"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Should Evangelical Leaders Be Held Accountable for What They Falsely Teach About the Second Coming?

Time is up on another self prophecy of the end by an evangelical Christian leader. Jerry Falwell predicted in January of 1999 that the “Second coming of Christ probably will be within 10 years.” Falwell was wrong. He also made another prophecy about the Anti-Christ being Jewish and alive at the time. On that count, too, Falwell is most likely wrong. However, the most disturbing statement by the late Dr. Falwell in 1999, at least to me, is not his misled proclamations of the coming of Christ, or his unwise attempts at identifying the ethnicity of the anti-Christ, but rather the following highlighted quote from a January 20, 1999 press release:

"When I delivered my sermon on the second coming of Jesus Christ last week to a pastors conference in Kingsport, Tennessee, I conveyed biblically-based truths that I have believed and preached nationally for more than 40 years. In addition to asserting that I personally believe that Christ could return soon (though no one knows the date of His second coming), I stated that the Antichrist may possibly be alive on the earth today. Most evangelicals, including Billy Graham and millions of others, believe in the imminent, premillennial, pretribulational second coming of Jesus Christ for all of His Church."

"Since Jesus came to the earth the first time 2,000 years ago as a Jewish male, most evangelicals believe the Antichrist will, by necessity, be a Jewish male also, since his mission will be to pretend to be the true Christ. This belief is 2,000 years old and has no anti-Semitic roots. This is simply historic and prophetic orthodox Christian doctrine that many (not all) theologians, Christian and non-Christian, have understood for two millennia."


Like the previous errant prophecies by Dr. Falwell, his prediction that most evangelicals are "premillenial, pretribulational" believers in the second coming of Christ is also wrong. Maybe that's true in Lynchburg, Virginia and in the southern U.S., but most evangelicals throughout the world and throughout history have NOT been premillenial, pretribulational believers in the second coming.

Dr. Falwell batted 0 for 3 in 99!

135 comments:

Benji Ramsaur said...

I don't think most have believed it historically.

However, I think in 1999 it might have been the majority view when one combines both Dispensationalist influenced Baptists and Pentecostals/Charismatics.

Am I off here?

Bob Cleveland said...

Two thoughts: the first is, I've never cared much to speculate on when Jesus us going to return, pre or post (or even a-) millenial or tribulational. It's going to be on His schedule and it just really doesn't matter to me.

But the part that does, is when anybody preaches what "most people believe". I don't know that there's anybody on earth that knows "most people".

Maybe he was leaning on the same researchers that said the vast majority of Baptists didn't think tongues was a valid gift.

:)

Amanda said...

Perhaps because I live in the heartland of dispensationalism, I often do feel like a minority within contemporary evangelicalism for being covenantal and amillennial. In that sense, I would tend to agree with Falwell. However, I would agree with you that historically (and globally?) speaking, the premillennial position, especially the dispensationalist variety, has been the minority.

In response to the title, Jeremiah 28:9 and Deuteronomy 18:21-22 certainly seem to apply here. The fear-mongering that such teaching often inspires likewise does not appear to be in line with biblical teaching.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Hey! Falwell batted a 1000 that Jesus would meet him within 10 years.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Wade: Your question is should Evangelical Leaders be held accountable for what they are teaching about the second coming? My answer is yes.

Thy Peace said...

I think it is foolish to predict the second coming of Christ.

I feel the preachers should be held accountable for bad teaching and bad theology that is extra-biblical. As in Tithing, Women Roles, prosperity gospel, etc.

Kevin M. Crowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...

[Repost with corrections]

I would like to know how you "hold [them] accountable? When the GBC tried to hold a church accountable for what it considered unbiblical ecclesiology, Wade and company crucified them. I happen to be a post-millennial, partial-preterist with amillennial tendencies. And quite frankly I could not give a flying flip what anyone else believes or thinks about the subject. Eschatology, save the bodily return of Christ to judge the living and the dead, is somewhere way south of even tertiary doctrines.

But I assure you all, I will teach whatever I darned well please on the matter and not one of you on here have the power or authority to hold me to any sort of accountability on the matter.

:)

Peace out ya losers!

Suzanne: You ought to read Barth’s The Doctrine of Creation (vol. 3 of Church Dogmatics). You also might want to at least read Andy Comiskey’s testimony and learn a bit about his ministry before you go ‘round talkin’ smack ‘bout yo brotha. Thank you btw for your dogmatic assertion that you are right and I am wrong. Do you like slamming doors? I think you did to me what you and Wade say GBC did to FBCD. You would call this a tertiary doctrine yet you are will to die on your hill---or push me off.

So be it.

Rex Ray said...

Kevin,
Have you ever read HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE?

If you haven’t, it’d be a waste of time because it’s obvious you wouldn’t agree with it.

Rex Ray said...

Would I be out-of-line if I said I believe most Baptists don’t know what they are?

Robert Hutchinson said...

i move that the list inform brother crowder's momma that he called us "losers!"

i bet she'll hold him accountable. momma's are good at that sort of thing. :)

Jon L. Estes said...

Hey Bob,

Does it matter when someone says...

but most evangelicals throughout the world and throughout history have NOT been premillenial, pretribulational believers in the second coming.

Do the folk who make such comments know most of the evangelicals throughout the world throughout history?

Wade, what do you base your most stats upon?

RM said...

If we are going to hold pastors accountable for what they teach and preach then let's hold them accountable for what they teach about grace, forgiveness, and the blood of Jesus. Getting into some protracted argument about the second coming is really not even relevant today.

Bob Cleveland said...

OH ..yes, as to the question: my answer is "they will be".

Kerygma said...

I stand with Jesus on when it's going to be

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

The dominant view of Protestants in the 19th century was postmillennialism. Unfortunately, many evangelicals today embrace the extra-scriptural teachings of Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye. I make that statement based on observations among my evangelical peer group. This leads to a "come soon Jesus and save us from this roten earth" mentality that feeds no hungry people, ministers to no sick people, and fails to adequately present the gospel to a lost world.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

Bob Cleveland said...
OH ..yes, as to the question: my answer is "they will be".

Bob,
As usual: Good one!

Marvin Merriweather said...

Joe Blackmon,

I agree with your assessments this time, brother! Your insights are both rational and scriptural - not to mentioned I laughed at the pantyhose quote. ;-)

Tim Marsh said...

Pastor Wade,

I appreciate this post.

I like to call this view the "Left Behind" view because that has been the popular medium through which this dipensational premillial eschatology has been delivered to this current generation.

And, I believe that it is dead wrong...

And, yes, I believe that those who teach it should be held accountable. Many have been frightened by this "tribulational" theology. Many have wrongly identified the "antichrist." (Note: The Bible never mentions a future Antichrist, but that many antichrists are at work.) Revelation does not teach a seven-year scenario leading up to the return of Christ.

And no matter how loud the preaching or how southern the accent, the scholarship that undergirds this view is simply bogus. It reminds me of Mormon scholarship. Even though they KNOW that archaeological eveidence and the best textual criticism cannot support the book of Mormon or the inspirtation of the KJV, the accept those things, irrationally.

To the fundamentalists who read this blog, if you really believe the Bible to be God's innerrant word then you should exhaust the best biblical interpretive methods and skills. You should know the background of apocalyptic literature and thought. And you should study from a wide range of scholars and not those who simply say what you want to hear.

If you believe that the Bible is God's Word, then you should invest in these studies, because though you can point out the "dangers" of more moderate biblical scholarship, I can think of no greater interpretive heresies of the religious "right" than:

1. "Left behind" theology.
2. Prosperity Gospel
3. Biblical manhood/womanhood (underwhich I would include the "quiverfull" theology.)
4. The "authority" of the pastor.

And to my knowledge, many of the religious right would support at least 3 of these.

Roger D. Lee said...

A leader, such as Falwell,who pastor a church are held accountable by their local, autonomous church. I would imagine the local church holds them accountable. :)

RD Lee

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Rex,

I read the book you wrote. And for the record, I believe in a PRE-Mil return. Not sure why I typed "post." I want to be held accountable for the right heresy. :) I also think a pretrib rapture is a totally wacked idea as well as a literal 7 year tribulation, the antichrist being a literal person, a literal 1000 years and red sanctuary carpet--all wacked.


Please, someone hold me accountable! My heresies are running rampant!

Kevin M. Crowder said...

RD Lee,

Didn't you preach a sermon entitled "Accountability Someday"?






:)

Kevin M. Crowder said...

1. "Left behind" theology.
2. Prosperity Gospel
3. Biblical manhood/womanhood (underwhich I would include the "quiverfull" theology.)
4. The "authority" of the pastor.


