Sunday, January 19, 2014

Speaking of Christ & Exclusivity

What I like about Alistair Begg is that I've sat in a pew at Parkside Church and shook my head at his approach to Acts 1:6 and Revelation 7. We disagree on eschatology. Yet he doesn't linger on these eschatological divisions. Instead, he consistently wraps his sermons around the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It's that attitude that gets him invited to places like Calvary Chapel. You can watch a Q & A with Alistair Begg and CC's David Guzik HERE

At the end of the video in my previous post, Begg touches upon a scene in C. S. Lewis' The Silver Chair.

Jill is dying of thirst and needs to drink at a stream. The great Lion Aslan is between it and her. She asks Aslan to move aside because she fears him. When he refuses, she asks him to promise not to eat her. Again, he refuses to promise. She tells Aslan that she dares not drink and he responds that she will then surely die. Jill then supposes that she must find another stream. The Lion tells her that:

"There is no other stream."  

I'd begun preparing this blog post on Saturday, but got sidetracked and put it off. Coincidentally, Pastor Begg's sermon was on 2 Timothy this Sunday morning. He talked about the need to prepare the next generation of church leaders to preach the gospel, and growing the current congregation's children in the knowledge of that gospel. He pointed to Paul's passing the baton onto Timothy, with that sense of urgency in knowing that his own time in the world was short.

Begg also touched upon the sad fact that some people become ashamed of the gospel - which brings me to the original motive for my post. Why aren't some leading church leaders shouting the gospel whenever the cameras and microphones are trained on them?

Why does Pope Francis dabble in political speeches, social agendas and ecumenism when he has the opportunity to proclaim Christ? Why has the ELCA taken Christ's work on the cross out of their church? See also HERE

Why does someone like Sojourners' Jim Wallis prefer thinking of the Last Supper as a Table-Fellowship scene rather than an Altar scene? See HERE and HERE 

From the link:

Notice that Wallis doesn’t connect the Passover meal, or the fact that Jesus is the perfect sacrificial Passover Lamb, to this scene. Instead it’s just a regular dinner, more of a friendly meal for fellowship and conversation. A place to plan how we can change the world.

Are they ashamed of The One and Only Stream?

Matt Waymeyer preaches II Timothy 4:1-4

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ariel Sharon, the Rabbi & the Messiah

The latest "prophecy craze" has hit immediately after Ariel Sharon's passing away. It involves a Rabbi, a Note and the Messiah. According to this Rabbi (since deceased), the Messiah will appear after Sharon's death. Moreover, he identified the Messiah's name as Yehoshua (Yeshua). You can read about it HERE

But please take note of Yitzhak Kaduri's comments regarding this alleged Messiah:

“It is hard for many good people in the society to understand the person of the Messiah. The leadership and order of a Messiah of flesh and blood is hard to accept for many in the nation. As leader, the Messiah will not hold any office, but will be among the people and use the media to communicate. His reign will be pure and without personal or political desire. During his dominion, only righteousness and truth will reign.

“Will all believe in the Messiah right away? No, in the beginning some of us will believe in him and some not. It will be easier for non-religious people to follow the Messiah than for Orthodox people.

“The revelation of the Messiah will be fulfilled in two stages: First, he will actively confirm his position as Messiah without knowing himself that he is the Messiah. Then he will reveal himself to some Jews, not necessarily to wise Torah scholars. It can be even simple people. Only then he will reveal himself to the whole nation. The people will wonder and say: ‘What, that’s the Messiah?’ Many have known his name but have not believed that he is the Messiah.”

This is not the biblical Messiah.

Sadly, WorldNetDaily is peddling these dangerous Kaduri materials by Carl Gallups. Worse still they are being acclaimed as a "must-read for anyone who takes God seriously" by a well known prophecy teacher!

What about taking the Bible seriously?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Zionist Churches an Abomination?

“There are certainly churches in Israel/Palestine that side with the occupation, that side with Zionism. One of my burdens is to challenge them theologically and show that they’ve repudiated Jesus, they’ve repudiated the Bible, and they are an abomination.” ~ Stephen Sizer

Read the article from Rosh Pina Project HERE

Sizer apologizes and then rescinds. Also a link to the Moody Bible hosted Radio Debate with Sizer and Michael Brown at Rosh Pina Project HERE

Well done, Dr Bown!

One response to Darwin's Doubt

I thought this was a great article. Note what Rev. James Miller says about hostile reviewers:


So here's how I find my way into a conversation on subjects that are not my primary field of study. I read the reviews that are antagonistic to the source and just look at the logic that's employed. I find that this often gives me the best read on a work. If the critics are sincere, the reviews are usually precise.

