Friday, February 27, 2015

Upcoming Conference on Inerrancy

Introductory article from The Cripplegate:

It’s hard to believe that Shepherds’ Conference is next week. For those of us who have the privilege of being around Grace Community Church all year round, it’s difficult to capture the sense of anticipation that’s been brewing over the last 15 months or so. It really is like Christmastime over here, and it’s such a privilege to witness that enthusiasm—from the leadership to the nearly 1200 volunteers (!) that will be serving the men who attend this historic event...keep reading

P.S. Thought I'd slot this in here. Jason Lisle responds to Norman Geisler's position which asserts that inerrancy does not require a Young Earth Creation view. Note also the comments section where Dr. Lisle announces an upcoming book. The book will also address Gospel Coalition Justin Taylor's assertion that the days in Genesis are not 24 hour days.

Read it HERE

Sunday, February 15, 2015

On Exposing Pretribulationism

Every once in a while when the mood takes me I get to grind my axe. Here I go again.

There's an essay on pretribulationism that I've come across several times on Facebook. Its author provides a bunch of excuses for his anti-pretrib crusade. Similar pretexts commonly appear on blog and Facebook hit and runs by different individuals. I want to address a sampling here, in no particular order.

The motives are always altruistic, of course. They do it out of "love" and to correct "false doctrine." I'm reminded of my busy posttribulational friend who once told me he went after pretribbers because he feared their escapist mentality would endanger them once the tribulation arrived. Sound familiar?

That same individual also happened to like going after prewrathers even though they believe the church will experience the tribulation. Truth be known, he just loves to argue. What's love got to do with it? Pardon the Tina Turner pun but when you use terms such as "laughable" or when you call to question a pretribber's integrity (as opposed to yours) - what you are indulging in is arrogance and pride. Not love.

As a side note, if you're a Five Point Calvinist you might consider dropping the "dangerous escapism" routine. It won't wash. On the other hand if you believe one can lose their salvation, perhaps you'd better humbly look at yourself first. Do you know you'll survive the tribulation, faith intact? Where are you placing your confidence?

Here's a suggestion: if you people want to go on a Worthy Crusade, go after the Lost. They really need the gospel. And, if you're really "Brave and Courageous" or an "Overcomer" (in contrast to spineless pretribbers), I know a few volatile countries where you could preach the gospel and get some practice in for the Great Tribulation purification. Practice makes perfect - right?

Next, I don't care whether someone had an overbearing pretrib pastor who ridiculed non-pretribbers. That's plainly wrong. Get over it. Don't do the same thing.

Neither am I impressed that you too were once a "clueless" pretribulationist who was "indoctrinated" by that "recent tradition" - especially if you've now embraced the newest constantly evolving position. It doesn't automatically follow that you're a "Berean" because you changed your view. I was "indoctrinated" by Catholicism and a bunch of other doctrines. I now embrace dispensationalism and pretribulationism as better viewpoints, but that alone doesn't mean I'm suddenly right.

Strange as it may seem non-pretribbers sometimes do migrate to pretrib. It's not because the Holy Spirit "told them so" or because of some "special revelation" as people sometimes declare. It's a case of weighing arguments against Scripture. Yes, we occasionally think for ourselves. Life is full of ironies and surprises.

I'm not impressed with assertions that John Darby purloined Margaret MacDonald's vision and indoctrinated "Schofield." Provide a pretrib quote from MacDonald, not an excerpt from one of MacPherson's "plots." That the Scofield Study Bible then indoctrinated most of the American Church reminds me of the Israeli 9/11 conspiracy theory (sorry, Stephen Sizer).

I also don't want to hear about Scofield's or Lindsey's or LaHaye's sins, or any other pretribbers' or non-pretribbers' for that matter. Consider your own.

Speaking of indoctrination and Scofield's Study Bible (I don't own one); I see plenty of non-dispensational Study Bibles around. You can get Reformed, Puritan, Creationist, Catholic and Adventist versions, and likely many other varieties. In fact there's a project for a Pre-Wrath Study Bible. And good for them!