1. Should have been left behind.
2. Most of it is pure garbage, but let us not throw out the baby with the bathwater. We should pray the Lord's blessings upon us--but more importantly that His will be done in all things to His glory alone.
3. I TOTALLY AGREE WITH IT! (out of which I toss Quiverfull for all)
4. If I were you pastor I would grab you with the hook of my staff and beat you with it till you kissed the ring on my finger.


Btw, I AM the religious right! And this week I am thankful for not being wrong. :)

Byroniac said...

I used to be solidly Dispensationalist myself, back in 1999. I followed the news and nervously pondered every event and crazy dictator that popped up in that part of the world. What struck me most was how obsessed we (the Dispensationalists) were over events that could only take place after we were "raptured" to safety and no longer needed to be concerned about them, or at least that's how it looked to me. Secretly, I feared being proven a non-believer at the rapture, or worse (if that's possible), that the rapture was actually post-trib which even back then I realized I and other Dispensationalists would be left woefully unprepared for tribulation.

Now I am partial-preterist, with amillenial leanings, as KMC put it. I think Revelation should be understood as apocalyptic literature with all the figurative language and symbols of meaning that implies. A friend of mine opened my eyes to the same possibility of entering into tribulation that the Hebrews went into in Egypt, where they were not removed from the place of tribulation but God faithfully kept His people from becoming objects of His wrath. I think the story of the Exodus might very well serve as a type of tribulation that each Christian who loyally serves Christ is brought through in life. But what I know for sure is, Jesus Christ reigns.

But I agree with Bob Cleveland: Christ is returning, and we cannot really speculate as to when.

Byroniac said...

Kevin,

If I were you pastor I would grab you with the hook of my staff and beat you with it till you kissed the ring on my finger.

If there is anything you have written that does NOT signify a pastor's heart, surely this could be Exhibit A. I take it you are jesting. I sure hope so.

I do not care for Mohler's use of the plural "priesthood of believers" though I like Mohler a lot on social issues that affect us as Christians, and enjoy reading his blog. I truthfully believe that whenever God-given authority manifests itself, that grace, mercy, and humility accompany it like a family with its children. Even when rebuking, or given out harsh discipline, I believe the underlying motive in the heart of a pastor is not to cut off and destroy, but to pull down strongholds and redeem with the love of Christ.

Please do not take a "power trip" or let authority go to your head. Most of it is man-made and bogus. The part that comes from Christ is Christ-like because Christ is the Head of all Christians. And I think this goes missing sometimes in some ecclesiology.

John Fariss said...

I am solidly a pan-millenialist. That means I don't know when Jesus will return, whether the tribulation will before, during, or after the tribulation, or for that matter, if it is all metaphorical and/or historical. But I know that God will pan it all out, somehow. In the meantime, I will just keep on preaching Christ and Him crucified, saving faith as an on-going relationship with Christ Jesus (rather than a one-time deal of walking an aisle), and the expectations God has of His people in this lifetime, in terms of personal morality, discipleship, and to do unto the least as though we were doing unto Jesus Himself, as revealed in the Scriptures.

And Kevin: what has happened to you? A while back, you had gotten downright pleasant to read and dialogue with, but here lately you seem to have picked back up some of your old patterns. What gives?

John

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...

"What gives?"


John,

Serious discussion and debate deserves the same. Grace and Truth to You has been a 3 Ring Circus of late. Just trying my hand at lion taming. :)

But I submit that whenever the topic of "women anything" comes up, I will be mocked, slammed, harassed and put down by many, regardless of my "tone." I am not saying that I have not been purposefully edgy--I have--but purposefully is the key word.


Btw, Wade, I am curious if you have or will sign the Manhattan Declaration?

And yes, Byron, that was indeed in jest. ;)

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Wade I thought you have advocated extending grace to those who have different beliefs on tertiary matters. Does that grace also get extended when people say/do stupid/wrong things along the way..especially after they are dead and know the truth?

Rex Ray was right...Jesus did came back within that 10 year time span he predicted...for Falwell :)

I met Falwell twice while living in Virginia. The man was different than the myth. I think the two of you would have much in common.

I would also be more concerned about his public/stupid statements/actions if I had not seen the fruit of his life work at Liberty. There are very few Falwell clones.

The SBC leadership may at times appear to be "cultic" However, there is very little of that in the house that Falwell built.

One key example to help illustrate this is a young man who taught at LU and I believe he got at least one degree there. He wrote a book that was suggested reading by an LU OT prof that I had a doctoral intensive with.


Plowshares and Pruning Hooks, Rethinking the Lanquage of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic

By D. Brent Sandy

This was one of the primary resources that convinced me I was on the right track in giving up Pre Mill,Pre-trib Dispensatialism

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...

I still love you Wade, even though you are wrong on this one...and the last one...and the one before that... :)

I also promise to make once again my posts more pleasant and loving so that John and all the unsubmissive chicks will enjoy dialoging with me once again.

You still have the best blog on the I'net, but my opinion is uninformed as I rarely visit other blogs.

:)

More Blessings,

kevin

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...

Scott from 1:37 (deleted post)

Your post was spot on. Grace and Truth to You would be blessed by your reposting it.

k

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B Nettles said...

Rex Ray,
You're right that most SB's don't have a clue what they "are" whether you're speaking eschatologically, soteriologically, ecclesiologically, etc. That's because all they've been taught is don't drink, don't gamble, don't shop on Sunday and be sure to tithe to prove you're a good Christian.

That was the Sunday School formula (or yeah, invite Jesus into your heart every revival meeting and get baptized again to make sure you're saved) from the 50's through the late 70's. Meanwhile, Dallas Theological Seminary was turning out systematic theology pastors who were dispensational premillinealists. Many young SB's became fed up with not knowing what the Bible said and went to independent seminaries. (I, for one, started listening to Bob Thieme tapes.) There was very little eschatology taught at any SBC seminary. Heck, there was little systematic theology departing from the SBC Program line.

Let me illustrate how little SBC seminaries cared about eschatology: When my brother Tom went to teach at TEDS (mid 1980's if I remember correctly), having taught at SWBTS and Mid-America for nearly 10 years with a Ph.D. in Church History from SWBTS he had to write a position paper on his eschatology. That was the first time he had to put a definite position in writing on that topic.

Bob C., I respect you, but if it doesn't matter much to you then how do you advise someone who's being influenced based on a preacher's eschatology. John McArthur is one of the more careful expositors out there and he's a dispensationalist, but he isn't arrogant about it. He realizes there are others who come down on the amillennial or post-millennial side. Yeah, in the end, Jesus will come back on His own schedule. In the meantime, people will be led to do stupid and destructive things by arrogant know-it-alls on all sides of the issue. If one can present a cogent Biblical argument for 2 positions, you might be able to save some people some pain.

Don't relegate eschatology to the rubbish heap because it's difficult of irrelevant or divisive. First, make it non-divisive by examining the non-woo arguments and avoiding straw-man arguments. Also show there are respected scholars on different sides. Second, give your congregation some respect by teaching difficult topics and some logic. It is relevant in that others are "well-schooled" in the topic and will try to brow-beat those who aren't.

Wade,
It's a bad question. First, you put it in the passive voice and don't say who should do the accounting. Second, your post is about a man longer a leader. A better question would have been "Do Liberty Seminary professors believe Jerry Falwell was right about the Second Coming, and is that a bad thing?"

Christiane said...

Hi STEPHEN,

I read with interest your comment about the effects of false teachings about the 'Second Coming' on some in Christianity.

You wrote: "This leads to a "come soon Jesus and save us from this roten earth" mentality that feeds no hungry people, ministers to no sick people, and fails to adequately present the gospel to a lost world."

The 'save us' mentality, which selfishly ignores the plight of so many who suffer, seems such a sad mockery of the teachings of Lord Christ.

Caritas Christi,
L's

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Spurgeon was a premillinialist- I think that should end all discussion.
Seriously though, "save now" has been the cry of God's people throughout the Old as well as the New Covenant periods. You cannot study the early church and not understand they held to a doctrine of immanence. Yet, they managed to spread the gospel throughout the world in an expeditious manner and helped a lot of people doing it. Even the Apostle John teaches us to pray for the soon return of Christ in Rev. 22:20b.

Lydia said...

Suzanne: You ought to read Barth’s The Doctrine of Creation (vol. 3 of Church Dogmatics). You also might want to at least read Andy Comiskey’s testimony and learn a bit about his ministry before you go ‘round talkin’ smack ‘bout yo brotha. Thank you btw for your dogmatic assertion that you are right and I am wrong. Do you like slamming doors? I think you did to me what you and Wade say GBC did to FBCD. You would call this a tertiary doctrine yet you are will to die on your hill---or push me off.

So be it.

Mon Nov 23, 01:37:00 AM 2009

Kevin, I am hoping this is not a preview of what you will say when the elder's wife draws up the courage to tell you she is abused. Will you accuse her of talking smack about a great man of God with a title?

