Saturday, August 20, 2016

What Lies Ahead - Book Review

“What Lies Ahead” seems like an awkward title to me for a book on Prophecy and End Times. I can just hear the non-dispensational, pretribulational jokes. Nevertheless, this book is a great prophetic overview. It doesn’t aim to be exhaustive in its defense of dispensationalism and pretribulationism, but it is broad in subject and scope.

The book is well written, easy to understand and presented in a logically laid-out format. It contains many helpful charts and diagrams. The tone is set by addressing the question of why we should study prophecy, followed by a discussion on Postmodernism versus the Biblical Worldview.

My favorite chapters were those which covered Covenant Theology versus Dispensationalism. What is Covenant Theology and how does it differ to Dispensationalism? What are the CT hermeneutics? The illustrations are very helpful, as is the commentary. I’d recommend the book just on these clarifications and the discussion of the covenants...keep reading

Friday, August 19, 2016

Was Mark Confused? Birth Narratives? etc

The title of this post was taken from James White's Dividing Line, 18th Aug 2016 segment. It's longish at nearly two hours, as are many of White's videos. I wish he'd practice an economy of words. Nevertheless he hits some important issues which have bothered me lately.

What do you do about apologists who slap an inerrancy badge on their chests but seem to have a different definition of it than others do? I know one popular "inerrantist-writer" (not Licona) who spends a significant amount of blogging time telling readers why we can't believe the biblical account on a number of points. Is he really an inrrerantist, or is he compelled to claim that in order to be still considered in the evangelical camp (whatever that is)?

From White's website:
Was Mark Confused? Birth Narratives? Original Readings?
Did more than a Jumbo, but less than a Mega, today (1:45), responding to video clips posted by Yahya Snow mainly from the comments of Dr. Mike Licona wherein he said Mark was confused as to the location of the feeding of the five thousand, etc.  Lots of discussion of inspiration, inerrancy, synoptic issues, allegations of contradiction, etc.  Not an easy program to listen to while jogging I’m afraid, but important stuff! here
Also of interest is White's previous segment which spent some time addressing William Lane Craig's interaction with Catholics. As an ex Catholic I was particularly interested. White refers to a Catholic prayer which partly states:
O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of every grace that God grants us in our misery; it is for this cause that He hath made thee so powerful, so rich, so kind, that thou mightest assist us in our miseries. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners, if they but come unto thee; come once more to my assistance, for I commend myself to thee. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation; to thee I entrust my soul...yes, for if thou protect me, I shall fear nothing; not my sins, for thou wilt obtain for me their pardon and remission; not the evil spirits, for thou art mightier than all the powers of hell; not even Jesus, my Judge, for He is appeased by a single prayer from thee.
Catholics apologists are defensive of aspects of their Mariology. The prayer speaks for itself. Listen to or watch White's program HERE

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Why I Left Islam

Interesting video. Hat tip David Wood:

Friday, August 5, 2016

Nabeel Qureshi Redux

A couple of posts ago I wrote about the Nabeel Qureshi, David Wood and Pulpit and Pen controversy. Since then apologist James White chimed in. I listened to a portion of the discussion before tuning out. I happen to like much of the written apologetic material on White's website. But the video presentations often take too long to make points. So I didn't get the full gist. I believe Wood's particular style of presentation was mentioned. I can understand the criticism. Sometimes, however, the softer approach can also be condescending and damaging. This sort of bickering and in-fighting isn't helpful for the gospel cause.

Anyone who's read Nabeel's "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus" would have no cause to doubt that he came from a genuine Muslim background, even though his Islamic opponents label it a sect. He was upfront and careful to document the beliefs of his particular Islamic denomination. This should never have been called into question by another informed Christian. Moreover, Nabeel carefully details the slow painful process he underwent in converting to Christianity. In effect he lost his entire family for the cause of Christ.

Regarding the issue of dreams - it wasn't dreams which led Qureshi to faith in Christ. In the final analysis it was Scripture and Christian apologetics which converted Qureshi. J D Hall doesn't accept Wood's defense of Qureshi's one-time differing dream report. But this simply ignores all the other data presented in Nabeel's book.

In the book Jesus in Iran, Back to Jerusalem's Eugene Bach talks about Iranians who told him of their dreams of Christ. This is a phenomenon reported by many Christian missionaries in the Middle East. Western apologists are (rightly) skeptical regarding dreams and visions. However, Bach points out that these people aren't converted by their dreams:
They [Iranians] do not wake up knowing more but instead wake up wanting to know more. The dreams ignited a sudden desire to find a Bible or to find a Christian to help explain their dreams to them...The dreams are not an end result but a starting point to follow Jesus.
In other words, genuine conversion doesn't come from experiencing a dream. It must come from the empowering of the Holy Spirit and hearing the Word of God.

All that said, I've read Nabeel Qureshi's book and reviewed it HERE

Some interesting statistics from Joel Rosenberg.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Amillennialism, Dispensationalism & Israel

I was searching through the internet for Puritan resources and came across the Grace Online Library. It has some great materials on the Puritans. Of course I was immediately drawn to the Eschatology Section and this article.

