Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Size and Nature of New Jerusalem

Back in April Alan Kurschner featured an article on Janet Willits' book What On Earth Is Heaven Like? A Look at God’s City: New Jerusalem. I first came across the concept in Erwin Lutzer's book The King is Coming, and mentioned it on Zeteo 3:16. I'm glad someone else has picked this idea up. One shouldn't be dogmatic, of course.

Read the article at Eschatos Ministries

Incidentally, Alan has also weighed into the Rev 12 theory promoted by Scottie Clark and others. While I'd love to believe that Christ comes for us a few days after my Birthday (September), this sort of speculation ultimately harms prophecy. Yes, they say they're not date-setting etc. But they're pushing this theory too hard without any scriptural or astronomical basis. Read the article HERE

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Christocentric Hermeneutics & OT Reinterpretation

I put together a few helpful links on topics related to interpretation etc on Zeteo 3:16. These resources come from Dr. Reluctant's blog, Michael Vlach and Abner Chou on Christocentric Hermeneutics (see video below).

Can Old Testament verses speaking of Israel be legitimately reinterpreted by the New? Can we trust what we plainly read in the Old Testament or do we need some kind of decoder ring? One frustration I continuously come across is the Covenant Theologian’s claim that the Old Testament is reinterpreted by the New. I see it in some of the otherwise great CT books I read. Whether it’s Israel in the Psalms or the prophets, somehow the prophetic blessing and meaning gets transferred to the church. In many of these cases, the Old Testament is typically reinterpreted by the New. Some CTs don’t like using the word “reinterpret” so they’ll appeal to other devices like “fulfilled by Christ or in the church.” Upon being challenged by several OT texts, Gary Burge once told Michael Rydelnik that we must think “Christianly.” In other words, forget the OT meaning...keep reading

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dispensationalism Before Darby & Other Thoughts

I've previously mentioned and reviewed Dr. William Watson's book Dispensationalism Before Darby. He was recently interviewed by Mike Spaulding of Soaring Eagle Radio.

As expected, several pretrib skeptics - and one UK blogger (see addendum below) - have tried to diminish his work. From their objections and comments, it's obvious they haven't read the book. It's important to note that Watson's work was never intended to prove pre-Darby pretribulationism as we know it today. However, he clearly shows how others before Darby began thinking along similar lines re "dispensations", Israel and various rapture models. Those who use the "recent origin" or "Darby invented it" criticisms of pretribulationism ought to consider that their understanding of the 70th week is also fairly modern.

As a side note, Dr. Watson makes some interesting brief comments regarding the mid-trib rapture. Though I disagree with it, I often wonder why this view hasn't got more supporters.

He tells us that there's more historical data mining being done. Expect more material from earlier centuries emerging in a new book by Dr. Watson, and at least one other scholar. Listen to the interview HERE

Along the same lines, I recently did some more ax grinding. It's almost inevitable that eschatology draws heated passion and debate. Why?

Even one of my favorite writers (Sinclair Ferguson) has indulged in a little dig at pretrib. That said, amillennialists like Ferguson generally avoid division. They regularly join hands with the likes of premil John MacArthur in their mutual love for Christ and the gospel. I appreciate that. On the other hand, some have dedicated their lives (or a good portion) to eradicating the "false teaching of pretribulationism." I really don't get it.

Finally, Thomas Ice and Paul Wilkinson spent some time responding to Joe Schimmel, Joel Richardson and Jacob Prasch's Left Behind or Led Astray? documentary. Some people will consider the rebuttal far too long and won't watch it. Others may harbor ill-conceived notions about John Darby which they'll want to hang onto. That would be a pity. As for length, LBLA went for over four hours. Now that's dedication for ya!

Fair minded people should watch this rebuttal to LBLA. Many of the ubiquitous accusations leveled at Darby are plain wrong. No, he didn't teach two ways of salvation. Yet this comes up time and time again. There is also some interesting material regarding the relationship between Darby, Newton and Tregelles. Some of this I was already aware of.

LBLA was a contradictory, error laden, and non-objective hit piece against Darby and pretribulationism. Watch the rebuttal HERE

See also Did Edward Irving Invent the Pre-Trib Rapture View?


My ax grinding article was also featured as an Omega Letter column. It resulted in a website contact form asking my opinion: "GFM's DVD Survives Paul Wilkinson's Attack" which I saw on Treena Gisborn's UK blog "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing."

Of course, Gisborn's blog is the one which I was referring to above. Unless people have a specific error in the rebuttal videos that Gisborn highlights, don't bother pointing to her blog here.

Monergism Response to Rachel Held Evans

Evans' name came up in a Facebook interaction recently. A young professing Christian woman posted something to the effect: "How can I make Christ the center of my World when I don't even like Him or the people in His club?"

I interacted with the lady when a few of us did a brief study of Romans together. At the time she seemed zealous and fired up to learn Scripture. What happened to her over the course of six years? I have no idea what her circumstances are or what she's been through, as we're not friends. I can only hazard some educated guesses.

This is a person who seriously needs the Lord, prayer and some good pastoral counselling. What makes this even sadder is that no Christian in the subsequent comments defended Christ. All that girl got was a recommendation to read Rachel Held Evans' materials. What a tragedy!