I am a bit shocked you keep recommending Barth for several reasons. His not so good marriage and the fact that your idol, Mohler, thinks he is neo orthodox.

Lydia said...

"But I submit that whenever the topic of "women anything" comes up, I will be mocked, slammed, harassed and put down by many, regardless of my "tone." I am not saying that I have not been purposefully edgy--I have--but purposefully is the key word."

Now you know how the gals feel when this subject comes up. :o) But seriously, if I have made you feel that way, I apologize.

My impression of you has been that you can deal with the hard questions and rebukes. You always give as good as you get. Mental exercise, right? Iron sharpening iron.

You have certainly made it clear you will not be moved from men on top, women under...always.

And besides, you are much too clever to be happy married to an unthinking doormat who blindly follows without question. Nor do I think you would be fulfilled with a wife who would be reluctant to become spiritually mature so you can always be her 'spiritual priest'.

My guess is that when you marry, you will call yourselves comps and live as egals. Many do.

Trish said...

Yes, they should be accountable! Why is it that non-Christians are so weary of our endless prattling about such topics? Because evangelical leaders just talk without any accountability whatsoever! And it's up to us to hold them accountable. Great blog. Thank you, thank you!

Trish
http://www.trishlawrence.com/blog

greg.w.h said...

I think the desire to read Scripture precisely and accurately is the central source of pre-millenial teaching. The desire to make sense of prophecy that otherwise may not easily and naturally be read cohesively is the central source of dispensationalism.

But the post-mills confidence in God's ability to transform lives and bring about the Kingdom of God reflects the power of Jesus's Kingdom parables while pre-mills are both dour and frightening and arguably--therefore--the opposite of God's character. He, after all, brings us to repentance through kindness, not fear according to the Bible.

As for the a-mills: the question of what is symbolic--especially numerically speaking--and what is literal is certainly a relevant question throughout prophecy. I can't fault them for concluding the 1,000-year-reign might not last EXACTLY 1,000 years.

I'm not exactly a preterist (or partial for that matter), but I certainly am interested in the argument that everything Jesus spoke of was fulfilled--as he prophesied--within that generation. I personally think both pre-millenialism and dispensationalism have a stronger perspective precisely because we do not see evidence of a return by Christ already and immanence is a mild term to describe the expectation that Jesus's own words created about his immediate return.

As to the the question: I think every person who makes a statement about the Bible should be extraordinarily careful in proclaiming what God means and to demonstrate their Holy Spirit credentials for speaking on God's behalf. And, no, that's not about "scholarship" per se. It's about God's plentiful and verifiable anointing of his own spokespeople.

If you aren't verified by some credible means--we can hope letters to preach and ordinations are actually God-inspired and not just human-selected--then you risk the wrath of a Holy God by speaking on his behalf, especially if you lie or insert your own beliefs for his facts. I suspect that God WILL hold accountable--to himself--those who intentionally pervert Scripture and mislead the flock that is given to them to lead. I offer that in terms of OT passages that complain at the rulers for exactly that kind of misleadership.

Now, I suspect, that Wade really meant this question: should followers of evangelical leaders CALL them to account for what they falsely teach. Absolutely and with Paul's blessing. We should be like the Bereans and carefully search Scripture to verify and validate what we are taught. There is the question of whether we have an adequately large enough stage to oppose false doctrine (and to outweigh the public credibility of the false prophet and the false teacher.) On this I am assured of this: if even one person will stand and confront with Scripture, there God is and there also are the great cloud of witnesses cheering him or her on in his race for the faith.

That, at least, is how I understand Scripture to respond to the question...admittedly a response written in broad brush strokes, but those who know Scripture recognize the allusions.

Greg Harvey

Lydia said...

As to preaching on end times prophecy: Anyone who has been around Christian marketing for 10 minutes knows that pretrib rapture is a money maker and will pack the house.

Jack said...

Wade

Why the attack of Falwell? I am no defender of Dr. Falwell and certainly found myself holding a different opinion than his on many issues, especially issues of methodology, however, the man is dead for goodness sake. To equate him to a false prophet or at the very least, 'errant' in his prophecies is a bit of overkill don't you think? Dr. Falwell simply shared his opinion concerning the coming of Christ and the person of anti christ. I see no where where he made any kind of emphatic claim of 'right'. How many of us have said the very same thing "I would not be surprised if Jesus did not return in my lifetime", yet if He does not does that make us false prophets simply for sharing our opinion?

I just don't get it Wade, you claim you do what you do for a more open, irenic, inclusive SBC, yet at every twist and turn you attack, demean, and impugn the character of brothers and sisters in Christ...even those who are no longer alive to defend themselves. I feel sorry for you, and although I have sassed back and forth with you in the past, I really mean it, you just come across as being very small and very insignificant concerning the issues you claim you are championing.

I cannot help and hope to believe that you are better than this, that you can post on these type of subject matters (By the way, the topic is grist for the mill, I believe there should be a better understanding of other positions than PM and PT in the arena of the Parousia) without trying to demean or minimize those in whom you disagree.

Jack

Jack said...

Greg

A spot on response without personal attack or character assignation. I may or may not agree with all of your points, but they are thoughtful and spelled out in a clear and forthright manner and they cause me to think the issue through. A much better approach to the subject matter than the OP, in my opinion ; )

Jack

Jack said...

Lydia

Thank you for the gross over generalization concerning what is recognized as a legitimate doctrinal position concerning the end times and one that is held dear by many.

Can we not agree that marketing in the christian medium in general is a blight and that it holds no doctrinal allegiance. I only need reference "The Shack" and countless other works of "Christian Fiction"

Jack

Lydia said...

"Thank you for the gross over generalization concerning what is recognized as a legitimate doctrinal position concerning the end times and one that is held dear by many."

Jack, never said it was not legit as an interpretation. I studied under David Reagan many times.

But you have to admit that the well knowns who are making serious dough on this doctrine or packing the pews with it are not helping it's legitimacy.

Some even make it sound exciting! Like a great adventure for the whole family if you are Left Behind.

Tim Marsh said...

Kevin,

LOL to response to my comment!

Tim

Marvin Merriweather said...

Wade,

Any teacher should be held accountible for any falsehood they teach...the problem is, people from all perspectives have a biblical basis for their views. Now, I'm not advocating teaching Pelagianism or anything, but dispensationalists shouldn't be regarded as heretics for crying out loud! Their hermeneutic may not be correct, but their viewpoint is biblical in its foundation. That should at least count for something!

Jack said...

Lydia

Thank you for recognizing that it is at least a legitimate position (and correct! 'smiles') However, are you not making the same point that we who struggle with "The Shack" have made? By the way - the "Left Behind" series no more hurts the standing of the PM and PT position than any other fictitious work would. I still believe you have made a over generalization. By the way, you may be surprised to know that many who hold the same position as the authors of LB also struggle with much of the direction that the series took and the marketing of the series. My point is simply that this is not a theological issue but a greater ethical issue in the church as a whole, and that is the marketing of Christianity.

Lydia said...

By the way, you may be surprised to know that many who hold the same position as the authors of LB also struggle with much of the direction that the series took and the marketing of the series. My point is simply that this is not a theological issue but a greater ethical issue in the church as a whole, and that is the marketing of Christianity.

Mon Nov 23, 05:11:00 PM 2009

It might be a theological issue when millions actually believe the anti christ will be a Romanian businessman.

BTW: When the book in the series on rise of the anti Christ came out, my cousin had it in her suitcase going through customs in Clug, Romania and they confiscated it!

Yes, it is an ethical issue, too. I guess it lines up on who you like or don't like, right?

Ok for McArthur to sell books but not for Paul Young? Ok for Falwell but not for Hagee? Beth Moore ok but not (fill in the blank)

But then, what would Lifeway do? :o)

RM said...

There are plenty of SBC pastors out here who are premillenial and pre-trib rapturists. Personally, I'm going on home in the first wave. If you choose to stay, good luck!

I too have met Dr. Falwell in person and since he is now with Jesus, I find this whole post in poor taste.

Jack said...

Lydia

I am not divorcing theology from the conversation. I should have stated that it is not a theological issue alone. And if you think I am about to defend Lifeway you are very, very mistaken! However, if you want to attack the LB series that is fine, have at it! My point is that it is shameful to attack a man who is dead and superimpose a position on him that he did not say or believe. That is what Wade has done, to what end I am not sure.

For the record, the LB series is not the standard work concerning the PM and PR position.

Jack

Jack said...

RM

Agreed and well said!

Jack

Tim Marsh said...

