The Wonks Bite Back

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76 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    I forgot to click the box to allow comments…my apologies.

  2. Steve Wright says:

    One of the more ignorant set of responses in the comments
    ————————————————
    My favorite was the one about not being a Biblical scholar if one holds a different eschatology. (to which I replied). I know it is a subjective label but good grief…

  3. Nonnie says:

    I tried to find Jackie’s article you referenced, but could not.

  4. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    It was on her Facebook page…

  5. Michael says:

    Steve,

    This group tends to discount scholarship across the board…which will bite them in the backside as scholarship becomes more and more accessible online.

  6. Nonnie says:

    I guess she took it down.

  7. OCDan says:

    Thank God His salvation of me doesn’t depend on my getting His eschatology 100% correct.

    I still can’t believe the church divides over this. Souls go by us everyday and we claim to be concerned if they are not saved, but, alas, some are more concerned with getting the Second Coming absolutely correct in out own theological kingdoms.

    As an aside, I was once part of “that group.” Now, I just believe that Christ will return someday for believers including me and I don’t sweat the details. Probably should go brush up on my eschatology, but I burned out on that in the 90, esp. Y2K.

    Suffice to say, I have enough trouble loving God with everything I have and my neighbor as myself, let alone, picking up my cross and dying to myself everyday.

    While eschatology is important I am not sweating that details anymore, although if cornered, I am with you Michael. Pre-wrath seems to make the most sense to me.

  8. Michael says:

    “Suffice to say, I have enough trouble loving God with everything I have and my neighbor as myself”

    Amen Dan…I’m still working on that one myself.
    It has priority…

  9. Xenia says:

    That is the main reason that this group is losing their voice.<<<

    That and the fact that people can't stay hyped up forever about something that didn't happen when their leaders assured them it would. That group came very close to date-setting and I suspect many lost heart. How many earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues, riots and bad election outcomes have supposedly heralded the Rapture? You can only play on people's emotions for so long. This isn't scoffing that the Lord will return, it's scoffing at certain theories about His return.

    A question: I have been out of the Rapture world for many years now. Do young people still care about this? My son, who works for an evangelical mega church, was here for Thanksgiving and never mentioned it. He and his band write songs that never mention the Rapture. When I was in CC, it was a common topic of conversation. It it now passe'?

  10. Phil N says:

    Lets see;

    This makes 2 discernment princesses that have labeled you as an emergent and one former prince that also labeled you an emergent……of course those same three also have questioned my salvation so I’d say you and I are in pretty good company.

    Oh, and one other thing…….the wonks look to my dear friend Jacob Prasch as some sort of scholar adding credence to your statement this dear bunch of God’s children absolutely shun scholarship….

    Have a nice day heretic 🙂

  11. Xenia says:

    By the way (and off topic), my son works at Ted Haggard’s old church, New Life. This church has taken an interesting turn. They now recite the Nicene Creed and the Lord’s prayer each Sunday and other good things as well. They are getting involved with local liturgical churches and some of his friends are interested in Orthodoxy and (conservative) Anglicanism, which is not being discouraged by the leadership.

  12. Jesus told His followers to follow Him, wait and be ready, and not be consumed with that fellow believers are doing, or if He even decides to prolong the life of one unto the day of His return.

    …but then, The Gospels and Jesus’ life & ministry are a mere footnote to the wacky fixation on end times signs that have become central to their faith and their declarations of who’s in and who’s out.

  13. Kevin H says:

    “Do young people still care about this.”

    In my experience, I would say yes, but probably not nearly as many or as deeply as a few decades ago. I do agree with Michael that the movement that places so much emphasis on it is losing steam and credibility and will continue to do so because of the easy availability of so much information nowadays. But it still simmers strongly in some places. I live in one of the places. Almost every Sunday we are reminded, usually more than once, that we are living in the “end times” or “last days”. That “time is winding down” and we are “closer to the end than ever before”. That things in the news are part of the “prophetic landscape” leading up to the “Rapture”. And of course there are also the more than infrequent sermons that focus on these things and the prophecy conferences that roll around once every couple years. Now I don’t think everyone in the church is as taken by these things. But certainly a good amount are, both young and old. I have had and/or overheard enough conversations to know so.