The New Yorker's review began with a genetic fallacy, presented arguments that Meyer had refuted without mentioning that Meyer had addressed them, and then deferred to another blogger for the scientific content of the review. It then called Meyer "absurd," which, given how shoddy the review actually is, was an absurd thing to do.

Then I read the review from which the New Yorker piece got its "science," which was actually written by a grad student at Berkeley. Now I have to say that Berkeley is, in fact, one of my fields of expertise, and I know exactly how Berkeley grad students go about their "work." Somehow Berkeley selects the crazies and the militants who show the most promise and then teaches them that knowledge is a completely subjective power tool which should be manipulated by those on an ideological crusade to undermine authority. I'm not kidding. I went to Berkeley. That's what we did.

What's interesting about the grad student's review is that it was posted 24 hours after the release of Meyer's book, and it's filled with snark. He's not having an intelligent conversation, he's insulting Meyer in order to defend something religiously. In a later, defensive review, the grad student says that he read the book "during lunch." He read over 400 pages of scientific material during lunch, and then posted an insulting review...keep reading

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Response to the St. James Church Christmas Stunt

From Gatestone Institute:

Within hours of her release, Wafa al-Biss was speaking to Palestinian children, urging them to put on suicide vests and kill as many Jews as possible. And some people wonder why the Israelis need a security barrier.

It is a lie to say that Israel is an apartheid state and that the wall is an apartheid wall. It is a security barrier, just like dozens of others around the world, none of which is ever called an "apartheid wall."

The clergy and congregants of St. James have open, tolerant hearts, yet not, it seems, for Jews or Israelis. They venerate Palestinians above other suffering people and fail to distinguish between Palestinians who suffer from the conflict and those whose hate for Jews drives them to violence...keep reading


"The Christians who berate Israel in this fashion have two biases. First, they seem to be in favor of a style of Christianity that takes Christ's vocation for the poor — a value that has led to so much good throughout history — and blends it with political strategies that may sound well-intended, but that often harbor dark and corrosive side-effects. It has for some time seemed natural to many Christians to follow a political path that disparages the norms of stable society by taking decent liberal values to extremes, by elevating the rights of gays above the rights of the majority, or women above men, disruption against the state (something that led to violent action in the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s), a hatred for colonialism, that has led to a wider hatred of the West and its values, a love for the Third World that results in turning a blind eye to things such as honor killings and executions for apostasy, and a concerted hatred for Israel that slips all too easily into anti-Semitism in a bizarre reflection of the far right. What it adds up to is a striving for political correctness above all other values."

Monday, January 6, 2014

CAMERA - Gary Burge’s Missed Opportunity

Gary Burge is one of the patrons of the Christ at the Checkpoint Conferences.

Rev. Dr. Gary Burge, a professor of the New Testament at Wheaton College in Illinois, was given a chance at redemption and he threw it away. He was given an opportunity to provide a reliable and trustworthy text about Israel and the Palestinians, but instead he gave his readers a text that encourages readers to regard the Jewish state – and the people who claim it as their homeland – with unrelenting contempt and hostility. 

Burge's chance to redeem himself came when Pilgrim Press, the publishing house of the United Church of Christ, issued a “revised and updated” second edition of his book, Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians...keep reading

Friday, January 3, 2014

Amazon Atheists

Why are some atheists-evolutionists so threatened by publications questioning their faith? Go to Amazon and check out Stephen Meyer's two books:

Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design

Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design

Go to the reviews that gave Meyer's books a high rating and then check the comments. You'll find the usual suspects relentlessly hunting down those who gave Meyer a pat on the back. Some of the behavior is tantamount to cyber harassment, especially when it's obvious that many haven't even read the books.

For those who are interested, Jason Lisle (Ultimate Proof of Creation) has a blog where he has interacted with the odd gunslinger. It's obvious that this sort of interaction is high maintenance so I hope Lisle keeps the blog alive. I've benefited from reading it.

Jason Lisle's Blog

Meyer's responses to critical reviews of Darwin's Doubt

Meyer's responses to critical reviews of Signature in the Cell

Thursday, January 2, 2014

On Dog Whistle Raptures & Other Trivia

Months ago I was asked to help admin a pretrib prophecy forum. Being an admin was never on my short bucket list of things to do, and it hasn't always been fun. I must hand it to the others for their composure through tiresomely predictable diatribes from well-intended, concerned folk. These are often so formulaic that one might think these people were handed the same work sheets to go out and conquer with.

I wish I had a dollar for every Margaret MacDonald-vision-rapture claim we've had. Don't use it unless you've actually read something other than MacPherson or can provide a pretrib quote from MacDonald. That insinuation is pure gossip and sloppy criticism at best.