Jack said:

" Dr. Falwell simply shared his opinion concerning the coming of Christ and the person of anti christ. I see no where where he made any kind of emphatic claim of 'right'"

The problem with many preachers across the board is that they get into the pulpit and preach these things as if they were obectively verifiable facts. Take John Hagee and his rants on the end times, with the posters and charts behind his pulpit. Do you think that he is qualifying his remarks as personal opinion?

People are attracted to preachers with who speak with "certainty." Really, when you think about it, with the various viewpoints on different theological interpretations that are all under the umbrella as "biblical" it becomes irresponsible not to make your congregations aware of the "conversation" in theology.

Those are just thoughts, but we preachers carry a grave responsibility.

Christiane said...

Hi GREG W.H.

You wrote this:
"But the post-mills confidence in God's ability to transform lives and bring about the Kingdom of God reflects the power of Jesus's Kingdom parables
while pre-mills are both dour and frightening and arguably--therefore--the opposite of God's character.
He, after all, brings us to repentance through kindness, not fear according to the Bible."

I actually don't know one kind of 'mil' from another, being from a different religion, but I do believe in this that you wrote:

"confidence in God's ability to transform lives and bring about the Kingdom of God reflects the power of Jesus's Kingdom parables"

For some time I have been trying to sort out the two different kinds of Christian people I have encountered in the Baptist world.
But you have done it very neatly.

So many are faithful to Christ's teachings and 'The Way' and understand God's loving-kindness and are grateful for it. I can see Christ in them.

But then, Greg, there are the people who represent something I don't understand and cannot recognize as 'Christian'. I feel sorry for them. They do seem fearful and worried, and not at peace with one another. And they are so angry. So very angry.
I have tried to understand why all the mean-ness, but I cannot. When I expressed my confusion one time, I did not do it productively .(My bad.)
Maybe I should take a look at the 'eschatology' of the 'mean-spirited ones' in hopes of coming to better understand them? With understanding, I will be able to have more compassion for them in the way of my faith.
Thank you for sharing your observations with us.

Caritas Christi,
L's

Tim G said...

Wade,
Once again you speak one thing and write another. This post is totally out of line. Yes I graduated from Liberty. No I did not accept everything Falwell said or did as right or Biblical.

But this I can say, he was a man of his word and he loved Pastors - of all walks and he loved people from all walks.

Many could learn from the above!

Lydia said...

"My point is that it is shameful to attack a man who is dead and superimpose a position on him that he did not say or believe. That is what Wade has done, to what end I am not sure."



Jack,

If he said it for public consumption, and it is teaching, it is open game to discuss publicly. He was a celebrity and his words still teach. He spent a lot of time on TV.

I hosted Falwell once at an event.. so I have met him. He was a big cut up that day. I liked him. I certainly did not agree with his methods, either.

Chris Ryan said...

Okay, I realize that Falwell has passed on. There were some things he did that were good. There were a great many things he did of which I was not fond. But my question is this:

So many have characterized the post out of line because Falwell is now deceased. How long does a person have to be dead before we can begin to think critically about what they thought and said and did? If someone posted the OP 100 years from now, would we be so offended? And why when we debate the positions of Luther, Calvin, Spinoza, etc. is that okay, but the positions of someone more contemporary is out of bounds?

I realize that this doesn't answer the question of Wade's post. But would those of you who say we shouldn't speak ill of Falwell because he is now deceased please explain to me how long we have to wait before we can examine and discuss Falwell critically?

Thy Peace said...

I re-read the post to see if there are any attacks against late Dr. Jerry Falwell and I could not find any attacks by Pastor Wade.

The most "damning" statements are these ...

Falwell was wrong.
...
Dr. Falwell batted 0 for 3 in 99!
.

All that is written in the post is that Dr. Falwell is wrong. This is a disagreement. And then the post is titled with a question mark.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Tim,

When it comes to "Left behind Theology" I think there is a shift that is taking place now away from that theology IMHO.

Personally, I don't believe it myself. I'm not even Premill.

Jeff said...

WOW!!!

While I agree with what I believe to be Wade's intent; to call out a false prophet for assaying to speak for God when God has clearly not told him to prophecy such things...else it would have come to pass exactly as he said it. I am befuddled by the hateful rhetoric in the string of comments toward a brother who has stood for the truth on SOOO many issues of the Gospel.

Do I agree with Wade on everything...no I certainly don't, but I feel I know the mans heart, and he is a man of the gospel and such derogatory barbs are entirely uncalled for.

The whole issue that is causing so much in-fighting in the SBC is on vivid display in these comments I have read. I have not seen one single comment calling Wade on the carpet for his presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ...only gossippy (if that is a word) nit-picking of tertiary issues.

For crying out loud...is anyone here going to defend the false predictions of Falwell? How does getting God's people worked up in a froth over a non-existent fable called the rapture serve God's people?

I will tell you how it serves. It serves to drive people to sit on their hands hoping for an escape clause from their troubles. And rather than seeing a world that needs the love of Christ displayed freely and openly by his followers, they get a hands off church that proclaims, "Why polish the brass on a sinking ship" J. Vernon McGee.

But if you look at the "Brass" name plate on that ship, that they will not polish, it says, "The Ship of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ". That ship is not now, nor ever will sink, and the gates of hell will not prevent it's progress. But those who look for some rescue and escape from the task God has given us will have lead empty and vain lives.

Jesus prayed in John 17, "Father I do not pray that you should take them out of the world..." SO the only comment Jesus ever made about a rapture is "Father don't do it". This false teaching has crippled the church and by God's grace it must be expunged from it.

I pray that men (and women) will look at the word of God and discern their true calling...it is to this lost world. Not to a fabled, mythological escaping into the clouds. The lost NEED you, the Church...are we going to fail them because of a myth.

Jeff Rogers

TheWayofCain said...

Christ's parousia was in AD70. Eventually the Church will finally figure it out.

http://www.eschatology.org/

By the way Wade, it was your series "Last Days Madness" that eventually led me to this view.

Jeff said...

The Wayofcain wrote:
"Christ's Parousia was in AD 70.
Eventually the church will finally figure it out."

Hallelujah!!!! AMEN!!! I could not agree more!

Eventually God will send a new reformation of the failed eschatology of futurism that only shows Christ and his apostles to be either confused deceptive or mislead on the actual return of Christ.

If Jesus did not return when he said he would..."In this Generation"...not ours but his generation, then he is no more than a false prophet.

This is a serious issue and the church has been led astray long enough.

Jeff Rogers.

Jeff said...

C.S. Lewis (1960)
"Say what you like," we shall be told, "the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false.

IT IS CLEAR from the New Testament that THEY ALL EXPECTED the Second Coming IN THEIR OWN LIFETIME. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so.

He shared, and indeed created, their delusion.

He said in so many words, 'this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.'

And he was wrong.

He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else." It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.

(Essay "The World's Last Night" (1960), found in The Essential C.S. Lewis, p. 385)

Clearly it is C.S. Lewis who should be embarrassed by this statement. "Let God be true and every man a liar". Jesus was not wrong about his prophecy....C.S. Lewis IS WRONG!!!

Jeff said...

you can read this quote by C.S. Lewis on my facebook page and many other great articles on the Fulfilled words of our infallible Lord.

As well I have written a bit about this on my blog.

http://prosthero.blogspot.com

Or "Paradigm Lost"

Jeff

Jack Maddox said...

Folks, I have no problem calling into question ones teaching, debating it, even disagreeing with it...my problem is that Wade has in effect called the man a False Prophet because of a couple of comments that have been said by many...including me! Am I a false teacher if I say "I believe jesus Christ could come back in the next 100 years" and then he does not. No, it just makes me wrong. I AGREE that we as preachers should be careful what we say. I do not say those things any longer...but to attack the man with the analogy of 'three strikes and your out" COME ON GUYS! I wonder if we would want Wade judging our every word. I wonder if he would want us weighing him so heavy.

Wade, simply take back the analogy of a false teacher and state that he was simply wrong I and I will stand down...if not, I stand by my position that you sir are way out of line on this one.

Jack

Jack Maddox said...

If Jesus did not return when he said he would..."In this Generation"...not ours but his generation, then he is no more than a false prophet.

This is a serious issue and the church has been led astray long enough.

Mon Nov 23, 08:59:00 PM 2009

WOW! Hey Jeff, why don't you quit beating around the bush and tell us what you really think! LOL!!!!

You have certainly thrown down the gauntlet dude

'smiles'

Jack

Jeff said...

Jack....beating around the bush has never been my style...lol

But I appreciate the humor and the good grace in which you stated that.

Thanks.

Jeff

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

Jack,
Fallwell said...

"When I delivered my sermon on the second coming of Jesus Christ last week to a pastors conference in Kingsport, Tennessee, I conveyed biblically-based truths that I have believed and preached nationally for more than 40 years..."

This is Falwell's defense of his statement that he believed that Jesus WOULD come....not could but would.

