Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reading Revelation Responsibly?

A friend inadvertently alerted me to Michael J. Gorman's Reading Revelation Responsibly. Here is one review of the book  And here's another.

Excerpt from the 2nd review:
This book is a very good hermeneutical guide to managing a difficult text well. Gorman capably debunks problematic readings like those of Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth and the very popular fiction series Left Behind with their sensationalized Armageddon and rapture focused readings. Gorman dismisses all the rapture readings, and develops a much more contextually sensitive reading. Historical situation and literary genre considerations (properly understood meanings of “apocalyptic”, theopoetic, and pastoral writings)  are explored to demonstrate the shortcomings of dispensational and the various other improper readings of Revelation.
Pardon my cynicism - all this from a book under (?) 200 pages?

I can hear (and somewhat empathize with) the frustration of the non-pretrib premils. I'd like to point out that the futurist-premil interpretation was out of favor long before Hal and Tim came along. I'm almost tempted to get the book as a reference, but I'm still trying to get my head around Osborne's "Hermeneutical Spiral."

As an unschooled layman, I can only express these frustrated observations: The Bible shouldn't be that hard to understand. It only becomes so when someone resorts to elaborate innovations to modify the plainer sense of the meaning of a text to conform to a presupposed theology.

Revelation can be difficult in areas, but its overall theme shouldn't be. It is prophetic and it reveals, not obfuscates. Its many allusions are drawn from the prophets and the Olivet Discourse.

I highly recommend Tony Garland's A Testimony of Jesus Christ (expanded Contents), and also Robert L Thomas' Two Volume Exegetical Commentary on Revelation. Each of these sources discuss the alternative views of Revelation.

Current Hermeneutical Trends: Toward Explanation or Obfuscation?

Addendum:

Here's another review of the book. Gorman typically attacks the "Left Behind" series. One isn't really engaging dispensationalism through "Left Behind" novels. In one preview I note that he also mentions Harold Camping's failed predictions. Camping was an amillennialist.

Monday, December 26, 2016

More on Preterism

Eschatos Ministries have a couple of interesting articles up addressing preterism. Alan Kurschner rightly notes that preterism doesn't allow for the fulfillment of Matt 24:5. He also takes Gary DeMar to task for his 'fake news-fake exegesis" article. Worth a read!

I have DeMar's "End Time Fiction." Reading him is frustrating. One issue is his tone and the other his willingness to stretch an isolated text into fitting his assumptions without addressing whole chapters. I provide some links which address preterism HERE.

I've often come across Seventh-day Adventists, Preterists and Amils on pretrib-dispensational prophecy forums. It usually goes like this: they'll make some passing remark against a particular teaching (usually the rapture). When you respond, they simply move to another issue.

Sometimes they'll have a long list of grievances which they've copied from some "mother website." Who has the time to respond to fifty preterist proof texts? I met a posttribulationist and a Hebrew Roots promoter who used this same tactic.

My strategy is to find out what they believe in and get them to justify it. One academic-type preterist recently trolled a group of which I'm a member. When I worked out what he was I asked him who noticed Christ's coming in 70 AD, because no one recorded it at the time. One typical response is that it was a "spiritual" (or secret) coming. So texts such as Matt 24:30 and Mark 13:26 have to be spiritualized. It's difficult to debate someone who resorts to spiritualization in order to defend a theology.

But in this person's case he responded that he supposed it was the Jews who were slaughtered. That's pretty convenient because they wouldn't be able to report it. I pointed out that Matt 23:39 could not have occurred in 70 AD, but didn't receive a response. Soon after, the thread was taken down.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

25th Aunnual Pre-Trib Conference Papers

Some of the papers from the 2016 Pre-Trib Conference are available HERE.

I've mentioned Abner Chou before. He presented 2 papers which are currently available as a Word doc download. They are highly recommended reading.

The subjects are:
1) The Grammatical-Historical Hermeneutic: Its Defense and the Demand for Premillennialism 
2) A Hermeneutical Evaluation of the Christocentric Hermeneutic

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

John Niemela - 24 Elders and the Rapture, Revelation

I'm sure this will get some noses out of joint. Niemala's presentation is fairly technical. It doesn't prove pretribulationism (IMO) but it is thought provoking:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Waymeyer - Amillennialism and the Age to Come

A new book by Matt Waymeyer, reviewed by Cripplegate's Mike Riccardi:
Today I want to make our readers aware of a new book that is sure to serve the church well. It’s written by our friend, Dr. Matt Waymeyer, who serves on the pastoral staff of Grace Immanuel Bible Church and the faculty of The Expositors Seminary in Jupiter, Florida, and who has made excellent contributions to The Cripplegate over the years. His book is called Amillennialism and the Age to Come: A Premillennial Critique of the Two-Age Model (Kress Biblical Resources, 2016). (Available from Amazon and Kress.) If you’re interested in eschatology or studies of the Kingdom of God, you’ll benefit greatly from Matt’s work. He’s given me permission to reproduce the preface of the book, and I hope it entices you to read the whole thing...keep reading
See also my article Esoteric Theology or Biblical Hermeneutics?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

25th Aunnual Pre-Trib Conference

I've never attended a pretrib or prophecy conference. These conferences sometimes come under attack by non-pretribbers for fringe elements - and rightly so in many cases! Having said that the Pre-Trib Research Center Conferences have generally been pretty good in latter years.

Take a look at this year's line up of topics and speakers. This is one I'd love to attend:

They will have Abner Chou from TMS speaking about hermeneutics. Chou is a very smart young man. Do a search on my blog for more about him.

Michael Rydelnik will talk on the Messianic Hope and Messianic verses in the OT.

David Farnell will talk about Evangelical challenges to Orthodox Inerrancy and the challenges within.

Soeren Kern will talk about Islam and the European Union.

Thomas Ice and Paul Wilkinson will analyse the historical issues in the "Left Behind or Led Astray" hit-piece documentary.

And more...

Brochure available HERE

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Getting the Rapture Right

Some time ago Dr. Paul Henebury posted a series of studies on the rapture at his blog. I liked his fair and irenic approach to a frequently divisive topic. While I didn't agree with everything, I liked how he humbly arrived at a pretribulational conclusion.

You can begin to read the series of 12 posts HERE

Dr. Henebury rightly (I think) classifies rapture timing as a C3 (Category 3) doctrine.  My own hierarchy of eschatological importance begins with the biblical covenants, the future Kingdom, and whether Israel is replaced by the church. How do we treat prophetic passages relating to Israel? Logically flowing next is premillennialism and, lastly, rapture timing.