  14. Steve Wright says:

    We have to admit though don’t we…”the end is near” is hardly the sole domain of a certain part of Christianity.

    I was a child of the 1980s and just about every other MTV video was talking about Reagan and the Soviet Union killing all of humanity. 99 Luftballoons.Do the Russians love their children too. Land of Confusion.Two Tribes Go to War. 1999. Bullet the Blue Sky. – These are the first to pop into my head. Plus a myriad of punk rock songs.

    Then we moved to movies about Global Warming, Unstoppable Viruses, Asteroid strikes. These aren’t fiction in the sense of giant spiders or zombies taking over – but rooted in real political issues that occupy our elected leaders’ time, speeches and that billions are spent concerning.

    Humanity has always had an end of the world complex. Maybe God put it in us?

  15. “We have to admit though don’t we…”the end is near” is hardly the sole domain of a certain part of Christianity.”

    I believe we are in the last days / end times and that ‘the end is near’ or at least it is more near than it was yesterday.

    But I believe such because the Bible says so – not because I can watch for any coming events.

  16. I’m pretty sure Paul expected Jesus to return before the end of the first century.

  17. Yes, Paul did expect Jesus to return in his generation. The Bible teaches that Christians should expect Christ to return in their generation. This is why Prewrath teaches expectancy not imminency. He can come back in any generation, not at “any moment.”

    There are—contra pretribs and historicists—discernible events that believers are told to watch for. Jesus did not teach that we are not to watch for anything. Instead, there are concrete, discernible events that will alert believers of an impending return of Christ, contra amillennialism.

  18. covered says:

    While I believe in the rapture of the church, I stopped teaching the “end is here” message some time ago. It just seems as though declaring that everytime Israel did something it meant something to the rest of the world is nonsense.

    In the last year, we have watched 3 marriages end. A young man commit suicide and several folks lose their jobs. A young mother was told to abort her baby or die due to cancer. It just seems that what was needed (if not prompted by the Holy Spirit), is a message of grace and hope.

    The dad whose son shot himself in the head doesn’t really care how much produce grows in Israel today. He does however want to know if he is going to be able to stop crying soon.

  19. Kevin H says:

    There is nothing wrong with expecting the soon return of Jesus. We are instructed to anticipate it and be ready for it. The problem is when it becomes the focus in a manner that is detrimental. When the declarations that we are in the last days (meaning the literal last so many days right before Jesus’ return, not the general last days that have been in effect since his ascension) are done in a definitive and authoratative manner, then it becomes problematic. When every news headline is tied in some way to prophecy showing that Jesus’ return must be just around the corner, it becomes problematic. When the hyper-focus on one’s eschatological beliefs cause one to think and speak condescendingly and condemningly to and about others who may differ on eschatology, even on small details, then it becomes problematic.

  20. covered says:

    What Kevin just said, I totally agree with.

  21. Xenia says:

    #13 Thanks, Kevin.

    The curious thing is that most of the people who are caught up in this end time Rapture stuff are people who are sitting warm, filled, and comfy at their computers while the Christians who are really undergoing persecution are Middle Eastern Christians who are almost all amillers.

  22. Ixtlan says:

    @21
    over generalization, there X. Saeed is pre-trib, I know of others who are out there doing the hard stuff in dangerous places who are also pre-trib.

  23. I hate to disagree with the dispensationalist here who trying to ‘walk back’ the obvious of their positions.

    I think premil dispensationalism dictates, demands that you watch every move of Israel – that is the dispensation we are in or heading towards (I can’t keep it straight although at one time I could recite the whole scenario without notes) – since 1948 God put Israel back in the land as a sign to the church.