Pretribulationism is sometimes called a divisive doctrine. There's a whole essay's worth in that concept. Yet I'm now seeing non-pretrib individuals desperately looking for churches which teach their particular rapture view. I often see the comment, "I won't attend a pretrib church."

My wife and I are privileged to attend a non-dispensational church. We do have a pretribulational option. What we love about our church is the pastor's passion for the gospel in the tradition of people like Spurgeon and M'Cheyne. He's often invited to speak at pretrib churches because of that commitment to the gospel.

I don't care for gossip related to an encounter with a leading pretrib teacher who allegedly lost his cool because he wasn't familiar with the new-kid-on-the-block view. The teacher has gone to be with the Lord and cannot defend himself. We can all dish up anecdotes about our personal experiences.

I'm not a fan of prophecy conferences at the best of times. But don't lump all pretrib conferences into one bucket and compare them unfavorably to your own - especially when you originally wanted to participate in them. Some of us remember.

Yes, there are some sensational pretrib "prophecy" teachers out there in the market place. Don't jump the gun too quickly, though. Pretribulationists don't have a monopoly on weirdness. Trust me!

When anyone claims a well-known (usually solid) dispensational teacher said salvation in the Old Testament was attained by works, a citation and link ought to be provided. They may also want to demonstrate how salvation was achieved. Don't just tell me it was by faith. We all know that. What was the content of one's faith then?

Now, once again, repeat after me: "Dispies do not teach salvation by works in the OT."

Please don't gripe to me when your view has just been attacked....especially when a significant portion of your program involves criticism of another system. I've lost count as to how many times Adventists chided me for "attacking" Steve Wohlberg (not related to the actor) after I responded to his End time Delusions.

No, pretribulationism isn't the "monolithic" teaching in the mainstream church that it's frequently made out to be. It may have been once, and might still be the dominant view among older premil prophecy buffs. However, that's quickly changing within the younger generation. Many of us have seen an upsurge of attacks on pretribulationism and dispensationalism. Pretribulationism and premillennialism are losing whatever ground they held within evangelical churches for a number of reasons. Feel better now?

Mainstream churches are starting to abandon fundamental teachings in favor of diversity issues and liberation theology. Think about the Social Gospel, Same-sex Marriage, inerrancy, anti-Israelism, spiritualizing the Resurrection, denial of sin and the Trinity, Universalism, Ecumenism, Inter-Faith Dialogue etc. Get the picture?

I always feel better after a good gripe.

Switching my grinder off for now...(stay tuned).

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Christ, The Center of Scripture

Note: These videos can now be accessed directly from Telos Theological Ministries HERE.

Dr. Paul Henebury (Dr. Reluctant) of Telos Ministries delivered a series of six lectures to Calvary Chapel Ukiah titled Christ as the Center of Scripture. It was happy coincidence that I stumbled onto them and I'm indebted to Michael Miller for hosting them on his YouTube account.

Well worth watching!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Christian Anarchy?

The author of the following article makes some pretty good points regarding the Christian attitude in the face of today's political climate. How should Christians respond? What about the Reconstructionists and the Kingdom-Now Dominionists?

My heart is grieved by the growing discontentment, hostility, and anarchist attitudes by those who profess the name of Jesus Christ in America. As our nation grows more hostile, American Christians must grow more patient, longsuffering, merciful, and compassionate.
As American culture grows more belligerent, we must grow more eager to speak the truth in love and more boldly to proclaim righteousness and the Gospel of Peace.

As civil magistrates grow more intolerant of Christianity, more pluralistic in their views of religion, and more subjective in their rule of law, Christians must grow more in our prayer life petitioning God on behalf of our leaders, that they would be saved by Christ and enable us to live quiet lives.

Instead, professing Christians seem to be growing more belligerent, more disrespectful, more angry toward pagan society and less tolerant and less submissive to governing authorities. And, it seems, we are praying less as demonstrated by the growing hostility and lack of respect for our leaders in government....keep reading

(Hat tip to Carmela C.)