Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Response To Some Questions About Israel and the Church

Paul Henebury responds to some thoughtful questions regarding the relationship between the Church and Israel. Read the questions and comments at the end as well.

I have lately had the pleasure of doing some theological fencing with a good Christian man named Andrew Suttles. Andrew has raised a number of pertinent questions about Dispensational interpretations of Israel and the Church which I would like to address in this (and another post).

Once again I want to state that I think “Dispensationalist” is a lousy and inaccurate name for this type of theology. Firstly because dispensations are largely theologically mute. Secondly, because the real crux of the matter are the Biblical Covenants!

I hope this response will be of help in clarifying my understanding of this issue. We shall begin with Paul’s use of “Israel” and “Jacob” in Romans 9-11 and go from there. This is not meant to be comprehensive, but it is quite detailed and should suit its purpose...
keep reading

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The ENPI theory

Recently, the Fulfilled Prophecy website moved away from the ENPI theory.

Kudos to them for taking an objective stance! However, unlike FP some haven’t let it go and are reviewing their understanding of the Bible in innovative ways in an effort to keep the ENP viable.

Changing how we understand Scripture for the sake of the ENP is like the tail wagging the dog. Midst means middle – the middle of the week has come and gone. Even if we take the 4th year of the seven as being the midst, none of the dynamics of the seals of Revelation are apparent. Theorizing that the seven-year covenant is different to Daniel’s 70th week is another attempt to keep the theory alive that has no biblical justification. In fact the ENP has failed to meet prophetic expectations.

I’ve also seen a few statements regarding pretribulationists made by these people. One is that pretribbers risk falling prey to the Mark of the beast because they will suddenly find themselves at the Abomination of Desolation period and won’t recognize the fact. Thus they may take the Mark of the Beast unawares.

Let me see now, there’s something about the subject of worshiping and a certain Mark somewhere…Rev 4:10; 9:20; 11:1; 22:8-9. And this looks fairly important…Rev 13:8-12.

Pretribbers have also been accused of not watching because they expect to be raptured away. I believe the ENP theory has already done the pre-trib prophetic circles. Everyone is watching Europe and the Middle East and just about everyone interested in End Times Prophecy knows about JS. It’s not exactly a secret.

Another one is that fear drives belief in a pre-trib rapture and pretribbers will fail to deal with the tribulation when it occurs because they are unprepared. Now that makes a whole lot of sense!

Possibly one of the most bizarre allegations I’ve read is that Tim LaHaye hijacked Marv Rosenthal’s rapture view using the Left Behind series. Apparently this was aided by the creation of the Pre-Trib Research Center. I suppose there couldn’t be any other explanation.

Partial quote:

“They also successfully stopped the spread of the pre wrath position. It also placed prophecy in the entertainment playground sector of religion. In your typical Christian Church Library prophetic FICTION has replaced the scholarly tomes of previous generations. Prophecy study was successfully dumbed (sic) down.”

First of all people who denigrate pretribulationism generally go after either Tim LaHaye or Hal Lindsey. This causes me to wonder if that is the extent of their research into pre-trib. Griping about LB fiction isn’t exactly an academic exercise. Secondly, “scholarly tomes of previous generations” would have to exclude the new pre-wrath view.

I don’t presume to judge Tim LaHaye’s motivations. The Research Center was inaugurated to defend both pretribulationism and premillennialism. Long before I was interested in the rapture topic, my passion was studying the debate between preterists and premillennialists. Interestingly, guys like preterist Gary Demar opined that the Research Center was set up to counter preterism.

Here’s a clue – yes it was. And the problem is…? There’s a Post-Trib Research Center, several preterist organizations and even Prewrath Rapture Dot Com - to name only one among many pre-wrath sites! There are even some well-regarded pre-wrath novels out there with probably more to come. And didn’t Van Kampen pen one as well?

Some time ago prewrather Ryan Habbena wrote a book called “The parable of the Fig Tree”. His association with pastor Bob Dewaay and pastor Eric Douma led to conversations about rapture timing. Douma leaned somewhat towards pre-wrath and Dewaay was a rapture timing agnostic.

Dewaay and Douma took up the challenge and researched. The result of that study is presented HERE and via a previous post. The Left Behind series was not on their list of theological notes and references.

There are a number of possible dynamics as to why pre-wrath hasn’t kicked off as well as some hoped. I’ve personally noticed a trend towards posttribulationism. My experience since studying this subject is that pretribulationism is commonly derided. To blame LaHaye’s fiction and pre-trib sabotage is myopic.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More on Steve Wohlberg's "End Time Delusions"

Some time ago I wrote about Adventist Steve Wohlberg's book "End Time Delusions". Mr Wohlberg has dedicated a fair amount of resources attacking the "futurist/premillennial" view and in particular, dispensationalism and pretribulationalism. His book can still be found circulating in Christian book shops.

The Berean Call makes a few succinct comments on some of the book's problems HERE