    I reread Hal Linsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth a couple of weeks ago – he has it down exactly – a bit dated, but from that point of view right on.

  24. Jim says:

    How is one supposed to “be ready” for Christ’s return?

  25. Steve Wright says:

    I think premil dispensationalism dictates, demands that you watch every move of Israel
    ————————————————-
    Silly…but it does likely affirm that Israel being a nation, hated by the world is not something with absolutely zero relevance to prophecy…or as you have been known to say, no different than Peru.

    Even Xenia I believe has mentioned her church sees some relevance to Israel’s rebirth.

  26. covered says:

    That’s easy Jim, don’t smoke, don’t chew and don’t go with girls that do… Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

  27. Xenia says:

    Ixtlan, I had Pastor Saeed in mind when I wrote “most” of the people.

    Because it is true, most of the Christians of the Middle East are some flavor of Eastern Christianity, which is amil.

  28. Muff Potter says:

    Michael,
    I think Alnor, Oakland, Prasch and others, are in pretty much the same boat the Inquisition found itself in when Gutenberg’s movable type printing press swept through Europe.
    The internet (like Gutenberg’s invention of old) has made it virtually impossible for any one ideology or religious position to hold complete sway over the hearts and minds of all.

  29. Bob Sweat says:

    “How is one supposed to “be ready” for Christ’s return?”

    Make sure you’re wearing clean underwear. 😉

  30. Steve,
    If you don’t watch everything how do you know you aren’t missing the important things?
    I just research what the DTH guys say and pass it on 😉
    Lindsey – Tommy Ice – Walvoord – even Swindoll

  31. Michael says:

    Muff,

    I think you nailed the historical equivalence…excellent call!

  32. Xenia says:

    This article shows that the majority of Christians in the Middle East are either Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox (Coptic) or a variety of Eastern-rite Roman Catholic, all who are amil. I realize there are Protestant Christians in the Middle East but even most of the Protestant world is amil, I believe, such as Anglicans and Lutherans.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-15239529

  33. Steve Wright says:

    Small note – Christians are persecuted horribly in India and that is not the Middle East. We do well to remember that. I can’t even post online the names of the people and ministry our church helps there because of the persecution.

    I know nobody meant to ignore…but that is where a large part of my heart resides as you all know.

  34. Xenia says:

    Btw, that BBC article was written 3 years ago. There aren’t many Christians at all left in some places.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/every-single-christian-wants-to-leave-iraq-says-vicar-of-baghdad-127218/

  35. I am listening to the Beatles white album in my office. Out of the 15 of us here my wife and I are the only ones alive when this came out – 1968.

  36. Steve Wright says:

    If you don’t watch everything how do you know you aren’t missing the important things?
    ——————————————————-
    That’s where you conflate some of these people you read, with the actual teachings and there is nothing in dispensational theology that says certain important things have to happen to Israel before the rapture. Nothing. There are things that have to happen during the tribulation and before the 2nd Coming…but whether they happen or not before the rapture is irrelevant.

    I went to a (non-CC) dispensational seminary (very Dallas oriented). Never once in any class were we taught by any professor the stuff we read on facebook by those who align with us. That something HAS to happen before the rapture.

    And never do you hear me teach anything that must happen either…but I’m not selling books, newsletter subscriptions, or trying to draw an audience on the internet so I can speak at conferences.

  37. erunner says:

    Xenia, how do ODM’s view you? Do they see you as a sister in Christ.

  38. Xenia says:

    Steve, my point was that most of the Christians undergoing persecution in the world today are not believers in the Rapture while most of the people who do believe in the Rapture are living in relative comfort.

    Btw, re: Wikipedia, most Indians are Catholics or Eastern Christian. Amil.

  39. Xenia says:

    Xenia, how do ODM’s view you? Do they see you as a sister in Christ.<<<

    Absolutely not!

  40. Xenia says:

    #38 should be edited to read: Most Indian Christians are Catholics or Eastern Christian, etc.