Some of the comments were interesting. I'm impressed with Paul's patience in a few instances. One confident fellow from San Diego (Part 6) wasn't backward about preaching his prewrath position. It was familiar territory for me. Paul was polite. But in other forums Greg A might have run into some difficulty defending his militant assertions.

I was first drawn into the timing debate when I was directed to the late Herb Peters' Fulfilled Prophecy website. Peters - an adamant prewrath rapturist - was confident he'd discovered the identity of the Antichrist and that the 70th week of Daniel was almost upon us. He even contacted John Walvoord to announce that he'd found the Antichrist. Needless to say Walvoord wasn't convinced. At the time I was leaning posttrib and found his theories intriguing.

Peters contacted Jack Kinsella and Hal Lindsey to see if they'd give their authorship to his book, given that they were better known in prophecy circles. They declined because 1) it wasn't their material and 2) they didn't agree with his conclusions. Some of his irate followers then flooded Jack's Omega Letter Forum to wreak havoc.

Ironically, what swayed me to seriously consider pretribulationism were the claims of these zealous prewrathers. Most of them were sincere converted pretribbers who were introduced to Marvin Rosenthal's book. The three books most touted were: "The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church" (Rosenthal); "The Sign" and "The Rapture Question Answered" (Van Kampen).

We read books with a bias in place. I'm no exception. That said; my take on Rosenthal and Van Kampen was that they were more provocative than eschatologically challenging. Rosenthal came across as bitter and Van Kampen overly self-assured. The latter also misrepresented, Walvoord, Mayhue and Barnhouse. It was after reading Van Kampen that I realized why so many prewrathers constantly used phrases such as: "compare Scripture with Scripture," "face-value" (see Greg A's comments in the link above), "plain and simple," etc. These expressions filled the pages of his book and his readers adopted them.

Under close examination the system's arguments aren't always "face-value." One self-published prewrath defender (Dave Bussard) once called prewrath "meat and potatoes." I disagree. One only has to look at the charts. It has also undergone schism and some revisions. And it has been my experience that many adherents are confused over some points.

I give credit to prewrath friends for faithfully articulating the framework of their system as set out by Rosenthal's and Van Kampen's formulas. However, articulating and defending its points isn't the same. Most prewrath blogs and websites spend more time attacking popular pretribulationism than defending their assumptions. This is true of the two leading prewrath websites. Here's another example.

I've responded to some of these issues on this blog.

My disagreements with the system doesn't make pretribulationism correct. There are other views. I'm surprised the midtrib view doesn't generate greater interest as I think it is more viable than prewrath. Then there's the posttrib view. I may take a look at one certain posttribber's criticisms at some future point.

May the Lord come soon!

Further reading for the bored:

God’s Wrath in the Sixth Seal

Who are the 144,000?

We’re Hunting Pretribbers

Monday, November 7, 2016

John MacArthur on Imminency

While I believe that some Scriptures often used to prove imminence actually point to the Second Advent, I think the following article by John MacArthur makes sound points:
The New Testament is consistent in its anticipation that the return of Christ might occur at any moment. That pervading perspective of imminence prompts three questions. The first question pertains to whether the Tribulation will precede Christ’s coming for the church. The answer to that question is that it will not because the church is never asked to look forward to the tribulation, but they are asked to look forward to Christ’s coming. The second question revolves around how the return of Christ could have been imminent in the early church. The answer here is that no one but the Father knows when the coming will occur, so that Christians including the early church must always be ready. The third question asks why Christ’s imminent return is so important. This answer relates to the motivation it supplies for believers to purify their lives and thereby progress toward the goal of sanctification and Christlikeness. The threefold call of the imminence doctrine is to wake up and obey right now, to throw off the works of darkness, and to put on the garments of holy living...keep reading

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Psalms By The Day - Review

I reviewed Psalms by the Day: A New Devotional Translation by Alec Motyer. It is published by Christian Focus Publications (hardcover 422 pages). Included in the review are links to William Barrick's and Mark Dever's more erudite reviews. Read it HERE

Alec Motyer recently went to be with the Lord. His love and passion for the Lord is evident in his devotional and in the following video:

Alec Motyer - The Bible's Best Text

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

TELOS Ministries Class - Old and New Testament Relationship

A thank you to Paul Henebury for making this available. Well worth the watch!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Preterism and Prophecy

Every once in a while I get visits from The Preterist Archive. It seems they were nice enough to link one of my blog articles on their website. The page in which it appears has the interesting title, "Dispensational Dementia - Politics of Theology and Theology of Politics."

I guess that's a pretty good indication of where they stand. I don't know about the "politics and theology" business - it seems to me that most camps do a lot of that. Perhaps I'm being unfair but when I hear politics and theology in one sentence, I think of DeMar's The American Vision. Other examples could be Zionism versus Christian Palestinian activism.

Here's an example from DeMar's website: MacArthur wrong on politics, wrong on America, wrong on the Kingdom of God:
All Christians admit that God’s principles can be used to reform the individual. They also understand that if this is the case, then the family can be reformed according to God’s Word. Next, the church is capable of restoration. But then they stop. Mention the State, and they say, “No; nothing can be done to restore the State. The State is inherently, permanently satanic. It is a waste of time to work to heal the State.” The Christian Reconstructionist asks: Why not?
They never tell you why not. They never point to a passage in the Bible that tells you why the church and family can be healed by God’s Word and Spirit, but the State can’t be. Today, it is the unique message of Christian Reconstruction that civil government, like family government and church government, is under the Bible-revealed law of God and therefore is capable in principle of being reformed according to God’s law.  
Anyway, I've wanted to address preterism for some time. So I wrote a brief article of my thoughts as an excuse to provide a list of good sources which address the system at length. You can read it HERE

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Progressive Covenantalism?

I wrote a little piece on Progressive Coventalism:
What is this new Progressive Covenantalism all about? I’ve seen this question asked several times in forums...Stephen Wellum and Brent Parker give a brief outline of what PC is about in a B & H Academic article. PC aspires to be a mediating position between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. Interestingly, Progressive Dispensationalism has sometimes been referred to as an interface between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. Do we need a new mediating theology?...keep reading

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Gospel Minister

Sermon by Alistair Begg:
In Ephesians 3, Paul established his identity as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, explaining to his readers that this was not a role he chose for himself, but one to which he had been called by the grace of God. Paul exercised humility in response to God’s grace toward him, but also understood that his responsibility to preach Christ came with authority given by God Himself. Alistair Begg reminds us that God’s calling is directly related to His plan, and God equips His people for ministry with the grace that He provides...watch it here

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Through the Eyes of Spurgeon

Well worth watching: click here

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Andy Woods on the Millennium