In his statement of clarification and defense, he stated that what he said was a part of "Biblically based truths"...he has ceased at this point to be declaring his opinion and he is no longer able to say well I was just mistaken or I was wrong. He has framed his own statement with the authority of God's word, and that puts it in the realm of a prophetic utterance... therefore he can be no less than a false prophet.

Just trying to apply a little logic to Mr. Falwell's own words.

Jack Maddox said...

I believe your in error Jeff...you cannot say the man said that HE WOULD when he in fact used the word COULD. Wade provided his statement. If one holds to immanency they must say that Jesus COULD return at any time. In fact, I will say it now...Jesus COULD come back at any time. So I think your wrong Jeff...but I do not think you a false teacher : )

Jack

Jack Maddox said...

Here is the statement

“the Second coming of Christ PROBABLY will be within 10 years.”

That means he thought it probable...not certain.

Again, I am not that concerned with defending Dr. Falwell...but I do think it is wrong to malign him without due reason.

Jack

Jeff said...

Jack,

“the Second coming of Christ PROBABLY will be within 10 years.”

You are right, Fallwell did not use the word "Would". But nor did he use the word "Could" as you stated. He used the word "WILL" which is a statement of Certainty. The fact that he modified "Will" with "Probably" does not diminish the certainty of the language used.

The word "Probably" is a statement of "Probability" which only adds to the certainty.

And in his clarification statement he again framed his original quote by stating it was part of God's truth. God does not deal in "coulds" and "shoulds" in his prophecy, but "Yea and Amen", and "I Will". Falwells language was intended to sway his audience to the side of certainty, not doubt.

Jeff

Jack Maddox said...

woops....I meant Imminency in my previous post...Let me say it for you guys..."How can you believe it if you can't even spell it"

Jack

Jack Maddox said...

Jeff

so to you probability only adds to certainty? alrighty then! In that case it is PROBABLE that I will loose 20 pounds this new year. Therefore , I will now go and eat a second helping of my wife's chicken strips!

Jack

Jeff said...

Jack...we don't get graded here for spelling....I truly understood your use of the word immanance... immanence... immenence... Whatever.

But rationally, logically and biblically, are we really expected to believe that what was imminent to the first century church can still to this day 2000+ years later remain imminent and that word actually retain any usable meaning?

Please do not call me out for spelling...lol.

Jeff

Christiane said...

The only concern I have in this discussion is in keeping an eye on the extremists:
the political so-called 'christian' Dominionists;
and the right-wing Christian fanatics who are becoming more and more 'cultic' and stridently separationist.

If an aliance of these two entities begins to grow, then that is something worth being vigilant about.

Reason: no one wants to see WWIII started in the Middle East by these nuts in order to 'hurry Christ's return', do we?
'course not :)

Curiouser and curiouser . . .

Jeff said...

From Dictionary.com, with a bit of grammatical commentary.


Probable (Adjective)
"1. likely to occur or prove true: He foresaw a probable business loss. He is the probable writer of the article."

"2. having more evidence for than against, or evidence that inclines the mind to belief but leaves some room for doubt."

Probably, as an adverb
"in all likelihood; very likely"


You used the adjective form of the word which does leave room for doubt, albeit not much.

Falwell used the Adverb which in effect strengthens that which it modifies which in this case is "WILL"...And the verb "will" (expressing certainty) is never negated by its modifying adverb.

Jeff

Karen in OK said...

I find this comment stream stunning. As well as disappointing.

I tend towards a premillennial, prerapture view, not because of Left Behind books or John Hagee, or Jerry Falwell, etc. but because I think that is what the Scriptures teach.

Some of the denunciations are stunning. Christiane says people like me are mean-spirited and that she will try to work on her compassion for me. Jeff and others think I am an escapist who does nothing to live the Gospel.

Others say it is pointless, even uncaring, to want Jesus to return soon. The whole subject just doesn't really matter to them except that people like me embarrass them as Christians.

I might be wrong. But you might be wrong too.
One of the places I came to my conclusions was in the Evangelical Free Church. Although I have been in the SBC most of my 50 plus years, I spent 4 years in an Evangelical Free Church.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL is not a heretical or sub-Christian institution.

Neither is Dallas Theological Seminary. Neither is Master's Seminary and John MacArthur.

The ideas I hold were also taught in OK and MO Baptist churches for many years. That doesn't make them right inherently, of course. But some of you are caricaturing and disdaining this view of eschatology just as much or more as many of you claim Arminians are always supposed to be caricaturing Calvinists.

This is the blog that is supposed to be irenic and gracious towards Christians of differing viewpoints?

I will go ahead and say it. Jesus Christ could return tomorrow. I hope He does!

Jack Maddox said...

Karen in OK

Excellent thoughts. May we as PM and PT be as gracious to those who hold different views than we do as we would want them to be to us. We must admit that we have not always been.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

Karen,
Surely I was not characterizing you or any other individual. I am very sorry if you see my comments aimed at you personally. Please accept my apologies as that is in no way my intent.

My intent was to characterize an ideology that I believe has no scriptural support. And I know that you believe that it does.

But since this post was begun with an analysis of one mans apparent prediction, let's look at predictions.

If believers like me (preterists) were to make predictions and prophesy about what they believe about Jesus future return..."I garuntee that Jesus will NOT return tomorrow, next week, next year or the next ten years"...then on every occurrence of such a prediction, the Preterist would have been proven to be RIGHT 100% of the time.

However, what we do have is dispensational futurists who do make the prediction according to their dogma that "he will return next year or in ten years".

And EVERY TIME they have made such predictions...they have been wrong...100% of the time.

Read, or re-read my quote in the above post from C.S. Lewis. And ask yourself...how can you stand with a system that can believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was wrong about the timing of his own return and even participated in the deception about the time of his return?

I do not mean to impugn any individual, but the system of dispensational premilennial futurism is currently falling apart in the light of the clear teaching of the scripture.


Jeff

Jeff said...

http://www.biblicalpreteristarchive.com/statements/101.htm

Let's examine the scripture...in light of the 101 time statements in the article from the link above, where are the time statements that even hint at a short delay of his coming, let alone a 2000+ year delay. There are no such delay passages in the New Testament.

Let us lean on God's word, and be gracious toward one another.

Jeff...Hopefully my last statement on the topic, as I must get to bed. Good night Bible Mavens.

Tom Kelley said...

Jeff said...
http://www.biblicalpreteristarchive.com/statements/101.htm

Let's examine the scripture...in light of the 101 time statements in the article from the link above, where are the time statements that even hint at a short delay of his coming, let alone a 2000+ year delay. There are no such delay passages in the New Testament.


Not that I disagree with your points about the Parousia, but 2 Peter 3 could hint at some delay:

3First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Also, I'm no English scholar, but I'm pretty sure that in common usage, if someone says something "probably will" happen, that person is leaving room for some level of uncertainty, even if only a little. My mother asked me if I'm coming home for Thanksgiving and I said "I probably will" -- I meant it is mostly likely what I'll do, but I'm not guaranteeing it.
-----
Tom

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Whoa Nellie, hold the reins!!!

Allow me to put this day in perspective. (or at least the comment stream)

Folks, the OP has NOTHING, NOTHING at all to do with eschatology. God bless each of you and your desire to study the great doctrines of Scripture, but this post is about accountability.

NEWS FLASH-----Accountability is nothing more nothing less than submission vs. authority. You cannot have accountability without voluntary submission, not can you have it without an authority of some kind.

Wade, the problem here is (and maybe we are all just incorrectly perceiving this) that you are not consistent with your line of thinking. This is understandable, forgivable, and joinable (if we all may) as you think through and study through the issues of ecclesiology within the structure of the SBC and the Churches which comprise it. Take for instance your idea of a predator list. I and everyone else are totally in favor of the idea. But not within a body of Autonomous Churches whose pastors are not accountable to anyone but an easily manipulated flock. As for teaching doctrine you claim to be heresy--who is the accounting authority??? Wade? Are you there? Who my brother who?

SBC churches cooperate for missions, education, benevolence, publishing, and other areas. Why not cooperate with an entity we could call "The Board of Doctrinal Review" or an entity we could call "The Board of Ordinal Standards and Review." The latter would hold the sole power to authorize ordinations or to defrock. The former would hold the ordained, and the local bodies accountable for the teaching of Convention prescribed doctrinal standards.

Our Presbyterian brothers and sisters do this quite well. Of course they just call them Presbyteries (as does the Bible).

What was that Wade? You don't want to be told what to do in your own church? Then how in blazes do you get off telling Dr. Fallwell, et al what to do?

You cannot have your cake and eat it too. I would be in favor of the two afore mentioned SBC Boards. If a Church does not want to submit to their review, then that is fine, but they simply cannot be an SBC Church.