  41. erunner says:

    Thank you Xenia. I believe you mentioned before that missionary teams go to the Soviet Union and elsewhere in order to convert the Orthodox believers. That has to hurt.

  42. Andrew says:

    Jesus wept when Israel rejected Him. Now if the emphasis of His church becomes Israel and not Him maybe he is weeping even more.

  43. Steve Wright says:

    Well..I’m not looking to argue about what’s happening in the growing new converts and spread of the gospel in closed nations today..nor how some of the most oppressive countries often use either the Catholic or Orthodox label for some government approved state-church, whereas evangelical churches are outlawed as too “western” and sent underground. None of my friends who devote their lives to the gospel in India at great cost have been Orthodox or Catholic – the same nation that honored Teresa burned Graham Staines and his two sons for what is the real issue to me “preaching and practicing conversion” – I think our Lord said something about that being pretty important.

    That’s where the rubber hits the road.

    Your average Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Communist persecutor is not sorting their attacks by eschatology. And of course, in older nations that have been closed to missionaries for centuries, it is no surprise the Christians that (at least previously) were allowed relative peace to exist would be from one of the two oldest groups.

    The primary point being made (I hope) is that in areas of persecution, there are bigger issues for our brothers and sisters (whatever the denomination) than rapture timing which seems to be an obsession for those with little else to concern themselves with. And maybe some here in the US would be wise to shift our focus as well.

    On that I will say, Amen.

  44. Xenia says:

    Erunner, yeah, they do go to Russia to try to convert folks.

    Right after I left CC, I got an email from a CC friend who was about to go to Ukraine with a group of women, all my old friends. She asked me to pray for her success! I wrote back that I would surely pray for her personal safety but I was on the side of the Ukrainian Orthodox. If she wanted to know more about Orthodoxy, which I assumed she would since she and the ladies were heading into Ortholandia, I would be happy to answer all questions. My respond was light and bubbly, not at all mean-spirited.

    Her angry response was to read my letter aloud at the next meeting of the women’s ministry, to cries of dismay from my old friends. Oh, how our old comrade has fallen! How scandalous! Oh, how dreadful! She is lost, she is lost!

    Yet two of the women in that room who went on the trip converted to Orthodoxy, along with their families.

  45. Steve,
    I never said anything had to happen to bring on the rapture. It’s all in the aligning of events to bring about the rapture.
    Come on, you can’t deny that what i read isn’t true. Point me to a dispensationalist who is writing in the 21st century that doesn’t agree with what I said.

    Show me one who doesn’t have his eyes east.Show me one who would write that the events in the Middle East are inconsequential?

  46. erunner says:

    Xenia, it seems people add to the essentials in determining who is in or who is out. In my early CC days I looked on everyone not CC with suspicion and a sense of superiority. I believed CC was the result of a move of God (which I believe it was) and measured everyone else based on the non essentials.

    Through the years I got to meet non CC folks and visit other churches and I was just at home with those people as I was with those I knew. You could not deny their love for God and seeking to do His will.

    God knows there’s a lot of junk in the church universal and we need to be on guard against those things but what I see happening in certain corners upsets me no end. Thanks for your response.

  47. Andrew – the old saw is that the rapture guys always call the amil position “replacement theology” – that somehow we have replaced Israel with the Church.

    But when you study the doctrine, you find that in fact it is the rapture folks who have replaced Jesus with the nation Israel. Read any book on end times events from a dispy / rapture theology position and you will find Israel mentioned 10 to 20 times for every mention of Jesus Christ (my count may be low.)

  48. “How is one supposed to “be ready” for Christ’s return?”

    Plan on dying, then work backward and decide how I want to best honor Jesus in how I treat people, how I share my faith, how accessible I make Him

  49. Andrew says:

    MLD, I just remember one time a long time ago attending one of Bill Alnor’s study’s at ccphilly. I mentioned the amil position and no one even heard of it. Bill mentioned that out of all the possible theories on the end times this one was the worst. Anyway, I have come a long way and now think its the only one that makes sense. Keep the focus on Jesus. If you take it off of Him, you get into all kinds of weird stuff.