Andy Woods talks to David Reagan about the millennium, and some of those pesky verses which Loraine Boettner attempted to explain away:
The typical political acrimony and hostility appears to be brimming to the surface on all sides now that we are about three weeks away from a national election. During this election season, it’s easy to lose sight of where our ultimate hope ultimately resides in as believers. Does a Christian’s hope disappear should the Republicans lose control of the Congress and Hillary Clinton becomes our next president? You would think this is the case when listening to the fervency in which many believers talk about this upcoming election. As you all know, I think politics is very important. But I am also very firm in my conviction that our ultimate hope as believers is not determined by the political outcomes of this world. Rather, our hope rests in the soon return of Jesus Christ to rule and reign from David’s throne in Jerusalem with a rod of righteousness...keep reading
There can be no doubt but that Premillennialism lends its self more to an emotional type of preaching and teaching than does Postmillennialism or Amillennialism. It gives something definite to look for in the immediate future and charges the present with portentous possibilities. While many who hold it do not so exploit it, it often has been used in that manner by those who are less restrained.~ Boettner

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Zec 14:4  

Dispensationalism: The verse means what it says.

Postmillennialism: The verse does not mean what it says.

Friday, October 14, 2016

J.R. R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings

A nice little discussion on Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings can be read at Scripture Thoughts

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Anti-Semitism at Lichfield Cathedral

I've been writing and blogging about eschatology and Israel for about eight years now. I see these two topics as closely associated. With that in mind the following article pretty much summarizes the attitudes I've come across in the secular world and (sadly) from some churches. This is an article which needs to be read by those unfamiliar with anti-Israel activist tactics:
I have just spent a weekend at Lichfield cathedral for a conference “on the Israel/Palestine Conflict and the prospect of peace”. And what a weekend it was! A naïve Dean, antisemitism, conspiracy theories, global control, blood sucking Jews, child kidnappers, Arabs in 100ad. and of course, Jesus the Palestinian...keep reading

Monday, October 10, 2016

Our Blessed Hope: The Return of Christ

This one is guaranteed to ruffle feathers. John MacArthur:
Christ could come at any moment. I believe that with all my heart—not because of what I read in the newspapers, but because of what I read in Scripture. 
From the very earliest days of the church, the apostles and first-generation Christians nurtured an earnest expectation and fervent hope that Christ might suddenly return at any time to gather His church to heaven. James, writing what was probably the earliest of the New Testament epistles, expressly told his readers that the Lord’s return was imminent:
Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (5:7–9)...keep reading

Malcolm Yarnell - God the Trinity

Very important topic. From B & H Academic, a short interview with Yarnell...
Is the Trinity biblical?
Must we affirm God as three persons in one being?
Despite a renewed interest in the Trinity in recent years, many Christians, including most evangelicals, relegate the Son of God to creaturely status or repudiate the personhood of the Holy Spirit. In addition, many scholars affirm the Trinity is derived from but not directly revealed in Scripture, with some arguing it is thus unnecessary...keep reading

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Why God’s Sexual Ethic Is Good for the World

Great short interview:
In what sense is God’s sexual ethic not just true, but also beautiful and good for the world?
That’s the question Sam Allberry (author of Is God Anti-Gay? and a founding editor of Living Out, a ministry for those struggling with same-sex attraction), Rosaria Butterfield (author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert and Openness Unhindered [20 quotes]), and Jackie Hill Perry (spoken word poet and hip-hop artist) take on in this new seven-minute roundtable video...click here 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs

A Narnian scene I well remember and sometimes think about:
In a comical scene that turns tragic, the Dwarfs in C. S. Lewis’s Narnian tale The Last Battle vow to never again allow themselves to believe in Aslan. Why? They had been duped into thinking that Puzzle (the donkey) was Aslan and once King Tirian revealed the truth about Puzzle, the Dwarfs become mystified at how easily they had been fooled. They determined to never be fooled again. They would rather remain in unbelief and cynicism than believe in Aslan, out of fear of being “taken” once more...keep reading

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spurgeon’s Priority

Instructive. I need to reread this often:
Charles Spurgeon’s productivity staggers the imagination. To pastor a mega-church, write as prolifically as he did, lead 60 ministries that were connected to the Metropolitan Tabernacle, write upwards of 500 letters per week, and faithfully care for his wife and two sons, required a uniquely disciplined manner of life...keep reading

Saturday, September 24, 2016

On Theology & Blogging

Timely warning for all bloggers (esp. me):
Online debates are a wonderful means of discussion unprecedented in human history, but unfortunately, a lot of what is posted neither educates nor edifies.
I’ve often wondered what would happen if bloggers were required to step out from behind their computers and personally defend every assertion made. It’s easy to pontificate through one’s digital persona, as though a credentialed “expert” in some arena of faith, but far weightier to have your perspectives tested in a “live” environment.
Taking responsibility for what we teach is no small assignment and requires much more than computer-erudition. Debates will always be a part of the honing process, but if the impersonal nature of blogging leads to so many self-styled theologians speaking condescendingly as though they’ve earned the stripes of churchmanship, maybe we’ve missed an important step in this wonderland of verbal jousting...keep reading

Misrepresenting Dispensationalism

Faith Bible Church (FBC) has an article on its website titled Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. The article link was posted on Facebook by a YRR Amillennialist. An updated version of the article can be found HERE

I've encountered this individual in online exchanges where he threw bombs at dispensationalism and pretribulationism. Typically encounters such as these begin with the critic making off-the-cuff comments like: "Dispensationalism was invented by Darby"; or "It is a heresy which teaches two ways of salvation"; or "There is only one people of God" etc.

My amil friend didn't like to be challenged. One couldn't ask him questions about his own beliefs, nor could one ask him to defend them via Scripture. I'd like to say he is atypical. But he isn't. Sadly he's also misinformed about dispensationalism if FBC's strawman-filled article is any indication.

Does disp teach two ways of salvation? See Tony Garland's Article

Read John Feinberg's Salvation in the Old Testament.

Does disp teach that David sits on the throne during the millennium? Read This and This.

Two examples of FBC's comparisons:
Disp: The 'New Covenant' of Jer. 31:31- 34 is only for literal Israel and is not the New Covenant of Lk.22:20.
CT The ‘New Covenant’ of Jer. 31 is the same as in Lk. 22; both are for spiritual Israel according to Heb. 8.
Many dispies recognize the church's participation in the NC. However, the church does not overtake or fulfill all the promises, which have both spiritual and physical aspects. The subject of Jer 31:31-37 is clearly national Israel (not the church) and Heb 8 does not abrogate this. Moreover, Paul refers to Jer 31 when he affirms that national Israel's promises haven't been abrogated (Rom 11:26-29).
Disp Stresses 'literal' interpretation of the Bible.
CT Accepts both literal and figurative interpretation of the Bible.
Dispensationalism accepts that there are figurative expressions in the Bible. In practice it is CT which consistently re-interprets the OT using the NT. Jeremiah chapter 31 is a classic case, by their own admission.