K

Debbie Kaufman said...

Pastor Bob: I don't think you can accurately say what Charles Spurgeon's eschatology bent was. He didn't preach many sermons on end times or eschatology. He said that there were too many sermons for the here and now. Everyone wants to claim Spurgeon, but on this I don't think you or anyone else has much information on which to base it on.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

Karen in OK: I don't want Christ to come just yet, too many I want to have salvation. Too many people that have not yet heard the gospel or grasped it's significance to their lives.

And I admittedly have disdain for the pre-mil view that it would take a book to write the reasons why.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Kauffman,

So is Christ coming back after the 1000 years? In your opinion? Or is the 1000 years simply figurative and perhapse we are today ruling and reigning with Christ in this His Kingdom in the here and know? (An idea I am strongly considering)

I only asked that because while I am not a dispensatonalist, I do presently hold to the Premil return of our Lord. But my eschatology is very much in flux. I would never dream of telling someone their view welled up within me a hatred the likes only a book could contain all my rage.


Wow. Must be alot of hate being preached over there in Enid.

K

Debbie Kaufman said...

I believe that Christ will return when the last one who is to come to him...comes.

Debbie Kaufman said...

BTW Kevin, you completely rewrote my comment to Karen.

I have a hard time figuring out who you are, at times you respond with rationality and humor that makes me laugh, then other times you respond as you did to me. Who are you?

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...

"I believe that Christ will return when the last one who is to come to him...comes."

I believe that Christ will return when the last one called by the Spirit is called. (plus whatever time the Father wants to add onto that.)

Who am I? Dear Debbie, please do not turn your comment upside down on my head. Your overwhelming disdain for a premil return is strange to me. I comment earlier that I believe the idea of a pretrib rapture, even the tribulation itself is wacked. But I do not hold the idea in disdain (hate). I grew up studying my Bible intensely (but wrongly) to try to figure out the "time line" listening and reading everything I could get my hands on by Jack Van Impe (that was in Jr. High and High School. I cannot help but think some good came out of even that.

So I ask you (and Wade), who are yunz guys? I am officially holding you both accountable for the inconsistencies in your writings. You must repent and say 20 hail Kevin's, or I will lock up you and Wade and Joe B. in Young's Shack for a week. :)

ezekiel said...

Jeff,

Preach it Bro.

Crowder,

Your meds may need adjusting. Love you Bro.

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Just perusing the comments from yesterday and today, and I notice the heresy of preterism has raised its ugly head. Here is a comment from an early church father, evidently the early church didn't realize what the preterists seem so confident in:"But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there WILL BE a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare" (Justin Martyr, 100-165 A.D., Dialogue With Trypho, Chapter LXXX.) If the preterists are right, then I dare say we are all in hell and there is no hope of glory.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Kevin: I do profess disdain for this doctrine. I don't however hate the person. Far from it, which is how your comment sounded. There is a difference between hating a doctrine and hating the person. The former being something I feel no guilt for having been raised on that doctrine, and it is anything but harmless.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Deb,

I have no doubt you are a kind loving lady. I too hold some heretical doctrines in disdain, but not valid eschatological doctrines. Quite frankly I do not even hate the idea of Full Preterism. I am a proud Partial Preterist but have let a few ideas I have rolling around in my head lead me to a seemingly logical end that would put me smack in the middle of Full Preterism--and so I back off, realizing the error of my thoughts. But of all the doctrines to hate, pre-millennialism is not one of them. It is the historical view of the church, and it has followers on nearly every facet and fringe of end times thought. Now I am totally with you when the word is plastered in 6 inch font on the front of the church next pre-tribulational, Independent, Fundamental, KJV only, etc. You fill a book on disdain, and I'll fill a library. But we both know that the issue with those folks is not their end times philosophy. It is a heart condition which does not allow the Christ to be the Christ. Which does not allow the Spirit to be the Spirit. And which does steals the sovereignty of He who is from Everlasting to Everlasting. the shame of their sin is stealing their joy in Christ. So they must sing to the Lord and beg for His return to take them away from their pain. What sadness and sorrow you and I need to feel for them. If the Lord would give me but 35 more years I would I would gladdly wait to see His face physically so that I may go out and "compel them to come in." So that they too may see His face. And live eternally in the presence of Almighty God.

My prayer? Thy will be done, but if it pleases Thee to tarry, my heart will rejoice at the opportunity to "bring them in, bring them in, bring them in from the fields of sin."

If I only live to be 70, I must realize that my Savior has waited 2000 years to see me, should I not be willing to wait but 35 more to see Him???

greg.w.h said...

Christiane/L's:

I agree that the Spirit of Christ isn't a spirit of contention and division. And I wonder exactly why we find merit in the desire to find fault on issues that are--to some extent or another--theological speculation.

I'd offer Aquinas' view on grace and how Protestants in general and Baptists particularly (though not just Particular Baptists) believe his view on grace--in support of viewing the sacraments as ritual acts of dispensation of God's actual grace--comes across as mechanistic. Similarly the differences in views on "infant baptism" (though moust Southern Baptists today I suspect were baptized under the age of 10), and the trans-substantiation v. the fully symbolic act of obedience of observance of the Lord's Supper as Baptists see it.

These things are made worse, of course, by the occasional historic effort to enforce doctrine and theological views through force, up to and including execution of those with different views. Those actions created martyrs out of differences in opinion. Do we know, today, if infant baptism is absolutely the incorrect reading of the discussion between Paul and the Phillipian jailer, for instance? (And, no, an opinion that we know absolutely isn't the same as God completely clarifying HIS intent, especially since modern Baptists forsake the insistence of the Anabaptists that baptism be as a result of an ADULT profession of faith...but even that at 12 or 13 begs the question of the timing of the onslaught of true adult reason.)

But, Kevin is absolutely wrong: Baptist orthopraxy depends heavily on religious abuse at the hands of authorities such as Henry VIII. It invests authority in the local body properly in opposition of the collection of eclessiastical power precisely to avoid abuse from the center. So the call to accountability should come first and foremost from the local body and if they are indeed just easily swayed sheep, then other bodies in an association SHOULD band together in the call for accountability. That is the Baptist way.

Even there, though, authority through democratic expression is only valid if it fully agrees with God's intention. Otherwise it is invalid, impermissible authority. I see room for groups to distinguish based on a prevalent reading of God's intention based on clear Scripture. But I also note that the primary topic of Jesus's last discussion with his "guys" was loving one another and the primary topic of his high priestly prayer was unity.

Have we worked within the Christ's expectations to be known by our love and to be unified? Or is each division and each separation and each turning of a molehill into a mountain an act of sin? Because if it is, we ought not justify them, but should instead repent and seek God's mercy since it is the Body of Christ that we harm.

I don't know if we go that far or not. But I worry that we do. And I actually do trust God to convict us of that and to conform us to the eikon/image of his Son Christ Jesus in this regard. But it may take the hard way--not the narrow path but the hard way--in order for us to be conformed.

Greg Harvey

ezekiel said...

Pastor Bob,

It seems from This that you may have confused preterist and premills.

"Chiliasm is the ancient name for what today is known as premillennialism, the belief that when Jesus Christ returns he will not execute the last judgment at once, but will first set up on earth a temporary kingdom, where resurrected saints will rule with him over non-resurrected subjects for a thousand years of peace and righteousness."

The way I read it, the argument is that premills get their doctrine from Chiliasm, or chiliasts Papias, Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Victorinus, and Lactantius was connected directly to their chiliasm.

"It may seem curious to us today, but the ancient Christian chiliasts defended a view of the afterlife in which the souls of the righteous did not go immediately to God's presence in heaven at the time of death, but went instead to a subterranean Hades."

Does this guy know what he is talking about?

Christiane said...

Hello GREG HARVEY,

Thank you for writing that. It tells me that there is much thought given among Southern Baptists to the need to follow The Way of the Lord and not depart from it. You wrote eloquently and beautifully and I understood you.

You wrote this:
"Even there, though, authority through democratic expression is only valid if it fully agrees with God's intention. Otherwise it is invalid, impermissible authority. "

To seek the Will of the Father in all things is a holy thing. Chris Ryan once wrote about the C.S. Lewis story of Aslan and Tash in the novel “The Final Battle” and gave this quote:
“But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, ‘Son, thou are welcome.’ But I asked, ‘Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.’ He answered, ‘Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.’ Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, ‘Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said that thou and Tash are one?’
The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, ‘It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites – I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, child?”
– from C.S. Lewis’ The Final Battle

In thinking about Chris’s quote from C.S. Lewis, I wrote this:
 “The wonderful way C.S. Lewis has of teaching Matthew 25 in the story of the Aslan and the ‘follower of Tash’ is so clear that a child can understand it. A service of caring done in any name is credited by the Glorious One, and rewarded.
And here again, we see the nexus between Aslan and Christ: Christ will reject those who say ‘Lord, Lord’ but failed to act in giving loving-kindness to the least of His.
As for those non-Christians, the gentle sheep of His pasture? They know His Voice, and respond to the call of the Holy Spirit within their hearts. And acting accordingly, they follow Him, whose Name they may only know as the One who asks them to love.”