  50. Xenia says:

    Plan on dying, then work backward and decide how I want to best honor Jesus in how I treat people, how I share my faith, how accessible I make Him<<<

    Very good advice, I think!

  51. Jim says:

    “How is one supposed to “be ready” for Christ’s return?”

    Plan on dying, then work backward and decide how I want to best honor Jesus in how I treat people, how I share my faith, how accessible I make Him
    ________________________________________________

    And what happens to those believers who aren’t “ready” according to the formula above?

    No need to answer, as it’s obvious where I’m going here…

    I was in “rapture ready” churches for 13 years. Being “ready”, as preached to believers, smells a whole lot like works righteousness to me.

  52. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – I did not say they were inconsequential. YOU said things HAVE to happen. There is a difference. Of course the nation of Israel is significant. Only a fool would think there is no prophetic significance (no offense intended)

    By the way..tonight I teach on 2 Samuel chapter 7. Wonderful timing huh.

    Jim, I think the idea of missing the rapture (as some teach) misses the whole point of the rapture. If we are placed into the body of Christ by the Spirit (i.e. saved) then we will be removed. The Church (the body of Christ) is distinct. So if you are in the Church, you are gone. Not because you believe in the rapture, but you believed on the Lord and were saved.

    So how I would answer your question about readiness, given some of the heavy illustrations the Lord uses, I think we don’t have a clue what our personal judgement before the Lord is all about. Myself included. Most Christians don’t even realize their lives will be judged because they assume that since their sins are done away in Christ, and thus won’t be judged in heaven, what else is there to be judged for? But the Bible certainly speaks to a judgement for believers – and certainly tells us that how we live in this life will determine how that judgement goes. So that’s about as far as I take it, and that is enough to motivate me to live for the Lord on a daily basis and not choose a few years of backsliding with the thought of getting right before I die – even if I knew with certainty when that date of death was going to be.

    But that is not a works righteousness idea at all…rather a faithful servant idea for the master who has “gone away” and will return one day for me. (Rapture or death)

  53. Linnea says:

    Grendal @48– great advice and you have been consistent in your grace message since I remember reading your posts years ago!

    Kevin @19–wisdom!

    Michael–hang in there 🙂

  54. Steve,
    I will have to listen to that on also – to make sure that you properly describe to the audience just who Israel is. 😉

  55. Steve Wright says:

    Key in on words like throne and kingdom…I’ll have plenty of New Testament Gospel references for you…and not a one from Revelation. 🙂

  56. Kevin H says:

    Jim, Jesus himself tells us to be ready for his return (in whatever manner that ends up playing out). We should be ready for Him, not the rapture. Of course many can twist the preaching of “readiness” and turn it into works righteousness-like and place all the focus on the rapture rather than Christ. It doesn’t change the fact that Jesus tells us to be ready.

    And it is of course very important we are ready with clean underwear. What an embarrassment that would be if we’re not ready when raptured into the sky and leave our clothes behind and everyone left behind can then see our dirty underwear. 🙂

  57. Steve, too bad you won’t be using Revelation – there you might see that NT references to thrones are always heavenly scenes.
    Kingdoms is a little different – as I am sure you are not limiting the domain where King Jesus reigns will be on earth only… or perhaps you do.

    Have a good teaching tonight.

  58. Steve Wright says:

    LOL….I’ll make sure to tell them all the prophecy about Solomon of course was intended to be understood literally, as it also came to pass….but to make sure they remember the MLD rule that the rest of the prophecy is not to be fulfilled literally….that God wants to confuse us to keep us on our toes. 🙂

    Thanks for the well wishes. Blessings.

  59. OK, but watch out for that literal stuff – does God have David’s actual throne stored away somewhere in a warehouse (perhaps next to the Ark of the Covenant) and he will pull it out, dust it off, perhaps polish it up a bit – so Jesus can sit on it? 😉

    Gotta run.

