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.


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