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


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