Here's another example of re-interpretation. While commenting on Zechariah, Puritan T. V. Moore wrote that the prophet accommodated his language “to the understanding of his own times in order to express New Testament truths.” In other words, Moore inserted Zechariah’s Israel into the NT church. He later admitted that the closing chapters of Zechariah, involving events yet to be accomplished, “are notoriously difficult.”

The difficulty only arises when one changes the natural understanding of Israel’s identity into the church. This is why my amil friend was forced to consistently evade answering direct questions about specific biblical passages which promised a lasting future to a redeemed national Israel.

Anyway all this is a great excuse to revisit Paul Henebury's response to the 95 Theses Against Dispensationalism, and Dan Phillips' Stupid Reasons for Dissing Dispensationalism.

Dispensational Antinomianism? See Theses 90-95

Paul Henebury's Biblical Covenantalism

See also my review of Michael Vlach's Has The Church Replaced Israel?

Finally, I'm not a Progressive Dispensationalist. But Robert L Saucy's The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism is recommended reading. I do not commend it for its PD arguments. However, it presents excellent biblical arguments against the premise that the church is New Israel. He argues well against the idea that the NT re-interprets the OT. And he shows that national Israel has a future according to clear biblical statements. Along the way he answers common CT arguments, some of which appear in the FBC comparisons article.

I reviewed the book HERE

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Heavenly Mind

A bit biographical:
What is a heavenly mind?
Centuries ago I bought a nice house in a quiet little street in an inner-city suburb. It was a haven nestled away from the outside hustle and bustle of the larger city.
Although small, it was big enough to house me, my widowed mother, my brother and his new bride. The secluded back yard was large enough to contain an enormous peppercorn willow tree, a shed, and a little vegetable garden. O! – and a German Shepherd dog...keep reading

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Christian in Complete Armour - Review

I reviewed William Gurnall's The Christian in Complete Armour HERE

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:11-13

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Happened in the Garden

My review of the book "What Happened in the Garden."

From the back cover:
Evangelicals are no strangers to the creation versus evolution debate. Now the argument has spread beyond the contents of the creation account in Genesis 1 and into Genesis 2-3, with speculation about the historicity of Adam and Eve and the Fall. But does it matter which position one holds? Is anything really at stake?
Read the review HERE

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Spurgeon - Wounded Christians

Thanks to many friends who shared this via Facebook:
Carl F. H. Henry was right to call Charles Spurgeon “one of evangelical Christianity’s immortals” (Carl. F. H. Henry in the foreword to Lewis Drummond, Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers).
In his twenties, Spurgeon pastored the largest mega-church in Protestant Christendom. London’s most cavernous buildings could hardly accommodate his crowds – and one of them even collapsed. American tourists returning from England were greeted with two questions: “Did you see the Queen?’ and ‘Did you hear Spurgeon?’” (A. P. Peabody, “Spurgeon,” North American Review 86 [1858], 275). Truly, the memory of his ministry has become immortal.
But Spurgeon himself was very much mortal. The preacher was anything but bulletproof. In fact, for most of his life Spurgeon nursed deep wounds and struggled to cope with a myriad of emotional and physical maladies...keep reading

Making the Bible Support any Sexual Practice

Some pretty good points here. And a dose of sarcasm:
In the not-too-distant future, when the transgender wars are over and the stick figure placards for male and female bathrooms have been thrown in the dustbin of history, the sexual progressives will need a new sexual practice to de-stigmatize. Whether it’s incestuous marriage or some other long-oppressed form of sexual expression, the new cause will emerge, desperately in need of a defense. On that day, we will need a liberated theologian to rise from the muck of church prejudice and explain away all those pesky passages of the Bible that prevent dimwitted bigots from embracing the new orthodoxy.
While this task may seem daunting, it can actually be carried out with ease if you follow the very simple formula given to us by Eliel Cruz. In a recent article for The Washington Post, Cruz argues Christians have no legitimate grounds on which to oppose transgenderism because the erroneously-interpreted-for-2,000-years Bible actually praises the practice...keep reading
This article on the trend to push polyamory into acceptance is also worth reading HERE 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Only Road to Heaven

The offensive gospel.

An old favorite from John MacArthur telling it like it is:

The Narrow Gate

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Most Offensive Thing to Believe...

Dan Phillips gets to the root of the problem HERE

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dispensationalism Before Darby

A few years ago Grant Jeffrey came across an old document written by a certain gent called Pseudo Ephraem. Jeffrey claimed that it contained a pre-Darby concept of a pre-conflagration rapture. It caused a stink among incensed non-pretribs. They needed Darby to be the origin so that they could continue to push the well-worn line: Darby to the Scofield Bible to (insert your favorite pretrib "false teachers" here) all the way to the dreaded Left Behind novels.

So Robert Gundry jumped in and bloggers got busy blogging and explaining why PE didn't really mean what the pretribs thought it did. I read a lot of that stuff. Much of it reminded me of the sorts of arguments supersessionists adopt towards biblical texts guaranteeing a future for Israel.

I've previously blogged on PE HERE. One persistent poster informed me that:
the problem is that you also have to take the text by pesudo ephraem in context, and by the lingo that is used in his day so a plain reading would not do...
Yes, I've noticed that the "plain reading" never works (on any day) when it doesn't say what you want it to. Shame that. For the record, here's a sample of PE's "lingo":
Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord! For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins… ~ Pseudo-Ephraem (c. 374-627)
Sounds pretty straight forward to me but... Anyhow, Jeffrey got called a "false prophet" and the usual stuff. The Didache was dutifully rolled out, along with the obligatory Early Church Fathers. They had to quash PE so the customary line could continue to be spun: Darby, Scofield, Lindsey....whatever.

Then along came William C. Watson's Dispensationalism Before Darby: Seventeenth-Century and Eighteenth-Century English Apocalypticism.

One may conveniently dismiss Pseudo-Ephraem. But Watson's book provides plenty of other pre-conflagration accounts - enough to keep pretrib skeptics busy for years inventing excuses as to why all those people didn't mean what they actually wrote.

I reviewed the book HERE

Of course, the book won't stop anti-pretrib polemicists from continuing to spin the same Darby-origin lines. It's one of those things critics just can't help doing.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Getting Jehovah Witnesses to Take Your Literature

Alan Kurschner of Eschatos Ministries has offered some good tips about witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses when they come knocking. You can read the article HERE.

