there, he decided to get them published in 2007 and began promoting the books through the Internet. Not that the books aren’t based on profound Bible study and sound theological references, but because much of what he presents would go across the face of the traditions of many current Protestant doctrines, especially Premillennialists and Dispensationalists.
Ortiz stated the adherents of these two doctrines he challenges in his books 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 persecution due to a miraculous event they call The Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven doctrine. This is perceived as a time in the near future they believe will see Jesus Christ secretly coming down from Heaven before Armageddon to secretly snatch only born again Christians back to Heaven while all hell breaks loose on earth.
In his books, Ortiz not only challenges and shatters that Premillennial and Dispensational doctrine, 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 notions by 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.
Ortiz, who adamantly claims he is not anti-Semitic, is a person (just like Jesus) who loves all ethnic groups, including Jews, Arabs, Asians, Hispanics, Anglos and all black nations, 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 racial groups who believe they have been chosen by God, based on their (unfortunate) interpretation of scripture.”
“I more than paid my dues in support of my (Latino) community for over 45 years,” said Ortiz. “I also have served my country in the military, as a tax-payer, a law-abiding citizen and as a servant in many endeavors. But my priority is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”