Saturday, February 22, 2020

Worshiping in Pain

From the TMS blog:

It's difficult to recall the number of perplexed looks I've received over the past two-and-a-half years as I have explained to people my doctoral research project. Some have mused that wrestling with lament for this long must be disheartening.

I have experienced the opposite.

My intrigue with lament in the psalter was born from deep grief in my life. I was struggling to adore God with my soul while my wife and I were wading through a miscarriage, the loss of a child that had long been anticipated and prayed for. As this season of struggle continued in my life, it became obvious my trials were not unique. It became apparent that most in our church were in pain, in some form or another. The psalms of lament became something of a somber, unifying anthem for my congregation and I...keep reading

See also Abounding in Hope.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Prophecy and Covenant Theology

There have always been debates about prophecy, even among people holding the same millennial views. I recently noted in an article that Spurgeon went from postmil to premil. Yet he strongly discouraged prophetic debating. Michael Reeves (Spurgeon and the Christian Life) notes that:
His concern was that the person of Christ - not the millennium or the date of Christ's return - should be central to the Christian's hope.
I wonder what he'd say to all of us prophecy nuts now. Yes, I can imagine the responses to Spurgeon's concern. But I think he makes a good point.

Some amil-postmil Covenant Theologians regarded premillennialism with suspicion. This comes out in various comments in Andrew Bonar's Diary and Life. Bonar expressed concern that his brother Horatius was being set aside from positions because of his millennial view and interest in prophecy.

These days, the Banner of Truth has all of premillennialist J. C. Ryle's books, except anything on prophecy. Some things haven't changed. I also found Waldron's reaction to Barry Horner's book Future Israel both interesting and over the top. Horner noted:
There have been many blog responses such as from Dr. Sam Waldron, Professor of Systematic Theology at Midwest Center for Theological Studies. Staunchly Reformed Baptist and amillennial, he commented: “I had to pray for grace and patience not to fire it across the room...."
You can read Barry Horner's article HERE

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Thoughts on George Ladd's HP & the 144,000

Years ago George Ladd often came up in discussions about rapture timing. His book, The Blessed Hope, has been popular in posttrib-prewrath circles. Like Spurgeon, he was historic premil. If you didn't want to be burdened with dispensational baggage (pretrib rapture etc); you could call yourself historic premil (just like Ladd). Later on, some shifted to progressive dispensationalism for similar reasons.

Ladd also held to Covenant Theology, blurred the distinctions between Israel and the church, and allegorized and re-interpreted the Old Testament based on the New Testament. This was the subject of debate in 2011. See a previous article HERE. And more recently HERE.

I've seen comments that pretribbers hold to the idea that the 144,000 (Rev 7) are evangelists because of alleged pretrib problems associated with the Great Multitude. Many if not most posttribulationists today deny that their role is evangelism. This wasn't always the case.

In fact in The Blessed Hope (p 45), Ladd cites posttribulationist Nathaniel West who believed the 144,000 to be the “Israelitish Church.” He taught that this group is the fulfillment of the promises of Romans 11 – the salvation of literal Israel. Accordingly, their salvation occurs at the start of the 70th week as a result of the missionary work of the Two Witnesses. They are sealed so that they can take the place of the [predominantly Gentile] church!

So this isn't an original pretrib idea crafted out of necessity. In this view the Great Multitude is the church which suffers "near extinction at the hands of the Antichrist in the Great Tribulation." Ladd and West did not view the multitude of Revelation 7 as the raptured church.

Yet (confusingly) Ladd also took the view that the 144,000 are a symbolic expression of the church:
These twelve tribes cannot be literal Israel, because they are not the twelve tribes of OT Israel. The list here appears nowhere else in the Bible. It has three irregularities: it names Judah first, thus ignoring the OT order of the tribes; it omits Dan with no explanation (see Eze. 48:1); it mentions Joseph instead of Ephraim. Perhaps John meant by this irregular listing of the twelve tribes to designate the Israel that is not the literal Israel. . . . The twelve tribes were irregularly listed to show that true Israel is not literal Israel, but the Church. (Cited in Tony Garland's A Testimony of Jesus Christ. Note Garland's response)
For more on Ladd's position re Israel and re-interpretation of the OT see Mike Vlach's blog. Dr. Vlach also addresses some of The Orange Mailman's objections re criticisms of Ladd.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

An Evaluation of the Hermeneutics of Historic Premillennialism

Dr House will have something to trigger most posttribulationists here...

Ladd gets several mentions.


Saturday, February 1, 2020

95 Theses Against Dispensationalism & A Response (Redux)

The Ninety-Five Theses Against Dispensationalism
Disputation of NiceneCouncil.com On
The Power and Efficacy of Dispensationalism
-or-
The Ninety-Five Theses Against Dispensationalism
By Ken Gentry and Jerry Johnson

Sounds pretty serious, doesn't it? Every once in a while I like to re-post Dr Paul Henebury's detailed response to the above on different forums. I still get a lot out of reading it.

The link on Paul's blog to the "Theses" he is responding to has moved. You can find them HERE 

Read the Answers to the 95 Theses in Order HERE

Over the last few years, I've tended to read more materials from the Reformed community than from dispensationalists. Of course I regularly come across frustrating statements. They tend to be entrenched in their traditional view that the church has replaced Israel, despite often elaborate arguments-statements denying Replacement Theology. This impacts their position on eschatology and hermeneutics (in some cases).

On the other hand I've also spent a good deal of time in dispensational forums. For reasons I won't go into now, I've often found this frustrating as well. Dispensationalists need to pick up their games in a few areas too.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Evidences of True Revival

An article by Allen Nelson IV:

Currently, I’m working through the book Revival! A People Saturated With God by Brian H. Edwards as part of my writing with Accelerate Books. With 2020 being a brand new decade, I’ve thought a lot about revival lately. And while I would eschew “revivalism”*, I think it is a sincere desire of the Christian heart to long for more of God’s presence.

Brian Edwards defines revival as: “a remarkable increase in the spiritual life of a large number of God’s people, accompanied by an awesome awareness of the presence of God, intensity of prayer and praise, a deep conviction of sin with a passionate longing for holiness and unusual effectiveness in evangelism, leading to the salvation of many unbelievers” (p. 28-29).

With that definition in mind, I’d like to offer a few evidences of Revival that Edwards points out and which I agree are backed by Biblically and in Church history...keep reading

Saturday, January 25, 2020