We have them knock on our door frequently. Despite the fact that they've been told not to accept literature, I've never failed to get them to take mine. I tell them I'll only take theirs if they take mine - which is a printed out copy of biblical comparisons between Jesus and Yahweh.

One word of warning - some of them may seem vague when you question them. However, if you're going to sit down and dialogue with them you had better know your Scriptures, and how they argue! Some of them are very well prepared and sneaky. Having more than one Bible translation available will be handy. A Bible software program is even better.

See also my article Jehovah’s Witnesses & Jesus Christ

Friday, August 26, 2016

Morning and Evening – Charles Spurgeon

A short review of the devotional Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon (Edited by Alistair Begg). Read it HERE

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What We’re Up Against - Tennant

I have a lot of respect for Dominic Bnonn Tennant's effort in the following exchange he had on Facebook with a few professing Christians etc. A good lesson:
Here is an exchange from the Facebook wall of a purportedly Christian band. They asked people to post pictures for a #lovewins collage. Since that seemed like celebrating the subversion of constitutional democracy and the replacement of marriage with a delusional fiction, I asked them with surprise if I had been mistaken about them being Christian. Here is the disheartening result.
Notice the implications. It is difficult to go out and make disciples of the nations when a hoard of people professing Christ is following a step behind you, daggers poised over your back and thumbs on their lighters, waiting for you to open your Bible and start talking...keep reading

Union with God the Trinity - Sinclair Ferguson

I've gained an appreciation for Sinclair Ferguson's insights. From Ligonier Ministries:
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be within hours of death—not as an elderly person, but as someone condemned to die although innocent of every crime? What would you want to say to those who know and love you best? You would, surely, tell them how much you loved them. You might hope you could give them some comfort and reassurance—despite the nightmare you yourself were facing. You would want to open your heart and say the things that were most important to you.
Such poise would surely be praiseworthy. Of course, it would be human nature at its best—because this is what Jesus did, as the Apostle John relates in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13–17).
Within twenty-four hours before His crucifixion, the Lord Jesus expressed His love in exquisite fashion. He rose from supper, wrapped a servant’s towel around His waist, and washed the dirty feet of His disciples (including, apparently, Judas Iscariot’s; John 13:3–5, 21–30). It was an acted parable, as John explains: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (v. 1).
He also spoke words of deep comfort to them: “Let not your hearts be troubled” (14:1)...keep reading
Also, Paul Henebury: Is the Trinity Necessary? 

I keep adding to this, I know: Sinclair Ferguson: Lessons From the Upper Room

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!..click 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:
...to 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.

Excerpt:
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

Hip & Thigh - Dispensationalism & Typology

Fred Butler talks about Hal Lindsey, Revelation helicopters, dispensationalism, typology and more...

I particularly liked these observations (there were too many others to note without actually copying the article in full):
Notice that Lindsey says that the Cobra helicopter idea may just be conjecture, but most importantly, given what we outlined above regarding types and symbols, he didn’t even come close to a typological interpretation. He is just conjecturing, not claiming the locust are Cobra helicopters!
As much as non-Dispensational haters wish it were so, Lindsey’s amusing anecdote about Cobra helicopters is not the employment of a typological hermeneutic that is so prevalent in Reformed camps. It certainly is not the one I am particularly alarmed about.
And this:
Reformed proponents have often argued that there are key, overarching theological themes that override the details of the exegesis and the natural reading of the text in question. But is that how we are to ready and study Scripture? The absolute worst instance currently with so-called theological themes overriding the details of exegesis is the trend to reimagine the creation account of Genesis.
John Walton, for example, in his, The Lost World, sees the creation as a picture telling theological truths about mankind, the world, and ultimately redemption. God is not telling us how he formed the world as he is providing a picture, or type, of how the narrative is to function theologically in the remainder of Scripture. G.K. Beale in his book, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, likens the garden of Eden to a cosmological temple that is patterned in the tabernacle in Exodus, another illustration of how theology trumps the details of the text.
Read the rest HERE

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Valley of Vision

My review of Banner of Truth's The Valley of Vision HERE

Monday, July 25, 2016

Died: Tim LaHaye...

Tim LaHaye gone to be with the Lord:
Tim LaHaye, the best-selling author best known for the Left Behind series, “graduated to heaven” early this morning after suffering a stroke at age 90.
His family announced the news of his passing at a San Diego hospital on his ministry Facebook page.
On the eve of his death, ministry partners, fans, and friends urgently asked for prayer on social media this weekend, offering a wave of early tributes that spread through end-times prophecy circles and chapters of Concerned Women for America (CWA), the 600,000-member public policy organization founded by LaHaye’s wife, Beverly. Some circulated a statement by LaHaye’s daughter Linda: “He will not recover from this, he will soon be graduated to heaven.”...keep reading

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Theistic Evolution

I've mentioned Theistic Evolution & BioLogos, and its increasing evangelical support in past columns. BioLogos disciples claim to be defending both Christianity and science. Is that really the case?

These two links summarize some of my concerns. While the comments are from an ID Theist perspective, the natural conclusion of TE is broader in scope:

Wayne Rossiter: Theistic evolution empties theism of meaning

Theistic evolution: All evolution, no real theism

Friday, July 22, 2016

Confusion Caused by Dispensationalism?

Hat tip to Paul Henebury for the following article from The Aquila Report:

Even if one has never heard the word “dispensationalism” or received formal teaching on the doctrines of dispensationalism, it has had a great influence on modern evangelicalism. So, many evangelical Christians read the Old Testament and (perhaps even subconsciously) dismiss portions of God’s Word, thinking that they only apply to national Israel or those physically descended from Abraham. But, the Bible teaches that Israel under the old covenant is the root of the tree into which believers in the new covenant have been grafted in (Romans 11:17-21); those who belong to Christ are Abraham’s seed (or descendants), heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:29). To put it another way, borrowing from Paul’s language in Galatians 3, the Westminster Confession of Faith calls the people of Israel in the old covenant, “a church under age” (WCF 19:3)...keep reading

If I may be permitted to quote Dr. Henebury's comment here:
Once again we see the utter inability of supercessionists to read Romans 11. Israel is NOT "the root of the tree into which believers in the new covenant have been grafted." They are "the natural BRANCHES". When will these people believe what the Bible says?

Somewhat related to this is my recent article Can we trust prophecy?  There seems to be an eschatological agnostic trend in certain circles. Some claim to be agnostic or argue against certainty and precision regarding prophecy. They tells us to be humble in these areas. Indeed we should be humble in the areas where Scripture isn't explicit. However, in many cases I'm finding that these humble prophecy agnostics are pretty certain that they're right in their own pet conclusions.

