Friday, April 15, 2022

A Pretribber's Desperation

According to Alan Kurschner, Alf Cengia (that would be me) is desperate. See his blog. Now I do consider myself somewhat of a Desperado in a few areas - rapture timing not so much. What Kurschner found offensive was my linking to James Ventilato's response to the Seven Pretrib Problems and the Prewrath Rapture doc in a Facebook group. 

For context, the group has a handful of ardent PW proponents who troll every pretrib post. They incessantly post essay length comments "refuting" pretrib. My contribution was to point out the futility (and frustration) of endlessly debating a Category Three doctrine. Various PW members have linked to the 7 Pretrib Problems doco. At one point I linked to Ventilato given that he responded to the documentary. I also briefly interacted with the 7th alleged pretrib problem HERE.  

Kurschner claims to typically look beyond pretrib rhetoric, but refuses to link to Ventilato's article because he finds it to be utterly deplorable, is written in childish, shouting CAPITALIZED WORDS, underscores, italics, bold, and various colors, the worse part is that it is incoherent on every level as I could not figure out who Ventilato was citing and when and where he was even responding to it. It was like Ventilato used a bot to create his response as it is a hodgepodge of blockquotes followed by shallow pretrib quips.

We ought to be charitable in our responses. Ventilato's effort could have been formulated better, though I had no difficulty following it. I wouldn't have used the same verbal tactics, and I disagree with him on several points. But Kurschner is being a little precious. He might want to take a deep breath and scan the older PW comments at the group he's lurking in. Here's an example of what a prominent PW advocate (from that group) once fired at a Facebook friend after he posted a pretrib article on his private Home Page,

Going into the 70th week: some people [pretribs] will have intractable cognitive dissonance. They will DENY the countdown signs...God WILL HOLD pre-trib/imminence teachers responsible, when their flocks start to feel like the Thessalonians believers...MANY will throw away their faith. False teaching & unprecedented supernatural deception will be widespread. And these pre-trib teachers will either hide (Harold Camping style), or DOUBLE-down with more ‘assurances for the flock’... (Bold mine)

What about Marv Rosenthal saying pretrib leads to “calamitous” consequences and “a spiritual catastrophe” which is in reality “a satanically planned sneak attack”? In The Rapture Question Answered, Van Kampen proposed a link between Darby and the "heretical" Edward Irving. He noted that at the time of the development of pretribulationism, new cults also emerged: e.g., Mormonism, Christian Science, Unitarianism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Is that "pablum" or "rhetoric"? 

Because the Lord didn't return in the 80s, one fellow wrote,

...Hal Lindsey is an unrepentant false prophet who has been showered with royalties since then (false prophets in the Bible were showered with stones).

Yikes! I wonder what he might have said to PW Herb Peters of Fulfilled Prophecy who predicted that the 70th Week was about to be inaugurated. Was he a "false prophet" or simply mistaken?   

When I interacted with Dr. Andy Woods as he was researching the view, he expressed surprise and dismay at the nastiness he encountered. This isn't new. Proponents constantly called my friend Jack Kinsella a false prophet for teaching pretrib. When he occasionally responded, they'd go nuts. PWs confuse objective criticism with attack. I'm familiar with two pretrib ministries who endured constant nasty attacks from this community (seen some of the stuff). When they finally addressed PW it was called a knee-jerk reaction to pretrib territory being undermined. When Paul Wilkinson reacted to Joe Schimmel's epic "Left Behind or Led Astray?" polemical documentary, two participants got their noses out of joint.

After pretribbers responded to Rosenthal's and Van Kampen's rapture books, (Van Kampen & Roger Best opined,

It is very interesting to read the negative reviews on the prewrath position. Not one review to date has dealt with the biblical position of prewrath. Some have set up straw men, and when they tear these straw men down, they think they have accomplished something. Others rehash the idea that certainly all the great men who held to pretribulationism could not have been wrong. The reason, we believe, is because the prewrath position cannot be attacked by taking Scripture at its face value. It is too firmly based upon Scripture...Their argument is not with us, it’s with the Word of God. We have only taken it for what it says, harmonized it with all the other passages saying the exact same thing and gone on record that the Bible clearly tells us what will occur just prior to the coming of Christ. (Bold mine)

Did they read Renald Showers' irenic criticism of PW? Did the website ever respond to his "straw men"? Having studied the system and reading many of these so-called pretrib straw men responses, it's difficult for me to take Van-Kampen-Best's (or Kurschner's) umbrage seriously. 

Contra their assertions, the prewrath view begins by interpreting Matt 24:22 as saying the future Great Tribulation will be less than three-and-a-half years. I discuss it HERE. As stated elsewhere, this isn't biblical exegesis based on other confirming texts; it's a differing interpretation which affects the interpretation of several PW proof texts

As an illustration, I challenged a PW proponent on his interpretation of Matt 24:22. He insisted that the GT had to be shortened to less than 3.5 yrs because the Great Multitude of Rev 7 is the raptured church of Matt 24:31. This is circular reasoning. There's nothing "plain and simple" about it. If the GT hasn't been shortened in the way PW presumes, the GM is likely continuously being added to; not a one-time rapture event, and so on. 

While I hold to pretribulationism, I understand that I could be wrong. But rapture timing isn't regarded a Category 3 doctrine by prewrathers. They'll defend PW and persist against pretrib to the bitter end. It has become a Category One pious obsession for them. Read Best's concluding remarks about preparedness. 

P.S. Can desperation = creating a website called pretribulationism (dot) com, which is an actual arm of Kurschner's Eschatos Ministries? Wondering how he'd react if a pretrib ministry did that with PW.

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