The author states that in any conversation with a dispensationalist he gets asked what he believes about Revelation 20. He (I'm assuming GOL is a male) says they're not amused when he responds that the chapter comes after 19 and before 21.

I confess that I've never had such a conversation, and I wouldn't intentionally go there. In my experience (which is no doubt limited) the conversation is often initiated by the amillennialist and the topic is most often centered on the rapture, Darby, Scofield etc. Ultimately I'm convinced that the heart of these questions lies in the amillennial relationship between Israel and the church.

He writes that he was once a young DTS clone. He'd read dozens of books on "Dispensationalism, Progressive Dispensationalism and even the more novel “Pre-Wrath” Rapture position." Then he began reading out of his "comfort zone" and was shocked: my shock and amazement, my favorite Dispensational authors (cf. Walvoord, Ryrie, Pentecost, Chaefer (sic), etc.) didn’t always represent the other side with the fairness such a serious subject deserves.  In fact, there were flat out misrepresentations, caricatures, and enough straw men to make an army.   
We are given links to various titles critiquing dispensationalism. Vern Poythress' Understanding Dispensationalists can be read online.

My reading experience likely hasn't been as extensive as GOL's. But I've read critical books such as Riddlebarger's "A case for Amillennialism", Donaldson's "the last days of dispensationalism", Walker's "Jesus and the Holy City" and sundry other polemical books and articles. I've seen my share of straw men.

It's hard for me to take seriously an article using the words "pseudo Christian cult" and "dispensationalism" in its title, as you see HERE.

Historic Premillennialism is considered to be an orthodox Christian millennial system. Arguments posited against this older form of chiliasm will be in the nature of a disagreement among brethren about non-essentials. The dispensational system, however, differs from orthodox Christian doctrine in many areas. Most of these aberrations will, if seriously considered, end in the denial of the everlasting gospel.
Speaking of straw men - denial of the everlasting gospel? Sadly, this sort of thing is both erroneous and common. Then there's John MacArthur's The Gospel According to Jesus
For my part, I came from an amillennial background and migrated to dispensationalism. Why? Because I once spent a lot of time reading New Age re-interpretations of Scripture. When I got back to the Bible, I wanted to believe what it was saying - not an interpretation which departs from the intended meaning because it serves a theological presupposition. To be blunt, texts such as Jeremiah 31:31-37 are sufficiently clear for me to cast suspicion on any theology which tells me God's promises to Israel are fulfilled in the church. The Covenant Theology approach to these texts serves to maintain the assumption that the church is New Israel. One must perform gymnastics to consistently get that meaning.

Here are a few useful links:

The First Resurrection in Revelation 20

Mayhue responds to Gerstner

Saucy responds to Poythress

Contra the 95 Theses Against Dispensationalism

It's just not "cool" to be dispensationalist...

Book Review:

In Israel's Only Hope - The New Covenant, John B Metzger scours both Testaments to show how and why God's promises to Israel are not forfeit. If you want Scripture without the twist, Metzger's book is a joy. He demonstrates that God will save Israel exactly as He has outlined. The promises are not fulfilled in the church (Fulfillment Theology.) Moreover, Metzger (like Paul Henebury) is not above critiquing proponents of his own dispensational system regarding the New Covenant, dispensations and the church.

You can read my review of his book HERE

Sunday, July 31, 2016

“Pulpit and Pen” Hit Piece on Nabeel Qureshi

This is a classic case of why I have issues with some discernment ministries. David Wood takes Seth Dunn of Pulpit & Pen to task for his attack on Nabeel Qureshi.

Dunn has seen the video and has responded. People can make their own decisions as to whether Dunn adequately justified himself. Personally, I didn't buy it.

Wood nailed the issues very well:


Addendum: I'm certainly not going to endorse everything Nick Peters wrote in response to Dunn's rejoinder to the video. However, I agree with many points. Click HERE

And of course it's no surprise that J D Hall has written a rescue piece for Seth Dunn. Hall admits to not having heard much of Nabeel but....he can't get over the dream thing because he's a card-carrying cessationist. Whatever.

So, was Nabeel a Muslim once or not? Did he convert to Christianity or not? Essentially, Dunn's article laid grounds for disputing this, even while pretending it wasn't doing so. Why invoke James White and the Muslim apologist (Snow) if that isn't exactly what you're doing? Hall only added more fuel with his response.

Hall also thinks Wood comes across as a "braggart" though he says it could be "subjective." Wood is confident and has an edge to his approach. And he does go in hard. I wouldn't dispute these points. However, Hall ought to objectively read some of the Pulpit & Pen articles. Like Dunn in his response, he missed the targets. He's also confirmed for me why the discernment cottage industry sometimes makes me cringe. No one is safe. Don't believe me? Just Google any popular name and see what you come up with...for example, J D Hall.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A New Prewrath Rapture Resource Center

I've made it no secret that I disagree with the Pre-Wrath Rapture View and the common tactic of promotion by polemic. That said, if anyone is interested in learning more about the prewrath view, I found this website/blog refreshing in its irenic approach. I haven't been through it closely, but it appears to conform with the view as I understand it. If anyone spots some error they can leave a comment and I'll note it.

The site is maintained by Sally and Aaron Eggman.

Click HERE

YouTube Page HERE