Covenant Theologians routinely deny that CT is Replacement Theology. Not only are they in denial, but their assumptions of NT preeminence lead them to emphatic conclusions regarding much of the Old Testament promises to national Israel.

I've also linked to some more of Paul Henebury's articles. They should get more exposure!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Revelation 7 and Two Unfulfilled Prophecies

From the Cripplegate:
There are two major prophecies concerning the advance of the gospel that remain unfulfilled at this very moment: that Israel would embrace the Messiah, and that the good news of Jesus would reach every tribe and ethnic group in the world.These are not just isolated prophecies. Instead, they are repeated often, and play a significant role in how the believers are to think about the future...keep reading 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dangers of Premillennialism etc

The dangers of premillennialism and taking the Bible too literally.

Is the so-called Left Behind dispensational theology dangerous? While browsing through a local second-hand book store recently, I came across yet another book attacking dispensationalism. It warned about the subtle dangers associated with premillennialism. Since I’m a sucker for punishment, I bought it. This one is called Left Behind or Left Befuddled, written by Gordon L. Isaac...keep reading

[Israel] God's Unfinished Business:

How do some Christians see Zionism? In fact most don’t see any biblical warrant to recognize a Jewish state. Even where some Christians don’t have any particular animosity against modern secular Israel, they deny any biblical mandate for its existence.For example Isaac Munther writes that Christian Zionism is an unbiblical, imperialist theology rooted in politics...keep reading

Craig M. Nielsen on "Christian Zionist Heresy" - repost

Repost of an old article:

I followed a rabbit trail last week. After seeing that the preterist folk had visited my blog, I followed them back to their home and noted that they'd linked one of my posts. But it wasn't that which attracted my attention - it was a link to another article on the Mondoweiss website: WhyChristian Zionism is nothing short of outright heresy. The article plugs Craig Michael Nielsen's book Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict. Of Christian Zionism the article notes:

Yet few, if any, scholarly Christian theologians support this view. It is a belief advanced mostly by powerful TV evangelists and lobby groups. The average “garden variety” Christian has little to arm themselves against the deluge of almost hysterical demands on Christians that they must support the Zionists’ absolute entitlement to their colonialist project in the Holy Land with its dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs.

The blurb on Nielsen's book tells us that:

.... We must stop defending the radically anti-Christian Zionist movement. It's not anti-Semitic to oppose Israel's genocide of Palestinians. It's anti-Christian to accept it. Find out how wrong we have been about Israel. Then demand that the U.S. stop funding the Palestinian Holocaust. It's the Christian thing to do. (Emphases mine)

The notions of genocide and Palestinian Holocaust, as applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are both shameful and factually challenged. If you want a quick rundown on Nielsen's thoughts on Zionism, you can read them HERE. This excerpt captures it in a nutshell:

Christian Zionist ethics are driven by a mantra of “the end justifies the means”. For them, since God is bringing back the Jewish people to Israel according to prophecy, the Jewish people’s responsibility to treat non-Jews with equality and mercy in Israel can be ignored. What matters is that they take all the land, every other consideration is trumped by the golden rule of “take the land by whatever means necessary”.

Mondoweiss claims to be driven by a "progressive Jewish perspective." In fact it is one of the most biased sites in the anti-Israel market place. One left wing editor has even claimed that Israel was behind the Passover Kansas City shootings. You know, just like Jews were behind 9/11 and all that other stuff. Daniel Greenfield observes of them:

Mondoweiss is probably the leading anti-Israel site on the internet after Stormfront. Its editors are often openly bigoted. One Mondoweiss editor said, “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, but I can understand why some are.”

One contributing Mondoweiss writer is Stephen Sizer's collaborator Ben White. Are you starting to get the picture? White has written articles asking why there has been a rise in anti-Semitism. He has his theories: an oppressive, occupying Israel can only blame itself. White cites the "alleged anti-Semitic remarks made by Jürgen Möllemann" and concedes that comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany are unsound. But then he writes as if with authority:

Comparisons between the Israeli government and the Nazis is (sic) unwise and unsound, since the Israelis have not (at the time of going to press) exterminated in a systematic fashion an enormous percentage of the Palestinians. Cold-blooded killings, beatings, house demolitions, vandalism, occupation, military assaults, and two historical pushes at ethnic cleansing–yes. Full fledged genocide–no.

One inconvenient fact is that the Jews have been hounded and persecuted for centuries - even when they weren't in the land. There's always some excuse (or lie) for anti-Semitism. White has attempted to draw the reader's attention to what others have said about Israel. Then he's tried to distance himself from that egregious narrative while actually promoting it. I guess he's still working on his Matt 5:9.

But let's get back to Craig Nielsen. Nielsen is associated with the Palestinian Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN). One of the stated goals of PIEN is to foster peaceful relations between the Palestinians and Israel. A closer look at its website reveals it to be an anti-Israel instigator. In one 16 page document the word "occupation" is used 33 times. The word "suffering" appears 14 times and is presented as a motivation for Palestinian violence:

When we review the history of the nations, we see many wars and much resistance to war by war, to violence by violence. The Palestinian people has (sic) gone the way of the peoples, particularly in the first stages of its struggle with the Israeli occupation.

Aside from not providing hard data for these assertions, one doesn't see any reprimand about how Hamas, or the Palestinian Authority, treat their populations (especially the Christian minorities) or their historical hatred for Jews. PIEN even links to an article by Hanan Ashrawi who blames Israel for the evacuation of Christians in the Middle East. Ashrawi is a member of the PLO Executive Committee, a terrorist apologist and a revisionist.

That Christians are leaving the Middle East (and other areas) in droves has nothing to do with Israel. One should read Persecuted - The Global Assault On Christians and/or watch the authors being interviewed HERE to understand that the culprit isn't Israel.

I'll say it once again -Israel isn't perfect. But neither is it the oppressor that instigators like White, Nielsen and Sizer portray. And neither is Israel's alleged occupation the motivating factor for the violence against it. That notion should be discarded along with the one that claims poverty breeds terrorism.

What motive undergirds this narrative? I can hear familiar protests - I'm not an anti-Semite; I'm anti-oppression and anti-occupation. It has nothing to do with the Jew. What would Jesus do?

It has everything to do with the Jews.

As I grow older I should be growing kindlier and more patient. Sadly, I've become cynical in some areas. May God forgive me...but when your time is exclusively occupied in trumping up charges against Israel and ignoring abundant data that contradicts your narrative, and when you consistently ignore oppression elsewhere - then you are likely an anti-Semite. It's an insidious cancer that creeps up on you. The antidote is to read your Bible carefully and worshipfully.

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that debating people who embrace these views is rarely fruitful, especially when they insist on ignoring or re-interpreting Scripture.