Greg, I believe that God will not accept the cry of ‘Lord, Lord’, from those who have done evil in His Name. They cannot credit what they do or justify it in the Name of the Lord.
So when you wrote about authority needing to agree with God’s intentions, that reminded me that no evil can be done in Christ’s name; and, conversely, no act of Christ-like love from a child of God, for another human being in need, will be forgotten by Our Lord on the Last Day.
Perhaps some day, the evil done against Dr. Klouda will be recanted? I don't know. But I have hope for this, as I believe it will bring much healing and peace from Lord Christ.
This is what I believe. This is what I understand.
Caritas Christi,
L’s

Debbie Kaufman said...
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greg.w.h said...

To the extent that what Lewis writes agrees with Paul's comments in Romans about people who are a law unto themselves, I agree with that formulation. To the extent, even, that God redeems evil for good--especially evil that is done with the intent of faithfulness to a creed that is false, but not for the intention of evil--perhaps those who are not Christian have accounted to them righteousness for their faithfulness if not for their creed as you write.

But at the end, there is no other name but Jesus by which men are reconciled to the Father. And the name of our Bridegroom is not "any god" but is Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So it is a far superior thing for them to know him perfectly and completely and to acknowledge him by his one, true name...borrowing a little from Lewis's phraseology. ;)

And in addition, I think those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ and merely misstep in their zealousness in guarding what they believe is the ONLY valid interpretation of the faith that is handed down to them might very well have that zealousness accounted to them, also, as righteousness. But also I suspect that God will open up the Bible and explain both the correctness and the error of their zeal.

Greg Harvey

Debbie Kaufman said...

It is a heart condition which does not allow the Christ to be the Christ. Which does not allow the Spirit to be the Spirit. And which does steals the sovereignty of He who is from Everlasting to Everlasting. the shame of their sin is stealing their joy in Christ. So they must sing to the Lord and beg for His return to take them away from their pain.

Kevin: That is exactly how I view the Pre-mil doctrine, except not so much their sin that brings them shame, as the mindset that the world is just going to get worse and worse with no hope in the here and now. I disagree.

Joe Blackmon said...
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ml said...

"John Stott calls this idea 'escapism' in his book Issues Facing Christians Today. He goes on to write that the Dispensational concept of a secret rapture is one of teh most destructive doctrines gripping the Evangelical Church today. Accordign to Stott, it thwarts planning, hinders social involvment, and gives Christians a gloomy outlook for the future" [Theopedia, Rapture].

Wade there are connections here between much of what you have been writing and Stott's underlying thesis about the downside of Dispensational Premillenialism.

Brian R. Giaquinto said...

What about Harold Camping's (Family Radio)prediction of Jesus' return in 2011? He says Christians should abandon the churches because we are living in the tribulation and that the anti-Christ (Satan) is reining in the church. Kinda makes Falwell pale in comparison.

Tom Kelley said...

Everyone knows (or should know) that the world will end on December 21, 2012. The Mayans (and Columbia Pictures) told us so.

ml said...

Kevin, yesterday I believe you surfaced what Wade was trying to hit on. If we will not hold a pastor accountable for what he teaches in the pulpit on eschatology [for autonomy reasons], then why would we hold a church accountable for calling a woman as pastor. BTW The structures you have described are not historic baptistic structures. In fact, Thomas Armitage, in his History of Baptists, says that "Christ never established a law of Christian Primogeniture by which he endowed local churches with the exclusive power of moral regeneration, making it necessary for one church to be the mother of another, in regular succession, and without which they could not be legitimate churches. Those who organized the churches in apostolic times went forth simply with the lines of doctrine and order in their hands, and formed new churches without the authority or even theknowledge of other churches. Some of these men were neither apostles nor pastors, but private Christians. Men are born of God in regeneration and not of the church. They have no ancestry in regeneration, much less are they offspring of an organic ancestry. The men who composed the true churches at Antoich and Rome were born from above making the Gospel and not the Church the agency by which men are begotten of God. This church succession figment shifts the primary question of Christian life from the apostolic ground of truth, faith, and obedience, to the Romanistic doctrine of persons, and renders an historic series of such persons necessary to administer the ordinances and impart valid Church life [page 3]" Please read the entire section as to how Baptists have historically understood cooperation and expansion. The case certainly can be made that it has not historically been through hierarchy.

Christiane said...

"If the law of Christ is written in our hearts, and the love of Christ is shed abroad there, then Christ dwells there.
Where His Spirit dwells, there He dwells."

from the Commentaries of Matthew Henry

Elisabeth said...

Kevin said

all the unsubmissive chicks will enjoy dialoging with me once again.

Unsubmissive chicks?! I'm not sure whether to get mad or laugh! :-)

Elisabeth said...

What I think is that the Left Behind books and the Thief in the Night movies were stuff that could make you think, about could I be so strong in the faith to keep it when it could cost me my head?

But as far as do these things show the way it really will be? I don't really see the evidence for a pre-trib rapture in the Bible. And I'm afraid that if the tribulation starts and there was no rapture before hand, the ones who believed in a pre-trib rapture will be extremely confused, to say the least.

But it is a tetriary doctrine that somehow has gotten primary in some circles.

Darby Livingston said...

The chapter "Chiliasm" in Geerhardus Vos's "The Pauline Eschatology" is single-handedly persuasive enough to ammillenialize anyone.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Debbie,

I am not sure that it is a Pre-Mil view that presupposes that. I mean it does when coupled with dispensationalism, but the view that Christ will return and set up an earthly kingdom 1000 years before the final consummation is not an escapist view in and of itself. There are a great many Covenant Theologians who hold to a pre-mil return. Whether the state of the earth gets better or not before Christ's return is, imho, irrelevant, and non-conclusive in Scripture.

I happen to think that things will at the very least get much worse before they potentially get better. But praise be to God for that. His light will shine much brighter the darker the world gets. However He chooses to do it, I am there with bells on! :)

k

Kevin M. Crowder said...

ml, you said:

"BTW The structures you have described are not historic baptistic structures."

I am not certain which structures you are speaking of here.

I am very well aware that baptistic ecclesiology is grounded and founded in freedom, liberty, and the local autonomous body being the highest earthly authority. I am simply submitting that I think that very grounding is our weakness. It is no secret on here that I prefer aspects of Presbyterian ecclesiology (I think the structures I spoke of) and polity over my own tradition. But I am a Southern Baptist for many other reasons and still hold to a majority of our prescribed doctrines, while considering those things over which I disagree to be acceptable for the most part and far from heresy.

Maybe we are misunderstanding each other.

K

TheWayofCain said...

8 Compelling Reasons Why:
Jesus Is Coming "Very, Very Soon"
Recently someone sent me a newspaper article with the above title. The article begins by saying, "The evidence for the soon return of Jesus Christ is overwhelming." I am not sure if the sender was trying to convince me, or if they wanted me to comment on the article. Either way, I will offer a few thoughts.
History is full of such predictions. And every one has been wrong...except the first century when Jesus himself said He was to return before all of His contemporaries died (Matthew 16:27-28; 24:29-34; 26:64). Jesus either kept His word, He lied, or He failed. The choices are limited and inescapable. The failure of Bible students to honor Jesus’ prediction has propagated the continuing history of failed predictions. Now to the evidence offered by the article.

http://www.eschatology.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=718:eight-reasons-why-jesus-is-coming-soon-a-response&catid=41:second-coming-of-christ&Itemid=61

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

It appears David Jones the author of A Female Apostle?: A Lexical-Syntactical Analysis of Romans 16:7, is NOT working at SEBTS. Please read this comment.

Darrell said...

Tim Said:

I can think of no greater interpretive heresies of the religious "right" than:

1. "Left behind" theology.
2. Prosperity Gospel
3. Biblical manhood/womanhood (underwhich I would include the "quiverfull" theology.)
4. The "authority" of the pastor.


WOW! now that's a mouthful!

d

Stephen Pruett said...