When you engage these people, they often come back with the sanctimonious: "My motive is to warn pretribulationists that they're vulnerable because of this false teaching....."

A few days after my blogging on this topic, we got that one again. We ask these people how they are specifically better prepared than a pretribber, but rarely get cogent replies. I know one vocal posttribulationist who finally responded that his geographical location was on the other-side-of-the-world of the future conflagration, which he believes is confined to the Middle East. Apparently he's content to avoid the future "purification" of the church in that area and he's comfortable where he is.

On that note, both pretribbers and non-pretribbers may consider the following books: John MacArthur has a great one called Slave. See also Edwin Yamauchi's article Slaves of God. MacArthur also penned The Power of Suffering, Hard to Believe and, of course, The Gospel According to Jesus. Dale Johnsen wrote What To Do Until Christ Comes. I also enjoyed Alistair Begg's The Hand of God.

Anyway, I've recently come across two instances where pretrib has been referred to as a Dog Whistle Rapture. One blogger quotes Riddlebarger's book on amillennialism where he refers to it as a "cosmic dog whistle" (page 143).

Perhaps amils allegorize so much Scripture that they've become super-sensitive and self-conscious of this condition. And so they feel inclined to accuse dispies of inconsistency because they don't really believe in multi-headed dragons running around terrorizing a future world. This gives them an excuse to justify allegorizing stuff like the resurrection in Rev 20:4. After all, you can't have dead saints regenerated after a real physical resurrection. That's plain silly. And we just know there's no 1000 year millennium. So that resurrection must be symbolic. Case closed.

I know, I know, the Dog Whistle thingy makes up for the long-chain taunts dispies have fired at the amil version of Satan's er...imprisonment. Sorry, guys, we'll quietly ignore the fact that Riddlebarger squeezes the entire Church Age into the last half of Daniel's 70th week, if he allows that Scripture doesn't preclude Christ's return for His church before the tribulation.

Then there's the premil non-pretribber who also used the Dog Whistle allusion. He may have been reading Riddlebarger's notes. I suspect he's also taken a glance at MacPherson's gossip column because he's referred to pretrib as "Strange Trib". He thinks it's an irony that pretribulationist John MacArthur is a cessationist when he's adopted: "the very view that, it is argued, finds its origins in the utterances of charismatic-visionary Margaret MacDonald or possibly the charismatic Edward Irving (early 19th century)."

I've already expressed my feelings regarding these unsubstantiated taunts. Irving and MacDonald were arguably historicists, and the latter envisioned a church under trial from the Antichrist.

My premil Dog Whistle friend has published his first book and I commend it to anyone who wants to know more about his late 20th century view. I laud its overall irenic tone which contrasts to his blog's polemics. It avoids the bitterness I detected in Rosenthal's book, and it shuns the smugness and annoyingly repetitive axioms in Van Kampen's work. It will delight devoted prewrathers; however it doesn't address problems others have noted about the system.

He doesn't fess up to those multiple comings of Christ in his own system. I'm not sure if all these comings involve the same "shout" and "trumpet" but he uses all the Parousia-Rapture texts to assert that there's a Single Parousia. Yet he consoles his readers by telling them that - after the tribulation - they will be in heaven...standing before the throne and before the Lamb (p 98). If the Lamb (Christ) is in heaven after the rapture, then He has to return to the earth again in, at least, one more er...different yet same coming. It certainly can't be a Dog Whistle coming - right?

On page 173 we're told Jesus' Parousia won't be an instantaneous event; that it will be a "multi-phase, complex whole in which God will fulfill His divine purposes..." That statement is designed to accommodate a system which teaches multiple comings. It also seeks to resolve a contradiction regarding 2 Thess 2:8 where Christ does not destroy the Antichrist at His initial appearing.

All this seems inconsistent given the dog whistle rapture jibe.

As an aside I found it interesting that he draws a connection between Matt 24:31 and the resurrection in Dan 12:2 as one proof that the former is the rapture (p 91). Posttribbers would nod their heads in assent. Missing from the discussion are the OT texts speaking of Israel's gathering.

Another problem is that Daniel's resurrection is implied to be at the end of the 1,335 days (Dan 12:13). There's a whole other study which could be done just on that. If you identify the church with Daniel's people (or those texts) then - to be consistent - you should also note the duration and purpose of this period (Jer 30:7; Dan 7:25, 12:6-7; Hos 5:15; Matt 23:37-39). Yet his entire system hinges on the premise that this purification period (p 54) is cut short for the church (pp 59, 60, 91).

I may review various other points of the book in future blogs.