Further resources:

Supersessionism, the Holocaust, and the Modern State of Israel

Supersessionism

Epicenter 2012 - Panel Discussion on RT

“Hating Jews More Than is Absolutely Necessary”  

Debunking the Palestine Lie 

Christian Palestinianism

The world’s fastest growing faith is not Islam!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Don't Call God a "He"

This little exchange was priceless:

Click Here

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Church and Tribulation

I recently wrote a piece at Zeteo3:16 very briefly discussing the theme of the church in the tribulation. Do the 144,000 in Revelation 7 have an evangelical role? Many non-pretribulationists argue against it, whereas some past posttribulationists thought they did.

Does Rev 3:10 speak to rapture timing? Non-pretribbers have approached this verse in different ways in order to refute pretribulationism. In recent years a pamphlet was produced stating that pretrib was dead because it could no longer be supported by Rev 3:10. The irony was that the author concluded that Rev 3:10 was, indeed, a rapture passage. He then claimed it supported his particular rapture timing view. Does it?

Read the article HERE

Many people are 100 % convinced that their view is correct. I wouldn't go so far with my own conclusions. But I do think pretribulationism is more than plausible.

Some time ago a friend passed me a link to website hosted by a woman who transitioned away from her Lutheran tradition. I like these thoughts:
You don't have to be pretribulational to be premillennial. There are plenty of good, premillennial Christians that believe that there IS only one more coming of Christ. They believe that the church goes through the Tribulation (which they take to be a literal event), and they believe there are verses in the Bible to back up what they hold to be true. I recommend that you make your own study and come to your own conclusions. While I have always held premillennial beliefs, I have gone from post-trib to pre-wrath to pre-trib in my study.
There seems to be a belief that pretribulation exists mainly because of past Darby-Scofield dogma preached in many American churches (of course this has changed). The assumption then follows that a close study of the Bible inevitably remedies the situation. In some instances I've come across people who have rejected pretribulationism because of a book allegedly refuting the view.

This isn't always the case. Like the woman above, I reconsidered my position from posttrib to pretrib through my own study. And I know others who have also done so.

Her website (Questioning Amillennialism) can be found HERE

Thursday, June 30, 2016

An Imminent Attack on Religious Liberty

Important message from The Master's Seminary:
Many of our alumni, students, parents and friends have been watching the current events surrounding the California Bill SB 1146. [For an overview of this bill, see here, here and here.] This is NOT just another piece of legislation; this is a critical issue that will directly affect the future of The Master’s College!
As you would expect, Dr. John MacArthur has already submitted a letter registering our strong opposition to this bill which threatens institutions freedom to provide a quality education based on a commitment to Christ and His Word.
“SB 1146 challenges the very foundation of religious liberty that has been part of the heritage of the United States of America,” said Dr. MacArthur, president of The Master’s College...keep reading
See this UPDATE 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Idolizing Scripture?

A couple of posts ago I linked to a review of Peter Enns' book "The Sin of Certainty."

I've followed it up with some more thoughts in an article on Zeteo3:16. You can read it HERE

Forty Reasons for Not Reinterpreting the OT by the NT

Hat tip to Joel H for reminding me of this.

Dr. Paul Henebury gave us forty reasons why we shouldn't reinterpret the OT using the NT. Its a worthwhile revisit.

The First Twenty

The Last Twenty

Also, you can read Tony Garland's review of Michael Rydelnik's "The Messianic Hope" HERE

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Sin of Certainty - A book review

Some time in the near future I want to do a write-up on the trend for young Christians to dump Genesis (and ultimately the Bible) because of the influence of a cabal of popular writers. For now, I thought this was worth sharing:
Peter Enns’ latest book reads like the average village atheist attempting to discredit the Bible, all the while assuring you that he’s a Christian trying to illuminate you on how to build your faith. It’s basically a re-hash of similar concepts we’ve seen before in his previous writings and reiterates that while the Bible doesn’t contain the truth, you can still believe and trust in God (whoever that might be)...keep reading
Also:
Scripture Contains God’s Word?...The statement that Scripture Contains God’s Word sounds very reasonable at first blush. How could it not? After all Scripture does, indeed, contain God’s Word. But the problem isn’t that the statement is inherently false. The problem is associated with what the statement isn’t saying, and the inevitable consequences arising from its ambiguity...keep reading

Monday, June 13, 2016

Answering Key Questions About Homosexuality

This was recorded in 2004 but still relevant. Phil Johnson interviews John MacArthur on the sin of homosexuality. Listen to it until the end. Very worthwhile.

Listen to it HERE

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Leaving a Church Because of Eschatology

I recently came across the following remark on a forum:
I can't find a Church that believes in ____ [a particular rapture timing view]. I have been asked to leave a Calvary Chapel for speaking about ____. I would even settle for a ____ Church. At least they believe we will go through the time of great tribulation.
What a sad commentary! It isn't an isolated case either. I doubt the pastor was threatened by the man's irrefutable Biblicism. Though I'm not privy to the facts, I can hazard a guess at what might have happened. The individual who made the statement has written online rants against pretribulationism. If his interactions at his church have been anything like those, I can understand why he was shown the door.

My wife and I had the choice to worship at a Calvary Chapel. Instead we picked a church which likely is amillennial. The pastor keeps his eschatological cards close to his chest and concentrates on the gospel and the eternal state. He's well aware of the conflicting prophecy views and carefully avoids this sort of division. His focus is on Christ and the gospel.

Sure I cringe (rarely) when he expounds certain passages in a way I disagree with. But I'm not there to correct him or my other brothers and sisters. I'm there to pray and worship the Lord along with them.

I've said this before: It's a shame so many of us are dividing over rapture timing views when there are far more serious battle grounds facing the church today.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Are You What You Read?