Kevin,

I really like the way you stated your position in this comment. "I prefer aspects of....". Unfortunately, too many Southern Baptists express opinions on similar issues with absolute certainty and with a desire to remove those who disagree from the ranks of the SBC. In fact, that is the origin of this blog, if I remember correctly.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Stephen,

It is the way we remove folks that will be remembered. In a sinful world, folks will need removing from time to time. I have no problem with SWBTS desiring an all male faculty for the male MDIV student. I have no problem "phasing" out Dr. Klouda, but even I can see the process was flawed. I have a slightly different take on the SBTS takeover years ago. All out guerrilla warfare was the quickest and most successful method of ridding Southern of the religious left. Everyone likes to bring up Dr. Molly Marshall in that instance, but last I checked she was doing pretty fine for herself. Dr. Mohler endured much more than anyone booted could have ever endured. Many mistakes were made during the Liberal Extermination (LE) of the 80's and 90's, but it does not mean the LE was not necessary. Anyone who does not think the same tactics would be employed if the tables were turned is sadly mistaken. The moderates and liberals in Missouri plotted and pillaged and lied and stole to get their way. When anger and revenge guide our paths, the Lord is never glorified. I fear Wade is angry, and in his path might one day lay the carnage of those who disagree with him. Wade needs our prayers now more than ever.

(Don't worry, he never reads my posts. We can just secretly covenant together to pray for him during these trying times of conservative glory and biblical fidelity.)


:)

Byroniac said...

TheWayOfCain:

I think full preterism is more than slightly fascinating, but at the same time I find myself grasping at anything, even straws, to resist from coming to its conclusions. I have not studied this in depth yet, but I know I am at least amillenial, and probably partial preterist (sure looks like most of the relevant passages have been fulfilled to me). I have heard of something called idealist preterism, which seems to emphasize the symbolic over historical fulfillment, but I really do not understand it yet.

The last time I read a comment from you (about a year ago?) it seemed that you were heavily partial preterist, but considering (tempted by, not your words) full preterism. Have you come to this position, then? And when was this?

Karen in OK said...

Byroniac,
you may want to take a look at faithbyhearing.wordpress.com.
It has a large section on eschatology, various views thereof, and some sermon series.

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Ezekiel

I know precisely what I'm talking about. I have spent the last 30 years studying the Scriptures; I am a pastor and a theologian, not the best of either but certainly by far not the worst. I make no apologies for being a Calvinist, or a baptist or a premillenialist. I find these wholly compatible with scripture especially in the systematic scheme of things. However, I believe the doctrines of Last Things are in a more tertiary category. I can see how others find truth in other positions like Amillenialism, etc. But preterism is something altogether different because it denies the very essence of the parousia. Prterism is on the same level as the Jehovah's Witnesses view that Christ came back in 1918.

Thanks for the link to the article. It was interesting and well written but wrong in the sense that it tried to reduce the argument to spiritual enlightenment (the Gnostic's already had a corner on that market) and missed the compelling cultural reason for all kinds of change within Christianity... You want to know the real reason some of the church gave up the doctrine of premillenialism? It was because of the triumphalism of the Roman Empire in light of its "conversion". It would be interesting to see how Augustin would have edited his work if he had lived through the Barbarian Invasions. Theology is often interpreted in light of one's cultural and historical setting for better or worse. But I'm not writing a dissertation, I'll give this topic to somebody else...

Lydia said...

" Dr. Mohler endured much more than anyone booted could have ever endured."

Oh Puleeeeeeeeeeze! President of SBTS 33? Making a huge income? In Time magazine in the 90's as the one of the most influential men of the decade? Oh yeah, poor guy.

And those in the know...know he is a tyrannical straw boss at SBTS who expects to be treated as royalty. Of course, so many worship him that is no problem for them.

Quit idolizing men. He has treated folks who disagreed with him, horribly. Had no problem ruining anyone who got in his way.

Think of Paul Debusman as an example of how Mohler operates.

Or perhaps you could talk to the guy with a wife and three kids who was laid off while they spent 9 million on a campus face lift for the 150th Anniversary. Just business, right? Oh, it was already budgeted. Nevermind the brothers and sisters. But then, he was a good soldier whose wife did not work and homeschooled as taught by the powers. So they are left with no health insurance, a mortgage in a horrible economy. They went on food stamps! Had to!

Note: Al and his senior minions did not take a leadership cut in pay either.

Welcome to Al's Christianity.

Darby Livingston said...

I agree with Lydia that way too many Christians get treated like royalty because of a position they happen to inhabit, and it is plain wrong.

TheWayofCain said...

Byroniac you said this:

I think full preterism is more than slightly fascinating, but at the same time I find myself grasping at anything, even straws, to resist from coming to its conclusions.

I finally gave up resisting. If one is consistent about the time-statements then full-preterism is the only choice, at least for me till I can be convinced otherwise.

The more arguments from "pastors and theologians" like Dr. Bob Farmer the more preterists that are created and the more confident already existing preterists are in their views.

I too tried to find a way out of what I was seeing as the obvious teaching of scriptures but the more I read from detractors the more convinced I became of the FP view. When one understands eschatology in not the churches eschatology nor the worlds eschatology but Old Covenant Israel's eschatology things begin to fall in place.

Byroniac said...

Karen in OK: Thanks!

TheWayofCain:

Thanks for the reply; I agree (more than I want to).

TheWayofCain said...
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Joe Blackmon said...
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New BBC Open Forum said...
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Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Interesting. I give answers and challenge suppositions and what do I get in return ad hominem attacks. Anyone following this thread should be able to see these preterists can't defend their heresy from history, theology and certainly not from scripture. Let me ask this, if Christ came in 70 AD, like you preterists claim, why was there no mention of it in the early church? You would think that would be an important point to miss. Way of Cain your name is approbate to your theology.

Pege` said...

Pastor Bob Farmer asks a good question that deserves an honest and thoughtful answer.

"Let me ask this, if Christ came in 70 AD, like you preterists claim, why was there no mention of it in the early church?"

I will do my best Pastor Farmer. It is my contention that in Christs first century Parousia Jesus kept his word that he told the pharisees in Luke 17, "The Kingdom will come without observation." Hence his coming was as a thief. Undetected by the world around him. Those he came to judge died in the judgement so they could not testify to his coming. Those who were believers obeyed his warning from Matthew Chapter 24 to flee Jerusalem and Judea when they saw the armies surrounding the city, so they could not testify. But there were historians whose testimony remains, and it fits the biblical description of what Jesus promised. Josephus and Tacitus. Eye witnesses of his coming. But of course the dispensational model demands that everything be physical and observable. Why is it that we cannot see that this was the very error of the pharisees who demanded from him a physical and observable kingdom. Just as they were not to see one, neither will dispensationalists ever see what they predict.

I close with a quote of myself from a previous post.

If believers like me (preterists) were to make predictions and prophesy about what they believe about Jesus future return..."I guarantee that Jesus will NOT return tomorrow, next week, next year or the next ten years"...then on every occurrence of such a prediction, the Preterist would have been proven to be RIGHT 100% of the time.

However, what we do have is dispensational futurists who do make the prediction according to their dogma that "he will return next year or in ten years". (or forty years after the founding of Israel---see the late great planet earth, and many of Jenkins/LaHaye works among others).

And EVERY TIME they have made such predictions...they have been wrong...100% of the time.

Read, or re-read my quote in the above post from C.S. Lewis. And ask yourself...how can you stand with a system that can believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was wrong about the timing of his own return and even participated in the deception about the time of his return?

I do not mean to impugn any individual, but the system of dispensational premilennial futurism is currently falling apart in the light of the clear teaching of the scripture.

END.

Please Pastor Farmer...note, that in all of this, I have made NO ad hominem attack. As you did by labeling all f us preterists as heretics.

This is Jeff,my apologies if by my own error and computer incompetence my wife is currently logged in and she posted this. I assure you this is Me...Jeff, so please do not vent toward Pege my wife. Thank you for that courtesy.

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

Thank you Pege,
your thoughtful article is appreciated. As far as CS Lewis goes, I believe he is wrong in his assessment of Christ's knowledge, but philosophically you are in the same boat taking one statement and claiming its literalness, "this generation will not pass away until these things take place" while denying the literalness,"Now concerning that day and hour no one knows...not even the Son", of another of Christ's statements from the very same passage. The Revelation by it's very definition is not a secret event, that is the nature of the Gnostics and the Mystery religions not of John's apocalypse "He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him". The majority of scholarship holds to a 90's AD date for John's Revelation of Jesus Christ, which includes testimony from the early church who had first hand knowledge. That would be 20+ years after the preterist's second coming scenario. I can understand your confusion but not your conclusions. As far as my stating preterism is a heresy, it is. It is unorthodox in any test you want to set up- but heresy does not mean apostasy unless they are concerning first tier issues. I will confess we all probably hold to some heretical thought on various tertiary things.

mary said...

For some dessert I'm serving up some leftovers found on Google, namely, "Appendix F: Thou Shalt Not Steal" (examples of plagiarism in Falwell, Ryrie, LaHaye etc.!), "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts," "Edward Irving is Unnerving," "Pretrib Expert John Walvoord Melts Ice," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" - all smacking good stuff!