Who is Evans? Why is she such a danger to the church? Monergism responds HERE

Germane: This is what we’re up against

Saturday, June 10, 2017

James Montgomery Boice & the Rapture

Rapture article by Boice. I disagree with a number of things he states; nevertheless, he makes some interesting observations. Boice is pretribulational. For example:
Paul’s main points clearly were that the present suffering of the Christians at Thessalonica was not the tribulation prophesied  in the Old Testament and taught by himself, that the final tribulation would not come until after the Christians were caught up to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air, therefore, that the coming of Christ rather than the final judgment should be uppermost in the minds of believers.
And this:
(1) First of all, the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ should be an incentive to godly living. That is the point Jesus Himself made when talking about His return in Matthew 24. The chapter is filled with imperatives: “See that no one leads you astray” (v. 4); “See that you are not alarmed” (v. 6), “flee to the mountains” (v. 16); “pray” (v. 20); “do not believe it” (vv. 23, 26); “learn” (v. 32); “know” (v. 33). Jesus concluded with the warning, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44). The apostle John, who undoubtedly heard the Lord on this occasion, later made the identical point in one of his letters, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who this hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3)
This thought should affect every aspect of your personal life — your prayer life, your choices in the area of ethics and morals, even your social concerns. Lord Shaftesbury, the great English social reformer and a mature Christian, said near the end of his life, “I do not think that in the last forty years I have ever lived one conscious hour that was not influenced by the thought of our Lord’s return.” In his case, the expectation of meeting Jesus was undoubtedly one of the strongest motives behind his social programs.
Are you looking for Christ’s return? In an earlier study of this same subject I once wrote:
If you are motivated by prejudice against other Christians or others in general, whether they are black or white, rich or poor, cultured or culturally naive, or whatever they may be–then the return of Jesus Christ has not made its proper impression on you. If you are contemplating some sin, perhaps a dishonest act in business, perhaps trifling with sex outside marriage, perhaps cheating on your income tax return–then the return of Jesus Christ has not made its proper impression on you. If your life is marked by a contentious, divisive spirit in which you seek to tear down the work of another person instead of building it up–then the return of Jesus Christ has not made its proper impression on you. If you first protect your own interests and neglect to give food, water, or nothing to the needy as we are instructed to do in Christ’s name–then the return of Jesus Christ has not made its proper impression on you (James Montgomery Boice, Philippians: An Expositional Commentary [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971], p. 249).
Read the article HERE

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dispensational Discourse with Dr. Paul Martin Henebury

From Dispensational Publishing House. Great interview:
Editor’s Note: Dr. Paul Martin Henebury describes himself as “both an adherent and dismayed critic” of dispensationalism. If you do not know what he means by that, you should take the time to learn. There is much more to his understanding of these issues than we will be able to present in this article, but we hope to provide additional avenues for Paul to explain his views in the future—so stay tuned. Paul is an incredibly intelligent and gifted writer and teacher. He reads widely and thinks deeply, and we are blessed to work with him and to bring his thoughts to you in this edition of our monthly interview called “A Dispensational Discourse.” We are focusing here on the development of dispensational theology, and we mean that in more than one sense. I hope that you will be intrigued by what follows—and leave searching for more material from this good friend and great theological scholar...keep reading
As a side note, watch Dr. Henebury's video The Covenant Program - Pre-Noahic Covenant 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Nation with No Land?

From Dan Starcevich's new blog (hope he writes more):
The relationship between God, Israel, and the land has been a topic of theological and geo-political significance since the establishment of the Abrahamic Covenant in approximately 1900 B.C.  With the birth of the modern state of Israel on 14 May 1948 questions about God, Israel, and the land have taken on new urgency for both politics, academia, and the popular press. Politically, Israel’s right to occupy their biblical homeland is under diplomatic and military assault.  In the academy, recent studies deny that God has made an eternal promise to provide and preserve a homeland for Israel.  In addition, books aimed at a popular audience, blogs, and ministry leaders are also denying that God has committed Himself to the preservation of a land for Israel...keep reading
Dan mentions Munther Isaac. I've also written about him. See HERE

Monday, June 5, 2017

God Took Me by the Hand

Thought this was a great article to read and re-read. Note the mention of George Smeaton. See also HERE.
Jerry Bridges died in his 86th year earlier this year. I once or twice shared the speaking duties with him at a couple of conferences and enjoyed getting to know him. He wrote a little autobiography ‘God Took Me By the Hand’ which threw light on his humble origins in the depression years of the 1920s in the USA...He was born with four physical defects; he was cross-eyed, deaf in his right ear, and he had deformities in his breastbone and spine. His parents were financially poor, education dropouts, and religiously and socially isolated...keep reading 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Remembering MacGyver

Some old personal stuff....

Remembering MacGyver…No, this isn’t about remembering MacGyver – the popular TV series which starred Richard Dean Anderson. MacGyver was my German Shepherd Dog.

The decision to call him MacGyver came well before I met him. I suppose it was because I’ve always liked the name Mac. The problem was that “Mac” was a popular name for dogs. So I wanted my future pet’s name to be a little different. He was going to be called MacGyver. Well, that was the plan. Of course he ended up being called Mac….just like all the other Macs...keep reading

lies we believe about God

Dr. Paul Henebury reviews William Paul Young's book HERE

Part Two.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Modern Israel as Proof of God’s Existence?

Is it possible to use modern Israel as proof of God’s existence? Recently a friend posed me that interesting question. As he noted, most Christian apologists currently debating atheists tend to be amillennial (and postmillennial). Therefore it wouldn’t be natural for them to use events such as Israel’s restoration in 1948 as an apologetic proof. But he wanted to know if I was aware of any examples of dispensationalists using fulfilled prophecies about Israel as an apologetics tool against atheists. Aside from the odd mention of prophetic proofs in various prophecy books, I couldn’t think of a formal example where anyone pointed to prophecy in a debate with an atheist...keep reading