No doubt you’ve heard the saying that, “You are what you eat.” It’s also true that “you are what you read.” You can get some insight into someone just by looking at the books they read. I confess that when I visit someone’s house and they happen to have bookshelves, I’m inclined to get nosy. But Rosaria Butterfield adds a further dimension to the equation: “You Are What – and How -You Read.” The following article by Butterfield appeared on The Gospel Coalition website. I thought she made some good points...keep reading

God's Unfinished Business (Israel)

How do some Christians see Zionism? In fact most don’t see any biblical warrant to recognize a Jewish state. Even where some Christians don’t have any particular animosity against modern secular Israel, they deny any biblical mandate for its existence...keep reading

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Edward Irving and the Pre-Trib Rapture

No, Irving didn't invent the pretrib rapture. And, no, Darby didn't get the idea from Irving...
Some have argued that J. N. Darby got his idea for the pre-trib rapture from either Edward Irving or another Irvingite source. Such a view is not possible since Edward Irving and the Irvingites never held to a pre-trib rapture. The Irvingites did hold to a version of a two-stage second coming where the rapture occurs days before the second coming. The Irvingite view is far different than the pretribulational understanding of Darby and the Brethren...keep reading
Pretribulational Rapture in 17th & 18th Century England 

The Rapture Before Darby

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Millennial Meltdown

I thought this was pretty good. From The Cripplegate:
I started this month with an experiment: listen to 12 sermons from Revelation 6, from 12 well-known pastors; half amillennialists, and half premillennialists.  I ended this month with a new (to me) argument for premillennialism. Let me explain:
Revelation is obviously the book of the New Testament where one’s millennial view substantially affects the interpretation of the book as a whole. Premillennialists and amillennialists disagree over chapters like 1 Corinthians 15, Acts 1, and Romans 11. But overall, millennial views allow for substantial agreement on things like 1 Corinthians 1-14, Acts 2-27, and Romans 1-10/12-16.
But when it comes to Revelation, all bets are off...keep reading
Thought I'd add a link to this: The First Resurrection in Revelation 20 

God's Wrath in the 4th & 5th Seals

BTW, I found the comments at the end of Johnson's article interesting. No, I'm not talking about the eschatological debate challenge issued to him by one reader. Michael Heiser was mentioned and Fred Butler (Hip and Thigh) rightly chimed in with a warning about Heiser's "wonky" view of Genesis. Someone responded:
Lots of people have a wonky view of something. Take this lecture out for a spin and see where it goes. I found it interesting...P.S., I didn't see much problem with his Genesis approach. Unless, of course, you have to have a 6,000 year old universe or something. Lots of people aren't married to that.
Someone else mentioned Keller and Ross in a positive frame. They have their own problems marrying their beliefs with the biblical text. But Heiser's views on Genesis run further away from the text than the age of the universe and earth, or the extent of Noah's flood. Do your homework. Kudos to Fred for speaking up.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis

Abner Chou discusses the Genesis creation account. Very good:


Also see his article and audio at AIG HERE

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sorry, 'Left Behind'.....

In case you haven't seen it. This article appeared in Christianity Today: Sorry, 'Left Behind': Only One-Third of Pastors Share Your End Times Theology. Read it HERE

Lots of interesting stats. This caught my eye:
Education and age also play a role in how pastors view the rapture. Pastors with a master’s degree (33%) or a doctorate (29%) are more likely to say the rapture isn’t literal than those with no degree (6%) or a bachelor’s (16%).
Mind you I think this is more an indication of the state of seminary education than what some readers may assume. For example, how do these pastors view the rest of Scripture?

Other interesting statistics are that the midtrib and prewrath views are locked together at 4% . Posttribulationism is at 18% and pretribulationism commands 36%.

Of course statistics don't represent biblical truth. Rapture timing isn't explicit in Scripture.

However I found it interesting that the midtrib (or mid-seventieth week) view compared so closely to prewrath. I was quite taken with the zealousness of the prewrath camp when I first came across it years ago. So much so that I devoted some time studying it. The feeling then was that this view would quickly become dominant as it allegedly exposed the flaws of pretribulationism.

I believe this didn't happen for two reasons:

1) It's proponents concentrated on criticizing pretribulationism. Take the test - go to any major prewrath website and note the ratio of critical content compared to content which presents defense of the prewrath view.

2) As this view became more popular (or well-known), more and more people became exposed to its teaching. And also to its weaknesses. In contrast - out there in the world of prophecy forums - midtrib proponents have done a better job at defending their view. (I suspect midtrib is experiencing a resurgence)

My advice to prewrath apologists is to rethink the offensive strategy. Focus on answering the arguments filed against your view. You haven't done that very well. Prewrath needs to stand on its own legs. Even if your arguments against pretribulationism had any merit, how does your view stack up against midtrib and posttrib?

Having said that I believe prewrath is the hardest rapture timing view to defend. If one can demonstrate that the church is present during the 2nd half of the 70th week, then it must be there for its duration.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sharper Iron - CT & Dispensationalism

I'm thankful to friend Joel for providing a link to a Sharper Iron Forum discussion between proponents of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology.

I'm not going to comment in detail. But I think the opening address and subsequent comments by the CT camp highlights the misconceptions CTs have re dispensationalism on several issues. I see the same old canards re Darby, Lacunza, Irving and Scofield, the rapture etc being raised. For example:
Do you think Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley, Luther, Calvin, all the Puritans, Bunyan, etc. also misread their Bible concerning end times? If so, is it just because you think you are right or because you have actually worked through their understanding of Scripture? Would you put Darby, "Dr." Scofield (Scofield gave himself his own doctorate by simply calling himself "doctor"), and Edward Irving, the principle founders of dispensational thought, on the same level of theological, spiritual, and devotional depth as the Reformers, the Puritans, and the preachers of the Great Awakening?
Yes, I do think these gentlemen, as fine as they were regarding the gospel, were sometimes wrong regarding the end times and Israel's status. In fact there was disagreement among them. Even Andrew Bonar noted the mocking overtones towards premillennial prophecy in his day.

I know some dispensationalists rightfully take some blame and admit to faults in approach etc. I take a slightly more mercenary view. As limited as I am in experience, time and time again I see Covenant Theology proponents (amil and postmil) artfully dodge problematic passages to their system. What did God clearly state about national ethnic Israel's future? They need to clearly and consistently address how the OT patriarchs were saved sans knowledge of the cross. And they need to address God's clear word regarding national Israel's future redemption and occupation of the land.

CT proponents also need to get past the Two-Gospel, multiple-ways-of-salvation ruse against dispensationalism. It has been responded to ad nauseum. So, while I appreciate the dispie self-reflection, I'm convinced that no amount of clarification will daunt those determined to defend their traditional theology.

I strongly recommend Paul Henebury's materials, some of which I collated HERE.

Addendum:

I thought Alan Kurschner did a pretty good job summing things up (though I disagree with his references to "Antichrist's great tribulation" etc):
This is why most CT are amillennial. Amillennialism views the return of Christ as some mere simple event. Jesus returns and in the blink of an eye you have the eternal state. They do not preach the whole counsel of God’s Word. They miss articulating Christ’s glory that will unfold at his future return: the deliverance of the church from the grip of the Antichrist’s great tribulation, the complex trumpet and bowl judgments, the final battle (We are told this is all merely a “picture.” Sure.). Then we have the glory of Christ in bringing Israel to spiritual and national restoration, fulfilling his ancient unconditional promises to Israel. Then there is the coalescing of heaven with earth, the earth’s restoration, and on and on...keep reading