  60. Jim says:

    I find Kevin’s underwear fixation disturbing. 🙂

    I’m much more concerned with present discipline than future judgement as a believer. I just can’t imagine any dismay while beholding Him in His Glory face to face.

    To be honest, I just can’t bring myself to returning to be motivated by any kind of fear. God will break me again, I won’t enjoy it, but I’ll still honor Him as God, who always acts towards me for my good and for His Glory.

  61. Steve Wright says:

    Jim, I was a little concerned that, in leaving out such things as love, gratitude and the like for my Savior, my earlier comment might read as if fear alone is somehow the motivator. That was not my intent if you, or anyone else, read it that way.

    However, to cite one example, James seems to be setting a strong warning for those who presume to be teachers….Why?

    Like when discussing hell…I am of the bent that I would rather stand before the Lord and find out then it isn’t as bad as I taught…rather than to stand before Him and find out I misled people in thinking it was something less than it happens to be.

    I’m not sure what saved as if by fire, after having an entire life’s work judged worthless will look like…but I prefer not to find out too.

  62. Kevin H says:

    Hey, I didn’t start the underwear thing. That was Bob Sweat. Blame him. 🙂

  63. Bob Sweat says:

    Kevin,

    Come on, you have broad shoulders! 🙂

  64. Andrew says:

    “I’m not sure what saved as if by fire, after having an entire life’s work judged worthless will look like…but I prefer not to find out too.”
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    Steve, I hate to break the bad news for you but get ready for it. Because if you are counting for your life’s work to have special worthiness to God you will be sorely disappointed. However, if you are counting on Christ’s work for your entire sanctification process, than I believe you will hear God say welcome good and faithful servant. That’s just my take on the judgement for believers that you mentioned in your post at 52.

  65. Michael says:

    Jim,
    Let me say the “amen” to your #60.
    If you’re in Christ, you’re “ready” to go home.

  66. Nonnie says:

    “If you’re in Christ, you’re “ready” to go home.” Thank you. I needed to “hear” that.

  67. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    Jesus did it all…and said the work was finished.
    All we do is say “amen”.

  68. Steve Wright says:

    Andrew, your reaction to my post is common. As I said, ” Most Christians don’t even realize their lives will be judged because they assume that since their sins are done away in Christ, and thus won’t be judged in heaven, what else is there to be judged for? But the Bible certainly speaks to a judgement for believers – and certainly tells us that how we live in this life will determine how that judgement goes”

    Here are a few of the passages, including the wood, hay straw reference (i.e. entire life’s work being judged worthless). This has absolutely zero to do with a works righteousness – but the verses are far too numerous to ignore or interpret away (and this is just a small sample) I did not include references so as to avoid moderation.
    ————–

    So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

    For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

    Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,
    “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess to God.”
    So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

  69. Steve Wright says:

    So if you are in the Church, you are gone. Not because you believe in the rapture, but you believed on the Lord and were saved.
    ———————————————
    (My #52 🙂 )

  70. Michael says:

    I personally don’t believe that judgment is one of salvation, but of reward.
    That distinction has to be clear, in my opinion.

  71. Steve Wright says:

    I personally don’t believe that judgment is one of salvation, but of reward.
    ——————————————————
    Yes. You do see I am saying that, right?

  72. Michael says:

    Just making sure… 🙂
    God knows we can never be too clear on blogs…

  73. Steve Wright says:

    Amen!! 🙂

  74. Steve Wright says:

    Now…my personal view is, much like we will be surprised by who may be or may not be in glory…we will be surprised by the Lord’s evaluation and what we thought surely was a work of gold, turns out to be hay…but a lot of hay (from our view), in the Lord’s evaluation turns out to be gold.

  75. I regret missing this thread.

    Like Hank Hanegraaff Jackie believes in discernment through name calling.

    I call you a name and you are banished.

    Sweethearts all.

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